There’s a huge list to choose from, but here are our favourite company cars
Company cars have always been a perk, a tasty four-wheeled sweetener for signing up to a new job. Yet in recent years, increasing taxation has meant that many users have been abandoning these machines in favour of cash alternatives. However, with the government keen for us to go green, there are now plenty of incentives to sign up for a set of company wheels if you’re willing to embrace electrification.
So what are the best cars for business users? Here we list our favourites in 10 categories, from superminis to SUVs and everything in between. All of them combine a low benefit-in-kind (BIK) rating (the percentage of the car’s value that you’re taxed on) yet are still great to drive.
Range Rover Evoque R-Dynamic P300e SE: Range Rover stole a march on rivals when it launched the original version of its eye-catching Evoque, and the latest, second generation continues to keep the competition at arm’s length. Stylish and sophisticated, it’s as good to drive as it is to look at and sit in, distilling the luxury vibe and go-anywhere versatility of its larger siblings into a smaller and more manageable package. Better still, the arrival of the P300e plug-in hybrid has made it much more attractive for company car user-choosers. The incredibly slick 1.5-litre three-pot petrol and electric motor combo promises 38 miles of electric range and 34g/km of CO2 for a 12% BIK rating. Lower-rate earners face a minimum tax bill of £1,134 for the entry-level R-Dynamic S, but we’d consider stretching to £90 more for the more lavishly appointed SE.
Large electric car
BMW iX xDrive40 Sport: Its looks still divide opinion, but with its combination of space, luxury and suprisingly taut driving dynamics there’s no doubting the BMW iX’s abilities. The outrageous 611bhp M60 flagship grabs all the headlines, but for most high-flying business users wanting to make an impression the ‘entry-level’ xDrive40 Sport has all the speed and status they’ll ever need. It’s twin motor 322bhp set-up serves-up strong performance, while its 77kWh battery claims 257 miles on a charge and can accept 150kW rapid charging, which is crucial when needing to make that crucial meeting but you need to stop for a quick zap and dash. Crucially, with a BiK rating of just 2%, higher rate earners will only need to sacrifice £567 a year.
Mid-sized executive car
BMW 530e SE: Some things never change, and despite numerous challengers – both saloon and SUV – the 5 Series remains king of the corporate car park. This is especially true of the plug-in hybrid variants, which deliver the BMW’s trademark sharp handling and cosseting long-distance refinement, but throw in a welcome dose of tax relief. The 288bhp 530e is best, its combo of 2.0-litre four-cylinder motor and 127bhp electric motor being beautifully integrated for a pleasing combination of punch and parsimony. It also results in 31g/km CO2 emissions and an 12% BiK rating, which means an annual salary sacrifice of as little as £1236 on SE models.
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI eHybrid Style: The evergreen Golf has always been a family hatch hit, but the latest, eighth-generation model puts the versatile VW back at the top of the class. Of course, there’s a Golf for every taste and budget, and for company car drivers, it’s the plug-in 1.4 TSI eHybrid in lavishly equipped Style trim, which, with CO2 emissions of 21g/km and 42 miles of EV range, attracts a lowly 8% BIK rate. Yet with 204bhp on tap, it’s no slouch and, like other Golfs, it serves up a perfectly judged balance of ride and handling. The touchscreen infotainment system is fiddly and unlit temperature controls for the air-con will drive you to distraction, but in all other respects, this is a car that’ll keep drivers and fleet managers happy.
Compact family saloon
BMW 330e Sport: Such is the brilliance of the BMW 3 Series that you wonder why rivals even bother, especially as a recent facelift has only enhanced its appeal. A mixture of engaging handling, impressive refinement and a hewn-from-solid quality make it the default choice for those who love driving and are also climbing the corporate ladder. The 320d used to be the default tax-busting choice, but the plug-in 288bhp 330e delivers more performance (its 0-62mph sprint of 5.9sec is nearly 3sec faster) yet, with 30g/km CO2 emissions, it’s rated at 12% BiK so a lower-rate earner will pay £1,043 in tax compared with £2422 for the cheapest diesel model. The latest plug-in version of the latest Mercedes C-Class can crack 62 miles of EV range and falls in the 8% BiK bracket, but unlike the 3 Series it won’t lift the spirits after a hard day at the office
Land Rover Discovery Sport P300e R-Dynamic SE: Newer rivals have attempted to topple the Land Rover Discovery Sport, but eight years on from its launch the British machine’s compelling blend of talents proves hard to resist. A recent facelift has helped its cause, giving it a mini-Range Rover vibe inside and out, while the smooth PHEV version is good to drive and easy on the corporate credit card. With its combination of 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol and electric motor, the P300e delivers 296bhp and 34 miles of electric range, while its 44g/km CO2 emissions result in a 12% BiK rating. Accommodating the motor and battery means you loose the car’s seven-seat layout, but it’s still composed and capable on the road and almost unstoppable of it. We’d plump for the R-Dynamic SE, which will cost a lower rate earner £1221 in salary sacrifice.
Range Rover Sport P440e PHEV SE: Taking its place at the top of the Luxury SUV (boardroom) table is the all-new Range Rover Sport, which serves-up a winning blend of lavish luxury and low running costs. Based on the same architecture as the larger Range Rover, the Sport combines much of that car’s refinenent and comfort with just a little extra agility and poise when going hard. Under the bonnet is firm’s latest 3.0-litre six-cylinder Ingenium, which combines with a 141bhp electric motor and large 38.2kWh battery to deliver some serious punch and an impressive EV range of 71 miles. That means a BiK rating of 8% and a tax bill of £1666 for higher rate earners, compared to £11,492 for the equivalent diesel.
Small electric car
Peugeot e-208 Allure Premium: It’s still rare these days that an all-electric version of a car is more desirable than its combustion-engined counterpart, but that’s exactly the case with the e-208. The standard car’s style, refinement and comfort perfectly match the EV’s near-silent 134bhp motor and effortless, linear acceleration. It’s backed by a 217-mile range and a rapid DC 100kWh charging capability, which is rare in this sector. It’s obviously a great company car choice, particularly if your business requires multiple short hops, because all versions are rated at 2% BIK. The entry-level Active Premium will cost just £121 for lower-rate users, but we’d add another fiver to our tax bill for the much better-equipped Allure Premium.
Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge Plus: It’s getting on a bit now, but the handsome and versatile XC90’s appeal remains undimmed. Key to its success is a third row of seats that is actually suitable for adults, while it’s also good to drive, in a wafty and easy-going sort of way. For business owners, however, it’s the Recharge plug-in models that really catch the eye, especially the recently facelifted versions, which get a larger, 18.8kWh battery that increases the EV range to 43 miles and drops the CO2 emissions to 28g/km. As a result, it falls into the 8% BIK band, so higher-rate earners will pay £2447 in tax – a hefty chunk less than the £9957 they’d be liable for the identically specified 231bhp B5 diesel version.
Toyota Hilux: For many, this tough Toyota is the definitive pick-up truck, thanks in no small part to heritage that stretches back half a century. This latest version is the best ever, a refresh in 2019 helping to deliver more car-like manners on the road that made it a viable alternative to an SUV. This is particularly good news for business users because, like all pick-ups with a payload of more than a tonne, all Hilux models are flat-rated at a benefit-in-kind figure of £3600 for tax, which means a lower-rate earner will face a modest salary sacrifice of £720. This is the same for all models, so if your company will pay, we’d recommend the Invincible, with its keyless entry, heated seats and infotainment that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone mirroring.