Best commuter car

Beat the traffic blues with the best commuter cars

Murray Scullion
Aug 29, 2018

The average commute time in the UK is around 40 minutes a day, or around 200 minutes a week.

That’s 174 hours a year you’ll spend in your car - just for getting to work and back. Which is why picking a car suitable for your commute is essential.

If you’re spending that amount of time in one, you’ll need a car that’s comfortable for a start. Plus, there has to be enough toys inside to make your commute less-stressful - how does one even commute these days without listening to a podcast? In addition to that, it needs to be economical. While 5.0-litre V8s go fast and sound great, they’re also pretty good at burning a hole in your wallet.

And last, but not least, the best commuter cars are also lookers. You can’t turn up to the office in something that will embarrass you after all.

The cars on this list comprise of different price brackets, sizes, and makes, but still share these essential ingredients.

Best commuter car for inner-city commutes

Nissan Leaf

Our pick Nissan Leaf Tekna
Latest Nissan Leaf deals from £15,450
Finance from £257 per month

The Nissan Leaf is an electric car that will go around 200-miles between charges. Because of the way electric cars work, they actually do more miles between battery refills when in built-up areas. So you might get more if your commute is stop-start in a busy city. Plus, for those London-soya-latte-types, it’s also congestion-charge exempt.

Using one on your commute will also save you a truck-load of cash if you can charge it at your workplace.

It’s pretty normal to drive too, although it’s much quieter than petrol or diesel-powered cars. There’s only a small whirr from the electric motor.
Nissan Leaf buying guide
How far will an electric car go on a single charge?

Best commuter car for the average motorist

Ford Fiesta

Our pick Ford Fiesta Titanium Ecoboost
Latest Ford Fiesta deals from £7,589
Finance from £120 per month

The Ford Fiesta is the most obvious answer to most car-related questions, so of course it features on a list of the best commuter cars.

There’s a huge selection of variants to pick from, but we’d recommend one of the 1.0-litre Ecoboost engines. These motors are small and economical, but also punchy.

It’s a comfortable car too, and new models have a much improved entertainment system that will keep you, well, entertained.
Ford Fiesta buying guide 

Best commuter car for luxury

BMW 5 Series

Our pick BMW 520d
Latest BMW 5 Series deals from £17,082
Finance from £285 per month

Cutting edge technology helps set the 5 Series apart from its competitors, but its sharp design might just make your colleagues more than a bit envious in the company car park.

There’s plenty of room inside too, just in case some colleagues fancy sharing a ride to a conference or to the pub for a ‘meeting’.

If you commute regularly via a motorway it’s pretty hard to look past the 520d model. Despite it being an entry-level engine, it still packs 187bhp, and will achieve around 60mpg in the real world.
BMW 5 Series buying guide

Best commuter car for plug-in power

Hyundai Ioniq

Our pick Hyundai Ioniq PHEV 
Latest Hyundai Ioniq deals from £14,979
Finance from £187 per month

Hyundai arrived a bit tardy to the hybrid party, but it made up for it with its excellent Ioniq. It’s not the most exciting car in the world, but thanks to plug-in power, it does similar mpg to a diesel, while being much cleaner and better for the environment.

Inside there’s the usual array of electronic gadgets like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as clever semi-autonomous technology like lane keep assist, which is among the easiest to use on the market.

The Ioniq is in a similar model to the Toyota Prius, although is notably cheaper, plus, has a regular six-speed automatic gearbox which doesn’t drone on like a Prius’.

Best commuter car for value

Vauxhall Astra

Our pick Vauxhall Astra 1.6 CDTi SRi
Latest Vauxhall Astra deals from £6,489
Finance from £105 per month

The Astra is one of the best-all-round family hatchbacks on sale today. It’s a jack-of-all-trades and does virtually everything well.

It’s also one of the best cars in its class for running costs, with efficient turbo engines. Inside there’s a large touchscreen that will gives you access to whatever your phone has to offer.

Vauxhall offers seven trim levels so there’s enough choice for everyone. We recommend stumping up the extra cash for SRi models as they come with a Driver Assistance Pack that includes forward collision alert (which warns you if you’re about to hit the car in front and brakes if you don’t respond), traffic-sign recognition, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assistance.
Vauxhall Astra buying guide

Best commuter car for the school run

Renault Scenic

Our pick Renault Scenic Hybrid Assist
Latest Renault Scenic deals from £15,190
Finance from £222 per month

If you were brought up on idyllic American films about family life, you’ll have grown up thinking that one parent works as a lawyer, the other mostly concerns themselves with charity work, and a nanny ferries the kids around and does the cooking.

The crushing reality is that at times you’ll have to drop the kids off yourself, probably en route to work. The Regular Scenic has space for five adults, so two to three kids in the back should be easy enough.

The Scenic has an unusual diesel-hybrid option, which is the one we’d go for. The diesel engine suits the Scenic’s character and is smooth, while also offering an official fuel rating of over 80mpg. Take that with a pinch of salt, but the Scenic remains a comfortable, large, and economical commuter car that also works on the school run.
Renault Scenic buying guide

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