Best cars for business people

Working your way up the company ladder and want a car that reflects your status - and doesn't break the bank? These cars should fit the bill

Chris Rosamond
Nov 12, 2020

The company car has been a fixture of the UK business scene for decades, and the value of the company car ‘perk’ has grown immeasurably as manufacturers compete to attract business people with an ever more tempting array of features.

Indeed, car trim levels and option packs are very often targetted specifically at business users, and those employers who want to be seen to be offering competitive perks when hiring, and rewarding their employees' contributions with the best company cars.

That’s why over time there’s been a definite shift from mundane ‘everyday’ company cars like the Ford Sierras and Vauxhall Cavaliers of yesteryear, to more prestigious models from Audi, BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes.

The demands of business users have seen the more mainstream brands playing catch up too, but lavish specifications on a top-level Ford Mondeo or Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport have done little to stop drivers from jumping ship to get more upmarket cars - even if they come with less equipment as standard.

The move to SUVs and crossovers has also dented the traditional company car, and even once mainstream hatchbacks like the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra are increasingly being replaced by high-riding crossover models.

Of course all this change is reflected in the used car market too, and plenty of companies and self-employed business people are opting to look for savings by choosing second-hand bargains.

Buying a nearly-new or used company car can save a business thousands, but drivers do need to be on top of the Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax rates to make sure the object of their desire won’t come with a big sting in the tail.

As a business driver you can search for your next used company car using the CO2 emissions filter in the BuyaCar search tool, if you want to make sure of minimising your tax liability. In the meantime, why not check out the cars we’ve highlighted below as the some of the best cars for business people.

Best cars for business people

1. BMW 330e

Used deals from £31,940
Monthly finance from £457

The BMW 3 Series used to be the go to saloon car for ambitious young corporate execs on their way to the top, but nowadays business types set their sights more widely on a range of so-called ‘compact executive’ models. We have great deals on the Audi A4, Jaguar XF, Mercedes E-Class and Lexus IS, but we’re not simply highlighting the BMW for old times sake.

The BMW 330e Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) is the model in our sights, as it combines all the driving pleasure of the regular 3 Series with super-low benefit-in-kind (BiK) rates for company users due to its low emissions.

The latest 330e is both speedy and economical and as more and more used models become available the starting price keeps going down. The 330e offers a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine plus an electric motor that can transport you for 37 miles on a full charge with zero emissions. On longer runs you can expect to return 40-45mpg once the battery has depleted.

For the best fuel economy and lowest emissions you'll want to stick to short trips and charge the car regularly. Fail to charge it and you might as well get a cheaper diesel, as that's likely to cost you less in fuel.

BMW 330e BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Peugeot 508 hybrid

Used deals from £27,990
Monthly finance from £429

The Peugeot brand hasn’t been much of a force in terms of upmarket saloons in recent years, like many others preferring to concentrate on SUVs and crossovers. Nowadays though, middle-management level drivers who might otherwise consider a high-spec Ford Mondeo or Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport would do well to take a look at the Peugeot 508 hybrid.

It features a design that offers plenty of wow-factor, which means you won’t get overlooked in the car park, while comfort and technology levels are up there with the best too. The interior is a superb place to rack up miles, with a slick digital dashboard display and a low-slung driving position that has a sporty feel.

Business users will be most attracted to the plug-in hybrid version for its low BiK rate, which combines a 1.6-litre petrol engine with an electric motor to deliver up to 222hp - and up to 39 miles of zero-emission commuting.

PEUGEOT 508 BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Volvo V90

Used deals from £16,449
Monthly finance from £239

Lots of business types require an estate car to keep the wheels of commerce turning by carrying stock or customers and their luggage, and Volvo has been fulfilling their needs for donkeys' years. The latest Volvo V90 proves there’s not a lot the company doesn’t know about how to build a great load lugger.

It’s big for starters, with a huge luggage capacity - approximately 560 litres with the seats up or 1500 litres with everything folded - but that’s not the V90's biggest selling point, as alternatives from Mercedes, BMW and Audi offer a little more besides.

What we really like about the V90 is the serene driving experience, which is a little more comfort-focused than you might expect from those racier German rivals. That and the prices.

Here on BuyaCar there are three-year-old V90s on offer from not much more than £250 per month on PCP finance. That’s an awful lot of workhorse for the money.

VOLVO V90 BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Skoda Superb iV

Used deals from £27,223
Monthly finance from £403

The Skoda brand makes a lot of sense for business users nowadays, with a line-up of handsome, well-equipped and reliable vehicles that all benefit from parent group Volkswagen's design and engineering. Plus, of course, great value prices.

The SUVs are popular, but the big Skoda Superb flagship makes even more sense for business users whether in hatchback or estate car guise. Both are superbly roomy, especially when it comes to legroom in the back and boot space, and there’s a wide range of engines and prices when you’re buying used - we have one-year-old 1.5-litre TSI petrol models starting at not much more than £200 per month. That's a serious amount of car for the money.

For those on bigger budgets, take a look at the excellent hybrid Skoda Superb iV. It’s a plug-in hybrid with a 1.4-litre petrol engine plus a battery that charges in just a few hours, and which attracts by far the lowest BiK rates of anything in the Superb range.

SKODA SUPERB BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Lexus CT200h

Nearly new deals from £20,950
Monthly finance from £288

For drivers who want a cheap-to-run hybrid that has a bit more luxury and presence than a Toyota Prius, then the Lexus CT200h is a popular choice.

The car is relatively compact but has a premium feel compared to many similarly sized hatchbacks. It’s also extremely well screwed together and luxurious inside, which is what we’d expect from any car carrying the upmarket Lexus badge. On the downside, it’s not very sporty to drive, but that won’t matter to many who just want to drive a car that feels a cut above more mainstream models.

Underneath the skin the CT200h shares much of its hybrid tech with the Prius, so it should be a paragon of reliability while also being highly affordable as a company vehicle thanks to low BiK tax rates.

LEXUS CT200h BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Range Rover Evoque

Used deals from £24,995
Monthly finance from £398

The Range Rover Evoque was an instant hit when it launched back in 2011, and it’s stood the test of time thanks to crisp, contemporary design and a great driving experience.

The latest generation Evoque was revealed in 2018, with a smoother, sleeker look and the usual technology and engineering upgrades, which have helped maintain its desirability. The Evoque’s blend of prestigious road presence, luxury feel and practicality have undoubtedly won it friends as a company purchase too.

Because it’s been around so long, there’s plenty of choice for would-be Evoque owners on the used market. It’s also fair to say that the evolutionary nature of the design means older cars give away little to the newer ones in terms of those crucial ‘first-glance’ impressions.

RANGE ROVER EVOQUE BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Audi Q5

Used deals from £25,995
Monthly finance from £343

The Audi Q5 is another SUV that appeals to business drivers thanks to its prestigious road presence, and high quality luxurious interior. Efficient engines make it great for long-haul motorway journeys during the week, while its big, practical body is brilliant for family trips at the weekend too.

The latest model arrived in 2018 and is recognisable mostly by its irregular hexagon shaped grille, replacing the trapezoid grille of its forebear. Sadly, the pricey plug-in hybrid version will likely be out of reach unless you’re on the higher end of the executive pay scale. That leaves the 2.0-litre diesel variants as the Q5 of choice for most business users. Economy is pretty good at 39.2mpg, but - as with most upmarket SUV choices - you’ll be faced with a chunky BiK charge.

AUDI Q5 BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Mercedes GLC

Used deals from £20,049
Monthly finance from £279

The Mercedes GLC is another in the new breed of posh SUVs attracting drivers away from traditional saloon models. This one is based on the Mercedes C-Class saloon, and makes an appealing company purchase thanks to its prestige, practicality and comfort.

There was a facelift in 2019, which brought new tech inside and a new-look grille, and all models come with a nine-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive.

While the model refresh brought useful upgrades, earlier cars are still a desirable item with plenty of road presence. 

MERCEDES GLC BUYERS' GUIDE

 

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