Best commuter cars

Beat the traffic blues with the best commuter cars

BuyaCar team
Dec 11, 2020

The average commute time in the UK is around 40 minutes per day, or around 200 minutes per week. That adds up to 174 hours a year in your car - just for getting to work and back. So it pays to pick a car that's fit for purpose.

Don't think that means that you have to spend big money, however. It just means that you need to choose wisely to make sure that the car you go for suits the type of driving that you do. And whichever car you pick, certain things will always be important.

Comfort is key, for a start. Then you'll want some reasonable in-car entertainment: a digital radio, the ability to play podcasts, or having your latest text messages read out to you should all keep you occupied. In addition to that, it needs to be affordable and economical. You don't want to spend a large chunk of your wages on travelling to earn your wages.

Last but not least, the best commuter cars won't embarrass you with bizarre styling in the office car park.The cars on this list comprise of different price brackets, sizes, and makes, but still share these essential ingredients.

Best commuter cars 2020

1. Nissan Leaf

Best commuter car for inner-city commutes

Our pick Nissan Leaf Tekna
Used deals from £19,795
Monthly finance from £310*

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.


2. Ford Fiesta

Best commuter car for compact excellence

Our pick Ford Fiesta Titanium Ecoboost
Used deals from £10,295
Monthly finance from £175*

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 powerful.

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


3. BMW 5 Series

Best commuter car for luxury

Our pick BMW 520d
Used deals from £21,550
Monthly finance from £331*

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 190hp, and will achieve around 60mpg in the real world.


4. Hyundai Ioniq

Best commuter car for plug-in power

Our pick Hyundai Ioniq PHEV
Used deals from £15,600
Monthly finance from £268*

Hyundai's excellent Ioniq is in some ways better than the more familiar Toyota Prius Plug-In, thanks to its larger boot, lower price and smoother gearbox. It’s not the most exciting car in the world, but thanks to plug-in power, returns similar fuel economy to a diesel on longer trips and can run purely on electric power for journeys under 20 miles - as long as you've remembered to charge the battery.

Inside are all the features you'd expect on a current model, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.


5. Vauxhall Astra

Best commuter car for value

Our pick Vauxhall Astra 1.6 CDTi SRi
Used deals from £8,699
Monthly finance from £154*

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.


6. Renault Scenic

Best commuter car for the school run

Our pick Renault Scenic Hybrid Assist
Used deals from £13,995
Monthly finance from £235*

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.


*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

Buyacar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.


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