Compact car market in the UK
Ford Focus: second in the rankings
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THE VW Golf, Vauxhall Astra and Ford Focus have been the go-to models for small businesses wanting reliable and good value company cars for their staff.

The Golf comes with that whiff of premium that makes it often a default choice for an SME business; the Astra offers exceptional running costs; and the Focus delivers brilliant driving dynamics.

Certainly there’s more choice in this area now – choose from crossover (those beefed-up-estate-cars-that-are-almost-SUVs) and SUVs (those 4×4-styles like the popular Nissan Qashqai).

But, what if all you need for your next business car is a five-door hatch? So we’ve had a look around to find 10 of the best that would make great company cars that are available for car leasing or purchase.

Due to their diesel-like fuel economy and low company car tax, key industry figures Business Car Manager has spoken to believe that there will be a shift to small petrol engines over diesel, so most of our ‘company car favourites’ reflect this.

That’s particularly the case if you travel fewer than 10,000 miles a year. Of course, other alternatives such as hybrids and diesels are available.

So what’s on our list of company car favourites to lease or buy?

Audi A3

company car shopping list

Fancy a premium hatch? Well, Audi basically invented it 20 years ago, with the first-generation A3 hatch. The A3’s got better and better since then and the choice has never been greater.

There are now three and five-door Sportback hatches, a four-door saloon, convertible, plus high-performance S and RS3 versions available.

Then once you’ve made your choice of body style, will it be petrol, diesel and even plug-in hybrid power (the current best Green Company Car in our SME Company Car of the Year Awards), with manual or automatic transmissions and two or Quattro four-wheel drive? This year’s face-lift should keep the A3 fresh for some time to come!

Our company car favourite: A3 Sportback1.0-TFSi SE 115PS

From: £19,985

Company car tax rate: 17%

Economy: 62.8mpg

Find out the company car tax on an Audi A3

BMW 1 Series

company car shopping list

Another premium hatchback alternative is the BMW 1 Series, which is unique in this segment as it’s rear-drive.

The second-generation 1 Series is available in three and five-door versions, with three and four-cylinder petrol and diesel power. Sportiest version is the M140i, with its straight-six 3.0-litre power and 355bhp punch. Mmmmm. Yes please! The 1 Series was facelifted in 2015.

Our company car favourite: 116 ED five-door

From: £22,710

Company car tax rate: 18%

Economy: 83.1mpg

Find out the company car tax on a BMW 1 Series

Ford Focus

company car shopping listThe consistently best-selling five-door hatchback, the Focus’s combination of a keen drive, efficient engines and high level of standard equipment, keeps it at the top.

You can have your Focus as a five-door hatch and estate, with a choice of efficient EcoBoost petrol and TDCi diesel engines and manual or Powershift automatic transmissions. Hard to believe that the current third-generation Focus was launched back in 2010, but a serious facelift in 2015 still means it looks good.

Our company car favourite: 1.0T Ecoboost Style 100PS five-door

From: £18,395

Company car tax rate: 16%

Economy: 65.7mpg

Find out the company car tax on a Ford Focus

Mercedes A-Class

company car shopping listConventional hatch looks might have taken over from the mini-MPV first and second-generation A-Class, but the result is great to look at as well as easy to drive.

The A-Class’s attractive hatchback looks, wide choice of petrol and diesel engines and large amount of standard tech are what sells this Mercedes to small businesses wanting to lease a hatchback. The current A-Class was launched back in 2012, but received a subtle facelift in 2015.

Our company car favourite: A160 AMG Line

From: £22,280

Company car tax rate: 22%

Economy: 51.4mpg

Find out the company car tax on a Mercedes A-Class

SEAT Leon

company car shopping listWe think there is a lot more to the latest SEAT Leon than it being a Volkswagen Golf in Spanish designer suit. The SEAT itself is great to drive and fine value for the money.

There’s a Leon for everyone, with the three-door Sports Coupe (SC), five-door hatch, Sporty Cupra models, the X-Perience five-door off-roader and last but not least, the five-door Sports Touring (ST) estate.

All are available with a fine choice of petrol and diesel engines, with manual and DSG automatic transmissions. The current Leon was launched back in 2011, but subtly facelifted models will arrive in early 2017.

You can have a fun 1.2 TSI petrol but if you were looking for a lease car deal on a SEAT Leon company car, we’d choose the Ecomotive diesel with Technology pack.

Our company car favourite: 1.6 TDI SE Technology Pack Ecomotive 110PS

From: £21,165

Company car tax rate: 18%

Economy: 78.5 mpg

Find out the company car tax on a SEAT Leon

Skoda Octavia

company car shopping list

Another model from the Volkswagen Group that is an important member of this list is the Skoda Octavia. Sister car to the SEAT Leon and Volkswagen Golf, the Skoda is actually more spacious and practical than either of its sister cars. So you are getting a lot of metal for the money here.

The Octavia is available in estate and hatchback body styles, with the choice of four proven petrol and diesel engines, mated to manual or DSG transmissions. This current third-generation Octavia dates back to 2012 and details have just been released of a seriously facelifted version that’s due in early 2017.

Our company car favourite: 1.0 TSI S 115PS

From: £16,660

Company car tax rate: 17%

Economy: 62.8mpg

Find out the company car tax on a Skoda Octavia

Toyota Auris

company car shopping listYou know exactly what you get with a Toyota: a refined drive, economical running costs and in-built reliabiilty

The latest Auris is available in hatchback and Sports Tourer estate – with the choice of diesel, hybrid or petrol power. Plus auto and manual transmissions.

The second-generation Auris was launched in 2012, but received a mid-life facelift last year. We’d suggest you try a business car lease of the hybrid version of the Auris.

Our company car favourite: 1.8VVT-i Business Edition Hybrid Auto

From: £22,585

Company car tax rate: 15%

Economy: 58.9mpg

Find out the company car tax on a Toyota Auris

Vauxhall Astra

company car shopping listThe seventh-generation Astra was a bit of a surprise when it was launched late last year, as its mixture of impressive efficiency from the diesel and petrol engines, a comfortable engaging drive, lots of clever tech and the fact it’s great value for money, has put Vauxhall back in the hunt for best car in the hatchback sector family.

If that is not convincing enough, the latest Astra is available in five-door hatchback and estate bodies. This Vauxhall is offered with an efficient range of diesel and petrol engines and finally there’s the choice of manual and automatic transmissions.

The latest Astra range was launched late last year, with the estate following early in 2016. The diesels are incredibly efficient for long distance company car drivers, but if that’s not what you do, try the turbo petrol unit for lowest company car tax.

Our company car favourite: 1.0i Design 105PS Turbo S/S ecoFLEX

From: £16,615

Company car tax rate: 16%

Economy: 65.7mpg

Find out the company car tax on a Vauxhall Astra

Volkswagen Golf

company car shopping listWe can’t talk about the SEAT Leon and Skoda Octavia without mentioning the car on which they’re based – the current seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf. Continually popular, because it looks great, offers an impressively comfortable ride, has a well-made and high-quality interior and finally it’s very easy to drive.

Plus it has the premium quality missing from many of its competitors

Three and five-door hatches are available to lease, along with a five-door estate. There’s also the choice of six trims that can be fitted with a wide choice of petrol and diesel engine options. These are mated to DSG auto and manual transmissions.

The seventh-generation Golf was launched in 2014 and Volkswagen is currently drip feeding details of a serious facelift due before the end of this year, with the all-new MK8 due in 2017. So make sure the business car lease price reflects the fact you know about the newcomer around the corner.

Our company car favourite: 1.0 TSi Match Bluemotion Edition 115PS

From: £20,765

Company car tax rate: 16%

Economy: 65.7mpg

Find out the company car tax on a Volkswagen Golf

Volvo V40

company car shopping listLike the idea of a Golf, but want an alternative from Sweden? Well, Volvo’s classy V40 could be that car, with its refined drive and the bonus of all the expected safety kit from the Swedish manufacturer.

Great to drive too, as a result of this Volvo’s platform being derived from the current Ford Focus. Diesel choices for business car leasing are limited to three versions of the 2.0-litre diesel and petrol engine options are the T2, T3 and T5.  These engines are available with six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmissions. The Volvo V40 was launched back in 2012, but a significant facelift this year certainly keeps it current.

While petrol models are available, if you’re looking for Volvo V40 company car then we suggest you look at one of the very efficient diesels for a business car lease. We’ve chosen the good-looking R Design with navigation.

Our company car favourite: 2.0 D2 R-Design Nav Plus 120HP

From: £24,890

Company car tax rate: 18%

Economy: 78.5mpg

Find out the company car tax on a Volvo V40

 

 

 


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