Best and worst company cars: executives

  • Which executive car is the best buy?
  • We name our favourite company cars…
  • …and the ones to avoid
The Volvo S60 D4 and Audi A3 Saloon 2.0 TDI are both great company cars
The Volvo S60 D4 and Audi A3 Saloon 2.0 TDI are both great company cars

The best company cars offer the lowest possible tax and fuel bills without compromising the sense of luxury and abundant performance.

Our favourite company cars should have a swanky, spacious cabin, with easy-to-use switchgear and infotainment technology. They also need to handle well, while offering a comfortable, relaxing ride both in town and on the motorway.

The best

Audi A3 Saloon 2.0 TDI 150 Sport -
Audi’s A3 Saloon is at its best in 148bhp diesel guise, offering strong, flexible performance and – if you deselect the Sport suspension – a comfortable, controlled ride. Its cabin is beautifully built, with enough space for four and a good-sized boot. A True MPG test result of 51.2mpg isn’t the best in this list, but our 2014 Executive car of the Year makes a 3 Series look overpriced.

The best of the rest

BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics SE -
The BMW 3 Series saloon is the best car to drive on this list, as long as you add the optional adaptive suspension. The four-cylinder diesel is gruff at low revs, but the the cabin is classy and solidly built. This version managed 56.0mpg in our True MPG test, which means it’s impressive in the real world – not just on paper.

BMW 520d SE -
If you're in the market for a full-size exec, the BMW 5 Series should still be at the top of your list – in particular, the 518d and 520d. These are the best cars in the range, and the latter managed 54.5mpg in our True MPG test. Just make sure to add the optional Variable Damper Control, which gives you a supple ride and responsive handling.

Audi A6 2.0 TDI 177 SE -
The Audi A6 is a well-rounded executive car, offering decent refinement as well as a spacious, plush and well-built interior. This version makes a great company car thanks to low CO2 emissions, but what’s more, it managed an impressive 56.1mpg in our True MPG test.

Jaguar XF 2.2D 163 SE Business -
The Jaguar XF is a former Car of the Year winner, and remains a terrific executive saloon. Particularly impressive is the way it blends two characters of sporting saloon and luxury limo. The 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine is the best match for the brilliant handling, ride and refinement, but this 2.2 makes most sense for business users.

Volvo S60 D4 181 Business Edition -
When equipped with a manual gearbox, the Volvo S60 D4 has CO2 emissions of just 99g/km - significantly less than any rival from Audi, BMW or Mercedes. This makes it remarkably cheap to run as a company car. The 181bhp diesel is smooth and flexible, and diesel dirge is muted. Business Edition trim gets loads of kit, including sat-nav.

The ones to avoid

Citroen DS5 2.0 HDi -
Of all the DS line models, the Citroen DS5 is the one that feels most like a premium car. Its plush cabin is packed with lots of equipment, too. Unfortunately, rear legroom is tight, resale values don’t match German rivals, and the stiff suspension constantly batters you on patchy or bumpy roads. It’s simply too uncomfortable to recommend.

Infiniti Q50 2.2D -
On the face of it, the Infiniti Q50 looks well equipped, but you need to pay a lot extra for kit that should be standard, such as digital radio. Unfortunately, the powertrain doesn’t impress, either. The diesel is unrefined and the drive is adequate at best. Leasing costs are high for businesses, and it simply costs too much to run as a company car.

Maserati Ghibli 3.0D V6 -
The Maserati Ghibli is the kind of car that you’ll love to tell people about, but beyond the bragging rights it doesn’t add up as a good company car. CO2 emissions of 158g/km are respectable given the performance, but you’ll need to put up with an unrefined drivetrain, a poor ride and tight rear-seat space to cut a dash in the office car park.

See all of our executive car reviews.

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