Best and worst company cars: SUVs

We go through the best SUVs to consider if you are choosing a company car, and name the ones you should avoid at all costs.

The traditional company car image is of an executive saloon, designed to spend hours at a time trekking up and down the motorway.

However, many companies offer a wide range of choice when it comes to company cars these days, and a saloon is impractical for lots of families' needs. An SUV is a much more practical option, and can still be a reasonably priced company car. Our favourite company SUVs need to offer competitive CO2 emissions, a good real-world fuel economy and all the practicality that cars in this class are chosen for.

The best

Nissan Qashqai


The Nissan Qashqai is our favourite SUV, and it makes sense either as a private or a company purchase. The 1.5dCi is our favourite engine in the range, and is also the most efficient on offer, with emissions starting at 99g/km, so it slots into the 15% BIK company car tax band.

As well as being cheaper than the 1.6-litre diesel in the Qashqai, the 1.5-litre engine is also slightly quieter on the move, although you do lose out on a bit of power and acceleration.

Our pick: 1.5dCi 110 Acenta

The best of the rest...

BMW X3

Running a company SUV is not always all about getting a car that emits as little CO2 as possible; a degree of comfort and performance will help make the motorway miles pass that bit easier.

The BMW X3 comes with loads of standard kit, including leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, parking sensors and cruise control, and the 2.0-litre diesel engine is strong and refined. With emissions of 136g/km, it fits into the 23% tax bracket.

Our pick: xDrive20d SE 5dr


Mazda CX-5

For such a large car, the Mazda CX-5 has impressively low CO2 emissions, with an official rating of 119g/km, putting it in the 19% tax bracket.

The engine is more than just efficient, though. It is quick to respond and is quiet at all speeds. It is also fantastically practical for people and luggage, and the entry-level SE-L trim has loads of kit, including dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers, Bluetooth and cruise control.

Our pick: 2.2D Skyactiv-D 150 SE-L 5dr

Volvo XC60

The pick of the Volvo XC60 range if you are a company car buyer is also the newest addition to its line-up. The 2.0-litre D4 diesel emits just 117g/km when you specifiy the manual gearbox, which means it sits in the 19% tax bracket.

Despite not being the newest car on the market in this category, the cabin is still practical and well put together. It also gets climate and cruise control, alloy wheels, automatic lights and wipers, a DAB radio and Bluetooth as standard.

Our pick: 2.0 D4 SE

 

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

The Mitsubishi Outlander range is not normally one that crops up in a list of the best SUVs - it's not necessarily the worst of the bunch, but there are better options out there.

However, when it comes to buying a company car, the plug-in hybrid Outlander is something special. Its official economy and emissions figures are so competitive that the Outlander PHEV is staggeringly cheap to run. It emits just 44g/km, which means it is eligible for the 5% BIK tax bracket and a top-level taxpayer could face a bill as low as £55 a month.

Our pick: 4x4 2.0 PHEV GX3h

 

The ones to avoid…

Jeep Compass

The Compass isn't even the best SUV of its size in the Jeep range (the Cherokee is a bit more expensive but a far superior car) let alone among its rivals.

It is cheaper to buy and is well equipped, but the engine is noisy and inefficient, with emissions of 172g/km and a 30% tax rating as a result.

Vauxhall Antara

The Antara is a spacious five-seat SUV, but apart from that there is no real reason to choose the Vauxhall over its competition. Its most efficient engine emits 167g/km, which imuch more than the rest of the cars on this list, and it's noisy too.

The cabin also feels cheap and the ride is uncomfortable. Throw in the fact that the Antara is predicted to lose a large chunk of its value - so lease rates won't be that reasonable - and it's hard to recommend.

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