Best executive cars 2016 (and the ones to avoid)

The stakes are high in the executive car class; it's one of the most hotly contested in Britain, with some of the most demanding customers. But which models are hitting all their targets, and which are falling short?

Words ByDarren Moss

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Best executive cars

A good executive saloon needs to combine two opposing qualities: luxury and affordability. The best have efficient engines that make them cheap to run as company cars. Yet they also have plush interiors and enough sound-proofing to keep them quiet on the motorway.

Ideally, they should also offer a comfortable ride and be enjoyable to drive. Plus, they should have a user-friendly dashboard layout and come equipped with the latest infotainment and safety technology.

Read our review of the new BMW 5 Series

Here we count down our top 10 – and names the cars that are best to steer clear of.

The best executive cars:

10. Mercedes CLS

If you're after a truly stylish executive car, then this luxurious four-door saloon should be on your list. The CLS is available with a punchy V6 diesel engine and an equipment list which shouldn't leave you wanting. It's also reasonably practical, offering enough space for four adults to sit in comfort – even if it doesn't have as large a boot as some less slinky rivals. Unfortunately, the CLS is also one of the most expensive offerings on this list, so you might want to look at the cheaper (and newer) Mercedes E-Class instead.

Our pick: CLS 350 Bluetec AMG Line

Read our full Mercedes CLS review

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9. Audi A6

The Audi A6 is a relatively common site on the road, and with good reason. It's comfortable, economical and has a luxurious and practical interior that's good for professionals and families alike. This entry-level 2.0-litre diesel engine provides more than enough punch, but if you're after more power there's a 3.0-litre diesel and even a V8-engined performance version.

Our pick: 2.0 TDI Ultra SE S tronic

Read our full Audi A6 review

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8. Volkswagen Passat

Next to some of the cars on this list, the Passat looks like a bit of a bargain. It gives you a spacious and practical interior, an economical 2.0-litre diesel engine and a reasonably large boot, and all for a tempting price. Its low CO2 emissions, and therefore tax, also make it a popular choice with company car drivers.

Our pick: 2.0 TDI SE

Read our full Volkswagen Passat review

Find a great deal on a Volkswagen Passat

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