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.
Here we count down our top 10 – and names the cars that are best to steer clear of.
The best executive cars:
10. Mercedes C-Class
The C-Class is one of the three main choices when it comes to executive cars, the other two, naturally, being the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series – both of which feature further up this list. The C-Class does a lot well, too – it's got a superb interior, most engines have low CO2 emissions and you get plenty of toys as standard. The entry-level C 220d diesel makes the most financial sense, though, and pulls strongly from low revs.
Our pick: C 220d SE
9. Jaguar XE
Taking on the big German brands in the executive car market is a big task, but Jaguar has made a good first impression with its junior saloon, the XE. It's offered with a strong range of engines, and rewards keen drivers with excellent steering and sharp handling. It's let down a little when it comes to cabin quality, but a generous equipment list should entice company car drivers.
Our pick: 2.0d 180 Prestige
8. Ford Mondeo
Mondeo Man has grown up, and now expects more from his car than ever before. Fortunately, the Mondeo itself has grown up too, and now offers a comfortable driving experience and spacious interior to match its Germanic rivals. We'd go for the mid-range 2.0-litre diesel engine, and pair it with Zetec trim which gets you everything you're going to want, including a heated windscreen, rear electric windows and a ski hatch in the rear for carrying longer items.
Our pick: 2.0 TDCi 150 Zetec
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