Cheapest company cars 2021
From family hatchbacks to SUVs, there are more choices of company car than ever before, but what should get if you're on a budget? Let us help...
Cheapest company cars
Choosing a company car might be one of life’s more enjoyable tasks, but it’s also one of the more complex ones.
Car makers offer a bewildering array of models, trims, options and incentives, which can be somewhat overwhelming. So, what if you want to simplify everything by choosing the cheapest business wheels?
Well, we’ve got you covered. Here, we list the cheapest company cars you can opt for, grouped according to the engine (or motor) type you're looking for, so you can find the right electric car, plug-in hybrid, petrol or diesel for you.
For each, we’ve listed four options, taken from the four main categories business drivers choose from – small cars, family cars, executive cars and SUVs. We’ve also listed each car’s price, CO2 figure and benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax figure for 20% and 40% taxpayers.
Electric small car: Fiat 500
Model: 24kWh Action Star rating: four stars CO2: 0g/km P11D price: £23,440 BIK tax rate 2021/22 (20%/40%): £47/£94
Company car motoring simply doesn’t come much cheaper than this – a 20% taxpayer will be shelling out just £3.92 a month in BIK tax. A 40% taxpayer will pay £7.83. You could have a two-star Smart ForTwo EQ for £0.34 less a month (for a 20% taxpayer), but we reckon the four-star Fiat 500 is quite literally worth a few more pennies.
You need to bear in mind that you won’t be travelling very far on a charge, because the Fiat 500 has an official range of 115 miles, and you're likely to achieve far less than that in the real world.
Still, if your motoring consists solely of journeys around town, the Fiat 500 is small and has a tiny turning circle. It can carry four adults at a pinch, and it’ll look pretty funky while doing so.
Electric family car: MG 5
Model: 53kWh Excite Star rating: three stars CO2: 0g/km P11D price: £27,540 BIK tax rate 2021/22 (20%/40%): £55/£110
Probably the best way to describe the MG 5 is ‘unassuming’. It’s one of the under-the-radar cars that is better than you might expect.
For a start, the model we’re focusing on here, with the smaller (53kWh total capacity) of the two batteries available, has an official range of 214 miles, which makes it practical for longer journeys as well as the usual in-town trips. The 154bhp motor makes it enjoyably brisk, too.
The MG 5 is also much roomier than many electric cars of a similar price, and a couple of tall adults can easily sit behind a pair of similar-sized occupants. The boot is a fair size, although the boot lip is annoyingly high, even when the height-adjustable floor is in its highest position.
Electric executive car: Polestar 2
Model: 63 kWh Standard Range Single Motor Star rating: four stars CO2: 0g/km P11D price: £39,845 BIK tax rate 2021/22 (20%/40%): £80/£159
With a name like Polestar and hailing from Sweden, the Polestar 2 couldn’t be anything but cool. The good news is that it has the talent to back up the hype.
With 221bhp and 243lb ft of torque available from the very moment you put your foot down, it feels significantly quicker than a similar-priced petrol or diesel executive car, such as the BMW 3 Series. With an official range of 273 miles, it is also perfectly suitable for longer business trips.
Four adults will fit, although those in the rear seats might end up with their heads brushing the headlining, and while the boot is a fair size, rivals such as the Tesla Model 3 can carry more.
Electric SUV: Mazda MX-30
Model: 35.5 kWh SE-L Lux Star rating: three stars CO2: 0g/km P11D price: £28,490 BIK tax rate 2021/22 (20%/40%): £57/£114
If you want to stand out in the company car park, a Mazda MX-30 is certainly a good way to do it. It looks like nothing else.
The interior is gorgeous, too, with just the right mixture of modern display technology blended with traditional buttons and controls. You’ll be comfortable too, because the driving position is great for all shapes and sizes. Anyone behind will moan, though, because access is terrible (due to its small, rear-opening back doors) and space is cramped at best.
There’s another issue with the MX-30, and that’s its range. It can only do an official 124 miles between charges, a distance beaten by most rivals. Still, if you just do a short daily commute and can charge at home or work, it's an attractive option.
Plug-in hybrid small SUV: Renault Captur
Model: 1.6 E-Tech PHEV 160 S Edition Star rating: three stars CO2: 35g/km P11D price: £31,140 BIK tax rate 2021/22 (20%/40%): £685/£1370
Not only is this one of the low-emitting Capturs in the range, but it’s also the quickest. Indeed, if you’re in the market for the equivalent of a Captur GTI, the E-Tech is quick enough to satisfy.
Unfortunately, it also rides as firmly as a GTI, which is not what you want in an SUV. Still, there’s a reasonable amount of space up front if you avoid the optional panoramic roof, although anyone over 5ft 10in tall will find the rear seats a bit tight. Practicality is good, with a rear bench that slides forwards to increase the cargo space (the PHEV E-Tech has a smaller boot than other versions).
Still, there’s loads of standard equipment, including cruise control, parking sensors at both ends, a rear-view camera, LED headlights and a large portrait-oriented touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Plug-in hybrid family car: Skoda Octavia
Model: 1.4 TSi iV SE Technology Star rating: five stars CO2: 21g/km P11D price: £31,170 BIK tax rate 2021/22 (20%/40%): £436/£873
For the past couple of decades, the Skoda Octavia has always been the Next Big Thing, because it’s, well, big.
Now it can add efficiency to that roster, because the plug-in hybrid version emits just 21g/km of CO2, making it a tremendous company proposition. Even a higher-rate taxpayer will shell out less than £73 per month in company car tax to run one. Add in the fact that it has an official electric range of 34 miles and it’s feasible that if you can charge at home or work, you can complete your daily commute without ever troubling the 1.4-litre petrol engine.
The interior is more than capable of carrying five adults, and the massive boot can easily accommodate all of their luggage.
Plug-in hybrid executive car: Mercedes A-Class Saloon
Model: A250e AMG Line Edition Star rating: four stars CO2: 22g/km P11D price: £33,925 BIK tax rate 2021/22 (20%/40%): £475/£950
If you’re a company car driver, the question has to be why wouldn’t you go for a Mercedes A-Class?
The low 22g/km CO2 output and electric-only range of 44 miles combine to keep down your monthly BIK bills to only a fraction under £80 – and that’s if you’re a 40% taxpayer. If you’re in the 20% bracket, your monthly tax bill is less than you’d pay for a family takeaway.
Add in the fact it has hot-hatch performance, a well-made interior with lots of wow factor and reasonable space for four, plus a boot that’s bigger than that of the A-Class hatchback, and you’ve got a top company car choice.
Plug-in hybrid family SUV: Suzuki Across
Model: 2.5 PHEV E-Four Star rating: three stars CO2: 22g/km P11D price: £45,544 BIK tax rate 2021/22 (20%/40%): £638/£1275
Hang on, haven’t we seen the Suzuki Across somewhere before? Yes, because it is, in effect, a Toyota RAV4 with ‘S’ badging front and rear.
The 2.5-litre petrol engine and two electric motors combine to produce 302bhp, so while acceleration isn’t Tesla Model X quick, it’s certainly fast enough to give a Honda Civic Type R a headache.
Officially the Across can cover up to 46 miles on electric power alone, at speeds of up to 84mph. That's pretty good for just £53.17 or £106.25 in monthly company car tax. There’s also a good amount of space for five people, and the boot is big enough for all their stuff, although it's less than is offered by a regular hybrid RAV4.
Petrol small car: Suzuki Swift
Model: 1.2 Dualjet 83 12v Hybrid SZ-L 5dr Star rating: three stars CO2: 106g/km P11D price: £14,794 BIK tax rate 2021/22 (20%/40%): £740/£1480
Yes, there are small petrol hybrids, such as the Toyota Yaris Hybrid, which incur a lower BIK rating than the Suzuki Swift, but the fact that the little Swift is more than £7000 less than the Yaris, and more than £3200 less than its nearest rival, makes it unbeatable as a cheap company car choice.
It’s not only cheap, it’s also cheerful, because the Swift drives with a verve that’s guaranteed to give you a smile. It’s also roomy enough for four adults, although they’ll have to cram their stuff into the boot, which is pretty small.
Bear in mind, too, that you won’t be wowing your colleagues with the upmarket feel of your company car choice because the plastics are pretty hard and shiny.
Petrol family car: Skoda Scala
Model: 1.0 TSI 95 S Star rating: five stars CO2: 119g/km P11D price: £17,350 BIK tax rate 2021/22 (20%/40%): £937/£1874
The Skoda Scala is another car in our list that actually emits quite a lot more CO2 than its best-performing rivals but which has a price so low as to make it unrivalled for BIK payments.
So, while rivals such as the £27,294 Suzuki Swace might cost a 40% taxpayer £218 per month in BIK, the £17,270 Scala will relieve you of £156. You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy those savings, because the Scala is not rapid, but it rides comfortably and handles safely.
As is the norm for Skoda, interior space is good, and there are plenty of storage cubbies and pockets.
Petrol executive car: Mazda 3 Saloon
Model: 2.0 e-Skyactiv-X MHEV SE-L Lux Star rating: three stars CO2: 114g/km P11D price: £24,570 BIK tax rate 2021/22 (20%/40%): £1278/£2555
Mazda has never been an automotive sheep. It’s not one to do something because everyone else is doing it. Hence its decision to shun turbocharging and develop the 2.0 e-Skyactiv-X engine, which is supercharged and burns petrol in a similar way to a diesel.
This engine technology certainly makes the Mazda 3 Saloon pretty economical for a petrol, but the way it drives is more open to debate.
While the interior space is adequate but no more, the design and quality of the Mazda 3 are really rather good. The materials are great and all the various trims combine to give the car a classy ambience.
Petrol (hybrid) family SUV: Toyota C-HR
Model: 1.8 Hybrid CVT Icon Star rating: three stars CO2: 110g/km P11D price: £27,235 BIK tax rate 2021/22 (20%/40%): £1416/£2832
The Toyota C-HR is a decent company car choice for those who want to look good and don’t mind making the odd compromise along the way.
The 1.8-litre hybrid engine isn’t going to deliver a warp drive experience, but it gives the C-HR an official average economy figure of up to 57.6mpg. Better still, it's reasonably eager to use electric power alone at traffic-jam speeds in town, making it both economical and very quiet.
Space is good up front, but that funky profile means anyone in the back will feel like a second-class citizen because there isn’t much leg or head room. Neither is the boot particularly roomy, and worse still, there’s quite a lip to lift items over.
Diesel small car: Vauxhall Corsa
Model: 1.5 Turbo D SE Star rating: three stars CO2: 105g/km P11D price: £18,790 BIK tax rate 2021/22 (20%/40%): £940/£1879
The Vauxhall Corsa actually has the same engine and gearbox as its sister car, the Peugeot 208, but ends up cheaper as a company car option simply because it has a price £1655 lower than that of the French car.
It’s certainly easy to drive around town, where the light steering makes it easy to park, and the engine is strong enough to make long journeys stress-free affairs. The diesel Corsa can manage an average economy figure of up to 70.6mpg, so you and your local filling station will never become too familiar.
The Corsa is pretty well kitted out, with this entry-level SE model featuring cruise control, LED headlights, automatic full beam, air conditioning and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.
Diesel family car: Vauxhall Astra
Model: 1.5 Turbo D Griffin Edition Star rating: four stars CO2: 115g/km P11D price: £19,985 BIK tax rate 2021/22 (20%/40%): £1079/£2158
The Vauxhall Astra remains a reasonably efficient family car choice for company car drivers, but others are now better, as witnessed by the fact that it emits 6g/km more than a Skoda Octavia. However, it also costs £3590 less than the Skoda, which tips the scales in its favour here.
The handling is pretty keen, with the Astra quick to respond to inputs, but the downside is that the ride is what you might call ‘sporty’. Still, the Astra is decent over long motorway journeys, helped by the way the diesel engine keeps itself to itself at speed.
Interior space is good, although the boot could be bigger, and the Griffin Edition comes with many desirable toys, including dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and cruise control.
Diesel executive car: Mercedes E-Class
Model: E300de AMG Line Edition Star rating: four stars CO2: 33g/km P11D price: £47,425 BIK tax rate 2021/22 (20%/40%): £1043/£2087
The Mercedes E-Class plays a bit of a blinder by offering a plug-in hybrid set-up with diesel power to back it up. Therefore it emits only 33g/km and has a BIK figure of just 11%. So, despite its £47,425 price, it costs roughly the same in monthly company car tax as a diesel Peugeot 208. There’s something to think about.
The rest of the E-Class’s plus points are all present and correct, so it has loads of space up front and a big boot. It isn’t as roomy in the back as an Audi A6 or BMW 5 Series, but neither of those is a diesel PHEV.
Performance is pretty brisk, and the E300de will do an official 34 miles on electric power alone. There’s no shortage of standard kit, including dual-zone climate control, a digital driver’s display, electrically adjustable seats and parking sensors at both ends.
Diesel family SUV: Ford Kuga
Model: 1.5 Ecoblue Zetec Star rating: four stars CO2: 123g/km P11D price: £26,670 BIK tax rate 2021/22 (20%/40%): £1494/£2987
The world’s gone SUV mad, so why shouldn’t company car drivers? In which case, the Ford Kuga makes a fine option.
The 118bhp 1.5 diesel is no firecracker, but it gets you around while showing a decent aversion to the taste of diesel. Twisty roads hold nothing for a Kuga driver to fear either, because it handles neatly and grips strongly. The softer suspension of Zetec trim takes the sting out of most surfaces, too.
There’s good space in the Kuga, and the sliding rear seat allows you to vary leg room or boot space as you require. Standard kit includes sat-nav, DAB radio, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, keyless start and air conditioning.
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