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Top 10 best small company cars

99 company
99 company

The vast majority of company cars aren’t ego-boosting executive saloons or swaggering SUVs, but small family cars. Intended to slip as easily into domestic life as they do the nine to five, these machines are versatile enough for most drivers yet financially attractive to fleet managers with a keen eye on the bottom line

Here we’ve gathered together our top 10 small company cars (listed in alphabetical order). From all-electric superminis to hard-working hatchbacks, these eclectic choices can turn their wheels to everything, all while battering your benefit-in-kind (BIK) bills down to the minimum and delivering a decent dose of driver appeal.

Autocar's company car tax calculator shows exactly what you'll pay for every make and model

99 Company 2
99 Company 2

Audi A3 Sportback

Previous generations of the Audi A3 were high on style but short on substance, certainly in terms of dynamics. Now in its fourth generation, the latest model is a much more biddable machine, delivering decent agility and poise when the going gets twisty, even if it’s still a bit of a wet fish when it comes to driver connection. Crucially for company car users, however, it comes in new and improved E-tron plug-in hybrid guise, using the same 201bhp 1.4-litre petrol and electric motor combo you’ll find in the Volkswagen Golf and Skoda Octavia. Capable of 41 miles of electric running and rated at just 8% BIK in Sport guise, it’ll cost lower-rate taxpayers just £572 of their salary.

98 Company 2
98 Company 2

BMW 1 Series

There are still some drivers who haven’t quite come to terms with a front-wheel-drive 1 Series, but the truth is that it's a better car for the switch. It has lost none of its dynamic sparkle (if anything, it feels lighter and more alert), yet there’s more space for people and things: it’s a win-win. Unlike with rivals, there are no hybrid or plug-in options, but competitive pricing and a range of efficient petrol and diesels help to minimise the effect on BIK bills. In the past, the diesel-powered 116d would have been the fleet favourite, and that’s still the case, with lower rate earners paying £1578 for an SE. Yet with a BiK rating of 31%, the petrol-powered 118i version is only an extra £96 but is better to drive, with a sweeter-spinning engine and a fractionally less nose-heavy balance.

Kia niro front three quarter
Kia niro front three quarter

Kia Niro

The latest Kia Niro kicks on from where its predecessor left off, combining a heavily electrified engine line-up and low running costs but with extra allure of more dynamic styling and greater driver appeal. As before, there's a choice of 'self-charging' and plug-in hybrid versions, plus the all-electric Niro EV. It's the latter that's the pick of the line-up, particularly if you're looking to drasitcally cut your BIK bills, its 2% rating meaning that a lower tax band earner will face an annual salary sacrifice of just £147 (although we'd fork out the extra £11 for the better equipped 3 trim). The range of just over 280 miles is largely unchanged over the old car, as is the 201bhp output of the electric motor. However, the power delivery is smoother now, while the improved rolling refinement give the Niro a more grown-up appeal. And while it doesn't offer much in the way of driver engagement or handling adjustability, it's composed, accurate and grippy when the going gets twisty.

96 Company 2
96 Company 2

Mercedes-Benz A250e

Bringing a touch of luxury to the compact family hatch class, the A-Class oozes premium appeal. It’s not as crisp handling or plush riding as rivals, but its interior is one of the best in the business, with its slick design, top-notch materials and excellent MBUX infotainment. For those wanting to boss the company car park, the plug-in A250e gives you the look for less, especially in AMG Line Edition. The combination of a 1.5-litre three-cylinder and an electric motor is a little sluggish and isn’t the last word in refinement, but it’ll carry you for around 40 miles on electricity, emit 23g/km and attract a BIK rate of only 8%.

95 Company 2
95 Company 2

Mini Countryman Cooper S E Classic ALL4

The super-sized Mini Countryman has always appealed to buyers who love the hatchback’s retro vibe but need a bit more space for the family. With the PHEV version, you can also include company users looking to save a bundle on BIK bills. With a 1.5-litre triple powering the front wheels and an electric motor the rears, the 217bhp is quick and responsive off the line, and while it’s not as much fun as the standard car, it’s still planted and poised, plus the four-wheel-drive set-up offers all-weather peace of mind. Classic trim gets all the kit you’ll need and, like the other models, is rated at 12% BIK, which means lower-rate earners face a modest, £877 tax bill.

94 Company 2
94 Company 2

Mini Electric

It doesn’t have to be all work and no play when it comes to business, which is where the Mini Electric comes in. Granted, with its claimed range of 144 miles, you won’t want any appointments to be too far away, and colleagues might start lobbying for you to get your P45 if they’re forced to sit in the back, but for maximum entertainment at minimal BIK, the British machine is hard to beat. With 181bhp, its performance is, ahem, electrifying and it tackles corners with the same acrobatic agility as the combustion-engined versions. Yet while the lowest-cost petrol Mini (a 134bhp Classic) will result in lower-rate earners forking out £1295 in tax, the far faster and 2%-rated Level 1 Electric is just £116.

93 Company 2
93 Company 2

Peugeot e-208

For those whose daily work duties consist of lots of short hops as well as a daily commute, going fully electric for their next company car is well worth considering. If you take the plunge, the Peugeot e-208 should be bubbling away at the top of your shortlist. For starters, it’s ridiculously cost-effective for business use: its 2% BIK rating combined with the favoured Allure Premium+ trim's (all the kit, including 3D dials and larger infotainment) £31,440 P11D price results in a tax bill of just £126 for lower-rate earners. It’s also soothing to drive, its 134bhp motor giving effortless acceleration and the supple suspension soaking away bumps. A range of 217 miles and 100kW charging capability help further reduce stress levels, and it’s just about roomy enough as an occasional family car stand-in.

92 Company 2
92 Company 2

Toyota Corolla

There used to be a time when a drive in a Toyota Corolla was a sure-fire cure for insomnia, the Japanese machine being a worthy but dull makeweight in the family hatch ranks. The latest car changes all that, though, proving to be as uplifting to drive as the best and shading many of them when it comes to style. As is the Toyota norm these days, the Corolla is hybrid powered, which makes it an attractive company car choice. There are 1.8-litre and 2.0-litre self-charging petrol-electric self-charging options, with the former attracting a BiK rating of as little as 25%, but the 181bhp output is worth the modest uplift in BIK to 26% and the subsequent small increase in your tax bill.

91 Company 2
91 Company 2

 

Volkswagen Golf GTE

As it homes in on its half century, the evergreen Golf continues to be as relevant as ever. The latest, eighth-generation machine is arguably the best ever, blending quality, space and usability with a driving experience that neatly balances the demands of ride and handling. For company car users, there’s lots to recommend, too, with a range of efficient engines that include a pair of tax-busting plug-in hybrids. Both use the same 1.4-litre petrol and electric combo, but the racy GTE gets a 41bhp power boost over the standard TFSIe, taking the total to 242bhp. Featuring the visual flair of the GTI with just enough of its on-road poise, the GTE will travel 40 miles in EV mode, is rated at just 8% for BIK and costs little more in tax for standard- rate earners.

Mg 4 ev front dynamic angle 3 0 3
Mg 4 ev front dynamic angle 3 0 3

MG4

There's a new name at the top of the EV family hatch class, at it comes from a slightly unexpected place. Beating the Volkswagen ID 3 in a straight fight, the new MG4 gives a strong signal of intent of the Chinese brand's determination to take on the European heavyweights, and win. Like other models in the MG range, the strikingly styled MG4 comfortably undercuts the competition on price, yet this doesn't feel like a bargain basement offering. In top spec £31,495 Long Range Trophy guise you get a punchy 201bhp motor and a 64kWh battery that claims 281 miles of range on a charge, plus you get a chassis that feels like its been thoroughly developed - it's keen and agile through a series of corners, and apart from a firm low speed gait it rides bumps with an easy-going aplomb. It's roomy interior also looks and feels as smart as the exterior, with only a handful of low rent plastics to betray the brand's budget car roots. The best bit is that with a 2% BIK rating it'll cost lower rate earners a maximum of just £126 in tax.

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