THINKING of the next company car? Thoughts generally drift towards family saloon, estate or, increasingly, SUV – but how about a small car or a supermini?
If your business is largely around town, then a supermini makes a lot of sense. Easy to get around the narrow streets, can fit into small parking spaces but, more important, it’s going to be more efficient.
Small cars attract less tax, have lower emissions, great economy and easier on the BiK.
They can also be a lot of fun, as illustrated by the winner of this year’s Business Motoring Best Supermini, the MINI.
Nearly 60 years since it was first launched, the modern version, under the stewardship of BMW, has managed to hang on to its iconic appeal.
It’s now in its third generation since the German company took over the reins and the MINI is now not so mini, but it is still winning awards.
It now features some of the most economical engines yet and the MINI is the least expensive port of entry into the BMW range.
It has a new three-cylinder 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine, which replaces the old 1.6-litre naturally aspirated unit. This engine is what caught the attention of the judges – sounds good, has strong acceleration, and simply feels fun to drive – everything a MINI should be.
It’s not just the MINI, however, there are lot of fun small cars around and in the fun category you have to have the Peugeot 208.
Like the MINI, it’s been around a long time and the latest generation is proving just as successful.
Look for versions with as much kit as possible and with a smaller car you don’t really need diesel – and why should you when the 208’s petrol engine is a lot cheaper and at 104g/km, tax costs are kept really low.
The Ford Fiesta is one of the biggest selling company cars in the UK and is one of the best all-round packages for business users.
With Ford’s 1-litre EcoBoost engine, the Fiesta offers low running costs with some good performance figures. It is more pricey than rivals from Skoda or SEAT although it does hold its value quite well.
If you go for PCP finance, the Fiesta will have higher monthly repayments than rivals such as the VW Polo but it is cheaper to run as a company car thanks to lower CO2 emissions.
Look out for some competitive monthly leasing rates.
Over the years the Vauxhall Corsa has been a massive sales success, second only in the sales charts to the Fiesta.
There are number of different trims and engines to choose from giving plenty of choice so the Corsa ranges goes from well-priced to quite pricey.
When looking for PCP finance there are often special offers available or certain trim levels but expect to pay a bit more per month than some rivals.
Volkswagen’s Polo is the company’s second biggest selling car in the UK after the Golf and while it costs more than some of its rivals it does have slightly better residuals so with PCP finance, monthly payments aren’t actually much more than the others.
Running costs are also low and diesels are the cleanest engines available, with the lowest CO2 figures and very high claimed fuel economy.
The Skoda Fabia is car that did that led the transformation of the Czech company into a credible automotive business and now offers a choice of quality engines and trim levels.
It’s not the cheapest, but it is only undercut by the Dacia Sandero and costs less that the Fiesta, Polo or SEAT Ibiza.
Residial values aren’t as good as its rivals but company car drivers will want to consider the 1.0 TSI 95, which emits 104g/km of CO2 and returns impressive fuel economy.
The SEAT Ibiza falls between the Skoda Fabia and VW Polo in terms of price – and it’s one of the best looking in its class.
Buying on finance the Ibiza has slightly lower monthly repayments than the Polo and Ford Fiesta while insurance and servicing is very competitive.
For the company car driver, the 1.0-litre petrol engine is the pick of the engine bunch with low CO2 emissions. The diesel emits even less CO2, but costs more in BiK tax.