21 August 2009 by Parkers Team Last Updated: 11 Aug 2014

  • Find out why your fleet manager wants lower CO2
  • We explain the 160g/km emissions threshold
  • Five surprise cars that duck below the limit

Has your fleet manager been trying to persuade you to choose a company car with lower emissions?

They aren't trying to convert drivers to greener habits, but are trying to save their company money. Cars with lower CO2 emissions help maximise the amount of cash your company is paid back by the government.

From April 2009, new corporation tax rules mean that the 'writing down allowance' - a statutory tax deduction for depreciation - is now linked to a car's CO2 emissions, and companies will be better off with lower emission cars.

The allowance for cars with CO2 emissions of 161g/km and higher is 10 per cent of the car's value, while for those with emissions below 160g/km it is 20 per cent.

Therefore, companies stand to recoup double the amount on a car with CO2 emissions lower than 161g/km compared with a similar car with higher emissions.

Additionally, cars with emissions of 110g/km or lower benefit from a 100 per cent first year write down allowance.

The good news for drivers is that many car manufacturers are aware of this advantage of lower emission vehicles and have been broadening the range of models offered below this threshold.

Five surprise cars that duck the 161g/km threshold

Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi (2WD)

Parker's says: The Kuga may be a 4x4 but it's not meant to be a hardcore off-roader. It is designed mainly for driving on tarmac - which explains the sporty rather than chunky styling. It's based on the Focus, one of the best small family cars around, so it's no surprise that the Kuga is good to drive with impressive performance and neat handling - it's certainly unlike traditional off roaders. Surprisingly, the Kuga is one of the greenest cars of its type – so emissions and tax costs are lower than most alternatives.

g/km CO2 MPG
Fuel
159 46
 Diesel

Read Parker's review

 

Vauxhall Insignia 2.0 CDTi 160

Parker's says: The Insignia is the successor to the Vectra – a car that’s been a firm favourite with families and company car drivers for many years. As you'd expect, it inherits many of the Vectra’s strengths. It’s comfortable, a great motorway cruiser and is good value for money (especially used). However, the Insignia is far more sophisticated than the car it replaces so not only is the styling more refined, the interior fit-and-finish is much better than before.

g/km CO2 MPG
Fuel
154 48
 Diesel

Read Parker's review

 

BMW 320i ES saloon

Parker's says: The fifth-generation BMW 3-Series combines a high-quality cabin and decent equipment levels with the best drive in the compact executive market. The striking saloon gets a power boost over the old model but, thanks to the Efficient Dynamics program, both fuel economy and emissions have actually been improved. It's not as good an all-rounder as the Audi A4, with less passenger space and a firmer ride, but it sets the class benchmark for driving pleasure.

g/km CO2 MPG
Fuel
148 46
 Petrol

Read Parker's review

 

Volvo XC70 2.4D DRIVe

Parker's says: The Volvo XC70 is effectively the company's popular V70 estate car with increased ground clearance and some versions using an automatic four-wheel drive system that normally powers only the front wheels, but also sends drive to the rear axle in tricky conditions. The DRIVe version was launched in 2009 and offers 175bhp and two-wheel drive only, but retains all the other practical features of the XC70 making it one of the largest cars you can choose with sub-160g/km.

g/km CO2 MPG
Fuel
159 46
 Diesel

Read Parker's review

 

Audi TT 2.0 TDI Quattro

Parker's says: Audi's second generation TT is clearly related to its predecessor - but thanks to sleeker lines the coupe has a more aggressive and sporty appearance than before. If any criticism could have been levelled at the original TT, it would have been a lack of interior space and the fact that it was a less rewarding drive than some rivals. Audi has taken both of these factors on board to create a larger but lighter TT with improved handling and more space.

g/km CO2 MPG
Fuel
139 53
 Diesel

Read Parker's review