Best value compact executive saloons

  • Find out which executive saloons offer the best value for money
  • We pick our engine and trim of the range
  • Standard kit highlights and tax costs explained

With technology advancing at such a rate these days, the amount of kit your company car has can make a huge difference to your everyday life behind the wheel.  

Getting the balance right between equipment and cost though is a hard task to get right. To help we’ve been trawling through the standard specification lists of the most popular compact executive saloons to find you the cars which offer the best value for money. 

1. Audi A4

The Audi A4.

Top of our list is the Audi A4 which is not only one of the most stylish saloons in the company car park, it also comes with a range of ultra-efficient engines and an interior which offers luxury motoring at its best.

Choosing the entry-level SE gets you DAB Radio, Bluetooth, automatic lights, 17-inch alloy wheels, sports suspension, three-zone air conditioning, cruise control and rear parking sensors .

However moving up to SE Technik costs just £1000 more and for that cash you also get sat-nav, front parking sensors, leather upholstery and a voice command system which we think offers very good value for money for under six pounds a month extra in BIK tax.

Our engine of choice is the 2-litre TDI Ultra which has the lowest CO2 of the range while still offering 163bhp which helps the car accelerate from 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds.

Pick of the range: A4 2-litre TDI Ultra SE Technik 

P11D: £29,565 

CO2 emissions: 109g/km

2014/15 BIK Tax band: 17 percent

Monthly tax cost*: £167.54

Combined MPG: 67.3mpg

Power: 163bhp

Kit highlights:  Sat-nav, voice control system, leather interior, three-zone air conditioning and parking sensors


2. Mercedes-Benz C-Class

The C-Class Saloon.

The fifth generation of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class arrived in the UK this summer and brought with it a significant upgrade in interior quality and a new range of advanced kit.

Best of the range when it comes to balancing power with CO2 emissions is the C220 which emits just 103g/km while offering 168bhp which propels the car from 0-62mph in 7.7 seconds.

Offering the lowest emissions of our list here, the C-Class boasts some pretty impressive standard kit in entry-level SE trim too with 16-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, multimedia system with a seven-inch screen and the new ‘Touchpad’ fingertip information input system, reversing camera, automatic windscreen wipers, cruise control and DAB Radio among the highlights. 

We would upgrade to the Executive Package for £995 (£5.31 extra per month in BIK) for folding rear-seat backrests, sat-nav and front heated seats which although makes the C-Class the most expensive of the three when it comes to P11D, it's still the cheapest when it comes to tax thanks to its ultra-low CO2 emissions.

Pick of the range: C220 2.1CDI BlueTec SE   

P11D: £30,305 

CO2 emissions: 103g/km

2014/15 BIK Tax band: 16 percent 

Monthly tax cost*: £161.67

Combined MPG: 70.6mpg

Power: 168bhp

Kit highlights:  Heated seats, sat-nav, DAB Radio and reversing camera


3. BMW 3 Series

The BMW 3-Series.

Historically the BMW 3 Series has always been a hit with businesses thanks to its low running costs, great resale values and competitive leasing costs.

There is a vast engine range on offer here, however it's the 320d efficient Dynamics which offers the best of the bunch when it comes to CO2 emissions with 109g/km.

It’s also one of the few cars which doesn’t penalise for picking an automatic gearbox over a manual with CO2 emissions mostly identical across the range.  However the premium for picking the auto gearbox is over £1,500 so we would probably stick with the manual.

Now the BMW 3 Series may look better than the A4 on paper when it comes to tax costs and fuel economy but the standard kit on offer is significantly lacking in comparison. Highlights from the standard specification include 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth, automatic air-con, DAB Radio, rear parking sensors, automatic lights and rain sensors and cruise control. If you're after sat-nav you’ll need to upgrade to the BMW Business Media package which costs an additional £890 and if you want a leather interior it’ll cost at least £1,295 on top.

Pick of the range: 320d Efficient Dynamics  

P11D: £28,720 

CO2 emissions: 109g/km

2014/15 BIK Tax band: 17 percent

Monthly tax cost*: £162.75

Combined MPG: 68.9mpg

Power: 163bhp

Kit highlights: Bluetooth, air-con, DAB Radio and rear parking sensors


One to watch….. Jaguar XE

The Jaguar XE.

This good-looking compact exec is the brand-new Jaguar XE which has gone on sale this month. 

The XE is not only easy on the eye, it also offers an all-new diesel engine capable of emitting just 99g/km of CO2 meaning a 15 percent BIK tax band for the current 2014/15 tax year.

P11D values for diesel models start at £29,720 and there will be four trims to choose from; SE, Prestige, R-Sport and Portfolio as well as a performance R version.

The entry-level SE model features sat-nav, cruise control, 17-inch alloy wheels, DAB digital radio and Jaguar’s brand-new InControl infotainment system with an eight-inch touch screen.

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*Monthly tax costs are based on a 40 percent tax payer and the current 2014/15 rates.