- Five new, highly-rated, large company cars explored
- All offer good looks, high quality and low costs
- Which of these will be your next motor?
When it comes to large company cars, we think it’s safe to say you’ve never had it so good.
Over recent months we’ve been spoiled by the arrival of several spacious family-friendly cars powered by an economical range of engines; each has impressed us with a combination of high levels of equipment, visual appeal and low BIK rates.
Mercedes-Benz’ latest C-Class, BMW’s 4 Series Gran Coupe and Ford’s all-new Mondeo have all wowed us in 2014 and what’s more, it’s a trend that’s set to continue into 2015 with Volkswagen’s eighth-generation Passat and the sporty new Jaguar XE joining the fray.
All five could be ideal as your next company car but what makes each one stand out?
Slinky as the BMW 4 Series coupe is, two-doors limit its practicality and bar it from appearing on many company car lists.
Enter the 4 Series Gran Coupe – not only does it feature a pair of rear doors, but there’s also a usefully large electrically-operated hatch at the back, making it arguably more practical than the popular 3 Series saloon range. Being a touch more expensive it’ll also be a more exclusive choice too.
There’s a wide range of engines available offering a plethora of options depending on whether performance or efficiency is key to your needs. We’d recommend blending the best of both worlds with the 420d M Sport automatic.
For a company car driver on the 20 percent rate, that would cost £121 per month thanks to its 20 percent BIK banding.
Fuel economy range: 34-61mpg
CO2 emissions range: 121-193g/km
P11D value from: £30,995
Ford’s latest Mondeo has been a long-time coming having been on sale in North America (where it’s called Fusion) for two years before it arrived in Europe.
Besides the name, other changes have been made before the car’s gone on sale in the UK, including the addition of hatchback and estate body styles and a wider assortment of petrol and diesel engines.
All models feature a vast cabin and large boot, although the Passat is bigger inside, along with cleverly-integrated new tech such as Ford’s Sync2 infotainment system – tell it you’re hungry and it will direct you to nearby eateries.
Ford expects most people to opt for the diesel-powered 178bhp 2.0-litre TDCi Titanium hatchback, which would mean monthly outgoings of £77 for a 20 percent rate payer thanks to its 19 percent BIK rate.
City dwellers may be interested in the saloon-only Mondeo Hybrid: that same company car driver would pay £50 due to its 12 percent BIK rate.
Fuel economy range: 37-78mpg
CO2 emissions range: 94-174g/km
P11D value from: £20,795
With its new XE, Jaguar’s having another attempt to take on the might of BMW’s 3 Series with a medium-sized range of sharp-suited saloons.
If you’ve any memories of the X-Type, then put them to the back of your mind, for this compact, new sports saloon is every inch a Jaguar. Okay, it’s handsome rather than characteristically beautiful like the larger XF and XJ ranges, but it’s distinctive enough to look different from its key (read Germanic) rivals.
There’s a new range of 'Ingenium' engines under the bonnet, delivering power to the rear wheels via a choice of manual and automatic gearboxes.
Inside you’ll find contemporary Jaguar styling, with little sign of wood or leather – unless you opt for it – and there’s a host of new technology on-board, including a much improved sat-nav infotainment package.
We would choose the 2.0-litre 160bhp diesel-powered XE R-Sport, combining low running costs with the sporty styling accents Jaguar’s often associated with. If you’re a 20 percent rate payer you’ll be looking at a monthly bill of £80, due to this engine’s 15 percent BIK banding.
Fuel economy range: 34-75mpg
CO2 emissions range: 99-194g/km
P11D value from: £26,985
Deliberately aping the styling of the luxurious S-Class range gives Mercedes’ latest C-Class saloons and estates an allure that rival cars struggle to match.
Inside is a modern and elegant dashboard, with a selection of trim levels to suit a wide variety of tastes, including décor finished in gloss black, aluminium or traditional wood.
Naturally you can add a raft of optional equipment to personalise your C-Class further but be careful as the cost soon mounts up. One extra we would definitely recommend is the Airmatic suspension which transforms the comfort levels in the C-Class over the conventional system.
There is one petrol and a selection of diesels to choose between, but we’d go for the C300 BlueTEC Hybrid Sport (renamed C300h Sport in 2015) for the lowest bills. How low? A 20 percent rate payer will have a monthly outgoing of just £74 thanks to its 12 percent BIK rate.
Fuel economy range: 49-78mpg
CO2 emissions range: 94-133g/km
P11D value from: £27,140
Volkswagen’s latest range of Passat saloons and estates are elegant and have a distinct air of premium motoring about them.
They’re vast inside too, offering interior space which rivals cars with much grander exterior dimensions and price tags to match.
At launch all Passats will be diesel-powered, but from summer 2015 they'll be joined by the plug-in petrol-electric hybrid GTE versions.
As with others explored here, there’s a wealth of new technology to choose from, much of it standard on the company car driver-focused SE Business trim level. We would pair this with the 1.6-litre TDI diesel and six-speed manual transmission.
Choose the saloon body style and that 20 percent rate payer will have to find just £68 each month to run one, or £72 for the more popular and commodious estate.
Fuel economy range: 52-70mpg
CO2 emissions range: 103-140g/km
P11D value from: £22,160