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Top eight most economical company car hatchbacks

  • Most economical family hatchbacks identified
  • All claim over 80mpg and sub-90g/km of CO2
  • Peugeot 308 BlueHDi offers low monthly bills

Most company car drivers still require a car that’s practical enough to cope with the everyday realities of family life, requiring a combination of flexibility, safety and, wherever possible, styling panache.

Sample the best on the market and you’ll also discover they’re good to drive and bristling with standard equipment.

Fleet managers tend to be looking for something that’s inexpensive to run and with a low P11D value too.

So does this mean that your next company hatchback will be a poverty-spec economy special? Well, the fuel consumption part is important but many of the cars themselves are decently equipped too.

We’ve saved you the time and hassle of wading through the plethora of variants on offer to bring our recommendations of the top eight economical family hatchbacks. All have claimed fuel consumptions of more than 80mpg and emit less than 90g/km of CO2.

Could one of these fuel misers be your next company car?

 

1. Toyota Prius

Think Toyota Prius and you automatically think ‘hybrid’ so synonymous has the brand become with petrol-electric powertrains.

Crowning the Prius hatchback range is the Plug-in model, offering around 12 miles of real-world electric-only driving, perfect for city driving.

It also has the benefit of improving fuel consumption to a claimed 134.5mpg, although in regular hybrid mode you’re likely to see this dropping to around 80mpg. Although it’s the most economical, it doesn’t have the lowest monthly tax bill.

As the flagship Prius, the Plug-in’s expensive but is packed with equipment and, despite the battery pack living under the boot floor, it’s practical and spacious too.

We recommend: Prius Plug-in Hybrid

P11D value: £33,340

CO2 emissions: 49g/km

Fuel economy: 134.5mpg

2014/15 BIK tax band: 11 percent

Monthly tax (20 percent rate, excluding options): £61.12

 

2. Peugeot 308

We’ve been impressed with Peugeot’s latest 308 and the new BlueHDi diesel engine under the bonnet is remarkably frugal.

Despite its penchant for sipping fuel gently, the 308’s a fine car to drive, combining genuinely good handling and impressive ride comfort. The stop/start system is also one of the best on the market too.

Inside, the minimalist cabin is a dominated by a large touchscreen on the Active specification model we’re recommending, along with a host of desirable equipment. It’s also usefully spacious for people and their luggage.

In terms of monthly tax bills, the Peugeot 308’s the one to go for.

We recommend: 308 1.6 BlueHDi 120 Active

P11D value: £19,040

CO2 emissions: 82g/km

Fuel economy: 91.1mpg

2014/15 BIK tax band: 14 percent

Monthly tax (20 percent rate, excluding options): £44.42

 

3. Skoda Octavia

Sharing its underpinnings and engine with the VW Golf below, the latest frugal Skoda Octavia Greenline offers a significant amount of car for the money with a roomy interior and a positively cavernous boot.

That economy-focused engine and gearbox combination isn’t going to set your pulse racing when driving but the Octavia focuses on comfort and encouraging you to drive with a featherweight throttle application.

Greenline specification is based on the entry-level S grade but it’s reasonably well-equipped and there’s a range of options to select from to raise it to the standards you require.

We recommend: Octavia 1.6 TDI CR Greenline

P11D value: £20,095

CO2 emissions: 85g/km

Fuel economy: 88.3mpg

2014/15 BIK tax band: 14 percent

Monthly tax (20 percent rate, excluding options): £46.88

 

4. Volkswagen Golf

If the Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion is mechanically the same as the cheaper and roomier Octavia, then why choose it over its Czech stablemate?

Well, for some, there’s a certain cachet about the VW that suggests it’s a more premium product, something you can appreciably feel inside with higher quality plastic mouldings – it feels like a nicer place in which to spend time.

Some will also appreciate the Golf’s styling over the Octavia’s too, and despite its more compact dimensions than the Skoda, it remains a spacious family hatchback.

Standard equipment is decent, rather than overly generous, the BlueMotion is based on the S grade rather than the more lavish SE. The appeal of that VW roundel still counts for a lot.

We recommend: Golf 1.6 TDI BlueMotion

P11D value: £21,215

CO2 emissions: 85g/km

Fuel economy: 88.3mpg

2014/15 BIK tax band: 14 percent

Monthly tax (20 percent rate, excluding options): £49.50

 

5. SEAT Leon

Underneath that sporty and sharp looking bodywork, the SEAT Leon Ecomotive is mechanically identical to the Octavia and Golf, although loses out fractionally in terms of fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions.

Conversely, the Leon Ecomotive is based on the more generous SE specification meaning its much better equipped, on top of SEAT’s current offer of standard sat-nav and LED lights front and rear. Even more appealingly it’s cheaper too.

That rakish bodywork means it’s marginally less spacious than the Golf too, not that you would particularly notice unless you compared the two side by side, and it’s an enjoyable drive too.

SEAT’s Leon has much going for it.

We recommend: 1.6 TDI Ecomotive SE

P11D value: £19,605

CO2 emissions: 87g/km

Fuel economy: 85.6mpg

2014/15 BIK tax band: 14 percent

Monthly tax (20 percent rate, excluding options): £45.74

 

6. Ford Focus

With all the media interest in Ford’s range of small EcoBoost petrol engines it’s easy to miss the fuel efficiency on offer from the established range of TDCi diesel engines in the Focus.

ECOnetic technology is evident in the greenest Focus, the 88g/km of CO2 available in one-up-from-entry-level Edge specification. It’s not the most generously equipped Focus but the low P11D makes it appealing in this case.

The Focus remains the class benchmark in terms of driving enjoyment too, but it’s not quite as spacious or as flexible as some of its newer rivals.

Remember the Focus receives a significant facelift at the end of the summer so it might be worth holding out for the latest version.

We recommend: Focus 1.6 TDCi ECOnetic Edge 88g

P11D value: £18,390

CO2 emissions: 88g/km

Fuel economy: 83.1mpg

2014/15 BIK tax band: 14 percent

Monthly tax (20 percent rate, excluding options): £42.91

 

7. Volvo V40

With its distinctive and coupe-like styling, the Volvo V40 is one of the most visually appealing cars in its class, as well as being one of the safest cars you can buy of any size, according the crash safety experts Euro NCAP.

What it’s not is the most generous in terms of space and practicality but most families will fit in it just fine.

It’s a reasonable drive too, although the 1.6-litre engine in the economical D2 is hardly a ball of fire. Relaxed, economical driving is the secret here. Entry level ES specification has most of the essentials you’ll need but you might want to check the fixtures and fittings on the SE model one rung above.

We recommend: V40 D2 ES

P11D value: £20,540

CO2 emissions: 88g/km

Fuel economy: 83.1mpg

2014/15 BIK tax band: 14 percent

Monthly tax (20 percent rate, excluding options): £47.92

 

8. Renault Megane

Facelifted at the start of this year to freshen up its appearance, Renault’s Megane remains a contender in this competitive market segment.

Under the restyled bonnet is a revised version of the 1.5-litre diesel with 108bhp.

You will appreciate the Megane’s comfortable ride, reasonably spacious interior and strong safety record. Even the standard equipment on the entry-level Expression+ model is reasonable too. Just don’t be expecting to revel in any of the driving excitement the faster Renaultsport models are blessed with.

We recommend: Megane Energy dCi 110 Expression+

P11D value: £18,190

CO2 emissions: 90g/km

Fuel economy: 80.7mpg

2014/15 BIK tax band: 14 percent

Monthly tax (20 percent rate, excluding options): £42.44