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The best value compact executive company cars

  • German heavyweights go head-to-head
  • We identify which car offers best value for money
  • Monthly tax costs and kit highlights included

Finding a company car that offers the right balance between equipment and cost is no easy feat, especially as you'll be running it for at least the next three years, you don't want to end up regretting your choice.

To help, we’ve compared the best-selling compact executive cars to find out which really offer the best value for money for business users and which come equipped with all the company car essentials like a digital radio, Bluetooth, parking sensors and cruise control.

All have monthly tax costs around the £50 mark and a combined mpg figure above 70mpg too, meaning running costs should be pretty low.

Audi A3 Sportback


The third-generation Audi A3 Sportback is hugely popular with many company car drivers as it offers competitive running costs, luxurious cabin quality and that four-ringed badge that will be the envy of many.

Featuring in the top ten selling company cars last year, the A3 sells more than the 1-series and Mercedes-Benz A-Class and comes generously equipped, even in entry-level SE trim.

Highlights from the standard specification list include DAB Radio, Bluetooth, eight speakers, 5.8-inch colour display screen, cruise control, air-con, front centre armrest, 16-inch alloy wheels and electronic parking brake.

The comfort pack for £605 extra includes automatic lights and wipers, rear parking sensors, and acoustic glass while adding sat-nav as option will cost £495 and heated front seats £260.

When it comes to engine choice, the 1.6-litre TDI diesel engine would be our pick as it offers impressively low running costs.  

Pick of the range: 1.6TDI SE

P11D: £21,390

CO2 emissions: 99g/km

2014/15 BIK Tax band:   15 percent

Monthly tax cost*: £53.50

Combined MPG: 74mpg

Power: 108bhp

Kit highlights:  Bluetooth, DAB Radio, cruise control, air-con

 

BMW 1-Series


BMW is a force to be reckoned with in the company car world with the 5-series and 3-series proving extremely popular with company car drivers. The smallest sibling, the 1-series, does pretty well too selling just under 17,000 cars to businesses last year.

An updated version of the 1-Series is set to go on sale on March 28, which will include an ultra-low tax model promising emissions as low as 89g/km of CO2 as well as styling enhancements and new kit available as standard.

If you can’t wait until March though we would go for the 116 EfficientDynamics Business Edition with CO2 emissions of only 99g/km and a combined fuel economy figure of 74.3mpg.

EfficientDynamics trim includes 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, DAB Radio, front fog lights, heated door mirrors and automatic lights and automatic wipers as standard. Upgrading to Business Edition adds less than £1,500 to the car's P11d price and gives you leather upholstery, heated seats and sat-nav, which we think offers excellent value for money.

The only bit of kit missing which we would have expected to see on the standard spec list is rear parking sensors, which cost only £360 to add as an option.  

Pick of the range: 116d EfficientDynamics Business Edition

P11D: £22,705

CO2 emissions: 99g/km

2014/15 BIK Tax band: 15 percent

Monthly tax cost*: £56.76

Combined MPG: 74mpg

Power: 114bhp

Kit highlights:  leather upholstery, heated seats, DAB Radio, sat-nav, Bluetooth

 

Mercedes-Benz A-Class


Arguably the most stylish of the three, the latest A-Class has been a huge success for the German firm and 2014 proved just as fruitful selling 5,000 more cars into the company car arena than in the previous year. It was also named the 2014 Fleet Car of the Year by the Association of Car Fleet Operators (ACFO).

Last year the A-Class's range was expanded with the new A180 CDI ECO edition which promises 78.5mpg with CO2 emissions of only 92g/km placing the car in a 14 percent BIK tax band for the 2014/15 tax year. 

There are five trims to choose from, SE trim offers a fair amount of kit for your money, although not as impressive as the BMW and Audi above. Among the highlights on the standard specification list include 16-inch alloy wheels, air con, six speakers, comfort suspension, leather steering wheel, tyre pressure monitoring system, Bluetooth, collision prevention assist and artificial leather upholstery.

DAB radio is missing and so is cruise control, parking sensors and sat-nav, all of which are not cheap to add as options either.

Pick of the range:  A180 CDI ECO SE

P11D: £21,910

CO2 emissions: 92g/km

2014/15 BIK Tax band: 14 percent

Monthly tax cost*: £51.12

Combined MPG: 78.5mpg

Power: 108bhp

Kit highlights:  Bluetooth, air-con, artificial leather upholstery

 

And the winner is...


The A3 Sportback comes pretty close but the 1-series's impressive amount of standard kit makes it the outright winner and considering there is a new ultra-efficient engine on its way, we don't think it'll be knocked off its perch anytime soon either.

* Monthly tax costs are based on a 20 percent tax payer and the current 2014/15 rates.