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Top tax busting 4x4s

  • Off-roaders used to be a company car no-no
  • Efficient engines mean lower CO2 emissions and lower monthly tax bills
  • We pick our top 4x4's for company drivers

Big tax bills and tight carbon dioxide limits used to mean off-road vehicles were out of reach for most company car choosers.

Now though, thanks to efficient diesel engines promising lower emissions, there are a host of 4x4 equipped vehicles that could squeeze onto your company car choice list.

Even if you don't venture too far off-road, the advantages of the extra grip provided by four-wheel drive are numerous, especially during the colder and wetter months of the year.

We’ve picked our top low-tax four-wheel drive cars, all of which cost less than £150 a month for a 20 percent tax payer (based on the 2015/16 rate), and promise fuel economy of more than 50mpg so you'll be saving at the pumps too.

 

Mini Countryman

MINI Countryman

Parkers star rating: 4

Standard equipment on the MINI One is generous, and by upgrading to a Cooper S you get pretty much everything you need.

This includes automatic air conditioning, parking sensors, Bluetooth, sports seats, red-painted brake calipers and 10mm lowered suspension.

Four-wheel drive is controlled automatically, so there’s no buttons to press. The MINI senses when a wheel is losing grip and shuffles the power around to ensure you carry on straight.

Our diesel engine choice just so happens to be the most powerful – the 2.0-litre unit puts out 143bhp and has bags of shove throughout the rev range.

Company car choice: 2.0 Cooper SD ALL4 (141bhp)

Facts and figures

  • P11d value: £23,775
  • BIK band: 23
  • Monthly cost: £91
  • Fuel economy and CO2 emissions: 50.4mpg - 126g/km

Read our MINI Countryman review here.

 

Lexus NX

Lexus NX

Parkers rating: 4.5

The only car on our list not equipped with a diesel engine is the hybrid Lexus NX. It has a 2.5-litre petrol engine, combined with a generator, motor and battery, which produces 195bhp. It has the lowest CO2 emissions on our list, meaning a company car driver will pay only £136 a month for a top spec model that would cost a private owner £42,940.

Premiere trim is everything the name suggests, bringing with it LED headlights and foglamps, heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, bespoke alloys, tinted rear windows, parking sensors, keyless entry, electric steering column, power tailgate, wireless smartphone charger, premium sound system, sat-nav.

You also get a raft of safety kit including a blind spot monitor, 360-degree panoramic view camera, lane-keeping assist, head-up display, and rear cross-traffic alert.

Facts and figures

Company car choice: 300H Premiere E-CVT (195bhp)

  • P11d value: £42,940
  • BIK band: 19
  • Monthly cost: £136
  • Fuel economy and CO2 emissions: 54.3mpg – 121g/km

Read our Lexus NX review here.

 

Fiat Panda 4x4

Fiat Panda Cross

Parkers star rating: 4

You want four-wheel drive, but you don’t want a huge car. This is where the Fiat Panda Cross 4x4 really shines. It's also exceptional value, costing £65 a month. The trade off is size though, as the Panda is better off-road and around town than on faster roads. It’s more suited to short journeys than a long motorway commute

Blending city car usability with genuine off-road ability, the Panda Cross uses an electronic locking differential to find maximum traction on slippery surfaces. You can use the Terrain Control Selector to choose between three driving modes - Auto, Off-Road and Hill Descent Control.

It comes as standard with leather interior details, Bluetooth connectivity, automatic climate control, steering wheel mounted controls, and City Brake Control.

Company car choice: 1.3 Multijet 4X4 Cross (79bhp)

Facts and figures

  • P11d value: £16,890
  • BIK band: 23
  • Monthly cost: £65
  • Fuel economy and CO2 emissions: 60.1mpg – 125g/km

Read our Fiat Panda Cross review here.

 

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross

Suzuki S-Cross

Parkers star rating: 3.5

It might not be the best looking car on our list but the S-Cross – particularly in this top trim level – is a really solid option if you want a capable and comfortable four-wheel drive, that doesn’t cost the earth to run. The claimed 64.2mpg is the best on our list, and its BIK cost is the second cheapest, despite being one of the best equipped.

The AllGrip 4x4 system has four modes, Auto, Sport, Snow and Lock to keep you moving in tricky conditions.

SZ5 trim means you get cruise control, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, rear privacy glass, sat nav, DAB radio, rear parking camera, panoramic sunroof, leather interior, automatic HID headlights, heated front seats Bluetooth and keyless entry and start.

Company car choice: 1.6 DDiS SZ5 AllGrip (118bhp)

  • P11d value: £23,494
  • BIK band: 20
  • Monthly cost: £73
  • Fuel economy and CO2 emissions: 64.2mpg – 126g/km

Read our Suzuki SX4 S-Cross review here.

 

Nissan Qashqai

Nissan Qashqai

Parkers star rating: 5

As well as a 4x4 system and lofty ride height for rough terrain, the Qashqai is a great car for family or business use. It was the sixth most popular company car last year, and the only crossover SUV-type to make the top ten.

This top-tier Tekna model is loaded with kit, including a bird’s-eye Around View camera, which is as useful off-road as it is in a multi-story car park. Even better is the Park Assist system, which steers the car into parallel and bay parking spaces.

Outside you get 19-inch alloy wheels, roof rails and a glass roof. Inside you sit on heated, part-leather seats, and there is a seven-inch touchscreen display with smartphone connectivity.

Company car choice: 1.6dCi Tekna (128bhp)

Facts and figures

  • P11d value: £28,445
  • BIK band: 23
  • Monthly cost: £109
  • Fuel economy and CO2 emissions: 57.6mpg - 129g/km

Read our Nissan Qashqai review here.

 

Volvo XC60

Volvo XC60

Parkers star rating: 4

Tough off-road and comfortable on it, the Volvo XC60 is a well-balanced 4x4 with a premium cabin. Its 179bhp engine is quiet and refined, while promising high fuel economy and low CO2 emissions too. It's the most expensive on our list though, only just in the £150 monthly budget.

The standard car comes with climate and cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights. Higher trims add luxuries like an electrically adjusted driver’s seat and Bi-Xenon headlights, while the R-Design model we’ve picked brings with it stiffer suspension, R-Design bumpers and side sills, 18-inch alloy wheels, sports front seats and blue-faced dials.

Company car choice: 2.4 D4 R-Design Nav (179bhp)

Facts and figures

  • P11d value: £35,080
  • BIK band: 25
  • Monthly cost: £146
  • Fuel economy and CO2 emissions: 53.3mpg – 139g/km

Read our Volvo XC60 review here.