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Smooth operators: 7 low-cost petrol company cars

  • Improvements in engine technology mean diesel is not the only option
  • We've picked seven petrol cars which actually work out cheaper 
  • All have five doors and cost less than £70 in BIK tax a month*

Petrol-power is enjoying a renaissance with the 'dieselgate' scandal still lingering in the air and the availability of powerful but low CO2-emitting turbocharged engines.

These improvements along with the three percent diesel surcharge remaining in place, mean petrol is now a more viable option for company drivers than ever, especially for those looking to keep BIK-tax bills as low as possible.

To help you decide if petrol is the way to go, we’ve picked our seven favourite five-door petrol cars which emit less than 120g/km and offer a good balance between performance, kit and desirability.

 

Ford Focus

Ford Focus

It makes sense to kick this list off with the quintessential small petrol engine – the Ford 1-litre EcoBoost.

Seen in everything from the Fiesta to the Mondeo, this flexible unit punches well above its weight and none more so than the 99g/km version found in this business-user friendly Focus.

Style trim isn’t the best equipped but you still get a large 363-litre boot and 98bhp to help shift you along. Plus the Ford Focus remains one of the best cars to drive.

Low CO2 emissions and a cheap P11D mean this car can be yours for £47* a month - £12* cheaper than the equivalent diesel.

Vital statistics

  • Parkers rating: 4 stars
  • Engine and trim: Ford Focus Hatchback 1.0 EcoBoost Style
  • P11D value: £17,890
  • Economy: 65mpg
  • CO2 emissions: 99g/km
  • Monthly tax cost*: £47

For our full Ford Focus review click here

 

Skoda Fabia Estate

Skoda Fabia estate

We’re big fans of the Skoda Fabia Estate - a car the same length as the Ford Focus above but with a boot not far off a Ford Mondeo's. You get 530 litres behind the rear seats and 1,395 litres with them down.

Mid-trim SE is a real sweet-spot in terms of kit versus value for money - you get everything you need. For luxuries like a centre armrest and climate control you'll want SE L, though.

Combined with a faster than you would think 1.2-litre petrol engine, and automatic DSG gearbox to take the work out of a long commute, this spacious estate will cost you less than £50* a month, £8* less than the equivalent diesel.

For our full Skoda Fabia Estate review click here

Vital statistics

  • Parkers rating: 5 stars
  • Engine and trim: Skoda Fabia Estate 1.2 TSI SE DSG
  • P11D value: £16,130
  • Economy: 60mpg
  • CO2 emissions: 109g/km
  • Monthly tax cost*: £48

 

Citroen C4 Cactus

Citroen C4 Cactus

The Citroen C4 Cactus is unconventional from start to finish, so it’s no surprise that you can have one with a 108bhp petrol engine for less than £50* a month.

Those "Airbumps" on the side of the car protect all four doors from supermarket dings, and there's a delightfully quirky interior too.

The ETG automatic gearbox further reduces CO2 emission but it’s a bit of a challenge to use and besides, this manual petrol is still £5* a month cheaper than the equivalent diesel.

Flair trim is top spec and gets you 16-inch alloys, climate control, automatic lights and rain-sensing wipers and heated door mirrors.

For our full Citroen C4 Cactus review click here

Vital statistics

  • Parkers rating: 4.5 stars
  • Engine and trim: Citroen C4 Cactus 1.2 PureTech (110bhp) Flair
  • P11D value: £17,410
  • Economy: 65mpg
  • CO2 emissions: 100g/km
  • Monthly tax cost*: £49

 

Audi A1 Sportback

Audi A1

This is the five-door version of the standard Audi A1 and as such, gets you a bit more practicality. Even so, it’s a small car, so the back seats are better suited to smaller passengers if you're planning on driving a long way.

As a trade-off you get bags of Audi style and of course that all-important badge, plus Sport trim (the version we’ve picked here) means 16-inch alloys, sports seats, sports suspension, Bluetooth with voice control and a multi-function leather steering wheel as standard. 

The three-cylinder, 1-litre unit we’ve picked out is £10* a month cheaper than the diesel version and actually makes the most sense out of all of the units on offer, with plenty of power and excellent economy figures too.

For our full Audi A1 review click here

Vital statistics

  • Parkers rating: 5 stars
  • Engine and trim: Audi A1 Sportback1.0 TFSI Sport S Tronic
  • P11D value: £18,395
  • Economy: 64mpg
  • CO2 emissions: 102g/km
  • Monthly tax cost*: £52

 

Peugeot 308 Hatchback

Peugeot 308

This French manufacturer is back on top form with the 308 – especially when it comes to its range of small and economical petrol engines.

There’s a range used across the Peugeot-Citroen group and they focus around a 1.2-litre unit in this case offering 128bhp.

It feels like a much larger engine thanks to clever turbocharging yet still produces low CO2, good enough to come in at £53* a month - £7* less than the diesel version.

Active trim is the middle option so there isn’t a massive amount as standard, but you get 16-inch alloy wheels instead of the base spec's steels and a larger central screen too.

For our full Peugeot 308 review click here

Vital statistics

  • Parkers rating: 4 stars
  • Engine and trim: Peugeot 308 Hatchback 1.2 e-THP (130bhp) Active
  • P11D price: £18,840
  • MPG: 61
  • CO2 emissions: 104g/km
  • Monthly tax cost*: £53

 

Mazda 3 Hatchback

Mazda 3

Mazda has been banging the drum for efficiency through weight-saving techniques for a while now thanks to its 'SkyActiv' technology.

Here you get a 2-litre petrol engine – much bigger than anything on offer on this list - which produces low CO2 and requires less fuel than you would imagine.

It's a great thing to drive and cheap to run as a company car, with monthly bills of £64* coming in about £20 less than the equivalent diesel.

SE-L Nav trim gets you highlights like a sat-nav system and automatic air-con, wrapped up in one of the best-looking hatchbacks around.

For our full Mazda 3 review click here

Vital statistics

  • Parkers rating: 4 stars
  • Engine and trim: Mazda 3 Hatchback 2.0 SE-L Nav
  • P11D value: £19,440
  • Economy: 55mpg
  • CO2 emissions: 118g/km
  • Monthly tax cost:* £64

 

MINI Clubman

MINI Clubman

The new Clubman is much more practical then the outgoing one, not least because it has two proper rear doors now, rather than the old car's single one behind the driver arrangement.

As such it’s now a proper prospect as a company car and represents the same sort of small-footprint-big-boot practicality as the Skoda Fabia Estate we’ve picked out already - but with an easy-access barn-door arrangement for the boot.

You get a little bit less room than the Czech car though, with 360 litres expanding to 1,250 litres by collapsing the rear seats.

The Clubman starts in Cooper spec so you get lots of kit for your £66* a month, including 16-inch alloy wheels, air-con, sat-nav, Bluetooth connectivity, interior lights pack, central display with LED ring, keyless start and a start/stop system. 

Best of all, it’s £20* a month cheaper than the diesel Cooper D.

For our full MINI Clubman review click here

Vital statistics

  • Parkers rating: 4.5 stars
  • Engine and trim: MINI Clubman 1.5 Cooper
  • P11D value: £19,910
  • Economy: 55mpg
  • CO2 emissions: 118g/km
  • Monthly tax cost*: £66

Need more help? Maybe the below articles can help

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Top 5 company cars to watch out for in 2016

Fast hatchbacks for less than £80 per month

Is diesel still the best option for company car drivers?

Top 10 winter-friendly 4x4 company cars

*Our calculations are based on a 20 percent tax payer for the year 2016/17