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Commuter says yes: 5 cars to beat the daily grind

  • Take the slog out of your daily commute
  • We pick models for the motorway, city and country
  • Economical engines costing less than £100 a month*

Written by Adam Binnie Published: 16 May 2017 Updated: 16 May 2017

Commutes take many different forms, from the stereotypical motorway slog to an inner-city jam-fest, and picking the right car for the job can seem baffling.

Choose the right wheels and you can transform your boring, costly schlep into something more enjoyable, comfortable and affordable.

We’ve picked out five cars for different commutes to help you whittle down your long list. All have a minimum Parkers rating of 4.5 stars and cost around £100 a month in tax*. Plus, in case you pay for your own fuel, we’ve only included models promising more than 60mpg.

Best for motorway slogging: Volkswagen Passat Estate


Offering a serenely quiet cabin and road-massaging ride, the Volkswagen Passat is an easy choice for a long journey. We’ve selected the estate here for the extra practicality, but the saloon is just as competent on a long stretch of motorway.

SE Business trim, like its name suggests, comes with everything you need in a company car: sat-nav, front and rear parking sensors, plus an excellent Ergo Comfort driver’s seat to help you get settled behind the wheel on a long slog.

The 1.6-litre diesel engine and DSG automatic gearbox make light work of traffic jams without breaking our £100-a-month budget by a great amount – if you want the more powerful 2.0-litre version then you’d need to choose the cheaper manual gearbox instead.

Our pick: Volkswagen Passat Estate 1.6 TDI SE Business 5d DSG

Vital statistics

  • P11D value: £27,750
  • Power: 120hp
  • Fuel economy: 70mpg
  • CO2 emissions: 104g/km
  • BIK: 22 percent
  • Monthly cost: £102*

Read our full Volkswagen Passat review


Best for city-dwellers: BMW i3


The BMW i3 electric car has always been an attractive choice for an inner-city commute thanks to its ultra-low fuel cost and minuscule BIK tax bills.

It’s powered by a battery which you can charge in just three hours, and in Range Extender configuration like we’ve chosen here, also features a 650cc petrol engine for more miles.

In 2016 the German manufacturer perked up the i3 further with a new 33kWh battery, so the distance you can travel has been boosted to 276 miles between charges. Because of that combustion engine, costs are a little higher – but with just 12g/km of CO2 you can expect to pay just £37 a month* in company car tax.

Standard kit is plentiful with 19-inch alloys, sat-nav, climate control, parking sensors, cruise control and a 6.5-inch screen controlled by BMW iDrive.

Our pick: Range Extender 5d Auto

Vital statistics

  • P11D value: £36,220
  • Power: 170hp
  • Fuel economy: 470mpg
  • CO2 emissions: 13g/km
  • BIK: 9 percent
  • Monthly cost: £55*

Read our full BMW i3 review


Best for countryside commuting: Suzuki Vitara

With a rock-bottom P11D price and a fuel-efficient 1.6-litre diesel engine, the Suzuki Vitara is a go-anywhere weapon with business-friendly running costs.

High ground clearance and four-wheel drive means the Vitara will make light work of any farm tracks or lumpy tarmac you may encounter on your way to work, while remaining composed and comfortable on the road too.

Top spec SZ-T gets you loads of kit, such as keyless entry and start, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control and sat-nav. Automatic climate control and LED projector headlamps complete the roster.

Our pick: 1.6 DDiS SZ5 Allgrip 5d

Vital statistics

  • P11D value: £22,799
  • Power: 120hp
  • Average fuel economy: 67mpg
  • CO2 emissions: 111g/km
  • BIK: 24 percent
  • Monthly cost: £91*

Read our full Suzuki Vitara review


Best for making the journey fun: Ford Focus ST

The Ford Focus ST is a great car to drive whether you pick the petrol or diesel version. The latter is more company car friendly of course, yet looks exactly the same from the outside.

Expect minimal body roll from the lower, stiffer suspension. That heavier diesel lump does affect the agility over the petrol-engined model but this Focus ST will still put a smile on your face during an otherwise boring commute.

So with identical styling and a torquier diesel engine the Focus we’ve picked here makes for a great undercover performance car, despite only costing £101 a month in BIK tax*.

Our pick: 2.0 TDCi ST-2 Hatchback 5d

Vital statistics

  • P11D value: £25,235
  • Power: 185hp
  • Average fuel economy: 67mpg
  • CO2 emissions: 110g/km
  • BIK: 24 percent
  • Monthly cost: £101*

Read our full Ford Focus ST review


Best all-rounder: BMW 1 Series


Standard sat-nav, a BMW badge and rear-wheel drive dynamics – there’s a lot to like about the BMW 1 Series as a company car, and even more so now you can get behind the wheel for £78 a month in BIK tax.

Super-low CO2 brings the 1 Series within the reach of most business users and without compromise too – the three-cylinder diesel unit in this 116d also features in the MINI and packs a surprising amount of punch.

Building on the SE spec, our car features rear parking sensors, DAB radio, air-conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels and sat-nav on a 6.5-inch control display.

Our pick: 116d EfficientDynamics Plus 5d

Vital statistics

  • P11D value: £23,140
  • Power: 116hp
  • Average fuel economy: 83mpg
  • CO2 emissions: 89g/km
  • BIK tax: 20 percent
  • Monthly cost: £78*

Read our full BMW 1 Series review

*Figures based on a 20 percent tax payer for the 2017/18 financial year using the Parkers company car tax calculator.

What to read next:

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Top cars for commuting 

Your complete guide to BIK tax 

Top low-tax diesel company cars 

Cars under £50 per month to tax