Low-tax company cars coming soon

  • Raft of plug-in hybrid models unveiled
  • Stylish VW and Kia four-door coupes seen
  • Affordable Suzuki, Ford and Hyundais coming

With BIK tax rates set to increase once again as we move into the new tax year, a number of low-tax models stand out at this year’s Geneva Motor Show.

Heading these up is a trio of plug-in hybrids from Kia and sister company Hyundai, followed by an altogether more upmarket Audi which uses hybrid tech to maximise performance as well as economy. Meanwhile, Volkswagen and Kia are showing off sleek five-door coupes, while more sensible and affordable models on the way from Hyundai, Ford and Suzuki.

Trio of Kia and Hyundai plug-in hybrids

The Niro crossover hybrid has been rebooted in plug-in form for lower fuel consumption and BIK-minimising official CO2 emissions. Going on sale in the third quarter of 2017, this PHEV features a 1.6-litre petrol engine and a lithium-polymer battery pack allowing for around 33 miles of claimed electric-only range.

It also offers the prospect of 30g/km CO2 emissions – enough to put it into the lowest 9% BIK band. Additional power over the standard car makes it faster to accelerate, requiring 10.8 seconds to get to 62mph. Meanwhile, boot space stands at 324 litres – down from 427 litres in the standard hybrid version.

The Kia Optima Sportswagon PHEV, on the other hand, features a 2.0-litre petrol engine and should emit around 34g/km – again putting it into the 9% BIK band. Its official electric-only range should outstrip the Niro, with more than 38 miles possible. In estate form this plug-in hybrid offers 133 litres more boot space than the equivalent saloon at 440 litres.

The new Hyundai Ioniq plug-in hybrid is the most economical of these three, returning official CO2 emissions of 26g/km and 256.8mpg. Due to arrive in showrooms in July this PHEV comes with an eight-year, 125,000-mile warranty for the batteries, meaning that all bar the very highest-mileage company drivers should have full battery cover for the life of their lease.

The Audi Q8, on the other hand, uses mild hybrid technology to boost acceleration as much as reducing its thirst for fuel. With a 3.0-litre petrol engine and an electric turbocharger the Q8 concept produces a substantial 476hp, helping it to sprint to 62mph in a rapid 4.7 seconds.

The mild hybrid kit, however, cuts 25g/km from the CO2 emissions. With no claimed emissions figure for this car yet, and the prospect of a very high list price, this is likely only to be an option for the highest of high flyers.

Upmarket five-door coupes

Taking up the baton from the VW CC – as a plush five-door coupe that sits above the Passat – is the Arteon, which will be available with a range of turbocharged petrol and diesel motors.

Engines will vary from a frugal 1.5-litre petrol with cylinder-deactivation tech, which maximises economy when driving gently – to 2.0-litre models with 150hp to 280hp. CO2 emissions are yet to be confirmed across the range, though the most powerful all-wheel drive 2.0-litre petrol and diesels slot into the 31% and 32% BIK bands – meaning pricey bills.

We anticipate that the 150hp diesel should squeeze into the 26% tax band, however, meaning slightly lower monthly bills.

Also recently revealed is the Kia Stinger – another attention-grabbing five-door coupe. It’s the 2.2-litre diesel 200hp Stinger that’s likely to have the most appeal for company car drivers, though exact economy and emissions figures are yet to be confirmed.

Sensible superminis and estate in the pipeline

More affordable models are coming, too, from Hyundai, Ford and Suzuki. Hyundai has now unveiled details of the i30 Tourer – the estate version of its VW Golf rival.

With 602 litres of boot space on offer with the rear seats up, rising to 1,650 litres with the seats folded, it should appeal to those who need the biggest boot for the lowest price.

Emissions starting at 95g/km – for BIK liability of 21% – mean that company drivers should be able to benefit from low tax charges.

Cheaper still is the new Suzuki Swift. This updated supermini arrives in June with BIK charges starting at 18% and frugal 1.2-litre and turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol engines. This small car will be available with a mild hybrid system on the former engine – which offers a greater balance of performance and economy – along with a four-wheel drive model.

At the other end of the supermini spectrum is the Ford Fiesta – the UK’s bestselling car. Ford has just released details for the new 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol ST model. Despite scampering to 62mph in a rapid 6.7 seconds, this 200hp model should see you paying just 21% in BIK charges.

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