10 Best Fleet Cars

Our checklist of top company wheels to suit all tastes and purposes, whether it's vroom-vroom you need or just enough room for all the family. Steve Fowler sorts the green from the lean and mean, from £18k to £80k.

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Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

BMW 320d ES

Is this the greatest company car ever? Could be. What Car?'s 2006 Car of the Year is everything you'd expect a BMW to be: great to drive, superbly built, plenty of space - and it'll hold its value well. What you might not expect is 18% benefit-in-kind taxation (thanks to low 118 g/km CO2 emissions) and mpg in the high 40s. It's decently equipped these days with aircon, CD player and alloys as standard. The only downside is its popularity - last year BMW sold more 3 Series than Ford did Mondeos.

List price: £25,435
Target price: £23,644
Cost per mile: 50.2p
Contract hire per month: £483
CO2 128 g/km
Tax liability 21%
Average mpg 48.9
0-60mph 8.6 sec
Top speed 139 mph
JD Power dealer rating: 3

LEXUS RX400h

Here's proof that 4x4 drivers can be green. Well, almost. The RX400h is another car to use the now-familiar hybrid technology to boost performance, lower fuel consumption and provide a tax-friendly CO2 figure. Like most Lexuses (only Alan Partridge refers to them as Lexi), it's a pretty soulless and painless experience to drive - all controls are slick and easy, the quality is okay, the stereo's good and the dealers will bend over every which way to please you. The only real excitement comes from seeing just how far and how fast you can go on electric power, and from flicking V signs at the anti-4x4 brigade at the school gates.

List price £36,415
Target price £34,282
Cost per mile 70p
Contract hire per month £759
CO2 192 g/km
Tax liability 23%
Average mpg 34.9
0-60mph 7.6 sec
Top speed 124 mph
JD Power dealer rating: 5

JAGUAR XK COUPE

If you think the XK is gorgeous, wait till you see what else Jaguar has up its sleeve. Until next year, when the new 5 Series-rivalling XF hits the streets, this is the most jaw-dropping Jag. It's a 4.2-litre V8 coupe with more than a hint of E-type about it. It's classy, cool, goes like stink and makes a fabulous noise. Unless you really like the rain, avoid the convertible and go for the sleeker (and more refined) coupe. Now that Aston Martin and Jaguar no longer sit under the same Ford umbrella, the guys at Jag are free to boast that they have a better car than the Aston V8 Vantage. In value terms, they're right. For what you're paying, the XK is a steal.

List price £60,097
Target price £60,097
Cost per mile 138p
Contract hire per month £796
CO2 269 g/km
Tax liability 35%
0-60mph 5.9 sec
Top speed 155 mph
JD Power dealer rating: 4

FORD MONDEO 2.0 TDCI 140 EDGE

The new Mondeo is a big deal for Ford. In fact, it's just big - bigger even than Ford's S-Max seven-seat MPV. That translates to excellent space for five and a boot you could get lost in. Combined with a strong and frugal diesel engine, excellent refinement and a comfy ride, this is a car the minicab drivers of the world can't wait to hit the used market. Until then, you should be chuffed to bits if your company sends a Mondeo your way - it's better than many much pricier executive cars, but it doesn't have the all-important prestige badge.

List price: £17,395
Target price: £16,407
Cost per mile: 45p
Contract hire per month: £364
CO2: 156 g/km
Tax liability: 21%
Average mpg: 47.9
0-60mph: 9.5sec
Top speed: 130 mph
JD Power dealer rating: 3

BMW 118d

They're clever folk at BMW. This, they proudly tell us, is the most economical BMW of modern times. It'll cost you just £35 a year in road tax. You'll pay company car tax on just 18% of its £18,225 starting price. And you'll still be able to let the boy or girl racer in you out once in a while. By using technology that switches the engine off when it's not needed in stop/start driving, plus plenty of other clever gadgetry that'll silence the pub bore, you should comfortably clear 60 mpg. Not great if you fancy something nice from the Nectar catalogue, but it goes some way to compensate for the lumpy ride quality and lack of rear legroom.

List price £18,225
Target price £16,936
Cost per mile 37.3p
Contract hire per month £358
CO2 129 g/km
Tax liability 18%
Average mpg 60.1
0-60mph 8.9 sec
Top speed 130 mph
JD Power dealer rating: 3

TOYOTA PRIUS 1.5 HYBRID T3

Who'd have thought that a car that's a yawn to look at and just as exciting to drive could become one of the most fashionable cars to be seen in? Meet the Toyota Prius - you may not know how to pronounce it (it's 'Pree-us'), but you will know it's about as eco-friendly as you can be on four wheels. The small petrol engine sits alongside an electric motor, so you can use electric power in town (but be mindful of pedestrians listening out for the sound of an engine) and the petrol engine kicks in as you need more power. On the open road, the electric motor helps out the petrol engine, and the batteries get recharged as you're braking. It drives like any other car, won't go wrong (it's a Toyota) and you'll be taxed on just 12% of the list price.

List price: £17,777
Target price: £16,571
Cost per mile: 38p
Contract hire per month: £339
CO2: 106 g/km
Tax liability: 12%
Average mpg: 65.7
0-60mph: 10.9 sec
Top speed: 106mph
JD Power dealer rating: 4

AUDI A5 2.7 TDI

Could this finally be the Audi to out-drive its equivalent BMW? No. Sorry to disappoint you. What this new coupe, based on next year's A4, does show is that Audi has discovered curves. It still wears a goatee beard at the front, but the lines flow back from there in a very un-Germanic way. This is one seriously good-looking car. And it is great to drive, just not as sharp as a 3 Series Coupe. Nor does it have as much space if you want to take more than one passenger. It does have a beautifully appointed cabin, and with the Audi brand pretty hot at the moment, it's one of the cars to be seen in this year.

List price: £33,430
Target price: £33,430
Cost per mile: 77p
Contract hire per month: £655
CO2: 191 g/km
Tax liability: 28%
Average mpg: 39.2
0-60mph: 5.9 sec
Top speed: 155 mph
JD Power dealer rating: 3

LEXUS LS600H

Think of this as a Prius for toffs. You'll need to fork out more than £80k for the daddy of all hybrids, but the LS uses broadly similar technology to the Prius. In this case, the electric motor helps boost performance considerably (0-60 mph in 6.3 sec), yet you should still see diesel-esque mpg returns (around 30 mpg). Crucially for company users, you'll be taxed on only 28% of the (hefty) list price. However, for that money you not only get a technological tour de force, you get a car that's massively refined, exceptionally built and with one of the best stereos in the business. You can even specify rear seats that will give you a variety of massages. Oh, and Lexus dealers are renowned for pampering you, too.

List price: £81,400
Target price: £81,400
Cost per mile: tba
Contract hire per month: tba
CO2: 219 g/km
Tax liability: 28%
Average mpg: 30.4
0-60mph: 6.3 sec
Top speed: 155 mph
JD Power dealer rating: 5

BMW X5 3.0D

At the risk of turning into a one-man hybrid appreciation society, here's a big 4x4 that (a) isn't a Lexus hybrid and (b) doesn't fall into the highest company-car tax band. The new X5 is a much better car than the Lexus RX - it drives better, is built better and has a seven-seat option - and BMW has put thought into making its diesel engine as green as can be. So, unlike the Lexus and almost all other 4x4s, you'll pay tax on only 34% of the list price. You'll still get from zero to 60 mph in just a shade over eight seconds, though. There are still obvious footballers' wives connotations with the X5, but if this is to be your first foray into the world of 4x4s, the fact that this car drives pretty much as well as a 5 Series is a big plus.

List price: £40,220
Target price: £40,220
Cost per mile: 82p
Contract hire per month: £727
CO2: 215 g/km
Tax liability: 34%
Average mpg: 34.9
0-60mph: 8.1 sec
Top speed: 134mph
JD Power dealer rating: 3

FORD S-MAX 2.0 TDCI 140 ZETEC

At last, an MPV that's, well, sexy. If you have kids, you no longer have to drive a car that reveals a little too much about your trips to swimming lessons and the pony club. The S-Max is popular among those with families and those with a 'lifestyle', whatever that is. It must be anyone who wants a car that'll do pretty much anything at any time. Fold all the seats down and you have a removals van. Lift the middle row and you have a great driving five-seater. Up with the third row and you and six others can enjoy the ride. It's easy to convert, nicely put together and really good to drive. A silly handbrake, though.

List price: £20,495
Target price: £19,077
Cost per mile: 50p
Contract hire per month: £429
CO2: 169 g/km
Tax liability: 23%
Average mpg: 44.1
0-60mph: 9.7 sec
Top speed: 121 mph
JD Power dealer rating: 3

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