The top 8 non-diesel company cars

Put off by polluting oil-burners? Here are the best petrol, hybrid and electric alternatives.

by Hilton Holloway
Last Updated: 15 Mar 2017

HYUNDAI IONIQ

If anything prevented the rise of the original petrol hybrid car it was cost. Not just that of the small battery pack, but the cost and complexity of using two electric motors as in the Toyota Prius hybrid system. Hyundai engineers have cut straight to a much simpler system for the Ioniq. This uses a single electric motor to help drive the car's double-clutch gearbox. Not only is the IONIQ price competitive with typical diesel hatchbacks, it's also more pleasant to drive than the Prius, with its 'elastic band' CVT gearbox.

HYUNDAI IONIQ 1.6 GDI PREMIUM
List price: £21,795
Power: 139bhp (combined)
CO2 emissions: 79g/km
BIK: 15%
Fuel consumption: 83.1mpg (combined cycle)
0-62mph: 10.3 seconds
Top speed: 115mph
Engine: 104bhp 1.6 petrol and 41bhp electric motor

VOLKSWAGEN GOLF

One of the ironies of VW's attempt to rig its diesel engine software, is that some of the company's other products are well placed to take advantage of any swing back to petrol. It was one of the first to sell small petrol engines boosted by turbochargers, which offered decent economy and diesel-like performance. This year's Golf will get the TSI Evo, with clever heat management and a slippery coating for the cylinders (as well as being able to shut down two of them), which should reduce fuel use by up to 10%.

VW GOLF 1.5 TSI EVO
List price: £24,800*
Power: 148bhp
CO2 emissions: 116g/km
BIK: 20%
Fuel consumption: 55.4mpg (combined cycle)
0-62mph: 8.3 seconds
Top speed: 134mph
Engine: 1.5-litre petrol, variable-vane turbo, cylinder deactivation

LEXUS NX 300h

Toyota's premium range, Lexus, has been plugging away with petrol hybrid transmissions since 2006. The NX 300h is Lexus's entry into the highly competitive - and highly popular - market for medium-size premium SUVs. Here, diesel dominates so the Lexus stands out with a big four-cylinder petrol engine backed up by an electric motor. OK, real world economy will 'only' be a steady 37mpg (3-5mpg behind similar automatic diesels) but the exhaust is whisper clean and it's an exquisitely well-made vehicle.

LEXUS NX 300H 2.5 LUXURY CVT
List price: £35,995
Power: 192bhp
CO2 emissions: 121g/km
BIK: 21%
Fuel consumption: 54.3mpg (combined cycle)
0-62mph: 9.3 seconds
Top speed: 112mph
Engine: 2.5-litre petrol and 141bhp electric motor

BMW i3 RANGE EXTENDER

'Range anxiety' was a phrase that was invented with the introduction of modern pure electric vehicles, when people were worried about being stranded by the roadside because of the limited range. So the BMW i3 is offered with a range extender 'REx' - a simple petrol engine connected to a generator, which provides a flow of electricity to the wheel motors, even when the battery is dead. The i3 is a vividly modern motoring experience, from its carbon composite construction and styling to its blistering pace.

BMW I3 RANGE EXTENDER 5DR AUTO
List price: £34,130
Power: 167bhp
CO2 emissions: Zero at tailpipe
BIK: 7%
Fuel consumption: 470mpg (combined cycle)
0-62mph: 7.9 seconds
Top speed: 93mph
Engine: Electric motor, 600cc two-cylinder petrol generator

AUDI A4

If the shock of the new of an EV is a bit too much for you, Audi's A4 is probably the best of today's petrol-powered, medium-sized executive cars. The new A4 emphasises refinement. It makes good use of the VW Group 1.4-litre turbocharged engine, and could be soon upgraded to the 1.5-litre unit that will appear in this year's Golf. That 1.5 engine will eventually be a '48v mild hybrid' - fitted with a turbocharger powered not by the engine's exhaust gasses but by an electric motor, and have a lithium-ion battery.

AUDI A4 1.4T FSI SE
List price: £26,350
Power: 148bhp
CO2 emissions: 126g/km
BIK: 22%
Fuel consumption: 53.3mpg (combined cycle)
0-62mph: 8.7 seconds
Top speed: 130mph
Engine: 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol

INFINITI QX50

Despite all the investment in new flavours of hybrid, it seems there's still some life in the plain vanilla petrol engine. Infiniti (Nissan's upmarket brand) surprised the automotive world at last September's Paris Motor Show when it revealed a production petrol engine with variable compression ratios (CR). Infiniti's breakthrough is to be able to widely and finely vary the CR during operation so the engine can burn fuel in an optimum manner. The company promises the performance of a petrol V6 and 25% better economy.

INFINITI QX50 PREMIUM VC
List price: £38,000*
Power: 270bhp*
CO2 emissions: 151g/km*
BIK: 27%*
Fuel consumption: 42mph* (combined cycle)
0-62mph: 7.2 seconds*
Top speed: 140mph*
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol with variable CR capability

JAGUAR I-PACE

Tesla's Model S proved that one of the most saleable aspects of an electric vehicle was the speed and exceptional refinement. The associated luxury price tags also make it financially viable for manufacturers to fit long-range battery packs. With the I-PACE luxury electric crossover, Jaguar has also got this message. The I-PACE floorplan is a giant battery pack and there are powerful electric motors on both axles. On sale at year-end, it will be super-fast and probably better built than a Tesla. A smash-hit for Jaguar.

JAGUAR I-PACE PRESTIGE 1ST EDITION
List price: £60,000*
Power: 395bhp combined
CO2 emissions: Zero at tailpipe
BIK: 7% *
Fuel range: 310 miles (New European Driving Cycle)
0-62mph: 4.0 seconds
Top speed: 100mph*
Engine: Twin electric motors, one on each axle

RALEIGH PIONEER E-BIKE

Yes, we know it's not a car but the cycling industry's latest and most promising wheeze, the electrically assisted bike, is worth a look. E-bikes have a motor that assists the rider, potentially doubling the power to the wheels for going uphill or into the wind, or offering miles of pure EV running for those who really don't want to work up a sweat. Motors are limited to 250w, but there's no company car tax and even artificially assisted exercise is better than nothing. For urban commutes, they can make a cyclist out of almost anyone.

RALEIGH PIONEER ELECTRIC CROSS BAR
List price: £1,300
Power: 250w electric motor
CO2 emissions: Zero at wheel
BIK: Zero
Range: 40 miles assisted, 6 miles battery only
Top speed: 15.5mph, restricted
Engine: 250w 36v motor, 400wh battery

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