Fleet Car: 10 Best Fleet Cars

Low-emission, fuel-efficient motoring no longer demands big compromises on power, style or load-carrying capabilities.Check out Steve Fowler's 2008 list of top company wheels for the savviest ways to meet your needs.

Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

BMW 318d ES

Last year, we described the 318d's bigger brother, the 320d, as possibly the greatest company car ever. Good job we hedged our bets, because the 318d is. So what changed? It all comes down to two words: efficient dynamics. That's BMWspeak for clever tech that gives the 318d more power than last year, while it's more fuel-efficient and greener. It uses braking power to charge the battery, a display to tell you when's best to change gear, and stop/start, which kills the engine at the lights. The engine starts again when you dip the clutch, but that's the price you pay for being green. The best bit is that you can still enjoy your time at the wheel: think of this as the ultimate green driving machine.

List price: £23,870
Target price: £22,192
Cost per mile: 49.0p
Contract hire per month: £477
CO2: 123 g/km
Tax liability: 18%
Average mpg: 60.1
0-60 mph: 9.3 sec
Top speed: 130 mph

Ford Focus 1.6 TDCi 110 Style

All hail, the mighty Focus - Britain's bestseller and rightly so. Last year's refresh gives it the hint of desirability it never had before, while in terms of quality, kit and space, it has always had the beating of the ubiquitous VW Golf. Now there's a new string to its bow: this model has just been voted our Green Car of the Year. Not for us the slightly weird Econetic version. No, the TDCi 110 Style is cheaper, better equipped and much better to drive than Ford's 'green' Focus. Yet it gets within a few g/km of the CO2 rating of the Econetic, so sits in the same tax band. It's such a complete package, you'll look forward to getting your next hire car.

List price: £16,300
Target price: £15,167
Cost per mile: 35.3p
Contract hire per month: £304
CO2: 119 g/km
Tax liability: 13%
Average mpg: 62.7
0-60 mph: 10.9 sec
Top speed: 117 mph

Audi Q5 2.0 TDI SE

If you must have a 4x4, how about a slightly smaller one? Like the new Audi Q5. It looks much like the bigger Q7, but with average fuel economy of well over 40mpg it's proof that 4x4s can be green. The navigation system in the Q5 does its bit too by helping you plan the greenest route. And how about cup holders that will warm or cool your drink? Worth the admission price (expected to be around £30,000) alone. Too much for you? You could always save the best part of 10 grand and opt for the VW version, the Tiguan, instead. You'll have to heat your own drinks, though.

List price: c£30,000
Target price: tbc
Cost per mile: tbc
Contract hire per month: tbc
CO2: 175 g/km
Tax liability: 26%
Average mpg: 42.1
0-60 mph: 9.5 sec
Top speed: 126 mph

Citroen C5 1.6 HDi VTR+

Shouldn't Ford's Mondeo be sitting here? Okay if you want to run with the herd, but what about something else just as appealing? The new C5 may feel a bit German, as the ads keep telling us, but it's the Frenchness that makes it special. Even if you spend countless hours pounding up and down the motorways, you'll not find a more comfortable or more refined cruiser. The C5 is a return to plush-riding French cars, while the deep silence in the cabin induces a zen-like state. It more than stacks up on running costs, yet its 1.6 diesel engine provides enough go for a large car while keeping CO2 (and tax bills) low.

List price: £17,595
Target price: £16,626
Cost per mile: 46.6p
Contract hire per month: £289
CO2: 149 g/km
Tax liability: 20%
Average mpg: 50.4
0-60 mph: 13.4 sec
Top speed: 119 mph

Jaguar XF 2.7TD V6 Luxury

This car is so good it makes you proud to be British. The Luxury is all about drama: the starter button glows red, pulsing like a heartbeat, and when you start the engine, the gear lever rises from the centre console and the air vents swivel open. The combination of wood, leather, carpet and aluminium, all bathed in a cool blue light, is so trendy it'll make you feel 10 years younger. And it drives brilliantly, too: there's an unusually good balance between ride and handling, plus decent engine and excellent refinement. This car alone was probably enough to make Ratan Tata buy the company.

List price: £33,900
Target price: £33,900
Cost per mile: 76.9p
Contract hire per month: £687
CO2: 199 g/km
Tax liability: 30%
Average mpg: 37.6
0-60 mph: 7.7 sec
Top speed: 143 mph

Mazda 6 Estate 2.0D TS

Remember the estate car? So do the many buyers who are turning their backs on 4x4s but still feel the need for style and practicality. Style? With the latest batch there's not a wood panel in sight. Cars like the Mazda 6 are real head-turners, yet offer enough practicality for anyone with a 'lifestyle'. You don't have to own a jet ski or Italian mountain bike to fancy the 6 Estate more than the hatchback it's based on. There's only a £600 premium for the extra space (it's usually £1,000+), and the Mazda 6 is good to drive, spacious, great value and will go on and on ...

List price: £17,930
Target price: £16,687
Cost per mile: 42.5p
Contract hire per month: £328
CO2: 151 g/km
Tax liability: 21%
Average mpg: 49.6
0-60 mph: 10.9 sec
Top speed: 123 mph

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso 1.6 HDi EGS VTR+

What? Two Citroens mixing it with the BMWs and Lexi? Things are looking good for Citroen at the moment, with a range of cars that seem to suit their markets down to a T. The seven-seat Picasso is a fine example of a thoroughly well-thought-out car. If you need to shift people but don't want a bulky people-carrier, this is brilliant. The seats fold away in a flash, there's lots of space, a great view out and the quality is high. The ride is comfy, too. Running costs are low, especially with the clever EGS auto gearbox - it's more frugal than the manual.

List price: £19,430
Target price: £18,659
Cost per mile: 45.7p
Contract hire per month: £371
CO2: 150 g/km
Tax liability: 21%
Average mpg: 49.6
0-60 mph: 13.4 sec
Top speed: 112 mph

Lexus LS600h L

Another repeat from last year's list, the limo for the chairman with a conscience is fast becoming something of a cult hit. It's not especially green, unless you take into account the available performance - this is one seriously swift car, yet can still, just about, top 30mpg. Chances are that if you're sitting in the back seat enjoying a spot of shiatsu massage from the rear relaxation pack, you won't notice the speed. In fact, you'll not think you're in a car at all. Crank up the awesome Mark Levinson hi-fi, recline the seat and pull up the foot-rest (electronically, of course) and you could be in your front room.

List price: £80,100
Target price: £75,063
Cost per mile: n/a
Contract hire per month: £2,086
CO2: 219 g/km
Tax liability: 29%
Average mpg: 30.4
0-60 mph: 6.3 sec
Top speed: 155 mph

Mini Cooper Clubman 1.6D

Drive a Mini Clubman Cooper D and you're one of two things: either a savvy car buyer who appreciates a well-built, great-driving, hugely economical small car; or you're an estate agent. The Clubman may dispense with some of the new Mini's cutesy charm (not a bad thing, in some eyes), but it's a sight more interesting and adds a touch of practicality to an otherwise pretty selfish choice. With downsizing the buzzword among many car buyers, the Mini gives you the quality, kit and image you might be used to, while running costs are pretty much as low as they can go. Once you've stumped up a reasonable enough purchase price, you'll rarely worry about filling up with fuel, and you'll be amazed at the resale value if you can ever be parted from your Clubman.

List price: £15,400
Target price: £15,400
Cost per mile: 34.5p
Contract hire per month: £306
CO2: 109 g/km
Tax liability: 13%
Average mpg: 68.9
0-60 mph: 10.4 sec
Top speed: 120 mph

VW Scirocco 2.0 TFSI GT

Whatever next - the return of the Capri? Not all the throwbacks have been successful, but the new Scirocco could well be a car to reminisce about in 2038. It's the Golf GTi's sexier sibling. It uses much of the GTi's undergarments, but with an engineer's hindsight. So it's even better to drive, and more comfortable. And although it seats only four, the rear seats are quite practical. You'll have to join the waiting list for the excellent 2.0 TFSI version, but get your name down fast for the clever 1.4 TFSI; this may sound weedy, but a combination of turbo- and supercharging makes it as much fun as the 2.0-litre, much greener and a couple of grand cheaper.

List price: £20,940
Target price: £20,940
Cost per mile: 52p
Contract hire per month: tbc
CO2: 179 g/km
Tax liability: 23%
Average mpg: 37.2
0-60 mph: 7.2 sec
Top speed: 146 mph

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