MT Fleet car: 10 best fleet cars

You can still have some fun behind the wheel of a company car - in anything from a cheeky little Fiat 500 to a 155 mph Jaguar.

by
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

And, all but two of the top 10 average more than 50 mpg. Steve Fowler reports.

VW GOLF 1.6 TDi 105 BLUEMOTION

We scoffed when VW launched its Bluemotion models, which used old-school diesel engines, super-hard tyres and ugly aerodynamics to add a few mpg and shave a bit of CO2 from the stats sheet. Oh, and to stick a fair few quid on the price too.

The latest Bluemotions couldn't be further from the originals. VW uses state-of-the-art tech to produce cars that are great to drive and easy to own. The best VW, the Golf, is the best Bluemotion of the lot as well. Somehow, VW's boffins have produced a high-quality, five-seat family car that emits just 99g/km of CO2 and does over 70 mpg. Whether it's a company car or a private buy, this Golf is pretty much all the car you'll ever need.

List price: £18,685
Target price: £17,507
Cost per mile: 38.3p
Contract hire per month: £339
CO2: 99g/km
Tax liability: 13%
Average mpg: 74.3
0-60 mph: 11.3 sec
Top speed: 118 mph

FIAT 500: 1.2 POP

What do you want from a small car? It's got to be cute, fun and cheap to own. Cue the 500. It's taken over from the Mini as the coolest car around, with the same sort of retro charm and cheeky driving manners, but at a lower price. And, for a Fiat, it's nicely built and reliable.

Most superminis are used around town so it makes sense that this is a petrol model, without the nasty particulates and hydrocarbons diesels emit. The latest start/stop system means more mpg and less CO2, while this 1.2 version has enough poke to put a smile on your face.

Key to the 500's appeal, like the Mini's, is the ability to personalise it. And no matter how wild you go, its resale value will be strong.

List price: £9,265
Target price: £9,265
Cost per mile: 28.5p
Contract hire per month: £229
CO2: 113g/km
Tax liability: 10%
Average mpg: 58.9
0-60 mph: 12.5 sec
Top speed: 101 mph

BMW 320d ED

Just as Audi and Mercedes show signs of inching in on the 3 Series' territory, BMW moves the goal posts again. The 320d ED is a simply astonishing car. The ED stands for Efficient Dynamics: the combination of tech BMW applies to its cars to improve economy and emissions, but crucially keeping that 'ultimate driving machine' tag intact.

The 320d ED is as good to drive as the rest of the range with sharp steering, bags of grip and hot-hatch performance - 0-62 mph takes eight seconds and the top speed is 142 mph. It's beautifully built and will seat four easily, five at a push. Yet this sports saloon should do close to 70 mpg and slash tax bills with supermini-style emissions of 109g/km.

List price: £27,245
Target price: £25,193
Cost per mile: 51p
Contract hire per month: £476
CO2: 109g/km
Tax liability: 13%
Average mpg: 68.9
0-60 mph: 8.0 sec
Top speed: 142 mph

HONDA CR-Z 1.5i-VTEC SPORT

Let's face it, when it comes to hybrids Honda has well and truly been trumped by Toyota. The Insight is insipid and the Civic hybrids instantly forgettable.

This time, though, it's hit the jackpot. The CR-Z is the first ever sexy hybrid. Its supermodel looks remain true to the concept car we've seen around the motorshows (and we can't say that too often) and if anything it looks better in the flesh than in the pictures. It's fun to drive, too - not particularly fast, even when you select the sportiest of electronic driving modes - but it steers and handles well. It's also a rarity in being a manual hybrid - others are all autos - in keeping with its sporty pretensions. To top it off, this headturner is well priced, while its hybrid motor will keep running costs and tax bills low.

List price: £17,999
Target price: £17,999
Cost per mile: 43.9p
Contract hire per month: £616
CO2: 117g/km
Tax liability: 10%
Average mpg: 56.5
0-60 mph: 9.9 sec
Top speed: 124 mph

LEXUS RX450h SE-L PREMIUM

It's been a tough 12 months for Lexus's hybrid 4x4, yet it still makes it onto this list. So why has it been tough? Speak to any owner and the subject of fuel economy will come up. The brochure says 44.8 mpg, yet closer to 30 mpg seems the norm.

However, the official figures also form the basis for company car tax, so, even though those stats are way off beam, you're still taxed on just 18% of the list price, making the RX an incredibly attractive proposition - as long as you don't expect it to be frugal. What you should expect is first-rate dealer service, impeccable build quality and lashings of standard kit that on top models include one of the best in-car hi-fi systems you'll ever hear.

List price: £57,590
Target price: £54,895
Cost per mile: 130p
Contract hire per month: £1,260
CO2: 148g/km
Tax liability: 18%
Average mpg: 44.8
0-60 mph: 7.8 sec
Top speed: 124 mph

JAGUAR XJ 3.0D LUXURY

If you thought the stereo in the Lexus was good, you ain't heard nothing yet. Jaguar has been working with Brit hi-fi expert Bowers and Wilkins and the result is the best in-car audio experience bar none.

The rest of the car's pretty special too. Jaguar has put the driver at the heart of its luxury car, so some may find the XJ's ride a little firm. But whoever's behind the wheels will enjoy the power from the smooth 3.0-litre V6 diesel, quick-witted steering and masses of grip.

The cabin lacks some of the visual drama of the smaller XF, but it's still striking and packed with tech. Running costs and resale values will be on a par with German rivals.

List price: £53,900
Target price: £51,248
Cost per mile: 127p
Contract hire per month: £1,237
CO2: 184g/km
Tax liability: 28%
Average mpg: 40.1
0-60 mph: 6.0 sec
Top speed: 155 mph

NISSAN QASHQAI 1.5dCi VISIA PURE DRIVE

Nissan led the 4x4 crossover charge with the Qashqai a few years ago, but this facelifted version has massively upped the ante against the likes of the Peugeot 3008, Skoda Yeti and Kia Sportage.

The Qashqai may be a difficult car to spell, but it's an easy car to sell. It's (now) great looking, comfy, well made (in Sunderland), seats five easily and has running costs more akin to a Focus than a Freelander.

Being a Nissan it won't let you down either, while being first in the crossover queue has given it quite a following, so resale values are strong. Pure Drive is Nissan's eco badge, meaning low tax and high(ish) mpg.

List price: £16,695
Target price: £15,738
Cost per mile: 37p
Contract hire per month: £295
CO2: 129g/km
Tax liability: 18%
Average mpg: 57.6
0-60 mph: 12.8 sec
Top speed: 109mph

PEUGEOT 5008 1.6 HDi 110 ACTIVE

There's no lack of choice if you need seven seats these days. If money's no object, go for a Land Rover Discovery. If you need space for the airport run, VW's Caravelle is a sound choice (or Hyundai's cheaper i800). If you want to ferry a five-a-side team around, there's Ford's S-Max.

But Peugeot's 5008 is hard to beat - it's cheap to buy and run, while it uses the same easy-to-shift seating system as Citroen's Grand C4 Picasso, but is both better to drive and better built than its French cousin.

The EGC semi-auto gearbox will improve economy and emissions and is now much smoother to use, and we'd also go for the useful head-up display and full-length glass roof options.

List price: £18,845
Target price: £17,809
Cost per mile: 44p
Contract hire per month: £366
CO2: 140g/km
Tax liability: 20%
Average mpg: 53.3
0-60 mph: 12.9 sec
Top speed: 114 mph

BMW 520d SE

Imagine the shock when the first of the new 5 Series models hit the streets - a BMW that wasn't very good to drive unless you spent the best part of five grand on steering and suspension upgrades. That was the 530d. Thankfully, the 520d is better and more affordable.

It's the efficient dynamics technologies (stop/start, brake energy regeneration, active aerodynamics) that help turn the 520d from a good company car into a great one. You should get 50 mpg without thinking you're driving an eco special.

Where the 5 Series really scores is the quality of the interior, an area where Audi once ruled. Its iDrive multimedia control system is better than rival systems too.

List price: £28,045
Target price: £27,227
Cost per mile: 58p
Contract hire per month: £554
CO2: 129g/km
Tax liability: 18%
Average: mpg 57.6
0-60 mph: 8.1 sec
Top speed: 141 mph

NISSAN LEAF

Okay, strictly speaking, you can't actually buy a Leaf yet. But this year's countdown wouldn't be complete without the most exciting car to go on sale in the next 12 months.

Now the government has confirmed the ú5,000 incentive for Leaf buyers, it'll cost you ú23,350 - a shade more than a Prius, but running costs will be a fraction of the frugal Toyota's. Assuming you can find a charging point.

So what's great about the Leaf? Other than zero emissions? It's surprisingly fun - and normal - to drive. It looks great, seats five, is well built and, electric power aside, is packed with clever tech so you don't suffer a bad bout of 'range anxiety'.

It's the future, it's massively exciting and it'll be here next March.

List price: £23,350
Target price: tba
Cost per mile: tba
Contract hire per month: tba
CO2: 0g/km
Tax liability: 0%
Average mpg: n/a
0-60 mph: tba
Top speed: tba

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