Best hybrid company cars 2021
Business users and fleet customers could save thousands by picking one of our best hybrid company cars
Hybrids and plug-in hybrids (PHEV) can be a great way of reducing your monthly motoring costs. Thanks to the addition of an electric motor and a couple of batteries, gone are the days of boring cheap-to-run, tax-effecient company cars. Now, carmakers are producing fun to drive hybrids that will slash your bills at the same time. Most are developing new models and adding hybrid powertrains into their most popular models.
Hybrids of all types are excellent fleet cars because they're designed to produce less emissions and use less fuel thanks to electric driving capabilities. Plus, their lower emissions mean lower Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax rates.
So by opting for a hybrid or plug-in hybrid company car, you should be able to pay less tax while also enjoying the reduced running costs that come with filling up less frequently. Here are our picks for the best hybrid company cars…
The BMW 3 Series has been among the very best executive cars since its inception in the late '70s. So it comes as no surprise that the latest version – complete with its plug-in hybrid powertrain – is one of the most entertaining and cost-effective company cars money can buy.
The previous-generation 330e only offered modest electric range, but the latest one is capable of up to 37 miles without waking the petrol engine. The boot is slightly smaller than in the purely petrol or diesel derivatives, but the cost savings will outweigh this small compromise for many company-car drivers and a 330e Touring estate version is offered for those who need to carry more. Read our full review here.
As far as company-car tax goes, the BMW 530e plug-in hybrid is at the pricier end of the hybrid scale. There’s no getting away from the high list price, but you’re getting a very capable executive car for your money: 0-62mph takes just 6.2 seconds and you’ll enjoy the limousine-like luxury offered by all 5 Series models.
An update in 2019 saw the 530e get a little extra electric range, plus the option of xDrive four-wheel drive. The standard model will now do 41 miles on electric power thanks to its slightly larger battery. Read our full review here.
BMW X5 xDrive45e
The latest BMW X5 xDrive45e is one of those cars that could be a game-changer if you're looking for the pace and performance of a luxury SUV, but the running costs of a small hatchback. Now fitted with a punchy six-cylinder petrol engine and beefy 111bhp electric motor, the X5 hybrid is claimed to do more than 50 miles in electric mode.
In our experience, you’re likely to manage closer to 35 miles, but that’s still much better than the Volvo XC90 above. The BMW's luxurious cabin is a pleasant place to while away the miles, and there’s plenty of room to take the family along for the ride. Beware, however, that unlike the rest of the X5 range, there’s no seven-seat option. Read our full review here.
Kia Niro PHEV
Kia offers no less than three different Niro models, so there should be something to suit all driving styles and budgets. We love the all-electric e-Niro (it was our 2019 Car of the Year) and while the standard hybrid is great for those without access to a charging point, the plug-in hybrid is the one that can help company-car drivers save substantially over the course of their three-year lease.
Its 30-mile electric range can’t match that of the Mercedes below, but its lower list price should translate into small savings: the Niro PHEV in basic 2 spec will cost higher-rate company-car drivers £1,208 in BiK tax during the 2020/21 financial year, while the better-equipped 3 means a contribution of £1,276. Read our full review here.
Mercedes A 250 e
The Mercedes A-Class frequently features among the UK’s best-selling cars, and the introduction of a plug-in hybrid model is likely to cement the hatchback’s place near the top of that list. Don’t be put off by the fact it’s only available in top-spec AMG Line trim – this gives the BMW 1 Series and Volkswagen Golf rival a sporty look, with loads of the kit that so many company-car users desire.
A 44-mile electric range means those covering short distances with regular access to a charging point could effectively run the A 250 e as a pure-electric car – relying on the petrol engine for longer journeys or motorway driving. The combination of relatively low list price and a long electric range means it’ll cost higher-rate taxpayers just £790 in BiK during the 2020/21 financial year. Read our full review here.
Mercedes E 300 de
One of our favourite hybrid company cars is the Mercedes E 300 de plug-in hybrid. It’s quite unusual in that instead of using petrol power, the E 300 de uses a 2.0-litre diesel engine paired with a powerful electric motor (although there is an E 300 e petrol-electric version, too – we've compared the two here). That means even when the battery is depleted, you still benefit from more than 40mpg fuel economy.
The E 300 de has all the same luxury features as the standard E-Class, wrapped up in your choice of saloon or estate bodystyles. An E 300 de might cost a few hundred pounds more than a BMW 530e in BiK over three years, but you’ll save substantially on fuel costs if you regularly run the diesel engine on longer journeys. The sheer choice on offer, combined with potentially unbeatable running costs, makes the Mercedes E-Class a top hybrid company car. Read our full review here.
Peugeot 508 Hybrid
A worthy alternative to some of its compact executive rivals from BMW and Mercedes, the 508 is a left-field choice that's stylish inside and out, as well as being very efficient. It features a well integrated hybrid system with a claimed electric range of up to 39 miles.
It makes a lot of sense on the company-car front thanks to its 10% BiK rating, which equates to a £690 annual payment for 20% taxpayers. The fact that the 508 is a comfortable, refined and uniquely designed alternative to the relatively unimaginative mainstream is something of a bonus. Read our full review here.
SEAT Leon e-Hybrid
Based on the same basic platform as the Volkswagen Golf GTE and Skoda Octavia iV, the Leon e-Hybrid offers a sporty yet sensible take on the plug-in hybrid recipe. Power comes from a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine and an electric motor, with a 13kWh battery offering up to a claimed 40-mile range.
With a BiK rate of just 7%, there's plenty here to attract company-car users looking for a lower-cost alternative to the Golf, which sits in the 11% bracket. To us, the SEAT offers much better value, feeling closer to its Volkswagen sibling than ever in terms of quality and driving experience. Read our full review here.
Skoda Superb iV
If space is a major consideration but you don't want to pay over the odds for the privilege, the Superb iV makes a lot of sense as a company car. Its plug-in hybrid drivetrain is much the same as you'll find in the SEAT Leon above, with the same 1.4-litre petrol engine and 13kWh battery offering a similar 35-mile range. The difference here is that it's fitted to a much larger and more practical car, complete with massive boot and acres of rear legroom.
BiK is low, too – entry-level cars sit in the 11% band, meaning manageable payments for both 20% and 40% taxpayers. In fact, payments will be lower than an equivalent large executive saloon, as the Superb boasts a considerably lower list price, and thus P11D value. Read our full review here.
Volkswagen Passat GTE
Whether you want the executive class of a saloon or the space and practicality of an estate, the latest Volkswagen Passat GTE aims to cover all bases. We love its classy interior and refined driving experience, while the 36-mile electric range should be more than enough for drivers looking to commute without using a drop of petrol. With a BiK rating of 11%, the Passat is an alarmingly affordable company car. Read our full review here.
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