Currently reading: Top 10 best small company cars
Not every company car has to be a vast SUV or executive saloon. Here are our recommended small family cars

The vast majority of company cars aren’t ego-boosting executive saloons or swaggering SUVs, but small family cars. Intended to slip as easily into domestic life as easily as they do the nine to five, these machines are versatile enough for most drivers yet financially attractive to fleet managers with a keen eye on the bottom line

Here we’ve gathered together our top 10 small company cars (listed in alphabetical order). From all-electric superminis to hard-working hatchbacks with a good dose of driver appeal, these eclectic choices can turn their wheels to everything, all while battering your benefit-in-kind (BIK) bills down to the minimum. 

Autocar's company car tax calculator shows exactly what you'll pay for every make and model

Audi A3 Sportback

Previous generations of the Audi A3 were high on style but short on substance, certainly in terms of dynamics. Now in its fourth generation, the latest model is a much more biddable machine, delivering decent agility and poise when the going gets twisty, even if it’s still a bit of a wet fish when it comes to driver connection. Crucially for company car users, however, it comes in new and improved E-tron plug-in hybrid guise, using the same 201bhp 1.4-litre petrol and electric motor combo you’ll find in the Volkswagen Golf and Skoda Octavia. Capable of 41 miles of electric running and rated at just 8% BIK in Sport guise, it’ll cost lower-rate taxpayers just £563 of their salary.

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BMW 1 Series

There are still some drivers who haven’t quite come to terms with a front-wheel-drive 1 Series, but the truth is that it's a better car for the switch. It has lost none of its dynamic sparkle (if anything, it feels lighter and more alert), yet there’s more space for people and things: it’s a win-win. Unlike with rivals, there are no hybrid or plug-in options, but competitive pricing and a range of efficient petrol and diesels help to minimise the effect on BIK bills. In the past, the diesel-powered 116d would have been the fleet favourite, and that’s still the case, with lower rate earners paying £1532 for an SE. Yet with a BiK rating of 31%, the petrol-powered 118i version is only an extra £93 but is better to drive, with a sweeter-spinning engine and a fractionally less nose-heavy balance.

Kia Niro

There's an all new Kia Niro coming, but even with the current car you’re really spoilt for choice, because the family-friendly Korean machine is available in hybrid, plug-in and fully electric guises. While the self-charging hybrid is most affordable for private buyers, the plug-in hybrid makes way more sense for business users thanks to a BIK rating of 12% as opposed to 27%. However, if an electric car suits your circumstances, then the pure EV e-Niro is better still, with a 1% BIK value that delivers a tax bill of as little as £131 for lower-rate earners (although we’d stump up the £140 for well-equipped 2 trim with the larger, 64kWh battery and its 282 miles of range). No Niro is a thrill-a-minute to drive, but it’s composed, practical and packed with kit and costs peanuts to run. And if you do want a little more style, then you can hold out for the new car that arrives later this year.

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Mercedes-Benz A250e

Bringing a touch of luxury to the compact family hatch class, the A-Class oozes premium appeal. It’s not as crisp handling or plush riding as rivals, but its interior is one of the best in the business, with its slick design, top-notch materials and excellent MBUX infotainment. For those wanting to boss the company car park, the plug-in A250e gives you the look for less, especially in AMG Line Edition. The combination of a 1.5-litre three-cylinder and an electric motor is a little sluggish and isn’t the last word in refinement, but it’ll carry you for around 40 miles on electricity, emit 23g/km and attract a BIK rate of only 8%.

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Mini Countryman Cooper S E Classic ALL4

The super-sized Mini Countryman has always appealed to buyers who love the hatchback’s retro vibe but need a bit more space for the family. With the PHEV version, you can also include company users looking to save a bundle on BIK bills. With a 1.5-litre triple powering the front wheels and an electric motor the rears, the 217bhp is quick and responsive off the line, and while it’s not as much fun as the standard car, it’s still planted and poised, plus the four-wheel-drive set-up offers all-weather peace of mind. Classic trim gets all the kit you’ll need and, like the other models, is rated at 12% BIK, which means lower-rate earners face a modest, £827 tax.

Mini Electric

It doesn’t have to be all work and no play when it comes to business, which is where the Mini Electric comes in. Granted, with its claimed range of 144 miles, you won’t want any appointments to be too far away, and colleagues might start lobbying for you to get your P45 if they’re forced to sit in the back, but for maximum entertainment at minimal BIK, the British machine is hard to beat. With 181bhp, its performance is, ahem, electrifying and it tackles corners with the same acrobatic agility as the combustion-engined versions. Yet while the lowest-cost petrol Mini (a 134bhp Classic) will result in lower-rate earners forking out £996 in tax, the far faster and 2%-rated Level 1 Electric is just £114.

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Peugeot e-208

For those whose daily work duties consist of lots of short hops as well as a daily commute, going fully electric for their next company car is well worth considering. If you take the plunge, the Peugeot e-208 should be bubbling away at the top of your shortlist. For starters, it’s ridiculously cost-effective for business use: its 2% BIK rating combined with the favoured Allure Premium (all the kit, including 3D dials and larger infotainment) trim’s £31,440 P11D price results in a tax bill of just £126 for lower-rate earners. It’s also soothing to drive, its 134bhp motor giving effortless acceleration and the supple suspension soaking away bumps. A range of 217 miles and 100kW charging capability help further reduce stress levels, and it’s just about roomy enough as an occasional family car stand-in.

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Toyota Corolla

There used to be a time when a drive in a Toyota Corolla was a sure-fire cure for insomnia, the Japanese machine being a worthy but dull makeweight in the family hatch ranks. The latest car changes all that, though, proving to be as uplifting to drive as the best and shading many of them when it comes to style. As is the Toyota norm these days, the Corolla is hybrid powered, which makes it an attractive company car choice. There are 1.8-litre and 2.0-litre self-charging petrol-electric self-charging options, with the former attracting a BiK rating of as little as 25%, but the 181bhp output is worth the modest uplift in BIK to 26% and the subsequent small increase in your tax bill.

Volkswagen Golf GTE

As it homes in on its half century, the evergreen Golf continues to be as relevant as ever. The latest, eighth-generation machine is arguably the best ever, blending quality, space and usability with a driving experience that neatly balances the demands of ride and handling. For company car users, there’s lots to recommend, too, with a range of efficient engines that include a pair of tax-busting plug-in hybrids. Both use the same 1.4-litre petrol and electric combo, but the racy GTE gets a 41bhp power boost over the standard TFSIe, taking the total to 242bhp. Featuring the visual flair of the GTI with just enough of its on-road poise, the GTE will travel 40 miles in EV mode, is rated at just 8% for BIK and costs little more in tax for standard- rate earners.

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Volkswagen ID 3

Charged with leading VW into an all-electric future, the ID 3 combines bold style with a roomy interior and, depending on the battery fitted, a lengthy range. Most important for business users, it’s rated at just 2% BIK, so lower-rate taxpayers will pay just £162 for it even in its range-topping guise. In fact, this is the model we’d plump for, the Tour Pro S, combining a zippy 201bhp motor with the largest, 77kWh battery for a claimed range of 340 miles. The rear-engined, rear-drive VW is good to drive, too, in an accurate and planted sort of way, and the ride is controlled and comfortable. As a cost-effective company car that doubles as desirable family transport, the ID 3 takes some beating.

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