Currently reading: Top 10 best hybrid company cars
If you’re a high-mileage company car driver looking to slash your tax bills, hybrid power is the way to go

Combining a traditional internal combustion engine with an electric motor, these cars help keep CO2 emissions and therefore benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax bills low. Yet they also have the flexibility to cover big distances without bringing on an attack of range anxiety.

Both the so-called self-charging and the plug-in versions offer some big salary sacrifice savings over traditional petrol and diesel models, making them a no-brainer for both users and fleet managers. Here we’ve gathered 10 of our favourite models from a wide variety of classes, from rugged SUVs to rapid sports saloons.

Given that each has a very different brief, we’ve listed them alphabetically, but every one of our top 10 features a winning blend of cost-effective running costs, driver appeal and a generous specification.

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

BMW 330e Sport

99 Company 0

Being a sober-suited executive doesn’t mean you can’t have a bit of fun, as the BMW 330e proves. Driving with the same connected feel and cast-iron composure as a conventional 3 Series, the plug-in hybrid also throws in some tax-busting company car running costs.

A smaller battery than its arch rival, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, means it can only manage 38 electric-only miles on a charge, while CO2 emissions of 30g/km mean a BIK rate of 12%, so a higher-rate earner will face a £2086 tax bill for an SE Pro. However, the 3 Series has variety on its side, with a little extra cash opening the door to Touring estate and xDrive four-wheel-drive versions.

BMW X5 xDrive45e xLine

98 Company 0

The car that put the ‘sports’ in sports utility vehicle, the X5 has matured into a fine all-rounder. Now in its fourth generation, it manages to blend luxury, refinement and space into a high-end, high-riding package that delivers a healthy sprinkling of driver appeal.

The good news for company car drivers is the plug-in hybrid variant packs the best engine, its combination of electric motor and creamy-smooth 3.0-litre petrol straight six serving up 387bhp and just 27g/km of CO2 for a remarkably low 8% BIK rate. There’s virtually nothing in cost between xLine and M Sport trims, but we would go for the subtler look of the former.

BMW 545e xDrive SE

97 Company 0

Aiming to deliver the best of both worlds, the 545e couples BMW’s silky-smooth and muscular straight six with a 107bhp electric motor to deliver a combined might of 387bhp. It’s no lightweight, but it still offers much the same driver engagement as a standard 5 Series, as well as a cabin that’s spacious and rich in high-tech premium appeal.

For companies, the car’s 39gkm CO2 emissions (41g/km for the M Sport) will be the main concern, as this figure attracts an 12% BIK score. For higher-rate earners, that means a £2868 tax burden, which is only a few hundred pounds more than a similarly xDrive-equipped but four-cylinder 530e.

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Land Rover Discovery Sport P300e R-Dynamic HSE

96 Company 0

Handsome, good to drive and with unrivalled go-anywhere capability, the recently refreshed Discovery Sport remains one of our favourite compact SUVs. Its appeal has only been enhanced by the addition of a plug-in hybrid option, its combination of 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, a rear-mounted electric motor and a 15kWh battery making it a surprisingly cost-effective company car.

Its 12% BIK rate isn’t as low as some rivals', but business users will be paying half as much in tax as for a front-wheel-drive diesel version. The Urban Edition is the cheapest, but for the sake of £90, we would plump for the luxuriously appointed R-Dynamic HSE.

Mercedes-Benz C300e AMG Line

95 Company 0

Few badges carry as much cache in the corporate car park as the three-pointed star. Better still, opt for the plug-in hybrid version of the latest C-Class and you will pay less in company tax than you would on a petrol supermini. Capable of an extremely impressive 62 miles in electric-only mode, the petrol-electric C-Class attracts a BIK rate of just 8%, making the AMG Line trim a £1556 salary sacrifice for a higher-rate earner.

The rival BMW 3 Series is more engaging to drive, but the C-Class is more comfortable, with a classier interior. And its 2.0-litre petrol and electric motor combine to deliver a compelling blend of muscle and refinement, plus that unrivalled EV-only range.

Peugeot 508 PSE

94 Company 0

The car credited with reminding us that Peugeot still knows a thing or two about ride and handling, the 508 PSE has been something of a revelation. Serving up that deliciously fluid feel on the road that used to be French-car calling card, the 355bhp 508 PSE is fast and fun yet soaks away bumps with limousine levels of comfort.

Is it worth north of £50,000, though? As a private purchase, it’s a tough ask, but as a company car, its 42g/km emissions and 26-mile electric-only range land it in the 14% BIK tax bracket, meaning higher rate earners will pay up just over £1500 less in tax than for a 128bhp 1.2-litre petrol GT Premium model. There’s definitely a business case that can be made for that.

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Skoda Superb iV SE Technology

93 Company 0

The plug-in hybrid Superb may be a very sensible choice for business users wanting to save a few quid on their salary sacrifice, but there’s more to the Skoda than a vast interior, a big boot and a small tax bill. That said, thanks to its 1.4-litre petrol and electric motor, the Czech fastback emits just 23g/km and falls into the 12% BIK band, meaning a lower-rate taxpayer will fork out just £895, which isn’t very much at all.

Yet the Superb iV is also good to drive, with crisp handling and a controlled ride, and with 215 electrically assisted horsepower on tap, it’s no slouch. You're never going to get up early just to take it for a blast, but there’s enough dynamic appeal that you might take the long way home from the office.

Toyota RAV4 PHEV and Suzuki Across

92 Company 0

We’ve bundled this pair of plug-in hybrid SUVs together because, well, they’re essentially the same car. A large 18.1kWh battery means a claimed 46 miles of EV running, CO2 emissions of 22g/km and a very attractive BIK tax rating of 8%. It’s not the most exciting to drive, but it’s precise, composed and, crucially, very comfy. It also goes well, dusting the 0-62mph dash in just 6.0sec, so you can say sayonara to the hot hatch brigade.

When it comes down to brass tacks, however, the less costly RAV4 Design gets the nod, with lower-rate earners sacrificing just £705 in tax, a saving of £40 over the equivalent Across.

Toyota Corolla 2.0 VVT-i Icon

91 Company 0

Once a byword for the car as a dull domestic appliance, the Corolla is now a rather fine thing. Good looking and underpinned by Toyota's latest TNGA platform, it serves up a sweet ride-and-handling balance that means you won’t actively be avoiding corners. There’s a hatchback (our preference), a saloon and a Touring Sports estate bodystyles to choose from, all powered by Toyota's ‘self-charging’ petrol-electric hybrid powertrain, which works well once you’ve mastered the quirks of the CVT gearbox.

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With a short electric range, the 120bhp 1.8-litre sits in the 25% BIK band, making it the least costly company car, while the 181bhp 2.0-litre in the same, well-equipped, Icon specification is a much more eager performer and barely less efficient but attracts a slightly increased rate of 26%.

Volvo V90 T6 Recharge Plus

90 Company 1

It’s hard to resist the lure of a large Volvo estate, its blend of understated style, cosseting comfort and useful versatility making it a fine family-friendly choice. The V90 T6 Recharge isn't a bad shout for fleet managers either after a recent refresh brought a bigger battery for the plug-in hybrid system, which now serves up just under 55 miles of electric-only range. 

That means CO2 emissions of just 18g/km and a BIK rating of just 8% yet also the ability for the 345bhp machine to sprint from 0-62mph in just 5.4sec. However, this is still a Volvo, so it's best just to relax, enjoy the supremely comfortable seats and revel in how little cash you’re handing over to HMRC.

You'll have to move quickly if you want one, however. Volvo recently pulled all of its saloons and estates from sale in the UK, meaning the only way to get one is to choose from your lease company's existing stock.


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soldi 11 August 2023

Sister publication - What Car? - consistenly puts the Lexus NX plug-in at the top of the tree. But no mention of it here. Are your colleagues wrong?