Currently reading: Top 10 best plug-in hybrid executive cars 2023
If you're looking to save money on benefit-in-kind with your next company executive car, here are our preferred picks.

The UK's HMRC rules defining how much a company car may cost both the company that owns it, the driver who 'benefits' from its use, are now well established - and have been since 2019. Plug-in hybrid electrification is god, and electric range king.

But opting for any old PHEV executive option is no longer enough to guarantee a low benefit in kind tax liability, with some cars in the class offering big enough batteries to qualify for BIK taxation at just five per cent of their list price, and others as much as fourteen-. If you're looking to buy the right electrified executive option, you clearly need to know which are the cars that may be worth a higher monthly contract hire rental, and which aren't.

Below, then, is our list of not just the most tax-efficient PHEV execs on the market in 2023, but also the best to drive and own. Both petrol- and diesel-fuelled hybrid options are included - and likewise various kinds of body styles from SUVs to saloons and estates. Almost nothing listed here will weigh down your annual P60 certificate with more than an eight per cent BIK score.

PHEV efficiency comes in all shapes and sizes these days; and some manufacturers have become specialists at catering to the UK's particular company car tax system, while others continue to engineer to different priorities. So if you're looking for do-it-yourself pay rise delivered by a company car with just the right price and amount of electrification, but you're also not quite ready switch all the way into an EV fleet car, read on.

1. Mercedes-Benz GLC 300de

Mercedes benz glc300esuv top 10

Pros: outstanding electric-only range, five per cent BIK qualification, SUV cabin space and versatility 

Cons: it's expensive, weight of the hybrid system adversely affects ride and handling

Mercedes has thrown an awful lot of investment at its plug-in hybrid models over the last five years, and now sits in an enviable position among its rivals, with several models that qualify for an eight per cent BIK classification: but only one that does better still.

The leader of its pack is the electrified GLC mid-sized SUV, which was facelifted at the end of 2022. Having had a much bigger drive battery fitted, it's now a car capable of a lab-test 83 miles of WLTP 'equivalent all-electric range' (the figure that HMRC uses to calculate BIK liability). Only the ultra-niche Polestar 1 has so far ever offered more; and only one other car in this list gets into the same five per cent tax bracket.

The Mercedes GLC PHEV can be had in either petrol- or diesel-electric form, but it's the latter that gets the lowest CO2 emissions rating and associated WLTP fuel-efficiency claim: in the GLC 300de's case, the latter's in excess of 700mpg (although reproducing that in daily use, as any plug-in hybrid owner knows, will very much depend on lots of short-range use, and regular charging).

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Our testing so far has suggested that real-world electric range is closer to 60 miles than 80-; and that the weight of this car's 31.2kWh battery does take a slight toll on its ride and handling. The car's body control is slightly softer than the typical mid-sized SUV, and it's ride slightly more brittle; though the driving experience still polished and impressive in overall terms.

Mercedes charges a high price for the car; but, for the time being, can probably get away with doing so, with the extra cost being offset for the end user by tax savings.

Save money with new GLC deals from What Car?

2. Volvo V90 Recharge T6

Volvo v90 top 10

Pros: spacious, comfortable, with lots of restrained Scandinavian design appeal

Cons: it's big, quite pricey, and a little unexciting

Volvo's history of offering its estate cars with a plug-in hybrid powertrain stretches back further than most in the business, but the recent V90 Recharge T6 is without doubt its most successful attempt at the recipe, and an outstanding all-rounder.

A 2022 upgrade means the car now has a decently sized, 18.8kWh battery pack, which means that the big Swede claims up to 54 miles on a single charge, helping to make it a much more user-friendly option than its predecessor, and dropping it into the eight per cent BIK bracket.

With 345bhp all in, the current version clearly isn't the most powerful PHEV that Volvo has made, either, but it's more than enough for what is essentially an easy-going motorway mile-muncher.

Another advantage the V90 T6 holds in the PHEV arena is that you can buy it with four-wheel drive. That said, it's only all-wheel drive in the sense that there's an electric motor powering the rear wheels and an internal combustion driving the fronts - so when you're in EV mode this is a two-wheel-drive machine.

The Volvo's calling-card is a rich, relaxing cabin ambience and equally supremely relaxing rolling character. This is how a big Volvo should feel: spacious, refined, absorbent, mature, and brilliantly versatile for everyday life.

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Save money with new V90 deals from What Car?

3. Range Rover Sport P460e

Range rover vs lexus rx 60

Pros: great electric range, lots of luxury cabin appeal & desirability, handles well for a large SUV

Cons: expensive, large, not economical in range-extended running 

It's taken a few years, but Land Rover has now woken up to the potential of plug-in hybrid powertrains to drive the success of its cars. And the bigger they are, the greater the arguable potential.

The latest Range Rover Sport shows as much. Launched in 2022, it comes in a P460e-badged PHEV form that has a whopping 38.2kWh drive battery, and a WLTP electric range of almost 75 miles: more than long enough to qualify it for a five per cent BIK tax score, provided you don't go too mad with the options catalogue.

Solihull once again hitched this car up to the bigger Range Rover during its development; the car shares the same model platform and engines, and in this case the same PHEV powertrain technology. It's moved on in leaps and bounds from the standards of it predecessors in terms of material richness, luxury appeal and running refinement, but retains plenty of Range Sport typical performance and handling dynamism, as well as Range Rover brand offroad capability.

The downsides? Well, Range Rovers have never been cheap, and this one comes with UK showroom prices starting at £90,000. It's also a strict five-seater now, so anyone hoping for a third row of seats needs to look to the full-fat Range Rover - or, lower down, at a Land Rover Defender 130 or Discovery.

Save money with new Range Rover Sport deals from What Car?

4. Mercedes-Benz C300e


Mercedes benz c class top 10

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Pros: great electric range for the price, little practicality compromise, lots of digital cabin tech

Cons: doesn't handle like a sports saloon, slightly disappointing cabin quality

Packing a drive battery twice the size of many of its rivals', the current Mercedes C300e brings with it a claimed WLTP electric range of 62 miles. That's enough not only to make the car particularly tax-efficient, but also to make a big difference to the saving the car could deliver for drivers who pay for their own fuel.

The C300e's powerplant comprises a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine and a 127bhp electric motor and makes 308bhp in all, in a car that can crack 62mph from rest in just 6.1sec. The model is available in both saloon and estate bodystyles with no significant compromise to either passenger or boot space.

The car has impressed us with its refinement and isolation, and also with its laid-back, luxury-first, S-Class-in-miniature vibes. Keener drivers may probably still prefer to shop elsewhere; but for most fleet drivers and operators, the C300e is sure to be a popular option.


Save money with new C Class deals from What Car?

5. Volvo S60 Recharge T8

Volvo s60 top 10

Pros: punchy performance, strong electric range, sports saloon looks

Cons: lacks sporty handling, not as roomy as rivals, expensive

The exceptionally handsome Volvo S60 makes a strong case for itself as a slick and stylish plug-in executive express, not least because a recent update has increased its electric range and so significantly reduced running costs.

Thanks to the addition of a larger, 18.8kWh battery, the S60 now has an EV range of up to 56 miles and CO2 emissions of as little as 17g/km, meaning it falls into a relatively lowly 8% BIK banding. Yet it also combines its rear-mounted electric motor with a four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine to deliver a combined might of 449bhp and a 0-62mph time of just 4.6sec.

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But for all its grunt, this is no out-and-out sports saloon, its slightly aloof handling balance and uninspiring engine note sapping your desire to push on. That said, it steers with decent accuracy and clings on well; though ultimately this is a car that prefers the easy life, which is no bad thing if you spend you time plying motorways and crawling through congested city streets. Acceleration is brisk enough in near-silent electric mode, while the ride fells plush and relaxed at a cruise.

There's also a less powerful, 350bhp T6 option, but that's only available in the V60 estate, which is a load-lugger than majors more on style than space. Either way, with its impressive EV range, top notch interior, easy-going driving experience and relatively low running costs, it's great choice for business-savvy drivers.

Save money with new S60 deals from What Car?

6. Peugeot 408 Hybrid

Peugeot 408 top 10

Pros: handsome alternative looks, plenty of practicality, decent value

Cons: lower-powered PHEV a little slow, unrefined when working hard

Picking a new executive car with low company car tax qualification is one thing; but finding one that's also well-priced, and versatile enough for daily family life, is a different challenge entirely.

Lots of the cars in this list may be cheap on BIK, but they're certainly not cheap on list price. But the Peugeot 408 Hybrid offers a happy triumvirate combination of a sub-£40,000 starting price, a 40-mile-plus electric range (for eight per cent BIK tax qualification), and SUV-lite crossover hatchback practicality.

The 408 is a mid-sized, medium-rise crossover with comfortable cabin space for adults in both rows, and a roomy hatchback-style boot; a jacked-up modern shooting brake of a kind, and quite alternatively appealing with it.

To drive, it's a slightly mixed bag. The car's ride and handling are quite fluent and idiosyncratically French in feel; although the hybrid powertrain is certainly at its best at a fairly relaxed paced, seldom feeling particularly powerful, and getting quite strained and a little flustered with with gearshifts when worked hard.

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There are 178- and 221bhp versions of the PHEV system; and only by opting for the former - and a fairly bare equipment specification - can you keep the car's list price below £40k, and it's EAER range above 40 miles. But if you do, you'll end up with one of the better-value PHEV execs on the market right now.


Save money with new 408 deals from What Car?

7. Mercedes-Benz S580e

Mercedes benz s class top 10

Pros: space and refinement, limousine back-seat tech, DC rapid charging capability

Cons: £110k starting price, it's not the best-riding S Class in the range

We're back up again at the upper end of the price range with our seventh entrant in this executive PHEV class: the latest petrol-electric version of the Mercedes S-Class.

You'll need a little over £110,000 to get into even the cheapest S580e. It's available in long-wheelbase form only. And while it's driven primarily by a turbo petrol straight six, it's also got a 148bhp electric drive motor and a 28.6kWh drive battery, and is claimed to be able to cover 68 miles on a full charge before rousing its reciprocating pistons. Which is a figure that Mercedes must be kicking itself for not teasing out to the 70-mile mark.

The car is typically quiet and refined to drive, and with 'total system' outputs of 503bhp and 553lb ft of torque, isn't slow; although the extra weight of the hybrid system does make it the softest and most wallow S-Class in terms of body control.

Unlike Mercedes' other PHEVs though, this one does come with DC rapid charging as standard in the UK - and so, through a 60kW supply, it can be charged from flat in little more than half an hour. Worth knowing if you're a short-range city chauffeur with access to fast charging.

Save money with new S Class deals from What Car?

8. Audi A6 50 TFSI e

Audi a6 top 10

Pros: classic restrained Audi design appeal, spacious, high-quality cabin, all-round comfort and refinement

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Cons: doesn't have the electric range of some, not an entertaining car to drive

Audi hasn't hit the PHEV market with quite the commitment of some its German peers, and while some of its models come in fairly competitive plug-in forms, others don't.

The A6 saloon and Avant estate, however - Audis as classic in type as any the company makes - do offer a pretty compelling PHEV model. Badges as 50 TFSI e, these cars have prices starting below £60,000, and electric range extending as far as 42 miles: not a terrific distance, but enough to drive down your weekly fuel consumption and running costs if you can charge regularly and cheaply, and do plenty of short-range motoring.

The Audi A6 is one of Audi's more conservative but classically handsome cars, with big-car presence and practicality, and Ingolstadt's materially solid big-car perceived cabin quality, too. Comfortable and quiet, it's made for soothing away work miles without tiring its driver - and, while it won't engage like some sportier executives, it does that very effectively indeed.

Save money with new A6 deals from What Car?

9. Mercedes-Benz CLA 250e

Merc cla top 10

Pros: great blend of desirability, style and value, plenty of electric range for the money

Cons: limited cabin practicality, doesn't handle like it performs

Mercedes has improved the petrol-electric technology in its smaller hybrid options this year, allowing the -250e version of the A Class, B Class and CLA Class to go further on a charge, and work harder on behalf of your tax return.

The CLA continues to be our pick of the lot. Offering the design appeal that many buyers look for in modern executive options, and being available in both four-door coupe and shooting brake forms, it's just a slightly more appealing package than the practicality-focussed B Class or the slightly more ordinary A Class (which you can now only buy in 250e form as a four-door saloon).

The enhanced PHEV system boosts the 250e's performance, and takes EAER range out as far as 48 miles, depending on chosen specification. Few cars of this size and price offer quite so much of it.

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Save money with new CLA deals from What Car?

10. Volkswagen Arteon eHybrid

Volkswagen arteon shooting brake 2021 rt static

Pros: stylish, spacious, alternative

Cons: lacks badge-snob desirability compared with some, front-wheel-drive only

Volkswagen's extra-desirable executive option, the Arteon, had a facelift in late 2020 and now comes with a choice of fastback saloon or shooting brake estate bodies, as well as with plug-in hybrid power if you want it (and it's one of the few VW Group models left on sale in the UK with the group's 1.4-litre PHEV powertrain). Those two changes broaden the appeal of the car considerably, because in our view, the estate body adds to the car's visual appeal while the petrol-electric powertrain will strengthen the rational argument to choose one.

The eHybrid uses the VW Group's combination of 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine and 113bhp electric motor, and it's front-wheel drive only, so this isn't the quickest or the most exciting PHEV on the market. It is refined and drivable, though, and a claimed WLTP electric range of 35-37 miles (depending on bodystyle) translates into about 25 miles in mixed real-world use.

Longer-range, petrol-only economy is a little disappointing, and the car has limited dynamic appeal - but as a roomy, alternative fleet option that'll cost you less than some, it's worth considering.

Save money with new Arteon deals from What Car?

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Matt Saunders

Matt Saunders Autocar
Title: Road test editor

As Autocar’s chief car tester and reviewer, it’s Matt’s job to ensure the quality, objectivity, relevance and rigour of the entirety of Autocar’s reviews output, as well contributing a great many detailed road tests, group tests and drive reviews himself.

Matt has been an Autocar staffer since the autumn of 2003, and has been lucky enough to work alongside some of the magazine’s best-known writers and contributors over that time. He served as staff writer, features editor, assistant editor and digital editor, before joining the road test desk in 2011.

Since then he’s driven, measured, lap-timed, figured, and reported on cars as varied as the Bugatti Veyron, Rolls-Royce PhantomTesla RoadsterAriel Hipercar, Tata Nano, McLaren SennaRenault Twizy and Toyota Mirai. Among his wider personal highlights of the job have been covering Sebastien Loeb’s record-breaking run at Pikes Peak in 2013; doing 190mph on derestricted German autobahn in a Brabus Rocket; and driving McLaren’s legendary ‘XP5’ F1 prototype. His own car is a trusty Mazda CX-5.

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Leyesa 5 October 2021

I get paid more than $90 to $100 per hour for working online. I heard about this job 3 months ago and after joining this I have earned easily $10k from this without having online working skills .

Simply give it a shot on the accompanying site.... R­i­c­h­N­o­w­1­.­C­o­m

spqr 30 November 2020
The reason there are no Japanese cars on this list is that the criteria are PHEV executive hybrids not self-charging executive hybrids. As far as my research can tell there are no Japanese PHEV executive cars currently on sale. Lexus are self-charging and Infiniti have left the UK market. No other Japanese car manufacturers are regarded as “luxury” or “executive” it would seem.
spqr 30 November 2020
According to the writer BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Audi will not sell you a full sized petrol PHEV estate

Either the writer of this article is ignorant or incompetent as BMW will sell you a 330e PHEV Touring (estate) or a 530e PHEV Touring (estate) with either rear wheel drive or all wheel drive. Both the 330e and 530e Touring have been in the price list for around 4 to 6 months depending on model and are available to order. Just another example of Autocar's declining journalism.