We’ve been in the company car business for over 15 years now so we know that choosing the right car can be a tricky decision for drivers to make, especially with all the considerations that need to be made. Which is why we’ve put together this helpful guide that details all the aspects you need to consider, whether it’s a company car or not, to help you make the right choice for your next new car.

How Your Driving Affects Your Company Car Choice

The first thing you’ll need to consider how you drive, as this will have a big impact on what will be the best vehicle for you.

One of the most important things your driving style will impact is your fuel choice. For example, harsh acceleration and braking might mean that a hybrid isn’t the best fuel option for you as you won’t make the most of some of their technology. Or if you travel on a lot of long journeys then you will want to look for the most fuel-efficient option.

Types of Journeys

Another consideration under your driving is the type of roads you’re driving on and what their condition is like. Will you be driving in the city where there’s a lot of stop-start traffic? Or will the majority of your driving be done on winding country roads? Knowing what type of road you are driving on will help you to pick an appropriate car choice as a diesel SUV might tick all your boxes but if you’re largely doing small journeys in city traffic then you won’t be running it enough to clear the diesel particulate filter and you’ll have further issues with getting this replaced.

Your Expected Future Needs

Depending on your business and how the vehicle is being financed then you might be committed to it for several years. With this in mind, it’s important to consider if your circumstances are expected to change in the next couple of years.

For example, if you’re planning on getting a new pet will the car be suitable for them to get in and out of and sit in? Or if you’re going to have children is it suitable for fitting car seats, will a buggy fit in the boot? If you’re considering moving from an urban to rural area or vice versa then you’ll also want a car that is suitable for driving in both environments.

We know that sometimes the unexpected happens in the future and you can’t always plan

Another thing to take into account is whether you have just one car in a household or if you’ll have another that can be used, in which case there is less pressure on the one vehicle to meet all your requirements.


Vehicle Body Shape

The body shape of a vehicle can influence various other factors that you’ll need to consider when looking at a car. It’ll impact the size and space available, as well as the number of passengers and cargo you’ll be able to carry.

The body shape is a contributing factor in the style of the vehicle as well and as the look of a car can be a big part of whether or not we like it.

In the UK there are nine main body types that you’ll see on the road:

  • Convertible
  • Coupe
  • Hatchback
  • Saloon
  • Estate
  • SUV
  • Multi-person vehicle (MPV)
  • Pick-up
  • Van

To help you decide on which type, or types, would best suit you we’ve got a brief description of each and an example of popular models.


A convertible car is one that has a retractable roof and can be driven with or without this.

A lot of us think of a coupe when we imagine a convertible but you can also get convertible hatchbacks, like the Mini Convertible, or even SUVs like the Range Rover Evoque convertible.

Top Pick – Mini Convertible


A coupe is a two door car that has a sloped rear giving it sleek lines and a more aerodynamic design for better road performance.

They can be two-seaters or come with a second row of seats that are accessed by pulling forward one of the front seats as there are only two doors.

Top Pick – BMW 2 Series Coupe


Hatchbacks are typically smaller models, where the boot door opens upwards giving you access to the cargo area. You can usually access the rear of the vehicle from the boot space as well. 

Top Pick – Volkswagen Golf


A saloon is similar to a hatchback, although they are typically slightly longer and offer more space to passengers. The main difference between the two though is that the cargo and seating areas are separate, and unlike in a hatchback you cannot access the passenger area from the boot space.

Top Pick – Tesla Model 3


Estate models will usually have a corresponding hatchback version, which is because they are essentially a hatchback with a longer cargo space at the rear.

They’re a great choice for drivers who frequently need to carry a lot of work equipment or sports kits.

Top Pick – Mercedes E Class Estate


A Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) is a car that has a higher ground clearance and four-wheel-drive as well as other off-road vehicle features.

Although it has these off-road capabilities they are also designed for driver and passenger comfort and most come with the latest advancements in connectivity and safety technology.

Top Pick – Skoda Kodiaq


A multi-person vehicle (MPV) is sometimes known as a people carrier because of the number of passengers they can accommodate.

They are usually taller than other models and have a boxy design as they’re intended to provide as much interior space as possible for passengers to fit comfortably with plenty of leg, shoulder and head room.

Top Pick – Citroen Berlingo


A pick-up, also known as a truck, is a light-duty vehicle that has an enclosed cabin space for the driver and passengers and an open cargo area that has lower sides and a tailgate allowing items to be easily put in and taken out.

They aren’t a common sight on UK roads due to the rainy weather but you may find that it suits your needs better than any other body style. There are options to get covers and containers for the rear cargo area as well.

Top Pick – Ford Ranger


A van is a vehicle designed for drivers who need to move a lot of cargo and wants to prioritise cargo space over carrying a number of passengers. There will usually be one or two passenger seats beside the driver and then a large space behind. This space will be as height and wide as the vehicle and can be panelled, converted into a fridge or freezer space (LINK) or installed with racking for keeping items from moving around in the space.

Top Pick – Nissan NV200


Vehicle Size

Another thing you want to consider is the size of the vehicle you require and how this is made up.

First, we advise you think about the exterior size of the vehicle and what your limits are for both a minimum and maximum size. This will help you decide on the body type you want to opt for as generally size wise they grow larger respectively between coupes, hatchbacks, saloons, estates and SUVs.

Then you’ll want to think about how this will translate to internal space, as well as what you need from it. Consider how many seats you need and the space you’ll want for rear passengers, in particular the third row if you need it as in many cars these are fold up seats with minimal room that is uncomfortable on longer journeys.  Another aspect of space you’ll need to think about is the boot space and how much you’ll need to carry cargo wise. If you have children then you’ll need to consider how their needs may change as they grow as well, for example having to fit a pram or sports kits into the boot.

Personal Preferences

Everyone has different tastes in style, favourite brands, and must-have features and as we spend a significant amount of time in our vehicles we know it’s important to take into account personal preferences when choosing your next car.

We advise thinking about what’s really important to you, whether you need a particular brand, the features you need to have and what you can live without.


Another point that can vary in importance for drivers is the safety rating and features.

You might want to look at the Euro NCAP rating which is an international level of testing that will look at all safety aspects of the vehicle.

You might also want to see what modern safety features are available such as blind-spot detection, lane-keeping assist, emergency braking assist. For some drivers these are essentials and for others they are bonus extras.



One area where driver’s personal preference can vary massively is on the connectivity of their vehicle. Some drivers now consider it a must have for their vehicle to have Bluetooth connectivity, wireless charging and 4G or Wi-fi availability and others are quite happy to be unreachable while on the move.

Modern cars can be incredibly connective and keep you in constant communication with the outside world with voice controls, text reading and phone systems that use the car’s interface. The level of connectivity will vary depending on the spec level of a vehicle you choose so we recommend thinking about what you really need your car to do before picking the spec level. If you do a lot of driving between meetings and need to remain contactable the having a hands-free phone option available will be important.


For some drivers the brand of the car is particularly important. They may have found one that matches their image, meets all their safety needs even on the basic models or they like the status symbol of particular one.

It’s important to consider if you have preferred brands and we advise ranking these in order of preference if the brand name is important to you.

Financial Implications of the Company Car

No matter whether your vehicle is a personal or company one there will be financial implications for you. In this section we will look at the various financial implications you might face and how this can impact your decision on what car to choose.


If you're looking for a new vehicle the first thing you want to consider on the money side is what your budget is. Whether you are looking to make one lump sum payment or regular monthly payments towards the vehicle you should know what your ideal amount is as well as the most you are willing to go to. 

When considering the maximum budget you should make sure you have the funds available for the associated costs.

Funding Method

An obvious contributor to the cost of a vehicle is how it is being funded. We've got a detailed guide to funding methods but wanted to give you a quick rundown of the different methods available for you in this guide as we think it's a key part of finding your right car,

If you are paying for it yourself, receiving a cash allowance from your employer or driving a company vehicle which will have tax implications

We’ve got a detailed breakdown of each of these funding methods which you should take a look at for more information on them in our company car section

What you’ll want to consider as well as who is paying is whether the vehicle is being paid for in instalments or one upfront payment. If it’s going to be monthly payments for a contract purchase or a contract hire (lease) agreement, then you’ll also want to consider if there will be a larger initial rental or balloon payment that could lessen the monthly costs for you.


As well as the purchase price or monthly payments that you need to make for the vehicle there will be other financial costs that you’ll need to factor into the affordability of a particular model.

These additional costs include:

  • Fuel
  • Insurance
  • Vehicle excess duty (Road Tax)
  • Additional taxes, if a company car or company fuel benefits are provided
  • Servicing and maintenance
  • MOTs (on models three years and older)
  • Any balloon payments at the start / end of the agreement

 Depending on whether you are funding the vehicle personally or through a cash allowance, part of a salary sacrifice or it’s a company car then the number of these you will be responsible for will vary. Your company will usually let you know what you’re going to be responsible for paying or what they will cover

Tax Implications

If you are driving a company car then you will be taxed on this. Company car tax is a tax that you will pay as a deduction from your monthly earnings and is calculated based on the car’s emissions and your personal tax rate.

You can find out more about how to calculate your company car tax here.

Leasing or Buying Your Own Car 

If you are not driving a company vehicle then you might be looking to lease or buy your own car. Each come with their own benefits and considerations you should bear in mind. For example, if you don't want the depreciating asset then leasing would be the best choice but if you're concerned about not being able to make any amendments to the vehicle such as adding a tow bar then owning your own car might be a better option. Ultimately it will depend on your individual circumstances as to which is the best option for you. Click here to find out more about the benefits of each.

Fuel Types and Company Cars

Another thing to consider when deciding on the right vehicle for you is what fuel type you are going to choose.

Currently there are four main options of fuel types in the UK:

  • Petrol
  • Diesel
  • Hybrid petrol / diesel
  • Electric

We’ve got a detailed breakdown of each fuel type here so that you can do some more research on the pros and cons of each option to decide on the right choice for you.

Electric Company Cars

There’s currently a lot of incentives for drivers looking to switch to an electric model, as the government pushes drivers before the ban on new hybrid, diesel and petrol vehicles comes into effect in 2030. As we get closer to that date and the available funds for electric vehicle (EV) incentives reduces we’ll likely see these incentives also reduce.

At the minute EV drivers can benefit from very low company car tax rates, with it currently at 0 per cent for the tax year 2020 /21 and rising to just one per cent next year.

There are also a number of grants available to help with the purchase price of the vehicle and the cost of installing a home charger.

If you are interested in a EV and want to learn more about the grants available, how their technology works and the other benefits check out our electric guides.


Company Restrictions

Another consideration you’ll want to bear in mind is whether your company has any restrictions or recommendations for vehicles driven on business journeys. This may include your personal vehicle if this is used for company travel.

Restrictions can be as simple as the monthly budget for your company car or recommending you take an EV because of the financial benefits for you and the business.

You will also usually have to agree to ensure the vehicle is in a safe and road-worthy legal condition.

Other restrictions can vary depending on the business and we recommend checking these before looking at any new car to ensure you don’t find a model you love only to discover it doesn’t meet these criteria.

Length of Contract 

Whether you are signing on for a company car or a personal lease vehicle you should be mindful of the length of contract and whether this works for you. If you're expecting any lifestyle changes that might impact your ability to make payments for the vehicle or your needs that make it an unsuitable car. 

Additionally, you might find that changing the contract length will change the amount you have to make on monthly payments. So it's worth bearing in mind the contract length when deciding on the right choice for you.

For more helpful information on choosing your next car, driving a company car or other important corporate driver guides head back to this section.


Contact Wessex Fleet