For most people, commuting is part of everyday life – which is why it’s crucial to have an overview of the best commuter cars out there. In fact, the average UK commute now takes a record 59 minutes per day, adding almost five hours to the standard working week, or a staggering 221 hours per year.
All that time spent commuting will feel a whole lot shorter if you are doing it in the right car. From comfort to great entertainment, affordability and reliability – there are many boxes to tick. Here, we reveal the best commuter cars for 2020.
If you’re going to spend a good portion of your day in the car, comfort is key. This means selecting a car with a roomy interior and plenty of leg space.
The best cars for long commutes also offer plush seats that help you avoid back pain and make sitting in traffic much more bearable. The Citroen C3, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes S-Class are just some of the cars that pride themselves on seat comfort. Look out for models with wide seats that offer plenty of options for adjustment.
Other aspects of car comfort to look out for are the level of noise while driving, good climate control and gadgets like heated or electric seats.
As every commute is different, it’s important to consider the kind of route you take. If you stick to motorways, a car with cruise control can be an easy way to set your speed, with the bonus of controlling fuel consumption. If you tend to hit rush hour on your commute, an automatic car is fantastic in stop-start traffic and far easier than battling the clutch.
The best commuter cars make your drive easy with good visibility, direct steering and intuitively placed controls.
A long commute can be boring – which is why the best cars for commuting should offer decent entertainment and handy gadgets. A touchscreen infotainment system, like the BMW iDrive, can make a huge difference to your commute.
When you find yourself on the road a lot for work, you’ll want a car with a decent sound system and easy smartphone connection. If you can put on your favourite playlists, tune into the news or make calls from your car, the time will pass far more quickly, and you might even enjoy the ride.
You don’t want to invest in a new car, only to find it’s draining your hard-earned cash. That’s why the best cars for commuting are fuel efficient and cost-effective to maintain.
If your commute is relatively short and you can shoulder the upfront cost, an electric vehicle could be right for you. They’re quiet, relaxing to drive, great for the environment and mean you no longer need to spend money on fuel. However, it’s important you consider whether your journey length is shorter than the range of an EV and whether you have ample opportunities to recharge.
Commuting in London? Electric cars are exempt from the Congestion Charge.
If your commute is longer, there are still plenty of cost-effective options out there for you. The Vauxhall Insignia for example has a diesel engine capable of 60mpg, which will help keep fuel costs down.
Something everyone can agree on: the best cars for long commutes have to be reliable. The last thing you want is to find yourself stranded on the side of the road when you have a big meeting first thing.
Toyota has a reputation for producing extremely reliable cars, with the Yaris, Corolla and Prius rated particularly highly. The less your car breaks down, the fewer repairs it will need and the more likely it is to breeze through its MOT, saving you money in the long run.
If you’re looking for the latest in style, comfort and accessories you’ll need to go for a brand-new car – which can be expensive. A great alternative is leasing, which enables you to drive the latest model without having to commit to purchasing.
Car leasing companies tend to order directly from the factory, which means you can choose specs and personalise your car. Often, you can opt for a maintenance package, which covers routine servicing, replacement tyres and maintenance costs.
Those registered as a limited company or sole trader may even be able to claim back VAT on a business car lease, which can make this a particularly attractive option.
You’ll need to provide an agreed number of miles you expect to do in the car before the lease is approved, which shouldn’t be a problem to predict if your commute is regular.
Cut your carbon emissions and fuel costs completely with the fully electric Nissan Leaf, one of the best cars for commuters. The standard Leaf is ideal for city driving, with a range of up to 168 miles for every charge. If you have a longer commute, opt for the Leaf e+ with a range of up to 239 miles. The e-Pedal makes driving easy – you can even hold your car on a hill without touching the pedals. The savvy ProPilot feature is another fantastic bonus, enabling you to follow the vehicle ahead at a pre-set distance and keeping you in the middle of your lane.
The new C-Class is a particularly great option if you clock up a high mileage on your commute. It’s very fuel efficient, and cleaner performance is assured thanks to a particulate filter on all petrol and diesel engines. It helps that it looks better than ever with super-sleek lines and bold five-spoke wheels that grip the road and enhance performance. The dashboard is packed with tech and a Multicontour Seat package is available to help you find a seat that provides you with the utmost comfort – making this one of the best commuter cars out there.
Style, safety and comfort come together beautifully in the new Vauxhall Insignia. The new styling is sleeker than previous models and there’s a range of four lightweight engines to pick from – all with up to 18% improved fuel economy. The AGR ergonomic driver’s seat comes as standard, offering spine support and even a massage function, which will come in very handy after long days spent at your desk. The IntelliLink with 8” touchscreen is the cherry on top, helping you access your music through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with a wireless charging dock to boot.
As part of Ford’s promise to deliver 14 electrified vehicles by the end of 2020, the new Focus is now available as a hybrid. Maximising efficiency and minimising emissions, this is one of the best cars for commuting. A great compromise if you don’t want to commit to going fully electric, the hybrid provides extra torque assistance to the petrol engine when needed, improving fuel economy and ultimately saving you money. It’s also a smooth drive thanks to the six-speed manual transmission, which has been optimised to make gear selection easier, quieter and more precise.
If you like your cars to be bold, the new C3’s distinctive look will impress. You can even put your own mark on it thanks to 97 exterior combinations – making your personalised car easy to spot in the office carpark. The Advanced Comfort Seats offer exceptional lumbar support, while 11 driver assistance systems ensure a stress-free driving experience. Navigate your way into tight spaces with front parking assistance, stay in your lane with a lane departure warning system and even set up coffee break alerts for longer business trips.
The new Prius is considered one of the best cars for commuting thanks to its fantastic fuel efficiency, offering up to 61.4mpg. The hybrid’s seamless transition between electric and petrol mode, a low centre of gravity and enhanced suspension add to the performance and promise a smooth ride. Adding to the fun are a JBL Premium Sound System with 10 speakers and heated driver and front passenger seats.
The 3 Series may look like it’s all about style, but this sleek car also offers plenty of substance. The thoughtfully designed interior makes this one of the best cars for long commutes. Acoustic windows keep out traffic noises while keeping in the sound of the Harman Kardon surround sound system. There’s also ambient lighting with 11 dimmable designs, making for truly atmospheric driving conditions. The latest BMW 3 Series Saloon weighs up to 55kg less than its predecessors, delivering a superb driving experience and reducing emissions.
Honda prides itself on creating cars ‘built for the real world’ – and the new Civic certainly delivers. The interior offers ample legroom and generous headroom, ensuring a comfortable commute, while the opening glass roof is perfect for summer. One touch of a button on the steering wheel and you can display all driving information via the Driver Information Display, including important messages. The intelligent climate control monitors the air con output and keeps the temperature just right at all times.
Do your bit for the environment without compromising on style with the sleek. Choose the e-Niro for zero emissions, opt for the Niro Plug-in Hybrid (which delivers 30 miles without recharging) or keep things simple with the Niro Self-Charging Hybrid, which offers a combination of combustion engine and electric motor for a fun drive with minimal emissions. Kia’s seven-year warranty is a fantastic bonus and means you won’t be shelling out on expensive repairs in the first seven years.
The Tesla may be more expensive than other electric cars but it’s a good reminder that you get what you pay for. With a range of 250 miles and boasting 0-60mph in 3.2 seconds, Model 3 proves you don’t need to compromise on driving experience when you go electric. The inside of the car is just as impressive, particularly the central 15-inch touchscreen. Get a glimpse of the future with the option of using your smartphone as a key and let the outside in with the all-glass roof that extends from front to back.
The best commuter cars offer a balance of comfort, clever design, reliability and affordability. While those with shorter commutes may consider opting for an electric vehicle to cut fuel costs, those with a longer daily drive may wish to prioritise ergonomic seats and a great sound system.
With so many fantastic cars on the market for 2020, your perfect match is out there. If leasing sounds like the right option for your commuter car - take a look at our range of vehicles available to lease now.
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