Motoring Discussion > Picking a company car in lockdown Miscellaneous
Thread Author: Bobby Replies: 36

 Picking a company car in lockdown - Bobby
My friend has been given her company car list and has to make a choice by next week. She is 60 and has no real interest in cars as such but does do around 20000 miles a year covering the whole of Scotland.
She currently has a top of the range Qashqai Tekna hire car as her company was recently taken over and she was given this meantime. And the Qashqai has lots of toys!

Her choices are
Toyota Corolla Sporting (excluded straight away for being an estate)
Toyota CH-R - excluded for being ugly
Audi A3 Sportback 30 TFSI Technik SE
VW Golf 1.5TSi Style
Kia Niro 1.6 GDi Hybrid 2
Toyota Corolla 1.8 VVT Hybrid Excel

So I am now trying to prepare a spreadsheet for her with all the specs, toys etc but she is going to have to pick a car without seeing one in flesh, driving it and these are including Hybrid cars which are automatics (one CVT) without ever having driven an auto!

No idea what build times are at these times or when the fleet manager would actually be able to submit an order! Can't help but think it would be better to wait until she had at least sat in one of the cars to decide!

Anyway, reversing camera and parking sensors seem to be a priority so far as is in built satnav - I have tried explaining the benefits of Apple Play means you dont need sat nav but not sure I explained it well! She likes the high up sitting position of Qashqai so is attracted to the Niro, but some reviews of Niro say that the seating position is actually quite low for an "SUV". I had kind of excluded the Golf as I assumed it wouldnt come with many toys but this is the new Golf 8 and seems to come quite well loaded.

Oh well, time to get the spreadsheet set up - I hope the manufacturer websites are well laid out with clear list of the specifications!
 Picking a company car in lockdown - smokie
Next door neighbour has a Niro and if I were thinking of changing it would be on my list. Seemed quite roomy to me.
 Picking a company car in lockdown - No FM2R
The Niro is slightly shorter, but shorter enough to matter? Well, I probably wouldn't notice the difference. Especially considering that the Corolla, for example, is 'only' 1435mm tall.

Niro
Height 1545
Width 1805
Length 4355


Qashqai
Height 1590
Width 2070
Length 4394
 Picking a company car in lockdown - Mr Moo
When showrooms will tentatively start opening again shortly, it does seem harsh insisting that she makes a decision without even having sat in the vehicles. Can she apply some pressure to defer the choice even by a couple of weeks?

Our company scheme is run by Lex Autolease and aside from vehicles for key workers, they’re not placing any new vehicle orders at the moment. Depending on how her scheme works, it could be the same, in which case she should be allowed more time. I think she needs to push past the admin person who has sent the list and understand whether she can have more time.

Assuming she can agree more time, it’s worth establishing whether her scheme ‘supports’ test drives. For example, Lex allow two test drives (the manufacturer provides a vehicle from their demo fleet, delivered to your door). Previous employer used Hitachi Capital. No test drives there, leaving you to try to scrounge a test drive locally when you knew you weren’t going to be buying!

In terms of minimising BIK liability, it’s surprising not to see any PHEVs on the list. Typically, this reduces tax to around 10%-14%. Most of the vehicles on the list will be (I’d guess) in the mid to high 20s, which if she’s a higher rate tax payer could make £,£££s of difference to her take home pay.

Also worth understanding how they reimburse the fuel for business mileage. If they use the HMRC AFR method, check the engine size, as a 2-3 pence difference in reimbursement could make a fair difference over 20,000 miles.
 Picking a company car in lockdown - legacylad
What happened to Ford ?
I’ve never had a company car but wondered what the criteria was for getting on the short list
 Picking a company car in lockdown - Falkirk Bairn
>>what the criteria was for getting on the short list?

Exhaustive examination of a large company fleet manager
or
Personal preference of an accountant / fleet manager
or
in a small company the fact that the owner plays golf / is the next door neighbour of a local garage owner

>>What happened to Ford?
Not a posh enough badge, costs more than leasing a small BMW/MB, unfortunate reliability record in some areas (power shift auto box, 3 cyl engines in recent past)

Hence Uncle Henry is closing 50% of main dealer outlets.
Vx & Ford still supply Avis, Hertz etc etc & this is high discount business to make the top 10 sellers.
 Picking a company car in lockdown - legacylad
Thanks for enlightening me.
My local Skipton Ford main dealer closed recently and moved operations to the dealership in Keighley ( or Griefley as we call the place).
 Picking a company car in lockdown - PeterS
If she’s not interested in cars but needs a company car for work purposes then the cost might be important, or rather the desire (if not need) to incur as low a tax liability as possible. That’s a function of the P11D list price (from memory excludes road tax, but might be wrong), the fuel type and CO2 emissions (which determine the BIK%) and the individuals margarine tax rate. So might be worth getting the P11D price and BIK% on the spreadsheet as well
 Picking a company car in lockdown - PeterS
And on the never having driven one front, I wouldn’t worry about it too much...I’ve bought/chosen more cars that I haven’t test driven than I have ones I have, if that makes sense? The only shocker was an early ‘90s Ford Escort. The contemporary Astra would have been better, but the spoiler and the colour swung it for the Ford ;)

I didn’t test drive the first A4 I had, but had another one afterwards.. I didn’t test drive the A6, or the Toyota that I had in Japan. I didn’t test drive an early ‘00s E class estate, and that turned out to be one of my favourite cars. I’ve never test driven a BMW, but had 4, or a Renault and had 3. I didn’t test drive my current Merc, or the first MINi we bought. I did test drive the Clubman, a Citroen Saxo, a VW Up! and an Audi A3 and buy them. But I’d already decided that’s what I’d buy. I’ve never test driven a car and changed my mind afterwards!
 Picking a company car in lockdown - No FM2R
I don't think I have ever test driven a car as part of the acquisition process. But I think that with only a few exceptions I've always managed to sit in one - one way or another.

When I do get a different car, it takes me a few weeks to decide whether I love it, like it, can tolerate it, or simply detest it.

I really don't enjoy car acquisition. Most of the time I'd just rather someone else did it and the car turned up on my drive.
 Picking a company car in lockdown - Zero
>> I don't think I have ever test driven a car as part of the acquisition
>> process.

Oh I have, wouldnt dream of "bind buying" specially with my own money. I treat the acquisition process as fair game to test loads of cars, including those I have no intention of buying.


>> I really don't enjoy car acquisition. Most of the time I'd just rather someone else
>> did it and the car turned up on my drive.
>
I love the whole process, the web sites, brochures, dealer visits, tyre kicking, body fondling, finding hard interior plastics. I can almost always get a test drive of length, I am very good at radiating buying signals,
 Picking a company car in lockdown - PeterS

>> When I do get a different car, it takes me a few weeks to decide
>> whether I love it, like it, can tolerate it, or simply detest it.
>>
>> I really don't enjoy car acquisition. Most of the time I'd just rather someone else
>> did it and the car turned up on my drive.
>>

That’s pretty much how I feel, though I generally have done enough reading around and talking to people for it to just be a case of deciding whether I love or like it...and it’s no surprise that the cars I’ve liked the best have been the ones that have been kept the longest. I haven’t had a ‘detest’ since that Escort.

The online broker model for car sales has made the whole process much less of a chore for me...the first time I used drivethedeal was in 2007. I’ve now bought 6 cars that way. Of the three bought in that time that I haven’t used a broker for only the MINI was an enjoyable buying experience. The first Merc E class was okay, but drawn out as the salesman followed the classic approach of referring to the sales manager at every opportunity, asking me ‘what it would take...’ etc etc. Old school car sales. The VW dealer (an Up!) was pleasant enough, but it didn’t enhance the experience at all.
 Picking a company car in lockdown - legacylad
Likewise...lots of cars I’ve bought never got a test drive. Some I’d never even seen.
My first car was taken in as a part ex by my next door neighbour who sold VWs. He was several years older than me but we played a lot of squash together ( back in the 70s), he told me one evening he’d arranged a part ex, what the car was, price etc so I bought it.
Another pal of mine, the MOT tester at a large auto engineers, was looking for something on my behalf after I’d sold the 330. Id given him a budget of £2k as I needed a cheap runner at the time. Various cars went on his ramps with ‘for sale’ signs in the window, so I bought the Focus blind. All I knew was it was a black Focus and good value for money as a stop gap car. The proposed 3 months ownership turned into much longer.
I can think of several other cars I’ve agreed to buy without even seeing them, subject to being as described, and travelled all over the country to collect. No lemons at all.
Last edited by: legacylad on Fri 22 May 20 at 09:13
 Picking a company car in lockdown - smokie
"individuals margarine tax rate"

I can't believe it's not butter!
 Picking a company car in lockdown - PeterS
>> "individuals margarine tax rate"
>>
>> I can't believe it's not butter!
>>

Oops...autocorrect has pulled a blinder this time!! Sorry :)
 Picking a company car in lockdown - CGNorwich
Just get the Golf. All you need in a car.
 Picking a company car in lockdown - Boxsterboy
If your friend is the type to exclude cars for being "an estate" or "being ugly", she sounds quite fussy :-)
If she has never driven an automatic, I would have thought it essential that she tries one - she might be fussy about it!
With a mileage of 20,000 pa she will need to weigh up the BiK advantages of a hybrid against the heavier real-world fuel consumption of a hybrid over an ICE (diesel or economical petrol) if she is paying for her own fuel.
 Picking a company car in lockdown - Bobby
Have put together the spreadsheet but still trying to find out exactly how she pays for fuel and personal use etc - "sometimes I just use my own card for fuel and I have over £100 of parking tickets that I haven't claimed on my expenses yet" gives you an indication of what I am dealing with!

I really like the futuristic looks of the new Golf but I am pretty sure it won't suit her as mpst of the controls, even the heating ventilation etc are controlled via the new touch screen panel. Don't think that works for her!
 Picking a company car in lockdown - legacylad
She’s not alone. I dislike touch screen heater controls.
 Picking a company car in lockdown - Bobby
OK on the company car front, she uses the company card to buy all her fuel. She then repays her personal mileage. Except she never has done! But her personal mileage will be extremely low as she is home based so majority of shopping etc will be done on way home from work. And she likes a glass of wine when socialising so taxis most of the time!

Her fleet use Hitachi and she reckons there is a massive UK order going in that has been pending since pre lockdown and they are just wanting to catch the stragglers from up here.

She is not a high rate tax payer so her BIK costs are apparently

Niro - £102.92pm
Corolla - £119.48pm

(as a non company car driver I think that is b***** brilliant deal to get a car like this for the cost - why do company car drivers complain??)

MPG for both cars are roughly the same so cost isn't really going to be a deciding factor. She has narrowed it to these two as she definitely wants a reversing camera as she is used to that on her Qashqai (I wasn't going to argue - it helped narrow the choice :)

We are now searching auto trader to see if there are any local garages with these on the forecourt she can have a nosey around.

If it was me, I would probably go Niro as I like SUV type cars (though apparently this has a lower seating position than most SUVs) but for some reason I just do not like the KIA steering wheels - something about that big round circle in middle reminds me of old American cars or trucks or something!

 Picking a company car in lockdown - Mr Moo
I believe the Niro is a DCT (akin to DSG) ‘box. The Corolla is a CVT. She might have a preference for one over t’other, but judging by some of her comments and requirements, she perhaps isn’t bothered!

Company cars are great value if you’re not a 40% tax payer. The bill doubles if you are and it can be frustrating being saddled with something for four years where the tax bill gets more punitive each year. Having said that, plenty of folks who opted out and took the cash option over recent years are jumping back on, as the tax treatment of BEVs and PHEVs is far more favourable than for ICE petrol and diesels, especially following WLTP having put most CO2 figures up.

Hope she likes whatever she chooses. If the Corolla is the 2.0, I’d plump for that!
Last edited by: Mr Moo on Fri 22 May 20 at 19:15
 Picking a company car in lockdown - Duncan
>> The Corolla is a CVT. She might have a preference for one over t’other, but judging by some of
>> her comments and requirements, she perhaps isn’t bothered!

Oh for a nice torque converter gearbox, rather than a buzzy CVT. That's what I would be saying.


>> Hope she likes whatever she chooses. If the Corolla is the 2.0, I’d plump for
>> that!

2.0 has a smaller boot than the 1.8.
Last edited by: Duncan on Fri 22 May 20 at 22:24
 Picking a company car in lockdown - God
>>Oh for a nice torque converter gearbox, rather than a buzzy CVT

I've always been anti-CVT but, since getting my Subaru with its 'Lineartronic' gearbox, I'm a convert now and am quite H.A.P.P.Y with the way it performs.
 Picking a company car in lockdown - legacylad
An acquaintance of mine isn’t impressed with the ‘lineartronic’ in his Subaru Levorg. I think it’s more to do with the lack of power from the 1.6 petrol hauling around a fully loaded quite heavy estate.
OTOH I’ve always liked the auto boxes in MB whenever I’ve driven them, and I really like my 7 speed PDK twin clutch job.
 Picking a company car in lockdown - God
My XV has the 2 litre engine and, well, it goes like a Subaru. I use the flappy paddles as well quite a lot.

I don't fancy the looks of the Levorg but I could live with the Outback.
 Picking a company car in lockdown - Bobby
Excuse the ignorance but how can a CVT box have flappy paddle if there are no pre determined gears to select?
 Picking a company car in lockdown - Bromptonaut
>> Excuse the ignorance but how can a CVT box have flappy paddle if there are
>> no pre determined gears to select?

I'm no expert and only CVT I've driven was a Nissan in Texas three years ago. I think though that some CVT units have pre-set 'stops' to replicate behaviour of TC or automated manual boxes.

Somebody with greater knowledge will be along soon.
 Picking a company car in lockdown - God
"The Lineartronic CVT is an enhanced, second-generation unit that, unlike a traditional automatic transmission, delivers an infinite and seamless variability in available drive ratios without any noticeable shifting. It helps provide maximum engine performance and fuel efficiency, and with optional six-speed manual mode with steering wheel paddleshifters on Premium, Sport and Limited models, the Lineartronic CVT also maintains a level of sportiness".
 Picking a company car in lockdown - Bobby
My X1 has paddles. I think I have used them on maybe two or three occasions when I have been “playing”.
Rest of time I just let the car do it for me!
 Picking a company car in lockdown - Zero
>> My X1 has paddles. I think I have used them on maybe two or three
>> occasions when I have been “playing”.

I have 340 horsepower - I tend to play with my paddles a lot, but I cant beat the sport mode for perfect power band changes. There is no transmission alive that is as good all round as the ZF8HP. Its a wafter when need be, it will coast down hills, travel from 0-80 with not a single noticeable change, waken it up, and it changes like a daemon snapping your neck back with the speed of change. I live in awe of its capabilities every time I drive the car in every circumstance.

Except towing.


It doesn't like towing, so I take over. Its perfectly happy to do exactly what I tell it.


 Picking a company car in lockdown - God
TBH I mainly use the paddles for engine braking being Cornwall is rather hilly ... like Scotland :)
 Picking a company car in lockdown - Bobby
You not got brakes to , you know, do the braking??
 Picking a company car in lockdown - smokie
Yep wasn't IAM advice to use brakes in preference to engine braking - brakes being cheaper to replace?

Mind you it's different in a car with braking regen, where the "engine" seems more designed for the job.
 Picking a company car in lockdown - Duncan
Gears to go.
Brakes to slow.

How I hate cliches.
 Picking a company car in lockdown - God
Habit really I suppose .. brake pads are a whole lot cheaper than gearboxes too, I hear.

:)
 Picking a company car in lockdown - PeterS
Both the MINI (7 speed DCT) and the Merc (9 speed) TC) have paddles, but there’s never any need to use them, other than because they’re there. I think the DCT is a Getrag unit, but I believe Merc make the 9 speed ‘box themselves. Both are best in ‘sport’ if you want to make progress, and while both are very configurable even then, it’s not really worth messing with the settings IMO
 Picking a company car in lockdown - Runfer D'Hills
The paddles on my 4 pot diesel just make the engine louder. Only time I use them is for engine braking in winter conditions.
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