Best Executive Cars In 2021< Back to blog
The hallmarks of a good executive car is that it needs to be comfortable to drive, have premium style and the latest tech onboard, while at the same time not being too expensive to run. Sounds too good to be true, right?
Well, we’re going to prove the opposite – that there are a plethora of executive cars out there that hit all these key characteristics. So, without further ado, we’ve put together this blog showing you the best executive cars money can buy in 2021.
1. BMW 3 Series
The BMW 3 Series is the epitome of a great all-round executive car and is probably one of the best models to drive in this class. With rear-wheel drive and an incredibly well-built design inside-out, BMW’s ever-popular compact executive vehicle is one of the brand’s best-selling models in the UK.
You can’t really go wrong with the engine range in the BMW 3 Series either. The petrol and diesel engines pull this car along strongly and thanks to this car’s brilliant handling, they’re agile entering while cornering.
Company car drivers can save a great deal of money by choosing a plug-in hybrid model too (badged ‘330e’) that is a brilliant business lease option. This is because of the car’s incredibly low CO2 emissions (31g/km) and its ability to travel 37 miles in pure electric mode before needing to be recharged.
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2. Tesla Model 3
There are few electric cars that are as brilliant all-round than the Tesla Model 3. Its combination of rapid performance from powerful electric motors, long range between charges thanks to chunky battery packs, plus a bucketload of the brand’s quirky ‘Easter Egg’ features onboard, make it hard to fault.
UK drivers can’t seem to get enough of Tesla’s best-selling model either, which is why it’s one of the most sought-after EVs on the market. This is mostly thanks to its official range of 267 miles between charges, which can be increased to 360 miles if you opt for the ‘Long Range’ trim.
Backing up the big battery are the punchy electric motors, which as standard whizz the car from 0-60mph in just 6.1 seconds. Look to Long Range and Performance versions of the Model 3 and there are two electric motors instead of one, giving you the capacity to accelerate from 0-60mph in a mere 3.3 seconds.
While the Model 3 won’t trouble the likes of Audi and BMW’s cars in this list when it comes to interior quality, the massive 15in tablet-like infotainment screen is its party piece. The screen dominats proceedings inside and is the hub for controlling your car’s systems and media.
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3. Skoda Superb
Rarely do executive cars come with the amount of room the Skoda Superb does, unless we’re talking about the Goliath Mercedes-Benz S-Class. And let’s be honest, not many people have the budget to stretch to this kind of luxury.
But fear not, the reason why the Superb is so popular is the way its generous characteristics can’t help but leave you knowing you’ve bagged a bargain. Namely, the space for you and your passengers inside is incredible – there’s no chance you’ll be asking for any more of it, even with a pair of six-footers in the back.
The middle seat in the back is probably best saved for an average height adult because it’s slightly more raised than the spaces either side. Also, the slight raise in the floor means that someone sat there will probably need to share the footwell of someone next to them. But because they’re so big in the first place, this shouldn’t be a problem.
With a massive boot (626 litres), powerful engines to choose from and a good quality interior considering the car’s budget price, it’s a superb option (pun intended) if you want bang for your buck when looking for an executive car.
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4. Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon
The Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon has had a massive surge in interest from business people looking for a premium, affordable executive car. This rings true with our own customers too, with our latest enquiry data showing that it’s the most popular saloon on our platform.
A big part of this is to do with the increase in appeal of compact, premium models that offer businessmen and women the opportunity to drive a luxurious car for an affordable price.
Where the A-Class Saloon scores points is with its improved ride comfort over the standard hatchback model. Previous models of the A-Class were hardly relaxing, but this latest version is impressive and isn’t far off bigger executive rivals.
All Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon models get the renowned class-leading interior of the normal A-Class. Attractive jet-like air vents, plus a plethora of fine materials like leather, wood, metal and piano-black plastic are dotted around the cabin.
One slight issue is that there’s slightly less headroom in the Saloon A-Class than there is in the standard hatchback. This means anyone over six-foot is likely to struggle on longer journeys, but all in all it’s a pretty spacious car in the back.
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5. Audi A4
The Audi A4 has always been an executive car champion and this latest version gets strong upgrades to keep it competing with the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Namely, there’s a bolder look highlighted by a beefier grille and sportier body lines, while you’ll also get an upgraded infotainment system and revised engine range.
Another key selling point for the Audi A4 as a business car is just how well styled and spacious it is inside. Wide-opening rear doors, a wide and long body, plus a high roofline means six-footers will be comfortable in the back for longer journeys.
Audi’s MMI infotainment system makes up the new digital display in the centre of the A4’s dash, with an impressive 10.1in touchscreen that has crip graphics stealing the spotlight. A secondary screen behind the steering wheel complete’s the “Virtual Cockpit” setup, replacing conventional analogue dials.
Turbocharged petrol and diesel engines make up the lineup for the A4, providing the car with enough power to comfortably cruise on faster roads.
6. Alfa Romeo Giulia
Sometimes you just don’t want to drive something a conventional saloon that won’t impress the neighbours. One day you might wake up and just really want an executive car that puts a smile on your face every time you get behind the wheel.
Here’s where the Alfa Romeo Giulia comes in to shake up the competition. It’s by far one of the coolest-looking executive cars on the market and it backs up those looks with a driving experience that’s even more engaging than in the 3 Series.
Every new Giulia comes with the same rear-wheel drive system that can be found in the pricier, bigger Stelvio SUV. This, coupled with the whole design of the car and its mechanics, means that every spec gets a feeling of being a true driver’s car.
Alfa Romeo made sure to pack the Giulia with lightweight aluminium material, which can be found on the doors, wings, engines, braking and suspension systems. Top-spec Quadrifoglio models take this further, adding a carbon bonnet, roof, spoilers, splitters and ceramic discs for enhanced performance.
Regardless of which Giulia model you choose, your engine will have plenty of peppiness. Even the entry-level 2.0-litre turbo petrol unit has 197bhp, or you can choose a punchier 277bhp unit.) Meanwhile, if diesel is your choice of fuel, there are 2.2-litre diesel engines available with either 148bhp or 178bhp. Each one is hooked up to a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Want to turn your saloon into a super saloon? Choose the range-topping Quadrifoglio trim and the Giulia will come armed with a twin-turbo V6 which sends the car from 0-60mph in a mere 3.8 seconds.
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7. Audi A3 Saloon
Unlike a lot of the vehicles in Audi’s range, the A3 Saloon does exactly what it says on the tin. No “Avant” or “Sportback” jargon to refer to estate and hatchback models – the A3 Saloon paves its own way in the brand’s lineup.
Smaller and more engaging to drive than its bigger A4 sibling, the A3 Saloon is also surprisingly cushioning over uneven surfaces.
There’s more good news when you get to the back seats in the A3 Saloon too, because it’s a perfect size for people over six foot. Don’t get us wrong, they won’t be stretched out in luxury, but neither will their legs be pressed up agains the front seats. Each model gets handy 40/20/40 split folding rear seats too so that you can prioritise passenger or boot space.
Every Audi A4 Saloon trim is well-equipped from the off, including the entry-level Sport spec. As standard you’ll get smart 17in alloy wheels, LED headlights, body coloured roof spoiler and mirrors, plus light and rain sensors. Plus, when you step inside the car you’ll settle down into sport seats covered in premium cloth, while dual-zone climate control allows you and your passengers to control temperature to their own preferences.
8. Mazda 6
The Mazda 6 has been regularly tweaked by the Japanese manufacturer, to a point where it’s a great choice if you want a bit of everything. For the 6 is styled in such a manner that it’s sporty-looking, a comfy and spacious interior means carrying multiple business partners is never a chore, then when you take it out on the road there’s a balance struck between ride comfort and fun(ish) handling.
Unlike the other models in this list, the Mazda 6 doesn’t come with turbocharged engines so the car needs to be worked hard. That’s why we’d avoid the entry-level 2.0-litre petrol unit with 145bhp because it struggles to really push on when you put your foot down. The 0-60mph time of 9.9 seconds feels pretty lethargic and choosing the automatic gearbox doesn’t help either, adding an extra second to this time.
There’s a 165bhp and range-topping 194bhp version of the car which are noticeably punchier. The former is much more efficient and would be our go-to if you’re doing a lot of business miles on the motorway. It has a combined fuel economy of 42mpg, compared to 38mpg on the most powerful unit.
You’ll be glad to know that once you hit cruising speed it’s a very comfortable car to live with. Its steering is fairly light but so as to make driving in town easier, yet it remains predictible so you’re always kept at ease when on the motorway at higher speeds.
Space inside the Mazda 6 is good for both front and rear passengers thanks to the car being fairly long and wide. Where there might be an issue is headroom for people over six foot because of the car’s slightly sloping roofline.
9. Volkswagen Passat
Executive cars tend to come into two guises – spaceious and affordable, or flashy and pricy. However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t the odd exceptions to the rule which sit somewhere inbetween. And this is exactly what the Volkswagen Passat does well – nestling itself comfortably between these two classes, offering a nice middle ground for a well-balanced executive car.
What will please many business customers about the Passat is its vast array of options for engines and trim levels. There are petrol and diesel and plug-in hybrid engines available which offer a good range of performance, ranging from smooth and powerful to genuinely quick by executive car standards.
Any of the 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engines are a good choice if you want balance between shove and efficiency. With 150bhp and choice of manual and automatic gearbox, the entry-level petrol is adequate enough. There is a punchier 2.0-litre petrol engine with 187bhp, but for the extra price the power isn’t necessarily worth it.
Alternatively, the diesel engine of choice would be the 2.0-litre TDI EVO 150 which has slightly more power than the standard version (148bhp versus 118bhp). If you plan on having all five seats full then it’s ideal because it pulls better from low revs. Company car drivers can save a lot by choosing the plug-in hybrid GTE version of the Passat, which uses a turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine and electric motor that pump out 215bhp in total. With incredibly low CO2 emissions and the ability to travel 40 miles on electric power, it’s in the much lower BiK (Benefit in Kind) tax bracket.
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10. Jaguar XE
The most quintessentially British saloon on the market. The Jaguar XE is Birmingham’s answer to the German dominance of the executive car market.
And Jaguar has done a good job of putting up a fight to beat the Germans at their own game in this sector. As well as being devilishly handsome and modern on the outside, the ride experience is extremely comfortable with even the standard suspension setup.
It’s also got exceptional handling, making it stiff competition for the 3 Series when it comes to choosing a sportier saloon. Choose the 2.0-litre mild-hybrid diesel engine with 201bhp and you can get acceleration stats of 0-60mph in 6.9 seconds, making it our pick of the range. This partially electrified engine also results in a very welcoming hushed drive and start-stop system which is equally as gentle.
Inside the XE has typical Jag quality – that is, there are plenty of plush, soft-touch and nice-looking materials dotted about the cabin.
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