Whether work’s a pleasure or a chore, whether you’re glad to return to the office after a pandemic-induced spell of homeworking or whether you’d much rather be sat in your pyjamas working from your bed of a morning – many of us will be returning to at least a semi-regular workplace or office commute before too much longer.
Pre-pandemic, we spent an average of 27 working days a year commuting to and from work, and if you’re going to spend that much time in your car it might as well be a comfortable one.
No matter if you’re buying brand new or if you’ll be spending time browsing used cars for sale [https://www.parkers.co.uk/cars-for-sale/used/] we’ve got the ideals solution below. Read on for our pick of the best commuter cars for those destined to return to a regular drive to and from work.
Best new commuter cars
New price: From £38,520
Looking every bit like a funsized luxury limousine, the C-Class has always been one of the more comfortable compact saloons you can buy. The same is true of the latest generation, which pairs supple suspension with excellent seats, great refinement and smooth engines to truly gobble up long distances.
The interior’s controlled almost totally via touchscreens, so technophobes need not apply, and those opting for the C-Class as a company car would do better to wait for the upcoming hybrid models which will attract a lower rate of tax.
New price: From £24,370
Often unfairly overlooked, the Vauxhall Insignia’s most recent update has given it a range of good engines and an interior and exterior makeover that, while far from glamorous, mark it out as a beacon of good, common sense. With starting prices that are more akin to mid-sized hatchbacks than a large family car, it’s good value, too.
We reckon those with a long commute will benefit most from the 122hp diesel engine, which cruises comfortably and returns great fuel economy. But, if you’ve got the extra dough, there’s a 174hp diesel or a 200hp petrol that should make light work of any long trip.
New price: From £16,645
You might think a supermini is best suited to shorter commutes but the Ford Fiesta is one of the most accomplished small cars to drive, period – it makes light work of even long-distance routes and you’ll likely step out at the end not just relaxed but with a smile on your face.
The EcoBoost petrol engines are more than powerful enough for this dinky car and provide good fuel economy, while you can specify the interior as everything from Spartan to positively luxurious. The Fiesta is one of the UK’s best-selling cars for a good reason, after all.
Best used commuter cars
Skoda Octavia Estate (2005-2013)
Used price: From £1,000
You’ll find used Skoda Octavia Estates littering budget buying guides across the internet, with good reason – they’re tough, reliable and sturdy with a great balance of comfort, equipment and style.
The Estate models carry an almost ridiculous amount of luggage when needed, and if you opt for the legendarily reliable 1.9 TDI turbodiesel you’ll have an impressively efficient car that’s robust and easy enough for any garage to work on.
Ford Ka Hatchback (2009-2016)
Used price: From £950
Attractive to look at and sit in, yet solidly built. The Ford Ka launched in 2009 shared its mechanicals with the Fiat 500 but offered a very different feel and driving experience. It’s a great urban car with light, easy controls and good visibility – perfect for nipping through city streets to get to work.
Entry-level models can be rather short on equipment but these are the cars to go for if you want to cut your repair costs even further. And opting for one of the models with stop/start technology means further fuel savings.
Fiat Sedici (2006-2011)
Used price: From £1,295
It might seem an unusual inclusion in this list, particularly as not many people have heard of it, but the Sedici is a surprising hidden gem in Fiat’s history. Underneath the Fiat’s body lies the mechanicals from a Suzuki SX4, so Fiat benefits from all that brand’s reliability and 4×4 expertise.
It’s also fairly luxuriously equipped for a small SUV of this era, offers good fuel economy and crucially for those who may work where the weather’s not so forgiving, will get you to work in the snow and sleet admirably if properly tyred.