The Best Commuter Cars in the UK (2023 Edition)
The Ultimate Guide to the Best Commuter Cars in the UK of 2023
In the world of bustling city life and long commutes, having the right vehicle is paramount. Not all cars are built equally, especially when it comes to their efficacy as commuter cars. That’s why we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to the best commuter cars of 2023 taking you through a handpicked selection that promises efficiency, comfort, and excellent value for money….
- for motorway driving or long distance commutes
- for inner city commutes
- for town and country commutes
- for load lugging commutes
- Defining the Ideal Commuter Car: Key Characteristics
Before diving into our top picks, it’s crucial to understand what makes a car ideal for commuting. We are looking for…
- Fuel Efficiency: Crucial for cost savings and reducing your carbon footprint.
- Reliability: You need a car that will not break down frequently.
- Comfort: Since you’ll be spending significant time in it, a comfortable ride is key.
- Affordability: The car should offer excellent value for the money you’re spending.
- Resale Value: A car with a good resale value is an investment rather than an expense.
With these key features in mind, let’s look at our top picks for commuter cars in 2023.
Related Reading: Is My Car Fuel Efficient? Most Fuel-Efficient Cars in the UK
Top 3 cars for motorway commuting
1. Tesla Model 3
The Tesla Model 3, boasting a sleek, aerodynamic silhouette, is a testimony to Tesla’s design philosophy of “less is more.” Its minimalist aesthetic, complemented by a panoramic glass roof, makes it a head-turner on the streets. It is constructed with safety as the utmost priority, and has earned the highest safety ratings across multiple countries. Packed with eight surround cameras providing 360 degrees of visibility, ultrasonic sensors, and a forward-facing radar, the Model 3 is equipped with Tesla’s Autopilot features designed to assist you with the most burdensome parts of driving that are common on long or laborious commutes.
The interior features a modern minimalist design with the focus is on the 15-inch touch-sensitive infotainment screen, which controls everything from climate settings to your favourite playlists. But the Model 3 isn’t just about safety and comfort; it’s a performance powerhouse too! With its long-range battery, the Model 3 can travel up to 358 miles on a single charge, ensuring you reach your destination without any range anxiety.
The Tesla Model 3 currently has an RRP of £42,990 to £57,990. It is an outstanding commuter car with a brand reputation to match.
2. Ford Fiesta
The Ford Fiesta is a perennial favourite among daily commuters, showcasing Ford’s kinetic design philosophy – it looks like it’s moving even when it’s standing still. Its compact dimensions and sharp styling give it a strong road presence.
For comfort and practicality one key aspect that makes the Fiesta a great commuter car is its practical interior. With its comfortable seats and efficient use of cabin space, the Fiesta can easily accommodate four adults, while the decent-sized boot can handle most daily luggage needs.
As a motorway commuter, fuel efficiency is also critical, and here, the Fiesta shines. Depending on the engine, Fiesta models offer impressive miles per gallon, ensuring your fuel bills stay low.
Fiesta’s infotainment system is straightforward to use, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard across the range. This ensures your daily commute is entertaining and connected. But not to downplay the importance of safety, especially on motorways, the Ford Fiesta doesn’t compromise. With features like automatic emergency braking and lane-keep assist, Fiesta ensures your journey is as safe as possible.
The Fiesta offers a range of engines, from the frugal 1.1L petrol engine, excellent for motorway and city commuting, to the punchy 1.0L EcoBoost for those who need a little extra pop.
Affordability is also a strong suit of the Fiesta. With an RRP range of £19,350 to £26,450 the base model is a competitive price and excellent value for money. Running costs are low, as is insurance and with reasonable maintenance costs this is an excellent choice for the motorway commuter on a budget.
3. Audi A6
The Audi A6 exudes an air of sophistication and elegance. Its streamlined silhouette, bold single frame grille, and expressive LED headlights reflect Audi’s commitment to design excellence.
For comfort and luxury there is a spacious interior adorned with high-quality materials, comfortable seats, extensive legroom, and premium features like 4-zone climate control to ensure that your commute is as comfortable as possible. Despite its size and power, the A6 also manages to deliver impressive fuel efficiency, making it a practical choice for daily motorway commuting across the UK.
It is equipped with Audi’s MMI touch response system, providing seamless access to navigation, entertainment, and ride settings. Plus, with standard smartphone integration, your commute can always remain an enjoyable, connected experience.
The Audi A6 also leaves no stone unturned when it comes to safety. From a suite of airbags to advanced driver assistance systems like adaptive cruise control, the A6 ensures your commute is as safe as can be. And with a range of powerful yet efficient engines, from the 2.0L TFSI to the 3.0L TFSI, sharp handling, refined suspension, and quattro all-wheel-drive, you can be assured of a smooth and responsive drive, perfect for motorway commuting.
Being a luxury saloon, the A6 is priced higher than average saloons (RRP range £40,965 to £63,125). However, considering the luxury, technology, and performance it offers, many find it worth every penny. The A6’s efficient engines, long service intervals, and reasonable insurance costs make it a relatively cost-effective choice for a luxury motorway car.
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Top 5 cars for inner city commuting
1. Toyota Yaris Hybrid
The Toyota Yaris Hybrid is a contemporary design, with compact dimensions, distinctive headlights, and aerodynamic silhouette making it perfect for navigating UK cities.
It is compact and practical, cleverly utilising space to ensure comfortable seating for four adults. The boot space is perfect for bags or luggage.
Being a hybrid, the Yaris Hybrid shines in fuel efficiency which is a must for inner city commuting. It switches seamlessly between petrol and electric power, or a combination of both, delivering excellent miles per gallon figures. It also boasts a user-friendly infotainment system complete with a touchscreen display, smartphone integration, and a reversing camera – adding convenience and entertainment to your everyday commute.
The Yaris also doesn’t compromise on safety, with its suite of advanced safety features. To name a few that make it a top inner city commuter vehicle are automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and traffic sign recognition, which ensure greater peace of mind during those stop start inner city commuter journeys.
The Yaris Hybrid is powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine paired with an electric motor, delivering adequate performance for city driving while keeping emissions low. And thanks to its hybrid powertrain, driving in the city is a breeze. It offers a smooth, quiet ride, especially when running on electric power, making stop-start traffic less stressful.
The Yaris Hybrid is slightly more expensive than its conventional counterparts with an RRP range of £22,125 to £26,375, but it offers excellent value for money when you consider it uses hybrid technology, fuel efficiency, and the savings it offers in the long run.
With its excellent fuel economy, low CO2 emissions (resulting in lower road tax), and Toyota’s reputation for reliability, the Yaris Hybrid promises low running costs.
2. Nissan Leaf
The Nissan Leaf’s is both sleek and aerodynamic, helping to improve efficiency for inner city commuting of a stop and start nature. With its distinctive V-motion grille, boomerang-style lamps, and floating roof, it adds a touch of style to the city streets.
Inside, the Leaf offers a spacious and comfortable cabin, with plenty of space for five and a spacious boot. The intuitive layout and quality of materials ensure a pleasant atmosphere for your commuter journeys.
As an EV, the Leaf excels in efficiency too. It delivers a considerable range on a single charge, making it ideal for city commuting and reducing the need for frequent charging. Where the Nissan Leaf also gets top billing is in its advanced infotainment system with features such as navigation, smartphone integration, and an energy usage display all of which are essential so that you are always connected, informed and entertained on your commute.
When it comes to safety, the Leaf doesn’t disappoint either. With Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility features, including ProPILOT Assist and Intelligent Around View Monitor, it ensures a safer driving experience. Which further enhances performance grades as the Leaf’s electric powertrain provides instant torque for quick acceleration, while its battery offers impressive range, that again all aids the inner city commuter.
The Nissan Leaf offers a smooth and quiet drive, characteristic of EVs. Its e-Pedal allows for one-pedal driving, making stop-and-go city driving effortless and convenient.
With an RRP from £28,940 the Leaf may be higher than a conventional car, but the lower running costs and potential government incentives for EVs make it a cost-effective choice in the long run. With zero fuel costs (bar electric), lower maintenance costs, and various tax benefits, the Nissan Leaf proves to be an economical choice for city commuting.
3. Volkswagen Up
With its compact dimensions, boxy yet attractive design, and clever use of space, the Volkswagen Up stands out on city streets. It’s small enough for tight parking spots, agile enough for tight roads, yet big enough on personality with a brand reputation to match.
Despite its diminutive size, the Up offers a surprisingly roomy interior and its practicality is enhanced by a decent-sized boot, making it versatile for everyday commuting and weekend trips alike.
But it is in fuel efficiency where the Volkswagen Up really shines. Its range of economical engines delivers impressive fuel economy figures, making it ideal for city commuting. The Up also boasts a simple yet functional infotainment system, offering features like smartphone integration, navigation and a plethora of entertainment options, ensuring you stay connected and entertained during your commute.
The Volkswagen Up doesn’t skimp on safety either – as you would expect from a VW car. Equipped with essentials like ABS, ESP, and multiple airbags, it is built to keep you safe on your city commutes. The Up offers a choice of efficient petrol engines that deliver just the right amount of power for city driving while keeping fuel consumption and emissions low.
In terms of driving experience the Volkswagen Up has lightweight, compact dimensions, and responsive steering. It is nimble to manoeuvre and delivers an enjoyable driving experience, making city commuting a joy rather than a chore.
With its competitive pricing (RRP of £14,210 – £16,175), the Up provides an affordable entry point to the Volkswagen range. It delivers excellent value for money, given its build quality, features, and performance. With low running costs, low insurance costs, economical engines, and reasonable servicing costs, the Volkswagen Up is a wallet-friendly choice for the inner city commuter.
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Top 5 cars for town and country commuting
1. Audi A6
The Audi A6 stands out with its stunning design – a perfect blend of elegant lines, aerodynamics, and a distinctive single frame grille – which offers more than just aesthetic appeal. The interior is comfortable, luxurious and spacious, with comfortable seats, ample legroom, and superior features like 4-zone climate control, all of which make for a great commuter journey across rolling country roads, winding bends and potentially long trips behind slower vehicles.
Despite its high performance, the A6 is fuel-efficient. This economical aspect makes it a practical choice for daily commuting. Especially as the Audi A6 is also tech-loaded. The MMI touch response system provides navigation, entertainment, and ride settings, while the smartphone integration enhances your connected journey.
In terms of safety the A6 does not disappoint either. Equipped with advanced driver assistance systems like adaptive cruise control and a suite of airbags, it ensures a secure commute, whatever the terrain or conditions.
The Audi A6 comes with a range of efficient engines, including the 2.0L TFSI and 3.0L TFSI, that deliver powerful performance, ensuring a smooth and responsive drive, ideal for city and highway commuting. Couple that with refined suspension, sharp handling, and quattro all-wheel-drive, that offers a balanced, smooth drive.
While the A6 has a high price tag (RRP range £40,905 – £81,340), being a luxury car with exceptional safety standards, technology and performance, it offers excellent value for money. With an efficient engine, longer service intervals, reasonable insurance costs and lower running costs, the A6 is an affordable luxury car and an exceptional choice for the regular commuter.
2. BMW X3
The BMW X3 combines rugged SUV aesthetics with BMW’s trademark sophistication, featuring a distinctive kidney grille, aerodynamic lines, and an imposing stance, making it a stylish choice for commuting across varied terrain and road conditions.
For sheer comfort and practicality few cars match the X3 as it offers a plush interior with roomy seats and ample boot space. It’s loaded with amenities like climate control and leather upholstery that add to the comfort and practicality of your commute.
The BMW X3 also boasts efficient engine specs that deliver performance without sacrificing fuel economy. And BMW’s iDrive infotainment system offers features like navigation, smartphone integration, and a high-quality audio system, keeping you entertained and connected at all times, making it a practical choice for daily commuting.
As you would expect, the safety features of the BMW X3 are excellent, including adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and automatic emergency braking. Which coupled with powerful yet efficient engines, including the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder and 3.0-litre turbocharged inline-six, delivers a safe, smooth and responsive commuting experience.
With its sporty handling, refined suspension, and available all-wheel drive, the X3 provides an engaging and comfortable ride in the rolling country hills, across various road types and is ideal for both city and highway commuting.
As with the Audi A6, while the X3 comes with a higher price tag (RRP £46,500 – £63,260), it offers excellent value considering its luxury features, build quality, and performance. With its fuel-efficient engines, reasonable insurance rates, and BMW’s reputation for reliability, the X3 ensures manageable running costs. It is the perfect commuter vehicle for semi-urban to more rural settings.
3. Kia Sportage
The Kia Sportage blends stylish design with utility. Its dynamic exterior, distinctive tiger-nose grille, and LED lights make it stand out, while its compact dimensions are ideal for various commuter settings. It also offers a spacious and comfortable interior, featuring quality materials and generous boot capacity, ensuring enjoyable and practical commutes. But best of all are the Sportage’s fuel-efficient engines, which make it a very cost-effective option for daily commuting.
Packed with technology, the Kia Sportage includes a user-friendly infotainment system with features such as smartphone integration and navigation, keeping you connected and entertained on your commute. It also has many advanced safety features including autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assist, and blind-spot detection, ensuring a safe journey.
For performance the Sportage offers a range of engines, including fuel-efficient four-cylinder options and a more potent turbocharged variant, all providing a smooth and responsive drive. This combines well with precision steering and quiet cabin, to ensure a pleasant driving experience on those long or laborious commutes across multiple different road settings and terrains.
From £26,965 the Sportage is competitively priced, offering great value considering its quality, features, and performance. With its fuel-efficient engines, reasonable insurance premiums, and Kia’s strong warranty program, the Sportage ensures manageable running costs for the everyday commuter.
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Top 5 cars for load lugging commuting
1. Skoda Superb Estate
The Skoda Superb Estate is a stylish, practical, and well-built vehicle. It boasts a dynamic and elegant exterior, while its spacious and flexible interior makes it a standout in the estate car segment.
Offering an exceptionally roomy interior with ample legroom, headroom, and a vast boot space, it is the perfect car for a commuter that requires space for a heavy load but does not want to lose any comfort or practicality of the drive.
The Skoda Superb Estate comes with a range of efficient petrol, diesel, and hybrid engines, delivering excellent fuel economy and making it a cost-effective choice for commuting across any setting.
Featuring Skoda’s latest infotainment system with smartphone integration, digital radio, and optional satellite navigation, the Superb Estate ensures an entertaining and connected journey. It also has tremendous safety ratings due to features including multiple airbags, electronic stability control, and driver-assistance systems like adaptive cruise control. These all provide greater peace of mind during commutes.
The Skoda Superb Estate offers several engine options, from efficient four-cylinder engines to the more powerful vRS model, and with its refined suspension, quiet cabin, and precise steering, the Superb Estate delivers a comfortable and engaging drive.
At £30,135 the Superb Estate is competitively priced, offering an affordable entry point into the estate car market, it is great value considering its size, quality, and features. Thanks to its fuel-efficient engines, reasonable insurance costs, and Skoda’s reputation for reliability, the Superb Estate ensures affordable running costs too.
2. Mercedes E-Class Estate
The Mercedes E-Class Estate blends elegance and practicality as you would expect from such a reputable car manufacturer. It boasts a sleek exterior design, while its spacious and high-quality interior sets it apart in the premium estate car segment. And with a sumptuously appointed interior, plush seats, generous space, and large boot space, it offers the heavy duty commuter all the space and horsepower they need.
Despite its size and luxury status, the Mercedes E-Class Estate features efficient engine options, including petrol, diesel, and hybrid variants, that provide impressive fuel economy for a car in its class. And with a range of engine options, from efficient four-cylinder to powerful six-cylinder units, the E-Class Estate provides a smooth and engaging commuter experience.
The E-Class Estate comes with Mercedes’ advanced infotainment system, featuring navigation, smartphone integration, and high-quality audio systems that ensure an enjoyable and connected commute at all times. While a suite of advanced safety features, including active brake assist, blind spot assist, and attention assist, make the E-Class Estate an extremely safe and secure vehicle.
Renowned for its smooth ride, precise steering, and quiet cabin, the E-Class Estate is comfortable to drive and sit in on long journeys, and while it is more expensive than others in its class (RRP £58,835) as a premium estate car, the E-Class Estate offers excellent value considering its luxury appointments, performance, and quality.
Despite its luxury status, the E-Class Estate’s efficient engines, reasonable insurance premiums, and Mercedes’ maintenance programs help manage running costs and make it an ideal choice for ‘best in class’ commuter car.
3. Volvo V60
The Volvo V60 showcases Volvo’s Scandinavian design philosophy with its clean lines, stylish exterior, and a sophisticated, high-quality interior. It is well built with comfortable seating, generous space, and a versatile boot capacity, ensuring that commuting is both easy and practical.
The V60 comes with a range of petrol, diesel, and hybrid engines, all of which provide impressive fuel economy, making it a cost-effective choice for commuters of all types, especially those with long journeys to negotiate and/or big loads to carry. The range of engine options also provide a balance of performance and efficiency to suit different driving needs and preferences.
The V60 features Volvo’s advanced infotainment system with smartphone integration, digital radio, and navigation and an abundance of safety features that are at the heart of the driving experience, such as multiple airbags, advanced driver-assistance systems, and Volvo’s IntelliSafe technologies. All this makes the Volvo V60 an incredibly safe, well connected and pleasurable vehicle for any commute.
Thanks to its refined suspension, precise steering, and quiet cabin, the V60 delivers a comfortable and engaging driving experience, making it especially suitable for both city and motorway commuting.
The V60’s RRP of £41,355 is less than both the Mercedes’ and BMW’s in this class and although it carries a slightly higher price tag to other mainstream estate cars, it offers greater value considering its luxury appointments, safety features, and build quality. Thanks to its efficient engines and Volvo’s reputation for durability, the V60 ensures reasonable running costs, making it a smart choice for regular commuters.
Related Reading: How Often Should You Service Your Car For Optimal Performance?
Commuting by Car in the UK FAQs
Q1: What are some essentials to keep in mind for car commuting in the UK?
Car commuting involves understanding the rules of the road, knowing the peak traffic times, having valid documents such as a driver’s licence, car insurance and MOT, and keeping in mind to drive on the left side of the road. It’s also crucial to be aware of the Congestion Charge if you’re commuting in London.
Q2: How does the Congestion Charge affect UK car commuters?
If your commute involves driving into central London between 7 am and 10 pm on weekdays, you’ll need to pay the Congestion Charge. This fee aims to reduce traffic congestion, making commuting smoother for everyone.
Q3: Can you provide some tips for optimising fuel efficiency while commuting by car?
To maximise fuel efficiency, ensure regular vehicle maintenance, avoid rapid acceleration and heavy braking, and try to maintain a steady speed. Using in-car technology like satellite navigation can help you plan the most efficient route and avoid congestion, thus optimising your car commuting experience.
Q4: How can I stay updated about traffic conditions while commuting by car?
Utilise real-time traffic information through navigation apps or tune into local radio stations for traffic updates. Being aware of traffic conditions can help minimise delays and ensure a smoother car commuting experience.
Q5: What is the significance of car insurance for UK commuters?
Car insurance is mandatory for all UK car owners. It provides financial protection in the event of an accident or theft. Having comprehensive insurance cover is beneficial for regular car commuters, ensuring peace of mind during journeys.
Q6: How can I save on parking costs while commuting by car?
Look for car parks with competitive rates or those outside the city centre and consider a short walk. Use apps to find available parking spaces, and if you’re a regular commuter, a season parking ticket could save you money.
Q7: What are the advantages of carpooling for car commuters?
Carpooling can make your car commute more cost-effective by splitting fuel and parking costs. It can also help reduce the number of vehicles on the road, contributing to less congestion and a more sustainable environment.
Q8: What are some common driving laws UK car commuters should be aware of?
It’s crucial to familiarise yourself with the Highway Code, which covers laws on speed limits, drink-driving limits, use of mobile phones while driving, seat belt use, and child car seat regulations. Following these laws ensures a safe and legal commute in the UK.
Q9: How can I reduce stress while commuting?
Try to avoid peak traffic times, use calming music or audiobooks, and utilise route planners to avoid congested routes. Also, regular breaks on long commutes can help reduce stress and fatigue.
Q10: Is it economical to use electric cars for commuting in the UK?
Yes, electric cars can be an economical choice for UK commuters, considering the rising fuel prices. They also have the advantage of being exempt from some charges like the London Congestion Charge and offer lower maintenance costs.
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There are a few different types of policy you can choose from when taking out your Gap Insurance cover with Click4Gap. These depend largely on how you intend to fund the purchase of your vehicle. So what car Gap Insurance is right for you?
If you paid cash for your vehicle, or paid a sizeable deposit, or if you financed it, Combined RTI Gap cover will pay out the shortfall between the cost of your vehicle and the market value at the point of claim, which is the amount your motor insurer will cover. This is cover that will protect you no matter if you use your vehicle for private use or for business.
If you leased your vehicle or it is under a contract hire agreement, Lease/Contract Hire Gap Insurance will cover you for the shortfall on your lease agreement, after your motor insurer settlement. If, for any reason, you change your vehicle within the first 90 days from the start date, we will also arrange to transfer your cover to your new vehicle without hassle or charge.