Ask the experts: Executive cars
I’ve just started my own business and need to get myself a company vehicle. I’ve been used to driving the typical sales-rep-type motor, but I want to be a bit more executive now. What do you suggest?
Well of course there’s the usual range of Audis, BMWs and Mercedes-Benz out there, all good quality and with badge appeal. But what about keeping those in your back pocket for now, as we think about some other options?
Don’t be too quick to reject this model Superb. It has a more dynamic feel, a dose of technology and, most of all, a sense of style. The installation of the Volkswagen Group's lighter and more advanced MQB platform has opened up the potential for sharper responses, up-to-the-minute technology and greater levels of efficiency. Under the bonnet, most customers will want a TDI diesel: possibly the entry-level 1.6-litre 120PS unit but more likely the 2.0-litre TDI powerplant.
This third generation Superb is a larger car than its predecessor. Clean-cut lines, smoothly shaped surfaces and sharp edges have been integrated to create one of the most striking and elegant designs in the sector. After the bold exterior, the interior feels a bit safe in its aesthetics, but there can be few complaints about either quality or space. Rear legroom is frankly ridiculous. At last, this Skoda Superb looks the part, offering real luxury in an everyday package. We'd suggest that it's time to look at this car with a fresh perspective. If you're buying in this segment, we think it's one you have to try.
- Available from Telford’s in Carlisle and Border Cars in Lillyhall, and remember to check your local used car specialists.
Citroen's elegant DS5 has come in for a wash and brush-up with a revised interior and some efficiency tweaks. It is offered with a choice of no fewer than five powerplants. The exterior is certainly stylish, with the same themes of the DS3 model. It has a revised grille with the DS logo; the headlights are different too, with xenon and LED options and the bonnet panel has also been re-profiled, flowing into a set of chrome 'sabres' that run from the tips of the headlights to the front windows.
Inside, with its three light wells, the ceiling of this car creates a unique ambience that can be tailored to individual requirements, day or night. The main controls are grouped on two centrally-positioned consoles, one at a low level near the gear selector and one overhead. British buyers can be slightly adrift from this French brand. But if you just concentrate on the car, do your homework on the running costs and compare what you get for your money, the DS5 starts to come good.
- Available from Telford’s in Carlisle and Arnold Clark in Lillyhall, plus your local used car specialists.
Up till now, Volvo has never really cracked the full-sized executive sector. But this S90 model looks a more promising contender. These days, the Gothenburg marque has huge Chinese investment to drive it forward and the result is a much stronger range of product – cars, in fact, like this one.
As for engines, at the top of the range lies the T8 Twin Engined petrol/electric plug-in hybrid model. This delivers a combined 412PS output, with a thumping 640Nm of torque, and 62mph from rest is dispatched in under six seconds. Step inside an S90 and you’ll find a massive tablet-like touchscreen that plays a key role in creating an interior that is modern, spacious and uncluttered. It has soft leather and wood with handcrafted details, including diamond-cut controls for the start/stop button and volume control, and the boot's huge.
A growing number of thoughtful executives are looking for something more interesting as their next management-level company car and this S90 is well worth a test drive for those of that mindset. It certainly gives this Swedish brand a much stronger offering than it's ever had before in this sector.
- Available from Lloyds Motor Group in Carlisle and PV Dobson in Levens and check your local used car specialists.