Car group tests

Volvo S60 vs company car rivals

Can new diesel Volvo S60 rival Mazda 6 and Audi A3 high fliers in our company car showdown?

Volvo s60 vs rivals

Company cars are big business for manufacturers, especially in the compact executive sector, and Volvo is aiming for a larger slice of the market with a revised S60 saloon.

It’s introduced a new D4 diesel that has a healthy power output of 179bhp, but also features a range of eco tweaks which drop emissions to only 99g/km.

That makes this sleek saloon attractive to business users – but is there more to the new S60 than just low tax costs? To find out, we’ve lined up a pair of alternative choices that also aim to make an impact in the compact executive class.

Volvo S60 review

Mazda 6 review

Audi A3 Saloon review

The Audi A3 Saloon isn’t quite as powerful as the S60, but has quality and comfort on its side. Then there’s the Mazda 6. It’s more family saloon than executive, but makes up for its lack of prestige with lots of kit and space, head-turning looks and sharp handling.

Head-to-head

CO2 emissions

Company car drivers considering these models will be drawn to the Volvo, with its 99g/km emissions and 15 per cent Benefit in Kind tax rating. However, if you’re allowed to add options, you’ll find the rate soon rises above the other cars’.

The Audi is in the same boat, as it has a similar level of kit to the new S60. But while the Mazda has a higher initial tax rating, you won’t be hiking your costs as it’s much better equipped as standard.

Hi-tech lighting

All three cars come with LED daytime running lights. The Mazda has basic strips built into the headlamp units, while the Volvo features strips in the lower grilles.

Audi offers an advanced LED system on the A3 that dims the running lights when you’re using the integrated indicators.

Interiors

While these three cars feel well built, there are big differences in execution. The S60 is comfortable, but doesn’t feel as spacious as the Mazda. The 6 doesn’t have as many high-quality plastics as the A3, yet the Audi trails both rivals on space.

Verdict

1st place: Mazda 6

Mazda 6 saloon 2.2D Sport Nav static

It’s victory for the stylish Mazda 6. A generous kit list and spacious interior make up for the higher financial outlay for business users, while a lower price and strong blend of performance and economy mean it’s the best private buy.

2nd place: Audi A3 Saloon

The A3 Saloon is a top-quality product that drives well, and doesn’t cost much more to run as a company car than the S60. Clever packaging gives it a bigger boot, and if you only use the back seats infrequently, it has plenty of space.

3rd place: Volvo S60

Volvo S60 front quarter

The new D4 diesel is a great performer, but the S60 only really makes sense in Business Edition guise. The rest of the range is too pricey and not as well equipped as rivals, and although it’s comfortable, the driving experience is a letdown.

Figures

 Mazda 6 2.2D Sport NavAudi A3 Saloon 2.0 TDI S lineVolvo S60 D4 SE
On-the-road price/total as tested£26,295/£27,655£26,425/£32,630£28,445/£39,495
Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)£11,751/44.7%£13,826/52.3%£12,940/45.5%
Depreciation£14,544£12,599£15,505
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£997/£1,994£897/£1,793£852/£1,703
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,506/£2,510£1,521/£2,536£1,718/£2,864
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost23/£377/C/£3021/£364/B/£2027/£385/A/£0
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£172/£233/£236£16p/m (3yrs/30k)£250/£375/£320
    
Length/wheelbase4,870/2,830mm4,456/2,637mm4,635/2,776mm
Height/width1,450/1,840mm1,416/1,796mm1,484/1,825mm
Engine4cyl in-line/2,191cc4cyl in-line/1,968cc4cyl in-line/1,969cc
Peak power173/4,500 bhp/rpm148/3,500 bhp/rpm179/4,250 bhp/rpm
Peak torque420/2,000 Nm/rpm320/1,750 Nm/rpm400/1,750 Nm/rpm
Transmission6-spd man/fwd6-spd man/fwd6-spd man/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel62 litres/repair kit50 litres/space saver67.5 litres/£250
Boot capacity489 litres425 litres380 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,487/650/1,600kg1,315/550/1,800kg1,542/518/1,750kg
Turning circle11.8 metres10.7 metres11.3 metres
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (60,000)/3yrs3yrs (60,000)/3yrs3yrs (60,000)/3yrs
Service intervals/UK dealers12,500 (1yr)/170Variable/15418,000 (1yr)/136
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.8th/17th*12th/23rd*11th/13th*
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./points92/77/66/595/87/74/5 (hatch)94/82/64/5 (V60)
    
0-60/30-70mph8.5/7.5 secs8.5/7.5 secs7.6/6.7 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th3.1/4.5 secs3.8/6.6 secs3.2/4.8 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th5.9/7.8 secs7.9/10.2 secs7.1/9.3 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph139mph/2,050rpm137mph/1,800rpm143mph/1,750rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph52.4/37.9/9.9m48.0/33.9/9.4m47.0/33.9/8.7m
Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph60/43/62/69dB68/48/64/74dB68/47/60/68dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range49.3/10.8/672 miles48.8/10.7/537 miles43.3/9.5/643 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined51.4/72.4/62.8mpg54.3/80.7/68.9mpg65.7/78.5/74.3mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined11.3/15.9/13.8mpl11.9/17.8/15.2mpl14.5/17.3/16.3mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket154/119g/km/19%155/107g/km/17%175/99g/km/15%
    
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/cameraSix/yes/yes/yesSeven/yes/rear/£275Six/yes/rear/£375
Automatic box/stability/cruise control£1,200/yes/yes£1,480/yes/£225£1,550/yes/yes
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/yes/yesYes/part/£260Yes/£900/£300
Metallic paint/xenons/keyless go£540/yes/yes£525/yes/£425£625/£1,150/£550
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/no/yes£495/yes/yes/yes£1,200/yes/yes/yes

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