• Best Cars for Commuting: Safe and Comfortable
  • Best Cars for Commuting: Safe and Comfortable

Best Cars for Commuting: Safe and Comfortable

Make the drive to work more enjoyable - Discover the best commuter cars to buy in 2024

Commuting is an essential part of daily life for millions of people in the UK. Whether you are navigating the busy streets of London, cruising along the motorway, or winding through country roads, having the right car can make all the difference to your journey. In this article, we guide you through the best cars for commuting so you can enjoy a safe and comfortable journey to and from your workplace. 

We'll also discuss what to look for in a commuter car and considerations when buying a car for work to help make your daily commute a breeze. So buckle up and join us as we reveal the top contenders for the title of best commuter car in the UK. Read on to find out more… 

What to consider when buying a car for commuting

Whether your journey to work is 10 minutes or two hours, there are several key factors to consider, including:

Fuel type and efficiency

Should you choose a petrol, diesel, hybrid, or electric car? With fuel costs being a significant ongoing expense, choosing a fuel-efficient vehicle can lead to substantial savings over time. Make sure you consider your average daily mileage and access to charging points if opting for a hybrid or electric commuter car.

Vehicle Excise Duty

Also referred to as ‘road tax’, Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) rates will vary based on the car's CO2 emissions. Cars with lower emissions generally incur lower VED costs. For cars registered after 1st April 2017, annual car tax rates in 2024 are £190 for petrol and diesel or a slightly reduced rate of £180 for hybrids. Electric cars are currently exempt from paying road tax.  

Congestion charges and low-emission zones

If your commute takes you into London or other cities with congestion charges or low emission zones, consider a car that meets the required standards to avoid additional daily charges. In London, the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) has been expanded across all boroughs, reaching parts of the M25 in places. 

Insurance costs

Car insurance premiums can vary greatly depending on the car's make, model, and insurance group rating. Before making a decision on which commuter car to purchase, we suggest you get quotes for your shortlisted choices.

Service and maintenance costs

If you travel far to work, look for cars with a good reliability record and reasonable maintenance costs to avoid unexpected expenses. If you purchase a second-hand car over three years old, also consider additional yearly MOT costs. 

Comfort and practicality

Your commuter car should be comfortable for your daily drive and suitable for your lifestyle needs, such as having enough space for your family or hobbies. 

Safety features

Consider too how safe a car is and look for cars with good safety ratings and advanced driver safety systems. Features like autonomous emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control can make your commute safer and less stressful.

Parking and manoeuvrability

If your commute involves navigating narrow streets or tight parking spaces, a smaller car with good visibility and parking aids might be preferable.

What to look for in a commuter car

Short commutes:

When looking for a car suitable for short commutes, there are some key factors to consider first, including:

  • Fuel efficiency - For short trips, a car with good fuel economy will help you save money on petrol or diesel.
  • Low emissions - Cars with lower CO2 emissions not only reduce your environmental impact but also incur lower road tax rates
  • Size and manoeuvrability - A compact car that's easy to navigate through busy streets and park in tight spaces is ideal for short urban commutes
  • Safety features - Even on short commutes, safety is crucial. Look for cars with good crash safety ratings and features like airbags, ABS, and electronic stability control
  • Connectivity - Features like Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, or Android Auto can make your commute more convenient and enjoyable
  • Automatic transmission - If your short commute involves a lot of stop-and-go traffic, an automatic car can make driving less stressful
  • Electric or hybrid options - If you have access to charging points, an electric or plug-in hybrid car can be a cost-effective and eco-friendly choice for short commutes

Long commutes:

Here are some key factors to consider when looking for a car suitable for long commutes:

  • Comfort - For long commutes, a comfortable car with supportive seats, good lumbar support, and ample legroom can help reduce fatigue and discomfort
  • Fuel efficiency - A car with good fuel economy will save you money on petrol or diesel, which can add up over long distances
  • Reliability - A reliable car with a good track record for long-term durability will minimise the risk of breakdowns and maintenance issues, which can be particularly inconvenient on long commutes
  • Cruise control - This feature can help reduce fatigue on long motorway journeys by maintaining a constant speed
  • Safety features - Look for cars with a high Euro NCAP safety rating and features like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking
  • Entertainment and connectivity - Features like a good sound system, Bluetooth connectivity, and smartphone integration can help make long commutes more enjoyable
  • Engine power - While not essential, a car with good engine power can make overtaking and merging onto motorways easier during long commutes

10 Best commuter cars to buy in 2024

Ultimately, the best car for commuting will depend on your individual needs, budget, and preferences. To help get you started in your search, here are our top 10 choices when it comes to purchasing a commuter car in 2024:

  1. Dacia Duster
  2. Hyundai i30
  3. Hyundai IONIQ 5
  4. MG5 EV Long Range
  5. Nissan Juke
  6. Nissan LEAF
  7. Nissan Qashqai
  8. Peugeot 208
  9. Renault Scenic E-Tech
  10. Tesla Model 3

Dacia Duster 

  • Price: From £18,295 new
  • Pros: A very affordable family-sized commuter car
  • Cons: The interior can feel lower quality compared to rivals 

The Dacia Duster is a compelling choice for commuters seeking a reliable, practical, and affordable vehicle. This versatile SUV offers a spacious interior, comfortable ride, and efficient engine options, making it well-suited for both short and long commutes. With its high driving position and good visibility, the Duster provides a commanding view of the road, enhancing driver confidence and safety, to and from work.

Buy now at Wilsons Epsom: Get your hands on the adventure-seeking Dacia Duster SUV for as little as £243 per month on PCP finance at our dealership.   

Hyundai i30

  • Price: From £21,575 new
  • Pros: Very comfortable to drive and well-equipped
  • Cons: The handling could be better  

The Hyundai i30 is a stylish hatchback that offers a comfortable and spacious interior, with supportive seats and ample legroom to ensure a relaxed ride during the daily commute. With an impressive array of safety features included as standard, the i30 prioritises the well-being of its driver and passengers. Additionally, the car's user-friendly infotainment system and smartphone integration capabilities help keep you connected and entertained throughout your journey. 

Buy now at Wilsons Epsom: Steer your way to success with the Hyundai i30 hatchback available from £321 a month on PCP finance at our dealership.

Hyundai IONIQ 5

  • Price: From £41,445 new
  • Pros: Ample amounts of space inside and fast-charging capabilities
  • Cons: Less room in the boot to favour interior space for passengers

The all-electric Hyundai IONIQ 5 is a game-changer for commuters looking to embrace a greener, more efficient driving experience without compromising on comfort or practicality. Its sleek, aerodynamic design truly does turn heads while its spacious and well-appointed interior provides a comfortable and relaxing environment for your daily commute. The IONIQ is certainly an intelligent choice for the daily drive to work.

Buy now at Wilsons Epsom: Electrify your driving experience with the Hyundai IONIQ 5 available from £699 per month on PCP finance at our dealership.

MG5 EV Long Range

  • Price: From £31,270 new
  • Pros: Great size for the family with plenty of space inside
  • Cons: Not the best looking car on the road

The MG5 EV Long Range is an affordable electric vehicle that offers commuters an unbeatable combination of practicality and eco-friendly performance. With its sleek and modern design, spacious interior, and impressive 326-mile rapid-charging range, the MG5 EV Long Range is perfect for those seeking a reliable and efficient car for their daily trip to work. It is particularly appealable to motorway drivers and commuters who need a large boot - it doesn’t get much better than 578 litres.

Buy now at Wilsons Epsom: Get behind the wheel of the award-winning MG5 EV Long Range - a fully-electric estate car that is available from £359 per month on PCP finance at our dealership. 

Nissan Juke

  • Price: From £22,585 new
  • Pros: It looks good and is well-priced 
  • Cons: Smaller interior compared to rivals

The first of three Nissan’s on our top 10 list is the stylish and dynamic crossover - the Nissan Juke which is available as a petrol or hybrid variant. Its bold, eye-catching design stands out in the sea of conventional hatchbacks, making a statement on the road while offering the elevated driving position and confidence-inspiring visibility that many commuters crave. The Juke's compact dimensions and agile handling make it a breeze to navigate through congested city streets. 

Buy now at Wilsons Epsom: Step up your daily drive to work with the Nissan Juke and Nissan Juke Hybrid, both models now available at our dealership. 

Nissan LEAF

  • Price: From £25,680 new
  • Pros: Quiet on the roads and easy to drive
  • Cons: Not the best range on the market

The Nissan LEAF is a groundbreaking all-electric vehicle that offers zero-emission performance and a smooth, quiet, and responsive driving experience. It has a driving range that will comfortably cover the distance of most daily commutes without experiencing range anxiety. The LEAF comes equipped with advanced ProPILOT technology that offers semi-autonomous driving capabilities to help reduce driver stress and fatigue during stop-and-go traffic. 

Buy now at Wilsons Epsom: Lead the pack in a 100% electric Nissan LEAF which is available from just £299 a month on PCP finance at our dealership. 

Nissan Qashqai

  • Price: From £27,480 new
  • Pros: Striking looks paired with a top-quality interior
  • Cons: The engine can feel a little lacklustre 

Rounding up our trio of Nissan’s is the versatile and reliable Nissan QASHQAI crossover that has become a firm favourite among commuters. Available with mild hybrid technology or as an e-POWER version for even more of an electrified driving experience when behind the wheel. Whichever version you opt for, the Qashqai's spacious and well-crafted interior offers a comfortable and relaxing environment to make your journey to work much more enjoyable.

Buy now at Wilsons Epsom: Take command of the road in a brand-new Nissan Qashqai with mild hybrid technology, or Nissan Qashqai with added e-POWER.   

Peugeot 208

  • Price: From £21,260 new
  • Pros: Quick acceleration and great handling 
  • Cons: Not much room in the rear seats

The Peugeot 208 is a compact hatchback that is affordable, stylish, and offers a range of efficient petrol and diesel engines, as well as an all-electric e-208 version too. No matter which variant you opt for, the 208's interior is a haven of comfort and sophistication, with high-quality materials, supportive seats, and a driver-focused cockpit that puts you firmly in control. Whether you're a first-time car buyer or a seasoned commuter, the Peugeot 208 is a great little purchase. 

Buy now at Wilsons Epsom: Drive in style with the small yet sporty Peugeot 208 and Peugeot e-208 all-electric model available now. 

Renault Scenic E-Tech

  • Price: From £37,495 new
  • Pros: Enjoyable to drive and a great electric driving range
  • Cons: Poor visibility through the rear window

Crowned ‘European Car of the Year’ in 2024, the Renault Scenic E-Tech is a revolutionary 100% electric SUV that offers commuters an unparalleled combination of space, efficiency, and technology. This innovative vehicle seamlessly blends the practicality of a spacious family car with the eco-friendly benefits of driving a pure electric vehicle. Expect ample room for passengers and cargo when on longer journeys or car sharing with work colleagues.

Buy now at Wilsons Epsom: Discover the all-new 100% electric Renault Scenic E-Tech available from just £449 per month on PCP at our dealership.  

Tesla Model 3

  • Price: From £39,000 new  
  • Pros: An impressive battery range
  • Cons: Maybe too many mod cons for the average driver

An electric vehicle built for distance, the Tesla Model 3 is an all-electric saloon car that really does revolutionise the commuting experience for drivers. This cutting-edge vehicle combines sleek, modern design with advanced technology and unparalleled performance. The Model 3's spacious and luxurious interior offers a serene and comfortable environment, with premium materials, supportive seats, and an expansive panoramic glass roof that floods the cabin with natural light. 

Buy now at Wilsons Epsom: Explore our range of pre-loved Tesla Model 3 cars, each waiting to find a new home.  

FAQs and Answers

Which car is best for daily long-distance driving?

For daily long-distance driving, a car that combines comfort, efficiency, and reliability is essential. While the best choice may vary depending on personal preferences and specific needs, we recommend the Nissan Qashqai SUV which is a reliable and efficient option. Its comfortable interior, smooth ride, and range of efficient engines make it well-suited for long-distance commutes.

What is the most economical car for long-distance driving?

When it comes to the most economical car for long-distance driving, there are several factors to consider, such as fuel efficiency, reliability, and overall running costs.

Take a look at our Best MPG Cars for 2024 article to help prepare your shortlist which includes the Dacia Duster and Peugeot 208.   

What is the best car for motorway driving?

When choosing the best car for motorway driving, factors such as comfort, stability, safety features, and fuel efficiency come into play. Some of the top choices include the leading German marques such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi, however, don’t discount the more cost-effective SUVs such as the Nissan Qashqai which is a reliable and practical choice with a range of efficient engines that make it well-suited for motorway driving. 

Is petrol or diesel better for motorway driving?

Ultimately, if you frequently drive long distances on motorways and plan to keep your car for several years, a diesel vehicle may be more cost-effective due to its better fuel efficiency. However, it's worth noting that the UK government has announced plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035, so electric and hybrid vehicles are becoming increasingly popular choices for motorway driving.

Is it okay to drive your car all day?

While it is possible to drive your car all day if it has been regularly serviced and maintained, it isn’t ideal for several reasons, including driver fatigue! If you need to drive for extended periods of time, it's essential to take regular breaks to rest, stretch, and refresh yourself. It's also crucial to ensure that your car is well-maintained and in good condition to handle the demands of prolonged driving. In general, it's best to avoid driving your car all day continuously.

How often should you get a new car?

The decision to get a new car depends on various factors, such as your financial situation, lifestyle, and personal preferences. There's no fixed rule on how often you should get a new car, but general guidelines suggest that if your car has high mileage (over 100,000 miles) and is starting to require frequent and expensive repairs, it may be more cost-effective to replace it with a newer model.

What is the best age to buy a used car?

When considering the best age to buy a used car, it's essential to strike a balance between factors such as depreciation, reliability, safety features, and remaining warranty. Cars typically experience their most significant depreciation during the first two to three years. By purchasing a car that's around this age, you can take advantage of the initial depreciation while still getting a relatively new vehicle with modern features and remaining warranty coverage.

Discover the best cars for commuting at Wilsons Epsom

If you are a commuter seeking the perfect vehicle for your daily journey to and from work, then our Wilsons Epsom dealership in Surrey is the ultimate destination. With an extensive range of cars from leading manufacturers, including Dacia, Nissan, Peugeot, and Renault, we offer a diverse selection of models to meet the unique needs of both long and short-distance commuters. 

With competitive pricing, flexible financing options, and a commitment to exceptional customer service, Wilsons Epsom makes the process of finding and purchasing the best commuter car a breeze. Meet your ideal commuting companion by booking in for a test drive today! 

Transport For London

Cars need to meet minimum emission standards when travelling in the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) or the daily charge must be paid.

Minimum emission standards

Petrol: Euro 4
Diesel: Euro 6

The ULEZ will be enforced based on the declared emissions of the vehicle rather than the age. However:

Information from Transport For London

Check this car on the TFL website before purchasing: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/check-your-vehicle/

All our vehicles are subject to an Admin Fee. Our Admin Fee covers any additional administration needed during your transaction, including a thorough provenance check (HPI Check). The admin fee also includes the cost to fully valet, register and, if necessary, MOT your vehicle (if less than 6 months left of current MOT).

Our administration fee is a variable fee which covers the additional administration needed when transacting with different categories of customers as specified. Retail Customers £199.00 - (Private buyers - NOT an owner, partner or director of a new/used vehicle sales company). Retail Customers using a finance broker outside our official panel of lenders paying funds direct to Wilsons Epsom - £399.00. All fees are inclusive of VAT.