Well, clearly we’re talking big cupholders and heated massage seats, right? It’s the least you need to keep you sane through another bleary-eyed sunrise (and sunset) on the M1. We’ve split up our star long commuter cars into economy and luxury groups to suit the different priorities, but all focus on comfort and quiet to ease those tedious miles:
Economy first for a long commute that’s easy on your pocket…
Skoda Superb 2.0 TDI DSG
Price: £3000 – £12,000
The Skoda Superb is one of the best cars out there for just about any high-mileage lifestyle. It’s comfortable, you can have it with a super-efficient engine and a cheap price. Or stuffed with all the leather and glass-roof goodness that you want thanks to a vast trim and engine range.
This model was sold from 2008 until 2013, and for high motorway miles we’d stick to the 2.0-litre diesel (any of the power outputs on offer are fine, and affect economy very little). Avoid the 1.6 diesel if you can as it’s not much more economical than the 2.0-litre in reality and it can feel a bit gutless.
The DSG automatic gearbox is a good bet, as it suits the calm, loping stride of the Superb perfectly, but the manual is a tad more reliable and cheaper to buy so don’t discount it. It has a funny boot that has both a hatch opening or a saloon opening, although nobody ever seemed sure what the benefit was, or you can get it as an estate. Whatever your commute and lifestyle, there’s a Superb out there to suit you and it’s great value.
Volvo V70 2.0 D
Price: £2000 – £10,000
Everybody loves a Volvo estate, or if they don’t then they should. The V70 is rather more drab-looking than the more modern Volvos, but the generation that was on sale from 2007 – 2016 is sturdy, comfortable, feels nice inside and a premium feel that the Skoda Superb falls short of.
Avoid the 2.4 diesel if you can as it’s not an economical engine despite being diesel – the more modern 2.0-litre diesel is quieter and way more efficient but is similarly punchy. Go for the auto if you can – the manual gearbox has a clunky shift that’s at odds with the rest of the car. The main thing is that this is a supremely comfortable, safe and reliable cruiser.
Try and get an SE Lux if you can, as this was the best-equipped model, with heated, electrically adjustable leather seats, sat-nav, cruise control and all those conveniences that make a life on the road more enjoyable.
Luxury and looking good on every mile of that long commute…
BMW 640d Gran Coupe
Price: £14,000 – £34,000
This is one of those cars that seems to do it all. It looks stunning – sleek and hunkered down with an executive veneer, yet its four-door body is functional and gives decent access to an interior that’ll seat four easily, and the engine is both stonkingly potent and also quiet on the motorway. It’ll even do well over nearly 40mpg on an easy run, and thrill you on the right road.
It’s everything you could want from a posh weekday express, and it’s also great value as a used buy. They all get leather, widescreen sat-nav, reversing camera, climate control and cruise control of course. Finding one with heads-up display could be worth it, though. This was a popular option and while it sounds indulgent, if you do a lot of miles you’ll soon come to realise how brilliant it is for helping you to keep your eyes on the road.
Price: £6000 – £25,000
The Lexus LS600h is a V8 hybrid executive that offers remarkable levels of luxury for very little cash. The V8 has a lovely mutter mutter to it, the electric running is near-silent, the standard Mark Levinson speakers are extraordinarily good, the seats are massive and will massage you – and even those in the back if you get the ‘rear seat relaxation pack’.
It is a technical tour-de-force, and not an old car either despite the money. However, you will be looking at a car that’s been to the moon and back if you try to find one for £6000, but eek the budget up to £10- or £12,000 and suddenly you have a viable option if you do lots of miles. Plus, these cars live up to Lexus’ reputation for reliability, so while you should budget for fairly expensive fuel and servicing costs, it’s unlikely that anything will go wrong.
Don’t be fooled by the hybrid bit, though. Yes, it’ll run on electric power at low speeds, but you’ll still be lucky to get more than 25mpg out of it.