Now Mead has selected her eight top contenders to meet the work and lifestyle needs of today's professional women. She said: 'The special needs of women drivers are often overlooked in the fleet world and there are still a lot of company car schemes which need to be redesigned to give greater freedom of choice.' Statistics reveal that about 18% of managers in Britain are women compared with 1.8% six years ago and about a quarter of company car drivers are women.
Mead added: 'Women are far less concerned than men about the mechanical size and power aspects of vehicles and the 0-60 mph sort of promises usually cut little ice. But they are interested in safety, how easily they can park the vehicle, styling and have pretty focused ideas on what their real needs are.' Mead's top company car choices for the professional woman (pence per mile figures based on three years/60,000 miles including depreciation and maintenance. Fuel calculated on combined cycle at £3.38p a gallon) are:
- Peugeot 206 1.4 GLX with air conditioning: 'Ideal town car, nippy in traffic, easy to park and gives tremendously cost-effective motoring.' List price £11,070, monthly contract hire rate £249.53, a cost per mile of 19.93p.
- Volkswagen Golf 2.0 GTi: 'The hatchback to aspire to. Driving a Golf GTi is a strong statement of self-confidence.' List price £16,395, contract hire rate £328,81, a cost per mile of 24.93p.
- Audi A3 1.6 SE: 'High quality hatchback for good all-purpose use, including motorway driving.' List price £18,010, contract hire rate £384.64, a cost per mile of 28.36p.
- Vauxhall Vectra 1.8 GLS with air conditioning: 'My bet for comfort and reliability for the lady sales executive who is going to spend a fair amount of time on the road.' List price £17,050, contract hire rate £367.30, a cost per mile of 28.96p.
- Mercedes-Benz A-class 1.4 Avantgarde: 'Safe and ideal if you need to drop the children at school on the way to work. Visibility is excellent.' List price £15,745, contract hire rate £332.21, a cost per mile of 25p.
- Toyota MR2 2.0 GT: 'A real performer for the women executive who is going places fast.' List price £22,045. contract hire rate £434.06, a cost per mile of 32.46p.
- Toyota RAV 4 2.0 GLX: 'Fun, but practical as a run-about and first rate if you want reliable motoring in all conditions.' List price £17,050, contract hire rate £349.74, a cost per mile of 28.47p.
- BMW 318 SE: 'A real business and style statement for the woman at the top.' List price £21,015, contract hire rate £405.87, a cost per mile of 28.36p.