Fleet News

Contract hire survey: superminis

ANOTHER month and another new supermini model is launched. This sector has seen a huge amount of activity this year, with fresh additions from Renault, Peugeot, Toyota and now Vauxhall with the all-new Corsa.

Like its Astra big brother, the Corsa is available in two body-styles, with the three-door model offering more coupe-like styling to appeal to a younger audience. Inside the funky theme continues with a ‘face’ in the centre console created by the airvents and various stereo buttons.

As is the norm now, the new Corsa has grown over the previous model, with far more room inside to make it a viable choice for downsizers, especially in high-spec SXi trim level as featured here.

Most of the competition is new, too, with the Peugeot 207, Renault Clio and Toyota Yaris recent additions.

Of the rest, the Ford Fiesta has received a revamp this year, although it is an old car compared to the rest of this company, and Volkswagen has also addressed the Polo’s age with a facelift.

However, unlike the Ford, the Volkswagen supermini still has strong residual values thanks to the brand’s strength – used buyers still love it.

What the panel said

Director of new business, Bank of Scotland Vehicle Finance

THE Clio takes the honours with its superior ride and refinement combined with the lowest capital cost, rental, BIK tax, insurance and economy.

The Peugeot pushes it close with its strong RV and low SMR costs, but is held back by relatively poor mpg and CO2.

The new Corsa is a significant improvement over the previous model with a fresh look and quality feel, although it has a high retail price.

The Polo has plenty of kudos with its high second-hand desirability, despite higher emissions and insurance.

The Toyota’s renowned reliability confines the Fiesta to last place.

Operations director, Inchcape Fleet Solutions

THE three-door Corsa’s coupe-like roofline and muscular haunches will appeal to younger buyers. Good dealer coverage and cheap running costs will protect residuals.

The Fiesta feels a bit ‘last-generation’ compared to the rest and residuals are slipping. Despite the size increase the Yaris remains smaller and lighter than the class average.

The Clio has an established reputation, but the extra weight affects performance.

The 207’s driving position and cabin materials are much improved over the 206, as are quality and safety.

The Polo is the second oldest car but trades on traditional Volkswagen quality values.

Fleet management and operations director, Leasedrive

THE Clio heads the field because it’s not only one of the roomiest but also one of the best to drive. It’s quiet and leads in economy, emissions and insurance.

The Corsa’s Achilles’ heel has been its lower residuals so we’ll see how the new model fairs. It is bigger, more refined and more enjoyable to drive.

The 207 has a sweet engine while the ride is excellent and there’s a new quality feel.

The Polo has strong RVs and a comfortable ride. However, the seats are as soft as the ride.

The Fiesta’s refinement is not as good as the competition and depreciation is heavy. The Yaris is let down by its ride.

Managing director, Tuskerdirect

VAUXHALL’S new Corsa is a significant improvement, but it doesn’t do quite enough to knock the Yaris off the top spot.

The Yaris is beautifully engineered and finished with a lively and economical engine. While the new Corsa claims the next place, we would rate it only just ahead of the Clio which, while being a very attractive package, does suffer from quality issues.

The same applies to the 207, while the Polo, for a facelifted model, does not appear significantly different from the model that it has replaced.

Time has moved on and the Fiesta has not caught up, and it is a modest performer among these rivals.


    THE Clio and Corsa both offer low rentals and are easily cheaper than the rest which are up to £20 a month more expensive. The Fiesta is relatively pricey, reflecting the relative lack of support from Ford.


    THE Polo and 207 top the emissions chart, both emitting more than 150g/km of CO2. The Clio is the lowest emitter, and is the only car to drop below the 140g/km mark into the lowest BIK tax band.


    ONCE again the Renault leads the way with a claimed 47.9mpg, just eclipsing the Yaris and Fiesta. The Peugeot and Volkswagen are last on 44.1 and 43.5mpg respectively.


    USED buyers love the Volkswagen Polo, and its average residual value of 37% is miles ahead of anything else here. The Fiesta’s RV is a lowly 28%, although the Corsa is only slightly better.


    VAUXHALL is the most generous with support, offering an average of 18% off the Corsa’s price. Volkswagen nearly matches this figure for the Polo, while strangely Ford offers the least discount.


    THE Toyota will cost the most in servicing, maintenenace and repair over three years/60,000 miles, with an average bill of nearly £1,400. The Fiesta is the cheapest, around £300 less than the Yaris.

    The results

    1. Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 SXi 3dr

    P11D price: £9,957
    2006 BIK bill (22%): £350
    2006 VED bill £100

    BoSVF : £229
    Inchcape: £204
    Leasedrive: £201
    Tuskerdirect: £202

    VERDICT: Offers the second-lowest monthly rental thanks to strong support from Vauxhall, while SMR, fuel economy and emissions rival the sector best.

    2. Renault Clio 1.2 Expression 3dr

    P11D price: £9,472 2006 BIK bill (22%): £312 2006 VED bill: £100

    BoSVF: £210
    Inchcape: £198
    Leasedrive: £204
    Tuskerdirect: £206

    VERDICT: The joint winner with the Corsa here thanks to the lowest rental rate, decent residual value, interior space and being a good car to drive.

    3= Peugeot 207 1.4 S (A/C) 3dr

    P11D price: £10,132
    2006 BIK bill (22%): £379
    2006 VED bill: £125

    BoSVF : £220
    Inchcape: £227
    Leasedrive: £236
    Tuskerdirect: £225

    VERDICT: Despite having the highest monthly rental, the 207 comes third thanks to a strong RV but is hindered by low fuel economy and higher emissions.

    3=. Toyota Yaris 1.3 T3 3dr

    P11D price: £10,172
    2006 BIK bill (22%): £336
    2006 VED bill £100

    BoSVF : £229
    Inchcape: £221
    Leasedrive: £225
    Tuskerdirect £229

    VERDICT: Just £1 off being the most expensive monthly rental thanks mainly to high SMR costs. However, the Yaris scores well on RVs and economy.

    5. Volkswagen Polo 1.4 SE 80 3dr

    P11D price: £10,317
    2006 BIK bill (22%): £408
    2006 VED bill £125

    BoSVF: £221
    Inchcape: £218
    Leasedrive: £224
    Tuskerdirect £215

    VERDICT: Despite its age the Polo has easily the highest RV, helping bring rentals down. Polo is the least economical and has the highest emissions.

    6. Ford Fiesta 1.25 Zetec Climate 3dr

    P11D price: £10,052
    2006 BIK bill (22%): £332
    2006 VED bill £100

    BoSVF : £219
    Inchcape: £224
    Leasedrive: £220
    Tuskerdirect £221

    VERDICT: A low RV and low support from Ford, but the Fiesta scores well with the cheapest SMR bills. Despite its age it still stacks up financially.

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