Bigger than their predecessors, superminis are safer, more refined, comfortable and generally easier to live with than ever before

In the past, a supermini on your fleet was a sore reminder of a driver’s error of judgement and was a temporary hardship/ punishment until a paintshop-fresh Mondeo was returned to active service.

How things have changed – now drivers and businesses are savouring the prospect of life with Corsa-sized company cars.

The new breed of superminis have swelled considerably in magnitude and are safer, more refined, comfortable and generally easier to live with than ever before, while offering the very lowest running costs and tax liability.

Not, of course, that businesses need telling. Last September superminis were the third strongest segment in fleet, up 7% to 36,000 sales in the same month that saw the numbers of lower medium cars sold slip as a result.

The newest entrant to the supermini pack is the Corsa, which went on sale last month joining an equally recent offering from Peugeot and a talented new rival from Renault. The odd one out is the Fiesta having only recently received a facelift.

1st. Vauxhall Corsa – BusinessCar Best in class

Two years ago the Corsa was a fleet sales smash hit: the baby Vauxhall was second best-selling car to business.

It looks as if Vauxhall is set for a repeat performance because the latest version of the supermini barely has a weak spot. The new 5dr may lack the new 3dr’s sporty coupe lines, but it remains stylish, offering a fine drive, a quality interior and specific options that would look out of place on the MD’s Merc. Better still, it’s wrapped up in a class-leading package. The Corsa is well deserving of our Best-In-Class accolade.

2nd. Renault Clio

The Clio is a very impressive piece of kit, an appealing blend of stylish looks, solid build and a competent drive with the most powerful engine of the bunch. It would have walked a confrontation with the old Corsa, but now it’s out of touch. Costs-wise, it’s a huge 2.1p shy of the Vauxhall, while it uses the most fuel in this group and only trails the Peugeot 207 as most expensive car to maintain over three years.

3rd. Peugeot 207

Parking the new 207 beside the old 206 perfectly illustrates how much bigger the next generation of superminis are. The 207 dwarfs its predecessor and is also a far more capable. Finding a comfortable driving position is now easy and motorways are not the chore they once were.

The cost per mile is close to the Renault Clio, but the business case breaks down when it comes to maintenance. The Peugeot has the highest SMR of the group and almost matches the Fiesta for being worth the least three years down the line.

4th. Ford Fiesta

Businesses can’t get enough of the recently facelifted Fiesta. Last month, the baby Ford was the third best-selling car to fleet – leaving its bigger brother the Mondeo back in fourth place – despite being the oldest of the group.

The Fiesta is yet to be beaten in the segment for its drive, but otherwise, its interior packaging feels its age, with less legroom for passengers and boot space than the others. However, fleets will appreciate a low SMR (only the Vauxhall is better) and its ability to average 45.6mpg on the combined cycle.