A good executive saloon needs to combine two opposing qualities: luxury and affordability. The best have efficient engines that make them cheap to run as company cars. Yet, they also have plush interiors and enough sound-proofing to keep them quiet on the motorway.
Ideally, they should also offer a comfortable ride and be enjoyable to drive. Plus, they should have a user-friendly dashboard layout and come equipped with the latest infotainment and safety technology.
Here we count down our top 10 – and names the cars that are best to steer clear of.
The C-Class is one of the three main choices when it comes to executive cars, the other two, naturally, being the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series – both of which feature further up this list. The C-Class does a lot well, too – it's got a superb interior, most engines have low CO2 emissions and you get plenty of toys as standard. The entry-level C 220d diesel makes the most financial sense, though, and pulls strongly from low revs.
Our pick: C 220d SE
Taking on the big German brands in the executive car market is a big task, but Jaguar has made a good first impression with its junior saloon, the XE. It's offered with a strong range of engines, and rewards keen drivers with excellent steering and sharp handling. It's let down a little when it comes to cabin quality, but a generous equipment list should entice company car drivers.
Our pick: 2.0d 180 Prestige
Mondeo Man has grown up, and now expects more from his car than ever before. Fortunately, the Mondeo itself has grown up too, and now offers a comfortable driving experience and spacious interior to match its Germanic rivals. We'd go for the mid-range 2.0-litre diesel engine, and pair it with Zetec trim which gets you everything you're going to want, including a heated windscreen, rear electric windows and a ski hatch in the rear for carrying longer items.