In the UK car market there’s a diverse and interesting selection of compact executive cars to choose. But which are the best to choose?

The best of the compact executive car offers strong performance but an easy-going driving experience in one seamless package. They are also spacious, fuel efficient, offer low CO2 emissions and tax payments and boast badge appeal too.

It takes a lot then for an entry among the compact executive cars to stand out, but in this guide we’re here to help you pick out the options that are most worth taking a closer look at. Here’s our look at the top five best cars in the compact executive car segment.

BMW 3 Series


The BMW 3 Series saloon is a regular entry among the top ten bestselling new cars in Britain and is quite simply still one of the best compact executive cars in 2016. Even if you prefer the styling of certain rivals over the BMW’s conservative approach, there’s no denying that the BMW 3 Series can do a lot in a superb manner.

It offers a strong engine line-up featuring very efficient diesels. The BMW 3 Series can match any rival when it comes to CO2 emissions or fuel efficiency.

The 3 Series also has a sporty setup. Its rear-wheel drive offers excellent weight distribution and there’s plenty of grip and steering feedback. At the same time, it does not feel as if ride comfort has been sacrificed to achieve a better drive.

Those interested in the BMW should keep in mind that a lot of the best kit is only optional, so that needs to be factored in when working out if you have the budget for the specification you want.

If you’ve got the money though, then the BMW 3 Series saloon range feels like one of the best purchases you can make in the compact executive car market.

Audi A4


An experience entry in the compact executive car market, the Audi A4 saloon remains strong in the market.

The most recent-generation A4 arrived during last year and it’s a cracking car, offering solid performance and efficiency seamlessly. The cleverly designed and sophisticated-feeling interior is a real highlight. You’re always likely to feel relaxed when experience the A4’s drive within its superbly premium cabin.

Also impressive about this car is the lengthy standard kit list. The Audi A4 has never been as renowned for its driving dynamics as other entries in the 2016 compact executive car market. However, if a relaxing, practical drive is what you want then the Audi A4 delivers that in a seemingly effortless manner.

Jaguar XE


The Jaguar XE, first launched in 2015, faced a tall order going up against top German premium manufacturers, but this marks a very impressive effort from the British brand.

Included with the XE is the range of Ingenium 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines, which offer superb figures for fuel economy and very low numbers for CO2 emissions too, by the standards of this sector.

Also featured in the XE line-up is the the S model that uses the same 3.0-litre supercharged V6 available in Jaguar’s F-TYPE sports car. The Jaguar’s distinct styling and sharp handling, aided by the smartly designed chassis built from the ground-up, all helps to make this one of the best entries in the 2016 compact executive car market.

If you are interested in getting a compact luxury saloon but want to stand out more from those that settle for German brands, the Jaguar XE is a very worthy alternative.

Mercedes C-Class


The Mercedes C-Class saloon is one of the most popular compact executive cars in Britain and the latest-generation version is an all-round smartly designed and very likeable entry in this market sector.

Featuring a versatile powertrain selection, a truly classy look for both the exterior and interior plus a superbly refined cabin, there’s a lot about the C-Class saloon to be allured by. It’s not just all style either, as the Mercedes C-Class has some of the most efficient powertrains and also some of the most potent units in the compact executive car market.

As a result of all this, particularly the diesel and hybrid powertrains, the C-Class saloon is a big hit with company car drivers.

Skoda Superb


The Skoda Superb, now in its third-generation, is one of the most practical and value-for-money options found in the executive car market.

This Skoda is noticeably cheaper priced than most of the alternatives but it can match the best of the competition when it comes to smart exterior styling. The cabin is not too shabby either, featuring a well-made and well-thought out layout and plenty of useful kit particularly in the mid-to-high trim levels. Every penny feels well spent if you pick this car.

There’s a great engine selection too, featuring diesel units useful for those keen to have low running costs and some potent petrol units for those that want plenty of oomph from their compact executive vehicle.

Another thing really impressive about the Superb is just how much room you get whether your sitting in the front or back of this car. In fact, the amount of legroom can rival luxury saloons in larger executive car categories.