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Choosing the best car for your job - SUVs, vans, and smaller cars for work

Whether you're a farmer, a rapper or a doctor; there's always a car for you. Here are the best cars to suit different jobs

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With the average Brit working 36.7 hours a week, it's no wonder our jobs significantly impact our lives.

According to data, 68% of workers in England, Scotland and Wales commute by car, averaging roughly 25 minutes per journey. So, if you’re used to travelling to work by car, you’ll want a motor that’s comfy and reliable enough for your daily trips.

Sam Sheehan, our motoring editor, says: “When you’re buying a car, you’ll be considering multiple factors, including where you live, what you like to do and how many people you need to travel with.

“But one thing that can also influence your buying decision, even subconsciously, is your job.”

Cars for taxi and private hire drivers

One profession that centres around a car is a taxi or private hire driver. Whether you’re converting your personal car into an Uber or buying a motor specifically for the job, making sure it's comfortable - as well as stylish - is important.

You'll be sitting in your car for several hours each day, so comfort is top of the list. Taxi drivers also need enough space to fit at least four people and their luggage. From a used Audi to a minivan – there’s plenty of choice out there.

Sam says: “As a professional taxi driver, your car needs to be spacious and comfortable.

“You'll also be wise to choose a model that's fuel-efficient and with low insurance premiums. Many taxi drivers opt for electric vehicles for their economic benefits - and there are lots of EVs to choose from these days.”

If you're buying a petrol or diesel car, getting the most out of your fuel is a must. Data shows that most taxi drivers in the UK have diesel cars, with 79% of taxis in England and Wales choosing that type of fuel.

With fewer refuelling stops needed for a diesel over a petrol car, you can make the most money possible while on shift.

Sam adds: “Car models known for their comfort and efficiency, such as the Citroen C3, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class, can be great diesel choices.”

Cars for farmers, groundskeepers and agriculture professionals

If you’re an outdoor professional working in farming and agriculture, you need something sturdy that can help you work the land. You need something that can switch from tarmac to field tracks quickly – with a strong body and power behind the steering to help carry heavy loads or even tow.

Sam says, “You need to invest in an all-wheel drive. SUVs have the right power and ability to transition between different terrains.

"Whether it's a quick trip to check on livestock or hauling equipment, operating on farmland is a demanding job for a vehicle - and its owner.

“The Land Rover Discovery, Suzuki Ignis and Dacia Duster are great examples of cars that will get you where you need to be, no matter the terrain or weather.”

Cars for tradespeople - including builders, electricians, plumbers and carpenters

Vans are the number one choice for tradespeople, but an increasing number are opting for double-cab pick-up trucks too, which can also be used privately.

There’s a huge choice of vans and they come in all shapes and sizes. Pick-ups are now available from a growing number of big-name manufacturers, including Ford, Volkswagen and Toyota.

red Vauxhall Vivaro driving down a road

Vans range from small car-based runabouts such as the Ford Fiesta Van, up to larger vehicles like the Vauxhall Vivaro.

The Ford Ranger and Mitsubishi L200 are popular 4x4 pick-up options, with budget alternatives like the SsangYong Musso catching up fast.

Cars for veterinarians

Vets based in the country often need to reach animals in areas where a 4x4 is a necessity – especially during extreme weather.

SUVs are a favourite, though many all-wheel drive estates can carry all the kit too and are just as capable.

silver Honda CR-V front

The Evoque and bigger Discovery both feature Land Rover’s legendary off-road ability, along with the full-size Range Rover.

However, other 4x4s such as the Lexus RX and Volvo XC90 (both available as hybrids), are good options too. Some all-wheel drive estates including the Volvo V90 are worth considering.

Cars for home care providers 

District nurses and care assistants making home visits often opt for smaller cars which are reliable, economical to run and easy to park.

Some homecare providers were early adopters of electric vehicles, where the pool cars can be charged back at base, but this may not be such a good option in more rural areas.

Finally, it’s worth finding out whether your NHS Trust runs a car leasing service.

red Nissan LEAF parked next to a field

City cars such as the Volkswagen Up and Ford Fiesta are good options for urban areas, but if longer journeys between patients are involved, a petrol hybrid like a Toyota Hybrid or a small diesel might make more sense.

Electric cars could also be worth considering, especially in towns and cities – the Smart EQ ForTwo and Renault Zoe offer great value in that department.

Cars for teachers

Teaching is another profession where the right mode of transport is important. In fact, data shows that teachers make an average 113 trips a year driving a car or a van – making it the most common form of commute for teachers in England.

Commuting is an important factor when choosing any vocation, but even more so when you’re working late, need to attend parents' evening, or just get some additional marking done. Having a reliable car is a must.

Sam says: “As a teacher, you’ll need something reliable. You'll also need enough boot space for any school equipment, books and maybe some last-minute essentials.

“If you need a family car, models such as the Volvo XC40 and Peugeot 3008 are sturdy, dependable and spacious options. But if you’re after something a bit smaller, the Toyota Prius and Nissan Leaf get top marks too - with both providing low running costs.”

Cars for property service providers – window cleaners, handypersons and gardeners

Vehicles that can carry tools and ladders are popular options here, so estate cars, saloons and vans are the order of the day.

Naturally, many gardeners opt for 4x4s and pick-up trucks which are a good halfway house between a van and an SUV. Unless long distances are covered, petrol and hybrids might make sense.

Small vans such as the Vauxhall Vivaro and the Ford Transit Connect are great workhorses, yet easy to drive, economical and offer plenty of loadspace. 

grey Ford Transit Connect driving through a city

If you need extra space, then move up to a Ford Transit Custom or Volkswagen Transporter. 

Pick-ups such as the Isuzu D-Max, Ford Ranger and Mitsubishi L200 are worth considering. Spacious estate cars include the Ford Mondeo, Skoda Octavia and Vauxhall Insignia often fit the bill just as well.

Cars for personal services provider – masseuse, aromatherapist, sports massage, beautician

For many people in personal services, it’s vital to be able to carry a portable massage couch and/or massage chair.

Drop the back seats on most SUVs, estate cars and people carriers and there’s a huge amount of space which is why these vehicles are a solid choice.

Alternatively, if you want signage to advertise your business, choose a van which will be a great canvas for your brand.

blue renault espace driving on a road

Reasonably priced estate cars are top choices here with the Skoda Octavia and the Ford Focus Estate leading the pack.

Mid-sized SUVs such as the Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Qashqai can also do the job, along with people carriers like the Citroen C4 SpaceTourer,  Renault Grand Scenic, Ford S-Max and the van-like Peugeot Traveller and Vauxhall Vivaro Life.

Car for entertainers – musicians, kids entertainers

Space for props, costumes and instruments is the name of the game here, so estate cars, people carriers, vans and SUVs top the list.

red Škoda Octavia

Hard not to recommend Skoda’s spacious estate duo again (Octavia and Superb) again, but it may well be that a van is the best option because there’s a big, accessible load space, room for signage outside and everything is hidden from prying eyes. 

A small or mid-size van like a Vauxhall Vivaro or a Renault Trafic should do the trick and if you’re doing a lot of miles, then frugal diesels still make sense.

Cars for photographers/film crew

Photographers need a car that looks stylish and professional, yet is practical, reliable, and capable of reaching often challenging locations in all weathers.

SUVs and estate cars will work well, and if they are all-wheel-drive, even better. Long distances are often involved so diesels and hybrids should help lower costs.

white Toyota RAV4 driving towards the camera

We’d recommend hybrid SUVs such as Toyota RAV4 and the Hyundai Santa Fe. This includes plug-in hybrids which typically offer around 30 miles of pure electric range.

Cars for caterers

Transporting food is similar to most other commodities in that space and ease of loading are necessities.

Additionally, a facility to chill or freeze food may be needed if cool boxes aren’t enough. If big distances are involved, then diesels and hybrids make sense.

rear of Land Rover Discovery Sport off-roading in a forest

Caterers are likely to go for vans and big estates, though some may simply hitch up a trailer in which case a good tow car such as an SUV, pick-up, large saloon or estate will do the trick. 

Popular SUV choices include the Land Rover Discovery and Discovery Sport, Kia Sorento, Volvo XC60, Skoda Kodiaq and Volkswagen Touareg, while the big SsangYong Rexton is a great budget option.

Regular cars that make great towcars include the Volkswagen Passat, Audi A6, Ford Mondeo, Skoda Superb, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series.

Cars for surveyors

Surveyors want to look professional, yet may occasionally have to reach muddy sites in the middle of nowhere.

grey audi a4 allroad

An SUV would make sense, so maybe a Land Rover Discovery Sport, Volvo XC60, Nissan X-Trail or Subaru Forester?

However, a 4x4 estate would also do the job and classy choices include the Audi A4 Allroad Quattro and Volvo V60 Cross Country.

Cars for estate agents

Estate agents want to look smart and professional, but not too flash. After all, you don’t want to make your clients think you’re rolling in it.

Space for passengers in case you need to transport clients to viewings would be useful.

white Volvo XC60 parked on the side of a road next to a large stone building

A mid-sized SUV like a Mazda CX-5, Peugeot 3008 or Volvo XC60 would tick all the right boxes and give the right impression, as would saloons such as a Jaguar XF, Volvo S60 or Peugeot 508.

Cars for reality TV stars

If you want to make an impression and you have a bit of cash to splash on a suitable car, then there’s a huge choice of prestige open-top sports cars and classy SUVs out there.

black Aston Martin DB11

If you want to be seen, then go for topless versions of the new Porsche 911 or an Aston Martin DB11 or Jaguar F-type.

SUVs don’t get much cooler than a Range Rover Velar, Audi Q8 or Maserati Levante, while a Porsche Panamera Sport Tursimo is one the slickest estate cars on the market if you need space for passengers and luggage, but don’t want an SUV.

Cars for CEO/company presidents

CEOs and other senior executives have busy lives at work and at home. 

For work, your car may also double as your office, so it’s got to be luxurious, spacious, supremely refined and fitted with state-of-the-art connectivity, a chiller for ‘essential refreshments’ and reclining seats with built-in massage functions.

At home, you want a car which will let everyone at the golf course know who’s boss. Roll up in something that is going to be commensurate with your status and ambition.

grey/blackJaguar XJ driving on a coastal mountain road

For leisure, consider everything from a Rolls-Royce Phantom, Bentley Mulsanne or Aston Martin Rapide at the luxury end of the market, to a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, Jaguar XJ and Audi A8.

If you want to step into your executive express and your need a vehicle that can cope when the going gets tough, then opt for a big SUV such as the Range Rover SVAutobiography, Bentley Bentayga or Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

CEOs wanting to show off their green credentials could go all-electric with a long-range Jaguar I-Pace, Tesla Model X or Audi E-tron.

Read more about choosing a car: