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Many working lives have been disrupted by the pandemic. Some people are now working from home on a permanent basis, while others are exercising their legal right to request flexible working. In many cases, the family car is working less hard than it was prior to the pandemic, with fewer people commuting to the office.
With one eye on how a car can enhance a working from home lifestyle, and the other on taking advantage of the end of the daily commute, here are 20 cars that could work for you:
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Peugeot Traveller Business VIP (from £35,000)
Garden offices and shed conversions are all well and good, but what if you fancy a change of scenery? The Peugeot Traveller Business VIP is like having your own mobile office, so you can travel to wherever your work takes you. The standard Business model is available with five to nine seats, while the Business VIP is available with six or seven.
Highlights include an optional retractable table surrounded by four or five face-to-face seats, independent rear air conditioning, tinted rear windows, LED ambient lighting, four 12v sockets, a 230v socket and a USB port. You even get a panoramic opening glass sunroof for some alfresco entertaining.
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New Ford Focus (from £22,500)
Working from home is much simpler when you’ve got speedy wifi. There’s less chance of the connection dropping out during a Zoom call with your colleagues and less strain on the modem when your kids are playing Rocket League. But what about the occasions when you need a break from the home office?
Many new cars are available with built-in wi-fi. Take the FordPass Connect, which works with a modem in the car and a smartphone app called FordPass. With it, you can enjoy 4G LTE wifi for up to 10 devices, so you’re never more than a few moments away from sending that rather important PowerPoint presentation to the office.
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Chrysler 300C (from £7000)
What do you miss most about working in the office? Grabbing a takeaway coffee on the way into work? Gathering around the watercooler to chat about football and what you watched on Netflix? The Chrysler 300C can deliver on both counts, of sorts.
It comes with heated and cooled cupholders, which enable you to keep your latte warm and your Red Bull chilled. Perfect for those late nights out of the office.
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Nissan e-NV200 Workspace
It might have been a concept, but the Nissan e-NV200 Workspace of 2016 was the first all-electric mobile office. If nothing else, it might provide some inspiration for anyone thinking of converting a van, camper or MPV into a home office. Nissan teamed up with Studio Hardie to create the concept.
Highlights included a fold-out desk, touchscreen computer, wireless internet, smartphone-controlled LED lights, wireless phone charging, Bluetooth audio, mini fridge, and barista-quality coffee machine. There was even an internal mount for a Brompton folding bike. George Clarke would call it an amazing space, probably.
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Rolls-Royce Cullinan (from £300,000)
In its guide to working from home, the NHS says you should ‘spend time outdoors when you can [because] regular time in green space is great for your mental health’. We’re using this as a tenuous reason to buy a Rolls-Royce Cullinan. More specifically, the available Viewing Suite.
It’s Rolls-Royce speak for two rear seats that fold out from the boot, each one finished in the finest leather and flanking a cocktail table. Take a seat and ‘survey just how far you have come’, says Rolls-Royce. From the home office to the Costa on the high street, probably.
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Honda Civic Tourer (from £6000)
Sticking with the outdoor theme, the NHS recommends regular exercise. In fact, it advises home workers to follow their normal sleep and work patterns to stay consistent. ‘Try scheduling in your commute time and spend it exercising, reading or listening to music before logging in’.
What about venturing out with a bicycle? The Honda Civic Tourer is one of the most practical and flexible estate cars you can buy, especially if you find one with the optional in-car bike storage system. Two bikes can be carried if the rear seats are lowered thanks to the system’s aluminium rail and sliding brackets. Clever stuff.
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Land Rover Discovery (from £30,000)
Taking the dog for a walk is a good excuse to take a break from your laptop and enjoy some fresh air. Most cars will be able to transport your canine companion, but some vehicles are better than others. The Land Rover Discovery is a good example.
In 2018, Land Rover launched a range of premium pet packs, including a care and access pack. It features a full-height luggage partition, quilted load space liner, pet access ramp and portable rinse system. You’d be barking mad to leave home without it…
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Ford Puma (from £19,000)
The inclusion of the Ford Puma might send our tenuous-ometer into a tailspin, but hear us out with this one. It was our James Attwood’s car of the year in 2020, which should be enough for you to consider buying this thoroughly good compact SUV.
James called the Megabox storage compartment under the boot floor ‘gimmicky-sounding-but-surprisingly useful’. He’s right, because the waterproof lining and drain plug make it ideal for storing wet boots or washing down damp dogs following a brisk lunchtime walk. We told you it was tenuous.
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Seat Arona (from £10,000)
How much did you spend on takeaway coffees before the pandemic? A latte a day could have added around £60 a month to your household budget, based on a cost of £3 per drink from a high street retailer. For £185, you can buy a portable espresso maker for your Seat Arona, so you can relive the takeaway experience without leaving your driveway.
The device will pay for itself in a few months, although you’ll have to fork out for the coffee. Still, think of the money you’ll be saving, which can be put towards your burgeoning collection of Hot Wheels models.
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Honda e (from £25,000)
With your daily commute a thing of the past, it might be time to consider an electric vehicle. It can be left on charge while you’re working from home, so you’ll always have enough juice for a trip into town or to see a valued customer. Buying an EV should be cheaper, because you don’t necessarily need one with a large battery and a long range.
There are many reasons to like the Honda e. The eye-catching design provides something to look at from your home office window, while the interior is sophisticated enough for you to consider working from the car. You even get a virtual fish tank! A range of 125 miles doesn’t look great on paper, but how often do you travel further afield? Shame it's a bit pricey for what it is.
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Mazda MX-30 (from £26,045)
The Mazda MX-30 isn’t the best electric car you can buy. Indeed, our Matt Saunders said: “It is not without appeal, but it is not quite the true, all-electric Mazda ‘MX’ we were promised.” Matt did concede that the styling, interior and comfortable ride are reasons to consider it.
Here’s the thing. Buying an EV with a large battery and an impressive range estimate is great, but they’re usually much more expensive to buy and take longer to charge. The MX-30 might deliver around 100 miles per charge, but the car is cheaper than most EVs of a similar size.
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Audi TT Mk1 (from £2000)
The original TT may have been flawed, but it's still growing on us, and the attention-grabbing design has aged surprisingly well.
As we recently said: “Even non-enthusiasts gravitate towards the original Audi TT. Well-preserved ones without an intergalactic figure on the odometer start at £2000 in the UK.’ You no longer need something sensible for the commute, so fill your boots.
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Mazda RX-8 (from £1300)
Few people would recommend buying a Mazda RX-8 for commuting purposes. Its thirst for petrol and oil is matched only by your line manager’s love of coffee and management speak. Still, with some blue sky thinking and an ability to think outside the box, buying an RX-8 could be a no-brainer. It’s not as though you need to rely on it for the commute to the office.
We said: “The Mazda RX-8 is the type of coupé enthusiasts lust after when it’s new and sell as soon an even newer model comes out. Prices start at £1300 in the UK, and are heading gently up.’
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Mercedes-Benz SL R129 (from £8000)
If you’re going to be working from home for the foreseeable future, you no longer need to concern yourself with matters of efficiency, economy and practicality. Buy a good R129-generation Mercedes-Benz SL and you could find that it’s better than sticking your money in a savings account earning zip.
We said: “The R129 SL is another one of those cars that’s already started to climb and we could all see it coming because that’s exactly what its predecessors did. Decent examples are from £8000.’
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BMW Z3 (from £3000)
The BMW Z3 was James Bond’s choice of wheels in the 1995 film Goldeneye. Presenting the car to 007, Q said: ‘BMW, agile, five forward gears, all-points radar, self-destruct system.’ You won’t get a radar or self-destruct system in your Z3, but we doubt prices will drop any lower.
Our guide to used sports cars that should go up in value focused on the Z3M Roadster, but we echo the views of our sister title Classic & Sports Car. ‘You don’t need to hold the world to ransom to bag a decent Bond BMW, and the Z3 is the most affordable of the lot,’ it said. Bank on paying £3000 to £5000.
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Vauxhall VX220 (from £11,000)
Did you dream of owning a proper driver’s car when you were forced to drive a diesel saloon by your fleet manager? It’s payback time as you stick a hardcore sports car in your garage. Again, we can only see values of the Vauxhall VX220 going in one direction.
We said: “The ultimate is the run-out VXR220 (pictured) but just 65 of those were made, so be prepared to wait for one of those. Values for all models are already on the up. Prices from £11,000 in the UK, with Turbos from £13,000.”
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Caterham Seven (from £20,000)
Hardcore, you know the score. The NHS advises people working from home to ‘be kind to yourself’, which is why we’re recommending the Caterham Seven. If the PowerPoint presentation is getting on your nerves or you’ve had your fill of Zoom calls, driving a Caterham could be a welcome tonic.
“Lockdown meditation only enforced our view that acceleration and grip don’t matter anywhere near as much as driver engagement,” is what Andrew Frankel said in 2020. Quite right.