Time to treat yourself? Kids moved out? Mid-life crisis? 

After all your hard work and dedication over the years, do you feel it’s time to dip your toes into the luxurious world of compact saloons?

If you feel it’s the right time to ditch the family hatchback and self-indulge in a lavish saloon, you won’t be underwhelmed by your new car’s performance or style.  

Although SUVs seem to be the latest craze for car buyers these days, the fierce level of competition to engineer cutting-edge saloons is high up on the agenda of premium car manufacturers. 

There is a finer level of detail associated with saloon cars that can make all the difference in the mind of a buyer. From the definitive low, sporty design, to the sophisticated interior, through to the premium technology, saloons really do offer a sensual drive embedded in pure comfort and luxury. 

To save you wading through review upon review of compact saloons, we have compiled a list of the 10 best compact saloons on the market for 2019.

Our list consists of a range of saloons with different styling, pricing, technology, and performance capabilities - the road to getting you behind the wheel of a brand-new saloon starts right here!

I’m not over exaggerating when I say we’re fortunate to be on the same planet as this engineering masterpiece. Not only is the BMW 3 Series immaculate to drive, it’s also got the interior space to transport the family in unerring comfort. 

In close competition with the Mercedes C-Class and the Audi A4, the BMW 3 Series is  available in two diesel and three petrol engines, or as a plug-in hybrid.

If you’ve got ‘dinero’ to spare, the powerful 190bhp 320d is the pick of the bunch. Gliding from 0-60mph in 7.1 seconds, the 320d returns an almost identical fuel economy of around 55mpg to that of the entry-level 150bhp 318d model. 

If you’re in the market for a company car, the BMW 330e plug-in hybrid works out as the cheapest and most efficient model in the range. With low CO2 emissions resulting in a low BIK tax rate, it’s hard to compete with the BMW 330e for quality.

Alongside the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Jaguar XE, the 3 Series is amongst the sportiest saloons on the market. However, when you examine them a little closer it’s the BMW that takes the biscuit in terms of outright ability and performance.

When you combine this with the state-of-the-art infotainment system, all-round parking sensors and trendy spacious cabin, you get a trendsetting extraordinaire that leads by example.

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BMW 3 Series Saloon

74 derivatives available

  • Doors: 2 - 4
  • Engine: 0.0 - 3.0
  • Fuel: P, D, H, X
  • Body: Saloon
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £278.85 Per Month

Initial Rental: £2,509.65 inc VAT
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The Jaguar XE is Britain’s audacious attempt to challenge the German heavyweights in the executive saloon market.

Competing with the likes of the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class, the Jaguar XE has more than enough fire in the belly to back itself against the big boys.

If you’ve got your heart set on a sporty executive saloon, it’s the best in the business.

The XE offers a strong range of engines that contribute to a supple drive with excellent steering precision and acute handling.

The Jaguar XE’s interior isn’t as flashy as you’d expect by looking at the exterior, but it’s by no means tacky or lacklustre. The soft plastic trims on the dashboard, the silky centre console and the standard leather seats all add a touch of class to an already graceful saloon.

Unfortunately, what the XE makes up for in quality it lacks for in passenger space. Although the Jaguar’s XE front seats are spacious and plush, the back seats are pretty cramped.

Boot space is rather petite in relation to the Mercedes C-Class and BMW 3 Series, but the generous equipment options should be enough sway your decision. The luxury of a 10-inch mounted touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto features come as standard on every model.

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Jaguar XE Saloon

68 derivatives available

  • Doors: 4
  • Engine: 0.0 - 5.0
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Saloon
  • Drive: A, M
  • CO2: 111 - 254g/km

From £299.03 Per Month

Initial Rental: £2,691.27 inc VAT
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If you thought the BMW 3 Series was a cut above the rest, you clearly haven’t met its bigger sibling, the 5 Series.

The 5 Series has it all - luxurious comfort, slick performance, huge practicality, contemporary technology...ok, ok you get the picture.

You’re spoilt for choice in terms of engines - you’ve got the option of three petrol and three diesel engines to choose from. Our go-to recommendation has to be the punchy entry-level 187bhp 2.0-litre diesel model known as the 520d. It manages 0-62mph in a solid 7.5 seconds without breaking stride. 

The BMW 5 Series’ elegant exterior transcends into the refined cabin. Everything you see in the cabin looks glossy and everything you touch feels well-polished giving the BMW a real upmarket status. 

The 5 Series comes with an abundance of high-tech features that give it the edge over the Audi A6. The 5 Series is equipped with electric seat, height and backrest angle adjustment as standard, as well as the optional extra of memory function capabilities so you don’t have to constantly fiddle around to find your desired driving position.

The quality of the infotainment system is second-to-none. Every 5 Series comes equipped with a grand 10.25-inch widescreen, sat-nav and a built in 20GB hard drive for all your music, so you really will feel like a kid on Christmas with all your gadgets.

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BMW 5 Series Saloon

50 derivatives available

  • Doors: 4
  • Engine: 0.0 - 4.8
  • Fuel: P, D, H, X
  • Body: Saloon
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £289.99 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,739.94 inc VAT
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Another goliath enters the arena. The delectable Audi A4 is similar to that kid at school who was amazing at everything. The A4’s all-round ability ensures it doesn’t shy away when put to the test against its fierce rivals.

Audi models can come in all shapes and sizes but there’s always a common denominator - impeccable build quality and a chic cabin. Oh and Audi’s iconic trademark ‘singleframe’ grille that graces the front of the A4.

Whichever engine you opt for, the A4 handles with dignity and honour. The standard steering is precise and suspension is firm and robust. If you’re looking for something with a little more vigor you’ll be better off with the likes of the BMW 3 Series or Jaguar XE.

Getting comfortable won’t be an issue with four-way lumbar support on offer from the entry-level up. All models also come with parking sensors front and rear as well as a reversing camera for those tight supermarket car park spaces.

The A4’s interior is a magnificent collection of detailed craftsmanship. As expected from Audi, the A4 consists of a plush, soft-touch finish and eloquent leather seats perfect for nestling into. 

The sleek dashboard is complemented by a 10.1-inch touchscreen installed with Audi’s innovative MMI infotainment system. The graphics are piercingly sharp and the sat-nav has an incredibly fast response time. 

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Audi A4 Saloon

54 derivatives available

  • Doors: 4
  • Engine: 0.0 - 4.2
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body:
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £249.46 Per Month

Initial Rental: £2,993.52 inc VAT
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Translated from Italian to read ‘Four-leaf clover’, the Alfa Romeo Quadrioglio is by far the most impressive car to come out the Alfa Romeo garage in recent years. Must be the luck of the Italian.

The sporty Guilia has the power to challenge the likes of the BMW 3 Series and the practicality to rival the Audi A4.

The suspension may feel a tad unsettled around town, but you won’t get more of an adrenaline rush anywhere else - unless you take the Jaguar XE out for a spin.

Step inside and the Gulia is pleasantly minimalist. You won’t get any of the glitz and glamour of the Audi A4 or BMW 3 Series, but the option to have carbonfibre sports seats fitted could be your chance to live your childhood dream of becoming a race car driver.  

Up close, the Giulia Quadrifoglio doesn’t quite match the panache of many of its closest rivals. There’s a lot of dark flimsy plastics dotted around the cabin which makes the car feel a lot cheaper than it actually costs.

The 8.8 inch colour display infotainment system is controlled by a user-friendly rotary dial and the Giulia has a built-in sat-nav and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring capabilities. 

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Alfa Romeo Giulia Saloon

10 derivatives available

  • Doors: 4
  • Engine: 0.0 - 2.9
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Saloon
  • Drive: A
  • CO2: 109 - 206g/km

From £360.92 Per Month

Initial Rental: £3,248.28 inc VAT
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Yet again, Audi have churned out an exceptionally designed car with the build quality to match it’s powerful drive in the form of the A3 saloon. The Audi A3 saloon is the third generation of the A3 family alongside the hatchback and sportback models.

The A3 saloon is blessed with the same range of dynamic engines as it’s two siblings with the 148 bhp 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine and the 181bhp 2.0-litre diesel our stand-out performers. The 1.5-litre petrol engine is potent with decent fuel economy, whereas, the 2.0-litre diesel is incredibly fuel efficient, making it a very attractive company car. 

Combining power with precision, the A3’s steering is agile and poised regardless of the suspension you opt for.

You really need to take a minute to appreciate and, potentially, applaud the Audi engineers for their meticulous craftsmanship on the A3’s interior layout. There’s no scratchy plastics in sight and everything is built with high-grade materials that you’d expect from an Audi vehicle. 

The dashboard is reminiscent of a scaninavian-style living room - minimalist yet stylish, and everything is simple to use and easy to navigate.

Audi’s MMI infotainment system certainly gives BMW’s iDrive a run for its money as the best media system going. The 7.0-inch display screen seductively levitates from within the dashboard when you switch the engine on and its controlled by a rotary dial between the two front seats so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road. 

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Audi A3 Saloon

48 derivatives available

  • Doors: 4
  • Engine: 0.0 - 2.0
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Saloon
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £223.51 Per Month

Initial Rental: £2,682.12 inc VAT
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The Mercedes C-Class is another powerhouse in the executive saloon car class. Locking horns with the likes of the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Jaguar XE and the Volvo S60, Mercedes know they can’t afford to take their foot of the gas with such an impressive level of competition vying for top spot.

The Mercedes C-Class is available in a wide range of engines including petrol, diesel and hybrid outputs. If you’re intending to do a lot of city driving, the economical and powerful 184bhp C200 mild-hybrid system will return effective running costs while improving performance at the same time. Win-win.

The dapper interior of the C-Class sets the benchmark against the likes of the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. Even the critics among you will struggle to say a bad word about the glossy, luscious trims that compliments the dashboard.

Unfortunately, once you take a seat in the back, you soon realise that the C-Class has sacrificed space and comfort for style. The back seats are significantly firmer and less roomy than the front seats, while boot space is also limited in comparison to the A4 and 3 Series. The frustrating narrow opening in the boot will make squeezing the golf clubs in more of a struggle than it should be.

 The entry-level trim comes with a 10.3 inch colour screen above the centre console that is operated by a slick rotary dial between the front seats. The system is reasonably user-friendly with sharp graphics, but it has nothing on BMW's iDrive or Audi's MMI systems. Come on Mercedes, get with the times.

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Mercedes-Benz C Class Saloon

35 derivatives available

  • Doors: 2 - 4
  • Engine: 0.0 - 6.2
  • Fuel: P, D, X, Y, Z
  • Body: Saloon
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £308.71 Per Month

Initial Rental: £2,778.39 inc VAT
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The Volkswagen Passat may not be the flashiest saloon on the market, but it sure is the biggest bargain on our list.

The Passat is a slick all-rounder and still feels rather upmarket thanks to it’s classily refined interior. You’ve also got the affordable price tag which really tempts buyers who also have the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class on their wishlist.

With a consistent range of economical petrol,diesel and plug-in hybrid powered engines that you come to expect from a Volkswagen, the Passat is a popular choice for company car drivers. The low CO2 emissions ensures the Passat falls under a cheap tax band with low BIK rates.

Although it may not offer much in terms of flamboyance or flair, the Passat embodies its own individual swagger. The tidy, accomplished interior is blessed with space and feels roomier than premium executive rivals like the Jaguar XE, 3 Series and Audi A4. Not to mention the seriously large boot that’s big enough to cram in 2-3 large suitcases.

The polished soft-touch materials are very easy on the eye and you’ll struggle to find any scratchy plastics in plain sight. The savvy infotainment system is identical to that in the Volkswagen Golf or Polo - a crystal clear 8.0 inch colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities comes as standard on all Passat trims.  

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Volkswagen Passat Saloon

29 derivatives available

  • Doors: 4
  • Engine: 0.0 - 4.0
  • Fuel: P, D, X
  • Body:
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £191.61 Per Month

Initial Rental: £2,299.32 inc VAT
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Volvo have come a long way from the days of selling bang-average estate cars. The last five years have seen a resurgence from the Swedish manufacturer that allows them to rub shoulders with the very best in the business such as the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Alfa Romeo Giulia. 

The S60 has completely done away with diesel engines as they look to move towards a more sustainable future. The only pure petrol engine is the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine that pumps out a whopping 247bhp. 

The plug-in hybrid T8 version is no slouch either. The electric motor and 2.0-litre engine work together to power from 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds. As well as seriously low CO2 emissions, the Plug-in hybrid model also comes with the added perk of free electricity for one year when you purchase from Volvo.

The S60’s driving position is pleasant and makes for a relaxing drive thanks to the electrically adjustable supportive seats. The interior cabin oozes class and style with lots of soft-touch plastics and glossy materials dotted around. 

The only available trim at the time being is the R-Design Edition. So as you’d imagine, it comes emphatically well equipped with gadgets galore including heated front seats and steering wheel, climate control, adaptive cruise control and keyless entry.

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Volvo S60 Saloon

4 derivatives available

  • Doors: 4
  • Engine: 0.0 - 3.0
  • Fuel: P, B, G, D, X
  • Body: Saloon
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 42 - 246g/km

From £325.10 Per Month

Initial Rental: £2,925.90 inc VAT
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The Stinger might not be the first Kia model that pops into your head, but it sure is the most thrilling and exciting to drive. Kia’s more than capable saloon has painted the South Korean manufacturers in a very different light - and it's rather impressive.

All the Stringer’s models are blessed with precise steering and sharp handling, so your worries about slack performance can be put to bed.

First impressions of the Stinger’s interior are excellent. The minimalist, soft dashboard is covered with a silky faux-leather layer. 

Unfortunately, when you start to prod around you’ll find harder, scratchier plastics around the cabin that cause the Stinger to drop down the pecking order in comparison to the similarly priced Audi, BMW, and Mercedes alternatives.

Likewise, the 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system works reasonably well and does what it says on the tin, but Kia still have a way to go to rival the premium brands in terms of quality and innovation. 

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Kia Stinger Gran Turismo

1 derivative available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 3.3
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Saloon
  • Drive: A
  • CO2: 154 - 221g/km

From £391.00 Per Month

Initial Rental: £3,519.00 inc VAT
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I think it’s fair to say that competition is fierce in the saloon car market.

We know it’s a difficult decision to put your finger on one specific model. Heck, I’m not even buying a car and I’m in a conundrum!

What you do know is where your priorities lie.

If you’re looking for a sporty, performance-driven saloon you’re probably better off drifting towards the premium range that includes the likes of the Jaguar XE, BMW 3 or 5 Series or the Alfa Romeo Giulia.

Maybe you’re on the hunt for a new executive company car that’ll return you lower CO2 emissions and cheaper tax rates. Plug-in hybrids are a great alternative if you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint. In this instance, the Volvo S60 or Volkswagen Passat are fuel efficient options that also pack a punch.

If practicality and comfort is king, you can’t go wrong with either the Audi A3 or A4. Both these models live up to Audi’s extremely high standards and certainly won’t disappoint.

All of these compact saloons are available on LeaseFetcher if you’re ready to take the next step. With some of the best lease deals on the market, LeaseFetcher offers you the opportunity to drive cars you may have thought were outwith your budget through fixed monthly lease payments. 

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch at [email protected] if you’d like to learn more about car leasing or our wide range of compact saloon models.