Company car drivers pickup on tax advantages of 4x4 lifestyle vehicles

For drivers considering switching their company car for tax reasons, new insight from automotive data experts CAP HPI shows that lifestyle 4x4 vehicles present an increasingly popular tax-efficient purchase.

In the LCV sector, registrations of new 4x4 lifestyle vehicles have increased year on year for the past decade, more than doubling from 7.24% in 2010 to 15.02% so far in 2019. Last year 13.67% of all LCVs sold were 4x4 lifestyle.

The volume of new 4 x 4 lifestyle registrations means it is now the third largest sector across the entire LCV range for registrations in 2019 so far, behind medium vans (40.5%) and large vans (20.2%).

Lifestyle 4x4 vehicles typically have a specification as high as passenger vehicles. As well as boasting practicality and versatility benefits that come with having a massive loadbay, they also have great family appeal. Some of the latest double-cab trucks have impressively spacious cabins and even rear seats, while the improved safety and rugged styling also prove attractive. Towing capabilities and off-roading capability means they are popular with lovers of the great outdoors as well.

But it’s the range of tax benefits that can be gained by choosing a lifestyle 4x4 as a company that makes them a disproportionately cheap alternative to a conventional SUV or other choice of company car.
Speed limits with 4x4 lifestyle vehicles differ from model to model, and on some models vary according to trim level. The increased mass of some newer pick-ups means they are too heavy to be classed as ‘dual purpose’ vehicles, and are therefore subject to standard light commercial vehicle speed limits – which are 10mph slower on single and dual-carriageways.

“Drivers often choose lifestyle pick-up vehicles to reduce company car tax, because the HMRC classify any vehicle as a van if the payload is greater than 1000kg,” Steve Botfield, CAP HPI’s Senior Editor for Commercial Vehicles & Motorcycles, explained. “This has big tax benefits and can mean that motorists can drive a vehicle with a good spec and big on road presence at a fraction of the cost of running a large luxury 4x4.

The increasingly enhanced specifications and features such as a Truckman top and other secure load covers, which are not included with standard 4x4 lifestyles, means they also hold their values well in the used market, making them an even more solid purchase. It’s easy to see why registrations have doubled in this sector in the past nine years, as drivers recognise 4x4 lifestyle vehicles’ flexible use as a multi-purpose vehicle with top class specifications and very appealing tax benefits.”