There is no single commercial vehicle that fits all business needs. The choice you make ultimately depends on what’s best for your industry and financial situation.
We’ve gathered vehicles that are the most popular, fuel-efficient and safe, along with key features to consider and methods of financing.
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Search thousands of vehicles online, including $0 down options, from dealers across the country and get matched with affordable financing options. Auto loans are also available to those with bad credit, consumer proposals and bankruptcies to help rebuild credit.
Several manufacturers stand out in the car industry for most popular business-use vehicles:
China National Heavy Duty Truck Corp
First Auto Works
Compare popular car models that many business owners prefer.
Best-selling sedans for business
Best-selling vans for business
Best-selling trucks for business
Safety is important when considering a business vehicle. Look to these safest ones on the market.
Safest sedans for business
Safest vans for business
Chrysler Pacifica & Pacifica Hybrid
Dodge Grand Caravan
Safest trucks for business
Get ready to save money on travel costs. Hybrids and diesels top the list for fuel efficiency.
Most fuel-efficient sedans for business
Chevrolet Cruze Diesel
Jaguar XE Diesel
BMW 328d Diesel
Most fuel-efficient hybrids for business
Toyota Camry Hybrid
Toyota Avalon Hybrid
Ford Fusion Hybrid/Energi
Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
Most fuel-efficient vans for business
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Van
Chevrolet City Express Van
Nissan NV200 Van
Ram ProMaster City Van
Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van
Most fuel-efficient trucks for business
Best features for commercial vehicles
You might benefit from features that can keep costs down and prioritize safety, depending on your industry.
Low maintenance. Efficient for small businesses and startups.
Strong engine. Top horsepower for pulling heavy loads.
Four-wheel drive. Off-road power for construction, research or nonprofit work.
V-6 or V-8 cylinders. Fuel efficiency for long-distance travelers.
Large seating capacity. Five or more seats for construction or real estate.
Cheap car insurance. Cost-effective for saving on business overhead.
High safety ratings. Quality airbags, braking and impact resistance for safety over lots of miles, in big cities or in dangerous work zones.
Best way to finance a new car for your business
Finance your business vehicle by buying or leasing. The option your choose depends on both your budget and your needs.
Leasing a car for business
When you lease a business vehicle, you don’t own it, but you still have the right to drive it. You make regular payments towards the lease, similar to making payments on a car loan, but you don’t have to shoulder the full cost of damages or maintenance because the dealership still owns the vehicle (though you’re still responsible for these costs to some degree).
Additionally, the difference between car loan payments and lease payments is such that leases often allow you to drive a more expensive vehicle than you would normally be able to afford. When your lease is up, you usually have the option to return the vehicle, lease a new vehicle or possibly even buy the vehicle outright.
Warranty and maintenance. Many leases include a manufacturer’s warranty and even car maintenance. Maintenance costs should stay low because leased vehicles are typically new.
Up-to-date features. New leased cars often include updated technology and safety features.
Low monthly payments. When you lease, you’re simply covering the cost of the car’s depreciation plus fees. It means that payments can be significantly lower than a car loan.
Low upfront costs. Some leases require a small security deposit, while others don’t require any. You may be responsible for upfront bank fees, acquisition fees and other costs.
Tax-deductible payments. Unlike a car loan, the business portion of your lease payments are likely tax-deductible.
Mileage limits. Most leased vehicles come with low mileage caps, such as 12,000 miles. If you exceed that mileage, you may pay a hefty per-mile fee.
No trade-in value. You won’t get money for trading in a previous lease for a new vehicle.
Recurring payments. You’ll continue to pay monthly for as long as you lease the vehicle. You aren’t “paying down” a loan to the point where you don’t have to make any more payments.
Ending costs. At the end of the lease, you could be charged extra for excess mileage, wear and tear beyond what is covered under the lease agreement and other high-ticket costs.
Buying a car for business
If you buy a business vehicle, you can use the vehicle however you want. However, you have to shoulder the full burden of costs, including damages and maintenance fees.
Unless you pay full price for your vehicle at the time of purchase, you’ll have to take out a car loan. You can get financing directly through the dealership or through an outside lender such as a bank, credit union or private lender.
You want to make sure that you pay off the loan in a reasonable amount of time, or else you might be stuck with an “upside down” loan, where you owe more than your vehicle is worth. If this happens, you’ll still be left with repayments to make even if you sell your vehicle or trade it in for a new car.
Owned property. When you buy a car, you can customize it, sell it or use it however you want.
Unlimited miles. You don’t have to worry about going over annual mileage limits.
Depreciation deduction. As an owner, you can likely deduct your losses from the car’s depreciation on your taxes.
Trade-in value. If you trade in a car whose trade-in value is $10,000, you can apply that amount to your next car purchase.
Loan payoff. You have no obligation to a car dealer after you pay off your loan.
Outdated features. A car’s safety and tech may not keep up with the most modern features. You’ll have to pay down or pay off your vehicle to be able to switch to a new car without rolling over your old car loan into your new car loan. Until then, you have to stick with the make and model that you have.
Maintenance and repair. You may pay increasing out-of-pocket repair expenses, especially as the car ages.
High upfront costs. You’ll need a down payment for a car loan. Without a loan, you’ll have to pay the full cost of the car upfront.
High monthly payments. You’ll pay the car’s value and interest for the life of your loan, even as the car depreciates. To compensate, you may need to look for an older car or less expensive model than if you leased a car instead. But you may be able lower your monthly payments by refinancing your car loan after a few years.
Compare commercial auto loans
The top vehicle for your business will depend on whether you’re looking for extensive safety features, economic value or fuel efficiency, among other benefits. Compare the best-selling models in each group, and consider how you’ll finance your fleet, to find the best for your budget and needs.
A commercial vehicle is broadly defined as any vehicle used for business purposes. Vehicles designed to carry heavy loads or passengers are classified as commercial vehicles. Provinces and territories will vary in their exact definitions of what counts as a commercial vehicle, so check with your provincial department of motor vehicles to find out what standards apply in your region.
Yes, you may be able to deduct your mileage and vehicle expenses on business taxes. However, you generally aren’t able to claim for personal use of the vehicle, so you should keep separate records of business and personal expenses related to the use of your vehicle. And of course, keep all your receipts and documentation in case you’re audited.
If you’re a registered GST/HST account holder, you may be able to claim the amount of GST/HST you paid on business expenses on your tax return. Doing so can get this amount refunded back to you. Talk with a tax professional such as a tax accountant or a lawyer who specializes in taxation in order to learn more about GST/HST refunds, credits and deductions your business may be eligible for.
You may need a commercial driver’s license if you transport a large number of passengers, carry hazardous materials or drive a heavy vehicle. Transport Canada’s Motor Carrier Division is responsible for regulating the safe operation of commercial vehicle and commercial drivers/operators in cooperation with provincial, territorial and industrial-level authorities.
However, each province/territory has its own licensing system for commercial vehicle drivers. Contact your provincial or territorial department of motor vehicles to find out what you need to do to become a license commercial vehicle driver. Be aware that there are usually fees associated with licensing. These fees vary from region to region, but can potentially amount to hundreds of dollars.
Sarah George is a writer at Finder who unravels complicated topics about insurance, business and finance. She's been wordsmithing for nearly five years, after earning an English education degree. Her insurance know-how has been featured on CarInsurance.com. You can usually find Sarah sipping hot tea and talking through movie plots in her downtime.
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