RAC Cars News


Five Bargain-Priced Free Road Tax Cars

By raccars Published

Cars that emit less than 100g/km CO2 receive free road tax. All the owner needs to do is apply each year and the DVLA will supply them with a brand new VED tax disc – for free. How’s that for satisfying?

Such super-low CO2 cars are becoming commonplace, but it is only in recent years that engine technology has progress sufficiently to make such low-emissions cars a reality.

As CO2 is directly linked to fuel consumption, it also means that low CO2 cars are also highly fuel efficient too – a double bonus.

Here, RAC Cars looks at the cheapest low CO2 cars on the market, to see how much you have to pay to get into a road tax free car. Even the most expensive car here costs as much as 25% less than the cheapest brand new Ford Fiesta, showing the value on offer when buying used.

Read on to discover which used cars put out the least CO2 for the least cash – and what you should look for when finding them.

1) Smart Fortwo 2007 1.0

Price: from £5000
MPG: 65.7mpg
CO2: 98g/km

Why it’s worth a look: The only petrol-powered car here, the famous Smart two-seater is a short, safe, stylish city car icon. The throbby engine and clutchless manual gearbox are easy to use and the high-quality cabin is much roomier and better quality than you expect.

It’s perhaps not a car for motorways but there’s little to beat it in town – the potential for such great fuel economy only adds to its appeal.

What to look for: Corroded cabriolet roof support bars, lack of standard-fit power steering.

2) Seat Ibiza Ecomotive

Price: from £6495
MPG: 74.3mpg
CO2: 99g/km

Why it’s worth a look: The Seat Ibiza Ecomotive is the cut-price low CO2 sister car to the VW Polo Bluemotion. It has the same engine and chassis, returns the same fuel consumption and CO2, but cost less when new and retains this advantage on the used market too.

Seat’s first ultra-economical car, the Ibiza delivered in practice too, thanks to a punchy and well-proven TDI diesel. It’s just a pity it lacks the VW Polo’s looks.

What to look for: General reliability worries, failed instrument panels.

3) VW Polo Bluemotion

Price: from £6995
MPG: 74.3mpg
CO2: 99g/km

Why it’s worth a look: The original super-economy modern car, VW was the first to break the 100g/km CO2 barrier with a five door supermini.

It was a great achievement that the firm enhanced with some unique body panels, wheels and interior trim. A car all set for modern classic status.

What to look for: No spare wheel, check engine oil level carefully and be wary of engines which show too much oil.

4) Ford Fiesta 1.6 TDCi Econetic

Price: from £7199
MPG: 76.3mpg
CO2: 98g/km

Why it’s worth a look: The Ford Fiesta is Britain’s best selling car, something Ford’s achieved by offering something for everyone.

The achievementsof the Econetic are even more impressive – it made up for being launched after the VW Polo Bluemotionby moving its overall economy up further to 76.3mpg. It has the lowest CO2 figure of all here: just 98g/km.

What to look for: Chipped paintwork, spare wheel is a cost-option rather than standard-fit.

5) Volvo C30 DRIVe Start/Stop

Price: from £7500
MPG: 74.3mpg
CO2: 99g/km

Why it’s worth a look: The biggest car here, Volvo’s achievement with the C30 premium hatch was a real achievement, and an early indicator of just what car makers could achieve if they put their minds to it.

Just make sure you choose the Stop/Start model if you want free road tax: other DRIVe cars are available, but their emissions nudge up and over the 100g/km mark.

What to look for: ‘Clonks’ from transmission that could indicate damage to the expensive dual-mass flywheel.

Looking to Buy?
Search for cars