RAC Cars News


The coolest cars free of road tax

By raccars Published

BMW i8

Low emissions cars always had economy and efficiency in their favour, but weren't always cool...

The early hybrids and electric cars were not considered particularly stylish or practical, but in its drive to comply with EU emissions regulations, the automotive industry has been working on that. These days there's a wide and desirable range of clean and green cars available which come with the distinct bonus of being free from road tax.

The road tax situation

The current regulations mean that new cars with an official CO2 emissions figure below 100g/km fall into Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) Band A, which means that they are charged £0 annual road tax. Most of the cars which qualify for Band A are hybrids or the most efficient new diesels. With VED costs running up to £1,000 per year, road tax shouldn't be ignored when working out ownership costs. So if you're looking to keep running costs low without sacrificing style, these are some of the most interesting VED free options.

Volvo XC90 2.0 T8 AWD Momentum

Volvo's second generation XC90 SUV is a really excellent car - although it doesn't look remotely clean and green. It's big and rather masculine but as a plug-in hybrid it comes with a 2.0 litre turbo and supercharged petrol engine, with a 65kW electric motor boosting power from 320bhp to a pretty punchy 376bhp. This means CO2 emissions of only 49g/km and fuel economy of 134.5mpg, plus bags of interior space, a luxurious and well-equipped interior and surprisingly sophisticated on road manners. Prices start at £60,455.

Kia Pro_Ceed 1.6 CRDI

Kia is working hard at dispelling its low budget, low style image and the Pro-Ceed is a case in point. If you can suspend badge snobbery for a moment, you'll notice that it's well equipped, comfortable and really rather good looking. The practical hatchback also comes with a very attractive seven year warranty. The 1.6 CRDi boasts 134bhp, fuel economy of 74mpg and CO2 emissions just under the applicable limit at 99g/km. Prices start at £18,395.

BMW X5 Xdrive40E SE

Like the big Volvo, the image-conscious BMW is confounding the previous reputation of large SUVs by making one that's not only athletic but also frugal. In Xdrive40E SE format, the X5 returns 86mpg and 77g/km in CO2 emissions thanks to its 2.0 litre petrol engine and a back-up electric motor. It exudes premium quality and is great to drive, reaching 60mph in less than seven seconds and going on all the way to 130mph. Not too shabby for an SUV or a road tax-free car. Prices start at £52,105.

Citroen C4 Cactus BlueHDI 100

The C4 Cactus is a young, funky and family-friendly hatchback with some interesting design ideas. Along with those practical airbumps supposed to protect against lateral bodywork damage, it also offers road tax-exempt CO2 emissions of 89g/km and 83mpg. Prices start at £17,185.

Mercedes-Benz S 500E

The hybrid version of the S-Class is as sleek, spacious and opulent as the standard saloon, living up to its self-defined reputation as 'the best car in the world'. Vital statistics include CO2 emissions of 65g/km, fuel economy of 101mpg and a starting price of £90,165.

BMW i8

The distinctive looking i8's futuristic design draws a lot of attention, but it's the performance that's really interesting. It's powered by a 1.5 litre petrol engine with 228bhp and a 96kW electric motor which, combined, get it to 62mph in just 4.4 seconds. A full charge takes three hours and you can get by on pure electric for about 23 miles. Prices start at £104,540.

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