23/11/2011 16:10 | By Steve Walker

The cheapest new cars with free VED road tax

The cheapest new cars with free VED road tax (© Smart)

Cars that produce less than 100 grams per kilometre (g/km) of CO2 are exempt from UK road tax. That means handy savings for hard-up motorists who will also benefit from the excellent fuel economy these models achieve. Here we've assembled the 15 cheapest new cars that avoid Vehicle Excise Duty road tax. In effect, they're among the most affordable new cars to buy and run on the road.

The Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) car tax band structure drops every model with emissions of 99g/km or less in to band A. That lets the car's owner spend the cash they would have sent winging its way to the DVLA every year on something more rewarding.

Further savings come from the facts that the least economical car in the list below still returns an impressive 67.3mpg and all the models listed fall into insurance group 11 or lower. With prices starting around £14,000 and descending to below £8,000, these are some of the most cost-effective ways to own a new car today. They're listed in reverse order from the most expensive to the cheapest.

Green Car Guide

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15. Ford Fiesta 1.6 TDCi Edge Econetic 3dr

14. Ford Fiesta 1.6 YDCi Edge Econetic 3dr (© Ford)

The Ford Fiesta might be the most expensive car here but that's no disgrace, especially as it also happens to be the most desirable. The ECOnetic version employs enhanced aerodynamics, low rolling resistance tyres and other tweaks to squeeze the best possible economy and emissions out of its 1.6 TDCi diesel engine. A roomy cabin, sharp design and sharper handling also go in the plus column.

First drive: Ford Fiesta (2008 onwards)

On Bing: more Ford Fiesta Econetic pics

Buy a Ford Fiesta on Auto Trader

14. Skoda Fabia 1.2 TDI Greenline II 5dr

13. Skoda Fabia 1.2 TDI Greenline II 5dr (© Skoda)

Greenline is to Skoda what ECOnetic is to Ford and just like the Fiesta above, this Fabia uses various efficiency tweaks to boost its environmental performance, keeping costs low. Despite being a full-size supermini and one of the largest cars making this list, Skoda's eco-champ returns an amazing 83mpg on the combined cycle. A big chunk of the credit for that goes to its advanced 1.2-litre TDI diesel engine.

Road test: Skoda Fabia Greenline (2009 onwards)

On Bing: more Skoda Fabia Greenline II pics

Buy a Skoda Fabia on Auto Trader

13. SEAT Ibiza SC 1.2 TDI S Copa Ecomotive

15. SEAT Ibiza SC 1.2 TDI S Copa Ecomotive (© SEAT)

It seems SEAT can do green as well as sporty. The 1.2 TDI diesel version of the Ibiza SC with energy-saving Ecomotive modifications is a sharply styled supermini with combined cycle economy of over 80mpg.

First drive: SEAT Ibiza Ecomotive (2009 onwards)

On Bing: more SEAT Ibiza Ecomotive pics

Buy a SEAT Ibiza on Auto Trader

12. Citroen C3 1.4 HDi VT 5dr

12. Citroen C3 1.4 HDi VT 5dr (© Citroen)

Citroen's smooth-riding C3 is another generously proportioned supermini that sidesteps VED road tax. The 1.4-litre HDi diesel engine returns over 74mpg and narrowly dips under the all-important 100g/km barrier.

First drive: Citroen C3 (2009 onwards)

On Bing: more Citroen C3 pics

Buy a Citroen C3 on Auto Trader

11. Hyundai i20 1.4 CRDi Blue 5dr

11. Hyundai i20 1.4 CRDi Blue 5dr (© Hyundai)

Hyundai has a couple of entrants in this list and the first is the impressive i20 supermini. If you still have Korean cars marked down as characterless budget buys, it's time you got with the times. The i20 has a lot going for it other than its reasonable price tag - the 76.4mpg economy of this 1.4 CRDi Blue model for example.

First drive: Hyundai i20 (2009 onwards)

On Bing: more Hyundai i20 Blue pics

Buy a Hyundai i20 on Auto Trader

10. Chrysler Ypsilon 0.9 TwinAir SE 5dr

10. Chrysler Ypsilon 0.9 TwinAir SE 5dr (© Chrysler)

Ok, a bit of a confusing one this. In other markets the Ypsilon is sold as a Lancia but Fiat's new association with Chrysler means that it gets the famous American badge in the UK. It's based on the same platform as the Fiat 500 but with a few inches extra in the wheelbase. Equipped with Fiat's super-economical 0.9-litre TwinAir petrol engine, it returns 67.3mpg and free road tax.

First drive: Chrysler Ypsilon (2011 onwards)

On Bing: more Chrysler Ypsilon pics

9. Peugeot 207 1.6 HDi Oxygo 3dr

9. Peugeot 207 1.6 HDi Oxygo 3dr (© Peugeot)

With a 1.6 HDi diesel engine accompanied by the Oxygo package of eco-tyres and aero modifications, Peugeot's 207 can qualify for free road tax. It's another practical supermini with the distinctive front end that the French manufacturer grafts onto all its cars these days. The five-door version is also in road tax band A but costs £600 more.

First drive: Peugeot 207 (2006 onwards)

On Bing: more Peugeot 207 Oxygo pics

Buy a Peugeot 207 on Auto Trader

8. Renault Clio Expression 1.5 dCi 88 ECO 3dr

8. Renault Clio Expression 1.5 dCi 88 ECO 3dr (© Renault)

The most economical Renault Clio uses a 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine to get its owners free road tax. Renault slaps its eco2 logo on all its most efficient cars but this is the Clio ECO, the greenest version in the Clio special thanks to fuel-saving modifications. The 5-door model comes at a £600 premium and is also road tax free.

First drive: Renault Clio (2009 onwards)

On Bing: more Renault Clio pics

Buy a Renault Clio on Auto Trader

7. Fiat 500 0.9 TwinAir Pop 3dr

7. Fiat 500 0.9 TwinAir Pop 3dr (© Fiat)

The two-cylinder TwinAir petrol engine helps Fiat's lovable little 500 city car to emissions of just 95g/km. If you want trendy and green, there are few cars that do the combination better. Customers wanting even better economy can go for the Dualogic automatic gearbox, which actually improves combined cycle consumption from 68.9mpg to 70.6mpg for a £745 premium.

First drive: Fiat 500 TwinAir (2010 onwards)

On Bing: more Fiat 500 TwinAir pics

Buy a Fiat 500 on Auto Trader

6. Nissan Micra 1.2 DIG-S Visia 5dr

6. Nissan Micra 1.2 DIG-S Visia 5dr (© Nissan)

If there was an award for the cheapest tax-free supermini on our list, the Nissan Micra would get it. It's not as roomy or as capable an all-rounder as the likes of Ford's Fiesta but the Micra is the last car in the supermini class before we get into the diminutive city cars. It's another petrol model too, employing Nissan's clever 1.2-litre DIG-S engine to return 68.9mpg.

First drive: Nissan Micra (2010 onwards)

On Bing: more Nissan Micra pics

Buy a Nissan Micra on Auto Trader

5. Toyota iQ 1.0 VVT-i 3dr

5. Toyota iQ 1.0 VVT-i 3dr (© Toyota)

The iQ is a city car packed with bright ideas from the unusual 3+1 seating layout to the tiny variable-valve-timing petrol engine. It looks the part and delivers the goods at the pumps with 64.2mpg and no road tax charge. An upgrade to the plusher '2' trim level costs just over £1,000.

First drive: Toyota iQ (2009 onwards)

On Bing: more Toyota iQ pics

Buy a Toyota iQ on Auto Trader

4. Hyundai i10 1.0 Blue 5dr

4. Hyundai i10 1.0 Blue 5dr (© Hyundai)

Hyundai's i20 supermini makes this list and so does its i10 city car. The i10 might not have the style content of some of the alternatives but it's well-built, practical, cheap and economical, which is quite an achievement. A 1.0-litre petrol engine does the legwork in the Blue model, which qualifies for free tax.

First drive: Hyundai i10 (2008 onwards)

On Bing: more Hyundai i10 Blue pics

Buy a Hyundai i10 on Auto Trader

3. Volkswagen Up! Move Up! 1.0 BlueMotion Technology

3. Volkswagen Up! Move Up! 1.0 BlueMotion Technology (© Volkswagen)

There's nothing compact or economical about its name but the cleanest, cheapest version of Volkswagen's Up! ticks the important city car boxes. The BlueMotion Technology branding refers to a series of small changes Volkswagen has made to edge the car under the 100g/km barrier. The Up! will soon be joined by its SEAT Mii and Skoda Citigo sister vehicles, expanding the tax-free choice further.

First drive: Volkswagen Up! (2012 onwards)

On Bing: more Volkswagen Up! pics

2. Smart fortwo Pulse 1.0 Mhd 2dr

2. Smart fortwo Pulse 1.0 Mhd 2dr (© Smart)

The two-door, two-seater Smart fortwo design looks almost as bold today as it did when the original model was unveiled in 1998. As an urban car it does all many people need it to and there are numerous models in the range that qualify for free road tax. The 0.8-litre diesel model returns 85.6mpg but the cheapest tax-free Smart uses the 1.0 petrol engine with Micro Hybrid Drive (mhd). It's not a hybrid, mhd is just Smart-speak for stop/start.

First drive: Smart fortwo (2007 onwards)

On Bing: more Smart fortwo pics

Buy a Skoda Fabia on Auto Trader

1. Kia Picanto 1.0 1 3dr

1. Kia Picanto 1.0 1 3dr (© Kia)

At under £8,000, the Kia Picanto looks conspicuously cheap even in this company. The 1.0-litre petrol engine returns 67.3mpg and emissions of 99g/km mean there's no road tax to pay. It's our cheapest tax-free car. Buyers can pay £200 more and get the more practical five-door bodystyle or step up to the better equipped Air and 2 trim levels, they still won't pay any VED.

First drive: Kia Picanto (2011 onwards)

On Bing: more Kia Picanto pics

Buy a Kia Picanto on Auto Trader

RankModelMPG (combined)CO2 (g/km)Price (OTR)
1Kia Picanto 1.0 1 3dr67.399£7,795
2Smart fortwo Pulse 1.0 Mhd 2dr67.397£9,200
3Volkswagen up! Move up! 1.0 BlueMotion Technology67.297£9,330
4Hyundai i10 1.0 Blue 5dr67.399£9,345
5Toyota iQ 1.0 VVT-I 3dr64.299£10,655
6Nissan Micra 1.2 DIG-S Visia 5dr68.995£11,150
7Fiat 500 0.9 TwinAir Pop 3dr68.995£11,600
8Renault Clio Expression 1.5 dCi 88 ECO 3dr78.594£12,450
9Peugeot 207 1.6 HDi Oxygo 3dr74.398£12,645
10Chrysler Ypsilon 0.9 TwinAir SE 5dr67.399£13,195
11Hyundai i20 1.4 CRDi Blue 5dr76.498£13,345
12Citroen C3 1.4 HDi VT 5dr74.399£13,490
13SEAT Ibiza SC 1.2 TDI S Copa Ecomotive80.792£13,700
14Skoda Fabia 1.2 TDI Greenline II 5dr83.189£13,805
15Ford Fiesta 1.6 TDCi Edge Econetic 3dr78.595£14,095

Green Car Guide

Car fuel economy - the truth about MPG

CO2 and other car emissions explained

Petrol or diesel - which fuel should you choose?

Cars that avoid road tax

Cars that go farthest on a tank of fuel

Electric cars you can buy now

10 most economical cars

25/11/2011 02:48
I would recommend these cars to Downing street so they could cut down wasting public money let the ministers and fat cats use these cheap cars
25/11/2011 11:01
I took delivery of a smart for two the diesel version when  it first become available  about 20 months ago. the  claimed 80 mpg is a joke it never got more than 50 mpg, after 6 months of the 'It will settle down ,its because its new, its the way you drive it etc:-' I told them to take it Back, and with out much fuss they did? this was the semi automatic all singing all dancing version!!!!  I never really expected to get more than 65 mpg to 70 mpg but 50 was not on. Since then I have  driven a golf estate and it delivers 50 mpg minimum with three up and a dog on board urban driving! do the math save your road tax by getting fuel economy not by buying in to the phoney green agenda that some manufacturers peddle be really green carry more for less for longer and help the world and your pocket!
25/11/2011 17:20
I've just got a Ford Fiesta Econetic, my tyres are pumped up and I'm not putting my foot down much. I'm averaging 58 MPG, which is great, but how the hell do you get over 70 MPG out if it, roll it down a hill!
25/11/2011 12:55
High MPG - Lies, lies, lies.  We are being conned wholesale by car makers, all of them, because these economy figures are not realistically achievable in normal driving conditions.  It's merely a ploy to convince buyers that although this car may be a bit expensive for a small hatchback, to look at the long term savings in running costs.  There should be stricter Govt. (e.g. Trading Standards)controls worldwide on quoted mpg. claims.  I believe these figures claimed are taken from cars propped up on indoor test ramps and when one gallon of fuel runs out thats taken as the economy rating for each vehicle. We've heard that Toyota Prius and Honda Insight can only achieve 40mpg on average daily driving.  People pay silly money for these "green" cars and are too embarassed afterwards to admit their disappointment.
25/11/2011 15:27
same old story, car makers need to give realistic figures not those achieved in a lab under perfect conditions .   tyre pressures , carrying junk in the boot , harsh breaking and acceleration  
roof racks , all bring the mpg down ....    when they say 80 mpg  they mean 80 in a lab   not on the road .     happy motoring ,,,

25/11/2011 19:13
this is not right why should cars get free road tax most of these cars will do alot of milage over the year were as i cant afford a new car so end up paying over £200 a year for tax when i do less than 2000 miles a year mileage the govement should make it fair on everyone and no i dont have a land rover or jeep or a big car like that i have a 1997 astra  

25/11/2011 02:24
Smart four two is a bit impractical for an average family
25/11/2011 08:07

so on the main page the citroen does 74.3 to the gallon.


click on the link and it does 40 .1 best!


what you writing here? 

25/11/2011 02:24
I have just bought a Hyundai i20 1.4 and get 40mpg at best, so don't know where this lot get their info saying 76.4 combined. Buying this Hyundai was just one of many great mistakes I've made.
25/11/2011 11:27
What about the Citroen C1 998cc ?? Bloody Joke
25/11/2011 22:32
I have just bought a Hyundai i20 1.4 and get 40mpg at best, so don't know where this lot get their info saying 76.4 combined. Buying this Hyundai was just one of many great mistakes I've made.



Alex the test is done on a rolling road indoors so there is no wind resistance



25/11/2011 19:11

You try and get a family plus pram shopping in one of these little cars nightmare.



15/12/2011 18:30
They may well produce less than 100g/klm, but what do they produce up to the point where the catalytic converter gets hot enough to work. Bearing in mind that according to the govt's statistics the average mileage for these cars is something less than 3 miles. Does the cat' get hot enough to do anything in that mileage ?
26/11/2011 01:32
which petroleum company put's water in there petrol
04/12/2011 13:02

Before anyone buys a car they should look at honestjohn.co.uk. There they have a real mpg section where the public put in what they get. So you get a real combined average figure - well worth a look!!


My own car is supposed to do 55mpg but does 48.9 which is good as the combined average on honest john is 45.3.

25/11/2011 20:46

my new eco clio is nowhere near  the maufactures figures but is still miles better than my old 57 plate fiesta was spending £50 + each week now reckon about  £35


if u listening solely to manufacturers figures ur sorely disappointed just listen to ur wallet thats the true test

25/11/2011 22:18

Kia win again

I have driven kia's for over 12 years now and have had various models and have never had a problem with any of them and they all have given me excellent fuel consumpstion.

The Kia range is great Value for money and with a 7 year full warrenty that is also transferable makes them the car of the future now.

Hope all you motorists out there will give Kia a look I am sure you will find a model to suit your needs

26/11/2011 21:54
Smart four two is a bit impractical for an average family. it is impractical for 2 people with little room for a weeks shopping for 1 in the boot
29/08/2014 13:33
What will happen to cars 25 years old  will they still have to pay road tax
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