Some motorists could be in for a nasty surprise when it comes to renewing their Vehicle Excise Duty (VED). Under the current rules, cars that emit less than 100g/km CO2 are exempt from tax, making them very attractive to new car buyers.
From April 1, 2017 only cars with zero emissions will be free of tax, striking a major blow for those driving low emissions cars. If you haven’t done so already, check out the new tax rules, as it could save you hundreds, if not thousands of pounds over the coming years. In short, you should buy a low emissions car by the end of March, and here are ten great value cars to get you started.
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Toyota Prius Active: 76g/km
Hybrid and plug-in hybrid buyers will be feeling the pinch from April 1, as even the greenest vehicles will be subject to some kind of tax. In the majority of cases, the Toyota Prius emits 76g/km CO2, putting it on the cusp of the fourth tier tax band.
Buy a Prius today and you’ll pay no tax whatsoever. Purchase the same car in April and you’ll pay £100 in the first year, and the new standardised £140 flat rate from year two. Downgrade to the smaller 15-inch alloy wheels and the CO2 emissions drop to 70g/km, saving you £75 in the first year.
Suzuki Celerio SZ3 1.0 Dualjet: 84g/km
The Suzuki Celerio is a no-frills, low-thrills city car, designed for people who want nothing more than a vehicle to get from A to B. Prices start from just £6,999, but we’d recommend spending an extra £2,000 for the mid-range SZ3 trim level and excellent 1.0-litre Dualjet engine.
CO2 emissions are a hybrid-troubling 84g/km, which means you don’t have to pay a penny of tax. But be quick, because under the new rules you’ll pay £100 in the first year, followed by an annual fee of £140. In three years, you’ll be £380 worse off.
Hyundai i10 SE Blue: 93g/km
The recently revised Hyundai i10 is one of the best city cars on the market, especially in the tech-laden Premium SE trim. But if you’ve got one eye on the household budget, you should opt for the SE Blue, powered by a 1.0-litre engine. It’s the only i10 to slot into the lowest tax band, while a group two insurance rating means it’s one of the cheapest cars to run.
Sadly, come April, you’ll be asked to fork out £120 in first-year VED, followed by the £140 standard rate. On the plus side, a list price of £10,845 isn’t going to break the bank.
Skoda Superb Estate SE 1.6 TDI GreenLine: 97g/km
The Skoda Superb is one of our favourite cars at any price, offering an unbeatable blend of practicality, value and specification. It’s amazing to think that you can own something quite so cavernous and yet pay nothing in car tax. A list price of £24,725 is nothing short of sensational.
The Skoda Superb with the fuel-sipping GreenLine engine is tax exempt until April, at which point it is subject to a so-called ‘showroom tax’, which is based on CO2 emissions. The higher the emissions, the more you’ll pay. In the case of the eco-friendly Superb you’ll pay £120, followed by £140 for each year thereafter.
Dacia Sandero Ambiance dCi 90: 90g/km
The Dacia Sandero is famously Britain’s cheapest new car, with prices starting from £5,995 for the basic Access trim level. The most efficient models are powered by the dCi 90 1.5-litre turbocharged diesel engine, with CO2 emissions of just 90g/km.
You’ll have guessed already that is a car that you need to buy before the end of March, unless you’re happy to pay £380 in tax over the first three years.
Mazda3 1.5 Skyactiv-D: 99g/km
In a sector dominated by the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf, you’d be forgiven for forgetting the Mazda3. But overlook it and you’ll be missing out on one of the sharpest looking and sweetest handling cars on the market.
The 1.5-litre Skyactiv-D engine is a tad underpowered, but with CO2 emissions of just 99g/km, it takes the crown as the most efficient in the range. Buy now, or pay later.
Kia Cee’d ‘2’ 1.6 CRDi: 99g/km
The Kia Cee’d is another five-door hatchback that’s often overlooked in a crowded segment. Buy a Kia and you tend to get far more for your money, while enjoying the company’s famous seven-year warranty.
The Cee’d ‘2’ 1.6-litre CRDi emits 99g/km CO2 and costs £19,095. Order the car today and you’ll pay nothing for the duration of the warranty. Register the same car in April and you’ll have paid £960 by the time the warranty has expired. Makes you think, doesn’t it?
Fiat Panda Easy 0.9 TwinAir: 99g/km
The lovable Panda is set to be refreshed in 2017, so the chances are you’ll be able to negotiate a good deal at your local Fiat dealer. Prices start from £6,995, but we’d recommend spending £11,245 for the Easy trim level and excellent 0.9 TwinAir petrol engine.
While you won’t get anything close to the claimed economy figures, the 99gkm CO2 means you’ll pay nothing in car tax. For now…
Volkswagen Polo Match Edition 1.4 TDI: 97g/km
Ordinarily, we’d recommend the SEAT Ibiza and Skoda Fabia as cost-effective alternatives to the Volkswagen Polo, but in the case of the new Match Edition we’re prepared to make an exception. In terms of kit, Volkswagen is chucking the proverbial kitchen sink at this special edition.
Tick the box marked ‘1.4 TDI BlueMotion’ and you’ll pay nothing in road tax. Just be sure you register the car before the end of March to avoid being out of pocket. Remember, the new tax rules apply to cars registered on or after April 1, 2017.
Tesla Model S: 0g/km
With prices starting from £55,000, we’d hesitate before classing the Tesla Model S as ‘great value’, but it remains a truly outstanding electric car. We’re including it in our round-up of cars to bag before April, because it’s a victim of the new ‘premium’ tax, which applies to all cars above £40,000.
While it’s tax exempt in year one, from the second year you’ll pay a £310 annual supplement for five years. Total cost: £1,550. Our advice: make sure you register your new Tesla before April.