Cars with cheap tax

Bag yourself a used bargain with these cheap to tax cars

Murray Scullion
Jul 19, 2018

Saving a hundred pounds or so on your car tax every year might seem a bit petty when looking at the wider scheme of things. After all, we can’t suggest that buying a worse car in lieu of a meagre saving spread out between 12 months is a good idea.

But you can buy a great car, while saving money on tax, by buying used. That’s because cars registered before April 2017 fall into a different tax bracket, making them much cheaper to tax than similar cars registered after April 2017.

Read more about car tax changes here

For instance, a Mercedes E-Class E220d registered before April 2017 will cost £30 to tax for 12 months. The same car will set you back £140 for 12 months if it was registered after April 2017.

It’s well worth doing your homework then - as buying used not only saves you money because cars depreciate so quickly, but because of these car tax changes as well.
Read more about depreciation here.

A word of warning about diesel cars on this list though - while they’re cheap to tax now, they may be liable for future diesel charges


10 of the best cars with cheap tax

Volkswagen up! 1.0 Take up!

Best car with cheap tax for budget

Price from £4,500 Monthly cost from £75 Cost to tax (12 months) £20

The Volkswagen up! (despite the exclamation mark in its name) is the most grown-up car in the city car segment of the market, and is the easiest to live with. It’s surprisingly big inside, and can seat four adults without making it too close to comfort. It’s agile, fun, and easy to park too.

Plus it’s cheap to tax - lowest specification Take up! Models registered before April 1 2017 will set you back £20 for the year. These start at around £4,500 too - great for bargain basement motoring. If you’ve got a budget of £5,000+, we’d recommend the Move up! trim grade, as these get air conditioning, split folding rear seats, and remote central locking.

Fiat Panda 1.2 Easy 

Best car with cheap tax for clever use of space

Price from £5,000 Monthly cost from £91 Cost to tax (12 months) £30

The Fiat Panda is cheap to run, has a practical interior, and has an utilitarian air to it which many people will appreciate. Inside, there are 14 storage cubbyholes, which is a truly epic amount in a small car. It’s great if you regularly carry lots of little things, or generally treat your car as a bin. It’s quite tall for a car of this size too, which means there’s plenty of room for tall passengers, even in the rear.

It has soft suspension that makes it soak up potholes well, and is pretty comfortable. The 1.2-litre engine in question is slow, but economical and green too. Easy trim levels get air conditioning, remote central locking, plus a height adjustable driver's seat.

Dacia Sandero Stepway 1.5 dCi Laureate

Best car with cheap tax for off-road looks

Price from £6,490 Monthly cost from £112 per month Cost to tax (12 months) £20

The Dacia Sandero may well be Britain’s cheapest new car - starting at £6,995, however, the Sandero Stepway is a fair wad of cash more, and a top-of-the-line Laureate model starts at £10,595. Used versions start at a much more Dacia-like £6,500.

The Stepway is a chunkier version of the regular Sandero, offering buyers more ride height and suspension travel than the regular Sandero. The 1.5-litre diesel engine has the lowest running costs of the range, and top-spec Laureate models get alloy wheels, cruise control, and heated door mirrors.

Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost Zetec Powershift

Best car with cheap tax for small families

Price from £7,000 Monthly cost from £112 Cost to tax (12 months) £30

For the benefit of you that didn’t know, the Fiesta has been the best selling car in the UK for years and years and years, and is incidentally, still top of the sales charts. Ford’s eye for what the public wants has certainly helped this, and it really struck a chord with its 1.0 Ecoboost engine. This is also one of the cheapest ways into a car with an automatic gearbox.

It offers the same sort of power as a bigger 1.4 or 1.6-litre engine, with the lower running costs and emissions of a 1.0-litre. It’s a brilliant little engine and the one to go for when picking a Fiesta, even if these models are a little more expensive than the older, slower, and more polluting 1.25-litre model cars.

Vauxhall Astra 1.0 ecoFLEX Tech Line

Best car with cheap tax for sensible types

Price from £9,000 Monthly cost from £145 Cost to tax (12 months) £20

Like the Ford Fiesta above, Vauxhall’s 1.0-litre engine uses a turbocharger to make the car as quick as a 1.4 or 1.6-litre engined car, but with the economy and emissions of a 1.0-litre.

The Astra is one of the best all-round family hatchbacks, due to its high comfort levels and space inside. Tech Line models have sat nav, heated front seats, and large 17-inch alloy wheels that hamper the softness of the ride, but look better than the 16-inch wheels.

Nissan Qashqai 1.5 DCI N-Tec

Best car with cheap tax for crossover thrills

Price from £9,000 Monthly cost from £146 Cost to tax (12 months) £20

The Nissan Qashqai is a family favourite, and the best-selling crossover in the UK. It takes the best bits from conventional hatchbacks like the Vauxhall Astra, and combines them with the high driving position of off-roaders like Range Rovers.

The interior is practical, and in general, the Qashqai makes a robust second-hand car. The 1.5-litre diesel engine is economical (official fuel economy figure around 70mpg) and smooth, but not fast.

Citroen C4 Cactus 1.2 PureTech Feel

Best car for cheap tax for funky looks

Price from £9,000 Monthly cost from £159 Cost to tax (12 months) £20

Just look at it! Not only do used Citroen C4 Cactus’ get you cheap tax, but they also come with those funky plastic bubbles on the sides, known as airbumps.

These characterful Citroens really stand out on the road, even in a sea of other crossovers. Not only is it quirkier than competitors, it’s more comfortable than them too. The front seats are like armchairs, and if you opt for an automatic gearbox it’s almost like a church pew up front.

Vauxhall Insignia 2.0 CDTi ecoFlex Exclusiv

Best car for cheap tax for motorway munchers

Price from £9,000 Monthly cost from £162 Cost to tax (12 months) £20

If you regularly do a lot of motorway miles you’ll want something that’s economical, comfortable, and has cruise control. The Insignia has been the car of choice for many company car-types and it makes a sensible second-hand choice too.

The Insignia's sleek roofline does well to hide its age, and it’s a big car for the price too. Get a post 2013 model to benefit from a raft of upgrades that include improved interior quality and entertainment system.

Lexus IS 300h F-Sport

Best car with cheap tax for sports car lovers

Price from £19,000 Monthly cost from £280 Cost to tax (12 months) £10

Sports cars and low emissions go together like an egg mayo sandwich and a first date. However, for those who want cheap tax, and a sporty drive, there are a few options.

The Lexus IS 300h F-Sport is the most obvious. It has a 2.5-litre engine, plus hybrid power, which gives it 223bhp and a 0-62 mph time of 8.4 seconds. It looks the part too with its aggressive and sharp lines, and it’ll be comforting to know that Lexus always places well in the most reliable car lists. 

Mercedes C Class C2220d Sport Premium Plus

Best car with cheap tax for premium-lovers

Price from £20,000 Monthly cost from £297 Cost to tax (12 months) £20

Mercedes’ C-Class is a well-established, luxurious, and hi-tech family car. New models starts at around £28,000, so by opting for a 2016 model you can save yourself around a £120 a year in tax, plus, around £8,000 in purchase price.

Your £20,000 will afford you a 220d engine that strikes the best balance in the range between speed and running costs. The Sport specification gets sat nav, a reversing camera, plus heated leather seats.


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