Best cars with £20 road tax 2024

Tired of paying through the nose for Vehicle Excise Duty? Check out the best cars that cost just £20 per year to tax

By Craig Cheetham January 25, 2024

With the cost-of-living crisis showing no real signs of abating, there are many of us who’ll take any savings we can find, especially if it means handing over less money in road tax. 

Thankfully, there are plenty of affordable cars on the used market which only cost £20 a year to tax, that's less than 5.5p per day. The trick is finding one. You’ll have to pick a car that falls into a specific car tax band and was registered between two set dates.

The dates to bear in mind are from 1 March 2001 to 31 March 2017 in terms of when the car was first registered, with official CO2 emissions of 101g/km to 110g/km for a petrol or diesel car and 111g/km to 120g/km for an alternative fuel car – such as a hybrid. 

Remember that while one car registered in March 2017 may cost £20 to tax, an identical model registered in April 2017 onwards would be £165 (or £155 for alternative fuel models). Meanwhile, pre-April 2017 cars with CO2 emissions of 100g/km or less are free to tax.

Since cars’ CO2 emissions can vary depending upon their precise specification, it’s wise to double-check the tax rate for any specific car you’re considering getting before making your final decision. 

Some cities (including London) have introduced additional charges for driving diesel cars in certain areas, which affects older models that aren’t compliant with Euro 6 emissions regulations. Here’s our selection of the best cars to choose in 2024 that will cost you only £20 to tax. We have also listed the best cars with £35 a year tax.


Kia Rio

Best £20 road tax car for value and space
Our pick: Kia Rio Level 3 EcoDynamics 1.4 CRDi
Read our full Kia Rio review

The third-generation Kia Rio was a major step forward for the brand, bringing interior quality and European harmonised styling alongside its peerless seven-year warranty

It was built from 2011 to 2017 and while even the newest models are now out of warranty, the good news is that the reliability record is still impressive and most have been maintained at main dealers in order to keep the cover in place. 

The Kia Rio 1.4 CRDi – offered as a three or five-door hatchback – is an affordable choice both to buy and to run, with fuel economy in excess of 60mpg and £20-a-year road tax. It won’t set the world on fire in terms of excitement, but if you just want a fuss-free car that will cost pennies to run and keep on going, costing you next-to-nothing to tax and run, the Kia Rio is hard to ignore.


Skoda Fabia

Best £20 road tax car for buyers on a budget
Our pick: Skoda Fabia 1.6 TDI Monte Carlo
Read our full Skoda Fabia review

The third-generation Skoda Fabia, sold from 2015 to 2021, was one of the smartest and best-value small cars of its era and today represents terrific value for money. 

Practical and great value, it still looks smart today, while the ride quality and handling deliver a great balance between sharpness and comfort. It’s pretty good fun to drive – especially if you opt for the sporty Monte Carlo model that was built to celebrate the brand’s rallying success.

To get the £20 road tax benefit, you need to seek out a 1.6-litre diesel model from 2014 to 2017, the bonus here being that it’s also the pick of the range anyway. This is a great, frugal and hassle-free car that should prove painless to own.


Hyundai i10

Best £20 road tax car for tiny running costs
Our pick: Hyundai i10 1.0 Premium
Read our full Hyundai i10 review

Hyundai makes some very well-rounded small cars. One such model is the previous-generation Hyundai i10, which was on sale from 2014 to 2020. It is a genuinely appealing alternative to popular city cars such as the Peugeot 108 and excellent Skoda Citigo.

Key to its appeal are its low running costs. Road tax comes in at £20 per year and the Hyundai i10 was offered with a number of frugal petrol engines, all of them qualifying for low insurance groups. 

Despite its small dimensions and low price, the Hyundai i10 is surprisingly refined and comfortable. It deals well with motorways, which can often be the undoing of smaller cars due to their low power and tendency to be blown around when passing lorries. But it is most at home in town, as it is a doddle to park and all the controls are nice and light, so don’t take much effort to use.


BMW 2 Series

Best £20 road tax car for a premium image
Our pick: BMW 220d Coupe M Sport
Read our full BMW 2 Series review

Who said that cars that cost £20 per year to tax have to be boring? Despite its low emissions, the previous-generation BMW 2 Series is one of the most fun, relatively affordable sports cars around.

You will need to look for a 220d model, which has a relatively powerful diesel engine. If you want sporty looks, we’d recommend an 220d in M Sport specification, as these come with racy alloy wheels and exterior styling.

BMW also made a convertible version of the 220d, but although both it and the coupe are technically four-seaters, the rear seats are quite small, so best reserved for occasional use, or for children or luggage. There are both manual and automatic gearboxes to choose from with the 220d, with the latter particularly impressive.

Mazda 6 Tourer

Best £20 road tax car for usefulness
Our pick: Mazda 6 Tourer 2.2d
Read our full Mazda 6 Tourer review

The Mazda 6 Tourer estate is something of a hidden gem. Typically, pricier estates such as the BMW 3 Series Touring or German rival the Mercedes C-Class Estate are considered more desirable, but there is good reason to look at the Mazda, as it is extremely capable and far more affordable. It feels high quality, looks sharp and is packed with standard equipment.

One area in which the Mazda 6 is particularly strong in is how it handles around corners – it feels agile, has precise steering and offers plenty of grip on country roads, while remaining comfortable. The Mazda 6 should also be affordable to run as some 152PS 2.2-litre diesel models come with £20-per-year road tax.

Sport Nav models are the exception here, as their bigger wheels increase the CO2 emissions and the road tax cost. However, opting for a saloon Sport Nav model with the same 150PS engine will also only cost £20 to tax, so could be worth considering if you can live with its less practical boot.


Mercedes GLA

Best £20 road tax car for SUV Prestige
Our pick: Mercedes GLA 200d Sport
Read our full Mercedes GLA review

If you’re after a compact but high-riding upmarket car, the Mercedes GLA available from 2014 to 2020 is a great option. It’s like a tall version of the previous-generation Mercedes A-Class hatchback prices for used versions are going down.

To qualify for £20 per year road tax, you will need to target a 200 d diesel, which is one of the lower power options. There are a number of different trims to choose from, including SE, Sport Premium, AMG Line and a handful of special editions.

AMG Line delivers sporty styling, while SE versions should be among the most affordable, as they come with less standard equipment.


MINI Hatchback

Best £20 road tax car for outright fun
Our pick: MINI Hatchback Cooper
Read our full MINI Hatchback review

Few cars offer as much fun behind the wheel as a MINI but that isn’t the car’s only selling point. Its interior is trendy, yet high quality while running costs are low on some models. In contrast to many cars on this list, there are both petrol and diesel options that fall into the £20-per-year tax band.

If you’d like petrol power, then the MINI One or MINI Cooper are the models to shop for. If your budget can stretch to a MINI Cooper we’d recommend it, as MINI One versions are less well equipped and slower, although generally more affordable.

Fancy a diesel? Sporty MINI Cooper SD models also qualify for £20-per-year road tax. These are powerful enough to go from 0 to 62mph in a swift 7.3 seconds and deliver a good blend of performance with fuel economy.


Peugeot 3008

Best £20 road tax car for families
Our pick: Peugeot 3008 1.6 BlueHDi Allure
Read our full Peugeot 3008 review

Peugeot has made some cracking cars in recent years. One of the best is the current Peugeot 3008, which was launched in 2017. This comes with a great interior, a strong choice of fuel-efficient engines and funky styling. 

Indeed, it’s one of the finest compact SUVs around, which is high praise indeed when you consider alternatives such as the Hyundai Tucson and strong-selling Ford Kuga.

If you want to drive a Peugeot 3008 that’s just £20 per year to tax, there’s a very narrow window of cars to choose from. But if you are prepared to do some digging, the rewards are worth it. You’ll need to hunt for a 2017 1.6-litre diesel model registered before April that year, as those registered afterwards cost more to tax.

Renault Kadjar

Best £20 road tax car for practicality
Our pick: Renault Kadjar 1.5 dCi 110 Dynamique S Nav
Read our full Renault Kadjar review

The Renault Kadjar is a similar size to the Peugeot 3008 making it a great option for those who need plenty of interior and boot space, but who don’t want a huge car. There’s a broader choice of used examples compared with the Peugeot 3008, too. 

Despite being larger than the Ford Focus, the Renault Kadjar is still very easy to drive. It should also be affordable to run, thanks to a range of frugal engines.

Underneath the bodywork, the Renault Kadjar is largely based on the Nissan Qashqai. This is no bad thing, as the Nissan Qashqai is an excellent car in its own right. If you want to pay no more than £20 per year in road tax, then you need to look for a 112PS 1.5-litre diesel Renault Kadjar. Depending on specification, you can make further savings, as certain Dynamique Nav models qualify for zero road tax.


Jaguar XE

Best £20 road tax car for luxury motoring
Our pick: Jaguar XE 2.0d R-Sport
Read our full Jaguar XE review

Back in 2014, Jaguar took on the impressive BMW 3 Series with the Jaguar XE. It’s a great car to drive, with agile handling around corners, plus at higher speeds it feels very stable, giving a driver plenty of confidence.

There are a handful of trims that qualify for £20-per-year road tax, including Prestige, Portfolio and R-Sport, although whichever you pick, you’ll need to go for the frugal 182PS 2.0-litre diesel engine rather than one of the more powerful options. Even so, this engine provides plenty of punch for most drivers, with the additional pay-off of strong fuel economy.

It’s also surprisingly affordable – despite being a great car, the Jaguar XE wasn’t that strong a seller and is often overlooked in favour of German models, making it affordable to buy.