Best cars with £35 road tax 2024

If you’re looking to cap your motoring bills, there’s a wide choice of used cars out there that cost just £35 a year in road tax. Here are some of our favourites

By Craig Cheetham January 24, 2024

Buying a car with low road tax is one good way of keeping your running costs down. The good news here is that if you’re in the market for a pre-2017 car, there’s a pretty broad choice of models available that cost just £35 a year for road tax, which equates to less than 10p per day.

Until April 2023, this was in fact as low as £30, but it went up to £35 in line with inflation. However, this still means these cars are extremely cheap to run.

The first thing to do is look for a car that was registered before (and not including) 1st April 2017, but after 1st March 2001. The second rule is that cars must emit between 111 and 120g/km of CO2 to fall into the £35 tax band.

Be mindful of the fact, though, that it’s not uncommon for different versions of the same car to sit in different road tax bands. You might have one version of a car that emits a low enough figure to make it £35 a year to tax, but with bigger wheels or more equipment, it can jump up to the £130 a year band above. 

On the flip side, more basic versions of the same car may cost as little as £20 per year to tax, so if you're looking at paying even less, we've also listed the best cars with £20 a year tax.


Nissan Qashqai

Best £35 road tax car for families
Our pick: Nissan Qashqai 1.6 dCi Tekna 5dr
Read our full Nissan Qashqai review

There’s a reason why the previous-generation Nissan Qashqai was a regular fixture in the UK’s top five best-selling cars list throughout its life, and it’s simply because it’s a very good all-rounder for families

Well-built, reliable, stylish and pleasing to drive, the Nissan Qashqai is also extremely practical and comes with what was, at the time, a class-leading suite of safety equipment, including 360-degree surround view cameras. 

There’s a wide range of engines to choose from, but the one to go for to qualify for £35 road tax is the 1.6 dCi diesel with manual transmission. Watch out for the full-length panoramic glass roof, though – the added weight pushes the CO2 emissions upwards and it falls into the higher tax bracket as a result.

Volvo S60

Best £35 road tax car for premium comfort
Our pick: Volvo S60 2.0 D4 Business Edition
Read our Volvo reviews

Volvo never used to be a brand associated with dynamism and sportiness, but the second-generation Volvo S60 turned that on its head. Built from 2010 to 2018, the large saloon was a more than able challenger to models from BMW and Audi

Alongside its smart looks was a chassis with a greater emphasis on driver involvement and a cabin that was easily a match for rivals – plus it was one of the safest cars in its class, too. All of that makes the Volvo S60 a very appealing used choice, and if you go for the 2.0-litre diesel-engined D4 model you’ll also get road tax at a rate of just £35 a year.

There aren’t many large cars that offer this much in the way of specification, luxury or comfort, as well as regular 50mpg-plus fuel economy.

Skoda Octavia

Best £35 road tax car for performance motoring
Our pick: Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI vRS
Read our full Skoda Octavia review

The last generation of Skoda Octavia – which was on sale from 2013 to 2020 – is a superbly practical and affordable car. There are hatchback and estate body styles to choose from, and both offer lots of space for passengers and luggage.

Yet it is comparable in price to cars such as the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf, with cabin space more akin to larger models such as the Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat.

Skoda Octavias that qualify for £35-per-year road tax aren’t simply mundane, low-specification cars, either. They include the high-performance Skoda Octavia vRS diesel models. The 2.0-litre diesel engine offers a strong 187PS power output and can get from 0 to 62mph in a brisk 8.1 seconds.

Such acceleration won’t trouble more serious performance cars, but the Skoda is far more affordable to run – especially when it comes to road tax and fuel bills.

Kia Sportage

Best £35 road tax car for SUV practicality
Our pick: Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi 3
Read our full Kia Sportage review

The Kia Sportage is a common sight on UK roads and a regular fixture in the UK’s top 10 best-seller charts, thanks in no small part to its seven-year warranty when new.

Although this will have expired on used pre-2017 models, the car is still a reliable choice for families, with super-low running costs. It also comes with a good level of standard equipment, making it even more of a bargain.

To get a Kia Sportage that is £35 a year to tax, you’ll need to pick a fourth-generation model with a 1.7-litre diesel engine. These were launched in 2016 and as the £30 tax band was scrapped in March 2017, there is only a short window to aim for – look for a 16 or 66-plate, ideally in plush 3 trim.

Vauxhall Corsa

Best £35 road tax car for small car benefits
Our pick: Vauxhall Corsa 1.0T ecoFlex SRi
Read our full Vauxhall Corsa review

When it comes to small, fun and affordable cars, the Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Fiesta have always been two of the best choices, often battling it out at the top of the UK sales charts. They are both excellent options, but the Vauxhall Corsa often offers better value second-hand as well as a wider choice of lower-VED models. 

There are several petrol Vauxhall Corsas that fall into the £35-per-year tax band, but the sweet spot comes in the form of those with the 1.0-litre turbocharged unit, which is faster and more eager than the larger 1.4 normally aspirated engine. 

There is a broad and confusing range of trim levels to choose from, so be doubly sure it’s a £35 road tax example before you finalise the purchase. Elite and SRi models typically offer the best specification.

Mazda 6

Best £35 road tax car for underrated excellence
Our pick: Mazda 6 2.2d Sport Nav+
Read our full Mazda 6 review

The Mazda 6 is one of the unsung heroes of the motoring world, especially when considering everyday cars that are affordable, practical and desirable. This is because it’s relatively cheap to run, well-equipped and well-built. It is also surprisingly good fun to drive should you find yourself on a twisty road. 

Practicality is one of the Mazda 6’s strong suits as the boot is huge, and there’s even a Mazda 6 Tourer estate model if needed. 

To find a Mazda 6 that is £35 a year to tax, you need to narrow your search down to diesel models that come with the 2.2-litre diesel engine, available with 152PS or 177PS. Tourer versions of the latter are more expensive to tax.

Audi Q3

Best £35 road tax car for badge prestige
Our pick: Audi Q3 2.0 TDI S Line
Read our full Audi Q3 review

As desirable SUVs go, the previous-generation Audi Q3 is among the most popular and sought-after. It has a classy interior, feels well built and there is a range of appealing engines and gearboxes to choose from.

For £35-per-year road tax, you will need to go for a 2.0-litre diesel model with 152PS and avoid four-wheel-drive Quattro models, as the extra weight of the all-wheel-drive system bumps up the road tax. 

There’s a good choice of trims to select from, with SE, Sport and S line versions all qualifying for low-rate road tax. If you want a conservatively styled Audi Q3 then SE or Sport models are a great option, while S line spec adds a dash of sporty styling. Inside, there’s plenty of space upfront and the two outer seats in the rear will easily cater for adults.

Ford Focus

Best £35 road tax car for wide availability
Our pick: Ford Focus 1.6 TDCi Titanium
Read our full Ford Focus review

No longer as common as it once was, the Ford Focus is nevertheless one of the best hatchbacks ever made and the third-generation car, sold from 2011 to 2018, is one of the most engaging five-door models to drive.

It does what the Ford Focus has always done best by offering everyday motoring in a package that still manages to put a smile on your face. It trumps most of its rivals as a result. 

You can get £35-a-year road tax on either the Ford Focus 1.0 T EcoBoost or 1.6 TDCi models, and both are great. The 1.0 T petrol is more fun to drive and the one to go for if you live in a low-emission zone, where earlier diesels are frowned upon, but the diesel is more frugal and has a better reliability record.

Audi A6

Best £35 road tax car for overall image
Our pick: Audi A6 2.0 TDI Ultra S Line
Read our full Audi A6 review

Despite the previous-generation Audi A6 being large and luxurious, you can still tax some models for as little as £35 per year.  Even better, the models that qualify for low-rate VED are frugal diesels, so fuel bills should be kept low to match. 

The ones to look for are the 2.0-litre diesel Audi A6 Ultra versions. Depending on body style and trim, Audi A6 Ultra cars can qualify for either £35 or £20 annual road tax. Models that cost £35 to tax include the sporty-looking Audi A6 S line versions, along with more reserved SE and SE Executive models.

The Audi A6 is designed to be a comfortable cruiser that can effortlessly cover long journeys. For the ultimate long-distance capabilities, we’d recommend opting for an automatic S-Tronic model. This gearbox suits the efficient diesel engine well, and helps to take the stress out of driving, making it an even more relaxing car while still qualifying for £35 VED.

MINI Convertible

Best £35 road tax car for roof-down fun
Our pick: MINI Convertible Cooper
Read our full MINI Convertible review

Opting for a convertible does not mean have to mean putting up with high running costs, even though soft-tops are often heavier than their hard-top equivalents thanks to chassis stiffening and heavy roof mechanisms. 

The MINI Convertible is proof. It’s fun to drive, and great to look at. And when MINI launched a new model in 2016, it also introduced a new 1.5-litre petrol engine which emits sufficiently low CO2 to qualify for £35-per-year road tax.

All come in Cooper specification, but thanks to MINI’s multiple personalisation options you’re unlikely to find two the same.  Be mindful, though, that the rear two seats are small, so don’t think of it as a family car. The boot is tiny, too.