Top ten road tax free cars

In Perrys showrooms, a common question from customers is whether the car will be road tax free in the UK.

Road tax, or Vehicle Excise Duty, is compulsory in the UK and an untaxed car can result in heavy fines and even driving bans.

With Band A cars able to pay nothing on road tax (although they still have to be registered), a road tax-free car is increasingly popular in the UK.

Luckily, many car makers have risen to the challenge and created a range of road tax free cars. To qualify for this, cars must emit less than 100g/km of CO2 emissions.

Below, we’ve gathered together our top ten road tax free cars, and hopefully there are a few surprises in there as well.

Fiat Punto Evo

You might expect the superb little Fiat 500 city car to feature on this list due to both diesel and TwinAir petrol engines coming under 100g/km of CO2 emissions, but we’ve decided to go for the Punto Evo instead.

This is because the Punto Evo 1.3-litre Eco diesel delivers 95g/km of CO2 emissions as well as five doors and more space inside than the Fiat 500.

The modern design was updated in 2009 to ensure the Punto Evo stands out, and its appeal to younger drivers was highlighted when it was the subject of the first ever music video based around a single car when Faithless tied it in with the ‘Feelin’ Good’ song, a name also given to a special edition model.

The Punto Evo is a good all rounder, and with free road tax, is a money-saving alternative to other superminis.

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Ford Fiesta

The new Ford Focus offers sub-100g/km of CO2 emissions, but the Ford Fiesta is cheaper to buy than the Focus - at around £15,000 for the 1.6-litre TDCi Econetic model.

What separates the three-door supermini from its eco-rivals is the fact the engine still delivers plenty of performance to match the sharp handling of the UK’s most popular car in 2010.

The Ford Fiesta should be considered for many reasons. Modern looks, generous levels of equipment, an involving drive and now, low running costs make it the best all-rounder in the small car market.

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Kia Picanto

The likes of the Fiat 500 may soon get a value-for-money rival from a surprising source. South
Korean manufacturer Kia has excelled with the latest edition of the Kia Picanto city car.

Built using Kia’s multi-award-winning design language, the five-door Kia Picanto is one of the best-looking small cars on the market.

Inside, the step up in quality is instantly recognisable and behind the wheel, the Picanto is one of the most fun cars to drive in the segment, with precise handling and a surprising amount of refinement for such a small car.

The new Kia Picanto also, of course, delivers sub-100g/km of CO2 emissions, and with a starting price of under £8,000 it represents an astonishing bargain.

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Vauxhall Corsa

The larger Vauxhall Astra is available with road tax-free levels of CO2 emissions, but as we’ve included the Ford Fiesta, it would be remiss not to take a look at its closest rival.

The Vauxhall Corsa has been updated for 2011 with a tweak to the front end to bring it up to date and a host of new body colours and interior trims.

This gives it the edge on the Fiesta in terms of urban style, a fact not lost on Vauxhall with its marketing aimed at young, city-dwelling buyers.

The range of Ecoflex diesel engines are a triumph for Vauxhall, and low running costs should be matched to reliability.

Vauxhall and Ford have been slogging it out for the ‘best supermini’ title for years, and Vauxhall has never been closer to taking the title than with this version of the Corsa.

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Peugeot 308

Rarely a simple design update to a small car achieved so much. The Peugeot 308’s makeover earlier in 2011 gave it a new front end to match new models such as the 508 saloon and a more upmarket interior.

The result was a car that starts from £15,245 and delivers sub-100g/km of CO2 emissions, with all the resulting benefits in terms of road tax and exemption from the London congestion charge.

It looks sharp, handles well and inside feels more upmarket than previous Peugeot small cars. It is also quite spacious, and can seat four with ease and five at a push. The boot is generously proportioned as well.

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Seat Leon

The Seat Leon may not be the best in its class, but then prices tend to reflect this.

What is does offer, however, is plenty of space inside, a well put together cabin and, courtesy of its Volkswagen parent company, a range of excellent engines.

Chief amongst these is the Ecomotive range of low-CO2 engines, which bring CO2 emissions below 100g/km in the Leon. This is signified by an E Ecomotive badge - the sign of the most efficient in the range.

Seat’s cars always look good; the sporty design and low, coupe-like design is an appealing prospect for somebody who wishes to match sportiness with practicality.

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Citroen C3

The Citroen C3 sits a little in the shadows of the superb Citroen DS3 supermini, an upmarket version designed to make the brand more desirable.

However, the little supermini is stylish in its own right, and with a good level of equipment, it also offers a much cheaper option to buyers.

Prices start from as little as £12,000, and for that price you get a good-sized boot, plenty of room in the back and a more refined ride than other, larger cars.

If you want a Citroen C3 which is eligible for Band A road tax, choose an Airdream+ model from Citroen’s eco-signature range.

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Citroen C-ZeroPeugeot iOn

To qualify for zero road tax, you don’t have to choose a petrol or diesel model. Electric cars effectively offer no tailpipe CO2 emissions and this gives drivers the cushion of still qualifying even when the 100g/km of CO2 emissions is inevitably lowered in future.

The Citroen C-Zero and Peugeot iOn are almost identical models (apart from some cosmetic design touches) and were the first of several new electric cars to be launched in the UK this year.

With a range of 93 miles and four seats, the cars may not be for everybody, but they are an extremely cheap to run option for businesses and people whose daily drive is relatively short.

The cars can be charged in eight hours and to ensure expensive battery costs are not passed on, both are available on a four-year lease contract.

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Peugeot 508

So far the list has looked at small, mostly diesel cars or electric models. If you’re after something a bit bigger and still want that free road tax, the forthcoming Peugeot 508 HYbrid4 could be the answer.

It will be the first ever diesel plug-in hybrid saloon on the market, meaning ultra-low CO2 emissions for such a large car but it can be refuelled in a normal way.

The Peugeot 508 is much more executive than the 407 it replaced and as a result will appeal to both families and business users.

An upmarket, well-equipped interior and an attractive exterior means the 508 will be one of the leading cars in the saloon market when it arrives next year.

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Vauxhall Ampera

Finally, we have something completely different. The Vauxhall Ampera uses a petrol engine and an electric motor but not in the same way as a conventional hybrid.

Instead the engine simply charges a battery, which in turn powers the electric motor. This is a new concept, and means CO2 emissions are well below 100g/km.

It also allows the car to travel on purely electric power when needed for short distances.

However, where the Vauxhall Ampera really excels is the fact it looks just like a normal hatchback - something electric cars have struggled with down the years.

It is relatively spacious with four seats and its interior is arguably more upmarket than the similar-size Astra.

The Vauxhall Ampera will arrive in the UK at the beginning of 2012.

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