Petrol prices may be on the way down at the moment – a welcome respite for motorists’ stretched pockets – but no one wants to pay more than they have to on motoring bills. And one easy way to avoid paying the government anything in car tax is by opting for a machine that emits less than 100g of CO2 per km.

While a few years ago this would have resigned you to undernourished city cars and weedy superminis, car buyers now have a great choice of frugal machines that not only reduce the amount of money that you pour into the Treasury’s coffers with low emissions, but should also save you money at the pumps too, with their strong fuel economy.

We’ve rounded up five of the most appealing car tax-free machines, which can be bought from under £30,000, that prove that going for a low-emitting car doesn’t have to mean skimping on performance, equipment or style.

City car – Hyundai i10

The Hyundai i10 may be a city car by name, but it is a lot quieter and much more practical than many rivals. Helping to make the i10 a sound city car buy, prices for this small Hyundai are also very low, starting at just £8,595.

Buyers have a choice between 1.0-litre and 1.2-litre petrol motors. Opt for the 1.0-litre BlueDrive model and fuel economy stands at a strong 65.7mpg, though acceleration is sluggish, with the car taken over 15 seconds to lumber from a standstill to 62mph.

Medium car – Skoda Octavia Estate

If boot space is top of your agenda, but you don’t want to compromise on fuel economy, or even have to worry about car tax, look no further than the Octavia Estate. With its huge boot and spacious interior, the Octavia Estate ticks nearly all of the practicality boxes you could wish for.

Despite the Octavia’s gargantuan load lugging capacity you can still dodge car tax with the 1.6-litre diesel model, which also returns a handy 74.3mpg, making trips to the pump a rare occurrence.

With the benefit of a comfortable cabin and plenty of equipment, the Octavia Estate could be the ultimate affordable family-friendly wagon.

MPV – Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

The only thing lacking from the Octavia Estate for some people, is seven seats. Here’s where the Grand C4 Picasso comes in, offering plenty of room and a practical and comfortable cabin.

This large people carrier has all the space for people and luggage that you could ever need, but also economical engines that bely the car’s size. Choose the automatic 88bhp 1.6-litre diesel and free road tax is the icing on the cake.

Luxury car – Jaguar XE

Firmly disproving the premise that tax-free doesn’t mean fun-free, is the Jaguar XE. This brand new medium car from Jaguar looks sharp on the outside, offers an upmarket cabin on the inside and several economical motors under the bonnet.

Jaguar’s latest offering promises strong performance yet it won’t break the bank with running costs – thanks to its eco-friendly diesel engines. With the 2.0-litre 163bhp diesel returning 75.0mpg yet slingshotting to 62mph in just 8.4 seconds, this car lets you have your cake and eat it.

Just in case you don’t like the look of the Jaguar XE, Mercedes C-Class C300 hybrid offers even more impressive acceleration plus claimed fuel consumption of 78.5mpg.

Off-roader – Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Off-roaders may traditionally be the least economical vehicles you can get, but Mitsubishi’s Outlander plug-in hybrid goes against this rule.

This mid-size 4×4 uses a petrol engine along with an electric motor, which lets the car shuffle between electric and petrol power depending on your type of driving. Drive gently and you should be able to travel on electric power alone, meaning that the car is consuming no petrol at all.

Testament to this frugal nature is a claimed fuel economy figure of 148mpg, making the Outlander ‘PHEV’ a sound alternative to a diesel SUV.

Chris Lloyd


October 31, 2014