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These are the best cheap ULEZ-compliant cars

By Ted Welford | September 4, 2023

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It’s worth remembering there are plenty of compliant ULEZ cars available for low prices

These are the best cheap ULEZ-compliant cars

While more central and built-up areas of London already had an ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) in operation, on August 29, it expanded to include all London boroughs. 

Covering a far greater area, the majority of places inside the M25 are now included in ULEZ, including popular attractions such as Heathrow Airport, Wembley Stadium and Twickenham Stadium. 

To be able to drive within the ULEZ zone without facing a £12.50 charge, or a fine if not paid, vehicles have to meet certain emissions regulations. For petrol cars and vans, they need to meet Euro 4 standards, which any model registered from 2006 onwards should meet. 

The rules are quite a bit tighter around diesel cars, however, as these need to be compliant with Euro 6 emissions standards, and these weren’t mandatory until September 2015. 

If you don’t have a compliant vehicle, you’ll face paying a £12.50 daily charge. If using your vehicle five days a week, this would amount to £250 a month, or a steep £3,000 a year. For this reason, many are looking to sell their ULEZ vehicle, but if you aren’t in a position to be able to afford something new, it’s worth remembering there are plenty of compliant ULEZ cars available for low prices via the used market.

Let’s take a look at some of the best used choices. Remember, you can check if your car is ULEZ compliant by entering the registration here, while it’s a good idea to enter the number plate of any vehicle you’re looking to buy to ensure it’s ULEZ compliant as well. 

Dacia Sandero

If you’re shopping for a car on a budget, a great place to start with Dacia. Ever since this Renault-owned brand was introduced to the UK in 2013, it’s been renowned for its tremendous value for money. 

It’s the Sandero that makes a great choice, with this supermini offering surprising levels of interior space and a good reliability reputation as well. This Dacia was available with a diesel engine for a few years but sold in fairly small numbers. For the sake of ULEZ, however, you’re best off sticking with a petrol example as all these will be compliant with the relevant emissions regulations. Used examples can also be bought from as little as £2,500. 

Search for a used Dacia Sandero 

Renault Zoe

An easy way of getting around the ULEZ charge is by making the switch to an electric car, as all EVs are exempt from ULEZ, as well as London’s more central Congestion Charge, though you will need to pre-register the vehicle in this instance. 

One of the most affordable used electric cars is the Renault Zoe, which is now available for around £5,000. That will buy an earlier Zoe equipped with a small 22kWh battery, which won’t have the longest of ranges – likely a real-world figure of around 60 miles. If you only use your car locally, though, or have another main car, it’s certainly worth considering, as running costs should be fairly minimal. 

Search for a used Renault Zoe

Kia Sportage 

If you’re looking for something with more space, it’s worth taking a look at a crossover, and one of the best affordable used options is the Kia Sportage. We’re looking at a third-generation model here, sold between 2010 and 2016. This Kia is generously equipped and represents great value on the used market., with tidy used examples available from around £5,000. 

It’s a good car for ULEZ too, because a higher percentage of Sportages than is common with a vehicle in this class, are fitted with emissions-compliant petrol engines, rather than diesel. Though these will use more fuel, they will help escape the daily charge. 

Search for a used Kia Sportage

Fiat 500

If you’re looking for a chic car to stand out around the city, there are few better affordable used cars available than a Fiat 500. Renowned for its style and extensive personalisation options, there’s a great range of different 500s to choose from on the used market. 

The majority of 500s since its introduction in 2008 have been fitted with small petrol engines, which are not only great when it comes to being ULEZ compliant but are also affordable to run too with good fuel economy and relatively low insurance premiums. The earliest used Fiat 500s can also now be picked up for as little as £2,000. 

Search for a used Fiat 500

Ford Fiesta

Though Ford might have recently stopped making its Fiesta to make way for a new generation of electric cars, thankfully there is a plentiful number available on the used market to cater for all tastes and budgets. 

The Fiesta across the ages has always been good to drive, well-priced and flexible to suit a variety of needs. All petrol models since 2006 will be ULEZ compliant, and with used prices for older examples starting from just £1,000, it’s a great way of getting around paying the daily charge. 

Search for a used Ford Fiesta

Peugeot 308

While diesel might have been demonised in recent years, not helped by the ULEZ charge being tighter on vehicles powered by the fuel, for high-mileage drivers it still makes a lot of sense and often brings substantially lower running costs. You’ll need to look at a newer diesel for it to be exempt from the charge, and one of the best cheaper options is the Peugeot 308. 

Available with a highly efficient 1.6-litre diesel engine, the 308 is fantastic on fuel, with some models even being free to tax. You’ll need to make sure that it’s an example registered from September 2015 for it to be compliant, but it’s worth checking the registration plate in our ULEZ checker first. You’ll be able to pick up a high-mileage 308 from around £4,500. 

Search for a used Peugeot 308

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