In recent years, driving into city centres has become increasingly challenging because of low-emission zones springing up and the introduction of new driving laws.
London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is a particularly tricky one because if your car isn’t compliant and you drive into the zone at a certain time of day, you'll be hit with a sizeable fine.
London's ULEZ has expanded, and as of August 2023, it covers all London boroughs.
To help avoid being charged for driving in these areas, here are some cars that are ULEZ-compliant, either because of their fuel-efficient engines or all-electric powertrains.
If you’re looking for a new car or have looked for one at some point in your life, you’ve probably come across the Volkswagen Golf.
This German hatchback isn't just one of the icons of the automotive industry – it’s also ULEZ-compliant nowadays.
There are lots of different used VW Golf variants on the market, but the ones we’d recommend to beat the ULEZ charges are the 1.4-litre TDI and 2.0-litre diesel engines or the 1.3-litre TSI petrol.
Also on offer are the all-electric e-Golf and the hybrid GTE models, which both make even more sense if you’re after a more economical way of living.
Ford Fiesta EcoBoost
Look out on almost any British road and you’ll probably spot a Fiesta or two. This is because Ford is the king when it comes to making a relatable, small and nimble hatchback.
One place where you usually find them is in big cities because of how compact, reliable and economical they are.
The good thing about this used Ford is that you’re spoiled for choice because you can choose from any post-2005 petrol or any post-2006 diesel – they all meet the relevant Euro 5 and Euro 6 emission standards.
The great thing about the Renault Zoe is that it’s an all-electric car, so it’s currently exempt from any ULEZ regulations.
This little used Renault makes for the perfect city car and behaves and looks a lot like a traditionally-fuelled car, unlike some EVs.
You can expect up to 238 miles on a single charge and a punchy 135hp motor – in the top-spec model – to get you around town in no time.
Tesla Model 3
Another top pick for city-dwellers is the Tesla Model 3 – it's an all-electric hatchback that offers great performance, brilliant range, and style.
This is the cheapest car Tesla makes but it’s far from the least impressive. It’s packed full of the latest tech, from a panoramic sunroof that blocks out 99% of UV light to a vegan leather interior.
On top of that, the Model 3 is ULEZ compliant, so you can drive through town guilt-free.
Small crossover SUVs are all the rage these days, and it’s even better when they can be driven anywhere you want without worrying about any charges you may be slapped with.
Model variants dating back as far as 2012 may be ULEZ-compliant, providing they meet the Euro 6 emission standards.
It should be noted, however, that earlier diesel cars need to be fitted with the optional Blue Performance pack to be compliant.
You can find a range of used BMW models at impressive prices if you want to save when purchasing.
It may have been your first car, your nan might have one, or you’ve got one now – there’s no denying the Jazz is a popular car.
This means you don’t need to plug it in to charge, which is always a bonus.
All models are ULEZ-compliant, so you (or your nan) can cruise around in peace.
There are lots of different specs and battery options available when it comes to the Nissan Leaf – all of which are compliant wherever you go.
It’s been on the scene since 2010 and has only improved year after year, but Nissan is always good at incrementally improving its cars.
Older models offered a range of up to 80 miles, whereas newer models can get you up to 239 miles of range on a single charge.
They’re comfortable, quiet and very reliable. Are you ready to join the world of electric cars?
BMW 3 Series
Whether you need a great company car or something for the family, it’s hard to go wrong with the BMW 3 Series.
This model has been in BMW's arsenal for decades, and it's always been at the forefront of the saloon and estate segments.
It’s available in lots of different guises, but to ensure you’re meeting the correct ULEZ rules, we’d recommend opting for either the 323i, 325i, or 330i petrol engines.
If you want diesel power, however, then there are the 318d 320d engines too.
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