As of Tuesday (January 4), any car that emits 100g/km of CO2 or less, meeting the Euro 5 standard for air quality, qualifies for the new Greener Vehicle Discount. This exempts owners from paying the £10 London Congestion Charge.
We’ve highlighted our top ten favourite cars that qualify for Congestion Charge exemption.
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100% discount on Congestion Charge
Under the Greener Vehicle Discount announced by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, any car emitting less than 100g/km of CO2 qualifies for 100% Congestion Charge discount.
Last month, the Government announced the new Plug-In Car Grant for ultra-low CO2 and electric cars. This scheme offers motorists a £5k discount on the list price of cars emitting less than 75g/km of CO2.
But what about traditional petrol and diesel cars? Which cars qualify for the Congestion Charge exemption, and which are best?
Here are our top ten cars that are eligible for the Greener Vehicle Discount.
1. Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI 105PS BlueMotion
The latest Golf (Mk6) boasts more refinement than the previous version with a quality interior and a decent-sized boot for the medium car class. This 1.6 diesel BlueMotion model is perky to drive, and the 105bhp engine returns 68.9mpg and 99g/km CO2 emissions. The ride comfort is good too, thanks to high-profile tyres, while solid build quality means owners love it.
2. Toyota Prius 1.8 VVTI Hybrid E-CVT
A new 1.8 VVTi petrol engine and electric motor make a vast improvement over the earlier Toyota Prius. However, interior room and boot space is below average for a car of this size. Toyota claims fuel economy of 72.4mpg for the new model, but our test presented a figure 10mpg short of this. Still, it’s impressive for a large car with a petrol engine that emits just 89g/km of CO2.
3. Seat Leon 1.6 CR TDI 105PS Ecomotive
Like VW with BlueMotion and Volvo with DRIVe, the Ecomotive badge signifies green technology for Seat cars. The 1.6 CD TDI Ecomotive emits just 99g/km of CO2 and benefits owners with an impressive 74.3mpg figure. It’s a long way from the hot hatch Leon Cupra with just 105bhp, but retains similarly stylish looks and quality. And because the Leon is based on the VW Golf, practicality and driving dynamics are good.
4. Volvo C30 DRIVe
The Volvo C30 is the Swedish manufacturer’s most stylish car. It combines coupé looks with family car, and is based on the hugely successful Ford Focus. The 1.6 diesel DRIVe features start-stop technology, 109bhp and a claimed mpg return of 74.3 (however, our full review revealed figures below this). CO2 emissions of 99g/km help it squeeze under the 100g/km ceiling, but cabin noise and vibration can get tiresome.
5. Ford Focus 1.6 TDCi Econetic DPF StartStop
The Ford Focus is set to be replaced in the first quarter of this year, so you may be able to pick up this particularly efficient model with substantial discounts soon. We weren’t impressed with the 49.6mpg return from the old 109bhp Econetic Focus, but this latest model with 110bhp and 99g/km of CO2 emissions should be a big improvement, partly thanks to stop-start technology. Ford claims 74.2mpg economy.
6. Audi A3 1.6 TDI manual
Although much of the Audi A3 range features stop-start technology, the most efficient model doesn’t. The 1.6 TDI emits just 99g/km – impressive for a heavy, medium-sized family hatch – but is let down by long-legged gear ratios that hamper performance. The claimed mpg figure of 74.3 wasn’t quite matched in our test, and you’ll have to pay premium rates for extras.
7. Volkswagen Polo 1.2 TDI 75 PS BlueMotion
When people think of efficient and low-emissions cars, they tend to think of superminis. The VW Polo 1.2 TDI BlueMotion fits this description well, and comes with a bounty of fuel-saving technology. VW claims over 80mpg from its shrunk-down Golf, but expect to get a return of slightly less than this according to our full test review. The diminutive diesel engine emits just 91g/km. It demands lots of concentration to get the best from it, but it will save you money in the long run.
8. Skoda Fabia 1.2 TDI GreenLine II
If impressive CO2 emissions and mega-efficient mpg figures are what you’re looking for, the Fabia GreenLine II estate delivers 89g/km and a claimed return of 83.1mpg. Visibility isn’t so good, but the firmer-than-average suspension makes for a surprisingly good ride and the estate-only option means practicality is better than most superminis. Considering the price, it feels like a sophisticated option, too.
9. Ford Fiesta 1.6 TDCi Econetic
One of the major benefits the Ford Fiesta has is that it’s bigger but lighter than the model it replaced in 2008, thanks to loads of weight-saving technology. Good ride comfort and mega-comfy seats make it the ideal supermini mile-eater. The Econetic features a diesel engine with 98g/km CO2 emissions that is capable of returning over 60mpg, according to our test – still a long way from the 76.3mpg figure Ford claims.
10. Toyota Auris VVTi Hybrid T4 CVT Auto
Toyota’s flagship eco-friendly car is the Prius, but, if you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint and become an ultra-green motorist, the Auris model now offers four different under-100g/km CO2 emissions options. The T4 CVT Auto is the most economic of the lot, with a claimed 74.3mpg and CO2 emissions of just 89g/km. This model features an extra battery that does take up some boot space. The three remaining options offer 93g/km CO2 emissions, so they still qualify for the Greener Vehicle Discount.
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