ULEZ Exempt Cars

Are you looking to buy a ULEZ compliant car? In this guide, we look at the most affordable ULEZ exempt cars available on the market.

You could save thousands of pounds by upgrading your car to a ULEZ exempt one.

ulez
Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    What cars are ULEZ exempt?

    Transport for London has stated that petrol cars meeting Euro 4 emission standards and diesel cars meeting Euro 6 standards are ULEZ compliant.

    But, what does this mean? Well, the classifications are based on the number of harmful emissions a car can produce. 

    Of particular note: 

    • Nitrogen oxides (more commonly known as NOx)
    • Hydrocarbons
    • Particulate matter
    • Carbon Monoxide (CO)

    So, a car in the Euro 4 category produces less than the following: 

    • 1 gram of CO emissions per Kilometre
    • 0.10 grams of HC emissions  per Kilometre
    • 0.08grams of NOx  emissions per Kilometre

    And, a car in the Euro 6 bracket would produce less than: 

    • 0.50 grams of CO/KM
    • 0.08g NOx/KM
    • 0.005g Particulate matter/KM

    Petrol cars that meet Euro 4 emissions standards. Most cars manufactured after January 2006 will be ULEZ exempt, be sure to check before buying.

    Diesel cars that meet Euro 6 emissions standards. The majority of diesel cars manufactured after September 2016 are ULEZ compliant.

    Since electric cars produce zero emissions, they are all ULEZ exempt.

    All hybrid cars that meet Euro 4 petrol and euro 6 diesel emission standards will be ULEZ exempt.

    ULEZ exempt cars list

    Here is a list of the most popular cars that are ULEZ exempt and popular in 2022.

    BMW 3 Series

    bmw-ulez

    BMW's bestselling 3 Series has it all. On top of being one of the best ULEZ compliant vehicles on the market, you get powerful engines matched with comfort and the premium brand quality that we’ve come to expect from BMW. 

    Generously proportioned and practical, the BMW Series 3 gives you a wide range of options, including an innovative Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) Saloon and Touring ensuring you keep your emissions as low as possible. 

    To ensure your vehicle is ULEZ compliant, opt for either the 323i, 325i, 330i (petrol) or the smaller 318i or 320i (diesel) engines. 

    Nissan Leaf

    nissan-leaf-ulez

    Zero tailpipe emissions, advanced tech and a decent range of 239 miles await you with the ULEZ-compliant Nissan Leaf. 

    The 100% electric family car comes equipped with the latest Intelligent Driving technologies, such as the e-Pedal and ProPILOT², to give you the best driving experience behind the wheel. With its thoughtful design and sustainable edge, the all-electric Nissan Leaf is part of the future of driving. 

    No matter what model you opt for, e.g. Accenta, N-Connecta or Tekna, you won’t have to pay a penny in the ULEZ charges. Are you ready to join the all-electric revolution?

    Honda Jazz

    The all-new Honda Jazz is one of the most dynamic hybrids money can buy and ticks all the boxes to make it a ULEZ exempt vehicle.  It delivers outstanding electrified performance by drawing power from the combustion engine and regenerative braking, so you don’t even have to plug in to charge! 

    Bold, sleek and boasting a comfortable, edgy new style, you can choose from either the advanced Honda Jazz or the sporty Jazz Crosstar so that you can drive within the city without fear of being charged for ULEZ.

    Throw in the decent 5 year/100,000km warranty, and you get the added peace of mind as well as low running costs. 

    Suzuki Swift

    suzuki-swift-ulez

    If you’re looking for an elegant, responsive and seriously fun to drive ULEZ exempt car, then the city-chic Suzuki Swift is well worth a look. 

    With dynamic styling at its core, you can enjoy all the enhanced design features, including the standard 16-inch alloy wheels and LED headlights. What’s more, the Swift comes with a whole host of safety assistance features, such as automated enhanced braking and adaptive cruise control. 

    The Swift’s mild-hybrid technology keeps emissions down to a minimum while enhancing your time behind the wheel. With a broad range of Swift models to choose from, including SZ-L, SZ-T and SZ5, you can enjoy your driving experience without compromise. 

    Ford Fiesta EcoBoost

    ford-fiesta-ecoboost-ulez

    Ford has been delivering high-performance bestsellers for decades, and the Fiesta EcoBoost is no different. It has all the iconic design features you can expect paired with forward-thinking technologies, impressive fuel economy and low CO2 emissions – ticking all the ULEZ exempt boxes you could wish for. 

    If you’d rather opt for an older model, like others on this list, choose anything post-2005 (petrol) and 2006 (diesel) registration to ensure you meet the ULEZ Euro 5 and Euro 6 standards. 

    From the sporty Fiesta ST-Line to the premium comfort of Fiesta Titanium or the more rugged Fiesta Active, there are plenty of models to choose from that fit the ULEZ exempt bill. 

    Volkswagen Golf

    Nothing screams iconic more than the Volkswagen Golf. Arguably it is the best hatchback on the market with its expansive range of engines and model variants. Add premium quality and comfort into the mix, and you’ve got a match made in heaven. 

    Keeping emission levels down to a minimum is a must if you want to own a ULEZ compliant vehicle. Fortunately, the VW Golf delivers. Choose from the all-new electric SUV ID.4, the timeless GTI, 1.4 TDI ACT, 1.3 TSI Evo or the 2.0 TDI to get the best pick of the bunch as you travel throughout the ULEZ zone. 

    Nissan Qashqai

    Dubbed as the “ultimate crossover,” the Nissan Qashqai has topped the bestseller lists with its blend of hatchback compactness and SUV practicality. With the added bonus of adaptable layout configurations, opulent comfort and irresistible technology to boost your confidence on the road, the Qashqai holds the edge. 

    The latest models come with mild-hybrid tech that reduces CO2 emissions, making this one of the most desirable ULEZ compliant cars. 

    With its unmatched smoothness, sizeable interiors and instant acceleration, the Qashqai is worth a look whether you opt for the newest model or a secondhand equivalent (the oldest holding a post-2007 registration, making it ULEZ exempt.)

    Mercedes C-Class

    Mercedes C-Class saloon

    Blending comfort, innovation and style, the Mercedes C-Class oozes personality. The latest C-Class range features all the latest hybrid technology and delivers exceptional performance while keeping emissions down to a healthy ULEZ compliant minimum. 

    Progressiveness meets luxury no matter which variant you choose. You can enjoy local emission free-driving and recharge from the convenience of your home with the C 300 e and C 300 e Estate. 

    The range of choice doesn’t stop there! Effortless style awaits with the C-Class Cabriolet; travel in style with the C-Class Coupé or get the complete package with the new C-Class Saloon. Whichever you choose, ensure the vehicle is Euro 5 (petrol) or Euro 6 (diesel) if you opt for an older model.

    Skoda Octavia

    skoda-octavia

    Skoda has come a long way since first launching the Octavia in 1997. Today, you can expect stylish designs partnered with all the best safety features money can buy and ample space for you and the family to enjoy. 

    The Octavia is also ULEZ compliant if you opt for the latest models that incorporate SE technology, such as the plug-in hybrids: Octavia Estate SE Technology, Estate SE L and Estate VRS. 

    With its intelligent practicality, dynamic driving experience and range of comfort-enhancing features, today’s Octavia is a million miles away from its predecessors and keeps you connected to the outside world as you drive. 

    Kia Ceed

    kia-ceed

    Kia Ceed is a smart, nippy, city-chic ULEZ compliant car that delivers on more than just style. Using a mild hybrid system, the Ceed recharges as you drive and uses regenerative braking, so you don’t need to plugin, and emissions are kept down to a minimum as a result. 

    Supercharged and ready to go, the Ceed comes with a host of desirable features, such as lane following assist (LFA), driver attention warning (DAW), and keeps you connected and up to date with its innovative onboard services. It also comes with a 7-year warranty as standard. 

    If you’re looking for a comfortable drive that keeps up with the latest Euro 6d standards, then the Ceed needs to be on your radar. 

    Audi A3

    audi-a3-ulez

    Sharp and compact, Audi A3 delivers all-around performance and comfort with plenty of innovation to spare. Think of it as a more upmarket VW Golf Mk8 (the motor it shares all its core mechanical bits and bobs with), and you’ve got a business savvy looking vehicle that pulls out all the punches. 

    All A3s are well equipped, but it's the S line and Black Edition models that hold their own. But, if you’re not too caught up on looks alone, the entry-level SE and SE Technik models are the way to go. 

    Go for at least the 1.4-litre petrol or 2.0-litre diesel engines for a ULEZ compliant model or, better yet, the Spotback TFSI e. The latter combines all the functionalities of a combustion engine with a powerful electric motor to ensure your emissions stay down low. 

    Mazda 6

    mazda-6-ulez

    Combining the best of both worlds, the Mazda 6 delivers style, performance and comfort with ULEZ compliant appeal. 

    Any Mazda 6 fitted with the brand’s SKYACTIV-D diesel engines is currently ULEZ exempt as it delivers a much lower compression rate and minimal CO2 and NOx than a traditional diesel motor. 

    Fun to drive and boasting groundbreaking technology, Mazda 6 is an innovative vehicle that doesn’t sway away from its commitment to protecting the environment. 

    Late 2022 sees the release of the next-generation Mazda 6. It is rumoured that the SKYACTIV-X inline six engine will be fitted with a 48-volt hybrid system, taking this family-favourite car to the next level. 

    Abarth 500

    abarth-f595-ulez

    Abarth 500 is a hot city car that packs a decent 135 bhp thanks to a turbocharger. It's the more powerful, sporty version of the Fiat 500 with its reworked and lowered suspension and excellent handling – it is as endearing as they come! 

    But like its sister model, the Abarth 500 ticks all the ULEZ compliant car checklists due to its 1.4 16V turbocharged petrol engine. It can develop maximum power of 135 bhp at 5,000 rpm combined with a torque of 206 Nm at 3,000 rpm – fit for its Formula 4 origins. 

    It’s bonkers fun to drive, is remarkably reliable and doesn’t hold back in elegance or style. With cheap as chips secondhand models on the table, there is plenty of choice for everyone with this puppy trying to growl!

    Other ULEZ exempt vehicles

    There are some special categories of vehicles that are completely exempt from ULEZ charges. 

    They include: 

    • Taxis Although, there are restrictions on what taxis are exempt. 
    • Vehicles for the disabled Exemption expires in 2025. 
    • Private Hire Vehicles only in very specific circumstances (see TFL website)
    • Historic Vehicles Unless used for commercial purposes. (Must be historic vehicle tax registered). 
    • Agricultural vehicles
    • Military vehicles
    • Mobile cranes Not all but most. 
    • Some non-road vehicles such as excavators. 
    • Not for profit minibus’ exempt between Oct 21 and Oct 23 with caveats. 
    • Showman’s vehicles Subject to specifics found on the TFL website. 

    How do I measure the emissions?

    The easiest way to get to the bottom of the issue is to ask the seller/dealership what Euro emissions standard the car fits into. 

    If the dealer is unaware, you can gauge a rough estimate based on the year of registration (as we mentioned above). 

    Ultimately, for peace of mind, take the registration details of the car you have in mind and check whether it is liable for ULEZ or not using our ULEZ checker.

    Does the age of the car matter?

    To keep things simple, the Ultra Low Emission Zone charges are more likely to apply to an older car. So, the first tip we’d offer is: seek to buy new. 

    Having said that, the ULEZ is based on emissions and not age. It’s just far less likely newer vehicles will have high emissions. 

    For petrol cars, you can be reasonably confident your car will meet the standards if it was registered after 2005. If you’re looking to buy diesel, then it would need to have been registered after 2015 to stand a chance of meeting ULEZ standards. 

    If in doubt, you can always refer to our handy vehicle checker to see if the car you’re looking to buy is chargeable under ULEZ or not. 

    What is the Scrappage Scheme?

    Since the scheme initially started in April 2019, daily costs have hit an all-time high to live and work in the city. To alleviate the stress of upgrading your vehicle, TfL (Transport for London) have tried to ease the financial strain with a generous Scrappage Scheme.

    Here’s what the Scrappage Scheme looks like in a nutshell:

    Like all government schemes, not everyone makes the final cut. Before you can even apply for the Scrappage Scheme grant, you need to check your eligibility.

    Who can apply?

    To receive the grant, you have to meet all of the following criteria:

    • Live within one of the 32 London boroughs or the City of London
    • Receive certain means-tested and/or non-means-tested disability benefits 
    • Your vehicle doesn’t meet the ULEZ emissions standards

    So if you are receiving Universal Credit, Carer’s Allowance, Child Tax Credit, or Working Tax Credit, you can apply. Check the TfL website for the extensive list. 

    Should you upgrade to a ULEZ compliant car?

    ULEZ’s expansion has highlighted how important it is to own a ULEZ compliant car. Now 18 times its original size, everyone from commuters to residents will face a £12.50 daily charge if their car isn’t ULEZ exempt. 

    Fortunately, every car on this list offers either an all-electric, plug-in hybrid, mild hybrid or Euro 5 (petrol) or Euro 6 (diesel) variant. So you can drive within the city limits with the added peace of mind that your car is ULEZ exempt without breaking the bank. 

    2030 will see the ban of all new petrol and diesel sales, swiftly followed by hybrids becoming outlawed in 2035 (with some exceptions.) With time running out on the clock and more low emission zones (Clean Air Zones) operating across the UK, there’s never been a better time to consider upgrading your vehicle. 

    Combined with the government’s Scrappage Scheme and Plug-in Grant, there are added savings to be made at the dealership. With electric technology rapidly improving and longer mileage ranges available, buying an EV is more affordable – especially if you opt for a decent car finance deal. 

    Further savings can be made in the secondhand market, with ULEZ compliant cars available for below £5,000. But futureproofing your next car purchase is a must. With growing concerns over the cost of living and a global push for net-zero emissions, there are more significant savings to be made from upgrading your vehicle today! 

    Scroll to Top