Best used cars that cost £20 a year to tax

  • Our pick of 10 small used cars that cost £20 to tax
  • Choose from the chic Fiat 500 to the frugal Skoda Fabia
  • All can be bought second hand for less than £3,000

If you choose badly, car tax can be an expensive and unwanted addition to your monthly motoring budget. If you're looking at a new gas-guzzler, your first-year bill can be well over £2,000 if you're not careful. Given the current environmental concerns about climate change, it's interesting that right now, if you want to minimise your car tax bill, you might well be best off looking secondhand, especially if you're on a tight budget.

So, we've chosen 10 petrol, diesel and hybrid cars that will cost you between £1,000 and £3,000 used, which should prove cheap to buy and run, and in some cases also be great fun to drive. The best news is that because any car registered between March 2001 and April 2017 has its tax based purely on the amount of CO2 emissions it puts out, if you pick up a car that produces less than 110g/km, you'll be able to tax it for just £20 per year!

Suzuki Alto 1.0-litre (2009-2014)

Suzuki Alto - £20 per year to tax

The Alto is a small car that was designed to cut running and purchasing costs to the bone. Consequently, it's cheap to buy and even cheaper to run, and something of an unloved hero on the used car market. Those on a tight budget will appreciate its exceptional fuel economy, low insurance costs and cheap road tax.

Despite all that, the Alto also feels robustly built, and is surprisingly fun to drive.

The details

Toyota Aygo 1.0-litre (2009-2014)

Toyota Aygo - £20 per year to tax

The Aygo was Toyota's first European-built take on an urban runabout aimed primarily at active twenty-somethings. Jointly developed with Peugeot and Citroen (although the vehicle design was all Toyota's work), the Aygo has a frugal yet feisty three-cylinder engine, ultra-low running costs and superior quality to most cars in its sector. The good news is that the Citroen C1 and Peugeot 107 sister cars are even cheaper to buy.

The details

Citroen C1 (2005-2014)

Used Citroen C1 - £20 per year to tax

The C1 was Citroen's version of the Peugeot 107 (below) and Toyota Aygo (above). It had slightly different looks front and rear and the specification levels were also a little bit different, focusing on attracting money-conscious buyers. However, it was essentially the same car as its counterparts - it was even built in the same factory. Available with three or five doors, it's still an excellent small car, and deservedly popular with young drivers.

The details

Peugeot 107 (2005-2014)

Used Peugeot 107 - £20 per year to tax

The Peugeot 107 was the sister car to the Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo (above). It's still very much a simple-to-drive car that's also cheap to run and a great deal of fun. This combination of talents is ideal if you spend most of your time driving in busy built-up areas. Unlike the C1 (which was also available with a diesel) the 107 has only ever been available with one 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine...

The details

Skoda Fabia 1.6-litre TDI

Skoda Fabia Greenline TDI - £20 a year to tax

The handsome second-generation Skoda Fabia stuck to what the original model had been doing since it was launched in 2000 – providing honest, cheap-to-run transport based on tried-and-tested Volkswagen technology. This one was well built, practical and good value, and still looks pretty modern today. In short, the 1.6-litre diesel Fabia is an appealing car to own, while excellent ride quality makes it comfortable too.

The details

Fiat 500 1.3-litre MultiJet (2008-2014)

Fiat 500 - some versions are £20 a year to tax

The Fiat 500, launched in 2007, is small car people have taken to their hearts, and although it's been improved many times along the way, the new car you can buy today still looks largely the same. That gives older used versions a wide-ranging timeless appeal. Despite Fiat's lasting reputation for unreliability, the 500 is solid and dependable, and the 1.3-litre diesel should last for years to come.

The details

Honda Insight (2009-2014)

Honda Insight - £20 per year to tax

This Honda Insight was one of the first petrol-electric hybrids, making it a practical and economical five-door hatchback, like the Toyota Prius. Its plus points are generous interior space and a large, well-shaped luggage area. If you're buying one now, there are some neat touches you'll appreciate, including the digital dash which tells you how green your driving style is.

The details

MINI Hatch 1.6-litre diesel (2006-2013)

2007 MINI Cooper D - £20 a year to tax

The second-generation MINI hatchback built on the proven fun-to-drive, retro-to-look-at formula of the model that relaunched the iconic nameplate back in 2001. But although it didn't look very different, overall quality was much improved – and in diesel form, it's blessed with low emissions and better engine reliability than its petrol-powered sister car.

The details

Nissan Pixo

Nissan Pixo (2009) - £20 per year to tax

Nissan teamed up with fellow Japanese manufacturer Suzuki to produce the small Pixo. It's the sister car to the Suzuki Alto (above) and the two are identical inside. They are a little different on the outside, though, thanks to an alternative grille design and headlights. Like the Alto, it is very cheap to buy, affordable to run, and surprisingly fun to drive.

The details

Mazda 2 1.6D Sport (2007-2015)

Mazda 2 1.6D – £20 a year to ax

This generation of Mazda 2 is a bit of an unsung hero on the secondhand car market. Based on the same underlying platform as the equivalent Ford Fiesta - the UK's bestselling car at the time - this little Mazda is great to drive, reliable and good looking, Not as easy to find as the more common Fiesta or a Corsa, and a bit more noisy inside, but definitely worth searching out.

The details

Further reading

>> The Parkers guide to car tax

>> The latest car tax rates