The new rules
All new cars registered from April 2017 will pay tax, unless they produce zero emissions. So if your car isn't electric or hydrogen, you'll have to pay road tax.
Ready to go electric? Here are our top picks.
Best for budget: Renault Zoe
You'll struggle to find an EV with this much value for money. This supermini is nippy and comfortable enough for your everyday drive, although it can fall behind on longer motorway stretches.
- Range: 130 miles - though opt for the latest model and this almost doubles
- Cost to charge: £6
- Second hand guide price: £8,000 or £200 per month
Choose your Zoe.
Best for families: Hyundai Ioniq
The Ioniq EV gives you plenty of range for the school run and your commute. And there's ample space for the family and all their luggage. It's comfortable and practical, with a hint of upmarket feel and design.
- Range: 150 miles
- Cost to charge: £4
- Second hand guide price: £23,000 or £550 per month
Choose your Ioniq.
Best hatchback: Nissan Leaf
If you're looking to make the switch to electric, the Nissan Leaf could be the best option. It's easy to drive, comfortable, spacious, and packed with plenty of decent tech. Plus it has more than enough range for a typical driver.
- Range: 170 miles
- Cost to charge: £7
- Second hand guide price: £12,000 or £230 per month
Choose your Leaf.
Best SUV: Kia e-Niro
The Kia e-Niro is everything you'd want from a great SUV, combined with rock-bottom running costs. It's easy to drive, holding its own at most speeds. It's comfortable, spacious, and practical, though its styling doesn't exactly stand out among rivals.
- Range: 260 miles
- Cost to charge: £9
- Second hand guide price: £18,000 or £330 per month
Choose your e-Niro.
Best for luxury: Tesla Model S
If you want a top of the range EV, there's really only one place to look. You could probably find a more practical model if you needed one, but in terms of tech and styling, Tesla's Model S sits in a league of its own. Plus the range offering is unrivalled.
- Range: 314 miles
- Cost to charge: £10.50 - and that's if you only charge at home. Tesla owners can get free on-road charging!
- Second hand guide price: £45,000 or £1,200 per month
Choose your Model S.
Don't want an electric? Don't worry
The new road tax rules won't be backdated. Any car registered before April 2017 will carry on being taxed as it was before.
So if a pre-2017 car emits less than 100g of CO2 per kilometre, it'll still be tax-free. And these are our favourites of the bunch.
Best for budget: Skoda Citigo
Cheap to buy. Cheap to run. And if you choose the right trim, cheap (or free) to tax! Opt for an Elegance GreenTech or SE GreenTech to get the best value out of this fun little run-around.
Second hand price guide: £4,000 or £55 per month - Choose your Citigo.
Best for families: Vauxhall Astra
A practical, affordable family car that doesn't compromise on drive quality and enjoyment. There's a head-spinning number of options - but our tax-free pick is the 1.0L Design EcoFlex.
Second hand price guide: £6,000 or £100 per month - Choose your Astra.
Best hatchback: Ford Fiesta
The Ford Fiesta is a small car with a big reputation. It's renowned for being fun, comfortable, agile, and affordable. And if you choose the tax-free 1.0L Zetec Ecoboost, your running costs will come in even cheaper.
Second hand price guide: £5,500 or £90 per month - Choose your Fiesta.
Best SUV: Nissan Qashqai
A strong but affordable all-rounder in the SUV-crossover class. The Qashqai is practical, spacious, and comfortable - with an impressive build quality. Opt for a tax-free 1.5L diesel, and you'll shave tax payments from the running costs. But bear in mind that diesel cars can face penalties elsewhere - like in low emission zones.
Second hand price guide: £9,000 or £135 per month - Choose your Qashqai.
Best for luxury: Mercedes E-Class
In true Mercedes style, the E-Class offers some of the best quality, drive, and refinement in its class. Choose one of the hybrid models to combine the quality, comfort, and luxury with more affordable running costs, free from tax!
Second hand price guide: £16,000 or £260 per month - Choose your E-Class.
ChooseMyCar Staff Writer
Model reviews, buying guides, service tips, and auto news - straight from our team of car experts.