I devised this list while working out the cheapest overall total cost of ownership, for a commuter car, to allow more change to spend on the weekend toy
should be well rated on reliability indexes
should be less than ten years old (again, reliability)
should be less than 50,000 miles (reliability, residual value)
should be cheap on insurance
should be cheap on road tax
should be cheap on fuel
should be <£4k to buy
I'm pretty sure all the above factors are requirements to have a good chance of returning the lowest total cost of ownership.
So, it's interesting that it's almost impossible to find a list on the net of older cars (2001-2007) that fall into the £30 tax bracket, took me a lot of effort to work out the list below.
Any time you try and google for low tax cars
(and I'm adept at choosing keywords wisely etc), you just continuously get thrown at marketing for new cars.
I've excluded the smart car (but not the smart roadster)
I chose the 120g/km co2 tax bracket (£30 or less per year road tax) because once you go over that, it jumps suddenly to £90 (see http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring/OwningAVehicl. )
so, I built my own database from the government data available here http://carfueldata.direct.gov.uk/downloads/default. to get the proper full list of used cars that fall into this tax bracket, which are available in years from 2001-2006
I've simplified the list (in some cases exact variants of the model are required to meet the criteria, so always check), but this is basically it:
audi a2 1.4 tdi
citroen c1 1.0
citroen c1 1.4 hdi
citroen C2 1.4 hdi
citroen c3 1.4 hdi
citroen xsara 1.4 hdi
diahatsu charade 1.0 efi