Carwow experts share the top 10 cars under £10K that will save drivers from Clean Air Zone fines

April 04, 2024 by

Car changing is a big deal

The free, easy way to change your car online
Rated 4.5/5 from 54,655 reviews

Will the increasing number of Clean Air Zones mean you have to change your car in order to avoid fines or charges for driving in them? If your car doesn’t comply with CAZ exhaust emission regulations, and you have a budget of £10,000 or less for your next car, then read on…

  • Motorists driving a non-compliant car in London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) or a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) elsewhere could be facing charges of up to  £4,500 a year in the country’s most expensive zones
  • Experts at Carwow reveal the top ten CAZ-compliant cars that can be snapped up right now for less than £10,000
  • From small runarounds like the Volkswagen UP for just under £6K to sportier models like the Mazda MX-5 for £9.7K, there’s a number of great options for those looking for a CAZ-compliant car

London, UK – With a number of clean air zones in operation around the country, motorists could be facing significant charges every day for driving non-compliant cars in the zones. For those looking to switch for less, Mat Watson, Chief Content Officer and automotive expert at Carwow, the online car changing platform, shares his picks for ten of the best CAZ-compliant used cars under £10,000 to consider.

Charges start from £8 per day but can be up to £12.50 with London’s ULEZ charge (amounting to more than £4,500 a year), and fines are considerably more. The good news is that there are plenty of suitable cars available for less. Here are ten of the best picks from Mat:

  1. Citroen C4 Cactus
    – Year 2016
    – Engine: 1.2-litre petrol 
    – CO2: 100 g/km
    – Emissions standard: Euro 6

    Watson said: “The C4 Cactus has to be a practical option for driving or parking in a CAZ zone as the original models had Citroen’s trademarked Airbumps on the side doors to protect against dings from careless motorists opening their door against it or from out of control supermarket trollies. There are petrol and diesel models within our budget.

    “They also came in some quite funky colours, like the Deep Purple 2016 model we found on Carwow with a 1.2-litre, 110hp petrol engine and less than 37,000 miles for £8,129:

    “If you would prefer the facelifted version without such large Airbumps, there are some available for less than £10,000.”

  2. Ford Focus
    – Year: 2013
    – Engine: 1.0-litre petrol
    – CO2: 114 g/km
    – Emissions standard: Euro 5

    “A Ford Focus is a good option as it’s such a popular car, there are plenty of petrol and diesel examples available for a lot less than £10,000. We found a 2013 Focus with a 125hp,1.0-litre petrol engine and under 48,000 miles for £6,365 from a main Ford dealer:

  3. Honda Jazz
    – Year 2013
    – Engine: 1.4-litre petrol
    – CO2: 129 g/km
    – Emissions standard: Euro 5

    “If you want something more compact, the Honda Jazz is one of the roomier supermini five-door hatchbacks available. We found a 2013 model with a 100hp, 1.4-litre engine and less than 42,000 miles for £6,922:
    Honda Jazz
  4. Kia Sportage
    – Year: 2016
    – Engine: 1.6-litre petrol
    – CO2: 147 g/km
    – Emissions standard: Euro 6

    “This popular SUV is a practical family car and we found a 2016 model with a 1.6-litre petrol engine (130 hp) and 66,000 miles for just under our budget at a Kia dealer, at £9,995:
    Kia Sportage
  5. Nissan Juke
    – Year: 2015
    – Engine: 1.2-litre petrol
    – CO2: 128 g/km
    – Emissions standard: Euro 6

    “The Nissan Juke is consistently one of the top 10 best-selling cars in the UK. It’s a good choice as a CAZ-beating car as it’s compact (but not too small) with a higher seating position for a better view of city traffic. There’s plenty of petrol and diesel used models available for under £10,000. We found a 2015 Juke 1.2 DiG-T in the top Tekna trim level with under 48,000 miles for £7,995:
    Nissan Juke
  6. Volkswagen UP
    Year: 2015
    – Engine: 1.0-litre petrol
    – CO2: 105 g/km
    – Emissions standard: Euro 6“If you want a small car, then one of the best and most compact is the Volkswagen Up (or its siblings, the Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo which may also be slightly cheaper). The 1.0-litre engine gives 60hp and a low insurance group of 1E. We found a 2015 model with less than 62,000 miles for £5,998:
    Volkswagen Up
  7. Renault Zoe
    – Year: 2015
    – Engine: 65kW electric
    – CO2: 0 g/km
    – Emissions standard: n/a

    “The best way to be CAZ-compliant is to have an electric car and one of the most affordable is the Renault Zoe. With an automatic transmission and 88hp, plus the instant power of an electric motor, it’s nippy in city traffic. However, its official range is a modest 149 miles. We saw this 2015 Zoe with 26,554 miles at a Renault dealer for just £5,827:
    Renault Zoe
  8. Toyota Auris
    – Year: 2014
    – Engine: 1.6-litre petrol
    – CO2: 138 g/km
    – Emissions standard: Euro 5

    “Another CAZ-compliant and affordable family hatchback to consider is the Toyota Auris. It’s not particularly exciting to look at or drive, but it’s practical and bound to be reliable. For example, here is a 10 year old model with a 132hp, 1.6-litre petrol engine that’s done just over 74,000 miles available at a Toyota garage for £7,351:
    Toyota Auris
  9. Audi A4
    Year 2015
    – Engine: 2.0-litre diesel
    – CO2: 109 g/km
    – Emissions standard: Euro 6

    “It might be at the top end of our budget, but a 2015 Audi A4 saloon is a tempting option if you need something bigger and from a premium brand. We found a 2.0 TDI SE Technik for £9,795. With only 64,000 miles on the clock, it means it’s averaged less than 7,000 miles a year. It is available with petrol engines as well.
    Audi A4
  10. Mazda MX-5
    Year 2013
    – Engine: 1.8 Petrol
    – CO2: 167 g/km
    – Emissions standard: Euro 5

    “Not all CAZ-compliant cars have to be sensible hatchbacks. How about something sporty and fun, like the Mazda MX-5? If keeping it in a city, then get one with the retractable hardtop to make it more secure. The 1.8-litre petrol engine is Euro 5, so still CAZ-compliant as it’s a petrol. We found a 2013 example with less than 23,000 miles for £9,650:
    Mazda MX5


  • ENDS – 


Notes to editor

More information on Clean Air Zones

Clean Air Zones, also known as Low Emissions Zones (LEZ), and Zero Emission Zones are being introduced in cities across the UK and Europe to improve air quality and to also try to reduce congestion by encouraging more people to use public transport instead.

It will cost you money if you drive into most of these zones in a car with a petrol engine that does not comply with the Euro 4 emissions standard (as a minimum) or a diesel engine that doesn’t have Euro 6 exhaust emissions. 

In England, there’s usually the option to pay a daily charge, starting from £8/day, but in Scotland paying to enter isn’t an option – you just get a penalty charge through the post. 

The catch is, that if you drive a non-compliant car into a CAZ, LEZ, ULEZ or ZEZ without realising it, and you don’t pay the daily charge (if applicable), you won’t know you’ve done it until you receive a penalty notice (fine) through the post. Number plate recognition cameras check all vehicles entering the zone, so don’t think you’ll get away with it, even if it’s just a one off. The cameras operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including public holidays; however there are exemptions for certain vehicles and road users.

There are already CAZs in cities like Bath, Birmingham, Bristol, Bradford, Portsmouth, Sheffield and Tyneside, while London has an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and Oxford has a Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ). In Scotland, Glasgow already has a LEZ in force, while Dundee follows on 30 May 2024 and Aberdeen and Edinburgh start to enforce their LEZs from 1 June 2024.


Looking for an easy way to change your car? Then Carwow is the place to go. You can sell your old car for a great price, and get the best deals on a new one. All through our network of trusted dealers and all from the comfort of your home. Tap the button below to get started today.