Fed-up of paying the congestion charge, for the privilege of driving in the Ultra Low Emission Zone? The £11.50 charge is shortly going to bump up to £15 per day shortly, potentially with extended hours.
Fortunately, these hybrid 4x4s will save you money, tread a little more gently on the environment and still offer all the luxury fitments and conveniences you could possibly wish for.
Which cars are congestion charge exempt?
To encourage the take-up of hybrid vehicles, Transport for London offers a “Cleaner vehicle discount”.
To qualify, the vehicle needs to meet Euro 6 emission standards (for either petrol or diesel engines), generate under 75g per kilometre of CO2 and be capable of driving at least 20 miles emission-free. Practically, that equates to a plug-in hybrid or electric car in 2020.
There is an annual £10 fee to register your congestion charge exempt vehicle.
Range Rover P400e Autobiography
Externally, this top of the line Autobiography Range Rover appears essentially identical to any other Autobiography model. However, under the bonnet is a frugal 2.0-litre petrol-hybrid engine. That means it’s capable of achieving fuel economy of 88 miles per gallon while emitting the congestion-charge threshold amount of 75g for every kilometre. Thanks to the electric motor and on-board battery pack, you’re able to travel up to 51km on electric power only.
And that means this Range Rover ticks all the boxes required to be ULEZ Exempt. The TfL website confirms the vehicle meets all the required emission standards for ULEZ.
That’s impressive, considering it is a prestige vehicle with nearly every passenger comfort, safety assist and driver convenience accessory you can think of. Four-zone climate control sees to it that every occupant is comfortable, while the remote intelligent seat fold makes the vehicle more practical when carrying loads. Soft-close doors give the Autobiography an extremely high-end and solid feel to the touch, with the extreme passenger “seat away” maximising legroom for rear occupants. There’s onboard Wifi, a 10-inch infotainment touchscreen, adaptive cruise with steering assist and a driver condition monitor. The Autobiography is watching over you, ensuring you arrive at your destination safe and sound.
Volvo XC90 T8 Hybrid R Design
If you’re searching for something a little more understated, this Volvo XC90 R Design might fit the bill. It’s a little more demure than the Range Rover, but it still sports many of the features and luxuries. There are contoured sports seats in half-leather and a four-zone air-conditioning system (including vents for the third-row seats). A chilled glovebox is able to store several cold drinks or snacks and the power front seat cushion extenders provide support to your legs. It lays claim to a multitude of urban-centric safety assists and, crucially, meets all the requirements for a congestion charge exemption.
Future-proof congestion charge exempt vehicle
In October 2021, TfL will introduce amendments that mean only battery-electric vehicles (EVs) are exempt under the cleaner vehicle discount.
In which case, you’d want to consider something like the Tesla Model X. This vehicle has a 303-mile range officially, a startling 0-60 time of just 4.8 seconds and all-wheel drive. Plus it has falcon-wing doors, which makes disembarking in tight city parking spots a breeze.