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​’What is the best car to replace my diesel as the ULEZ expands?’

​'What is the best car to replace my diesel as the ULEZ expands?'

Alex Robbins is an editor at Telegraph cars where he not only responds to reader questions, but also writes reviews of new and used cars, along with articles on buying and selling.

His knowledge of the used car market is the basis for his many buying guides to the best buys in certain sectors, with an emphasis on value for money. Every week he answers your questions about buying and selling, as well as solving your automotive problems, both consumer and mechanical.

Do you have a car dilemma that you want our expert to solve? For advice to consumers and used cars, or car breakdowns, please email [email protected] and quote your subscriber number. This week’s question…


Dear Alex,

I own a 2014 Citroën C4 Picasso diesel with 46,000 miles and live just outside of London’s current Ultra Low Emissions Zone (Ulez). It is not Ulez compatible, but I had planned to use it for long journeys, but this will not be possible when the Ulez is expanded in August 2023. What should I trade in the Picasso for? Should I try to sell it outside of London in an area unaffected by low emission zones?

– EM

Dear EM,

I feel your pain as I live just on the periphery of the proposed Ulez extension. But before you jump into action, keep in mind that the Ulez extension is currently under discussion and has not yet been confirmed. While I suspect it will likely be implemented despite objections, it would be worth waiting for the actual boundaries to be defined and a start date confirmed.

Should you decide to sell your car, there is a simple, albeit not quite perfect solution: buy a petrol car instead. Diesel engines must meet more recent emissions standards than petrol engines to be exempt from the Ulez, meaning you can get away with owning an older petrol car within the zone.

Admittedly, a petrol C4 Picasso will use more fuel, so your running costs will rise – but probably not to the level of the £12.50 you have to pay every time you drive a diesel, assuming the Ulez is in its prime. current form is extended.

The other problem is that diesel was in its heyday around the time your Picasso was built, so petrol versions will be few and far between and it can be difficult to find one.

A petrol-powered Picasso that is the same age and mileage as your car is achievable within budget – although I could only find two examples across the UK that met those criteria.

You may have better luck with a Ford C-Max. There are more petrol models around, which should make it easier to find one; if you can get one with the 1.0-litre turbo engine, it should feel snappy enough and be quite economical too. I found a 2015 example with 46,000 miles for £9,000. Also worth a look is the Opel Zafira with the excellent 1.4-litre turbo engine.

Yes, it might be better to sell your Picasso outside London to get a better price. You can also try an online car sales portal (such as Motorway, JamJar, or Wizzle); these sites advertise your car at dealerships across the country and invite them to bid, so I think they’re less likely to be affected by downward pressure on values ​​caused by the Ulez.

You won’t get as much as you would if you sold privately, but you’ll probably get a little more than you would if you traded in – and selling should be a lot less of a hassle.


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