Why I love the UK's new Vehicle Tax laws.

(Even though they are grotesquely flawed!)

As anyone whose been following me knows. I changed my car this year. I finally gave up the ghost on keeping my ageing Jaguar X-Type running and traded it in for something cheap and sensible...

The Old X-Type

The Old X-Type

The Focus ST3 I changed it for...

The Focus ST3 I changed it for...

Focus ST3! Cheap and sensible? You paid nearly £20k for basically a Ford Focus? Essentially a shopping trolley/school run taxi with a big engine, a turbo and overly firm suspension?

Well, ahem... Yes!

I can appreciate you questioning this decision, but hear me out! Please!

I'm not a brand snob, even though I have a strong dislike for many car brands, including VW, Audi, Fiat, Mercedes, Alfa Romeo, Skoda, Peugeot, Citroen, (insert all pacific rim brands here.) Yes, alright I'm a fickle car buyer.

However I like Fords! Ford gave us the GT40, the Mustang, the Escort Cosworth and the magnificent RS200! The ST3 actually has a lot of what the X-Type had too! Performance, leather, Sat Nav, Heated Seats, Practicality, Gadgets! It's a great car. It's a sportier drive than the X-Type.

The thing is though, this wasn't really what I was after. What tempted me?

1. I was sick of spending time dismantling and repairing the X-Type, so I wanted something low hassle.

2. I couldn't accept a downgrade in BHP, you ALWAYS have to upgrade. So it had to be something with >230 BHP.

3. I didn't want to pay over £230 VED. Which the Jag was. Why was it? Well it was made JUST before the threshold was altered. It was a 55 plate, if it had been an 06 it would have been over £500 VED.

The Focus is only £185 to tax. Now I appreciate there are other factors to consider in the running cost of a car. HOWEVER I kind of begrudge paying 'silly taxes'. I'm not against paying Tax, but taxing cars on their emissions seems stupid. It's not what you drive but how you drive and how much you drive that really affects emissions. A guy doing 2 miles a day in a 1250 BHP, 7.2L V8 Supercharged Ultima Evolution will create less emissions than a guy a guy ragging a Toyota Prius to death for 18 hours a day, playing the real-life version of Crazy Taxi. The most and in fact the only way to tax emissions is to tax fuel. The trouble is, the UK already taxes fuel to death, so adding more might seem politically dodgy.

Then take into account the fact that the process of building new cars has a much greater environmental impact than running classics.

The UK's VED is basically a politically driven tax. It makes no actual sense.

You COULD argue, that the UK's tax system has worked! It's certainly put me off buying £500+ VED cars, so maybe that's objective met?

Well, it DID work.

The oh so intelligent Tory government recently announced changes to VED. Basically because they'd introduced a £30 for low emissions and £0 for ultra low emissions, they started losing revenue. More manufacturers were getting £0 rate cars out and more people were buying them!

The new system, is a potential environmental disaster, because there's no incentive to get sensible, low-ish emissions cars at all. It's either zero emissions or pay the flat rate of £140.

So! If you bought a 2016 Ford Mustang 5.0 V8, you'd pay £500 tax a year - £5000 over ten years if you keep the car. If you buy a 2017, post-the-changes, version of the car. Identical in EVERY way except the year - you pay £140 per year, or £1400 over ten years.

Basically buying a 2016 Mustang seems madness in the UK. This tax difference WILL harm the resale value.

So what do I fancy next time? Well, the gloves will be off! I quite like Jags and might have gone for a big one. I like petrol and I like forced induction. If the VED had been reasonable, I might have gone for something like this beast:-


Jaguar XJR

Jaguar XJR

The kids would love the rear entertainment system and I'd love the performance!

However, post 2017, we're looking at a new shape. Now these ARE expensive. I'll be honest I don't fancy spending £100k on a car only to lose half of it in 3 years depreciation.

Wait one second though! We forgot the 'Expensive car tax' supplement. Basically this means if you buy a car worth more than £40,000, you pay an additional £310 a year for the first 5 years of a cars life. Bizarrely this means a man who bought a zero emission Tesla P85D would pay more than the 5.0 Mustang guy for 5 years and it would take Tesla guy 5 more years to catch up! Hardly encouraging environmental car buying?

Well, the XJR IS expensive new. But they depreciate quite nicely and I reckon I'll be ready for a change in 5 years time. By that time, an XJR SHOULD be just, JUST within affordability range! Plus, it will only be £140 tax, as the 5 years luxury car tax will have passed.

Jaguar XJR

Jaguar XJR

If that isn't something to look forward to... I don't know what is!

Martyn Stanley

[ICT] Irreverent Car Talk


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Comments (16)

  • Under what circumstance must you always upgrade your bhp? I bet a Lotus Elise would be more fun that that ford and the jag. With sub 130 bhp.

      4 years ago
  • Wasn't your old Jag' a mondeo? So technically already had a Ford? I saw changes and bought 535i estate 3 weeks for changes came in so a nice saving

      4 years ago
    • The X-Type did share a few components with Mondeo STILL a cracking car though! I miss it in ways! :(

        4 years ago
    • - You're obviously a 911 man. I really DID consider getting a used Carrera 4 last time. The thing is I really need something I can get the kids in. The trouble with the 911, is the rear seats don't seem great for booster...

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        4 years ago
  • I like your thinking ...

      4 years ago