You can’t talk about cars for five minutes without stumbling over an acronym (ABS, 4WD, RPM, V8, SUV to name but a few…), but WLTP is one set of letters that it will literally pay you to understand.

So, what is WLTP anyway? WLTP stands for Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure, and it’s the lab test now used to measure the fuel consumption and emissions of passenger cars and vans. It matters not just because these figures can tell you about the relative running costs of different vehicles, but also because road tax is based on a car’s CO2 emissions.

WLTP was introduced in September 2017 as a more realistic way to measure vehicle emissions and fuel economy compared to the old way of testing, NEDC (New European Driving Cycle).

What is WLTP intended to achieve? The new testing follows a profile that’s considered to be more similar to actual day-to-day driving – NEDC was only intended to help drivers compare vehicles, rather than accurately reflect actual consumption, whereas WLTP aims to simulate more realistic conditions for more realistic figures.

The new tests also ensure comparable results worldwide, rather than just applying to Europe, and enables comparisons between petrol, diesel, natural gas and electric drivetrains. This means that you can more easily compare cars you’re thinking of buying, so that you can choose those which offer you lower running costs going forward.

With more accurate testing, WLTP figures tend to be higher than the results achieved under NDEC, so it’s important to make sure you’re comparing WLTP with WLTP, and haven’t stumbled across older NDEC numbers.

Also, the switch to WLTP testing means that from 1st April 2020 the road tax on many vehicles will increase – not because the road tax (also known as VED, Vehicle Excise Duty) system itself is changing, but because the cost is determined by CO2 emissions figures, which are set to increase with the new testing regime. For example, an Audi Q5 TDI Quattro S-Tronic is going to cost you £1,285 more for year 1 VED, while a Land Rover Discovery Sport diesel auto or a Nissan X-Trail 4WD auto will incur an extra £960 in year 1 VED.

To save money when you buy a new car, it will pay to choose the most efficient vehicle in the class you’re looking at – or you could act now, call 01473 372020 or contact us via our web form, and order your new vehicle from stock for delivery in March, and beat the road tax rise.