Order, Order!

I finally went and did it: we wanted a second car that would be more practical than my Abarth 124 Spider, so we’d started looking at cars to do semi-regular trips down to the South-West, usually with a bit of luggage, birthday cakes and loads of presents for the grandkids (of which there are many, too many!).

Having seen a nice Kia Ceed GT-Line secondhand at a car dealer around the corner, we realised that they weren’t much more new and then we thought about the Proceed shooting brake version, etc.

Given I’d be driving it when we were both heading down, I wanted a bit more pep so we looked at some other options, including a Skoda Octavia VRS – we didn’t try one – and an Audi S3.  The latter we test drove and loved it, although I wasn’t a fan of the Sportback’s looks, but we did like the saloon version.  Despite the S3 having just been ‘facelifted’ the price was quite steep which put us off a bit, getting us to consider secondhand models which were still north of £40,000.

We then had an offer of a run-out Cupra Leon Estate which was very nice and a great price but it was only available in certain colours and we couldn’t do the deal in time thanks to delays by HMRC repaying me for overpaid tax as well as my bonus from work being late.

In the back of my mind, I’d thought about the Ford Focus ST and getting one in the Estate bodystyle, so I popped a thing into CarWow and asked for some quotes and SMC Slough came back with a decent offer on one.

Somewhat bizarrely, Ford’s colour options are a flat red as standard, “Frozen White” as a £300 option, even though it’s still just a flat colour, and everything else as an £800 option.  The metallic red favoured by Mrs RHM was actually disappointing in the flesh, and then of course there’s that £40,000 excess VED issue

Vehicles with a list price of more than £40,000

You have to pay an extra £410 a year if you have a car or motorhome with a ‘list price’ of more than £40,000. You do not have to pay this if you have a zero emission vehicle.

The list price is the published price of the vehicle before it’s registered for the first time. It’s the price before any discounts are applied.

You only have to pay this rate for 5 years (from the second time the vehicle is taxed).”

What this doesn’t say, is that the “list price” includes all the options, so in our case, the ‘basic’ list price is £39,105 and so any packs you add, or any colour you specify takes you perilously close to (or more likely, over) that £40,000 threshold.   If you go over £40,000 then you pay (at the moment) an additional £410 in car tax each year for five years from the second year onwards.  So going over by £100 means you pay an additional £2,050 for nothing, if you keep your car for 6 years of more, which we will.

At the weekend, we thought we’d see if we could take a look at an ST and preferably an Estate so we rang our nearest dealer, Group 1 at Farnborough, and spoke to Leon.  Yes, they had an ST-Line Estate in the showroom – not the ST – and yes, they had an ST hatch out back, so yes, we could pop in and have a look at the Estate to get an idea of luggage space, and yes, we could poke around the ST hatch to see what the seats and infotainment, etc. were like.

So we popped in, looked around and then thought we should just do it, so we haggled on price, spec’d it up to less than £40,000 – Frozen White and Parking Pack – and paid a deposit.  ETA 2 September 2024.