What’s included in a car’s list price? 

A reader wants to buy a Volkswagen Golf R but is worried that it will attract the premium rate of road tax, so he asks what its list price is...

Volkswagen Golf R

I'm looking at buying a fairly loaded Volkswagen Golf R, but with the first year’s road tax (VED) of £530 included, its on-the-road price just goes over the £40,000 threshold for the premium rate of VED. The dealer says that I'll have to pay an additional £320 per year from years two to six of owning it. 

Your online article about VED states that the list price used to work out if the premium rate is payable is based on the car’s quoted list price before discounts, plus any options you’ve added, and that it includes on-the-road costs such as delivery and numberplates but excludes the first year’s VED and initial registration fee.

Is your article wrong, or is the dealer? 

Damian Cox

What Car? says…

We checked our information on what’s included in the list price with the DVLA before publishing the article you refer to, because this has been a very confusing situation for many car buyers. 

To ensure nothing has changed regarding this, we've just checked with the DVLA again. A spokesperson confirmed the following: “The list price includes the manufacturer's recommended retail price, the price of any non-standard accessory fitted by the manufacturer, VAT, delivery charges and pre-delivery inspection charges. It doesn't include the first registration fee or the cost of first vehicle licence (VED).”

That means you can buy the Golf R and not have to pay the premium rate of VED. 

The best hot hatches - and the ones to avoid

A hot hatchback needs to excel in several areas if it's to be the crowned the cream of the crop.

First, it must be able to get your pulse racing on a twisty back road; if it can’t get you from corner to corner without the edges of your mouth turning up, it has fallen at the first hurdle. So, handling prowess and power delivery are key here.

Ride quality is also important. Firm suspension is inevitable on something so sporty, but it must still be able to deal with the worst that British roads can throw at it.

And hot hatches are likely to be used every day of the week, so they need to possess a practical, comfortable interior and have reasonable running costs.

Below we count down our current top 10 – and reveal the models to avoid. And don't forget, if you're interested in buying any of these cars, our New Car Buying service could potentially save you thousands.

10. Suzuki Swift Sport

New Suzuki Swift Sport vs Volkswagen Up GTI

The latest version of the Swift Sport isn't the steal that its predecessors were, but it's well equipped, cheap to run and fun to drive at sensible speeds. If you're looking for an entry-level hot hatch, it deserves a place on your shortlist.

Read our full Suzuki Swift Sport review or see how much we could save you on a Swift Sport

9. Peugeot 208 GTi

Peugeot 208 GTi

Few manufacturers have as much hot hatch pedigree as Peugeot, but unlike the iconic 205 GTi whose styling it apes, the 208 GTi relies on straight-line performance for its thrills rather than having particularly agile handling. You also get a high quality interior, but have to put up with a lot of wind and road noise.

Read our full Peugeot 208 GTi review or see how much we could save you on a 208 GTi

8. Volkswagen Golf R

Used Volkswagen Golf R 2016-2020 front cornering

The potent Volkswagen Golf GTI features further up this list, but if you want even more performance, then it's worth considering the Golf R. True, it's not as much fun as the very best rivals, but standard four-wheel drive gives it all-weather ability and few hot hatches are as easy to live with.

Read our full Volkswagen Golf R review or see how much we could save you on a Golf R

Next: more of our favourite hot hatchbacks >

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