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The Motorists' Guide

The Motorists Guide

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  1. Would green plates help people spot the Volkswagen e-Golf from the regular version? Government's plan to give low-emissions cars green number plates might not be 'a badge of honour', but could showcase the wide variety of electrified vehicles on the market A government proposal to give ultra-low emissions vehicles (ULEV) green number plates is little more than a spot of window dressing. Or bumper dressing, if you want to be pedantic. Transport secretary Chris Grayling suggests the plates would serve as a “badge of honour” that could inspire take-up of ULEVs. That seems optimistic – I doubt the prospect of having a special number plate will make anyone more inclined to go and buy an electric car. What will inspire take-up of ULEVs are things like lower costs, tax incentives and the continued development of charging infrastructure, all of which are a lot harder to resolve (and more expensive to sort) than designing a new number plate. But while the government might be better focused on those areas, the idea of green plates isn't without merit. The ability to differentiate ULEVs from combustion-engined cars could aid in the easy enforcement of low-emissions zones, EV-only parking bays and so on. Combustion-engined cars parked in EV charging bays are a fairly regular sight and, if you’re trying to charge your electric car, can be hugely frustrating. As with disabled blue badges, green number plates would make it much easier to spot cars that should be able to park in such bays, and might dissuade drivers of petrol and diesel cars from trying to park there. Most of all, green plates would be a cheap way to showcase the wide range of ULEVs that are on the streets of Britain right now. There are people who think electric cars begin and end with Tesla, others who believe the only hybrid vehicle is a Toyota Prius (being used as a private hire vehicle, of course), and more still who don’t understand what hydrogen fuel cell cars even are. Not everyone will be able to tell a Volkswagen e-Golf or a Hyundai Kona Electric from the combustion-engined versions. And, right or wrong, there are people who believe the established car firms are still only peddling ‘dirty’ diesels. The truth, of course, is different: there’s an ever-growing range of ULEV cars available to buy in the UK, and green plates could be a useful way of showcasing that. Not a badge of honour then, but green plates could be a sign of progress. View the full article (source: Autocar)
  2. THE NEARLY CAR MUSEUM: There's 18 Minis and counting here We meet three motoring magpies who have made it their mission to save old, often unsalvageable cars from the crusher It’s amazing what you see through the crack in a fence. I was in Devizes recently when I looked through one and saw a collection of rusting cars, some dating back to the 1950s. I was driving to Caen Hill with its flight of 20 canal locks – but first, I thought, I must find out about these old motors. So I took the next turn and found myself in the yard of a big waste management company. A chap appeared from one of the buildings to ask if he could help. I asked him who the old cars belonged to. “They’re the boss’s,” he said. “He’s going to put them in a museum.” Unless I’m opening my wallet, it’s not often my heart skips a beat. It skipped one then. Unfortunately, it was pouring with rain. I drove off, determined to return. Of course, I shouldn’t have been surprised by the sight of all those old cars. The fact is, scrap cars are a big problem. In 2012, councils reported 40,876 cars as having been abandoned. By 2016, this figurehad risen to 147,616. But these cars are just the ones councils know about. Away from their prying eyes are thousands more relics – some, like the ones in Devizes, locked away in yards or outbuildings, but many more parked up on driveways or in gardens where they sit rotting, often to local residents’ frustration. Why do people hang onto their old cars when they could have traded them in, sold them or scrapped them? Two car hoarders I encountered give their reasons later, but first I meet that boss of a Devizes-based waste management company who decided to save some old cars rather than crush them... THE NEARLY CAR MUSEUM Nigel Grist is the owner of Grist Environmental, a waste management and recycling company he founded 45 years ago with £100 and a 15 cwt Ford Thames pick-up. Those were his cars I’d seen, Nigel tells me when I return to Devizes to meet him. Nigel says he’s been collecting scrap cars ever since he started his business. Those that are too good for the crusher he puts to one side. He has a bodyshop that has restored one or two and plans to display these, along with the most interesting unrestored ones, in a new eco-friendly museum he intends to build on a 50-acre site outside Devizes. Barn finds of old cars are often in the news but what I see when I round a corner in Nigel’s yard is more like a field find. The few cars I’d glimpsed through the fence that day were just the tip of a ‘carberg’ of old British metal. At the back, a gaggle of Minis; I stop counting at 18. In front of them, an ocean of cars including two drab green Ford Popular 103Es circa 1953. One is merely a shell but with what appears to be a reconditioned engine and new front chassis rails, the other all but complete – and both separated by a shabby Morris Marina van of the 1980s. Close by them, that old bank manager’s special: a smart, black Rover P4 (circa 1950s) towering over a bright red Morris Minor pick-up. Elsewhere, a Sunbeam 90 from the mid-1950s, and a remarkably well-preserved mid-1960s Vanden Plas Princess 4-litre R (the only mass-produced model that Rolls-Royce permitted to be powered by one of its engines) parked in front of a decaying Triumph 1300. Just ahead of them, the perfectly salvageable shell of what I reckon is a two-door Hillman Avenger. A surprisingly complete-looking Morris Minor stands slightly to one side of the pack. Its green paint has faded but its chrome brightwork gleams and what rust there was appears to be superficial. The interior is amazing: no tears, no missing or sagging trim, and fittings all securely anchored. Nigel and his project manager, Jonathan Taylor, chuckle as I stagger among the treasures. Scimitar GTs, Triumph 2000s, a lovely burgundy-coloured Jaguar XJS, more Minis including a couple of rare vans and one converted to accept a wheelchair, Austin Ambassadors, a couple of Mk1 Range Rovers, Triumph Spitfires beyond saving... “There are more in the shed, behind the Bedford H A van and flat-bed truck I bought the other day,” says Nigel. As my eyes adjust to the gloom inside the shed, I realise I’d nearly walked into a mint Austin Princess. “It’s a one-owner car, done 6000 miles,” says Nigel. “We’ve not done a thing to it. Its lady owner thought it was too big, put it in her garage and forgot about it. She sold it to me when she moved into a smaller place.” In a second shed, I am greeted by the sight of at least 15 cars, some of them are stored by Nigel’s team, the rest road worthy and in original condition. They include a 1988 Ford Sierra Cosworth, a 1936 Vauxhall 14-6 and a Scimitar GT. Also, a Rover 75, a handful of Jags and Daimlers, a Mini Cooper, a Ford Granada Mk2, an Austin A35, a Triumph Dolomite and a London taxi. Among them stands another of Nigel’s completed restoration projects, and his favourite car, a Morris 1100. “It’s one of the first we restored,” he tells me. “I must have scrapped hundreds of these. I’d cut the doors off, tip the shell over to get underneath and then cut through the front sub frame to get the engine out. Then I’d attack the chassis with an axe. Most were so rotten, only the Hydragas suspension was holding them together. ” The museum Nigel is planning “will celebrate saving and rescuing stuff, including cars”, he said. “It’ll be the antidote to today’s throwaway society. ” THE CITROEN GRAVEYARD Dick Halcrow’s attachment to the Citroën CX – that large, luxurious fastback (there was also an estate) of 1974 to 1991 – is so strong that he can’t bear to part with all those he has ever owned. It’s led to what can only be described as a bit of a parking problem. Where most of us require space for just a couple of cars on our driveway, Dick has had to find room for eight. Where we might leave the patch of garden immediately behind our front gate free for access, Dick has deposited two more. And where, at the far end of our property, we might lovingly cultivate a vegetable patch, Dick has had to stash a further eight. In all, he has had to find space for 16 CXs and two XMs. His collection of CXs features examples of both Series One (1974-85) and Two (1985-91) models. It includes at least four seven-seat Familiales (one of them a former funeral car) and a pair of CX 25 GTi Turbo fastbacks. The years they have spent on his driveway and in his garden have taken their toll: paint has faded, window rubbers have grown hard and brittle, rust is rampant. Unable to grow in the garden, plants are growing in cars. Doubtless, you’re wondering why he doesn’t solve his parking problem by simply getting shot of these Gallic masterpieces–but then you haven’t met Dick. His passion for the CX is intertwined with his former work as an aircraft systems engineer. He worked at Heathrow for 43 years, first by maintaining Lockheed TriStars and Vickers Viscounts and ending his career on the Airbus A320 family. Retirement, three years ago, felt like a bereavement. “It was engrossing work,” he tells me. “Even on my days off, I’d be thinking about problems with a plane’s hydraulic system or an engine and trying to solve them. I was born to be an engineer and I will always be one.” And there lies the root of his attachment to his 16 CXs in particular. Simply, he loves the model’s advanced engineering and, in particular, its hydropneumatic suspension and related systems. “Like an aeroplane, a CX relies on hydraulics to function,” says Dick. “Once I had my first whiff of LHM fluid [used in the CX’ s hydraulics], I was hooked.” In its launch preview of the CX in 1974, Autocar praised what it described as Citroën’s “unique devotion to advanced engineering”. It went on: “Each of its cars is designed to be ahead of its time.” Unfortunately, time has caught up with Dick’s CXs. They look fit for only one place – but tell their owner at your peril. “Breakers come here saying they ’ll take them away for me but I tell them to get lost,” says Dick.“I just can’t throw away good engineering that can be repaired or restored and given a second life.” Dick’s love affair with the CX began in 1990 when he bought a Series One seven-seat Familiale. Even then, it was nine years old. “It was my first experience of a CX,” he says. “The ride comfort was extraordinary and the brakes were incredibly powerful. It was a technical tour de force. Inevitably, the hydraulic pipes rotted through. I replaced them with copper nickel ones; they ’ll outlast us all.” Which, unfortunately, cannot be said of the rest of the car, which now rests on its deflated tyres in Dick ’ s garden, quietly disintegrating. Dick admits that replacing the pipes was actually where he went wrong.“ Having gone that far, I couldn’t bear to part with it,”he says. It set the pattern for the 15 CXs that followed. Such was his passion that, far from taking his own CXs to the breakers, he rescued some from scrapyards. When anyone offered him one, he accepted it without hesitation.“I’ve been a donkey sanctuary for CXs,” he admits. What would persuade him to get rid of the lot? “The world’s best CX,” Dick says, simply. If any of his neighbours are reading this, as this is written there’ s a mint, low-mileage, 1987-registered Citroën CX 25 auto for sale for £13,440. Fancy a whip-round? The UK trend of scrapping cars Dick Halcrow’s collection of 18 decrepit Citroën CXs and XMs reflects changing trends concerning end-of-life vehicles. The SMMT says the average age of a car at scrappage in 2015 rose to 13.9 years. Experts say this is partly because, as cars become more reliable, people are willing to run them into the ground. At the same time, more cars that would otherwise have gone to breakers’ yards are being abandoned. Councils have revealed that, in 2012, 40,876 cars were reported as abandoned. By 2016, this figure had risen to 147,616. The cost of scrapping a car is often given as a reason for abandoning them. However, Autocar has found there’s still money to be made from an end-of-life vehicle. We visited cartakeback.com, which collects and disposes of scrapped cars responsibly. Based on the registration number of one of Dick’s CXs, it generated a collection and scrap payment of £135. He could be sitting on a modest fortune. THE MAN WITH 70 SKODAS Mark Torok says his love affair with Skodas has, at times, got a little out of hand. “There was a stage in my life when I was buying Skodas like other people buy groceries,” he admits. In just 10 years, the Skoda enthusiast has amassed a collection of more than 70 cars for what he calls his ‘Skoda orphanage’, many of them dating from the company’s transition period in the 1990s. The oldest is a 1973 S110 DeLuxe that Mark rescued from a scrapyard in the Czech Republic. The newest is a 2006 Superb V6 that he saved from re-export to eastern Europe. His favourite is an original ‘stretched Passat’ Superb of 2002. Mark says: “In the UK, people’s interest in Skodas stops at the Estelle and starts again with the Fabia and Octavia of the 2000s. Sadly, the Favorit and Felicia in between are trapped in that no man’s land of obscurity. That’s where I come in.” Mark’s Skodas live barn-find style in assorted farm buildings but his aim is to get them together under one roof. For the time being, the main thing is that they are safely hidden away from the scrapyard. Remarkably, most of them require just basic recommissioning and a good wash. Skoda can trace its origins to 1895 when it was founded as Laurin & Klement. It made its first car in 1905 and was renamed Skoda in the 1920s. A succession of well-regarded models followed until progress was interrupted by World War II. The firm barely recovered under communism and, by the 1980s, ‘Skoda’ was a byword for unreliability. With the fall of communism and the arrival of new partner Volkswagen, things began to improve and a succession of impressive new models including the Favorit, Felicia and Fabia helped prepare the ground for the brand’s revival. “My grandfather was the biggest Skoda fan going and got me hooked on the company,” says Mark. “It’s been fascinating seeing the firm develop and grow. I often wonder what he would make of it all now.” He says the UK scraps and wastes cars far too quickly and believes there’s never been a more important time to secure vehicles such as his Skodas for preservation: “People say I am wasting my time but my girlfriend Victoria says they are not thinking in the fourth dimension, as Doc Brown does in Back to the Future. She says I am creating a treasure trove that will delight future fans of the Skoda marque. “The doors to my orphanage will always be open to any unwanted Skoda. I will be to Skoda what the Schlumpf brothers were to Bugatti!” John Evans View the full article
  3. View or share your Driving Licence information - for hiring a car in the UK view your driving record, for example vehicles you can drive check your penalty points or disqualifications create a licence ‘check code’ to share your driving record with someone, for example a car hire company The ‘check code’ will be valid for 21 days. You’ll need: your driving licence number your National Insurance number the postcode on your driving licence CHECK NOW this link takes you directly to the official GOV.UK website Driving in the UK and abroad Driving abroad Driving abroad View or share your driving licence information Taking a vehicle out of the UK Driving in the UK Driving in Great Britain on a non-GB licence Exchange a foreign driving licence Application to register a non-GB driving licence (form D9)
  4. Different cars require different types of oil Choosing the best oil for your car's engine can be tough, given the large number of options available. Our guide can help you make the right choice Oil is one of those mysterious substances for many car owners. Unless you’re an enthusiast, you may well open your car’s bonnet only when something goes wrong – you’ve run out of washer fluid or there’s an alarming amount of smoke coming from somewhere. But keeping the car well lubricated is one of the most important maintenance jobs, because unwanted friction in a fast-moving engine usually leads to bad, potentially expensive news. Advanced mechanical technology in modern cars means that modern oils are more complex than ever, according to David Wright, director general of the United Kingdom Lubricants Association. He says increased regulations on vehicle emissions and increasing demands from consumers for performance uncompromised by advanced fuel economy have meant that the lubricant industry of oil blenders and marketers has had to keep up with manufacturer demands as they chase better efficiency. “Smaller oil sumps mean we are all using less oil each year but the oil we are using has to work twice as hard,” Wright says. “Car manufacturers today are demanding thinner and lighter engine oil viscosities to achieve enhanced fuel consumption in a smaller, more powerful engine while at the same time reducing emissions.” This means that getting the right oil for your car is more important than ever. Get it wrong and while you won’t see instant disaster as you would if you’d put diesel in a petrol car, you will subject your engine to excess component wear. “You won’t see an issue immediately. It’s not like putting contaminated fuel into your vehicle,” says Wright. “But within 20,000 miles, you could have severe operational issues.” What kind of oil you need depends on the engine. All new cars will come with a recommended grade listed in the manual and usually a recommended manufacturer, too. The grade will be shown in numbers, separated by the letter ‘w’ – for example, 5w40. “Put simply, the viscosity of an oil gives you an indication of its resistance to flow at given temperatures,” Wright explains. “The ‘w’ rating, preceded by a number, gives you an indication of how the oil flows at winter temperatures and the last number indicates flow in summer temperatures.” However, the viscosity alone isn’t enough to indicate how well an oil will protect your engine. There are numerous tests that car manufacturers go through to formulate engine oils and these are ratified by an organisation called the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, known as the ACEA (an acronym of the organisation’s French title). The ACEA determines the exact requirements needed to meet the demands of different types of modern engine. The specifications, known as ACEA Oil Sequences, are renewed every four years but are backwards compatible for older vehicles. “The high costs of investment in engine oil technology run into six or even seven figures for a set of engine tests. Oil blenders, manufacturers and marketers have to be certain that the lubricants they sell are suitable for a given application,” Wright says. Each ACEA specification is denoted by a letter, followed by a number, which identifies the class of oil and a category within that class – for example, ACEA C3. This specification will be indicated on the oil packaging and the car manufacturer's manual will again specify which you should go for. But what if you can’t find the exact recommended oil? Wright says drivers should tread carefully, because using the wrong oil can cause damage to your car’s engine. The problem is that the oil industry is self-certifying. The ACEA defines the specifications, but it’s up to the manufacturers to make sure that the products they put out meet them. A technical organisation called ATIAL spot-checks products of its members every few years, but largely it’s down to the industry to self-police. Some lesser known oil suppliers have been known to label their products as a certain specification but not meet the standards. “Sometimes it distorts the marketplace if you get some less reputable new entrants into a market selling product below the cost price of other, more reputable blenders. That’s when you get some questions raised. “If something looks too good to be true, then it probably is,” Wright says. “If you have been offered the latest specification, fully synthetic engine oil in the pub for £1 a litre, then it probably is too good to be true.” Read more: Why engine downsizing doesn't always work To combat such products and to check the quality of products, the UKLA launched the Verification of Lubricant Specifications (VLS) service. Anyone can suggest a product for it to test, and if it’s found to be wanting, the UKLA will ask the marketer to quarantine or recall the product, and relabel or reformulate it. Wright says that since the VLS was launched in 2013, it has made a positive impact on the quality of lubricants sold in Britain. “I think we’re almost there,” he says. “Some of the newer companies are marketing strange formulation that need investigating but, on the whole, the UK market is quite compliant.” Conversely, some manufacturers produce oils that go beyond the required specifications. “Some manufacturers will blend to the base line and some will look to exceed it, to develop some form of quality positioning around their brand,” Wright explains. “It’s usually the multinationals, the big companies that will make them even better than the specifications. So if an oil specification says it’ll last for 15,000 miles, they’ll make it so it lasts 20,000 miles, for example. They’ll put a richer mix of additives into the formula to make sure that not only does it not produce wear in an engine, but it’ll help protect the engine over time, too.” Quick questions How does oil vary? Oil comes in different viscosities, signified by a grade number, such as 5w40. It’s also blended for different types of engines, signified by an ACEA specification, such as ACEA A1/B1. What oil suits what car? The type of oil recommended by the car manufacturer will be listed in the manual. It may recommend a particular brand, but the grade and ACEA specification are the important things to look for. Does brand matter? As long as the grade and ACEA specification is correct, you should be fine. However, David Wright of the United Kingdom Lubricant Association recommends choosing reputable manufacturers. Some firms will blend more advanced, expensive oils that exceed the specifications on the packaging. What about cheaper brands? Again, as long as the grade and ACEA specifications are correct, then everything should be okay. But oils from some newer, less reputable brands on the market have been found not to meet the claimed specifications. The UKLA’s VLS service investigates complaints and tests products to see if they’re compliant and has an archive of its findings on its website - http://www.ukla-vls.org.uk. What happens if you use the wrong oil? Using the wrong oil will put undue stress on the mechanical components of your engine. Badly lubricated parts will wear faster and so decrease the life of the engine. How often should you check your oil? There’s no set rule. Those who drive more should check more often. David Wright suggests everyone should check their vehicle's oil levels at least once a month. How often should you change the oil in your car? This will vary from car to car and will be mentioned in the car’s manual. Glossary of terms ACEA - European Automobile Manufacturers Association. An organisation that represents European vehicle makers and determines the requirements for modern lubricants. Specifications for different types of oil are denoted by an ACEA figure on packaging, such as ACEA A1/B1. ATIEL – Industry association of European lubricant manufacturers and marketers. The acronym comes from the French “Association Technique de l'Industrie Européenne des Lubrifiants” Grade – the viscosity of your engine oil, signified by two numbers that indicate oil flow in winter and summer temperatures (eg 5w40). The lower the numbers, the thinner the viscosity. SAE - Society of Automotive Engineers. The US-based body that defines how oil viscosities are defined and regulated. UKLA – United Kingdom Lubricants Association. Body representing businesses in the British lubricant industry. VLS – Verification of Lubricant Specifications. A non-profit service launched by the UKLA to investigate complaints of non-compliance with lubricant specifications. View the full article
  5. Latest air quality measure means you could be hit with a £20 fine for leaving your engine running while parked A new measure to prevent drivers from leaving their engines idling while parked is gaining traction in multiple areas of the country. Councils in Nottingham, Norwich, Reading and London have all adopted the on-the-spot fines, and the Times reports that 30 further areas are planning to introduce them, in a bid to improve air quality in the UK’s urban areas. The fines are aimed partly at parents picking up and dropping off their children at school; this contributes to spikes in pollution in those areas. A new study carried out by King’s College London highlighted the dangers of car pollution for those living in affected areas, claiming a seven-week life expectancy increase for those born after air quality legislation was introduced. The RAC's head of roads policy, Nicholas Lyes, said: “With the spotlight firmly on reducing pollution in urban areas, we welcome a focus on reducing unnecessary engine idling. The correct procedure should be for an enforcement officer to ask the driver to switch their engine off, and if they refuse, they will be issued a penalty. Idling engines can produce up to twice the amount of emissions of an engine in motion, and for drivers it can mean higher fuel bills." It’s the latest charge in the name of air quality, with the T-Charge costing London drivers £10 daily if they’re at the wheel of the pre-Euro 4 car, petrol or diesel. Other parties have suggested alternative measures, though. A health group previously suggested the removal of traffic calming measures in residential areas, to prevent the pollution caused by the on-off braking and accelerating associated with them. Read the full article: View the full article
  6. FLIP flops are becoming part of Brits’ daily wardrobe as temperatures continue to soar. But those who choose to drive in their summery shoes could find themselves in hot water if they are involved in an accident While driving in flip-flops isn't illegal in itself, wearing them could lead to a careless driving charge if they impede your ability to drive safely. Under Rule 97 of the Highway Code, drivers are advised they must have “footwear and clothing which does not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner”. Flip flops could slip off, become wedged under pedals and prevent you from pressing the pedals with enough force to brake quickly, which could cause you to drive erratically or even lead to a collision. If you are stopped by police while driving in a potentially dangerous manner or your footwear is a reason for an accident, you could be charged with driving without due care and attention (careless driving). In the most serious cases, careless driving can attract a hefty £5,000 fine, up to nine penalty points and even a court-imposed driving ban. A recent study by insurance brand, ingenie, found that a whopping 27 per cent of drivers could be risking this penalty as they ditch their shoes in favour of flip flops while driving. Despite the large number of Brits taking the risk, around one in three actually thought it was illegal to drive in loose fitting footwear. RAC's guidelines for suitable driving footwear According to the RAC there are some guidelines for what footwear is suitable when driving: Have a sole no thicker than 10mm, but the sole should not be too thin or soft. Provide enough grip to stop your foot slipping off the pedals. Not be too heavy. Not limit ankle movement. Be narrow enough to avoid accidentally depressing two pedals at once. Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart Director of Policy and Research, told Sun Motors: “Before setting off. You should ensure that clothing and footwear do not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner. “If flip flops stopped you being in control you could be prosecuted, as you are breaking Highway Code Rule 97. “Careless driving is mostly judged on the impact your driving has on others around you, so if you are spotted swerving or braking erratically and then stopped and found to have inadequate footwear, you could be prosecuted. “If you do cause a crash, then it could also be an aggravating factor against you in court and lead to a slightly higher fine or longer ban.” THE ROAD LAWS YOU NEED TO KNOW REGULATED ROADS- Is the Highway Code law and can you actually be penalised for breaking it? LAW AND DISORDER- The eight laws you had NO idea you were breaking Selim Cavanagh, Chief Executive at ingenie said: “It’s promising that almost a third of drivers assume driving in flip flops is illegal, because it’s really dangerous. “They slip off, slide under the pedals, get caught between your feet and the pedals and if your feet are wet, they’ll affect your ability to brake if you need to. “Aside from the actual rules though, driving in flip flops can create a dangerous driving environment, and put you, your passengers, and other road users at risk. “So, if you’re heading to the beach this weekend, make sure you’ve packed some sensible driving shoes to get you there and back safely, as well as your flip flops to wear while you’re there.”
  7. BMW has already developed an autonomous parking system that negates human control in concept form British law will be adjusted to allow use of autonomous parking function Remote control car parking is to become legal in the UK next month following a new law that’s designed to encourage the use of safety-improving autonomous technology. From June onwards, owners of cars with a remote parking function, such as the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class, can be operated from outside of the vehicle while parking. Models such as these are able to identify a space while you're aboard, before allowing you to get out and let the car park itself while you remain able to halt the vehicle via a remote control, such as a digital key or smartphone app. The Highway Code currently dictates that such a control will have to remain involved during automated parking, with the Department for Transport stating that “drivers must continue to maintain overall control of their vehicle”. It also bans drivers from holding mobile devices while operating their vehicle. But June’s regulation change will allow remote parking devices to be used, as long as the operator is within six metres of their car. Transport minister Jesse Norman said: “Advanced driver assistance systems are already starting to revolutionise driving. It’s encouraging to see the strong support for these innovations from a range of stakeholders. We will continue to review our driving laws, in order to ensure drivers can enjoy the potential of these new tools safely.” The Government has long affirmed its intention to make the UK a world leader in the development of autonomous car technology. It wants the first driverless vehicles to hit British roads in 2021. Society of Motor Trader Manufacturers and Traders chief executive Mike Hawes said: “Connected and autonomous vehicles will transform our lives, with the potential to reduce up to 25,000 serious accidents and create more than 300,000 jobs over the next decade. “Today’s announcement is just one step towards increasing automation, but it is an important one enabling increased convenience, especially for those with restricted mobility. It is another welcome commitment from government to keep the UK firmly at the forefront of connected and autonomous vehicle development and rollout.” Autonomous vehicle technology development was recently labelled by the SMMT as one of the biggest drivers for workforce growth in the UK. It’s estimated that 320,000 new jobs in the UK automotive industry will be created through the sector’s growth between now and 2030. View the full article - original article courtesy of Autocar
  8. Brightest performance halogen without compromising on life Driving at night is challenging. There is a reduction in a driver’s overall vision, objects are unclear and road signs are less obvious from further away. To improve visibility, Ring has once again set the standards in vehicle lighting with the launch of the new Xenon150 performance halogen bulb. Xenon150 puts up to 150% more light on the road compared to a standard bulb without compromising the operating life, making it the longest lasting +150% bulb on the market. Xenon150 uses the latest advancements in filament technology. The filament has been engineered to be shorter, with a tighter wound coil to produce a brighter, whiter light output. When combined with 100% xenon gas in the glass envelope, the result is up to 150% more light on the road. Xenon150 also produces an 80m longer beam pattern, allowing other road users to be seen more clearly and give you more time to react to potential hazards when you need to. At 3700K, the light output is closer to daylight, providing better reflections from road markings and signs. Vehicle Lighting Product Manager, Matthew Flaherty comments: “Development of the Xenon150 has been complex and is something that all those involved in the process at Ring are proud of. We have engineered a brighter light that complies with all the legal regulations for light output, without compromising on the operating life when compared to our other performance halogens.” Xenon150 bulbs are available in popular H4 and H7 references, which are street legal and are a simple upgrade from standard bulbs, requiring no changes to vehicle wiring. Xenon150 is the ideal option for motorists who want more light for a brighter, more enjoyable night time driving experience. Follow this link to see which Bulbs will fit your car Fitting Notes: Something to note when fitting Halogen bulbs is to avoid touching the glass prior to fitting as the oily residue from skin can create a hotspot on the bulb which can lead to it failing prematurely. If you do inadvertently touch the glass, then you can clean it before fitting by using a lint-free cloth and if available some alcohol-based cleaning solution to remove the marks. It is always best to use Latex gloves to fit the bulbs and avoid touching the glass directly.
  9. The new Edge is available in Zetec, Titanium and Sport variations, with all models offering Ford intelligent all-wheel drive, Active Noise Control, Pedestrian Detection, Ford DAB Audio with SYNC 2 connectivity system, privacy glass and 19in alloy wheels as standard. Optional extras available across the range include: Lux Pack, Sony DAB Navigation system with 12 Speakers, Perforated Dinamica Seats, Variable Climate Control Front Seats, Heated Rear Seats, 10-way Power Driver & Passenger Seats, Opening Panoramic Roof and Power Door Mirrors, 20inch Alloy Wheels (standard on Sport) ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN The performance from Ford’s 210PS bi-turbo 2.0-litre TDCi diesel engine is more than adequate to propel the Edge to the required speed in a very satisfactory time. Other engine options include the 180PS 2.0 litre TDCi diesel engine. Both engines are rated to deliver 48.7mpg fuel efficiency and 149g/km CO2 supported by Auto-Start-Stop technology. The Bi-Turbo engine features two turbochargers and offers enhanced performance and efficiency. The primary turbo works at lower speeds, giving you an extra boost when you need it – such as when turning from a junction into moving traffic. Meanwhile, the secondary turbo works at higher speeds, like when you need to overtake a slow-moving vehicle A choice of 6 speed manual gearbox and the 6 speed PowerShift automatic gearbox (with twin clutch) are offered to mate with either of the engines. The choice for a more sedate journey is made by selecting ‘D’ in the automatic transmission, as opposed to selecting ‘S’ for ‘Sport’ which results in a much livelier journey with increased response from the engine and transmission. The automatic transmission has the ‘Paddle Shift’ feature which gives some control of gear selection to the driver if desired. Overall, the 6 speed PowerShift automatic transmission is very responsive being quick to change, both up and down in either conventional Drive or the Sport mode. EXTERIOR The all-new Ford Edge exterior is carefully sculpted with a muscular and yet compact bonnet. To improve aerodynamic efficiency, unique air curtains are positioned on the lower part of the fascia to guide air from the front of the vehicle, out through the front wheel wells and down the vehicle side. The Headlamps feature Xenon lamps with automatic sensing for high/low beam (Anti-Glare), cornering and load variation. Mirrors feature auto-fold and also a Blind Spot indicator. The exterior is equipped with a rear spoiler, with optional roof rails and detailing in chrome to further enhance the styling. The Sport features front, rear and side Sports body styling with dark exterior detailing. Other options include front and rear Park Sensors along with front and rear Cameras to avoid colliding with any obstacles. A full length Panoramic Roof with sliding and tilt function allow more natural light and fresh air to enter the interior with very little wind noise. INTERIOR The interior has been designed with high-quality materials throughout, including soft-touch trims on the dashboard and centre console, high-gloss piano black surrounds on the switch bezels and a satin silver metal finish for the door handles, air vent bezels, glovebox trim and steering wheel detailing. The spacious Edge is also offered with heated and cooled front seats and heated rear seats from the Titanium series. The interior offers a vast array of controls and in particular, the steering wheel is embellished with a selection of switches and buttons allowing the driver to select and alter various functions. Voice control function is available for the comfort, entertainment, navigation and telephony systems. Interior refinement is enhanced with acoustic windscreen glass and laminated glass for both front door windows, minimising the intrusion of wind noise. Underbody panels and wheel-arch liners further minimise road and wind noise. All Edge models are also equipped with Ford’s Active Noise Control technology that detects unwanted engine noise in the cabin and cancels it out with opposing sound waves fed through the integrated sound system. There is an option for a Power Tailgate control with hands-free and key-free function to allow access to the capacious loading area. The seats fold to allow an increased load area with the flexibility of 60/40 split which does not impede on the passenger area too much. Seats are generally quite comfortable but rather firm which can lead to slight discomfort over long distances with limited rest breaks. TECHNOLOGY The Edge offers a variety of Ford technologies, including Adaptive Steering, which automatically optimises the steering response according to vehicle speed, making it easy to manoeuvre at low speeds, while remaining precise and intuitive at higher speeds; and Front Wide View Camera, which makes restricted visibility junctions or parking spaces easier to negotiate. Edge debuts segment-first Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection; a camera- and radar-based system that can operate at speeds from 5mph to 110mph to detect vehicles and people in the road ahead. The system can automatically apply the brakes if a potential collision is detected and the driver does not respond to warnings. The Edge features Ford’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive (AWD) technology as standard, delivering a seamless transition between front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive performance to provide a more secure footing on the road especially in slippery conditions. Measuring how the car’s wheels are gripping the road surface every 16 milliseconds – 20 times quicker than it takes to blink – the system can send up to 100 per cent of engine torque to the front or rear wheels. ROAD TEST SUMMARY The Ford Edge is a superb car to drive either around town, motorways and also mild off-road conditions. The combination of safety and Driver assistance functionality result in a car that you can feel secure in the knowledge that you are driving something that get you to your destination safely and still feeling relaxed after a long distance. Ford’s Adaptive Cruise Control with Pre-Collision Assist is definitely a safety enhancement that is essential for safe driving at any speed. Ford has utilised the on-board technology to enhance the system to be an incredibly reliable and useful safety aid. Once used, it becomes difficult to switch off and solely rely on your own reactions. The system also features Traffic Sign recognition to allow the driver to set the speed limiting to stay legal at all times. Keyless entry is a feature of the Edge, and as with some other manufacturers, you have quite a ‘chunky’ key which you have to carry around to then leave somewhere within the car, but where? There doesn’t seem to be a specific area to place it so it could end up in a multitude of places and then it’s a case of finding it when you leave the car. Given that the Edge has Active Noise Cancellation, the noise levels within the car are incredibly low. However, the fuel tank leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to vehicle design. There doesn’t appear to be any baffles within the tank, as when you accelerate and decelerate, you can hear (and feel) the fuel ‘sloshing’ backwards and forwards which is quite off-putting, especially on a vehicle of otherwise good build quality. The full length opening panoramic glass roof is superb for allowing in natural light but stopping the harmful UV rays from swamping the interior. With the addition of the pop-up windbreak at the front reducing wind noise, it all seems to work very well. Overall, the Edge is a car loaded with useable technology and features usually reserved for much more expensive and up-market brands but delivers a similar ‘feel good factor’ from the driving experience with a smaller price tag. TECHNICAL INFORMATION Engine - Trans - Power PS (Kw) - Torque (Nm) - CO2 Emissions(g/km) - Mpg(Urban) - Mpg(Extra Urban) - Mpg(Combined) - Max Speed - 0-62 Mph (secs) 2.0 TDC - iM6 Manual - 180 (132) - 400 - 149 /Sport 152 - 44.1 - 52.3 - 48.7 - 124 - 9.9 2.0 TDC - iMPS6Auto - 210(154) - 450 - 149 /Sport 152 - 44.1 - 52.3 - 48.7 - 131 - 9.4 Above information based on Edge with 19inch Wheels COST (effective from January 2016) Zetec – from £29,995 Titanium – from £32,245 Sport – from £34,495 All prices are based on Dealer ‘On the Road’ price, including 20% VAT click here to see Ford Edges for sale ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Special thanks to Evans Halshaw, Bedford for the loan of the Ford Edge used for road test For more information about the Ford Edge visit: http://www.evanshalshaw.com/dealers/ford-bedford/ Follow Evans Halshaw on Twitter: @evanshalshawuk
  10. THE ‘ALL-NEW FIESTA HAS MATURED INTO A VERY PLEASANT SMALL CAR, WITH A BIG CAR FEEL ! OVERVIEW The all-new Fiesta is available in Style, Zetec (B + O Play and Navigation versions), Titanium (B + O Play and X versions), Vignale, ST-Line and ST-Line X. An all-new ‘Active’ Fiesta is due out in 2018, the first Fiesta ever to feature SUV styling. Engines available in both Petrol and Diesel – 1.0 EcoBoost, 1.1 Ti-VCT, 1.5 TDCi Duratorq and variety of power output applies across the engine range. Body styles are 3 doors and 5 doors with 6-speed Manual or Automatic Transmission options. ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN The 1.0 litre EcoBoost Petrol engine (as road tested) has an output of 100PS and with Auto-Start-Stop technology to comply with emissions standards for many years ahead. With power output from the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine being comparable to a 1.6-litre engine with performance enhanced by turbocharging, delivering both economy and driveability without compromise. The 1.5 litre TDCi Diesel engine output of 85 PS and economy figures quoted of 88.3 mpg (combined) with CO2 emissions of just 82-84 g/km. A 120 PS engine gives you 88.3 mpg (combined) and CO2emissions of 89 g/km. EXTERIOR The all-new Ford Fiesta exterior is still easily identifiable by its unique styling as Britain’s most popular but with a more up-to-date image. The Fiesta now comes with the option of a two-part, glass panoramic roof that either tilts or slides back over the rear roof section to create a light and airy interior. Whilst the roof allows natural light to flood in, solar reflective glass keeps you cool and protects you from UV rays. An electrically operated roof blind also enables you to cover or reveal the roof at the press of a button Halogen projector headlights with daytime running lights. A useful night-driving aid, Auto High Beam temporarily dips the headlights when it detects oncoming traffic or a vehicle ahead, stopping you dazzling other drivers. It then automatically reverts back to high beam, giving you maximum visibility. Body coloured electrically-operated and heated door mirrors with side indicators incorporate a Blind Spot Information System uses RADAR sensors to scan the blind spots on either side of the car. If they detect a vehicle you can’t see, an orange light that’s clearly displayed in the corresponding side door mirror illuminates to warn you. If you’re reversing out of a space, and have limited visibility of the traffic situation, Cross Traffic Alert can detect oncoming vehicles and sound a warning. The technology also illuminates a light in the wing mirror: left or right depending on the direction of oncoming traffic. Body coloured bumpers with mesh grille and body colour spoiler, door and liftgate handles further enhance the look of the All-New Fiesta. INTERIOR The Style version was used for the road test, however, there are many other features available for other variants within the range, either as standard or as an option, such as an Openable panorama roof and leather heated seats & steering wheel To further enhance the interior space, the Fiesta gives you more front and rear legroom than ever before by redesigning the rear seats to have sculpted, slim backs, therefore, the passengers can sit further back. Ford SYNC 3 is a state-of-the-art system that enables you to stay connected and control your phone, music and navigation system with intuitive voice commands, or an 8” colour touchscreen. It connects to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto too, and with Applink, you can access smartphone apps, including Spotify. Live Traffic can also help avoid the jams. The Fiesta now sports Emergency Lights so that if you have to brake hard for an emergency, the hazard warning lights come on automatically to alert other drivers. The brake lights flash too, providing following vehicles with some advance warning of a potentially dangerous situation. In addition to the driver and passenger front airbags, side airbags provide thorax protection and are designed to direct the occupant away from the impact area. They’re also able to raise the arm of the occupant providing better space between them and the intruding structure. Curtain airbags provide maximum coverage and headrests offer protection from whiplash. With front and rear seatbelt pre-tensioners and load limiters, plus seatbelt minders. TECHNOLOGY The Lane-Keeping System – including Lane-Keeping Alert and Lane-Keeping Aid works incredibly well but did have a tendency to seem violent in its approach to taking back control which can be a little disconcerting but overall, the accuracy of the system is not lacking in the slightest and is a very useful safety feature. Some of the following features are available as an option across the range: LED Night Signature to rear lights Traffic Sign Recognition and Driver Alert Auto High Beam Rain sensing wipers Traffic Sign Recognition and Driver Alert Power-foldable door mirrors with puddle lights Rear privacy glass Partial leather sports style front seats Electronic Automatic Temperature Control (EATC) Cruise Control Ford SYNC 3 Navigation with 8″ Touchscreen Centre console with armrest, openable stowage and 12 V power point Auto-dimming rear-view mirror ROAD TEST SUMMARY First thoughts when driving it were how the 1.0 EcoBoost engine responded much akin to the performance from a 1.6 litre and also how the interior cabin area gives the impression of a seemingly much larger car. Accessing the interior was generally quite uneventful, considering it was the three-door version and where it seems that most modern cars appear to work on the principle of design over function, no heads were bashed on door pillars on entry and the dashboard did not claim any knees either! Accessing the interior was generally quite uneventful, considering it was the three-door version and where it seems that most modern cars appear to work on the principle of design over function, no heads were bashed on door pillars on entry and the dashboard did not claim any knees either! The Fiesta is relatively easy to navigate through all the myriad of controls and electronic wizardry such as the Bluetooth connectivity, which was incredibly easy to sync and control through the cars’ audio system. Engine starting is via the push-button and incorporates ‘stop-start’ technology, although no keyless entry. Hill Start Assist was useful when manoeuvring on a slope on the odd occasion. Safety and driver assistance technology contribute to leaving you with the belief that you are driving something that will get you to your destination safely and allow to feel quite relaxed even after a long distance. The relief of the car being able to facilitate your driving, and in some cases making better judgements in situations such as distance control and lane guidance, all of which can result in draining the drivers’ energy after some time at the wheel. Ford’s Adaptive Cruise Control with Pre-Collision Assist is definitely a safety enhancement that is essential for safe driving at any speed. Ford has utilised the onboard technology to enhance the system to be an incredibly reliable and useful safety aid. Once used, it becomes difficult to switch off and solely rely on your own reactions. The system also features Traffic Sign recognition to allow the driver to set the speed limiting to stay legal at all times. Fuel economy was good but given the roads used, traffic conditions and speed travelled, we obtained between 49 – 53 mpg overall. For the size of the engine and the superb drivability experience, it is really quite hard to complain at those figures. The full-length opening panoramic glass roof is superb for allowing in natural light but stopping the harmful UV rays from swamping the interior. With the addition of the pop-up windbreak at the front reducing wind noise, it all seems to work very well. Overall, the all-new Fiesta is a car loaded with useable technology and features usually reserved for much more expensive and up-market brands but delivers a similar ‘feel good factor’ from the driving experience with a smaller price tag. Click here to see Ford Fiesta Mk8 models for sale TECHNICAL INFORMATION Engine 1.0 EcoBoost (998cc DOHC Turbocharged Direct Injection) Transmission 6 speed Manual (front wheel drive) Power (bhp / kW) 100 (74) Torque (Nm) 170 Mpg (Combined) 65.7 (extra-urban) 78.5 (urban) 52.3 Max Speed (mph) – 124 0-62 Mph (secs) 10.5 Insurance Group 10E Emissions Euro 6 CO2 (g/km) 97 Dimensions Length: 4040 mm, Width: 1735 mm, Width (with mirrors): 1941 mm, Height: 1476 mm Above information based on Fiesta Zetec 1.0 EcoBoost COST (effective from September 2017) Style – from £11,995 Zetec B+O Play – from £13,995 Zetec Navigation – from £14,515 1.0 EcoBoost Zetec – from £14.795 (model road tested) All prices are based on Dealer ‘On the Road’ price, including 20% VAT ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Original article written for the Ford Owners Club www.fordownersclub.com Special thanks to Evans Halshaw, Bedford for the loan of the Ford Fiesta used for road test For more information about the Ford Fiesta visit: www.evanshalshaw.com/dealers/ford-bedford/
  11. Great write-up Steve! Wow! so it's not just me who feels an empathy for an old car, regardless of what make it is, when you consider that it was someone's pride and joy when they collected it from the showroom when new and polished it and cherished for years and then....something changes and it becomes a lump of metal and discarded to rot away in a field. Very sad 😞
  12. So why don’t we all drive Hybrid cars? They’re slow, ugly and don’t inspire us on our daily commute….really? Just check out the BMW i8, Lexus RX450h, Porsche Panamera Hybrid and many more new models appearing every year. Originally, Hybrid cars produced by Toyota and Honda were a slightly lacking in visual appeal, however, over the past twenty years, Hybrid vehicle technology has improved to a level where some of the Worlds’ fastest racing cars are in fact Hybrid powered. Economy, durability and performance have all increased over time with the advent of new technological advances in science and engineering. Even looks have improved to satisfy our demanding aesthetic appeal. The majority of vehicle manufacturers are now onboard with the idea that consumers are becoming more environmentally aware when it comes to road transport and are demanding more miles per gallon and lower emissions for cheaper motoring. The environment also is demanding change with the introduction of strict new laws in cities to reduce the pollution created by conventional internal combustion engines. When it comes to fuel economy, none of us likes to pay out money to travel in our cars and hence the reason we constantly search for more economical solutions. Switching to a Hybrid vehicle is one such solution but it is also a lifestyle choice when it comes to which one to pick. Does the purchaser need a family car or maybe it is a performance car that is required but without the guilty conscience? Fortunately, there are now many choices available from the sedate shopping car to the high-performance supercar, all of which cost little to run and won’t destroy the planet. So what about durability and reliability I hear you ask? Well, seeing as Toyota and Honda have been producing Hybrid cars for around twenty years and they are still running today on original battery packs, then this should provide some confidence in their longevity. Reliability is also right up there, with the exception of the occasional battery cell (which is available as a single replacement unit nowadays) and the sometimes temperamental inverter playing up, in general reliability is superb. Value for money is something that is close to many purchasers’ heart, therefore, the decision to spend more quite a bit more money on a Hybrid over a conventional car is not one to be taken lightly. Research has shown that due to demand and increased popularity of used Hybrid vehicles, prices are staying high and represent a great residual value over many years. And finally, probably the most important reason for anyone wanting to switch to a Hybrid vehicle is that you would be reducing emissions and helping to do your part for the environment. Hybrids generally emit 90% less emissions than a conventional petrol or diesel car by using Electro-Motive Power to assist the Internal Combustion Engine. In addition to this, because the engine doesn’t have to work so hard to propel the vehicle to speed, a smaller capacity and different design of engine can be used which is also much less polluting than it’s rivals. How about Government incentives? Vehicle Excise Duty is also lower and there are incentives for inner-city usage which all adds up to saving money. So what are you waiting for? Go on, you know you want one!
  13. Tom Barnard, a local author, racing driver, engineer, boat builder, track designer, car designer along with a string of other accomplishments. His book 'I gathered no moss', an autobiography detailing his fascinating life story His book starts with the advent of WW1 when his father returned from the war and purchased Bluepool at Furzebrooke. He then set about landscaping the grounds with rare plants and trees. Soon enough, tourists started flocking to this wonderful place of tranquillity. WW2 then disrupted proceedings and Tom writes about the Army taking over the land and buildings, overhead dogfights and near misses from exploding bombs. After the war, he schooled at Eton and entered into a social life in London. Around this time, he got interested in Engineering but also in Motor Racing. This was the golden era for racing and he was fortunate enough to compete in races with the likes of Mike Hawthorn, Stirling Moss and driving cars for Colin Chapman at Lotus. A few years later on, he decided to adapt his engineering business to small-scale racing cars that children (or an adult) could race on any track, The Barnard Formula Six. The car could be adapted so that it was safe for any youngster to drive at a very early age and the controls were within reach of a supervising adult. His early childhood, first in South Africa and then in South Dorset was suddenly interrupted by World War Two. The Barnards were evicted from their house, which became a military hospital, and bombs soon became part of daily life. After schooling near Swanage, and then at Eton, Tom was called up for National Service in the Army. He then spent sixteen years in his chosen profession of engineering but managed, during this time, to fit in seven years as a racing driver, mostly with Lotus. His invention of the Barnard Formula Six miniature racing car earned him enormous publicity in the UK and abroad with over four hundred models sold. This was followed by boat building, classic car restoration and then four years helping to develop Silverstone Circuit. His success with race track designing led to projects in a dozen countries spread over a further twelve years. Finally, with a quiet life in mind, he began a study of his family history and the writing of his book. The fourteen chapters confirm that the title is fully justified. He has been throughout his life, a true rolling stone. Buy this Book here
  14. In 2018 a number of new driving laws, rules and regulations will come into force A number of new laws and rules have been and will continue to be introduced over the course of the year, which could have an impact on drivers. Here are the new rules and laws that are set to be announced over the course of 2018: Pavement parking A nationwide pavement parking ban has been proposed in the UK, which could see drivers flouting the rule land a £70 fine. The Department of Transport is considering to overhaul the law to make roads more accessible for pedestrians with pushchairs or in wheelchairs. Currently, pavement parking is only illegal in London and has been since 1974. Under the new laws, it could become illegal to park on the pavement, unless the car has been granted explicit permission, across the country. New MOT rules From May 2018 the MoT test is set to get a shake up which will see the introduction of new failure and defect categories. The test will now categorise defects as either Minor, Major or Dangerous. Under the new rules drivers that receive a Major or Dangerous fault will automatically fail their MOT test. Drivers can still pass if they receive a Minor fault, but it will be noted down on the car’s MOT certificate. The test is also getting stricter for diesel cars making it harder for them to pass. Among the changes will be one that if the “exhaust on a vehicle fitted with a diesel particulate filter emits visible smoke of any colour” the car will be issued a Major fault. Other changes include checks to whether brake discs are obviously warn, oil contamination of the discs and how well they are securely attached to the wheel hubs. In addition to this, from May any car that is 40 years old or older then it will no longer need an MOT certificate. However, cars that have been significantly changed or modified will still need to take the annual roadworthiness test. GETTY New driving laws introduced in 2018 in the UK Graduated driving licence Prime Minister Theresa May has called for a graduated driving licence to be introduced. A probationary period has also been proposed which would mean that certain restrictions are imposed on new drivers for up to two years after they pass their practical test. Under the proposals, drivers would be restricted from driving at night time and carrying passengers under 25 years of age unless supervised. Similar restrictions have been implemented Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the UK. Other moves include putting a limit on the engine size and power output to also help prevent accidents. Currently, if drivers clock up six points in their first two years they can face an instant ban from driving, compared to the usual 12. Car tax diesel Changes to car tax are coming into force in April 2018. These changes were revealed in the Autumn Budget by Chancellor Philip Hammond last year. They focus on reducing air pollution and are targeted solely at diesel cars. From April if cars do not meet a pre-determined emissions standard then drivers could face inflated fees. Unfortunately, drivers will not be able to escape the inflated fees. This is because the Real Driving Emissions 2 standard does not become mandatory until 2020. Any cars that do not meet the Real World Driving 2 emissions standard will have to pay one band higher car tax. Fortunately for existing cars on the road, the inflated charges will not be applied to them but for those buying a new car need to be wary of the cars that will be hit the hardest. This could add up to £500 on to the cost of car tax. To read more about the changes to car tax then click here. ———————— GETTY Car tax potentially increased by £500 annually for diesel drivers in April Smart motorway Drivers could soon be penalised in the UK for driving in a motorway land that is delineated by a red X. The red X refers to a lane closure, for example if there has been an accident further down the road. Roadside cameras would automatically detect drivers flouting the rules and indues a fixed penalty notice of £100 and three penalty points. —————————————————— Leaner drivers motorway From Monday 4 June 2018, learner drivers will be able to take driving lessons on motorways in England, Scotland and Wales. Currently, motorway driving training is only voluntary through the PassPlus scheme. The move to allow new drivers to be trained on the Uk’s motorway network was proposed to help make sure more drivers know how to use motorways safely. Learners will need to be accompanied by an approved driving instructor and driving a car fitted with dual controls and the sessions will be voluntary and down to the discretion of the instructor to decide if the learner is competent enough.
  15. WOW!!! that's phenomenal mileage Steve, but my feeling is that if it has managed those miles then essentially it should and could go on for many more with very little trouble....regular routine maintenance goes without saying
  16. The very latest EVs, including the upcoming Audi E-Tron, use large lithium ion battery packs Ultra-capacitor is claimed to store and discharge electrical energy much more quickly than lithium ion cell A fast-acting carbon ‘ultra-capacitor’ that could take 30% off the weight of a lithium ion EV battery pack is under development in France. The ultra-capacitor, which is built using carbon and graphene nano-technology, is claimed to store and discharge electrical energy much more quickly than a lithium ion cell. “Our advantage is the speed of charge and discharge,” said Ulrik Grape, chief executive of NAWA Technology, the company responsible for the device. “Our carbon battery can pick up energy from regenerative braking and supply it back to the motor very quickly.” Ultra-capacitors offer very fast energy transfer but don’t have a large storage capacity. According to NAWA, the ultra-capacitor could be integrated into a lithium ion battery to provide instant power for improved performance, while reducing the number of charge and discharge cycles the main battery performs, thus extending its life. It is claimed that a simulation on the battery pack of a Formula E racing car modified to include a NAWA ultra-capacitor demonstrated the same performance and range but weighed 30% less. The design of the ultra-capacitor is said to be unique. It offers a higher stored energy density than rivals by combining an electrolyte with microscopic coatings on the billions of carbon nano-tubes inside the stack. NAWA is looking at developing the design for production. It said it is targeting premium European car firms first with the “aim of full production in 2022”, although it expects to start making capacitors for power tools and material handling firms next year. One option is to mould the nano-tubes into body panels. Last year, Lamborghini showed the Terzo Millennio concept, built in conjunction with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, that had bodywork made of carbon nano-tube ultra-capacitors. 100 new EV chargers switched on in London with focus on electrified taxis View the full article
  17. RAC 225 S Dash Cam Review Super HD Dash Cam with GPS and Speed Camera Alerts DASH CAM OVERVIEW The RAC 225 is a forward-facing Dash Cam packed full of features, records in Super HD 1296p video with a 130-degree wide angle lens and has built-in GPS to record your speed and location at all times. The Dash Cam is supplied with an 8GB Micro SD card, allowing for 8 minutes of video for each 1GB of space on the supplied card. It records in three segments but can be adjusted using the simple menu functions of the camera. When the SD card is full, the RAC 225 S operates on a loop recording system and will overwrite the oldest recording and continue without the need to erase or download any data. The RAC 225 S Dash Cam is supplied with an 8GB Micro SD card, a 12-volt charging lead and a 360-degree swivel windscreen mount. Speed Camera Alerts are available with the 12 months package, offering outstanding value for money and convenience with Super HD 1296p video recording and still photo capability. RAC 225 S DASH CAM FEATURES Recording – The camera display screen turns off after a short time so that it is not distracting to the driver. In the background, however, the camera is still recording everything on the road ahead. Photo Mode– Captures still images as well as video, which could be very useful in the event of an accident or incident. Microphone and Speaker– Sounds and conversations can be recorded, if required. If not, a simple one-touch button will mute the microphone. Emergency Button – When pressed, the current sector of your recording becomes protected and will not be lost when the camera continues recording. 360º Revolving Cradle– Position your camera in different directions with the rotating mount enclosed in the box. Power Options – The RAC 225 S can be powered using the supplied power cable connected to a vehicle’s 12-volt power socket or hard-wired to the vehicle electrical system. RAC 225 S DASH CAM OPERATION & SUMMARY A brand new addition to the mid-range region of the Dash Cam market is the RAC 225 S, which at £185 (with a Memory Card) is affordable to ensure that any motoring mishaps are recorded and Speeding Fines are reduced. The RAC 225 S performed well in comparison to similar, previously reviewed Dash Cams, and was incredibly easy to initially set up. Once plugged in through the cigarette lighter/auxiliary socket, the unit instantly powered up and was operational in very little time. A very useful feature to mention is the built-in battery life, which is very handy to operate the camera while away from a power source. This feature may be useful to take still pictures or review footage in the event of vehicle power failure following an accident. Switching the ignition on or running the engine will power the unit up and will immediately start recording. Once operational, the camera was set into position on the windscreen. With the compact size of the RAC 225 S, it was relatively easy to locate it anywhere on the screen without it being too much of a distraction or obscuring vision. It is important to note that a Dash Cam must not be placed in the swept area of the windscreen (drivers’ side windscreen wiper zone) or anywhere which can obstruct the drivers’ view. It is also a good idea to hide excess power cable behind any loose trim surrounding the dashboard or pillar trim. Because the RAC 225 S records using ‘loop’ technology, when the SD card is full, this will automatically overwrite the oldest files and continue recording indefinitely. The timeframe for the ‘loop’ can be adjusted quite easily through the menu system. If you wish to set the time or adjust any menu settings, simply press the ‘OK’ button, which will stop the RAC 225 S recording, and then the ‘MENU’ button to display the available options. The function buttons worked well and it is usually best to set the camera up before fitting to the windscreen. Fortunately, there is no real need to touch the device once it is in position and operating as normal. However, it is recommended that you check the Dash Cam for at least once a month to make sure it is operating and recording properly. The RAC 225 S has a screen-saver setting so that after a short period of time the screen will turn off. This setting can be adjusted by accessing the relevant menu setting. If you wish to view the footage recorded by the RAC 225 S you can do this in two ways: a) remove the SD card from the RAC 225 S and, using the supplied SD card reader, insert into a computer. Files can then be viewed in the same way as a digital camera. b) connect the camera to a computer using a sync cable (not supplied). Files can then be viewed in the same way as a digital camera. The footage captured with the available light during the early morning journey resulted in more than adequate images with number plate definition reaching an acceptable standard of clarity. Sound recording works well and is a useful feature but generally, is best switched off if you are hyper-critical about other motorists’ driving and wish to voice your opinion. Overall, the RAC 225 S is a compact and capable Dash Cam with a retail price that is priced in the mid-range region of the market but is more than adequate for anyone wanting to equip their car with a quality Dash Cam without spending excessive money. To sum up, the RAC 225 S works straight away from when the ignition is first switched on and gets you up and running in just a few seconds. A very solid and good quality Dash Cam and certainly worth the money…think how much you’ll save on Speeding Fines alone! TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS Screen Size: 3.0” Lens: Glass Field of Vision: 130˚ Recording Definition: Super HD1296p Micro SD Included: 8GB Micro SD Memory Card Support: Micro SD card, from class 10 – Up to 32GB Photo Mode: Yes Video Format: MOV SOS Data Protection: Yes SOS Recording: Yes G-Sensor: Yes Motion Detection: Yes GPS: Yes 360º Revolving Cradle: Yes File Locking: Yes Loop Recording Technology: Yes Auto Screen Saver: Yes Mute Function: Yes RAC 225 S Dash Cam RRP: £185.00 Optional extras: RAC 225 S 12 Months Speed Camera Updates £60.00
  18. Great Road Trip Steve....have done the same trip myself but didn't seem to pack in as much as you guys did ! Thanks for posting it up....hopefully it will inspire anyone who is thinking of driving this route as it is so pleasurable, especially with the empty roads (well, all except Brussels)
  19. Hi Steve and welcome to The Motorists Guide Good to have you onboard and look forward to your contributions.
  20. Distracted driving causes two deaths on UK roads each month We join Surrey’s traffic cops patrolling the motorways in the cab of a Mercedes-Benz Actros HGV – the front line in the fight against distracted driving It’s Friday morning on the M25 and the observer in the front passenger seat of the police vehicle I’m sitting in has spotted a woman on her mobile phone at the wheel of a Range Rover ahead of us. We accelerate alongside to enable him to film the woman on his video camera. It’s a good ‘spot’ since she’s holding the phone in her left hand and pressing it tight against her ear. The driver of a passing car would be unlikely to see her using it, except this isn’t a passing car – it’s the latest weapon in the fight against distracted drivers: a Mercedes-Benz Actros HGV cab. The vehicle gives the police a clear view of car drivers below them and truckers alongside. Although the Actros is now casting a dark shadow over the Range Rover’s interior, including the young boy strapped into his booster seat in the front, the driver continues to talk into her mobile phone – until she catches sight of the police officer filming her. The observer relays details of her vehicle and the offence to his colleagues in two unmarked police cars following behind. The truck pulls away in search of more distracted drivers while one of the teams directs her to follow them to Cobham services, where she can be dealt with safely. Welcome to Highways England’s three-year road-safety initiative, launched in February. It has loaned three HGV cabs to 28 police forces covering the north, the Midlands and the south-east. They will patrol motorways and main trunk roads looking for drivers using their mobile phones at the wheel, a practice that is a factor in an average of two deaths on UK roads every month. “For me, the tipping point was the crash on the A34 in 2016 when the driver of a truck, who moments before had been changing music tracks on his mobile phone, drove his vehicle into the back of a stationary car, killing all four of its occupants,” says Colin Evans, Highways England safety officer for the south-east. “Enforcement is the police’s job, but they’re under pressure. Our spotter cabs will help them catch people who don’t understand that, in the hands of a distracted driver, a vehicle is a battering ram.” During a two-year trial, one HGV cab was instrumental in spotting 4176 drivers in relation to 5039 offences. Just as importantly, publicity surrounding its deployment helped influence driver behaviour and spread the message that distracted driving kills. It’s the turn of Surrey Police to use Highways England’s south-east- region spotter cab (it’s recently come from a two-week stint with Kent Police). As the team mills around it and the two unmarked intervention cars that will process offenders, as well as spot them, the squad commander announces that last week’s Surrey Police team dealt with 54 cars, 26 HGVs (half of them on foreign numberplates) and 16 vans on its section of the M25. Today’s team will spend the morning patrolling the motorway between junction 14 and Cobham services. I take my place in the spotter cab behind Ben, the observer, and Tony, the driver, both of them police officers. A few minutes later, we’re on the A3 heading for the M25. Without a speed restrictor and a trailer to pull, the Actros easily closes in on anyone Ben suspects is using a handheld phone or on a hands-free call and not in proper control of their vehicle. Soon we have our first ‘phoner’. He’s in a Mercedes E-Class in the outside lane, holding his phone low and looking down at it. Given he’s to Ben’s right, he is impossible to video but appears to be texting. Ben reports what he’s seen to the intervention team. One of the unmarked cars peels off and pulls the Mercedes over. The driver is given three points and a £100 fine since he wasn’t in proper control of his car. The spotter cab never stops but continues on its way. Two minutes later, Ben spots a woman clearly texting at the wheel of her Vauxhall Corsa with her phone held in front of the steering wheel. He relays the footage to his colleagues who give her the full six points and a £200 fine. It won’t stop there: a survey of insurers by the AA found that drivers who receive such a penalty can expect their insurance premium to rise by up to 40% on renewal, while almost half of the companies it questioned said they would refuse to quote. For a truck driver, it’s more serious still. They might be dismissed by their employer, who could also face losing their operator’s licence. The fear of receiving this new, harsher penalty for using a handheld phone while driving, introduced in March 2017, contributed to a 47% decline in the overall number of fixed penalty notices handed out by police from March to December 2017 (39,000 compared with 74,000 in the same period in 2016). Other factors included more effective safety campaigns but also a reduction in enforcement due to a decline in the number of traffic police. Highways England’s loan of three spotter cabs should help boost their efficiency. Ben spots a minicab driver speaking into his phone but he leaves the motorway by a slip road and is gone before one of the intervention cars can find him. “Because he’s a cab driver, he’ll get a warning letter,” says Ben. Next, he spots a highway maintenance van driver steering with his elbows as he unwraps a burger. He’s given £100 and three points. My last spot with the team is the lady phoning from her Range Rover. She follows the unmarked police car into the services. The spotter cab pulls in, too, allowing me to jump out and ask if she was aware of the risks she was running. She’s too upset to talk. “I fined her £200 and six points,” the police officer tells me. “With her son in the front passenger seat, she should have known better.” Hers is just one of the four penalties the police teams hands out that day for using a handheld phone while driving (a £200 fine and six points). In addition, it gives out a further seven for not being in proper control of a vehicle (£100 and three points). I ask the officer why the Range Rover driver risked using her phone: “She’d been speaking to her husband via Bluetooth but he was getting stressed out because he couldn’t hear her – so he told her to pick up her phone and talk directly into it.” What the law says: It is illegal to use a handheld mobile phone or similar device while driving, except to call 999 or 112 in an emergency when it is unsafe or impractical to stop. This means a driver cannot make or receive a call, send text messages, use apps or access the internet with a handheld device while their vehicle’s engine is running. The penalty for using a handheld phone while driving is £200 and six points, and is called a CU80, defined as a “breach of requirements as to control of the vehicle, such as using a mobile phone”. You can use a hands-free phone, including one mounted in a cradle, but you must remain in proper control of the vehicle, otherwise the penalty, also called a CU80, is £100 and three points. John Evans View the full article
  21. A diesel – yes, diesel – Chrysler 300C can be a mighty fine used buy: well equipped, square jawed, reliable, roomy, 35mpg and priced from £2500. We report Given how buyers are fleeing diesels, it might seem perverse to be championing an old EU4-emissions oil-burner worth thousands of pounds in scrappage allowance. Of course, most of the buyers doing the fleeing are of the new car variety. Their poorer (or more sensible) used car cousins are less squeamish. To them, a Chrysler 300C CRD, a sort of Vauxhall Senator for the noughties, makes total sense. Yes, it costs £305 to tax but it has a 215bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel producing a stump-pulling 376lb ft under the bonnet, driving the rear wheels through a five-speed automatic gearbox. It does 35mpg on a good day too. All this and prices start from just £2500. The 300C was one of Daimler-Chrysler’s few success stories. Based to a large extent on quality Mercedes mechanicals, it was comfortable and surprisingly good to drive and boasted real presence – and that’s without a Bentley grille. It arrived in saloon form in late 2005 powered by a choice of petrol engines: a fairly unremarkable 3.0 V6 and a more charismatic 5.7 V8 Hemi. The V6’s starting price of just £25,750 registered more than a ripple in the executive pond dominated by BMW and Mercedes, but what made a splash, a few months later in January 2006, was the more rounded CRD diesel, also costing £25,750. It was followed in the summer by the range-topping SRT-8, powered by a 6.1-litre V8 Hemi and dressed to impress with Brembo brake calipers and sharpened suspension. By rights, it’s the one we should be talking about, but it’s rare. The CRD diesel is much more plentiful and at a range of prices peaking at a ludicrous £12,000 for a mint, last-of-the-line 2010-reg CRD SRT-Design. The CRD is no pushover, either, with 0-62mph possible in 7.4sec. In any case, the SRT-8 was eclipsed by the arrival, also in summer 2006, of the 300C estate. It’s called the Touring and, thanks to its long, low roof, it looks even meaner and certainly sportier than the saloon. Sensibly, the mid-life facelift in 2008 left the 300C’s imposing nose unchanged. (It took the gen-2 version of 2012 to bland it out.) Instead, the rear lights were tweaked but, more important, the interior got a mild makeover and better leather. The CRD SRT-Design, inspired by the SRT-8 but without the power and handling tweaks, arrived too. Standard equipment from launch was good and included a sat-nav, a premium music system, heated leather seats and even an adjustable pedal set. But today, reliability and rust will be the no-cost extras buyers will be concerned about. Amazingly, for all the 300C’s solidly steel construction, corrosion doesn’t appear to be an issue. The diesel engine is a solid old thing too. Instead, it’s electrical gremlins that plague some cars. For these you need a clued-up specialist. Find one, find a good 300C CRD – and laugh in the face of scrappage. HOW TO GET ONE IN YOUR GARAGE: An expert’s view - ROGER BUDDEN, ROGER BUDDEN AUTOMOBILES: “Great value, comfortable and reliable: that’s how I’d describe the 300C. The diesel estate is the best version. It’s popular with sole traders, who’d rather have one than a van, and caravanners, who like its 2000kg braked towing capacity. Dog lovers like it, too, because of the removable load floor cover. It’s a tri-fold thing and, if you lift it away, there’s a useful additional space in which you can stand a large dog. Check it has the removable waterproof liner. Even with the low roof, load space is 1602 litres, more than the equivalent Audi A6 Avant and Saab 9-5 estate.” Buyer beware... ENGINE - Early diesels can suffer swirl port motor problems, resulting in a loss of power. Custom300cshop.co.uk has a patent £50 fix that sorts it. Check the starter motor turns because oil can leak past the gearbox seal onto it. Stalling after starting could be a sticky fuel control valve in the tank intended to prevent overfilling. Check surplus oil isn’t escaping from the filler neck onto the alternator because that’ll wreck it. GEARBOX - Check the underside of the gearbox for oil coming from a failed O-ring where electrical wiring passes through. Low-speed rumbling on a steady throttle could be the torque converter. Listen for a noisy diff. SUSPENSION AND BRAKES - It’s very heavy on front suspension. Lower front arm bushes let go at around 40k miles, so listen for clonking over bumps. Check the rear handbrake isn’t seized. ELECTRICS - The multi-plug for the tyre pressure monitoring system is located under the front nearside bumper. It can get wet from the road and from steam washing, and short circuits, upsetting the electrical system. Remove it and dry it. Check the wiring harness under the bonnet on the nearside inner wing hasn’t been burned by air-con pipes. Inspect the condition of the two WCM fuse boxes (engine bay and dashboard). INTERIOR - On pre-2008 cars, the leather on the driver’s seat bolster is prone to cracking. Trim plastics are easily scratched. Check the power seats work. The heating and ventilation system is prone to electrical gremlins. Also worth knowing: “Find a good specialist garage and cherish it,” says Paul Gizzi of custom300cshop.co.uk. He recommends 300cforums.com as a good source of technical information and advice. Try chryslerbreakers.co.uk for spares. It can supply body panels in most colours. How much to spend: £2500-£3749 - Early (2005-2007) CRD saloons and estates with around 110k miles. £3750-£4995 - Tidier 2006-2008 saloons and estates with sub-100k miles and good histories. £5000-£7495- High-mileage 2009 saloons and estates. Lower-mileage 2007-2008 cars. £7500-£9990 - Mid-mileage 2010 and low-mileage 2008-2009 cars, plus a rare 2006 SRT-8 with 65k miles for £9250. £9995-£11,995 - Low-mileage 2010 and first gen-2 cars. One we found: CHRYSLER 300C 3.0 CRD ESTATE 2008/08, 70K MILES, £5695: This private-sale car has full service history, a fresh MOT and two former keepers. It also has refurbished alloy wheels with almost new tyres. “Everything works as it should,” claims the seller. “Has to go because I’ve found a gorgeous new Jag.” John Evans View the full article
  22. New proposals could result in the ban of new petrol and diesel cars being brought forward Government committees' new proposals aim to bring forward the ban on combustion engine-only cars in a bid to lower pollution The UK’s ban on new petrol and diesel cars could be brought forward, possibly to 2030, if plans laid out by MPs get the green light. The respective committees for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Environmental Audit; Health and Social Care; and Transport have published a report that claims the Government’s current plan to ban the sale of new pure combustion engine cars by 2040 "lacks ambition” and are requesting the introduction of more drastic measures. The 2040 ban, which would only allow the sale of electrified cars such as hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric models, was announced last year as part of a £2.7 billion plan designed to cut pollution. It came in light of research that described UK air quality issues as “a national health emergency”. In the new report, the committees urge the Government to make its own air quality plans that match more stringent targets put forward by other countries. City councils in Germany were recently granted the right to ban diesel cars in their urban centres, while leaders in Athens, Madrid and Paris have outlined their intentions to ban diesel vehicles by 2025. Scottish government proposals have suggested banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2032. The report describes the current petrol and diesel car ban legislation as inadequate to address “the scale of the challenge”. It claims that around 40,000 people die in Britain each year due to air quality related conditions, costing the country around £20 billion a year. “It's unacceptable that successive governments have failed to protect the public from poisonous air," the committees state. The Government’s latest air quality plans also come under attack; they're labelled as an exercise in "box-ticking" and evidence that the Government has not yet “demonstrated the national leadership needed to bring about a step change in how the problem of air quality is tackled”. The report suggests that the introduction of a new Clean Air act to streamline the approval process for new legislation. The report also urges car manufacturers to put their electric cars into production as quickly as possible. Several, such as such as Volvo and Jaguar Land Rover, have already announced plans to electrify their entire ranges, while others, such as Polestar, are being launched with exclusively electrified models. Diesel cars, in particular, have fallen victim to the Government’s recent emissions-fighting tactics. A new diesel car tax increase was announced in last year’s Autumn Budget, while several local councils are charging diesel car owners higher parking fees. Several major car makers have fought back, however, arguing that new diesel vehicles should not be penalised, due to the fact that they're much cleaner than their predecessors. Diesel car sales have tumbled in recent months; they accounted for 42% of all new cars sold in the UK in 2017, a 17% drop year-on-year. Last month, sales of diesel cars were down by 23.5% compared with February 2017. View the full article
  23. If you’re the parent of a son or daughter who’s about to learn to drive, chances are you have one question on your mind: 'what's the best car for a new driver'? Your offspring will be focusing on looks, performance or the quality of the stereo. Parents, on the other hand, will probably value more practical considerations, such as how safe it is and how much it will cost buy, run and insure. Cue hours of family squabbles. To help you out, we've produced a list of the five best new cars and five of the best used cars for a young driver. We have prioritised the more practical purchase considerations, although there’s still a healthy crop of stylish metal on the list. For the new cars, we’ve opted for a maximum budget of £10,000. All the cars achieve a minimum of four stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests, and are no higher than insurance group three (out of 50). 1. Ford Fiesta The entry-level Fiesta 1.25 60 Studio just sneaks within our £10k budget, at a cost of £9995. It scores a maximum of five stars for the Euro NCAP crash test and is in group three for insurance. It’s also one of our favorite small cars to drive, it’s cheap to run, and it looks stylish so it should appeal to style-conscious tastes. Ford often has a range of finance packages and special editions that could potentially boost the value aspect even further. Certain Fiesta models are also available with the MyKey system, which enables parents to limit certain functions for added safety (see below). 2. VW Up You can get the 1.0 60 Move Up and opt for VW’s portable sat-nav for under £10k. It’s in insurance group one and will average over 60mpg. This surprisingly roomy city car achieves the full five stars from Euro NCAP. We love its solid build, funky looks and excellent dynamics, although the 59bhp engine struggles on the motorway. VW doesn't offer big discounts, but the Up makes up for this with impressive resale values. 3. Hyundai i10 The i10 might not be as stylish as the Up or Fiesta, but its roomy interior, comfortable ride and high equipment levels helped it pick up our 2014 Best City Car award. Average economy of 60mpg plus a group one insurance rating make it cheap to run, and it achieved four stars from Euro NCAP. Neither the driving experience nor the quality of its interior match the Up's, and the 1.0-litre engine struggles at higher speeds, but otherwise it’s a great little car. 4. Vauxhall Corsa The new Corsa offers plenty of space and is comfortable and well finished inside. It’s not as good to drive as the Fiesta, but you can have it with the 1.4-litre engine for less than £10k, and it's a decent thing for motorway use. As well as having low running costs, Vauxhall dealers often run promotions that cater for younger drivers, such as free insurance and tend to offer healthy discounts off the list price. The Corsa was awarded a full five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests. 5. Seat Mii The Mii is cheaper than the virtually identical VW Up, with the S version starting at just over £8000. Upping the budget to £9995 will get you the i-Tech model, which comes with alloy wheels, sat-nav, plus Bluetooth as standard. It's also safe, having achieved five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests, and it’s in the lowest group one insurance category. This, combined with excellent fuel economy, means it won’t cost the earth to run. 6. Suzuki Swift 7. MG3 8. Renault Clio Original Article by John Howell - WhatCar
  24. Dirty diesel tailpipeI’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: demonising diesel is daft and we’re going to pay the price with a worsening of air quality. Led by misguided government policy and screaming headlines rather than detailed facts, new car buyers are steering clear of diesels. If they drive mainly in the city, fair enough. An EV, plug-in hybrid or at least a regular petrol is better for them. However, the vast majority of people in Britain don’t only drive in the city. All those people zipping up and down our motorways for one. EV’s won’t be for them. But by dodging diesel, they’re almost certainly moving into a car that’s worse on fuel economy and worse on emissions. (And, yes, this includes plug-in hybrids.) But it’s even more alarming than that. Others are choosing not to buy a new car at all, and keeping their old ones. So, holding on to their aged Euro 5 or Euro 4 emissions-compliant motor, instead of buying a clean new Euro 6 vehicle. Its emissions systems will be worn, its turbo past its best, its exhaust probably permanently smoky and let’s not even mention the emissions the naked eye can’t see – but hey, at least it’s not a dirty new diesel that, from April, the government will clobber with hefty tax hikes, right? “The single worst thing that can happen is hold-off – it means the most polluting cars will stay on the road indefinitely,” Jaguar Land Rover UK MD Jeremy Hicks told me at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show recently. The monthly new car sales figures suggest people are doing exactly that. Even the government, in its latest joint inquiry into air quality, agrees that fleet renewal is too slow. Diesel still has a place. It’s better on CO2 and new diesels are virtually comparable with a modern petrol for all the stuff harming city centre emissions. (Upcoming ‘real world’ WLTP fuel economy tests will validate this.) We currently don’t have much common sense, though. When a quarter of people think the very worst EU emissions standards are actually the very best, and thousands of people are rushing into cars that are going to cost them more and do less to clean up our air, you have to wonder if it’s even possible to overcome the hysteria. It’s important we do, though. Because we can’t simply rip up the route map to better air quality and expect things to magically get better. How long will it continue to get worse before people realise this? Original Article by Richard Aucock - Motoring Research - March 15th, 2018 https://www.motoringresearch.com/car-news/demonising-diesel-delaying-death-dirty-diesel/
  25. Does running a plug-in hybrid really make sense as a 500-mile-a-week driver? Six months with a Toyota Prius Plug-in should give a conclusive answer Why we're running it: Is it a logical next step towards full electrification or an expensive distraction? Few cars intrigue more than the Toyota Prius PHEV Month 1 - Month 2 - Month 3 - Month 4 - Month 5 - Specs Life with a Toyota Prius Plug-in: Month 5 Is it good looking? – 21 February 2018 I keep getting into debates about whether the Prius Plug-in is good- looking or not. To me, it’s great because it’s so modern: low and wedgy so the frontal area’s small, nicely detailed at the front with compact headlights, well packaged (barring the shallow boot) and clearly shaped by the wind. Makes others look like tin boxes. Mileage: 9259 Life with a Toyota Prius Plug-in: Month 4 Cold battery range – 31 January 2018 The recent wintry weather seems to have cut four or five miles from our Toyota Prius plug-in’s stated battery-only driving range (from 33 miles to 29) and anything other than the gentlest driving seems to reduce it more easily than in warmer conditions. Overall fuel mileage is now about 93mpg — still brilliant, but not quite as good as it was. Mileage: 8775 Life with a Toyota Prius Plug-in: Month 4 The impressive range of our Prius PHEV – 17 January 2017 It’s been freezing lately. For months we’ve been wondering how our plug-in Prius would cope with the traditional winter enemies of electric cars: a lower range when fully charged and a tendency for on-board power to be diverted to stuff like heating, headlights and keeping screens alive. Now we’ve had the opportunity to find out. The Prius does, expectedly, lose charge when it’s cold, but not disastrously. Compared with the best fair-weather driving range available from a fully charged battery (about 33-34 miles), we’re now being offered 28 instead. On motorways, while cruising at 65-70mph and keeping decently warm, you get a real-world 20-22 miles, but in town you’ll get all of the promised miles if you’re careful. In other words, the car will still do an average out-and-back commute on battery power alone. One of the curiosities of the on-board fuel computer is that when you’re driving on electric power only, it always shows its maximum 199mpg. That figure starts to fall once the car begins to use its petrol engine but takes a few miles to go below 199. You’ll have driven 45-50 miles by the time your journey average falls to 100mpg, a Prius party-trick that unfailingly impresses passengers and gives you, the fuel buyer, a nice warm feeling. Inevitably, our car’s whole life fuel mileage has fallen a bit over 7600 miles. It’s now running at 93.6mpg, still spectacular, but below the 96-ish we were achieving in warmer weather. The computer’s carefully recorded proportion of electric running (41 percent) has hardly changed, and you never seem to spend more than £35 filling the tank. If it’s frugal fuel usage and low tailpipe emissions you want, this car is a very good real-world solution, provided you can regularly charge the car at home and/or at work. Apart from the deeply impressive frugality, another surprising attraction of the Prius PHEV is how much many people enjoy driving it. Nearly everyone who gets behind the wheel for a second time makes some remark about the feelings of quietness and calm that go with driving it, and the simplicity of its operation. There are no gears to change, and in one simple action you can increase the default rate of deceleration (and thereby increase energy regeneration) and drive with very little use of the brakes. If you do need the brakes you’ll find them powerful but sometimes variable in strength, depending how much the friction side of stopping is being assisted by electric regeneration. But they’re nowhere near as unpredictable as hybrid systems used to be. I’ve also come to appreciate the Prius’s uncorrupted, perfectly weighted, nicely geared steering. The responses of the plug-in Prius will never thrill you, but don’t get the idea that this means its controls are woolly and imprecise. The reverse is true, actually, and the point is perfectly made by the way the car steps off from a standstill. An increasing number of conventional cars, especially those with automatic gearboxes and big engines, have a built-in hesitation on departure forced on them by clean-air requirements. The Prius (and others like it) do exactly what you ask, which is one reason why they feel so precise and swift in town. Mileage: 7623 Back to the top Life with a Toyota Prius Plug-in: Month 3 The Prius’s seasonal range changes – 06 December 2017 Having come to depend on the car’s battery-only capability for my city commute, I’ve begun noticing how battery range changes with temperature. On 18-20deg C days, the full-charge cruising range of the Prius PHEV was about 30 miles. Now winter has bitten, it’s 26-27 miles, enough to knock the overall average back to 95.1mpg. Still impressive, I’d say. Mileage: 6859 Back to the top Life with a Toyota Prius Plug-in: Month 2 The perks of driving a plug-in hybrid – 15 November 2017 One of the best things about running a car that needs charging points is that said sockets tend to be in prime parking spots, such as in the big bosses’ car park where we work. No security man dares protest when the Toyota glides in every morning, but if it were a petrol BMW, they’d kick it out, sharpish. Running petrol consumption still at 96mpg. Mileage: 5480 Driving the Prius without economy in mind – 25 October 2017 There are only two things I honestly dislike about our Toyota Prius plug-in, and both are located on the carbonfibre tailgate. They’re the badges that prominently read PRIUS PHV (on the left) and PLUG-IN HYBRID (on the right). I guess they’re there because Toyota is determined to stress its increasingly famous environmental credentials. Trouble is, other drivers take these things the wrong way. There’s a growing body who know exactly how the plug-in hybrid functions, and associate it – and the person behind the wheel – with an economy-chasing driving style that casts the driver as someone who will impede the progress of the driver behind, perhaps for fun. This is wrong. The Prius plug-in can lay down a perfectly reasonable 0-60mph acceleration time of 10.3sec, enhanced by the instant response from standstill of its electric motor, and the ability of its continuously variable transmission to provide the perfect gear ratio for every occasion. It’s true that you’re inclined at times to adopt an unhurried driving style – because the main purpose of this car is low fuel consumption and ultra-low emissions output – but I resent the presumption that this is a slower car. It’s not slow, either in a straight line or around corners. The handling may not be sporty, but the car has a very low centre of gravity, its weight distribution is much closer to 50:50 than any conventional front-drive hatchback, it has quick, uncorrupted steering and a small wheel, and given its modest tyre size it grips very well in bends, which it negotiates neutrally. I’ve surprised plenty of ordinary repmobile drivers in roundabouts with both the step-off and the grip, which makes it galling to be cast as a member of the Anti-Destination League. If I could magic those badges away, I’d do it. Ironically, I’m discovering that the Prius PHEV is an economy car, whatever driving style you adopt. At first, I always drove for economy, fearing that if I didn’t, I’d discover fuel-drinking foibles I didn’t want to know about. My policy is to recharge the car whenever I have a decent opportunity (these exist both at home and at work) and the result, at 4984 miles driven, is an average consumption of 101.6mpg – plus (as someone is bound to point out) the electric power I’ve used. A handy read-out tells me that, despite the fact that I’ve done lots of motorway driving, the car has spent 42 percent of its time in electric drive. More important is my experience when the car’s operating beyond its electric range, which I’ve discovered is a dependable 33 miles in town, 25 miles on the motorway. Cruising with the rest of the motorway traffic (with only an occasional tickle from the battery reserves to aid resumption of cruising speed after an obstacle), you can get 65mpg – courtesy of design and technical features such as the small frontal area and the fuel-saving Atkinson cycle engine – without trying. With effort, you can push it to the high 70s. Such things may not provide the rush of conventional high performance, but they can definitely afford you a lot of satisfaction. If this is the future there’s nothing to fear, and plenty ahead to enjoy. Mileage: 4984 Back to the top Life with a Toyota Prius Plug-in: Month 1 Getting in a tangle with Prius PHEV’s cables – 04 October 2017 For a car that is so logically thought out in nearly every other way, the Prius’s cable storage arrangements are annoyingly hard to use. The compartment provided is too small, which means you simply resort to coiling the cables and chucking them in the boot as neatly as you can, compromising the shallow space even more than it already is. Mileage: 3105 Welcoming the Prius Plug-in to our fleet – 06 September 2017 Funny how friends, usually those who don’t care much about cars, get straight to the heart of car matters. “This thing’s all about fuel economy, isn’t it?” said someone who’s never bought a decent car in his life, on first clapping eyes on my Toyota Prius PHEV. I’d not have put it so baldly. To me, the plug-in Prius is a bundle of intriguing new technology. It is built on Toyota’s bold, better-packaged TGNA architecture, has its electric-only top speed lifted from 53mph to 84mph, boasts a remarkably low aero coefficient of 0.25 and packs 50 percent more battery power, which it can replenish nearly twice as fast. Its 97bhp Atkinson-cycle 1.8-litre four-pot petrol engine reaches 40 percent efficiency (30-35 percent is usual) and there’s even a ventilation gizmo that knows when there’s only one occupant and avoids wasting energy cooling the rest of the cabin. Yet the plain truth is that when my friend spoke, I’d been boasting for five minutes solid about how the new Prius’s trip computer was showing 100mpg for 1200 miles, even though half the driving had been on longish motorway journeys. Economy is indeed the Toyota PHEV’s purpose and party trick. I’m not sure what we wrote about this car a year ago is quite what we’d write now. In recent months, diesels have started looking less enticing whereas plug-in hybrids (if you interpret the government’s plans correctly) have been green-lighted until 2050. It’s an important signal. These are cars we’d better get used to. Our new Prius PHEV Business Edition relates closely in looks and function to a standard non-plug Prius. It has the same reasonably spacious four-seat cabin trimmed in shiny, black, durability-conscious materials; same centrally located instrument pack full of fascinating functions and efficiency info; and much the same styling (apart from 11cm of extra body length to accommodate the battery under the boot floor) and a swoopily styled carbonfibre tailgate that helps reclaim some of the battery’s weight. There’s quite a story around that new battery. At 8.8kWh, it has twice the capacity of the previous unit, increasing electric-only range from 15 to more than 30 miles. Despite that, it charges nearly twice as quickly, yet it’s only 50 percent heavier (at 120kg) and 66 percent bulkier than its predecessor. The bad news is that the boot is now 16cm shallower than a standard Prius’s, so carrying holiday luggage is now this family car’s most serious challenge. At £33,195, our Prius Business Edition Plus costs £7200 more than a similar-spec non-PHEV Prius. However, for that difference, you get a roof-mounted solar panel (which contributes two to three miles’ city driving a day in full sun, or more than 400 miles in a year) plus the 30-mile all-electric capability. There’s an extra filler flap at the driver’s side for the charging cable, plus all the gadgetry you need for a full charge from a Type 2 plug in two hours. When you start driving, the first things you notice are silence, smoothness, easy step-off and the fact that this is no performance car. You can choose from four powertrain modes (HV hybrid, EV only, EV City and Battery Charge) that govern how the car’s two electric motors and petrol engine work together. With everything going as hard as systems will allow, you get 120bhp to work with. The performance figures are modest (101mph flat out, 11.1sec 0-62mph) but are kept respectable by a well-contained kerb weight of 1550kg, and the innate low-end response of the electric motors allows you a quicker step-off in roundabouts than the bald power figure leads you to expect. What I’ve learned from 1200 miles’ use is that how individual drivers cope with the Prius PHEV depends very much on the use the car is put to. Station-and-school users may rarely need anything but electric power. But if, like me, you do 500-plus miles a week, about 100 miles of it at slow speeds in the city, charging the car as often as possible, your bottom-line petrol economy will hit the high 90s and sometimes reach three figures. You’ll discover that 70-80mph is the viable cruising speed and that, with reasonable care, you can get an impressive 65-75mpg even without electric assistance. So yes, it’s all about economy. However, the chassis ability is a surprise. The all-independent suspension (struts in front, double wishbones behind) has relaxed spring rates and the car rolls on 15in wheels with squishy sidewalls so the low-speed ride is absorbent. There’s a bit of a tendency to bounce at middle-range speeds, but the car is quiet and comfortable over suburban bumps. Which makes the steering and grip a major surprise. The car corners neatly, grips well, doesn’t roll much and has quick, uncorrupted steering. It’s never going threaten the GTIs, but it grows increasingly enjoyable and accurate to drive as you explore what it can do. The underbits may be exotic but the Prius PHEV is fitting my average-busy business life very well. Second opinion For many, the Prius’s Achilles heel may be the asking price, but if the maths do work (and for some they will), then the car itself is supreme: economical, refined, spacious and more. It is yet another example of why there is no reason to fear the onset of electrification Jim Holder Toyota Prius Plug-in Business Edition Plus specification Specs: Price New £33,195; Price as tested £33,990; Options Pearlescent paint (£795) Test Data: Engine 1798cc, petrol, plus dual-motor hybrid assist; Power 120bhp; Torque 105lb ft; Top speed 101mph; 0-62mph 11.1sec; Claimed fuel economy 283mpg; Test fuel economy 96mpg; CO2 22g/km; Faults None; Expenses None Back to the top View the full article
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