Posts Tagged ‘cars’
As anyone who’s ever internet dated will tell you, sometimes people oversell themselves and once you take them out for a test drive, you realise that the performance just isn’t there. It’s the same with cars- you politely check the MPG rating before you buy, but then find you’re being taken to the cleaners on fuel consumption once you’ve parted with your cash. But which car manufacturers are the best (or worst) at overestimating their medium-sized cars’ efficiency? Which!!! decided to find out.
EU law requires manufacturers to show official test figures in their adverts to help consumers compare fuel economy between different models. But Which!!! think some of the MPG figures quoted are unachievable by normal people. And they don’t like that at all. The EU test is due to be updated to a more accurate test in 2017, but some car marques would like to see this delayed until 2020.
Now, before you start thinking that the guys in the Which!!! office just went out on a load of jolly test drives, they claim to be trying to get “the most accurate picture possible” of how cars perform in actual everyday life. So when assessing fuel economy, unlike the official EU test, Which!!! included a motorway driving simulation, and they switched on all the lights and had the air con blasting. They didn’t mention whether they were also playing some tunes. Also, if a car has different driving modes available, Which!!! used the start-up mode, rather than any Eco mode as “this may offer better economy, but will also often neuter a car’s performance to the point where it’s awful to drive.” Fair point.
And the results are interesting. The ‘medium cars’ category is an industry-standard class which includes cars like the Ford Focus, Audi A3, Peugeot 308, Seat Leon, Volvo V40, Volkswagen Golf, Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Renault Megane, Mercedes-Benz A-class, Honda Civic, BMW 1 Series, Hyundai i30 Tourer, Skoda Rapid Spaceback and Kia Pro-Cee’d. Which!!! found that medium-sized cars from the likes of Audi, Volvo and Alfa Romeo were actually more than 10% less fuel efficient than the official MPG figures used by manufacturers in their advertising. Audi came top (bottom) of the chart with a whopping 15.3% difference in MPG figures. Hyundai cars were the closest to the published figures at just 1.5% away.
In fact, Which!!! found only five medium cars– Hyundai (-1.5%), Kia (-2.3%), Honda (-2.8%), Skoda (-3.6%) and Mazda (-4%) – that came within 5% of the published MPG figures when compared with the Which!!! test.
Of course, Which!!! aren’t claiming that the manufacturers are lying or even misleading the public with their figures, those MPG figures were probably genuinely obtained in a lab somewhere. However, Which!!! believe that the current test’s “lack of real-world driving scenarios and numerous loopholes” mean that the headline figures are just a pipedream for anyone actually driving a car in real life.
Maybe it is something to do with our public transport being so bleak? Maybe it is because fuel prices have fallen for the first time in ages? Maybe people are so jaded and tired of other humans that they’d rather sit in isolation?
Either way, consumers are buying cars again!
Reports show that April’s new car registrations are on the up by more than 5%, compared with the same month last year. This is all thanks to a 9% increase in the fleet market and a 2.7% growth amongst private buyers.
185,778 new vehicles were registered in total, compared to the 176,820 in 2014, with year-to-date registrations for 2015 up 6.4%. We can only assume that the furry dice industry is currently booming as well.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said April’s performance shows a 12-year high for consumer confidence and continued the pattern of growth in new car registrations around General Elections, which dates back to 1979. Seems that walking to a polling station makes people think ‘Jeez – I wish I drove here in a nice new car instead of using my stupid legs’.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “The figures highlight the current strength of consumer confidence, even at a time of such political uncertainty. We are confident that the UK’s new car market – so symbolic of economic mood – will continue to thrive, but long-term success will depend largely on economic and political stability in the months and years ahead.”
They say everything in fashion goes around in circles, and those of us who lived through Eighties’ fashion the first time are watching it again in stunned admiration. But it isn’t just clothes fashions of yesteryear that make a comeback, it seems. Car valuation firm CAP Automotive reckons that, platforms and bell bottoms aside, it is car colour fashion from the seventies that is hot right now.
Every month CAP tracks the tastes of motorists and the data helps advise dealers on the best choices for used car stock – from brands, models and body styles to engine type and colour. By analysing the results, CAP has identified a resurgence of interest in shades that have been (understandably) rarely seen in the mainstream car market for decades, with green, beige, gold, bronze, brown, yellow and even orange all rising in popularity on fashion-conscious car buyers’ agenda.
Of course, colour charts are normally dominated by the usual boring suspects that include silver, black, blue, and red, but five classic 1970s colours – green, beige, yellow, brown and gold – have made it into the top 10 choices for the first time since CAP began charting consumer tastes.
CAP suggests that the comeback of 1970s colours among consumers valuing their next car purchase may simply be a natural extension of motorists’ desire to ‘personalise’ their driving experience, and that it is in keeping with the current fancy for retro everything.
Philip Nothard, retail and consumer specialist at CAP, said: “Just as new cars are increasingly configurable to the driver’s personal preference, it makes sense that there is now a more diverse array of colours on the radar of today’s motorists.”
“You can’t underestimate the power of ‘retro chic’ either in the world of consumer taste – and what could be more retro than having an orange or a bronze car.” Indeed, or more trendy, groovy and right-on.
CAP also pointed out that car colour choice is traditionally down to the manufacturer, rather than the consumer, as manufacturers decide which colours to offer and to use on models, and that “people therefore tend to buy what they’re offered.”
And he describes the phenomenon most appropriately when saying that “evidence that a significant number of people are trying to find brown cars to buy would have seemed crazy just a few years ago, but we can confirm that they are.”
So can we look forward to seeing 50 shades of brown and beige on the roads this summer or is this a retro step too far. Would you buy a brown car with your own money?
Well, What Car? have teamed-up with Warranty Direct to find out which cars are the least reliable. They’ve also tried to find out which cars you can count on, generally speaking, too.
Of their 38-strong league table of cars, surprisingly, the super expensive luxury cars from Bentley and Porsche came bottom of the pile. If you’re spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on a car, you’d hope it was flawless wouldn’t you? Then again, if you can afford these vehicles, then you can afford to keep getting it serviced, no doubt.
At the top of the chart came Honda and Suzuki.
The faults that were most common across the board, were electric faults, as well as problems with axles and suspension faults. Between then, around a quarter of all visits to the garage were for these.
Apparently, air conditioning is the least concern to drivers, with just 3% reporting faults in them. Maybe they get loads of problems with them, but just don’t report them because they can just open a window?
What Car? editor Jim Holder said: “Honda’s success in the reliability index is chiefly down to low failure rates… but, when things do go wrong, the cars are also relatively cheap to fix.”
“Reliability is always one of the key attributes buyers look for when considering a used car purchase, so manufacturers that consistently demonstrate durability will always do well with the consumer.”
Most reliable cars!
Audi have made a car that you won’t have to pay tax on, which is nice. It is also very, very efficient thanks to a turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol engine.
The new Audi A1 will replace the old 1.2-litre affair and it will ramp up fuel economy and hack into CO2 emissions, which is all rather good and will be very kind on a driver’s pocket.
This is awful news for those of you who like your cars to go incredibly quickly and use huge amounts of fuel to make the ferocious engine frighten the birds out of the trees, but then, you invariably wouldn’t be weighing up anything that has a 1 litre engine. You’d probably turn your nose up at a lawn mower with an engine that small.
The little number goes 0-60ish in 10.9 seconds and will be available in three and five door models.
The CO2 emissions which Audi are claiming to achieve are at 97g/km, which is low enough for tax-free motoring under the present rules. That changes to a £20 a year charge if you get the one with a S Tronic automatic gearbox in it, but again, that’s not exactly going to break the bank.
If you’re Earth-minded, the 1.6-litre diesel A1 claims to have an economy figure from 74.3mpg to 80.7mpg, with the relevant drop in emissions.
So how much to buy one? The new 1.0-litre model is going for somewhere around the £14,300 mark, while the five-door equivalent will set you back around £14,900. They’re available this summer and look like great little runarounds. Looks a bit nicer than the also-taxless Hyundai i10 hatchback and Skoda Citigo hatchback and around the same price as the popular Mini hatchback.
Google have been parping on about their driverless cars, and now, rumours are getting louder about Apple making an electric car.
CNN have an image of a patent which has been granted to “Apple Electric Car, Inc.,” yesterday, which should get some Apple devotees reasonably excited, and some Android defenders tutting into their laps.
Now specifically, this patent shows an adjustable mount for a computerized display in a golf cart, which isn’t strictly going to fulfil the promise of an all singing Siri and app-dancing iCar, but there’s no smoke without fire.
Tesla were spotted at Apple a few years ago, which got tongues wagging and Wall Street analysts have been loudly muttering about Apple looking at electric cars as an investment for ages.
And let’s be honest here – electric cars and Apple do look like a match made in heaven and with motoring changing toward a new model and, most importantly, a huge money-spinner if you get it right, Apple will absolutely be weighing up a move into the car game.
If this is just a move that Apple are making to create huge LCD dashboard panels, then you’ve got to ask yourself if you’d be into having that, or indeed, distracted by that.
Feel free to make your own jokes about an Apple car being installed with windows.
Jaguar Land Rover have already stumped up £1.5 billion in the plant, so it can increase production, also bugling that the workforce there has doubled in the last three years.
Overall, Jaguar Land Rover currently employs 30,500 people in the UK.
The car, called the Jaguar F-PACE, will be based on its C-X17 concept car, and was unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show in 2013. The new model is due to go on sale in 2016.
Jaguar Land Rover’s UK executive director, Mike Wright, told the BBC the new vehicle would not be a “gas guzzler”.
“We spend about £3.5bn on our product investment each year and one thing that we really focus on is making sure that our future cars are both economic in terms of fuel economy, in terms of CO2. This car’s going to be built at one of the world’s biggest aluminium body shops at Solihull that we’ve invested a huge amount of money in over the last couple of years. So gas guzzling? No”.
Jaguar Land Rover have said they wanted the new model to be worked on in Britain to give its cars a “crafted with that special British flair”. So fag butts and clearing off for skinful at lunchtime will be demanded, no doubt.
Jaguar Land Rover said it had sold 462,678 vehicles globally last year – a rise of 9% year-on-year – and the fifth consecutive year that sales have grown. China saw the strongest growth, with sales up 28%, while in the UK sales rose 7%.
Nigel Stewart-Stone was helping his son – Dalton – sell his Renault Clio and has become an internet hero with the honesty of his eBay advert. He left no stone unturned when describing the state of the car.
The ad, titled my teenage sons 2005 Renault Clio, with story time, who would buy it?, which you can see here, kicks off by saying sorry for the condition of the battered motor, listing the numerous faults with it and basically taking the piss out of his son.
Referring to the electric windows, they apparently work well “considering the amount of times they go up and down calling to his mates, and banter with the passing girls, many of whom have been taken for rides in the car, which may explain the passenger seat not moving back and forth anymore, still makes it hard for them to escape his deafening music.”
He adds: “Anyway if you think this car may be suitable for your son, please go ahead and buy it, its (sic) after all in the perfect state for any teenager lad, and will save them all the time and effort that my son has put in to it, getting it this way.”
Dad noted: “There may or may not be any oil and water in the car , despite me repeatedly telling him to make sure it was maintained , I believe he thought this meant sitting in it on the driveway listening to his music whilst having a smoke , he would have washed it occasionally , but said” not really worth it now is it dad” , as its got a big dent on it !!! and anyway, surely I would know if it needed oil , the red light would come on !! , still he does have a brand new set of mats in the boot , bought when he first had the car”
While there are some bids on the car, tellingly, one person commented: “You have made my day! I have no interest in buying your son car! But I love the fact that you let your son live his life! WELL DONE FOR BEING A FAB DAD!!!”
Well. Where to start here with the bombshells? A council being corrupt is up there with the exclusive of bears defecating in woods. Take your pick.
In 2013/14, councils in England made a combined profit of £667 million from their on- and off-street parking operations. This was 12% more than the 2012/13 figure of £594 million, with 44% of the 2013/14 total being generated by councils in London, the RAC Foundation survey said.
How unusual that very, very few councils are actually losing money on parking, as only 16% of the 353 parking authorities in England had negative results. Well, that’s just not good enough.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “These official figures show how town halls are committing daylight robbery by ripping off drivers with exorbitant parking charges and unfair parking fines.”
“The recent growth in fines is coming from the industrial use of CCTV spy cars allowed under laws introduced by the last government. This is why we have introduced a law before Parliament to stop these snoopers, as part of package of measures to rein in the town hall parking bullies and protect local shops.”
A politician there, tough on corruption and bullying and everything.
According to RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister: “Parking profits seem to be a one-way street for councils, having risen annually for the last five years.”
“Yet over the same period spending on local roads has fallen about a fifth in real terms. We understand the pressures councils are under with their overall income still falling and the level of services they have to provide in such areas as social care rising rapidly.”
“One sign that the escalation in parking profits might be coming to an end is that much of this year’s increase comes not from growing income from penalties and charges but cuts in the cost of parking operations.”
“This suggests local authorities are making efficiency savings and should bring some good news to both drivers and council tax-payers. The bottom line is that parking policy and charges must be about managing traffic, not raising revenue.”
Shall we gander at those councils with the biggest surplus in 2013/14 before capital charges?
LOCAL AUTHORITY SURPLUS
1. Westminster £51.03 million
2. Kensington & Chelsea £33.51 million
3. Camden £24.87 million
4. Hammersmith & Fulham £22.96 million
5. Wandsworth £19.69 million
6. Brighton & Hove £18.09 million
7. Nottingham City £12.06 million
8. Islington £10.38 million
9. Tower Hamlets £8.32 million
10. Brent £8.31 million
A rise in minor accidents and the like is costing UK drivers around £750 million a year in repairs and, apparently there’s more than 500,000 collisions per year – working out at approximately 1,373 per day.
The Accident Exchange report revealed that car park incidents are second to rear-end shunts as the most common car mishap, costing motorists an average of £1,428 each time to repair.
The report says there were an estimated 2.2million accidents on UK roads in 2011 of which ‘general car park incidents’ represented nearly a quarter (22.78%) of the total.
A spokey for Accident Exchange said: “Most parking incidents take place at slow speeds but that does not stop motorists damaging doors, wheels, bumpers and other parts of the bodywork.”
“A possible contributing factor is that today’s larger vehicles are now squeezing into smaller parking spaces.”
The findings that emerged from their survey of car parks was very illuminating, discovering that the average car park space is an eye-opening 7ft 9.5 inches (237.5cm.) However, the average car has grown in size over the years, and even the smallest models of yore have at least another foot added to their size.
Yet due to the pesky Transport Department, parking space sizes have remained the same since 1994
It’s no joy for the drivers either, they’re getting taller and fatter and are causing themselves pain trying to get out of tight spaces. Well, it needn’t be painful if you know how to work it.
Liz Fisher of Accident Exchange said: “Looking at the statistics, you’d think there is chaos in car parks up and down the country and that drivers are literally battling for spaces to park. But the fact is that drivers are having to squeeze their larger cars into smaller spaces and there are many more car journeys made than just a decade ago.”
Car parks being a load of rubbish – who would’ve ever thunk it?
So, if you’re a driver who is considered to be failing to take ‘reasonable steps’ to prevent others smoking in cars with children, you can face a fine up to £10,000. Just imagine how many cartons of cigarettes you could buy with £10,000.
The law applies to any cars carrying children and, in addition to this, a proper ban will come into place in December, being implemented proper in October 2015.
Obviously, smokers are going to have to start putting their children on the roof rack if they want to get stuck into some Benson & Hedges.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “The time has come,” for a ban, like some ominous overlord.
This change in law will be made under provisions in the Children and Famlies Act. Legally speaking, a child is anyone up to the age of 18, but of course, 16 year olds can toot bifters as well, so that’ll be a fun game for those enforcing the law.
Anyway, there you have it. No more smoking next to your children while you’re driving. What do you make of that? Do you feel like people who smoke around children are arses, so sod ‘em? Or, is it the principle of the matter, with the government telling you what to do in the privacy of your own vehicle, that ticks you off?
All hail the car seat that detects heart attacks! The motor company Ford has unveiled a car seat that can detect when the driver is having a heart attack, therefore allowing the vehicle to come to a safe stop.
Heart attacks are clearly a thing in Fords, so this is an issue that obviously needs sorting.
Using ‘electrocardiograph’ (heart-monitoring) sensors in the seats to detect an irregular heartbeat, combined with an in-car camera that detects when the driver slumps in his seat, the car can activate automated steering and braking systems to bring the car to a stop safely when there’s a problem.
It can then ring the emergency services for you if you’re so inclined. Or not, if you’d prefer to simply perish in your automobile.
Ford’s Research Centre director, the splendidly named Pim van der Jagt, told the FT that the technology is developed for when “100-year olds driving cars will not be abnormal in the future. About 30% of people above 65 have some kind of heart irregularity. And with the number of older car buyers set to rise dramatically this is an area of concern.”
Ford is yet to reveal when exactly this technology can be made available, as there’s no actual date of release yet, but Mr van der Jagt believes it will be in all new models within the next few years.
The Japanese car manufacturer is recalling 1.75 million vehicles worldwide because of three separate defects including a faulty brake master cylinder that could hinder the brake’s performance.
So which vehicles are affected?
The defect is found in some models of Toyota’s Crown Majesta as well as the Noah and Voxy models produced between June 2007 and 2012. There’s also issues with the Corolla Rumion and Auris, as well as more than a dozen Lexus models.
So if you bought one of them or are currently sat traffic reading this on your phone, you’ve been warned.
Importantly, Toyota have said in a statement that they are not aware of any accidents, crashes, injuries or fatalities caused by this fault.
This comes after Toyota recalled 6.39 million vehicles globally in April and then, two months later, the company recalled another 2.3 million vehicles for faulty airbag inflators. They’ve not been having a good year, in fairness.
Toyota should be getting in touch with owners, but if you can’t wait, you should get in touch with your local Toyota dealer to see what they say or check here on their recall website.
The only registered vehicles in the UK (we’re leaving the other vehicles affected in the article for overseas readers) are the Lexus IS, GS and LS models manufactured between January 2005 and September 2010.
Owners of these cars will be contacted by Lexus within the coming weeks by post or telephone and asked to make an appointment to bring their car to their nearest Lexus Centre, in accordance with Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) guidelines. The work needed to fix the problem will take a “three to four hours to complete and will be carried out free of charge.”
You can call the customer helpline on 0800 1388744. For access to the full statement, please visit this link.
This is said to be a help in cracking down on road deaths by those ne’er do wells who text at the wheel.
Police will now check if the motorist has broken the law and possibly been in any way responsible for the accident, and mobiles will now be taken away by officers as evidence.
The Police have said that they must do this due to the growing numbers of fatalities on the road, and this follows stiffer punishments for people who use their mobile at the steering wheel.
The move was welcomed last night by charities and pressure groups who have accused police and politicians of failing to make road safety a priority.
Of course, there are some people who aren’t into the idea, claiming that a mild car-park-shunt could result in phones being confiscated. Also that confiscating phones could delay help.
Although one can imagine that in a motorway pile up, the first thing the police would be concentrating on is confiscating phones.
There is perhaps a logical way to look at how to do this. If a driver has had an accident and the time of the accident matches up with when they sent a text or were gassing on the phone, then yes, this is a very good idea.
If someone is using the phone while manouvering about in a car park, then they are just thick, and shouldn’t be let out of the house.
The phone checks will apply to any accident. Previously they were made only in accidents where people were killed or seriously injured.
More than 500 people a year are killed or injured by people being thoughtless shits at the wheel, and half the time no charges are pressed against the driver, even if they were found to be in the wrong.
About time too.
Thousands of learners are getting points for basic speeding or red light misuse, according to a Freedom of Information request, which also reveals 54,000 L-plated types currently have points on their licences.
A third of the people surveyed believe that the driving instructor should be held more responsible for the points, especially as they’re, like, supposed to be teaching people to drive properly.
Other learners have received penalty points for not having any insurance or driving carelessly.
Data from the DVLA revealed 53,988 learners with provisional licences currently have penalty points, and research by Confused.com found 60% of these are for speeding and a further 43% were for jumping a red light.
Gemma Stanbury of Confused.com said: “We’re aware that people might make mistakes along the way as they learn to drive, however practising road safety is an important part of the process, and picking up bad habits such as speeding or jumping lights before officially passing your driving test is never a good way to start.”
One in three drivers were unaware that it was possible to pick up penalty points while they learn, and 40% oblivious to the realisation that if you pick up six points within your first two years of driving, they lose their licence.
And that’s not good really. No one wants that.