Wednesday August 31st, 2011 13:51 5 Reasons Your Next Car should be a Hybrid

The cost of motoring is increasing more and more, which is leading to people buying hybrid vehicles and more eco-friendly models to cut down on costs.
Here, we’ve come up with five reasons why a hybrid should definitely be on your car buying list this year

1) Not only are hybrid cars good for the environment, they’re also good for your finances because they require less fuel to be consumed, cutting down on the amount you pay out for petrol each month.

2) If you travel into the centre of London regularly, or even make use of the Low Emission Zone around the city, you’ll benefit in monetary terms from having a hybrid. Your vehicle will be exempt from the Congestion Charge and the Low Emission Zone levy because it produces low levels of CO2 – saving a considerable amount of cash over a year if you use these frequently.

3) As well as emitting less CO2, hybrids are designed to be far more efficient than their conventional counterparts, meaning you’ll get better mileage each time your travel – a huge bonus if you use your car for long journey.

4) Another cost advantage of a hybrid is that its car tax band is lower, because it produces fewer emissions, so you’ll make significant savings on road tax every year you have your vehicle.

And finally:

5) With green technology improving all the time, hybrids and electric vehicles are only going to get better. In the coming months and years, they’ll become more fuel efficient and are bound to cover bigger ranges, so they’ll be an investment that will pay back fairly quickly.

The UK government is trying to reduce the country’s emissions by 34 per cent within the next nine years and you can really play a key role in these efforts if you have a hybrid vehicle.

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Tuesday August 30th, 2011 12:21 7 Ridiculous Features on Flashy Cars

Fancy cars often add lots of nonsensical features. Economical vehicles are just as safe and work just as well. There is no reason to pay more for useless features.

Some of the add-ons provided in these vehicles just don’t have a purpose. They include:
1. Smart transmission. The Smart transmission is a hybrid between an automatic and manual transmission. The driver would get the benefit of using an automatic transmission, while underneath the car decided to shift gears manually. The transmission never seemed to figure out when to shift gears properly and was stuck in the wrong gear for miles before shifting.

2. Personal car communicator. This feature was setup to announce when an intruder was sitting in the back seat. An interesting safety mechanism, but hardly effective. Most muggers or assailants would probably have no problem accosting the driver after the warning was sent to them. The system also tended to go off unnecessarily when a friend or family member was sitting in the back seat.

3. Self-parking cars. Some cars have actually been programmed to park themselves. Unfortunately, the driver inevitably has to take over and apply the brakes to avoid damaging the vehicle.

4. The chilled glove compartment. Why do people need to keep their glove compartment below 40 degrees Fahrenheit? Were they planning on storing their frozen groceries in there instead of the back of the vehicle? Even more senseless was the fact they overheated in the summer months, because they depended on the car’s heating/cooling system.

5. Emergency trunk release. This is supposed to make cars safer. Apparently no one ever stopped to wonder why. How often have children been trapped in a trunk? Do you really need an emergency trunk release to get them out? Sounds more like an excuse to tack a little more on to the price tag of the car. Sometimes the trunk release has been known to malfunction and go off while driving, causing more hazards than it prevents.

6. Power sliding doors. Power sliding doors are waste of energy. Many people have gotten their fingers or clothes unnecessarily caught in these stupid things. They were designed so drivers could open them up to 10 yards away. Why was this necessary?

7. Window wipers that sense the rain. Some window wipers have been programmed to turn on when it starts raining. Like most features, this was never really programmed properly. They have been known to randomly turn on at inappropriate times. This could be distracting or dangerous.

 

About the author: Kalen Smith writes about car accident claims and whiplash compensation. Kalen also writes about personal injuries , sports injuries, work related claims and asbestos related illnesses as well as medical negligence.

In: Car Accessories, GeneralNo Comments

Monday August 29th, 2011 11:52 Audi shows the World its New Urban Concept

Audi E-tron Sypder

Audi is all set to take the lid off of its newest offspring, the Urban Concept Spyder. The convertible borrows liberally from various other established brands in its segment including the exteriors styling of the MX-5 model from Mazda, Nissan Leaf’s electric powertrain and Toyota iQ’s intelligent seating. The German manufacturer will debut the urban concept car at the upcoming Frankfurt Auto Show that is to begin in less than three weeks’ time.

Audi retains some of the more popular features from the original Urban Concept in the Spyder with basic styling like the body shell crafted out of sturdy yet lightweight CFRP (carbon fiber-reinforced plastic), mesmeric and widely-appreciated 21” alloys and the adaptable 1+1 seating setup that has the passenger sitting behind the driver, maximizing elbow space for both the driver as well as the passenger.

The exterior of the Spyder remains more or less the same as its predecessor with R8-inspired side wings, strip-like running lights and headlamps fitted with LEDs. Rear-opening scissor doors with the corporate finish make the car a true German delight.

The visionary concept car is run on the lithium-ion battery pack-run electric motors that produce roughly the same power as its fixed-roof variant. Though no performance specs were released for the Spyder, the concept is expected to house the same powertrain as the original with a more powerful acceleration.

The multi-genre drop-top features a concentrated visage that makes the concept truly future city-worthy in the greenest possible sense. Stylistically, the Urban Concept Spyder does not differ from the Urban Concept coupe by a whole lot. However, the ultra-light car still reflects the traditional design language of Audi.

The cockpit and integrated undercarriage of the Urban Concept Spyder are done in carbon fiber-reinforced polymer. The compact electric drive has elaborating suspension which allows it to make the most of the two E-Tron electric motors. Gorgeous free-standing 21-inch alloy wheels surrounded by protective plates, and forward-urging lines marked by blinking LED strips make the concept appear as competitive in its segment as it possibly can be. The vehicle’s performance capabilities are not marred by a huge carbon footprint either with the lithium-ion battery giving it all the green hearts it needs.

The Frankfurt-bound two-seater lower curb measurement is matched with a customizable pedal and steering wheel that can be refitted to mimic the dimensions of the driver. Although the concept is as city-chic as a hatchback can be, the sporty design conveys a much more sensory driving experience to the user. Extensive use of sports-specific elements like the slide-back roof, and imaginative tailgate entry highlight the car’s futuristic outlook. An innovative cabin design and the use of lightweight materials for the body and controls further emphasize the sportiness of the design, making the Urban Concept Spyder a definite showstopper for the coming Frankfurt show.

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About the Author: Amanda Kidd is a blogger who also happens to be gadgets lover. She is very fascinated by the luxury world and hence, is planning to write an article on the most expensive gadget in the world.

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Sunday August 28th, 2011 14:46 Audi Reveals the Hybrid A8 Saloon

 

With the Frankfurt Motor Show just weeks away, Audi has revealed its hybrid A8 Saloon car. The Hybrid A8, set to debut in Frankfurt, runs on a four cylinder 2.0-litre TFSI petrol engine and a lithium-ion battery.

While the petrol engine produces 207bhp and 350Nm of torque, when coupled with the 40kw battery, the total output of the A8 hybrid is raised to 241bhp along with 427Nm of torque.

In terms of its green credentials, the hybrid A8 can claim CO2 emissions of 148g/km. One thing Audi will undoubtedly be looking to improve upon in future hybrid models will be the fuel economy of such models. As it stands, the A8 has a fuel economy of 44mpg. That falls a fair distance short of Audi’s alternative diesel offerings and will perhaps give potential buyers some pause for thought.

On electric power alone, the A8 is capable of reaching up to 62mph, taking 7.7 seconds to reach this speed. With the petrol engine in use, its total top speed stands at 146mph.

Drivers have the option of three different driving modes: The ‘EV’ mode prioritises the electric motor, while the ‘D’ option offers up an efficient combination of both the engine and the electric motor. In addition to these two modes comes the ‘S’ mode, which places an emphasis on greater acceleration.

The Audi A8 hybrid saloon has been given an exclusive Arctic Silver paint finish, and comes with three-zone automatic air conditioning, LED headlights and a BOSE sound system as standard.

Series production of the hybrid A8 will begin next year, and models should be expected to reach the UK by late 2012. If you want to take a closer look at it before then, then you will have to take a trip along to the Frankfurt Motor Show, which is open to the public from the 15th of September.

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Saturday August 27th, 2011 12:03 5 Features of Future Cars

When many people thought about what future cars would look like fifteen years ago, their ideas often resembled something from a science fiction novel. Many of these features are slowly becoming a reality. Future cars will probably have a number of interesting features in the next few years:
1. Collision detection. Cars will soon be equipped with radar that will be able to alert the driver when they are about to collide with something. This can be important when you are trying to park or driving at night.
2. Rear view cameras. You will be able to see what is going on behind or around you. Blind spots are among drivers’ biggest safety concerns. These cameras can also be invaluable when you are backing up as well.
3. Communication with other vehicles. How many times do you wish you could tell another driver they are too close to you? That they shouldn’t cut you off? In the future, drivers will be able to communicate their concerns with each other.
4. Night vision. Drivers face 40% more fatalities at night than during the day, despite the fact they spend much more time driving in the daytime. Not too long from now, drivers will have night vision at their disposal. This should drastically cut down on the number of accidents they experience in the evening.
5. Fuel sipper technology. Future vehicles will be especially fuel efficient. They will be adjust the energy needed while idling, driving at specified speeds and charge the battery while braking.
Future cars are going to provide many features that will make driving a lot easier. A few years from now you should expect your vehicles to be safer and much more efficient.

Kalen Smith writes about car accident claims and whiplash compensation. Kalen also writes about personal injuries , sports injuries, work related claims and asbestos related illnesses as well as medical negligence.

In: Car newsNo Comments

Friday August 26th, 2011 12:12 Why Buy a Used Mercedes?

Think of luxury in the world of vehicles, and the name that immediately springs to mind is Mercedes. Since they produced their first vehicle in 1901, Mercedes have prided themselves on creating high quality, luxurious cars that will last a lifetime. All of Mercedes’ cars are equipped with a rigorously tested engine, a custom steering system and unparalleled build quality. Each of these combine to make the Mercedes driving experience smooth, safe and silent, even at high speeds.

Because Mercedes vehicles offer the ultimate in quality, buying a new one can be hugely expensive. But, because of their high construction quality, a Mercedes is a car the can last a lifetime. This makes used Mercedes a great investment. You can experience the same smooth, pleasurable drive as you can in a new Mercedes, but at a fraction of the cost.

The majority of new cars have a tendency to devalue as soon as you drive them off the showroom forecourt. Because of their classic comfort, reliable drive and timeless style, Mercedes vehicles retain their value much better than other brands of vehicles. Generally, they devalue for a few years after their production, then levels off. This means that, if you buy a Mercedes that is a few years old, you will make a considerable saving on the cost of a new vehicle, yet its value should remain the same for many years.

Many new vehicles, even those as reliable as Mercedes, can have problems. Certain factory defects can result in entire ranges having to be recalled. When you buy a used Mercedes, you will be able to see the full service history of the vehicle, allowing you to be informed about any problems or repairs the vehicle may have had, and prepare yourself for any maintenance they may need to be performed. You can also talk to the dealer or previous owner about the reliability and running costs of the vehicle.

The current Mercedes range consists of 15 different passenger vehicles. However, throughout their history, Mercedes have produced dozens of different models. When you opt for a used Mercedes, you’ll have the choice of every model they have ever produced. Whether you would prefer a car with classic styling, or a model that is no longer in production, a used Mercedes dealer will be able to find it for you.

Whether you want your car to be a luxury status symbol or a comfortable family run-around, a Mercedes is an excellent choice. By opting to buy a used Mercedes, you can get the car of your dreams at a bargain price.

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Wednesday August 24th, 2011 12:48 New Ways of Selling Used Cars

If I was to sell my car on the internet, then there would be a number of websites that I would naturally gravitate towards. I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only person to think of going straight to Autotrader, Ebay and Gumtree.

All three websites are hugely popular in different ways. Autotrader has been in the used car business for over 30 years, Ebay is the most popular place online when it comes to buying and selling things, and Gumtree is the UK’s number one classified ads site. The Autotrader website boasts over 10 million users per month, far exceeding the volume of any other used car website.

With that in mind, using these websites would potentially expose my car to a greater audience, but would that increase the likelihood of me being able to sell my car?

As is the case on Autotrader, listing my car on Ebay and Gumtree requires me to spend time making my car look as appealing to potential buyers as possible. That requires taking photos and writing a detailed description. With so many cars up for sale, there is a great deal of pressure to make my listing stand out without bending the truth. It’s a time consuming business and, let’s be honest, when I’m selling something, I just want to get the business over with as quickly and as smoothly as possible, whilst getting what I think is a fair price.

Unlike other websites, I am not required to create a detailed listing on the Wewillbuyyourcar website. I also don’t have to worry about trying to convince someone to buy my car.

All I have to do is enter my car registration number and provide them with key information about the condition of the car such as its mileage and any scratches or marks it may have. Once Wewillbuyyourcar has this information, they offer you a price and if it’s an acceptable price for you, then all you have to do is choose where you want your car to be picked up. It’s a simple process, and certainly plays into your hands if you are looking to offload your old car quickly.

Providing them with the facts is a lot easier to do than come up with a description to make your car stand out from the crowd. Another major plus of the wewillbuyyourcar.com website is that, unlike Autotrader and Ebay, you’re not subjected to any selling or listing fees. With that in mind, it makes sense to make wewillbuyyourcar.com my first port of call the next time I sell my car online. After all, if I don’t like the offer they make, I can always try my luck convincing someone to buy my car elsewhere.

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Monday August 15th, 2011 12:49 Nissan Micra Goes Green With New DIG-S Spec

 

The Nissan Micra is about to get a little bit greener, with the Japanese manufacturer set to release the DIG-S spec of the popular model.

Fitted with a supercharged 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, the new Nissan Micra DIG-S emits an impressive 95g/km of CO2. As for fuel consumption, Nissan claims it is 68.9 miles per gallon, which compares well with other diesel-powered cars in its class.

The new Micra DIG-S has a power output of 98bhp – up 18bhp from the standard DIG Micra – and produces 142Nm of torque, enabling it to reach a maximum speed of 112mph.

These power and economy improvements have been achieved through a number of measures taken to improve the engine’s efficiency. Improved exhaust gas recirculation, specially shaped pistons, and the adoption of a higher compression ratio have all helped the DIG-S engine to reach maximum efficiency.

The car’s green credentials are boosted significantly by its stop/start function. This reduces the car’s emissions and fuel consumption by automatically turning the engine off whilst it is stationary. When drivers are ready to move off, this function restarts the car again. Helpfully, drivers are notified of the CO2 savings by a display on the car’s dashboard. Londoners should also note that because of its low emissions and fuel economy, the car is exempt from the London Congestion Charge.

Although costing £1,000 more than the Nissan Micra fitted with the standard 1.2-litre DIG engine, the new supercharged DIG-S spec may well be worth the initial extra outlay. Not only is it more environmentally friendly, but it potentially could save owners in terms of fuel costs in the long run.

The Nissan Micra DIG-S is available in the UK from September the 1st, with prices starting from £11,500.

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Friday August 12th, 2011 17:19 Pitfalls to Avoid When Renting a Car Abroad

The motor car is often quoted as something that most people want to get away from when they’re on holiday. Sitting in gridlocked traffic on the motorway on the way to work is one of the most stressful and soul destroying day to day tasks we face, and going on a relaxing holiday is the ideal form escapism from the daily rat race.

Of course some holidays require a bit of driving to get around, renting a car can often be a much simpler and more economically viable method of getting from the airport to the resort and then to the beach and other attractions once you’re there. Driving abroad is often a much more pleasant experience, than it is in the UK, the road network in France for example is of an excellent quality, with smooth, wide-laned motorways. Renting a convertible will also make the journey a damn sight more pleasant!

Of course some people even choose to make their holidays all about driving, an extended ‘road trip’ down Route 66 is must-do experience and (literally) a world away from chugging along the North-Circular. Fly-drive holidays are also extremely popular in the U.S and involve a multi-center tour of the country. So while driving abroad can be a very rewarding experience it is important to be wary of a number of pitfalls that could end up costing you more than you first expected.

Insurance

Most people that rent a car don’t give insurance a second thought, after all, who wants to worry about insurance right? You’re on holiday. Ignoring this important step could land you in hot water should you be unfortunate enough to suffer an accident.

Most rental cars are covered on your existing car insurance so long as you have comprehensive cover, but make sure you go through the contract with a fine tooth comb, some policies my be invalid if you

  • Exceed a certain mileage
  • Venture outside a designated geographical area
  • Rent a certain class of vehicle

 

Existing Damage

When you’re at the airport, all you want to do is jump in your motor and drive off into the sunset. Not so fast. It is imperative to scan the expanse of the bodywork for the tiniest dinks and chips, if you don’t indicate any existing damage it will almost certainly be attributed to you and you’ll have to pay.

Fuel

When it comes to fuel, it pays to have an eye for detail. When you grab the keys for your car, ensure you check the position the needle on the fuel gauge, if it’s not a full tank this means you’ll only have to refuel it to this point when you hand it back.

Additionally, if you have the option to collect your car with a full tank of fuel, don’t. It is often cheaper to fill the tank yourself since rental companies add on all kinds of sneaky admin charges.

Timekeeping

When the time comes to return your car, keep an eye on the clock. Most rental companies specify a time when the car needs to be returned, if you are too late you will face additional charges. Leave your accommodation in good time and endeavour to get your car back on time, failure to do so will mean incurring extra charges, some firms may even charge you for another day if you don’t meet the deadline.

Like many business, car rental firms engineer their contracts so they can make a healthy profit from seemingly minor stipulations which are commonly overlooked by customers. Save yourself potentially hundreds of pounds by remaining saving and not falling foul of disclaimers and caveats designed to catch you out. Happy motoring!

Joe loves cars and is a travel blogger, he’s going to rent out a V8 monster when he’s booked his Flights to Australia!

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Thursday August 11th, 2011 17:50 The new breed of Audi RS models

Audi TT RS

Audi have a long, deep seeded, background in rally, ever since the inception of the award winning Quattro. This four wheel drive system brought the brand a lot of credit and respect from motorists and industry peers. The newest range of Audi RS models embodies power and refinement above any rivals in their class. Here is a rundown of the current RS offering from the German manufacturer.

RS 3 – Powerful, yet compact
The RS 3 is the newest model to join the power family and has a big reputation to live up to. It’s up against the BMW 1M, which sports a similar amount of power from its twin turbo 3.0L six cylinder engine. Like the BMW, the RS 3 is thoroughly German from its classy and understated appearance, to the outstanding build quality and interior comfort. The RS3 is powered by a 2.5L 5 cylinder engine that has been both supercharged and turbocharged to produce over 340BHP. The interior is classy and chic, comforting you in realms of smooth black leather, matte aluminium trim and Audi detailing. The 3 spoke flat-bottomed steering wheel is Lamborghini inspired, and the dials give the driver a modern and interesting sight. The new RS 3 certainly lives up to its rally sport heritage.

TT RS – Sleek design and sporting perfection
The TT RS is also fairly new to the range, and blends power with the already loved TT coupe. The TT RS is available in either a 2 door coupe or a cabriolet for those looking for roof-down thrills. The TT RS has a similar engine to that of the RS 3 but has been tweaked meaning it sprints to 62MPH in only 4.6 seconds. This is borderline supercar territory, so other German competitors such as the Mercedes SL and Porsche 911 should be worried as the TT RS comes in with a solid cash saving. The TT has always been an attractive car to look at and this RS model is the icing on the proverbial cake, as it accentuates all the curves and bulges in all the right places. Highly desirable and a great drive, the TT RS will go down as one of the great powerful coupes.

RS 5 – The all-out power house
The Audi A5 only joined us a few years ago but has established itself among rivals from Mercedes, BMW and Jaguar. The RS 5 model blends the executive luxury of the A5 with a 4.2L V8 engine churning out an astonishing 450BHP. This is enough power to take the coupe to 62MPH in under 5 seconds and to a top speed limited to 155MPH. As you would expect from the current flagship model, there is no compromise with quality of the ride and interior cabin. It’s a really pleasant place to be and the exterior styling is subtle yet menacing. The RS 5 has a lot to live up to after the raving success of the old RS 4. This car though truly shows what Audi are capable of when putting together such a powerful coupe.

The RS models all come in with hefty price tags, but they do come up second hand with great savings on the list price. Check out Autoweb for a complete list of Audi and used car stock.

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