Tuesday December 6th, 2011 08:54 Getting the Best New Car Deals Online

When it comes to buying a new car people are increasingly shunning what used to be the conventional options. Nowadays many find that it’s much easier and less stressful to deal with their car needs using the world wide web.

There are a multitude of benefits to handling your vehicle business online. As previously mentioned, the fact that there’s less stress and hassle via websites is a definite plus. There’s also a lot more opportunities and choices when you search online, as well as more time to research the available options before coming to a decision.

Researching is massively important in finding the best new car deals that are available online. The internet lets you browse and research vehicles in a number of different ways; manufacturers, models, financing options. It’s even possible to request quotes directly from your local dealerships.

Most of the services you can now find on the web are completely free and there are no obligations whatsoever. Feel free to perform as much research as you need to and make sure you’re comfortable before you make any decisions. You won’t be pushed into any purchases or contracts so take your time and find out as much as you can about the deals available.

If you do find yourself interested in perhaps acquiring a quote (or just want to make an enquiry) then you can simply fill in an easy to understand form online. You’ll be contacted within 24 hours with all of the details that you’ve requested, making dealing with cars online just that little bit easier.

In: General, Tips and TricksNo Comments

Monday December 5th, 2011 12:39 The Best Family Cars of 2011

The three cars, pictured above, seem to know exactly what ingredients make the best family cars. Ranging from the safest to the most luxurious, these car companies are some of the top rated family vehicles on the market right now.

First Place: The 2011 Subaru Forester

Pros: The federal government has not yet tested Subaru’s 2011 cross over, however, the 2010 model received top five-star scores for standard safety ratings such as: Driver and passenger protection in frontal crash tests, as well as front and rear-seat occupant protection in side crash tests. The government also awarded a four-star rollover score, indicating a mere 17 percent risk of rollover in a single vehicle crash. Likewise, the insurance industry endowed the Forester with a “Good” rating in roof strength tests and named it a “Top Safety Pick.”

The 2011 Forester gets 24 miles per gallon (MPG), and costs around 20,000 dollars (which makes it the cheapest of the three vehicles).
Cons: For families saving money this is a good option, however, it may not be the best option for large families, as the Subaru only seats 5 people.

Second Place – 2011 Audi Q5

Pros: Among a combination of expert automotive industry publications, the 2011 Q5 was the highest rated. It was also a Top Safety Pick across the insurance industry; this model includes key safety features like: Brake assist, child seat anchors, driver and passenger seat airbags, front fog lights, side and curtain airbags and traction control. As opposed to the Subaru, the Audi has a renowned reputation for drivability, an 8-speed automatic transmission and All-Wheel Drive. But like the Subaru, the Audi gets 24 miles per gallon.

Cons: The Q5 doesn’t do the environment any favors; it got a 58 out of 100 on aggregated expert green ratings. It also costs $35,000 ($15,000 more than the Subaru) and only seats 5 people.

Third Place – 2011 GMC Acadia Denali

Pros: This 2011 GMC Crossover is probably one of the most luxurious family cars on the market. It seats 8 and has the most interior features, which include things like: Hands-free calling, heated and cooled seating, rearview camera control, auto-dimming rearview mirrors and keyless ignition. The Denali also received some of the best safety ratings, mostly due to the center 3-point seating, child safety locks and post-collision safety system. The Denali is the only one of these three vehicles that has both all-wheel and 4-wheel drive.

Cons: Among aggregated expert ratings, the Denali was ranked the lowest of these three vehicles. It also only gets 21 MPG and is 43,200 dollars (23,200 more than the Subaru).

All in all, today’s auto industry has given families a multitude of options to choose from for their vehicles. Once a potential buyer finds what is important to them in their vehicle, they have the power to customize a search built to their needs, essentially finding a personalized automobile specific to their family.

To research and compare other safety concerns such as car seats or car insurance, visit FindTheBest, an unbiased, data-driven comparison engine.

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Friday December 2nd, 2011 15:34 The 5 Best Tracks to Drive in the UK

1. Brands Hatch Circuit, Fawkham, Longfield, Kent

Brands Hatch is one of the most charismatic circuits in the UK. In fact, Nigel Mansell scored his first Grand Prix victory there, also winning the final F1 race at Brands in 1986.

It’s a natural amphitheatre and boasts a 1.2 mile Indy configuration, offering fantastic views of all the action. Its Grand Prix circuit is still one of the biggest challenges in UK motor racing! Brands Hatch’s unique combination of dips, cambers, fearsome corners and hills means it is still one of the world’s favourite racing circuits.

Race notes:
A short lap which never gives you time to rest. A great circuit to drive!

  • Best overtaking opportunity: Clearway

 

2. Donington Park Circuit, Castle Donington, Derby

Those passionate about Formula One motorsport will best recall the European Grand Prix 1993, where Ayrton Senna’s first lap became one of the most famous in Grand Prix history, when he passed five cars to win the race. The torrential conditions set the scene for what many believe to be the finest display of skill in Formula One – ever!
Donnington is a circuit of two halves – a very technical series of sweeping bends, followed by a series of short straights, separated by slow corners.

Race notes:
Lovely smooth and flowing circuit. Craner Curves and the Old Hairpin are the best corners.

  • Best overtaking opportunity: Redgate

 

3. Rockingham Motor Speedway, Mitchell Road, Corby, Northamptonshire

Rockingham Motor Speedway is the UK’s first purpose-built banked oval circuit since Brooklands, officially opening in summer 2000. It’s also Europe’s fastest banked oval racing circuit, with the unbeaten lap record for the 1.5 mile oval set at 24.719 seconds by Tony Kanaan in his Ford/Lola Champ Car on 22nd September, 2001 – with an average speed of 215.397mph!

Rockingham offers multiple in-field circuit configurations, featuring hairpins, straights and chicanes with ample passing and run-off areas.

Race notes:
A unique track with some great overtaking places. The first lap is always exciting.

  • Best overtaking opportunity: Turn 1

 

4. Silverstone Circuit, Towcester, Northamptonshire

Silverstone is the most famous race circuit in the UK at present, holding prestigious races like the Formula 1 Grand Prix and The World Super Bike Championship.

Built on an old military airport in 1948, Silverstone was a high-speed track with long straights and quick curves. Over the years the track layout has undergone several changes but has retained most of its character. There are 4 layouts of the circuit at Silverstone, including a new ArenaGP Circuit, National, International and Stowe Circuit. Offering a combination of fast corners, long straights and some slow sections, Silverstone is a good challenge for any driver.

Race notes:
4 track layout. One of the fastest MotoGP circuits on the calendar!

  • Best overtaking opportunity: Stowe

 

5. Thruxton Motorsport Centre, Thruxton, Andover, Hampshire

The circuit, like most race circuits in the UK, was originally an old airfield used during the war.
Its race circuit is one of the fastest in the country with legendary high speed corners and reputation where circuit drivers can really test their skills. It lays claim to being one of the longest in the UK at 2.4 miles per lap. It’s also believed to be the fastest race track in the UK.

Race notes:
Massively fast place, like no other!

  • Best overtaking opportunity: Club Chicane

 

Contributed by Wish.co.uk – to find out more about their driving experience days click here

, , , , , , In: General, Motor sports, Tips and TricksNo Comments

Wednesday November 30th, 2011 12:26 5 Classic British Family Cars

British car manufacturing has been in the doldrums for many years. The major manufacturers have all been swallowed up by overseas companies, or have disappeared completely. Whilst there are still many manufacturing plants in the UK, most of the vehicles that emerge from them are designed elsewhere.

For many years however, Britain was the world’s foremost car manufacturer and many iconic designs were produced and exported around the world. This includes models such as the Jaguar E-Type, Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow and the Aston Martin DB5. Just as commonplace though are some of the more practical family designs.

The Austin 7

This was one of the first classic British cars, with a design that was reproduced worldwide in various guises. Ultimately it was to change the direction of the industry by successfully introducing the smaller car design that became popular with the general public. Many different versions were produced, including Saloons, Cabriolets, Sports cars and even vans with nearly 300,000 vehicles in total between 1922 and 1939.

Morris Minor/Morris 1000

Over 1.3 million Morris Minors were produced between 1948 and 1971, and this was the first British car to break the 1 million sales mark. It had been designed by Alec Issigonis, who later designed the Mini, to be an affordable car for the working classes and it was undoubtedly one of the main catalysts of the post-war motoring boom.
Today, the Minor is well remembered with a thriving community of clubs and groups dedicated to restoring and remembering these family classics. In fact, the Minor lives on, with production continuing in Sri Lanka.

Mini

The Mini is perhaps the most iconic of all British cars and one of the most influential cars ever designed. First made in 1959, production continued until 2000 during which time it became a movie icon, a rally star as well as being one of the most popular cars ever made.
The revolutionary design for the time made it possible to create a very small car that still had room for four passengers, and was a direct response to the fuel rationing that had come about after the Suez Crisis. That it had such longevity is testament to Alec Issigonis, the head designer, and his team.

Ford Cortina

Another classic family car that also saw success in motorsport, the Ford Cortina was introduced in 1962 to replace the Ford Consul Classic. The racing and rally versions, built in conjunction with Lotus, were very successful, winning championships in touring cars and a number of rally victories in the late 1960s.

During the 1970s, it became one of the bestselling British cars right up until it was replaced by the Ford Sierra in 1982.

Rover P6

The Rover P6, introduced in 1963, was voted the first ever European Car of the Year in 1964 and also won awards for its safety features. Imagine that, a British car lauded as Europe’s finest! More than 300,000 vehicles were made before production ceased in 1977, Rover having introduced the SD1 as a replacement.

Mark Chalcraft is a writer with an interest in all things motoring. He is writing on behalf of 4Wheelz, who provide driving lessons in Birmingham for learners who aspire to one day own a classic British family car. Or possibly a Ferrari.

In: Family cars, GeneralNo Comments

Monday November 28th, 2011 12:27 New Concept Cars

We realize the future of the automobile will be greener, however, what happens to drivers who love rev-matched downshifts and the coordinated shriek of pistons, valves and cams? Who knows what the future of car performance is, nonetheless, a survey within the automobile industry has come up with some great new automobile concepts. Automobile manufactures use auto-show concept cars that are usually one-of-a-kind prototypes. Just think of your typical haute-couture fashion show, with outlandishly designed outfits to capture the audience’s unswerving attention.

These automobile prototypes are built by hand in order to encapsulate the thoughts of the press and public with eccentric automobile models of what is in store for the future. Some designs seem practical, and others are pure fantasy, not even the Jetson’s era would fathom. Nonetheless, some of the bigwig automakers are pursuing concept cars that may turn out to really be worth something. Some of the automobile concepts are vaguely camouflaged as future possibilities and other present ideas from a technological standpoint that CEOs want to road-test with the press and the public.

Let’s take a look at some of the future concept automobile models:

Maserati Kubang

Maserati Kubang:
Even though the Kubang will be assembled in the same plant as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the chief bits will be created specifically for Maserati’s new SUV. Included is a new production of Maserati engines, created by Paolo Martinelli. The new engines will be secured to an eight-speed mechanized transmission along with Modena-engineered functioning brakes, suspension and navigation.

Toyota FT-CH

Toyota FT-CH:
The Toyota’s concentrated efforts with the FT-CH concept indicate that they want to increase its utilization of gas-electric hybrid technology to a wider group of vehicles. The company hinted that it plans to introduce eight new hybrid modes in the coming years, and plans to sell one million hybrids per year.

Mazda MX-5 Miata

Mazda MX-5 Miata:
Kijima’s future point-of-view is to take the MX-5 back to the essentials. The planning for the new concept of the Mazda MX-5 Miata began a few years ago, with the company’s goal to decrease fuel consumption by 30% and lessen the weight by 8%. The new MX-5 will be suited with a 1.5-liter Skyactiv-G engine producing approximately 125 Hp with mileage upwards of 50mpg, including a six-speed manual transmission. During the meantime, the American model will still utilize the 2.0 liter engine.

Ford Mustang 2015

2015 Ford Mustang:
The 2015 Ford Mustang suspension will be comparable to the Australian Ford Falcon. Computer managed torque vectoring could be part of the equation for future handling enhancement. The engine is geared to generate 247 horsepower from 2.0 liters.

GMC Granite

GMC Granite:
The GMC Granite is a small concept automobile with a 1.4 liter engine and a six speed transmission. The idea is more in the lines of a square type four-cylinder urban mini-wagon.

BMW M5

BMW M-5:
The BMW M-5 is known for its powerful engine. The future model will have the same 4.4 liter twin turbo V-8 that generates 555 horsepower and 500 pound feet torque. The 2012 model will utilize an automatic start-up utility together with a seven-speed dual clutch transmission as well.

Jaguar 2012

Jaguar C-X16:
To lighten the weight of the Jaguar C-X16 copious sums of aluminum is utilized including all the body panels. Most of the power comes from a highly-charged, straight-injected, complete aluminum 3.0 liter V-6 recognized 375 Hp and 332 ft. lbs. of torque. The C-X16 includes a push-to-pass function that is activated by a steering wheel installed feature. This feature utilizes an electric motor to go with the gas engine with over nine-seconds of added enhancement. Jaguar states that the C-X16 needs only 4.4 seconds to go from 0-60 mph; the highest speed is 186 mph.

Jarod Matthews is a writer providing information about Car Tax Bands and advice on obtaining a vehicle tax band for your car.

, In: General, Green CarsNo Comments

Wednesday November 23rd, 2011 17:32 The World’s Top Cars for Toughness and Reliability

When most people buy a new car, they’re looking for something that looks cool, is in their price range, and will suit their needs – you won’t see a family buying a two-seater, for example. However, there’s one selling point that’s becoming increasingly important these days, and that is reliability.

With winters getting harsher, and incomes getting smaller, tough, reliable cars are becoming preferable to sportier models. How does your car stack up compared to the toughest cars ever built? The following cars have all scored highly on reliability tests, and have had a minimum of warranty issues over the last ten years:

Toyota

The Toyota RAV4 is a four wheel drive that’s fun to drive. If you’re looking for something sporty but hard-wearing then this is a great choice. It’s expensive to find one second hand, but worth the money.
If you can’t find the RAV4, then look for other Toyotas – several of their cars scored highly.

Honda

The Honda CR-V is a flexible, easy to drive, 4×4 that doesn’t eat up the entire road. It’s easier to find a low cost used Honda CR-V than its Toyota counterpart, and it’s a perfect suburban car. Honda is another brand that generally scored well.

Land Rover

The Land Rover Defender is in a class of its own. It’s a tough, iconic vehicle that most definitely means business. Land Rover service fees will add to the total cost of ownership, but if you want something that you could take on safari, then this is definitely the vehicle for you. The 400 and the 75 models also made it on the reliability list.

Volvo

The Volvo XC90 has definitely proved itself as a serious, heavyweight vehicle. It looks great inside and out, is smooth and powerful, and performs well on all kinds of services. As an added bonus, it’s not an expensive car to pick up second hand, and Volvo service costsare good value considering the kind of performance you’re getting for your money. The S/V40 also scored well.

Nissan

This may come as surprise, but the Nissan Micra does well on the reliability stakes. You couldn’t take it up mountains and across bumpy fields, but for day to day driving it’s a tough, roomy, and reliable car that’s easy to drive and cheap to own.

Nissan Micra

All of the vehicles listed above are relatively new ones, simply because they’re the ones that statistics are available for. That’s not to say that older vehicles are any more or less reliable. If you’re looking for a cheap, hardwearing car that will serve you and your family well for many journeys to come, then don’t dismiss an older model just because of its age.

There are many old models that have good reputations, and that are perfect for someone with a little know-how when it comes to maintaining a vehicle. However, if you’re the type that just wants to buy and drive, a newer vehicle that is still under warranty is a much better choice.

This article was written by Amy Fowler on behalf of Main Dealer Discount who offer access to discounted servicing for most makes and models of vehicle.

, , , , In: GeneralNo Comments

Tuesday November 22nd, 2011 11:37 Audi A1 Sportback: Vor-Spring durch Technik

Audi A1 Sportrack

Audi are set to augment their renowned subcompact range in spring 2012 with the release of the hotly-anticipated A1 Sportback.
Hitting showrooms in February, the über-sleek supermini is an upgrade on the three-door A1, already a huge seller for the German firm.
The Sportback features a comparable design to its sister model, though it is larger, more spacious and comes with an extra set of doors. As a result of this latter modification, the Sportback has added 25kg to its kerb-weight, though the improved space for rear passengers is a welcome enhancement.

Wider and taller than its A1 counterpart, the Sportback is aimed at young, trendy drivers, though don’t expect to have to flash photo ID and enter the showroom in skinny jeans and a Tweed jacket in order to purchase one. After all, you don’t have to fit any specific demographic to appreciate the choice of four turbo engines, including the fuel-efficient 1.5ltr TDI, whose emission levels are rated at just 99g/km. For some engines, Audi are even supplying a 7-gear S-tronic force transmission, letting you switch swiftly between gears.

Fitted with a five-seat layout as standard, with the four-seat configuration available as a no-cost option, Audi’s versatile newcomer refrains from upgrading the A1’s 270-litre boot, and looks sure to be a rival to MINI’s Cooper SD hatch. After all, who can quibble with the Audi Connect’s internet capabilities?

The campaign trail is already underway for Audi, and their latest promotional video (attests to the model’s sharp, city-friendly dimensions and gorgeous 16-inch alloy wheels.

An altogether smarter, cooler option than the A1, the Sportback comes with remote central locking, air conditioning, electric front and rear windows and mirrors, and a 6.5-inch retractable display with six-speaker single CD Concert audio system.
If the Sportback itself doesn’t satisfy you, there’ll be a 2.0-litre diesel option joining the top range later in 2012, boasting 141bhp and 0.62mph in 8.5 seconds sprint time. Sport model additions, meanwhile, include sports suspension, sports seats and a Driver’s Information System.
What’s to love about this car?  An awful lot, but let’s focus on its evolutionary styling: its coupe-like roof line, its integration of sporty looks with commendable economy of space, and its low CO2 emissions. If you’re after a car that you can truly feel good about driving – both from the point of view of fuel-efficiency and style – the Sportback can’t be faulted.

With prices starting from £14,527 and topping out at £21,270 (for the 1.4 TFSI with S-line trim), you can get your hands on one in February. In an Olympic year, there’s surely no better time to get back into sports than with the new Audi A1 Sportback.

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In: Car news, New modelsNo Comments

Monday November 21st, 2011 18:49 Looking a Million Dollars on a Budget

Why Choose a Budget Car when you could be Cruising in a Luxury Motor?

When upgrading our car or even buying our first ever set of wheels, many people choose a brand new budget hatchback.
These small cars are convenient, cost-effective and reliable – but why blend quietly into the rush hour queues when for the same money you could be behind the wheel of a classic piece of luxury?

While owning a luxury car might not be for everyone; the rewards that come with doing so are well worth the extra little care and attention they require. It’s amazing to note that for the price of an entry level brand new car you could get a fully loaded BMW or Audi that although it is a few years old will boast the kind of specification the new car will never have.

You’ll stand out from the crowds

Few of us wish to blend in; we want to be noticed (for good things!). Yet you’ll never stand out in a conventional hatchback; you need something a little different for that.

You’ll be the envy of your street

Many luxury cars are thought of as nothing short of a work of art. Park this beauty on your front drive and watch your neighbours fawn over it in admiration and envy. Watch as they try and work out how you afforded that Mercedes or Jaguar.

You might meet new friends

Owning a classic or luxury car instantly makes you a member of a very exclusive club. As well as the opportunity to join internet forums and chat with like-minded enthusiasts, you might find yourself invited to regular events around the country, either to display your own car or simply to chat over the exquisite lines of a vintage Aston Martin.

It shouldn’t decrease in value

When we buy brand new cars, in most cases, we’re being ripped off. We are paying a premium for ‘new’ and the minute we sign on the dotted line and hit the road, its value will begin to drop.

A used luxury car on the other hand can boast a relatively stable value. Initial depreciation costs can be frightening but this levels off over time. So long as they are cared for properly they should sustain or increase in value.

You can hide the cars cost

If you don’t want people to ascertain how much you paid for your car, hide its age. The difference in value can vary by thousands in a few short years so if you want people to perceive your car as more valuable than it is; change the registration plates.

Dateless registration plates can ensure that very few people will be able to tell the year your car was built.
What’s more, dateless registration plates are usually quite valuable. They may cost a good few hundred pounds initially, but they should retain their value or if you’re lucky, gain more value.

It’s eco-friendly

Although older cars might not be quite so eco-friendly on the petrol front, the fact that you are recycling an old machine should more than make up for this.

_______
This article was written by Amy Fowler on behalf of The Plate Market who offer registration plates and number plates for sale.

, In: Green Cars, Tips and TricksNo Comments

Thursday November 17th, 2011 11:42 How to jump you car and ‘get some air’!

Here’s some tips on how to jump your car and get all four wheels off the ground. You’ll be gliding through the air in no time, if you manage to find the right jump for it!

Jumping red mini

1. Find the perfect road

First off don’t try this on the road. You’ll have to find a private road or track to try this on.

Milbrook Proving Ground is famous for having a large hill in its track which if hit right is perfect. If you’ve seen Casino Royale, then the bit where Bond’s Aston Martin rolls was filmed there. Chalmondy Pageant of Power’s hill run also has a nice bump (pictured above).

You’ll want a long stretch of long and wide road after the bump, so that if you lose control you’ll have plenty of room to come to a safe stop.

Green jumping car

2. Choose the right car

Go for the wrong car and you could cause some serious damage. Cars with a really low front splitter, like a Ferrari 458 or even a new Audi A1, could have their whole front bumpers ripped off if the angle of landing is too steep.

Ideally you want a car with suitable suspension, such as a rally car. That way the shock of landing will be absorbed fully.

3. Get your speed right

Hitting the bump at the right speed is imperative for doing a clean jump. Too slow and you won’t get it off the ground, too fast and you’ll go far too high and risk crashing.

White Bentley jumping

4. Don’t expect huge ‘air’

Without a properly built ramp or jump then it’s unlikely you’re going to be able to get more than a few inches off the ground. Don’t think it’ll be just like it is in the movies, it’s probably best for your car that it’s no higher anyway!

This was a guest post from James Hind, editor of carbuzz.co.uk, a revolutionary site that helps you choose which new car to buy.

In: GeneralNo Comments

Wednesday November 16th, 2011 23:11 BMA Calls for Smoking Ban to be Extended to Private Vehicles

The British Medical Association (BMA) has called on the UK government to extend the current ban on smoking in public places to private vehicles.

After an extensive period of research, the BMA believe that there is compelling evidence that shows just how exposed non-smokers are to the effects of second-hand smoke in vehicles. According to the BMA’s review, the restrictive and enclosed environment of motor vehicles leaves drivers and passengers exposed to 23 times more toxins than you would get in one of those smoky bars we used to frequently frequent.

Of those at risk, it is unsurprisingly children who are most at risk. This is because they absorb more pollutants than adults. A child’s immune system, in comparison to an adult’s, is also under developed, and this means that they lack the necessary defences to combat the effects of second-hand smoke.

The BMA’s Director of Professional Activities, Dr Vivienne Nathanson, said: “The UK made a huge step forward in the fight against tobacco by banning smoking in all enclosed public places but more can still be done.” She continued: “We are calling on UK governments to take the bold and courageous step of banning smoking in private vehicles. The evidence for extending the smoke-free legislation is compelling. The current UK Government prefers voluntary measures or ‘nudging’ to bring about public health change but this stance has been shown to fail time and time again.”

Unsurprisingly, since the BMA’s call there has been some push back from those opposed to extending the current parameters of the smoking ban.

Simon Clark, the director of the Forest, a smokers’ pro-choice lobbying group, said: “Legislation is a gross over-reaction. What next, a ban on smoking in the home?”

While there are undoubtedly health benefits from extending the ban to cover motor vehicles, you would have to think that it would be an incredibly tough ban to enforce. Should smoking in private vehicles be banned? What do you think?

, , , In: GeneralNo Comments