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:


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.


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.


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.


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.

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Thursday November 10th, 2011 01:53 Nissan Announce Details of 2012 GT-R

Nissan has finally released official details of its 2012 edition of the GT-R. The car, set for release in the UK next month, looks to be an improvement on its predecessor.

Fitted with a 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 engine, the GT-R has improved horsepower and torque. Horsepower is up by 20bhp to 542bhp, while the engine’s torque now stands an improved 632Nm. Nissan put these improvements down to better airflow in the engine. This increase in power has resulted in the GT-R being capable of going from 0-62mph in an impressive 2.7 seconds.

It is not just the engine’s power that has been improved either, as it also has more favourable fuel economy now. This has risen from 23.5mpg to 24mpg.

Apparently, the Nissan GT-R is still in the later stages of testing right now, so there are no numbers in terms of the car’s CO2 emissions.

The car’s suspension system has also received an upgrade. Its asymmetric suspension system works by balancing out the weight of the driver by firming up the front left spring rate, and lowering the right hand rear suspension arms.

The interior of the new Nissan GT-R has also been souped up. It features an upgraded Bose sound system, as well as a rear view camera. The car’s instrument panel now can boast blue lighting on the tachometer.

Although Nissan has not revealed an official price for the GT-R MY12, expect it to be in the region of £76,000 when it goes on sale in the UK next month. It might be a bit much to expect that for a Christmas present, but what’s the harm in asking?

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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 June 24th, 2011 12:29 Toyota to export the British-built Avensis to Japan


Toyota has announced that it will begin exporting the British-built Avensis to Japan later this year. The news comes as a further boost to the UK motor industry after BMW and Nissan both recently pledged to put significant funds into their UK production facilities.

Currently, the Avensis is built exclusively at Toyota’s factory in Burnaston, Derbyshire, and the third-generation version of the model already ships to 47 countries worldwide. Since production of the Avensis began in 1997, over 1.8 million Avensis vehicles have been built at Burnaston. As a result of Toyota’s decision, from July, an extra 750 Tourer estate models will be produced for export per month.

Toyota’s decision to introduce the Avensis to the Japanese market came after an upturn in demand for European styling and engineering from Japanese customers. These customers will be offered cars that are powered by 2.0-litre petrol engines along with a CVT gearbox. This will allow the Avensis to produce a more fuel efficient and low emission performance.

The Business Secretary, Vince Cable, welcomed Toyota’s decision and described it as an endorsement of British manufacturing skills and quality. He said: “Toyota exports 85 per cent of the car and engines it makes at its UK plants in Burnaston and Deeside. Today’s news that it will now export its Avensis model to Japan is a tribute to the skills of the workforce, the efficiency of the plants and the quality of its products.”

Toyota’s UK Managing Director, Katsunori Kojima added: “We are very proud that the Avensis has been selected for export to Japan. This is yet another vote of confidence for the factory and the high quality of our products.”

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Friday May 20th, 2011 16:14 Nissan Launch 370Z GT Edition


It is 40 years since the first performance Z-car appeared in the UK and to mark this anniversary, Nissan has launched the new 370Z GT Edition. The special edition car is also being developed in order to celebrate the Japanese firm’s significant success in global racing.

With distinctive grey GT stripes that run along its flanks, the 370Z GT Edition tips its hat to the original Z-cars of the 1970s. In addition to these stripes, the latest Z-car also features 19-inch RAYS forged alloy wheels.

In order to enable it to adapt to the higher average speeds enjoyed in Europe, changes to the chassis and suspension of the 370Z GT Edition have been made. According to Nissan, dampers have been retuned “to provide the ideal balance between ride comfort and high speed handling.”

The Nissan 370Z GT Edition will also include a rear-view parking camera that appears in the sat-nav screen and a tyre pressure monitoring system. On top of these features, the GT Edition will also have a new ‘snow’ setting for its seven-speed automatic gearbox. This setting has been put in place to prevent the wheels from spinning in slippery conditions, and it does this by controlling the engine revs and allowing the car to start from second gear.

Pierre Loing, vice president of product planning for Nissan says: “The 370Z is an iconic sports car and the GT Edition underlines its appeal to enthusiasts everywhere.”

Available in the UK from June, the Nissan 370Z GT Edition will come in three colours – Pearl White, Kuro Black and Black Rose – with prices starting in the region of £35,000.

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Tuesday February 15th, 2011 15:34 Nissan Leaf Arrives in UK

Nissan’s new electric powered car, the Leaf, has been delivered to northeast England. A small number of these environmentally friendly vehicles were delivered via a Japanese car transport ship. The Leaf relies entirely upon electricity to power its motor. Unlike hybrid vehicles, this car does not include an additional petrol reserve tank to create additional power if the battery should fail.

With electricity as the sole energy source, the Leaf can boast that it produces zero emissions as it operates. Some Leaf owners in the United States have managed to use solar powered generators to charge their cars, thereby avoiding the use of any fossil fuels whatsoever. On a full battery, the Leaf can travel an average of 241.401 km.

Wider Release Expected in 2012

This shipment of electric cars is scheduled to go on sale in early March of 2011. The Leaf will be available in limited numbers as Nissan begins to deliver new models throughout Europe and the United States. The slow release allows Nissan to handle any problems that may be discovered during the first year of production.

Limiting the release of the automobile also gives dealerships an opportunity to learn how to perform maintenance and repairs on the cars, which are built using entirely new technology. Nissan expects to increase the availability of the Leaf in 2012.

English Manufacture Begins in 2013

The Sunderland Nissan plant is scheduled to begin production of the Leaf in 2013. Once the plant has been completely converted to manufacture the electric cars, they should become more widely available throughout the United Kingdom.

Nissan dealers will accept orders for the Leaf beginning in March of 2011, but delivery times may be slow in the first year. If British distribution is anything similar to the distribution in the United States so far, orders could take as many as 3 – 5 months to be fulfilled. Delivery rates should accelerate as more Nissan plants begin manufacturing the electric car.

Car Insurance Quotes Comparison is an American car insurance blog that is excited about the Leaf’s arrival in ports all over the world.

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