Monthly Archives: July 2016

LBTH featured imageCharting the amazing story of Christopher Many’s 125,000-mile, eight-and-a-half-year adventure, Left Beyond the Horizon chronicles his inspirational journey around the world in his trusty 1975 Series III Land Rover, Matilda.

Between 2002 and 2010, Christopher’s unforgettable exploration off the beaten track took him from the Scottish Highlands, through Scandinavia and the frozen wastelands of Siberia, and then across Asia. That was before traversing the Pacific Ocean to North and South America, then over the Atlantic, allowing him to drive through Africa and back up to Europe – all to find out what makes the Earth ‘tick’.

In the year that saw the wheels stop turning on the iconic Land Rover Defender’s production line, the unshakable robustness and durability of Matilda is a fitting tribute to the much-loved British vehicle. No stranger to tough expeditions herself, Matilda started life being thrown out of a plane as part of the UK’s Parachute Regiment before Chris purchased her from a Scottish farmer for £700.

From the rat burgers of Laos, to mouth-to-mouth with a hyena in Africa, Chris’ journey saw him and Matilda endure temperature extremes from -51°C in Siberia to 55+°C in the Mojave Desert. That was as well as battling the potholes of Columbia, brake failures on Bolivia’s Death Road and Matilda’s chassis completely snapping in half in Africa.

Left Beyond the Horizon is a thought-provoking, unflinching and fascinating account in which Christopher paints a vivid picture of his adventures, detailing the amazing people he encountered, the unusual situations he found himself in and the geographical and cultural landscapes he experienced. He chronicles the philosophical conundrums, rollercoaster emotions, first-hand observations and Land Rover breakdowns (1,667 to be precise) that his nearly decade-long passage through 100 countries brought.

Written in his own personable and affectionate style full of passion, honesty and enthusiasm, Left Beyond the Horizon is an enthralling and often laugh-out-loud examination of human culture around the world, in all its guises.

Part lexicon on global affairs, part darkly witty travel journal, it is sure to entice and excite a variety of different readers, from overlanding fans and Land Rover fanatics, to armchair travellers and hardcore globetrotters.

And the whereabouts of Chris now? Last we heard he is somewhere between Indonesia and Australia, this time travelling with Puck the motorcycle (and his girlfriend, Laura).

The book can be purchased from Amazon by following this link.

To find out more about the man himself, visit:


CitNOW mobileThe process of buying and selling cars will be done almost entirely remotely using video technology within five years, claims new research.

Consumers already use video extensively in the shopping process, with 75% of car buyers watching video to research their next purchase before ever setting foot in a car showroom.

As Smartphone software becomes ever more sophisticated and super-fast 5G technology is introduced, that trend is expected to accelerate.

Motorists will be haggling with dealers, agreeing part-exchange prices remotely and selling cars privately, all using video communication rather than face-to-face negotiation.

The predictions come from automotive video specialist, CitNOW, which has published a White Paper on the current and future roles of video in automotive business. Entitled “How video has changed the face of the automotive industry forever”, the full report can be downloaded from http://www.citnow.co.uk/white-paper/

Video is already used by the car industry across the UK, with more than 50% of the franchised dealer network using some form of personalised service to help customer relations in both car sales and workshops.

CitNOW CEO Alistair Horsburgh said: “At the moment, the car industry is waking up to the importance of using video to communicate with their customers but, by 2020, it will be a two-way conversation.

“We are already seeing how drivers are starting to expect and demand video as part of the service they get from dealers.

“Within five years, the entire process of buying a new car, from researching different models to agreeing a price and a specification, will be done remotely. Motorists won’t ever have to visit the showroom, except perhaps to pick up the car they’ve ordered.”

“It all sounds a bit daunting,” said Horsburgh, “but it’s the way the whole industry is going. Consumers these days expect this level of convenience, speed and quality of service.”

99119gem_France gendarmerieRoad safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist is encouraging holidaymakers to ensure they are aware of speed limits, alcohol limits and other driving regulations before setting off on an overseas holiday this summer.

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth says: “It pays to do some research before you go, whether you’re driving your own car on holiday or organising to rent a vehicle once you get there. Familiarise yourself with motorway speed limits, and remember that foreign drivers are subject to the same traffic rules as residents, often enforceable by hefty on-the-spot fines.”

Drink-drive limits, with the exception of Malta, are all lower than the UK. Many have a standard limit of 0.05% (the UK’s limit is 0.08%), though in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, the limit is zero.

Neil Worth comments: “It’s worth appreciating that although you can legally drive in the UK at the alcohol limit of 0.08%, doing the same thing in Hungary or Norway could put you in prison. There is no reliable way to calculate how much alcohol you can drink and stay below the limit. But you have nothing to fear if you steer clear of alcohol before driving.

“Summer holidays are the time to relax and enjoy good weather, good company and hopefully some wonderful scenic road trips, whether in Europe or beyond. A bit of research and sensible journey planning will help ensure you don’t feel the need to speed or to drive after drinking alcohol – so you’ll be staying legal and reducing risk on holiday.”

You can find a comprehensive database of driving requirements at http://ec.europa.eu/transport/road_safety/going_abroad/index_en.htm#

TivoliThe SsangYong range of 4x4s and SUVs is now available in Norwich and the surrounding area, following the appointment of Desira Group Plc in Norwich.

Stuart Stone, managing director, for Desira said: “We are delighted to have been appointed to represent SsangYong and greatly look forward to playing our part in its continuing success.  SsangYong has a great range, and with very competitive pricing and a 5 year limitless mileage warranty on every car, we believe it will do extremely well in our area.”

Desira will operate the SsangYong franchise from its dealership at Wroxham Road, Norwich, Norfolk NR7 8RL.

SEAT’s new Ateca SUV is already basking in the glory of its first award, even before it’s landed in showrooms. It is the best performing SEAT model in history for a residual value (RV) forecast from leading industry experts, CAP.

Automotive data expert, CAP, has announced that the new SEAT Ateca, the Barcelona-based brand’s first SUV, is anticipated to deliver exceptional residual values that are either best, or podium ranking, depending on trim level and engine. The 1.0 TSI S, for example, is set to retain a stunning 59 per cent after three years/30,000 miles.

The SEAT Ateca already delivers on a whole host of levels, whether it’s comfort, quality, style, technology, let alone value-for-money. Now, its low running cost argument becomes even more compelling, with an impressive 52.6% of its value on average across the range after three years/30,000 miles.

The outcome of CAP’s forecasting comes as the Ateca is already drawing plenty of plaudits from the motoring press with various five-star verdicts, as well as achieving the highest possible score in the Euro NCAP safety test programme, with particularly strong adult and child passenger safety

SEAT UK Director, Richard Harrison, commented, “The news for Ateca just keeps getting better and better. Only two weeks ago, it was named Best Crossover in the Auto Express New Car Awards 2016, and now we’re celebrating an RV forecast just shy of 60%. Mind you, it really is a great all-round proposition, with substance to back up its undeniable style. That probably goes a long way to explaining why it’s already generating the highest level of interest we’ve ever seen for a new SEAT model in the UK.”

As if the odds were not already stacked in the SEAT Ateca’s favour, with such strong predicted RVs, the Spanish marque has also launched an exciting series of UK finance offers for its latest model, with pricing from as little as £279 per month, based on SE 1.6 TDI 115PS, 36 month, 10,000 mile per annum agreement – without metallic paint

Solutions Personal Contract Plan* representative example for Ateca SE 1.6 TDI 115PS (including metallic paint) subject to a 36 month/10,000 mile per annum agreement:

Duration 36 months
APR (representative) 4.9%
35 monthly payments of £299
Customer deposit £3,299
Option to purchase fee*/acceptance fee** £10/£0
OTR price (retail) £22,475
Optional final payment £10,855.06
Total amount payable by customer £24,629.06
Amount of credit £19,176

In the UK, the new Ateca is priced from £17,990. Full details of SEAT’s first SUV are available at http://www.seat.co.uk/new-cars/new-ateca/overview.html.

GFX1-01Features on future cars, that the British public expect to have, are already on offer today according to a new survey conducted by Bosch. When asked what they expect a new car to be able to do in 2025, two thirds (66%) of desired functions are already fitted to production cars today, while the remaining 33% will enter production within the next two years. The survey is part of Bosch’s #asmartercar campaign, to improve knowledge and acceptance of driverless car technologies.

The YouGov Omnibus survey of over 2,000 respondents also showed that while 28% of car drivers said that they were wary about using driverless car technology on the road, the most popular requests for the car of the future took control away from the driver. Most UK adults also said they expected their future cars in 2025 to be able to maintain a safe distance from the car in front (66%), take control to avoid an accident (56%), park itself (55%) and predict traffic and change route (51%).

Not only are the most popular features for the car of the future examples of automated technology, they are all on cars in production today. Drivers can maintain a safe distance from the car in front using adaptive cruise control. Many cars already take control to avoid an accident by using Automated Emergency Braking (AEB), a technology that’s seen on some of the UK’s most popular new cars and needed to receive a EuroNCAP 5* rating. Meanwhile, a number of cars on sale today already park themselves!

Steffen Hoffmann, UK President of Bosch, said: “Our research shows that there is a clear disconnect between motorists’ perception of driverless technology and reality. The introduction of driverless technology is a gradual process, with automated features first being introduced in non-critical situations. However, we expect that highly automated vehicles will be driving themselves on the motorway by 2020, with fully automated technology or driverless cars starting after 2025.”

Bosch’s survey also showed that motorists believe that the presence of driverless cars on UK roads will not happen anytime soon. The majority (65%) of car drivers think that it will be more than five years before they will see driverless cars on all UK roads. However, Bosch will be testing automated vehicles in London later this year.

The #asmartercar campaign by Bosch aims to improve knowledge and acceptance of driverless car technology through better education. The survey found that drivers aged 55+ are most likely to say that a driverless car would not make them feel safer in any situation (42%). These motorists are also most likely to say they don’t know enough about these cars (27%).

spyMotor Codes, the government-backed consumer watchdog for the automotive industry, has commissioned an online YouGov poll to find out the best activity to keep children busy on long car journeys during the holiday season. The study was carried out to mark the launch of the motoring body’s summer social media prize draw competition to win a £250 fuel voucher.

The survey of over 2,000 British adults revealed that travelling together is viewed as an opportunity to ditch technology in favour of entertainment that encourages creativity, learning and quality time for the whole family. Looking out the window and playing decade-old games such as “I-Spy” were named by over 60% of respondents, and particularly by 18 to 24 year olds and the over-55s, as being the top way for grabbing the attention of kids. Residents of the East England (69%) and the Midlands (64%) are also the most likely to encourage youngsters to use their observational skills to play with others.

Furthermore, nearly half (44%) of those questioned stated a preference for having a sing-along and reading story books, whereas just over 40% of people would resort to puzzles including word searches and crosswords, or to putting on a film.

Conversely, the study showed that, despite the abundance of smartphones, apps and tablets in daily life, a handheld device is seen as one of the least popular choices to stave off the boredom and restlessness of those in the back. Just under a third of individuals would reach for one, with women even less likely (29%) to put one in the hands of young family members. Furthermore, amongst the activities asked about in the survey, giving little ones snacks and drinks to pass the time ranked lowest in the list at 28%. In fact, less than a quarter of men would actually opt to give nibbles to offspring to take their minds off the journey.

Commenting on the study, Bill Fennell, Managing Director of Motor Codes, said: “The results clearly point to the fact that regardless of all the technology that that we now have to hand, families still prefer to go back to basics and use activities that have ruled car journeys for years. A bit of imagination, some good reading material and a few carefully selected tunes, are tipped as the best ways to avoid the frequently asked “are we there yet?” when clocking up the miles on holiday.”

To enter the prize draw to win a £250 fuel voucher, visit the Motor Codes Facebook page, @MotorCodes on Twitter, and the Motor Codes website (www.motorcodes.co.uk). T&Cs apply.

kiaKia has the launched the all-new Niro, priced from just £21,295. Niro combines the in-demand styling of a compact crossover vehicle with the low emissions and high fuel economy of a hybrid car. With CO2 emissions as low as 88g/km and fuel economy of up to 74.3mpg, Niro will make a significant contribution in helping Kia meet its pledge to reduce the average emissions of its range by 25 per cent before 2020.

Niro is not based on any other Kia but is a dedicated hybrid model with an all-new platform which will only ever be used for electrified vehicles. It also has an all-new powertrain featuring a 1.6-litre, 104bhp internal combustion engine and a 43.5bhp electric motor driving through a six-speed double-clutch automatic transmission.

Its includes the latest connectivity and active safety technologies, including Kia Connected Services featuring TomTom, wireless smartphone charging, autonomous emergency braking, smart cruise control and lane-keeping, blind spot and rear cross traffic warning systems. In a first for Kia, it also offers Android Auto, which links Android smartphones to Google Maps navigation, Google Play music, hands-free calls and texts and voice recognition via pre-downloaded apps.

Niro in the UK

Niro comes to the UK in a four-model line-up badged ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’ and ‘First Edition’. Every version has a Lane Keep Assist System, Hill-start Assist Control, Cruise Control and a Speed Limiter. Every Niro also has a DAB radio and is able to support Bluetooth smartphone connectivity and music streaming.

Niro is the first Kia with Android Auto, which works with Android smartphones running 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher. Android Auto connects the user’s smartphone to the car’s infotainment system and, through pre-downloaded apps, gives access to a variety of services such as Google Maps navigation, Google Play music, hands-free calls and texts and voice recognition.

In addition to its connectivity and driver assistance systems, grade ‘1’ comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, a high-gloss black radiator grille with a black and chrome surround, dual automatic air conditioning, an automatic windscreen de-fogging system, LED daytime running lights and tail lights, a 3.5-inch TFT supervision cluster, all-round electric windows and electric exterior mirror adjustment, USB and AUX ports and a trip computer.

Grade ‘2’ adds a 7-inch touchscreen navigation system with European mapping, a Reversing Camera and Kia Connected Services linked to TomTom®. This provides up-to-the-minute information on traffic hold-ups, weather, speed camera locations and local points of interest. Kia Connected Services is free for seven years from the time the car is bought. Grade ‘2’’s standard specification also introduces high-gloss black trim highlights and a leather-covered steering wheel and gearshifter, black cloth and leather upholstery, roof rails, privacy glass on the rear windows and tailgate, chrome interior and exterior door handles, reversing sensors, an under-floor tray, rain-sensing wipers, a ventilation duct in the rear of the cabin and electrically adjustable, heated and folding door mirrors with LED indicators.

Further additions for grade ‘3’ are an 8-inch touchscreen navigation system with European mapping, a wireless mobile phone charger and an eight-speaker ® Premium sound system with an external amplifier. The step up to grade ‘3’ also brings 18-inch alloy wheels, black leather upholstery, front parking sensors, heated front seats and steering wheel, a power-adjustable driver’s seat plus powered lumbar adjustment and stainless steel scuff sill plates.

Meanwhile, the top-of-the-range ‘First Edition’ version adds Autonomous Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Detection with a Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Smart Cruise Control. This model is also distinguished by unique grey leather trim, white interior trim inserts, a smart key and engine start/stop button, heated outer rear seats, ventilated front seats and an electric tilting and sliding sunroof.

Autonomous Emergency Braking and Smart Cruise Control are optionally available on grades ‘1’, ‘2’ and ‘3’ in an ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) package. With these features fitted, Niro has been awarded a five-star crash-test rating by Euro NCAP.


UK Niro pricing

Model Insurance Price
‘1’ 1.6 GDi 1.56kWh lithium-ion 139bhp 6DCT 12 £21,295
‘2’ 1.6 GDi 1.56kWh lithium-ion 139bhp 6DCT 12 £22,795
‘3’ 1.6 GDi 1.56kWh lithium-ion 139bhp 6DCT 14 £24,695
‘First Edition’ 1.6 GDi 1.56kWh lithium-ion 139bhp 6DCT 12 £26,995

LMP_8242-5The advice from skincare experts at this time of year is to slap on the SPF 50 sun cream to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. That’s not practical with the body panels of a Nissan crossover… and it’s also not necessary.

As Europe begins the holiday season, Nissan has revealed just how tough the UV protection is on its crossovers such as the Qashqai, Juke and X-Trail. The answer is the equivalent to Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 500.

All new Nissan crossovers come with a high quality, multi-layer paint finish which has been tested to endure the most extreme temperatures in the world. During development, Nissan’s engineers expose sample paint panels to 500 watts per square metre of UV light, which is more than 10 times the UV radiance of natural sunlight. So if SFP 50 sun cream will keep human skin safe outdoors in July and August, Nissan paints are equivalent to SPF 500.

Key to stopping Nissan’s crossovers peeling like your nose in the summer sun is the manufacturer’s new £1.34million environmental test chamber. Recently opened, the facility at the European Technical Centre – at Cranfield, UK – means Nissan engineers can recreate many years of UV exposure in real-world conditions in a matter of weeks. Their mission is to ensure Nissan crossovers will deliver a lifetime of quality performance.

The hi-tech light bulbs in the new chamber emit 92,000 watts of intense heat, which is equivalent to 2,300 of the 40-watt type found in many homes. Combined with elevated temperature inside the chamber, the cabin of any crossover on test reaches a staggering 120 degrees Celsius. To ensure outstanding durability at the other end of the temperature spectrum, it can also drop to a shivering minus 50 degrees Celsius.

For European markets, it means Nissan crossovers are safe to soak up the summer sun on France and Spain’s hottest Mediterranean beaches, and be buried under metres of snow in the chilly north of Finland and Norway.

“Just like human skin, car paint is affected by intense UV rays that are capable of breaking down a surface, so we test for durability to ensure lasting product quality,” said Dean Gillett, an environmental test engineer at Nissan.

It’s not just paint that’s tested with UV light. All plastics, seat fabrics and adhesives go through the same rigorous development process to make sure they can cope with extremes of temperature.

Test results have led to real ‘attention to detail’ engineering. Dean explained that Nissan crossover components can change by region to make sure the customer gets a high quality performance year after year. He added: “A good example is the gas struts which hold the tailgate open. They’re different around the world because the gas in the cylinder is temperature sensitive.”


Oyinnoyi Onozutu at North City Autos in Chingford with her new Mitsubishi Mirage, won in a competition with CarTakeBack.com

Oyinnoyi Onozutu at North City Autos in Chingford with her new Mitsubishi Mirage, won in a competition with CarTakeBack.com

A female motorist from Essex has become the proud owner of a new Mitsubishi Mirage after she recycled her 17-year-old car.

Oyinnoyi Onozutu, who lives in Chigwell, was entered into a competition when she scrapped her old car with CarTakeBack.com – Mitsubishi Motors in the UK’s official car-recycling partner.

People who scrapped their car through CarTakeBack.com had the chance to win a new Mitsubishi, and the 28-year-old was presented with her Mirage at North City Autos in Chingford.

She said: ‘The freedom to get around again and no more old car woes that I had been experiencing is wonderful. It was like one thing after the other was failing.

‘Thank you CarTakeBack for the best gift ever! I have never won anything like this. The car is such a blessing!’

Nilesh Pindolia, sales executive at North City Autos, said: ‘We’re delighted to hear how pleased Oyinnoyi is with her new Mitsubishi Mirage. It’s a great little car with lots of new features and technology, so we hope she will have a lot of enjoyment when driving it.’

Alison Price of CarTakeBack, who made the presentation, said: ‘This is the 10th prize car we’ve given away but it never gets old seeing the look on the winner’s face when they see their shiny new car for the first time!’