Monthly Archives: January 2017

Hands-on-half-termGet ‘hands-on’ at Beaulieu this February half-term with a wheel bubble balancer and balloon car challenge in the National Motor Museum, costumes and toys in Palace House and  medieval building at Beaulieu Abbey.

The fun activities for all the family will run throughout the school holidays from February 11th to 26th.

Pick up your Hands-On Half-Term Pass Book and fill it with stamps at each of the activity stations around the attraction, taking a pit stop break for a chocolate milk drink reward at the Brabazon Restaurant.

Honk the horns and try on goggles as you test early motoring clothing, handle historic motoring objects and take a close-up look at the artefacts, photographs and documents in the museum.

Balance a wheel with the bubble balancer by placing weights evenly around a tyre. Then create your own balloon-powered car and try racing it in the balloon car challenge.

Visit the monk in the 13th century Beaulieu Abbey and build an arch like a medieval builder in the historic setting.

Then dress up as a Victorian and play traditional games in Palace House, which has been home to the Montagu family since 1538 and shows life ‘Upstairs and Downstairs’ in a Victorian country house.

All of the activities are included for free with general admission entrance. Rides on the popular high-level monorail, vintage bus and Wheels – which takes you on a journey through time to experience 100 years of motoring history – are also included in your great value ticket.

A ticket to Beaulieu includes the National Motor Museum’s collection of more than 250 vehicles – from the fastest Land Speed Record breakers to a giant motorised orange – the World of Top Gear, On Screen Cars and the beautiful gardens and grounds.

Beaulieu tickets can be bought in advance online. For prices or more information see www.beaulieu.co.uk/events/hands-on-half-term / or call 01590 612345. Beaulieu is open daily from 10am-5pm.

repair-engine-spark-pA lot of you may be in the mentality of ‘New Year, New Me’ and hopefully fulfilling your News Year’s resolutions, walking down the road of positivity. Some drivers will be going for their MOT checks and it would be a negative start to the year to fail this. This week’s tips give advice on how to avoid failing your MOT, from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards Richard Gladman.

  • Check your lights. This easily slips through the net becoming a thing that we look at but do not actually see when it needs replacing. Tap each light to make sure there’s not a loose connection which might appear at the test.  Most bulbs are easily changed, but you will probably need to look in the handbook to find out how to get at them.  Don’t forget to check the headlamp washers if you have xenon (HID) or LED headlamps, if these are not working the car will fail the test
  • Try and get into the routine of checking your tyres. This would be for bulges and cuts as well as plenty of tread.  Uneven wear means they are at the wrong pressure or the wheels are not aligned properly – get this fixed before the tyres are changed otherwise the new ones will wear out prematurely
  • Handle your wipers with care. Top up the washer fluid, then operate the washers and wipers. If the wipers leave lines on the screen or scrape over the water without clearing it, they need replacing although you could try cleaning them with methylated spirit first
  • We understand that you may be busy but try not to leave it until the last minute. You can submit your car for a check up to a month before the old certificate runs out. This also gives you enough time to make any corrections should there an issue.
  • Make a check list. Having a checklist sounds simple but allows you to remember little things that you need that may have slipped off the radar. Try to read the comments after whether you pass or fail. Prevention is better than cure

Richard said: “If we maintain our car correctly during the year MOT time will not be as much as an issue, remember a failure means you are driving around in a car that fails to meet the recommended ‘minimum’ safety standard and that is not how an advanced driver operates.”

vauxCrisp and compact on the outside, spacious and flexible on the inside, with unique two-tone paintwork and SUV-styling, these are the first pictures of Vauxhall’s all-new Crossland X.

The newcomer adds a second vital ingredient to Vauxhall’s burgeoning SUV offering, which is due to grow still further in 2017 with the launch of the larger Grandland X later in the year. While the Crossland X’s recently-launched sibling, the Mokka X, has all-wheel-drive capability, is 70mm higher and has larger wheels for buyers with a taste for adventure, the Crossland X has a firm family focus, with a Tardis-like cabin providing high degrees of practicality and flexibility.

vaux3And at just 4.21 metres in length the Crossland X is more compact than the Mokka X, and a full 16cm shorter than the Astra Hatch, offering owners greater convenience while driving and manoeuvring in towns and cities. Adding to Crossland X’s urban appeal is an elevated seating position and an overall height, which is raised ten centimetres above the Astra’s.

The Crossland X also enters a different SUV class to the Mokka X, with rivals such as the Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008. The Mokka X’s competitors include the Nissan Juke and Skoda Yeti.

Forming the first part of Vauxhall’s ‘Five-Star’ 2017, which will see five major product launches in just one year, the Crossland X will be joined by another newcomer to the ‘X’ family, the larger Grandland X which will compete in the compact SUV class (SUV C-segment) later this year.


Audi-q5More comfortable, more agile, more efficient, more protective and better connected – the all-new Audi Q5 is about to build on the consistent sales success of its predecessor.

Orders can now be placed in the UK ahead of first deliveries during April for Q5 models in either SE, Sport or S line specification, and pricing starts from £37,170 OTR for the 2.0 TDI quattro 190PS, rising to £41,040 OTR for the 2.0 TFSI quattro S line.

Standard equipment is now even more comprehensive than before, with features  such as the Audi Smartphone Interface, the Audi parking system plus and powered tailgate operation present right from the SE entry point. Other notable standard features include Audi drive select, heated front seats, an acoustic windscreen, deluxe three-zone electronic climate control and pre-sense city collision prevention assistance.

Strong specification is just one of the factors contributing to a residual value that is not only the highest in its segment, but of any Audi model ever at launch – over three years/30,000 miles, the Q5 2.0 TDI quattro S line S tronic with 190PS is predicted to retain an exceptional 58.3* per cent of its original value, while every other Q5 model in the range achieves an RV over the same term of at least 55 per cent. Independent automotive valuation experts, CAP Monitor also rate the RV of the Q5 2.0 TDI quattro S line S tronic at an impressive 57 per cent over the same three year/30,000-mile term.

vedThe majority of new car buyers will lose out when new road tax rules come into force on 1 April, according to latest research from HonestJohn.co.uk.

The motoring site’s figures show that new tax rules will add more than £500 to the long-term running costs of Britain’s most-popular and eco-friendly vehicles, while providing significant benefits for some of the most-polluting cars.

This means the UK’s best-selling car – the Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost 100PS – will cost £540 more to tax over four years, while buyers of the V8 Mustang stand to save £245 over the same period of time. This is despite the fact that the American muscle car emits three times more CO2 than the efficient Fiesta.

Until now, the government has offered zero VED to entice car buyers into eco-friendly vehicles; however, with 74 per cent of new cars emitting less than 130g/km of CO2, the government has made a U-turn on its policy and introduced rules to force buyers of new, efficient cars to pay more.

Under the current tax rules, vehicles that emit sub-99g/km qualify for zero VED for the first year and pay nothing for every year after; however, from 1 April 2017 the government will replace the current 13 band tax system with three new bands – zero, standard, premium – plus a surcharge for electric cars with a list price above £40,000.

This means all new cars bought after 1 April with sub-99g/km CO2 emissions will pay for road tax; a move that will add up to £540 to the long-term running costs of some of Britain’s cleanest and most efficient cars. Even hybrids won’t escape, with buyers of the Toyota Prius paying an extra £405 over four years, while Tesla S buyers will have to pay an additional £930.

However, while buyers of new cars over £40,000 will be forced to pay an extra £310 a year for five years, HonestJohn.co.uk has found a gap in the tax law that allows some of the UK’s most-polluting cars under the £40,000 price limit to benefit.

Buyers of the Mitsubishi Shogun 3.2 DI-DC automatic, for example, will save £265 over four years, regardless of the fact that the SUV produces a whopping 245g/km of CO2. It’s a similar story for the Subaru WRX and Nissan 370Z too, with both emitting over 240g/km and saving hundreds under the new system.

Honest John’s Managing Editor, Daniel Powell, said: “Many motorists are unaware of the changes that are coming for VED, but the fact of the matter is this – the system is changing, and low emissions cars won’t be as tax efficient as they were before. It’s a bit of a mixed message to increase tax on fuel efficient cars while reducing it on less eco-friendly models when the government is trying to increase the uptake of low and zero-emissions cars.”

What’s more, with buyers now rushing to secure a zero-VED car, HonestJohn.co.uk has found that buyers are being given lead times of four to five months for the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Volvo XC90. Buyers of the popular Fiesta face a three month wait, while Focus orders with the EcoBoost engine stipulate a wait of 3.5 months, making it increasingly difficult to get a tax-free car before the new rules come into force.

Five popular cars hit hard by 2017 VED changes over four years of ownership

1) Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost 100PS Zetec

Current VED cost over four years: £0
New VED cost over four years: £540

2) Vauxhall Corsa 1.3 CDTi 95PS ecoFlex Design

Current VED cost over four years: £0
New VED cost over four years: £540

3) Ford Focus 1.5 TDCi 120PS Zetec

Current VED cost over four years: £0
New VED cost over four years: £540

4) Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion 1.6 TDI 110PS

Current VED cost over four years: £0
New VED cost over four years: £520

5) Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi 110PS Visia

Current VED cost over four years: £0
New VED cost over four years: £540

Tim BearderMany motorists may consider buying a 4×4 for the winter months.

Automotive data expert hpi has put together a list of this season’s best buys. Motoring expert Tim Bearder, Black Book Editor at hpi considers which vehicles will minimise any potential loss in value if you bought now and sold in the spring.

Tim said: “This all depends on your budget of course if you are thinking of spending £40-£60,000 then three cars that spring to mind is the Porsche Macan, Mercedes GLC and the Jaguar F-Pace. Our money is still with the Porsche Macan, although any of these models are safe bets the Macan still has a quoted lead time of up to seven months with means if you want one sooner you are going to have to pay a premium for a used one.

“For a lower budget, the Volkswagen Tiguan or Kia Sportage are excellent buys. Also take a look at the Jeep Wrangler, which is not only a capable icon but has become very popular in the vehicle enhancement and conversion sector. This has strengthened desire and demand for this vehicle and values for this car have been very stable over the past year.

“Moving further down the budget range, say £1-£8,000, then your choice increases further, cars like Nissan X-trail, Vauxhall Antara along with many others are all good buys, but our suggestion is the Suzuki Vitara. This is a great price range car with minimal depreciation that is affordable as a second car for those who want to keep their daily run around.”

hpi recently launched a vehicle valuations service to give consumers the ability to buy and sell cars with utmost confidence offering them the inside view on the total cost of ownership of a vehicle during its lifespan along with precise depreciation figures.

The hpi valuations tool  – hpivaluations.com – is aimed at consumers buying and selling cars in the used car market and may help minimise the risks that can see consumers paying over the odds or not getting the best-asking price.

 Mercedes-Benz GLA

Mercedes-Benz GLA

The new GLA is starting 2017 with an extended range of engines, updated interior and exterior design, plus updated equipment lines.

The range-topping Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4MATIC will also be offered as a special edition; Yellow Night Edition. The world premiere was on 8 January at the North American International Auto Show NAIAS in Detroit.

The new GLA went on sale on 9 January, while first customer cars will start arriving from April 2017.

With seven model series (GLA, GLC, GLC Coupé, GLE, GLE Coupé, GLS and G) Mercedes-Benz boasts the widest SUV range of all the European premium manufacturers.

The GLA is the only model in its segment to offer new comfort and safety features such as the 360-degree camera or hands-free access.

A new addition to the engine range is the GLA 220 4MATIC*. With an output of 135 kW (184 hp) and a torque of 300 Nm it closes the gap between the two petrol engines with 115 kW (156 hp) and 155 kW (211 hp).

(*not available for UK market)

The sales release of the new Mercedes-Benz GLA was on 9 January from 28,940.80 euros for the GLA 180. The Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4MATIC is offered from 56,852.25 euros.
(All details are recommended retail prices for Germany incl. 19% VAT)

Petrol models:

GLA 180* 28,940,80 euros
GLA 200 30,821.00 euros
GLA 220 4MATIC* 37,145.85 euros
GLA 250* 34,664.70 euros
GLA 250 4MATIC 38,960.60 euros
Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4MATIC 56,852.25 euros

Diesel models:

GLA 180d* 31,951.50 euros
GLA 200d 33,647.25 euros
GLA 200d 4MATIC 37,943.15 euros
GLA 220d* 38,472.70 euros
GLA 220d 4MATIC 40,686.10 euros

*models not available for UK market

 Tiguan Allspace

Tiguan Allspace

At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Volkswagen is presenting two new models as part of its SUV offensive: the Atlas and the new long version of the Tiguan, both being launched in the US in 2017.

Dr Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Volkswagen Brand Board of Management, explains: “North America is very significant for our brand, and the most important task we face is to regain the trust of our customers. Volkswagen stands for cars designed for American buyers and built in the North American region, cars at attractive prices. The new Volkswagen Atlas and the all-new Tiguan mark the beginning of a major product offensive.”

The Volkswagen brand is adding to the Tiguan range next year with the launch of the long version. In addition to its longer wheelbase, the new SUV is also identifiable by other features. The individually designed silhouette of the rear section, modifications to the front and a much enhanced standard specification differentiate it from the more compact Tiguan version. The newly conceived top version with up to seven seats will be successively launched in North America, China and Europe from as early as late spring.

In Europe the name of the long version will carry the suffix ‘Allspace’.

The new Atlas celebrated its world premiere at the end of October in Santa Monica. Volkswagen is for the first time offering with the Atlas a model in the high-volume mid-size SUV class that is fully tailored to the American needs. The new model is being made for the North American market in Chattanooga (Tennessee) and offers innovative technologies plus spacious dimensions with room for up to seven people.

01-infiniti-qx50-concept-fMaking its global premiere at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the QX50 Concept showcases INFINITI’s vision for a next-generation mid-size premium SUV.

Demonstrating how the design of the 2016 QX Sport Inspiration, its conceptual forebear, could be adapted for a future production model, the QX50 Concept confidently articulates INFINITI’s ‘Powerful Elegance’ design language. A ‘cabin-forward’ silhouette combines with muscular lines and flowing surfaces to telegraph its purpose as a dynamic and practical SUV.

The organic forms of the ‘driver-centric, passenger-minded’ cabin were designed in harmony with the exterior shape. Blending progressive design with modern craftsmanship, the QX50 Concept’s interior reflects INFINITI’s desire to challenge conventional approaches to premium interior design.

INFINITI’s latest concept also previews the roll-out of its autonomous drive support technologies. Central to the strategy for the development of all future INFINITI autonomous drive support systems, they ensure the driver retains ultimate control over their vehicle – in keeping with INFINITI’s focus on driver engagement. Allowing drivers to retain control over their vehicle, INFINITI autonomous drive support systems will act as a ‘co-pilot’ for the driver, empowering rather than replacing human control.

Furthermore, the QX50 Concept illustrates a potential application for INFINITI’s advanced Variable Compression Turbo (VC-Turbo) engine, offering drivers a powertrain that adapts to offer both power and efficiency.

102989jeepJeep’s continued and growing popularity in the UK is illustrated in new car registrations figures, which show the best year in the UK for the 4×4 manufacturer since it started trading here.

Jeep capped a hugely successful 2016, with strong December sales taking the total number for the year to a record-breaking 14,090 – up 30.5 per cent on last year’s 10,794.

Jeep market share for the year increased to 0.52 per cent compared with 0.41 per cent in 2015, according to figures supplied by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Jeep’s 813 cars registered in December compared favourably with the 759 for the same month in 2015.

Leading the way in terms of 2016 sales was the popular Jeep Renegade B-segment SUV, which accounted for 11,099 sales alone, and there were strong performances from Cherokee (1565), Grand Cherokee (1104), and Wrangler (322).

“The year 2016 was a great one for Jeep in the UK, in terms of brand recognition and sales. It was Jeep’s 75th Anniversary – a fantastic milestone to reach – and that helped us to end the year on a high point,” says Damien Dally, head of brand, Jeep UK.

“People continue to look to Jeep for their next car and, with exciting new products such as Jeep Compass on the way, I am confident we can continue to build on Jeep’s success for many years to come.”