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Sarah Kidd

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Motorists looking to go on road trips this summer are being warned about roller coaster roads in the UK.

Motoring experts at LeaseCar.uk have revealed a round-up of the routes you may want to avoid this holiday season due to their roller-coaster-like nature.

From narrow roads, steep hills and sharp corners, there are many roads around the UK which resemble a roller coaster that Brits might not be aware of until it’s too late.

Among them are routes including Snake Pass in Derbyshire, Vale Street in Bristol and Kirkstone Pass in the Lake District.

A spokesperson for LeaseCar.uk said “We want motorists heading out on the road this summer to be well prepared and know what sort of roads they may be coming up against.

“These twisty roads are enough to incite fear in even the most experienced of drivers. Their sheer drops, sharp bends and uneven terrain should definitely be avoided where possible!”

1. Vale Street

This residential street located in Bristol is one of the steepest roads in England. Manoeuvring its way between houses, this tightly packed road is sure to cause concern to even the most skilled motorist. 

Drivers at the bottom of the road are met with an incline so sharp that it is almost vertical, with a roughly 33% gradient incline. In fact, this incline is so immense that residents often have to park their cars horizontally outside their properties so that the cars don’t roll away on their own. Although not ideal for motorists, perhaps this street could provide some excellent opportunities for skiing in the winter!

2. Kirkstone Pass

Breaking records as the Lake District’s highest road, Kirkstone Pass has a spine-chilling altitude of 1,489 feet. The road gradient approaches 1 in 4 and is traditionally referred to as ‘the struggle’ by locals due to the harsh gradient making it so difficult for motorists. 

However, ‘the struggle’ may eventually pay off for motorists as the summit reveals stunning views of both Patterdale and Troutbeck valleys. 

3. Rosedale Chimney 

Located in North Yorkshire in the centre of the North York Moors national park, this roller coaster road is a mountain pass with a gradient of 33% and a maximum of around 1 in 3. This fearsome road isn’t only difficult due to its steep gradient, it is also very narrow and challenges motorists with a series of steep turns. 

4. Snake Pass

The name of this road alone is sure to warn motorists that this is a roller coaster road. Filled with twists and turns, this road sits between the Ladybower reservoir and Glossop. The road’s poor accident record should concern any motorist looking to travel this route. 

The route was once advertised as the main avenue between Manchester and Sheffield, however authorities have recently thought better of directing traffic towards this dangerous trail. 

5. Zig Zag Hill

The aptly named Zig Zag hill is the bendiest one mile stretch of road in the UK. This route is attributed a roller coast road spot as a result of its steep incline, several sharp turns and rocky terrain! 

The hill is part of the B3081 road located near Shaftesbury, Dorset. Drivers making the route up this winding road could be forgiven for believing they are ascending on to a mile of alpine driving due to the vast trees surrounding the route. Motorists are warned that many of the sharp corners along the route can often be covered in leaves and grease, at times disguising the sharp angles of the road. 

6. Cat and Fiddle road

Once labelled the ‘UK’s most dangerous road”, this ribbon-like route is a 7.5 mile stretch which runs between Buxton, Derbyshire, Macclesfield and Chesire.

Whilst offering picturesque views of the Greater Manchester conurbation, the route is scattered with a plethora of sharp roller coaster corners, which have caused many motorists to lose control of their vehicle unexpectedly. 

More recently, improvements have been made to the road to make it safer for motorists, including the installation of motorcycle crash barriers and speed check cameras. Luckily for motorists looking to take this route, these improvements have taken the road away from the top spot of most dangerous.

7. A361

This treacherous road is the longest of this run-down, spanning a length of 195 miles. However, the most dangerous part of the road is said to be the section connecting Chipping Norton to Banbury in Oxfordshire. This single carriageway is a hotspot for vehicle accidents. 

Between 2012 and 2014 there was a spine-chilling total of 22 serious accidents. Motorists are encouraged to slow down when winding through residential villages on the route. 

• 37% holding onto cars longer than usual as not sure which fuel type to go for
• Only 8% of drivers say they will buy an electric car for next car

Almost one in three drivers (32%) say if they were buying a new or a second-hand car they do not know whether to buy a petrol, electric or diesel powered one. Younger drivers, 18 – 34s, are even more undecided with almost half (49%) saying they are unsure what type of fuel-powered car to go for.

The Opinium survey of 2,000 UK drivers, commissioned by InsuretheGap.com, a provider of GAP (Guaranteed Asset Protection) insurance, finds that over a third (37%) are also holding onto their current car for longer than usual as they do not to know whether to buy a petrol, electric or diesel car (men 41% and women 33%).

While the government is keen for drivers to switch to non-fossil fuel cars, and the sale of wholly- powered new petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2030 (and new hybrids from 2035), this survey reveals that consumers are unsure of what they should or should not be buying.

Also, only 8% of drivers say they will buy an electric car for their next car purchase (10% men and 6% women).

Ben Wooltorton, Chief Operating Office, InsuretheGap.com, said: “With the UK government banning the sale of new diesel and petrol cars from 2030, drivers do need to start looking at electric cars seriously. However, this survey clearly shows that there is still little appetite and more than a little confusion. It looks like a lot more reassurance is needed before many motorists will be ready to ditch their internal combustion engines for good.”

The survey of 2,001 drivers (18+) was carried out by Opinium from 5 – 9 February 2021.

With the first half of 2021 now behind us, leading vehicle tracking and security brand – Global Telemetrics – reveals its theft report for the period January – June. Once again, the Land Rover badge holds the most appeal for car thieves with the brand featuring seven times on Global Telemetrics ‘top 10 most stolen’ list.

2021 has been a busy year for Global Telemetrics with over £10.8 million of vehicles recovered to-date, including over £2.3 million in June alone. Recoveries have been reported from across the country, including high-value vehicles such as a Lamborghini Urus, Bentley Bentayga, Mercedes AMG G53, BMW i8 and BMW M3.

It’s not just high-value vehicles that were recovered, however. Protecting their investment remains important for a range of owners, particularly those that use a van for professional purposes. Amongst the lowest value recoveries during the period January – June 2021 were a Ford Transit, Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Fiesta ST-2, Volvo Excavator and an Abarth 595.

Theft hotspots remain unchanged with London, West Midlands, Essex, Kent and Manchester seeing the most thefts thanks to the saturation of prestigious vehicles in these areas.

Theft methods continue to make for grim reading. Global Telemetrics report that keyless entry, hijacking and burglary remain the three main approaches employed by would-be thieves.

Talking about the latest data, Global Telemetrics’ Gavin Hennessy said: “Spending more time at home means car thieves have more opportunity than ever to scope out potential targets, safe in the knowledge that the keys are in close proximity. So many thefts are avoidable if keys were stored safely, whether in a faraday bag or box to block keyless entry signals or hidden away in an unlikely location to avoid any ‘smash and grab’ opportunities. Simple changes that don’t make it easy for thieves really can make a huge difference to overall theft figures.”

Global Telemetrics Top 10 most stolen (Jan – June 2021)

1)        Land Rover – Range Rover Sport

2)      Land Rover – Range Rover Vogue

3)      Land Rover – Range Rover Autobiography

4)      Ford – Transit

5)      Land Rover – Range Rover Velar

6)      BMW X5

7)       BMW X6

8)      Land Rover – Discovery

9)      Land Rover – Defender

10)   Land Rover – Range Rover Evoque

To find out more about Global Telemetrics’s vehicle tracking options and how they can empower your security please visit www.globaltelemetrics.com or 0800 279 6401.

If you were in the market for a solid, yet hooligan-esque SUV but felt you were lacking in options, Skoda may be about to answer your prayers.

They’ve released a teaser video of a Kodiaq vRS at the Nurburgring with a promise of a ‘record breaking lap’.

Sabine Schmidt was at the helm for the lap, which will be revealed tomorrow, 14th June. Keep your eyes peeled…

Details on the hot seven-seater are yet to be announced, but it is expected to hit the market later in the year.

Want one already?

Jaguar E-PACE global media drive, Corsica 2018

Jaguar’s second SUV has been bolstered by a new choice of engine, more safety tech and optional adaptive suspension.

The brand’s 197bhp 2.0-litre petrol unit is now available in the E-Pace at a price of £33,260. With a twin scroll turbo it achieves 0-60mph in 7.7 seconds and claimed economy figures of 34.4mpg.

Adaptive suspension is now available, too. The electronic system reads the road conditions every two milliseconds and adjust the dampers every 10 to manage body roll and improve vehicle control. There are selectable comfort an dynamic settings, that either prioritise a smoother ride or driver engagement.

Smart Settings is a new AI system Jag have introduced to tailor the vehicle settings to your preferences. The self-learning system can accommodate up to eight profiles, and monitors weather, location and your behaviour to learn when you’d want the heated steering wheel on, what type of music you listen to in the morning and so on. Debuted on the new I-Pace, the Smart Settings is part of the Connect Pro Pack, which also includes a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot, real-time traffic information and an alert when you’ve forgotten your mobile phone.

All E-Pace models will now also come with particulate air filters on all engines, and are available to order from dealers from £28,500.

The July issue of 4×4 hits newsstands today – and it’s a pick-up special!

Toyota’s rugged one-tonne Hilux Active wins us over with it’s no nonsense attitude and we learn how the Isuzu D-Max Huntsman hits a very specific nail on the head.

Featured vehicles include a six-wheeled Land Cruiser and a Ranger that’s kitted for professional off-roading, plus we ponder when a Land Rover becomes too long.

Our Project 90 muddies its boots and the long-term Skoda Kodiak Scout… gets overtaken by a cyclist.

All of that, plus the monthly update of trail guides and much more!

Buy it in all of the usual ways – from WHSmiths, independent newsagents or via our online store, where you can currently get the next 12 issues for £12!

The fourth generation of BMW’s X5 has been revealed, with an active chassis system and a choice of three engines.

With a new, refreshed design, the X5 remains simultaneously rugged and sleek, and is longer, taller and wider than its predecessor – with a longer wheelbase too. Xline models are differentiated from M Sport models with aluminium grille bars, window surrounds, roof rails and pearl chrome details – M Sport have body coloured wheel arches and bumper trim, and gloss black roof rails and exterior trim. M Sport lines also get bigger alloys, a choice of 20-inch alloys and 22-inch for M Sport Performance models, whilst Xline vehicles have 19-inch standard alloys.

Two diesel and a singular petrol engine will be on offer in the new X5 – the 265bhp, 457lbf.ft xDrive30d, the 400bhp, 560lbf.ft M50d and the 340bhp, 332lbf.ft xDrive40i petrol. The bigger diesel hits 60mph in 5.2 seconds, whilst the smaller option manages a combined mpg of 47.1.

Each of the engine choices comes with the latest eight-speed Steptronic automatic ‘box, with a wider ratio spread and new electric controls for improved efficiency.

M Performance models get a lockable rear diff, with all models fitted with the xDrive 4wd system – featuring a rear wheel drive option.  The new chassis setup includes a double wishbone front axle and five link rear, features a dynamic damper control system and sport or comfort settings. The system also combines active roll stabilisation, active four-wheel steering, and an optional off-road package including underbody protection, and sand, rock, gravel and snow traction control settings.

A fully digital instrument cluster shares the same graphics as the control touchscreen, in an interior with minimal physical buttons. Leather sports seats are electrically controlled and offered in a choice of four colours. M sport models get an M Sport steering wheel, pedals and accent piping on the upholstery.

Four-zone air conditioning is new, as is the panoramic glass roof which features LED lights that can imitate a starry night sky, and thermo controlled cup holders. An optional rear-seat entertainment package places two 10.1-inch screen on the rear of the front seats, and has access to a Blu-ray enabled DVD player, HMDI and USB ports and two headphone jacks.

Driver assists include adaptive cruise, stop and go functionality, the ability and adhere to speed limits, lane and steering assist, traffic assist, and lane change, crossing traffic and rear-end collision warning systems.Parking the X5 has been simplified with parking assistant, and front, rear and panoramic camera views.

Mobile connectivity is available on a subscription basis, whilst a hard drive of 20gb is embedded into the X5’s system, which remotely downloads updates when they are released. An integrated Microsoft Office 365 function brings the office to the cockpit, making emails and calendar appointments easily accessible on the move.

The fourth-gen X5 goes on sale in the UK in June, with prices beginning at £56,710 for xDrive30d models. The M50d starts at £70,690 whilst the petrol xDrive40i kicks off at £58,100.

 

 

Audi’s new flagship SUV has been revealed. The Q8 is a coupé version of the former range-topping Q7, and becomes the new face of the German marque’s growing SUV portfolio.

The new Singleframe grille, accentuated by the front spoiler and air inlets, provides a striking face for the luxury SUV, which is rounded off with contrasting door and wheel arch trims on a body that is shorter, longer and wider than the Q7.

Inside, the Q8 offers quilted leather seating, an elegant and smooth dash featuring two touchscreen control panels and optional contour lighting. The 10.1-inch touch screen on the dash controls the infotainment and navigation functions, whilst the 8.6-inch display below it covers the heating and air conditioning, convenience functions and text input, too. Usefully, this is designed to be operated whilst the driver’s wrist rests on the selector lever. Responsive voice control helps the driver, for example, if it hears a statement of hunger, it will respond by suggesting local eateries. Behind the wheel sits a third, 12.3-inch screen that shows the driver the usual info and stats, which can also be seen in the heads up display.

The infotainment system also works in conjunction with the MyAudi app, controlling the navigation system, music and transfer the smartphone’s calendar into the Q8.

Permanent four-wheel drive powers the Q8, courtesy of a mild hybrid system, with a 48-volt lithium ion battery and belt alternator starter working alongside a trio of combustion engines – initially a 3.0-litre 282bhp diesel V6, that will be followed by a 228bhp version and a 335bhp petrol. Regenerative braking can recover up to 12kW of power for the battery.

Adaptive air suspension has 3.5-inches of adjustability, and there are 10 inches of ground clearance on offer. Four wheel steering is optional, with five-degrees of added agility available from the rear wheels.

Driver assistance is plentiful on the Q8, with four driver assist packages. The Tour package includes adaptive cruise control and lane assist functions, and manages speed in corners and on roundabouts. It also has Emergency support, which detects within system limits whether the driver is active, if not it sends out an audible alert, and if required stops the vehicle in its lane and sends out an emergency call. These work alongside emergency safety systems that avoid collisions in traffic. Park package contains manoeuvring assistance, avoiding collision with steering input and automatic braking, plus kerb warning, automatic parking pilot and its close relative the remote garage pilot – controlled via the myAudi app. However, Park plus suite won’t be available upon initial launch.

The plus assist package will combine the tour, emergency and parking packages into one… package, plus assistance in steering with a hitched trailer.

No official information has been released regarding the price of the Q8, but the flagship SUV is set to go on sale in the summer.

 

Land Rover have revealed their CORTEX project will explore the future of autonomous all-terrain vehicles.

Using LIDAR technology that monitors light, acoustics, video, radar and distance sensing, CORTEX looks to develop vehicles that can handle themselves in all conditions – dirt, rain, ice, snow and fog. The result aims to be level 4 and 5 off-road autonomy.

‘It’s important that we develop our self-driving vehicles with the same capability and performance that our customers expect from all Land Rovers,’ said Chris Holmes, head of Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Research at JLR. ‘Self-driving is an inevitability for the automotive industry and ensuring that our autonomous offering is the most enjoyable, capable and safe is what drives us to explore the boundaries of innovation. CORTEX gives us the opportunity to work with some fantastic partners whose expertise will help us realise this vision in the near future.’

The CORTEX project will utilise algorithms, sensor optimisation and physical testing on off-road terrain in the UK, and will be conducted in conjunction with the University of Birmingham and Myrtle AI, leading experts in machine learning.

A Range Rover with a 2.0-litre petrol engine. Truly, we never thought we’d see the day.

Last time Land Rover put such a small petrol unit in a proper-sized vehicle, it was the first-generation Discovery MPi. And just look how well that worked out.

But there’s no cause for concern. The P400e is a million miles away from that bad old Disco. It’s petrol engine is part of a plug-in hybrid system – which dishes out a total of 404bhp and 472lbf.ft. The latter peaks from 1500rpm and most of it is there from standstill, electric motors being what they are, so the only resemblance between this vehicle and the wheezy, breathless MPi is a small, green, oval one.

Well, there’s also the fact that it’s built to be masterful off-road, albeit thanks now to a cornucopia of electronic sensors rather than any reliance on basic engineering. That’s just an inevitable by-product of Land Rover’s march to where it is now, however, so there’s no point being rooted in the past – and anyway, there was no off-road part to the brief test drive we had in the vehicle, though a set of back roads rougher than many a green lane proved that even with 21” wheels to cope with, the Range Rover’s air suspension is capable of smoothing out pattery corrugations and crashy pot holes alike.

But what we’re here for is to experience the effects of the hybrid powertrain. It has an EV mode, which allows you to glide around at low speeds with literally no mechanical noise to be heard, though the petrol engine does still kick in under enough load. In theory, you can do 31 miles on battery power, and with plug-in charging this means that under the right circumstances, you can get to and from school, work, Waitrose and so on without ever using a drop of petrol.

In the real world, where the electric motors simply assist the engine, the results are impressive to the point of being startling. You can build speed smoothly, quietly and with ridiculous ease – the engine doesn’t sound strained, and the electric side is impossible to detect in action.

That’s not the case when you’re pulling out at T-junctions, however. Twice on our brief drive, as we put out foot down the Range Rover eased out with an initial hesitancy followed by a sudden surge of torque that kicked out the back end  and brought the traction control rampaging in to keep us from going into a spin. Definitely not a very Range Roverly state of affairs.

Nonetheless, this is a sublime 4×4 whose smoothness and refinement are backed up by a claimed 101mpg. And at £95,500 as tested, it almost looks cheap by the standards of today’s luxury SUV market. Turns out a 2.0-litre petrol engine was a welcome addition to the Range Rover range after all.