Author:
• Monday, July 28th, 2014

The Mazda MX 5 has been around for a long time. It was one of the pioneers in affordable roadsters after the trend started to die out among manufacturers. The third generation carries Mazda’s recipe for success. The car boasts affordability, attractive styling, good handling and high levels of refinement.

The Japanese company has enjoyed much long-term success with the MX 5. This is one roadster that is simple in design, yet fun to drive. The Mazda is affordable and has had little real competition. The MX 5 is a favorite among North American driving enthusiasts. The little car offers so much at such an affordable price that competitors have a hard time trying to keep up. The MX 5 provides low handling limits, and the steering and suspension are both excellent. The car has undergone some changes but they have been for the better as quality has been improved and the cars looks kept very clean and modern. The car’s engaging driving characteristics and good looks are only a small portion of what the car has to offer. The car’s boot is very useable and practical. It is difficult to not look twice with all the MX 5 has to offer and at such an affordable asking price.

 Practicality

 The MX 5 was designed for performance. The car is very attractively styled but boasts a very reasonable purchase price. Given the car’s proven reliability the car should continue to have low running costs aside from a higher insurance rating due to the fact that the car is a convertible, and fuel economy probably won’t be great either. The car provides adequate passenger space for two. That’s it. The car has a small boot and is even smaller and more limited with the top down. The boot can handle some small packages or shopping, but that’s about it. The car’s main dials are clear and easy to read. The MX 5 has a very simple fascia and doesn’t have anything too complicated to figure out. The gearshift is light and precise and so is the steering. Remote audio controls on the steering wheel are a bonus. For the most part everything is exactly where you’d expect to find it. The car provides decent levels of comfort. The seats are supportive and comfortable and space is adequate for two adult passengers to ride in reasonable comfort. For the most part the MX 5 is easy to access. The seating position is fairly low and may cause problems for some, but the car’s cabin is much easier to access than one might expect. Egress isn’t too bad either. Most passengers shouldn’t have any problems. The car is easy to park. The car’s light steering makes it easy to maneuver into even small parking spaces. Rear visibility is limited with the top up, and rear parking sensors off of the options list may prove to be a worthy investment.

 Life Style

The MX 5 provides excellent driver appeal. The little roadster is tons of fun to drive. Both engine options are competent of delivering a decent ride, but the lesser-powered 1.8 variant allows you to explore the car’s limits at lower speeds without sacrificing fun. The car’s handling could be better but is more than adequate as well. This is not a good family car. There is only enough seating for two. It could be used as a second vehicle with very limited duties but is not capable of transporting an entire family around town. This is a fairly affordable entry-level sports car. It delivers a spirited ride yet is easy enough that novice drivers should have no problem handling the car. The car is super easy to park with the top down and only slightly difficult to park with the top up. It could be used as a first car. The Mazda MX 5 has a large loyal following. Everywhere it is sold people have nothing but good things to say about the little roadster. The car bosts a high quality build and loads of style. The MX 5 reflects positively on the company.

 Security and Safety

The car comes equipped standard with remote central locking and a security alarm and engine immobiliser system. The fabric roof may prove to be a security vulnerability, and all valuables should be kept out of sight. The car comes with twin front airbags and anti-lock brakes. Side airbags are offered as a cost option. The car comes with Isofix mounting points and the ability to turn off the passenger airbag, and a pair of rollover hoops protect occupants should the car turn over.

 The Finishing Touches

 The car comes standard with a radio and CD unit. The system delivers good sound quality. Steering wheel controls are available on the options list with six speakers. The only upgrade is a ‘Bose’ brand system boasting more powerful output and a CD changer. The MX 5 has always looked best in black or red. The car’s interior is comprised mostly of black plastics. The interior quality is good and will look good with most of the available exterior colors.

 Summary

 The new generation MX 5 has layed to rest many of the past issues that plagued previous models. The car boasts good performance and quality-build. The car is reliable , so it makes for a good used car and it is extremely stylish, and best of all the car is more affordable than most of its competitors.

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Author:
• Monday, July 28th, 2014

The 307 was one of the first cars in its class to make use of a metal folding roof instead of the more traditional fabric tops. Peugeot has added various enhancements to the new model including interior and exterior upgrades, plus the car will receive a 2.0-litre HDi diesel engine.

Improved security and noise insulation has increased the popularity of this sector. The original 307 CC enjoyed great popularity and has held a good piece of the market, yet the company has enhanced the 307 to keep it up-to-date and competitive. The 307 CC’s exterior now boasts a front grille that is deeper and wider and with chrome detailing. The grille is flanked by a pair of fog lights. The bonnet is now made from aluminium, and the front wings are now made of a plastic composite and should increase damage resistance. On the inside Peugeot has increased both comfort and equipment levels. The car’s dual-zone automatic air conditioning system, allows separate temperature settings for both front passengers. The car’s standard fit radio has been revised and Bluetooth phone connectivity is now available as a cost option. The car’s instrument graphics have also been enhanced. Peugeot now offers a 2.0-litre HDi diesel in the 307 CC. The engine offers similar performance to the 2.0-litre petrol unit but with much better fuel economy.

 Practicality

The initial purchase price is a little steep, but the car’s convertible capabilities combined with its low running costs and good fuel economy help to justify the expense. The car should also receive decent insurance rates. The car’s interior space is very good. Head and legroom are good all-round, but rear passengers may begin to feel cramped on longer journeys. Boot space with the top up is very good but is limited considerably with the top down. The car has a large rev counter and speedometer that take center stage in the instrument layout. The controls and displays are easy to read and sport a nice look and feel. Satellite navigation is optional, and some of the sat-nav controls are fiddly and a little difficult to use. Front seat passengers have plenty of space and supportive seats should further enhance comfort. Rear passengers have less room and the rear seats can become uncomfortable due to the seating position provided by the backseats. Access to the car’s cabin is good. Front seat passengers shouldn’t have any problem at all sliding into the seats, and rear passengers may encounter some difficulty getting in while the car’s top is up. Access to the car’s boot is straightforward and shouldn’t pose a problem. Parking the 307 is super easy thanks to great all-round visibility. Parking is even easier with the top down. Rear sensors are fitted as standard and shouldn’t be needed but give a little extra confidence while parking.

 Life Style

 The 307 CC offers accurate steering and decent feedback. It offers a good ride and the car’s suspension system does a good job of keeping the ride smooth. The diesel engine provides more than enough power, while noise levels are kept low. The 307 could adequately transport a family of four. As long as the children were small. If the kids are older, forget it. Boot space is limited with the top down and luggage space is also limited. Even smaller families would need to upgrade eventually to a more suitable vehicle. This is probably not a likely first car for many new drivers. Despite the car’s attractive exterior and easy driving demeanor. The car comes with a high initial purchase price and will also be costly to insure as well. For first time buyers who can afford it the car has a lot of appeal. The car has an excellent image. Not only is it convertible, but it also has a metal top which is now more desirable to most buyers. The car’s materials have a quality feel and add to the car’s charming personality.

 Security and Safety

 The car comes equipped standard with an alarm and immobiliser. The metal folding roof also provides superior protection to the more traditional fabric roof. The 307 comes with six airbags, front seats with seat belt pre-tensioners and ABS. A pair of rollover hoops are also provided in case the car tuns over.

 The Finishing Touches

The SE model receives a five CD changer. The autochanger mounts in the dashboard. The main controls for the stereo are small and may be difficult to operate. The unit delivers good sound quality. Both the S and SE models are available with leather upholstery. The leather definitely adds a touch of class and quality. The car’s door cappings, dashboard and seats are finished in either red or black hide. The rest of the cabin is primarily black.

Summary

 The 307 offers seating for four and a metal roof. The diesel form increases fuel economy and practicality. The high purchase price and limited room for rear passengers might lose some buyers, but for those who give the 307 some serious consideration it won’t easily disappoint.

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Author:
• Monday, July 28th, 2014

Volkswagen is well-known for its reliability and durability. The company makes quality cars that tend to be solid inside and out. The Touran is not the most unique vehicle on the market, but it is an excellent family vehicle, and boasts an excellent build quality.

The VW Touran comes with either a five or seven seat arrangement. The seven seat option is the most popular. The Touran is a more nimble vehicle than most of the other seven seaters on the market, and the rear seats fold flat. The car is easy to drive, and the seating arrangement offers some versatility. The Touran is a fairly expensive purchase. In fact, it just might be one of the most expensive MPVs on the market. It is likely that many buyers will be willing to pay a little more for the badge. The car should enjoy good resale values and the VW badge will help out when it comes time to sell offer. The Sharan is a sensible and straightforward vehicle that offers a lot in the way of practicality. The car will have some major competitors with the same engines on offer and similar features for less money. There are many high-class family vehicles on the market, and the Touran may find it hard to compete price-wise.

 Practicality

The Volkswagen Touran is an expensive car to purchase, but running costs are low and insurance and service charges will be low as well. Fuel economy will be excellent, and resale values should be good. The cabin is spacious and will provide more than sufficient space for all of the car’s passengers. The seats can be arranged to turn the Touran into a van. The boot is large and is big enough for odd shaped items. The car will be able to accommodate the needs of a family quite easily. The gauges are clear and concise. They are logically placed and practical. They are also well illuminated with the trademark blue and red glow. The fascia is uncluttered and the controls are straightforward. Passengers will be comfortable, though the seats are a bit firm. Plenty of head and legroom throughout the cabin ensures that the passengers will be comfortable even on longer trips. Accessing the cabin is easy, though in tight car lots the swinging doors may be a bit difficult to open widely. The wide door apertures and a high roofline make the climb into the cabin much easier. The boot is accessed through a large hatch that allows for unrestricted access. Parking the Volkswagen Touran is not an easy task by any standard, though parking sensors are an option on all models. They will prove to be invaluable when both forward and reverse parking as distances are hard to judge and the car is hard to maneuver in tight spaces.

 Life Style

 Most drivers will find that the Tourer is likeable enough. The car may feel a little lacking due to the fact that the car’s throttle and steering inputs are electronically regulated, but it is always precise. Diesel engines feel more powerful than they  are thanks to the amount of torque offered. The Touran also doesn’t lean through corners like most of the other cars in this class. This is an excellent family vehicle. The fact that it seats seven and provides more than adequate cabin space for all passengers is a huge plus. The car is versatile and can also carry a good deal of cargo. The van is durable enough to handle family life, yet classy enough that it can be taken anywhere. This is not a good first car. It is expensive, and large. Novice drivers may have a difficult time navigating the Touran and are not likely to need so much space. The Volkswagen Company is known for producing quality and reliable cars. Owners will not need to worry about owning a badge that’s stylish enough. Volkwagen’s badge carries plenty of clout, but the Touran as practical as it is will not be much of a head turner.

 Security and Safety

 The S-badgesd model comes standard with an imobilizer and remote central locking, however the SE and Sport models also come with an alarm with interior protection. The Touran also has many storage compatments that will keep items left behind in the car hidden from any curious eyes. The Touran comes with a standard safety package that includes, three-point safety seat belts for all the seats, ESP, brake assist, ABS, and curtain air bags for front and second row seats.

 The Finishing Touches

 All models come standard equipped with a factory-fit stereo with CD player. However there are many extra possibilities when it comes to the entertainment inside the car, including a six-disk changer which is mounted in the driver armrest. The car’s basic models feels a little lacking. Standard levels of equipment are adequte, but the base model does not come standard with ABS, brake assist, seat-back tables, rear electric windows and an alarm system.

 Summary

 The touran is not a dynamic drive, but customers who loved the Volkswagen Golf and are needing more space for the kids are likely to find the Touran appealing. The Touran shares many similarities with the Golf, and customers loyal to the brand may find that the Touran is the next logical step.

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Author:
• Monday, July 28th, 2014

The Suzuki Alto was first introduced in Japan in 1979 as a city car that combined fun, affordability and low running costs. These values remain at the heart of the new seventh generation model. The Suzuki Alto will appeal to those who are turned off by boxier city minis as its smooth lines and elongated headlamps give it a neat look. The car is powered by a small 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine. The Alto makes the best use of the 67bhp available thanks to its low kerb weight which allows it to offer both reasonable acceleration and some impressive fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emission figures. The Suzuki Alto’s punchy power delivery and narrow construction help it to find gaps bigger cars will miss in town – and the engine sounds surprisingly good when revved hard.

Practicality

The Suzuki Alto may be a city car, but it uses space well so that four adults can be accommodated in the casual-looking interior. They will have less luck with any luggage they bring with them however as the boot space is tiny. The rear seats can be folded down for larger items and they can be split on the range-topping model. The Suzuki Alto is built in India and has been designed to withstand the challenges of Indian roads, so it should be more than tough enough to cope with those that Britain has to offer. The cabin is well built and feels solid although some of the plastics used are shiny and hard. On the passenger side of the cabin the bottom of the instrument panel incorporates a pocket with capacity for six 500ml drink bottles, handbags, magazines and similarly sized items. As far as running costs are concerned the Alto should be one of the cheapest cars on the market thanks to a low insurance rating, miserly use of fuel and reasonably priced servicing.

Life Style

The Suzuki Alto offers a smooth flowing profile from the windscreen to the roof line. This combines with wedge-shaped side windows to give a sporty look. The door mirrors further promote aerodynamic efficiency with heir slinky shape. The positioning of the wheels at the four corners of the chassis coupled with eye-catching wheel arches creates a strong presence on the road. At the front end, a ‘face’ based on a single-frame grille, communicates a bold, sporty personality. The pronounced headlamps reinforce the sporty image. The Suzuki Alto is a refined beast for a city car putting in a decent shift on what passes for roads in Britain these days. The handling won’t be giving hot hatches any sleepless nights but its predictable road manners, zippy responses, competent chassis and accurate steering make it fun to drive in town or country. The Suzuki Alto offers good sound insulation and pliant springs which means that unlike some rivals it is well up to dealing with motorway journeys. The car has excellent green credentials although it’s a shame that CO2 emissions just miss out on breaking the 100g/km barrier. However it will still be high on the list for the increasing number of buyers judging what car to buy on how little it impacts on the environment.

Security and Safety

The Suzuki Alto has the usual security features plus a fully integrated audio system and a visible vehicle identification number that makes life harder for thieves’ intent on stealing your pride and joy. As far as safety is concerned every Alto has ISOFIX child-seat mountings, twin front and side airbags, plus anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution. Curtain airbags and stability control are fitted as standard on the range-topping model. The Suzuki Alto’s body shape reflects Suzuki’s Total Effective Control Technology concept in the form of crushable structures that absorb impact energy, frames that disperse impact energy away from occupants, and a strong cabin design.

The Finishing Touches

Levels of equipment on the Suzuki Alto are respectable with all but the most basic version getting air conditioning. The entry-level SZ2 trim comes with a radio/CD player that offers plenty of volume, and electric front windows. Upgrade to the SZ3 if you want air-con while the range-topping SZ4 offers front fog lamps, alloy wheels and a rev counter.

Review Summary
The latest generation of the Suzuki Alto is made for the urban jungle thanks to its small size and tight turning circle. It offers great fuel economy, doesn’t cost a lot to insure and comes with plenty of safety equipment as standard.

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Author:
• Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

A recent survey has revealed that up to 10 million motorists in the UK are driving without a valid MOT certificate.

The research, carried out by the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders), showed that around 1 in 3 drivers admitted to driving without an MOT at some point, with 2% admitting to doing so for over 6 months.

Drivers in the South West were the worst offenders geographically, while the survey also illustrated that younger drivers were more likely to drive illegally; 39% of 18- to 24-year-olds admitted to driving after their MOT certificate had expired.

Even the most law-abiding age group, those aged between 45 and 54, were not particularly diligent; 28% of them drove without a valid MOT.

Mike Baunton, SMMT interim chief, commented on the results: “A significant proportion of motorists forget the MOT, risking safety, fines and penalty points.”

No government reminders are sent to a motorist when a vehicle is due to have its MOT renewed. If you need to have your vehicle MOT tested, you can find out which garages offer the cheapest prices in your area through the use of comparison sites. AutoVillage.co.uk and CarSite.co.uk both offer this service.

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Author:
• Monday, February 04th, 2013

It’s becoming a regular occurrence now throughout the British winter. Every year we seem to be hit with at least a week or so of heavy snow. Sure it can be fun for a few hours, maybe even a day if you manage to get it off work, but after that it becomes a real nuisance. Everybody gives a new meaning to the word caution and decides to drive at 5mph, while driving down cul de sacs can be a nightmare. It’s easy for cars to slip on the ice and bump into something, which can cause hefty servicing costs. To minimise your risks in the snow, go for a car that is better equipped – here are our top five cars for driving in the snow.

 

Fiat Panda 4×4
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The Fiat Panda is a strong performer on all fronts when it comes to driving in the snow, and what’s more it is cheap to buy and cheap to run. It has four-wheel drive and its small, narrow tyres have been expertly designed to cut through the snow.

 

Toyota Hilux
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The Toyota Hilux is a lean, mean snow-ploughing machine. Well, maybe not lean, but it sure will cut through the snow on British roads with ease, considering that Jeremy Clarkson and James May drove one to the North Pole.

 

Range Rover
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The Range Rover has to make it into the top five purely because it’s the most luxurious vehicle on the market which will glide over snow like it’s not there. It’s a little pricier than say, the Fiat Panda 4×4, however.

 

Dacia Duster
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The Dacia Duster has made it into our list for virtually the opposite reason that the Range Rover did – it’s the ultimate budget snow driver. You can’t get a cheaper four-wheel drive and the Duster is accomplished when it comes to travelling through snow.

 

Land Rover Defender
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The Land Rover Defender is the king of the off-roaders in terms of terrain-tackling ability. It has little trouble traveling over the harshest of ground, so no amount of snow is going to unsettle your ride in this beast. Furthermore you can pick up a cheap secondhand Land Rover for reasonable money these days.

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Author:
• Monday, February 04th, 2013

Everybody has the occasional lapse in concentration, everybody has the odd “what was I thinking?” moment now and then. These can be costly when driving, namely in the way of points on your license, hefty fines and even bans. Of course there are certain incidents which can’t be prevented, but there are a lot of dumb ways to get caught out. We’ve made a list to remind you of a few things not to do. Here are our top five.

 

Don’t Use Your Phone
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This one goes without saying. There really is no excuse for being on the phone while driving, especially when hands free kits are so inexpensive and readily available. It’s actually a bit of a challenge to have your phone in one hand and use the other for both steering and gear changing, and if you get spotted the bacon will pull you over faster than you can hang up.

 

Watch Out For Speed Cameras
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Another no brainer, but it’s incredible just how many people still get flashed every day by those dreaded yellow boxes. If you’re not familiar with the road you’re driving down, make sure you look out for the limit signs before you put your pedal to the metal.

 

Eating Is Cheating
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This one may sound a little silly, but if you’re caught snacking while on the road you will get pulled over and could face a fine. Save it for later or pull over for your tasty treat.

 

Sleep Before Street
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Before you get in your vehicle, particularly before long journeys, make sure you have had enough rest. It’s not uncommon for tired drivers to momentarily fall asleep, which is needless to say incredibly dangerous.

 

Be Wary Of Traffic Wardens
Traffic Warden
Probably one of the most frequent and the most annoying one to get caught out on – parking fines. There are many residential roads that may look no different from any other, but look a little closer and you’ll spot the tiniest of signs outlining that parking is not permitted for non-residents. It doesn’t matter if you only have a little Mercedes A-Class, you’ll come back to a fine sitting on your windscreen.

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