The Home of Cars and the Motor Industry


Are some cars safer than others?

Safety is a key consideration for many people when buying a new car. Making sure your vehicle provides maximum protection in case of an accident is essential, but another factor is how pedestrian friendly the car is in the case of any unfortunate contact. The use of air bag technology in cars has been a major factor in passenger safety in recent years and research into how this technology can be improved to provide even better protection is ongoing.

Recent safety tests conducted by experts in this field have highlighted some of the vehicles that are top of the game in terms of overall safety. The BMW iX, which is an electric car, scored highly across the board and was praised for its innovative active bonnet that releases an airbag on contact with a pedestrian to minimise injury.

In the cheaper car range the Skoda Fabia has a good reputation for safety especially for its adult and child safety features inside the vehicle. Although it does not have active bonnet features it still has safety assist features that make this a safe car to drive in a variety of driving conditions.

When buying a used car, it is certainly worth checking the safety record of the vehicle make and model to ensure you and your passengers are safe when travelling.

Keep your car safe from thieves

Whether you own a top of the range 4×4, a spacious family seven-seater or a small city car your vehicle is, next to your house, probably the most expensive item you have which is why criminals are increasingly targeting these expensive possessions. As vehicle thefts and the theft of valuable parts such as catalytic convertors continued to rise last year which are the most effective ways of protecting your vehicle and avoiding the distress and frustration caused by these crimes?

As silly as it sounds clever parking can make it much more difficult for thieves to have access to the underside of the car. Keeping the car locked away in a garage is ideal but if that is not possible parking the front of the car, where the catalytic convertor is situated, as close as possible to a wall will give added security.

Having a reliable, good quality CCTV camera system that covers the area where the vehicle is parked is a good deterrent as is outdoor security lighting which is set to come on if there is movement detected around the vehicle. A doorbell camera is another way of monitoring who is visiting or watching your property and possibly assessing your comings and goings and the value of your vehicle.

What’s new in the SUV range?

SUV or sport utility vehicle is a car classification that includes road-going passenger cars with features commonly found on off-road vehicles, such as four-wheel drive. They have become increasingly popular not only with rural dwellers but also with those drivers who spend a lot of time on motorways.

Toyota have recently launched in the UK a seven-seater SUV called the Highlander and although this vehicle has been around for quite a while in other countries the all-wheel drive model is now available in the UK. This full hybrid self-charging SUV not only provides lower emissions but looks stylish, has plenty of interior space and comes with a multimedia touchscreen which controls major functions such as navigation and entertainment.

The seven-seater Highlander is so versatile as the rear passenger seats can be moved forward and backward and the rearmost seats fold into the floor so opening up a huge amount of boot space for luggage or shopping.

With safety in mind the Highlander has an active safety and driver assist system which will detect pedestrians by day and night a real boon when driving on rural roads which may be poorly lit. With its emergency steer assist and intersection turn assistance this has got to be one of the safest SUVs on the road today.

Drive down the cost of charging your electric car

Electric car ownership is growing at a rapid pace as the choice of vehicle becomes more varied and electric charge points become a more common sight on forecourts and at shopping centres and car parks. The cost of charging differs from place to place so here are a few tips to reduce the costs of charging your electric vehicle.

If you are able to charge your vehicle at home check to see if your energy company offers a tariff designed specifically for electric charging as this can save money. It may be worth speaking to someone at the energy company directly on the telephone rather than looking online. Charging at night may also save money when it comes to charging at home.

When out and about make sure that you are getting a good deal for electric vehicle charging as the cost varies from place to place quite considerably especially with fast charge points. If you have got time choose a slower charge point rather than a faster one unless it is essential for your journey. There are apps available that will not only show the location of charge points but the cost too so it may be worthwhile downloading an app to use.

Is your car suitable for towing a caravan?

Many more people now own a touring caravan as it has proved to be a popular way of holidaying in the UK but simply having a tow bar on your vehicle does not mean that it is necessarily suitable to tow a caravan and so it is certainly worth checking to see whether the towing weight is sufficient to tow the size of caravan you have.

To check the weight of your caravan you will need to look at the metal plate that is situated by the caravan door. This will need to be compared with the weight that your car can tow which can be found in the vehicle instruction manual or online. 

Once you know that a specific vehicle has the torque you need it is time to consider whether you need a manual transmission or whether an automatic would be preferable. Many people who are experienced at towing a caravan prefer a car with automatic transmission as it makes towing more straightforward.

If you are towing a large twin axle caravan a four wheeled drive vehicle may be more suitable especially if you plan to tow the caravan throughout the year however this does not necessarily mean that a SUV is needed as some estate cars can be four-wheel drive too.