Luxury Cars

"The difference between men and little boys is the price of their toys."

Fast Cars

"Everything in life is somewhere else, and you get there in a car."- E.B. White

Car Technology

"And I, I took the road less traveled by. I was using a GPS system."- Robert Brault

Green Cars

"Environmentally friendly cars will soon cease to be an option ... they will become a necessity."- Fujio Cho

Safe Cars

"Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves." - Albert Einstein

Friday, December 14, 2012

MINI JCW Paceman Photos Revealed!

Released just ahead of the Detroit Motor Show!

1 in 16 Commuters sleep in car to save cash

RAC and FairFuel UK launched a survey recently which discovered that 1 in 16 commuters have resorted to sleeping in their cars in order to save money on fuel. A further 3% have admitted to camping out near work to avoid the skyrocketing petrol prices.
 A spokesman for FairFuelUK, Quentin Willson said: “As a society, we’ve never seen this financial pressure on personal mobility.

Last year, Brits spent an incredible £26 billion in fuel, nearly three times more than in 1990.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Peugeot Onyx - Supercar?

When thinking of Peugeot, your mind may wander from the bicycles they began manufacturing, to the reliable yet not so flashy cars we see on our streets today. But with the Peugeot Onyx, comes some serious supercar competition.

It’s exterior, made up of a sleek smooth shell of carbon fiber covered in a matte black finish and sheets of gleaming copper give the Onyx it’s empowering presence. Peugeot also claim that the copper panels on the outside will develop a patina over time, which makes this car ever changing. The French automakers stunned all at the 2012 Paris Motor Show with this desirable alternative power-train concept car. Weighing in at 1,100kgs, and fitted with a lithium-ion battery powered electric system, this car’s 3.7-liter V8 powers out a seemingly effortless 600 horsepower. And as you thought it simply could not get any better, you take a peek inside to discover a cabin fit for a king, equip with wool, felt and more glorious copper. 

Stepping inside, you find a floor to ceiling coverage of French’s finest, which is just as outrageous yet mouthwatering as the exterior. To sum up the inside, Onyx’s interior stylist, Julien Cueff stated, “I was inspired by an everday object, the egg box”. But rest assured, this is no egg box. 

There is no better word to describe this breathtaking concept car but the ‘future’.  So for all those with money to spare, speed and luxury on their minds, the Peugeot Onyx is a head turner, and for the rest of us, we best start saving up.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Two-Tier Vehicle Tax System Considered

It has come to light that one of the Treasury’s think tanks has had the wonderful idea of introducing a two-tiered form of vehicle excise duty (VED) and the reform plans have sent many economists and the general public up in arms.

The plan is to charge a higher rate of road tax for those drivers wanting to use ‘high-traffic roads’ including the UK’s main motorways. Another standard tax rate would see the lower tier of drivers consigned to local and B-roads.

Currently the VED brings in £6 billion a year for the Treasury, but even with year-on-year increases as more people take to the roads it is still not enough to mitigate the budget cuts that have to be made. On top of this, while more people are heading onto the roads, larger families are buying cars that incur less road tax due to being hybrid or environmentally-friendly cars.

This is only a natural thing, in fact the policies that they benefit from were introduced to try and reduce the UK’s carbon footprint and getting more people using green vehicles. It has had an impact on the VED income though and the Treasury have been trying to figure out how to make back the shortfall.

This two-tier system was one of their plans, and would see a staggered road tax system for green cars, like before, but it will also have a higher-tax band for those wishing to use motorways. Some left-wing commentators have pointed out the issues of having the richer motorists commuting on faster routes, leaving those with lower salaries struggling to get to work as quickly because of using B-roads and increased congestion along those routes.

Thos travelling on motorways without the proper road tax could be caught out by traffic cameras and licence-plate readers and levied with considerable fines.

Another alternative from the Treasury is creating more toll roads, privatising large amounts of the UK’s motorways and road system. They feel that they could generate almost £150 billion from the sale of such roads and save money as private companies become responsible for the upkeep of high-traffic areas. It would also fall to local communities to take care and maintain their local roads (as is the case in Sweden).
Again, this idea has been met with fierce resistance as the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), who proposed these ideas,  is a free-market think tank that would expect these companies to remain unregulated and hindered by government intervention. We could see a huge expansion in our road systems, but as America has seen with its highway system, more lanes does not mean less congestion. In fact, it can cause quite the opposite.

Either way, times are worrying for prospective drivers who already have to face soaring petrol prices and insurance premiums (even with comparison sites being more popular than ever) and it seems there’s no easy way out of this.

If the two-tier VED does become implemented, we are sure to see a huge physical backlash and resistance of the ideas.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

London to See First All-Electric Taxi Fleet

Eco-friendly taxi service greentomatocars have completed a deal with Chinese manufacturer BYD that will see them receive 50 of their pure electric e6 vehicles to trial within the city of London.

The company currently use hybrid and biodiesel vehicles for their fleet and consider themselves instrumental in popularising the Toyota Prius when the company launched in 2006. Their dedication to providing a low-carbon source of transport is at the heart of what the company hopes to achieve.

The deal with BYD will be the first time that all electric vehicles have been used as a taxi service within the capital. The cars themselves boast top speeds of 87mph and a charge distance of 186 miles, which makes it perfect for urban taxi fleets. The deal also sees a significant expansion of the 300-strong low-emission fleet that they currently run.

Greentomatocars are hoping that by using the new e6 models they will help popularise fully-electric vehicles within urban environments, much as they encouraged the use of eco-friendly hybrid cars.

London Mayor Boris Johnson has applauded the deal. The Tory’s plan to have all taxis and minicabs emission-free by 2020 seems to be heading in the right direction. "Every year [London's] fleet is getting cleaner, making our city an even more attractive place to live, work and visit," Johnson said in a statement, "Encouraging many more electric vehicles is a key part of this transformation, so it is great news that greentomatocars has committed to operating 50 of these super clean machines from next year."

A similar programme is being implemented in the USA aswell. The Nissan Leaf was the vehicle of choice to be tested as an all-electric taxi alternative in New York and Mexico City, with tests in Virginia coming up.

The popularity for an all-electric vehicle for every day and family use is not high due to a number of reasons that mostly focus on the short charge distance that most vehicles possess. However, it seems that the urban taxi environment is a perfect fit for electric vehicles, where long journeys are not expected to occur. Developments in the battery-life and motor power of electric vehicles are also making their use far more feasible.

The e6 model used by greentomatocars will be available in the second quarter of 2013.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Automatic Number Plate Recognition Comes to UK Car Parks

Car parks across Britain are being fitted with ‘SwishPark’ technology, which reads and monitors number plates as they enter and leave the car parks. 

The ANPR technology is currently being monitored by Paythru and concerns about private data are being raised.
The idea of the scheme is that drivers will register a Paythru account, so that the company can automatically charge you for the time you spend parked. It removes the need for tickets and could even lead to cheaper, and more time-focused, tickets and mean that British drivers could save.
The system will also have a grace period so that new drivers can register for an account when entering a Paythru car park, and those that don’t will receive fines from the company.

They plan to reinforce these fines by using information from the DVLA about who owns each license plate, and here’s where the privacy issue comes in. Not only will the company have access to names and addresses associated with each vehicle, but they will also be able to monitor where that car was parked, for how long and build up a geographical profile of each driver.

Although the company have stated  that they have no intention of accessing or using that data except when in conjunction with car park charges, serious concerns about what could happen if that information was accessed by nefarious means.

The UK is already one of the most heavily monitored nations in the world. You have probably heard the statistic of how often a person, going about their normal life, will be caught on some form of CCTV. The SwishPark technology will also mean that companies, not just the government’s own DVLA, will be monitoring where and when drivers travel.

For example, Paythru highlighted a recent spike in car parking activity and correlated it with the release of the newest Twilight movie. This seems innocuous enough, but many people in the UK are already nervous about being monitored as they go about their normal day and this will only increase that surveillance. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Toyota to Recall 7.4 Million Vehicles

Toyota has announced that a faulty window switch, installed during production, will mean that more than seven million cars worldwide will have to return to Toyota garages to solve the problem. This includes Yaris, Camry and Corolla models.

138,000 cars in the UK have been recalled from the 1.39 million affected cars in Europe. The largest single recall since 1998 – when Ford recalled 8 million vehicles – will see 2.47 million cars in the US and 1.4 million in China return to Toyota garages. The UK models affected are the Auris, Corolla, RAV4 and the Yaris produced between 2005 and 2010.

Steve Settle, Customer Services Director for Toyota GB, apologised for the anxiety caused by the recall but reassured drivers that the fault posed little threat to road safety. "What we're talking about is the power switch on the driver's door and there is a very, very outside chance that there could be melting inside the switch," he said, "But there are some vehicle agencies around the world that interpret melting as fire. We've no evidence of fire and our engineer testing of this item doesn't reveal any chance of fire."
Toyota has yet to announce how much the recall will cost. Fixing the switch problem will only take about 40 minutes. However, even with a small problem and simple solution, this has further damaged Toyota’s reputation as one of the largest selling car firm in the world following the 2009 recall of their cars when reports of accelerator pedals getting stuck underneath car mats proved a large problem. That recall affected 12 million cars in total.

Toyota was recently set back by the 2011 tsunami, devastating production facilities in the company’s native Japan. Recent tensions between Japan and China over a territorial dispute have also seen plummeting sales figures in China.

The number of cars in this recall equal that of the company’s total sales for the entirety of its last financial year. 

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Range Rover Confirm New Plug-in Hybrid

Jaguar Land-Rover have revealed that they plan to become the latest car company to experiment with plug-in hybrid technology.

They expect that their new hybrid powertrain to be fitted within their Range Rover models, for several reasons. First of all, the cars are the best designs to carry the added weight of the powertrain. The demographics purchasing Range Rovers are also the customers most likely to be able to afford hybrid technology, said chief engineer for hybrid technology at Jaguar Land Rover, Peter Richings. He made the point that it was logical to begin with implementing the technology in the top car, and let it filter through the range as more models are brought into the hybrid family.

The prototype Jaguar XJ_e PHV was Jaguar Land Rovers first attempt at a plug-in hybrid car, which could run solely on electric power for around 25 miles. With a 2.0litre turbocharged engine, a 12.3KWh lithium-ion battery and a 94bhp electric motor, the CO2 emissions for the car were rated at 75g/km with an expected 73.5mpg fuel consumption rate. Jaguar Land Rover claimed that the car would do 0-60mph within 6.5seconds.

While this set-up will be similar to the one we will eventually see in the Range Rover, the company are set to modify the technology before rolling it out onto other models, and Richings claimed that it wouldn’t be until “sometime after 2015, but before 2020” that we saw a plug-in hybrid model of the Range Rover.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

8 Car Companies to Watch at the Paris Motor Show 2012

The Paris Motor Show opens later this week at the Paris Expo Centre and it remains one of the most exciting and largest annual motoring events in Europe.
We’ve compiled a list of 8 manufacturers to pay attention to and the cars they are premiering at the show. So without further ado, (in alphabetical order):


Audi are planning to showcase two new S3 models, including a new design for the A3 Sportback, which will be released with a 5-door model featuring a longer wheelbase and allowing for more legroom that, claim Audi, provides enough space to seat three adults in the back. The 5-door sportback will be available for a £620 extra over the 3-door model.

Audi are also planning a S3 hot-hatch, which will boast a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine producing 296bhp and combined with a 6-speed S-Tronic gearbox will mean the S3 can go from 0 to 62mph in 5.1secs. It will be made available in 2013.


BMW plan to launch their first model to venture into front-wheel drive. The concept Active Tourer will have four-wheel drive and a brand-new 1.5-litre, 3-cylinder turbocharged engine powering the front wheels and hybrid technology powering the rear. The concept is expected to be the first of a range of front-wheel drive cars beginning with the 1-Series.


The DS3 Electrum will be showcased at the Paris Motor Show and will feature two 65kW motors, a 17.5kW lithium ion battery and a 75-mile range. Citroën claim that quick-charge power points will be able to charge the car to 80% of its capacity within 30 minutes.

The DS3 Cabrio is also definitely coming to British shores and features a retractable canvas roof that comes in a range of styles. The roof has three positions and can be retracted at speeds of up to 74mph.


James May’s favourite car, the Dacia Sandero, has a new model being showcased at the Paris Moto Show before its British release in January. It will cost drivers less than £7000 and is accompanied by a Stepway version to be launched n the spring. The new Dacia Logan 4-door notchback will also be unveiled but will not be sold in the UK.


The new production-spec F-Type from Jaguar will be premiered this week and will be available with a new supercharged 3-litre V6 engine as well as a developed version of the 5-litre V8 currently available. Both models will come with an 8-speed automatic gearbox.


In partnership with Tesla, Mercedes has developed an All-Electric B-Class car. The model has a range of 200km on its 134bhp engine and lithium ion battery. The car will be able to use plug-in docking stations to charge but will also feature recuperative charging whilst running.

This is just one of many new electric car models developed by Mercedes-Benz, including the prototype electric supercar SLS E-Cell.


Vauxhall will debut the new Cascada at the show this week. The new convertible, based upon the existing Astra and Insignia model, is expected to be available in dealerships by spring 2013. Longer than an Audi A5 cabriolet, it provides a large amount of space and room but priced beneath its rival at £29,445 and up.

Vauxhall will also showcase their new Adam model, which is available to the public tomorrow (Sept 27).


We’ve already written piece about how excited we are about the new Mk7 Golf expected to be shown off before the order books are opened on October 18th. The Paris Motor Show will see a full specification and pricing of the model for UK shores.

The car is available in 3 or 5-door versions and will have a selection of four different engines.

Friday, September 14, 2012

AIRPod - The New Air-Powered Car

Developed in Luxembourg by MDI Enterprises, the AIRPod is the latest eco-friendly car concept to be announced. The idea has merit, running machines from pneumatic power has been tried in locomotives, airplanes and horseless carriages, but none have particularly taken off.

The released stats about the car are fairly impressive. Boasting 125-miles per tank and a 1-5 minute refill, it could easily destroy the slowly-rising numbers of electric cars on the roads. It’s also incredibly affordable, with a $10,000 price tag it would be available to all sorts of families and individuals and with the UK governments stance on eco-friendly vehicles it would be tax-free on the road. Not using petrol would also contribute to making this one of the cheapest vehicles to own and run.

The car includes an electric engine so that drivers can convert air into power as they drive, or alternatively use air pumps from charging stations. Right now, the car can only reach speeds of between 28 and 43 mph, which is a hindrance for anyone expecting to do more than simply drive about town, and the car itself is only a one-seater as of yet, so some design work will have to be done to bring it to market.

It’s currently in a prototype stage and we won’t see it on UK roads for quite some time, hopefully by then the design will have been improved. If there’s one thing that prototype eco-friendly vehicles have in common, it’s that the designs are really quite peculiar.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Volkswagen’s Golf Mk7 Launched

We mentioned a few months back how excited we were about the launch of the new VW Golf well, after months of anticipation, Volkswagen have finally unveiled their 2013 Golf model and it’s garnered a huge amount of critical acclaim.

The previous incarnations of the Golf have put it ahead as VWs best-selling vehicle and the newest 7th-Generation model looks set to wow the market.

The car itself is 0.5 inches wider and 2.2 inches longer than the previous versions. The wheel’s have been moved further forward and the car lowered by 0.8inches. Even with these body modifications, VW have managed to make the mk7 Golf 220 pounds lighter than the 2012 model. This is due to VWs use of ultrahigh-tensile metals, a redesign of the engine and reworked electrical architecture to remove unnecessary weight from the car’s wiring and gadgetry (6 pounds were shaved from the air-conditioning unit alone) as well as adjustments made to the manufacturing of the car components, for example the seats have been manufactured to be lighter.

The new Golf sports VWs innovative MQB Platform, shared throughout all of the car’s manufactured by the VW Group. This includes Audi, Skoda and Seat and will help make their cars more uniform beneath the aesthetics, leading to a more consistent ride across the models, as well as increasing efficiency in producing or repairing parts for those cars.

All of these tweaks and edits to how VW assemble their cars has resulted in a much lighter car and means that the new Golf will be far more fuel-efficient than previous models. The lower centre of gravity gives the car a sportier and tighter drive too, meaning that cruising through town will be a wonderful pleasure and an improvement on an already great ride.

Not only is it easy on the wallet by saving you fuel, it’s easy on the eye too. With sharper lines, it creates a far more striking image in the publicity shots. It’s only a matter of time until we see these beauties gliding down motorways and showing up the older models.

The inside is easy on the passengers too. With the car being longer and the wheels moving forward, the new Golf will have added room in the passenger footstall, as well as more room around the head and shoulder areas. VW have installed a 5.8inch touchscreen information/entertainment centre in the dashboard, which can be upgraded to an 8inch navigation screen on premier models. The interior itself is gorgeously designed and looks as high-tech as you’d expect from such a reliable manufacturer.

The car itself is expected to be premiered live at the 2012 Paris Motor Show later this month. No price or availability guidelines have been released at this stage.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Mazda CX-7 Discontinued

Since its launch to the UK in 2007, the CX-7 has sold between 800 and 1000 units a year. This month, Mazda has announced the removal of the luxury SUV from their model range. A senior spokesperson from Mazda put the axe due to “the new CX-5 doing well, and the big CX-9 remaining in the relevant markets such as USA and Russia”.

The CX-7s first offering on UK shores was a 2.3-litre petrol engine version. Two years later, Mazda began rolling out the diesel engine version in a much anticipated move. While considered a comfortable SUV, the CX-7 never sold in large numbers. The units it has been selling year-on-year were anticipated, but dwindling numbers in recent times have led Mazda to cancelling the production of the car.

The Mazda CX-5 has been a hot seller since its release in 2012. While the Mazda 2 is still by far the company’s most popular model, Mazda have asserted the CX-5 has a vital place in the company’s future global success. This is most likely due to the range being fitted with Mazda’s new SkyActiv drivetrains, which are more fuel-efficient and cleaner while also being cheaper to produce.

Mazda fully expect the new CX-5 to overtake the CX-7 in terms of sales, after a shake-up of its entire line-up so that the SkyActiv technology can be introduced across all of their models.

Friday, April 13, 2012

A different kind of sweet luxury object

This is the 1964 James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5. Released in 1963, it was an evolution of the final series of DB4. The DB series was named honoring David Brown (the head of Aston Martin from 1947–1972).

It comes with revolving license plates, ejector seat, bullet-proof shield, oils slick sprayer, the first “GPS”, machine-guns and much more… but not just in the film, the car is actually equipped with every feature seen in the film, only the machineguns are, of course, disarmed (Actually they were never armed).

After 40 years in the hands of the American broadcasting boss Jerry Lee, the car was sold £2.6m in 2010. Jerry Lee bought the car originally for 12,000 US dollars in 1969. But why would someone sell this unique car driven by the first James bond, Sean Connery?

For charity! The proceeds of the sale will go to Jerry Lee’s charitable foundation supporting education and anti-crime projects internationally.


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