17 November 2017

It's here at last! The stunning Kia Stinger, an elegant gran turismo based on the 2011 Kia GT Concept from the Frankfurt Motor Show, is now in full production and on sale in the UK priced from £31,995.

Stinger is the most adventurous model in Kia's history, the company's first classic grand tourer and the first rear-wheel-drive model it has introduced to Europe. In range-topping twin-turbo V6 guise, it is also the fastest-accelerating Kia ever, with a 0-60mph time of 4.7 seconds.

Six years in the making, it was designed in Europe at the Frankfurt studios under the watch of President of Design and Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer and European Head of Design Gregory Guillaume. Prototypes have covered the equivalent of 27 trips around the Equator, taking in extreme climate testing in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North and South America, to perfect the car, and every development model has done at least 480 laps (10,000 kilometres) of the tortuous Nurburgring Nordschleife. The testing regime was headed by Kia's Head of Vehicle Test and High Performance Development, Albert Biermann.

Five versions are available in the UK, all with turbocharged direct-injection engines mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and featuring state-of-the-art electronic driver aids and connectivity systems. The GT-Line and GT-Line S offer the choice of a 2.0-litre 244bhp T-GDi petrol engine or a 2.2-litre 197bhp CRDi turbodiesel, while the range-topping GT S has exclusive use of a 3.3-litre 365bhp twin-turbo V6. The GT S, as the fastest and most powerful model in the range, also has adjustable electronic suspension damping and Brembo brakes.

Stinger is a classic grand tourer, not a hard-edged sports car. It harks back to an era when travelling was all about the joy of the journey and getting to the final destination could be an anti-climax.

Stinger exhibits classic gran turismo proportions – long bonnet, short front overhang, long wheelbase, cabin positioned towards the rear of the car, lengthy rear overhang beneath broad shoulders and a 'Coke-bottle' nip in the waist. It sets a template for Kia's bold and exciting future and is the final step in the company's transition from a manufacturer of purely rational, durable, value-centric cars to one able to compete with the world's best for desirability, design and technology.

This may be a new kind of Kia, but the design cues which have stood the company in good stead since Schreyer joined in 2006 are all in evidence. What Guillaume calls the "sleek and sharky" front end has a new interpretation of Kia's 'tiger-nose’ grille mounted between complex headlamp units. There is a castellated upper edge to the windscreen. And the flanks are simple and unadorned. Visual engagement also comes from the large lower grille and air intake, dark chrome highlights and bold rear diffuser with quad tailpipes on petrol models and twin tailpipes on diesels. There are 18-inch alloy wheels on GT-Line and GT-Line S versions and 19-inch wheels on GT S.

What exterior decoration does appear is there to aid aerodynamics and ensure the car remains stable at the high speeds it is capable of. There are air curtains at the front and finned gills behind the rear wheel arches to reduce wake as turbulent air passes around the large wheels and tyres. The final shape of Stinger called for intense collaboration between designers and aerodynamicists to make airflow around the car as clean as possible without diluting its stunning styling.

Stinger's luxurious interior is a blend of cocooning intimacy and space for five people and their luggage. Occupants slip down into their low-slung seats – leather in GT-Line and GT-Line S versions, and Nappa leather in GT S.

There is a horizontal sweep to the high-mounted, wing-shaped dashboard – also covered in leather – which is broken only by the 8.0-inch touchscreen for the navigation and infotainment system. Leather also adorns the door armrests, the D-shaped steering wheel and the gearshifter, which also has chrome sections.

The seats are snug and enveloping, and the two in front have eight-way power adjustment – with a memory function on the driver's side – and a two-way power cushion extender plus four-way power lumbar adjustment. The front seats and steering wheel are heated, and in GT-Line S and GT S they are also ventilated, while the outer rear seats are also heated.

 The luxurious ambience is enhanced by an aluminium-finish centre console, a chrome strip running all the way around the cabin, suede-like headlining, satin chrome interior door handles, alloy pedals, stainless steel door scuff plates and five aeronautically inspired spoked circular air vents.

To enhance comfort, dual automatic air conditioning is fitted to every model, while to aid the driver there is a 7.0-inch LCD Thin Film Transistor (TFT) supervision cluster and a customisable head-up display which allows key information – speed, navigation instructions and audio, cruise control and blind spot detection information – to be projected onto the windscreen. GT-Line S and GT S also have a 360-degree around-view monitor.

Every model has a DAB radio with MP3 compatibility and Bluetooth with voice recognition and music streaming. In GT-Line there is a nine-speaker sound system with front under-seat subwoofer, while GT-Line S and GT S have a concert hall quality 15-speaker harman/kardon premium system with subwoofer, external amp and front centre speaker. It features Clari-Fi, which restores the sound often lost when digital music files are heavily compressed, and QuantumLogic Surround Sound, which redistributes signals from the original recording to deliver multi-dimensional playback.

Grand tourers should not only be beautiful, comfortable and luxurious – they must also be fast. The three turbocharged engines chosen for Stinger are ideally suited to its role as a long-distance gran turismo.

On the one hand the 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 T-GDi is the fastest-accelerating Kia ever, with a 0-60mph time of 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 168mph, while on the other the 2.2-litre CRDi's combined fuel consumption of 50.4mpg gives it a touring range of comfortably more than 600 miles. In between there is the 2.0-litre T-GDi offering much of the best of both: acceleration from 0-60mph in 5.8 seconds with combined fuel economy of 35.8mpg, allowing it to cover more than 450 miles before the driver will need to stop for fuel.

The 2.0-litre T-GDI (Turbocharged Gasoline Direct injection) engine develops 244bhp at 6,200rpm and 353Nm of torque all the way from 1,400 to 3,500rpm, ensuring outstanding driveability. The 3.3-litre T-GDi V6 can deliver 365bhp at 6,000rpm and a huge 510Nm of torque which is even more widespread – starting at 1,300rpm and continuing uninterrupted until 4,500rpm. The 2.2-litre CRDi delivers 197bhp at 3,800rpm and 440Nm of torque, also across a wide range – 1,750 to 2,750rpm.

All versions drive the rear wheels through an electronic eight-speed automatic gearbox. It was designed in-house and rewards drivers with immediate shifts and optimum fuel efficiency. Stinger’s transmission marks Kia’s first use of a Centrifugal Pendulum Absorber (CPA) torque converter more typically found in aviation and racing applications. CPA reduces torsional vibrations through the drivetrain.

 The transmission offers up to five different shift and throttle programmes, accessed through the car’s electronic Drive Mode Selector. Drivers can leave the car to shift for itself, or change gears with steering wheel-mounted paddles. A limited slip differential is fitted to all models so that torque is transferred to the rear wheel with most grip.

ISG, Kia's engine stop/start system to ensure no fuel is wasted and no emissions are released into the air when the car is stationary, is standard. The engine cuts out as soon as the driver brakes to a standstill and restarts when the brake pedal is released.

To ensure occupants can enjoy the refined sporting tones of the Stinger's turbocharged engines, the car is the first Kia to be fitted with an Active Sound System. This relays the engine note to the cabin through the car's audio system rather than the more conventional actuator. It was engineered in Europe and can be customised through the Drive Mode Selector according to which of the five programmable settings the driver has chosen.

A gran turismo must provide exceptional comfort for occupants on the long distances it is designed to cover, but it must also reward enthusiastic drivers. Stinger meets those demands. Right-hand-drive cars have undergone additional testing in the UK to meet the unique challenges of the country's roads.

Stinger may evoke memories of the golden age of gran turismos, but it is not a retro car. Its advanced driver aids take into account that roads are busier and there are more distractions than yesteryear, while its 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system acknowledges that drivers no longer use maps to find their way around but expect the car to guide them to their destination, and that they expect to remain fully connected throughout the journey.

All versions have Autonomous Emergency Braking, which automatically intervenes to stop the car if the driver fails to respond to a potential accident, and there is Lane Keep Assist to prevent a driver straying into an adjoining lane accidentally, and High Beam Assist to adjust the headlights according to other traffic and local lighting. Driver Attention Warning alerts a tired driver that it is time to take a break, and there is a Speed Limit Information system.

The extensive testing regime undertaken with Stinger means that it enjoys the same seven-year/100,000-mile warranty as any of the company's other models. This declaration of faith in the car's reliability and quality covers all labour and parts except those subject to normal wear and tear, and is transferable if the car is sold before the time/mileage limit expires.

Stinger's standard paint finish is Sunset Yellow, while Pearl White, Midnight Black, Ceramic Grey, HiChroma Red and Panthera Metal are chargeable options. Premium paint is a chargeable option at £645. Stinger comes with three interior colour options, Black leather, grey leather or red leather.

Kia Stinger Gran Turismo Arrives in the UK [PICTURES]

18 May 2017

There are different levels to car modification. Cars are considered modified if there have been any non-standard modifications made to the car, that were not originally part of the manufacturer’s specification. This includes cosmetic, functional and performance enhancements.

This can mean anything from tinted windows to turbo upgrades. For the most part, there’s nothing wrong at all with modified cars. Modifications can be a great way to personalise your car or improve its performance - it can also be a productive hobby! But car owners should be aware of the increased risks in doing so and how they affect your insurance premium. Insurance is based on risk, so even the most modest or inconspicuous mods that wouldn’t at all affect your ability to drive may actually pose risks that you might not have even given thought to before.

How do car modifications affect your insurance?

The impact to your insurance premium will depend on exactly what modifications have been made - and whether your particular insurer constitutes it as a modification or not. Insurers will calculate the added risks appropriately based on your disclosed modifications. Different mods carry different risks, and the majority of car owners aren’t aware of some of the less obvious ones. Something as seemingly harmless as decals (which many insurers consider to be a modification) may attract negative attention from car thieves or vandals; more so than standard cars.

The most obvious risks include things like the unforeseeable damage or potential injuries that may be caused in a crash, due to  enhancements not having been tested by the manufacturer. If the modification was a DIY project, it might even be dangerous to drive.

Of course, some car modifications will do the reverse, and actually save you money on your insurance. Things such as winter tyres, parking sensors or extra security features. This is because these types of modifications reduce the risk of accident or theft - but you should always consult your insurer before assuming.

Money Supermarket conducted an analysis of 2.3 million modified vehicles, to demonstrate how different types of mods can affect the price you pay for your insurance:

Performance & Aesthetic

Engine & Mechanics

  • Turbo / Supercharging: +132%
  • Transmission or Gearing Changes: +63%
  • Non Standard Engine Changes: +29%
  • Exhaust System  Changes: +26%
  • Air Filter: +25%


  • Bonnet Bulges, Flared Wings, Wheel Arches: +66%
  • Complete Bodykit & Panels: +57%
  • Spoilers, Skirts & Valances: +23%
  • Tinted Windows: +16%
  • Lights Additions or Changes: +12%


  • Roll Bars, Roll Cages, Removal of Seats: +41%
  • Replacement Seats, Sports Steering Wheel: +27%
  • Upholstery or Dashboard Changes: +16%
  • Brakes & Suspension
  • Uprated Brakes: +36%
  • Suspension: +25%


  • Specialised Paint Works: +36%
  • Stripes, Decals, Badges: +22%
  • Wheels
  • Wider Wheels or Tyres: +18%
  • Alloy Wheels: +8%


Fuel Economy

  • LPG Conversion: +15%
  • Car Climate
  • Sunroof: +17%
  • Air Conditioning: +13%

Driver Aids

  • Car Phone: +26%
  • Satellite Navigation System: +15%
  • Parking Sensors: -13%

Towing & Storage

  • Roof Rack: +8%
  • Tow Bar: -20%


  • Wheelchair Clamps / Straps / Lifts: +69%
  • Hand Controls: +57%
(Source dated March 2016)

Many car modifications are considered to be high-risk due to increased risk of theft or accident, and even the cost of replacement for expensive parts. Fitting a turbo engine is by far the most painfully expensive upgrade you could make to your car, in terms of insurance, as you increase the likelihood of a road accident at higher speeds. Whereas upgrades to your navigational or audio system can increase chances of theft by opportunistic criminals.

The most popular car modifications include adding alloy wheels, installing a tow bar, suspension work, exhaust system changes and adding tinted windows. Research has found that young male drivers are the most likely demographic to drive a modified car. Men generally are 620% more likely to upgrade their brakes, whereas women drivers are 51% more likely than men to install air conditioning in their car.

It is important when shopping for modified car insurance to declare any modifications beyond the manufacturer’s original factory specification, otherwise you face the risk of your policy being invalidated and your insurer has the right to refuse your claim. It may mean that you end up having to pay a higher premium, but having an invalid insurance policy is a complete waste of money as you wouldn’t be able to claim should anything actually happen.

If you are buying your first car secondhand, you might not be able to tell if the car has been modified. Make sure to ask the seller if any modifications have been made, to prevent any accidental insurance fraud.

Are Modified Cars More Expensive to Insure?

16 May 2017

Based on technology used by Daimler since 2012, Mercedes-Benz are set to deliver the first energy storage units to UK homeowners for residential use.

Developed to meet the rigorous demands of running a car, the Mercedes-Benz energy storage units are lithium-ion batteries and meet all safety and quality standards. The batteries are 2.5 kWh each, with up to eight modules being combined to form a capacity of 20 kWh with industrial applications having even greater scalability.

Households that have their own solar energy systems can use the storage units to store surplus power with virtually no loss. Combining the Mercedes battery storage unit with renewable energy sources means that households can increase their consumption of self-generated energy by as much as 65%.
There is tremendous interest in our energy storage units in the UK. We’re very pleased to be able to offer Mercedes-Benz Energy Storage Home to customers here
Said Marc Thomas, Managing Director of Mercedes-Benz Energy.

At present, Mercedes-Benz Energy is working in the UK with distributors such as Alternergy, Innasol and Wind & Sun, as well as with partners who offer a complete system installation, such as Solar Frontier.

Home retail price for home electricity generation is calculated based on a customised package of components. These generally consist of a photovoltaic (solar) system, a battery inverter, an energy management system and the Mercedes-Benz energy storage unit itself, plus the cost of installation.

A network of qualified partners and distributors makes planning and installation easy. The latter’s network of qualified installers can advise customers on-site, make offers on all components and manage all planning and installation. Stationary battery storage systems are generally installed together with solar panels.

UK sales is the latest step forward for Mercedes-Benz Energy, following the successful market introduction of energy storage products, the start of large-scale industrial projects in the primary reserve market, and the founding of Mercedes-Benz Energy Americas.

Customers can find out more about having a Mercedes-Benz energy storage system in their home and find local installers at www.mercedes-benz-energy.com.

Mercedes-Benz Set to Deliver First Energy Storage Units to UK Residents

12 May 2017

For all the boons and benefits that city life affords, getting around can be a nightmare at the best of times. For instance, if public transport is your preferred method of travel, you are often at the mercy of late buses and cancelled trains.

Taking matters into your own hands doesn’t always work either, especially if you drive a car, with endless traffic jams and a lack of parking causing even more problems. 

Thankfully, scooters offer a viable alternative to both and are perfectly suited to meet the demands of living in a city. Here with more insight into the advantages is Piaggio scooter dealer Metropolis Motorcycles.

#1 Cheap running costs

Not only do scooters cost less than cars of a similar age, they are also much cheaper to run. This is because their smaller engines are more economical, with 125cc engine models only costing around 10p per mile to run.

You can also enjoy significantly cheaper insurance premiums, which are usually astronomical for cars due to the dangers of owning one in the city. The fact that scooters rely on simple technology means servicing, maintenance, and repairs won’t break the bank either.

#2 Better mobility

Thanks to a scooter’s small and svelte dimensions, you will find it incredibly easy to negotiate heavy traffic. During rush hour, there is no need to wait in line either as you can simply overtake or weave through stationary cars.

Even so, you should always obey road rules and the Highway Code at all times. This, along with common sense when negotiating jams or congestion, will help you to avoid accidents and injury.

#3 Excellent convenience

When driving a car in the city, you sometimes have to plan your journey ahead of time to avoid being late or even to organise a parking space. However, the same cannot be said for riding a scooter, which offers excellent convenience.

All you need to do is pop on your helmet and off you go. You are extremely unlikely to encounter problems along the way, while parking is always readily available and, more often than not, free.

#4 Save money

As well as affordable running costs, owning and riding a scooter can help you to save money in other ways. This is especially true in cities that charge road users a fee to enter the centre in order to reduce pollution levels.

Take London for example, where scooters do not have to pay the congestion charge. Plus, if you have concerns about your carbon footprint, scooters produce 72 per cent less CO2 than the average car anyway.

#5 Fun to ride

Last but not least, one of the biggest advantages to driving a scooter when living in a city is the fun and enjoyment it provides. As opposed to being cooped up in a car or on public transport, riding a scooter affords an unrivalled feeling of freedom.

What’s more, you will see the city in ways you never have before because your view is much less restricted.

5 Advantages of Driving a Scooter When Living in a City

4 January 2017

If you fall in love with the chic and compact Fiat 500 you’ll be in good company - well over 250,000 have found homes with UK car buyers since its launch in 2008. The combination of retro charm, personality, driver appeal and reasonable running costs have made it a firm favourite with demand being as strong as ever.

So why might you become smitten by the Italian maker’s diminutive city car?

#1 Personality plus

Fiat took a leaf out of MINI’s book by offering a retro take on an old classic. In MINI’s case it was of course the 1950s original Mini, in Fiat’s it was the original 500 that sold for several years between 1957 and 1975.

The chance to own a distinctive retro styled car bang up to date with modern car tech is a strong draw. Prices to buy new are competitive, while leasing deals, where you pay a set and agreed amount every month, are also proving popular.

#2 Fun and flair

The distinctive looks hint at fun, and that’s what the 500 offers on the road. With its light weight and a range of peppy engines, it makes brisk progress around town and on twisty country roads.

The 0.9 litre TwinAir is a highly recommended engine option over the entry level 1.2 litre version (yes, the smaller engine is the more powerful). For more performance the 1.4 litre 135bhp Abarth or even more powerful Competizione version turns the 500 into a genuine pocket rocket.

The weak point of the 500 used to be its handling and ride, but since 2010 things have improved with changes to the suspension and steering making the car more comfortable and much sharper to drive. A raft of detail changes and increased customisation options introduced in 2015 freshened the 500 up.

#3 Frugality as Standard

The 500 holds its value very well so if buying outright you’ll get a good chunk of your money back when you sell. Fuel economy is good with near 50 mpg in mixed use available from the 0.9 TwinAir, and this model also avoids road tax with emissions of just 95g/km of CO2.

Insurance costs are competitive with other city cars.

#4 Customisation in 500,000 Steps

With equipment and personalisation options there are over 500,000 different ways of specifying your 500 with a plethora of paintwork and colour contrast options and interior touches to choose from. That’s a bit different to the one engine and two seats-only specification of the 1950s original.

#5 Sunny Side Up

Fancy a convertible? The 500 can go topless with its folding soft top roof.

#6 Characterful interior

The car’s cheeky charm extends to the interior; a body colour dash, simple yet effective instrument cluster and switchgear and gear stick mounted high on the dash present a unique yet practical interior. The white steering wheel is a popular choice.

#7 Well built with advanced engineering

The 500 isn't just a pretty face; it’s a well built and carefully engineered car designed to not only put a smile on your face but be a practical owning proposition day to day.

The engine technology deserves a special mention; the TwinAir offers diesel-like power and torque while offering petrol engine levels of refinement.

The 500 is the sort of car that its owners fall in love with thanks to its distinctive and eye catching styling and classy interior. More and more people crave some individuality in the car they drive, and the little Fiat delivers it in spades.

7 Reasons To Love The Fiat 500

10 November 2016


One of the first, and arguably most important, decisions you'll make when buying a car is whether to go for new or used. It's a difficult decision, and there are a surprising amount of factors that go into making it. With pros and cons on each side, it can feel pretty intimidating, and it can be hard to know where to start. Luckily, by considering a few simple options, there are ways to make the decision far simpler and easier. Here are some things to consider when deciding between a new or used car.


We get pretty attached to our cars. We set them aside from our other possessions because of what they represent to us. Freedom, independence and a whole host of other things. But the truth it, a car is an appliance just like a dishwasher. This means that the trade-off when buying a new car might not be as worth it as it seems. When buying new, you're setting yourself up to take the hit on significant depreciation in value. A new car can lose as much a 50 percent of its value in the first few years. That's half the value of your purchase that you've basically just thrown out the window. A used Nissan might be technically worth less than a new one, but it will be much more likely to maintain it's value.


When selling a new car, dealers will often include a few years free services. New vehicles will also have a longer period before you need to take it for it's MOT. A used car poses a severe contrast to that. It doesn't matter how well a car has been cared for, after a certain mileage, things will start to wear down. This means that repair and maintenance will have to happen more frequently and come with higher costs than if the car was new. Budgeting for the maintenance of a used car requires thought and discipline. You need to make sure that that is something that you're able to deal with.

Down payments

One of the biggest things that can affect the decision of whether to buy used or new is that of how much money you'd need to put down upfront. A used car will often need a far smaller down payment. When it comes to a new car, the smaller your down payment, the larger the interest charges can be. If you have the money to put down, then a new car may end up being the more cost effective option. But if you want a smaller up front payment or have nothing to put down at all then you may well be better off going for a used car.

The choice of whether to go for a new or used car is a very personal one. It's important to check your financial position, both immediately and long term, before making any decision. Whatever you choose, don't let sales people pressure you into making a decision that you're not comfortable with.

New Or Used? Important Things To Remember When Buying A Car

22 August 2016

The Mercedes-AMG GT S has been named by Jeremy Clarkson as one of his top 10 cars in The Sunday Times Driving.

The TV presenter, who will soon be fronting new Amazon Prime show, The Grand Tour, described the GT S as “extremely exciting” in his official road test in The Sunday Times.

Clarkson noted:
Behind all the racing paraphernalia and the Mercedes-Benz suede and silicone, this is a modern-day muscle car. You sense this when you drive it. It feels raw. Much more raw than any of the other cars you can buy for this sort of money. It feels — how can I put this? — extremely exciting.
The GT range launched a new generation of performance engine from Mercedes-AMG: a 4.0-litre V8 unit which produces at least 462 hp and can propel the vehicle to reach 62 mph from standstill in four seconds (510 hp/3.8 seconds for the GT S).

At the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed, Mercedes-AMG unveiled a new, even more powerful version of the GT, the GT R, with an output of 585 hp and the ability to sprint from 0 to 62 mph in 3.6 seconds.

The Mercedes-AMG GT and GT S are on sale now priced from £98,195. To find your nearest retailer, visit www.mercedes-benz.co.uk.

Jeremy Clarkson Names MERCEDES-AMG GT S One of His Top 10 Cars

24 June 2016

At Goodwood Festival of Speed, Honda UK hosted the biggest motoring showdown since the heady F1 days of Senna vs Prost.

Mini-mes of Jeremy Clarkson and Chris Evans, two poster boys for the biggest rivalling motoring shows in the world, went head to head on Honda UK’s life size version of the iconic Fisher Price style garage.

Clarkson and Evans’ motoring battle reached new levels of silliness as the duo clashed in what has clearly become a tit for tat profile-raising battle between Top Gear and The Grand Tour.

In comical lip service to the pair’s childlike antics, the young lookalikes raced each other on the Fisher Price inspired garage, brawled and wrestled for control of Honda’s BTCC rally car, sabotaged each other’s vehicles and even caused carnage to unsuspecting members of the public viewing the latest Honda range.

As rivalry finally reached the boil, the sour looking Clarkson and entertainer Evans were spotted smirking at the level of destruction handed to the other.

Tots Gear: Clarkson & Evans Lookalikes Go Head to Head at Goodwood

15 June 2016

Dundee car owners have the highest MOT failure rate in the UK, according to research by Automyze, the AA’s innovative car management website.

Automyze analysed more than one million MOT records of UK registered vehicles owned by AA members, looking at pass and fail rates, and found that more than half of cars in Dundee (53.5%) failed their last MOT - most for preventable faults such as tyres, headlights and indicators.

Meanwhile, seven out of 20 towns and cities with the highest MOT failure rates were in Scotland, with almost half of cars in Aberdeen and Perth failing their last MOT.

The research also revealed that four out of the five UK towns and cities with the lowest MOT pass rates were in the West Country; with Truro (51.5%), Plymouth (51.3%), Exeter (50.5%) and Bath (49.5%), failing their last statutory roadworthiness check

The following table shows the 25 towns and cities in the UK with the highest MOT failure rates (looking at the last MOT).

% vehicles that failed last MOT
Source: AA

By contrast, the Isle of Man has the highest MOT pass rate in the UK with 71.8% (failures 28.2%) of vehicles passing their last test at the first time.

And 18 out of the 20 towns and cities with the lowest MOT failure rates were in the south east of England – London (38.7%) and the commuter belt such as Twickenham, Harrow, Dartford, Sutton, Enfield, Croydon, Kingston and Ilford all doing relatively better than other parts of the UK.

The following table shows the 20 towns and cities in the UK with the lowest MOT failure rates (looking at the last MOT).

% vehicles that failed last MOT
St Albans
Kingston upon Thames
Isle of Man
Source: AA

Lucy Burnford, Director of Automyze, comments:
There could be a number of reasons why MOT failure rates are higher in Dundee, from the length of time people own their cars to the types of vehicle they own.

However, some basic checks could bring failure rates down and save both time and money. There are multiple reasons why vehicles fail their MOT but the most common are tyres, headlights and indicators, which can be so easily fixed before the statutory roadworthiness test.

Ahead of your vehicle’s MOT, it’s always worth doing some simple checks yourself to ensure anything straightforward like filling up the screen wash can be fixed in advance of your test. Also, make sure you have addressed any previous ‘advisories’ – that’s the maintenance work recommended by the garage during its last MOT. You can check your car’s MOT history and advisories for free using Automyze, and get free quotes to get the work done.

Dundee Has Highest MOT Failure Rate in the UK - Over HALF Vehicles Failed Last Test!

1 June 2016

If you know someone who particularly loves their cars, you’re in luck! Instead of trawling through the various websites and retail stores for a gift, it won’t be difficult at all. There’s a huge market for car-related gifts, and you can get really great creative with what you buy. Although we’re about to mention a small selection, be aware that there are many other options available on the market as well. Let’s get started!

#1 Experience Days

In recent years, experience days have risen dramatically in popularity. By buying a gift of this nature, you can treat your car-loving friend to a day they’ll never forget. Whether it’s racing around a track in a race car or taking a spin in the latest Ferrari, they’ll be sure to love it. There are many different options on the market when it comes to experience days, so look around.

#2 Magazine Subscription

If you don’t want to spend quite as much money, a magazine subscription is another great idea. With these, you can buy subscriptions in 3, 6, or 12-month increments in many cases, depending on how much you want to spend. Again, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to car magazines, so pick one that is particularly popular to save disappointment.

#3 Car Gadgets

Have you ever noticed anything that could help this person with their driving? Do they have to keep stopping on the side of the road to read their map? Maybe you should get them a satellite navigation device? Similarly, you might want to get them something like a dashboard camera that could be crucial if an accident was to occur.

#4 Personalised Number Plate

Here’s a fun idea! Companies like Absolute Reg offer personalised number plates that can act as a luxurious present for someone. You don’t need too many details in order to buy these plates, either, so you can keep it as a surprise. When they see their name or a slogan on their number plate, how could they not be excited about it?!

#5 Games

There’s a very long history when it comes to cars and games. When it comes to electronic games, arguably the most popular choice is Scalextric. There are loads of different styles of Scalextric tracks you can buy. If they aren’t so keen on something like that, why not buy them the latest video game for their console? From F1 games such as F1 2015 to rally games like Dirt Rally, there’s something for everyone.

#6 Models

A lot of car fanatics love to collect models of their favourite cars. It’s the next best thing to owning them! If you know someone that loves to collect car models, there’s no better present to get them! The great thing about this is that you’re never going to run out of ideas. There are thousands upon thousands on the market, so you just need to pick something they don’t already have!

See?! I told you it was easy! Any of these gifts are sure to please your car-loving friends. All you need to do now is decide which one to go for!

6 Gift Ideas Every Car Fanatic Will Love!

27 May 2016

Safety should be your priority when getting out on the roads with a new motorbike for the first time. However, it never seems to work out like that. Once you get that feeling you need to get on your bike, it’s tempting to cut some corners. And, if you have passed your test, what could go wrong? The trick is to get your gear before you get your first bike. It’s that simple - and here are some of the things you will need to ensure your safety.

#1 Full-face helmet

Don’t think that you will get away with wearing a shorty for your first year or so of motorcycling. You still have a lot to learn - and you will fall off your bike. An open face helmet is going to lead to serious injury if you are even slightly unlucky, which is more than likely when you are just starting out. So, go for a proper defence with a full-face helmet - and don’t save on the cost. Cheap helmets are inexpensive for a reason - they are next to useless. A good helmet will save your life - so there’s just no contest in quality.

#2 Proper riding clothing

First of all, in your first year of riding, you are going to come off - perhaps, even, on many different occasions. In simple terms, it's going to hurt, and even the slightest graze on the knee can affect your biking technique. You need to be comfortable, and you need protection. Think about heavy duty Rukka Trousers or something similar to give you the protection you need. Also, get a heavy set leather jacket to protect your elbows and upper body. Again, it’s worth investing a little in something that looks great and feels perfect.

#3 Boots

Footwear is just as important as anything else you will wear. But, they are especially important if you are riding a fast bike rather than a cruiser. Sportbike riders should look for something lightweight and durable. There is a huge array of technology involved in riding boots these days. The trick is to find something that you feel comfortable with, so head down to your local bike store.

#4 Something for the rain

When you live in the UK, you have always got to be ready for rain. It’s just the way it is - and without protection, you will regret it. Leather isn’t the greatest material when it comes to water, so get something waterproof to ensure it stays dry. We know of bikers getting caught in thunderstorms miles from home, with no option other than to ride on. The added water in their leathers almost doubled their weight - so think carefully before skipping the kagool section in TK Maxx.

#5 Sunglasses

Finally, always have a good pair of shades. For a start, no biker worth their salt would go without. But, it’s also a much safer way of biking when the sun is out, and the roads are looking hazy. It only takes a stray reflection to hit your eye at the wrong angle, and you could be toast.

Image source: Flickr / Adam Kuśmierz

5 Essential Pieces of Gear For First Time Motorcycle Owners

23 May 2016

Although more than half (58%) of Brits would recognise they’re too sick to work, they would still get behind the wheel of their car, according to new research.

The survey, conducted by car finance specialist Zuto, asked 1,003 motorists about their attitudes towards driving while suffering from the effects of ten common conditions, only to find that while nearly of half of Brits (47%) would call in sick after breaking an arm, over a fifth (21%) would continue to drive.

Meanwhile, 38% of Brits would call in sick if suffering from sciatica yet 53% would still be happy to hit the road - in extreme cases, the illness can cause stiff or weak legs. Not ideal for quick reactions if needed.

Furthermore, nearly 9 in 10 (86%) motorists said they would take to the roads when they had a cold/flu, risking the effects of the illness and its treatments.

Overall, the results showed that while a third (36%) of motorists would consider themselves too ill to work, over half (58%) of Brits would still get behind the wheel.

Encouraging safety on the roads, Zuto wants to ensure that UK drivers are fully aware of the perils to themselves and others when driving with common illnesses.

Christine Davies, a pharmacy technician of over 20 years, said:
Quite a lot of people aren't aware that the medicines they're taking can have an effect on their concentration and could cause drowsiness.

The thing to remember is that all drugs have some side effects, but they aren't the same for everyone and can interact with other regular medications. The main thing is if you're taking anything new, and you start to feel unusual in any way, check with your doctor or pharmacist.

The illnesses Brits say they drive with:

Potential Issues
Cold/Flu 86%
Slowed reactions, alertness and uncontrolled sneezing
Ear Infection 80%
Pain, nausea, reduced hearing and potential dizziness
Back Pain 69%
Painkillers used to treat can cause dizziness and slowed reactions
Tonsillitis/Glandular Fever 64%
Extreme fatigue and fever
Kidney Infection 58%
High levels of pain fever, chills, fatigue, nausea and diarrhoea
Sciatica/Trapped Nerve 53%
Extreme cases can cause stiff or weak legs
Eye Infection 52%
Potential blurred vision
Migraine 46%
Nausea, impaired vision, Sensitivity to light and sound and slowed mental processing
Sickness & Diarrhoea 46%
Fever and stomach discomfort
Broken arm 21%
Reduced range of movement
Ailments which can cause visual impairments were met with worrying indifference by off-colour drivers. Nearly half (46%) of those suffering from a migraine – with symptoms including blurred vision – still felt it was safe to drive, while 52% of those with eye infections said they’d be happy to risk a trip on the roads.

A further breakdown of the results showed that just under one in three (29%) said they’d only drive for journeys they would describe as necessary, for example taking the kids to school. While around quarter (23%) of people said they’d still carry on with their daily tasks, like going to the supermarket, when feeling unwell.

Ryan Dignan from Zuto said:
Many of us follow the weekly routine of driving to work, doing the school run and stocking up on groceries, but when illness hits, it’s vital that we pay attention to the effect it’s having on us.
Taking to the roads with blurry vision or whilst distracted by pain is just as dangerous as the more obvious risks like speeding. Our guide highlights the dangers of common illness we’re likely to ignore, so we’re encouraging all drivers to start paying attention to those little things that can have a big effect.
To find out if it’s safe to drive when suffering from and being treated for common illnesses, go to the Zuto website https://www.zuto.com/blog/too-sick-to-drive/.

Brits Would Call In Sick With a Broken Arm - But Refuse to Stop Driving!

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