Volvo S60 T8 Twin Engine 2019 UK review

Want a fast executive saloon but don’t want to shout about it? Volvo’s new S60 T8 could be for you. We try it in the UK for the first time.

Volvo’s very modernist approach to the performance saloon format. And it will be a direction that the established elite in that segment have to follow as the electrification ramp-up marches on.This is Volvo’s fastest-accelerating production car, but it does things a little differently to the Germans. That’s why this T8-badged S60 gets no big wing, no flared arches, no giant air intakes and no shouty, quad-tipped exhaust to announce its presence. That may cause some to lose interest already. And probably for the best: Volvo isn’t aiming to beat the BMW M340i at its own game here – it’s aiming for a more reserved customer less inclined to make a big song and dance about their car’s power and pace.We’re plenty familiar with the concept of Volvo’s ‘Twin Engine’ T8 system, which has proven its worth in the 90 series models and the XC60 to date. But for the uninitiated, here goes: It’s got a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that is both turbocharged and supercharged, but it’s also a plug-in hybrid, supplemented by an 86bhp electric motor driving the rear axle for all-wheel drive. It funnels all the propulsion sources through an eight-speed automatic gearbox.  If that all sounds terribly complicated, well, it kind of is. For 2019 the T8 powertrain gets a slightly bigger 11.8kWh lithium ion battery pack, with Volvo claiming up to 30 miles is possible on electric power alone.

Source: Autocar Online

Mercedes-Benz A250 Saloon AMG Line 2019 review

The second four-door version of the A-Class sticks to the same formula as the hatchback – and largely gets it right

Look closely: this isn’t the new Mercedes-Benz CLA, but rather a saloon version of the new A-Class hatchback. But wasn’t the CLA the saloon version of the A-Class hatchback, I hear you ask? It used to be, but now there are two of them.Why? China and North America are the primary reasons for the need for a more conventional A-Class saloon, where the swoopier CLA sacrifices just too much practicality for style. The CLA, a big commercial success in its first generation, still keeps its place in the line-up, Mercedes taking the opportunity to dial up the driver appeal – with decidedly mixed results, as our recent road test has revealed.That then leaves the A-Class Saloon to simply play the role of being an A-Class with a boot without the need to try and also be a coupé or any other kind of niche. Three boxes, five seats: an age-old formula.The engine range is familiar from the A-Class hatchback, so you can have 1.3-litre and 2.0-litre turbocharged petrols and 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre diesels in various states of tune. They’re hooked up to a six-speed manual, seven-speed dual-clutch automatic or eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, depending on the version.Tested here is the mid-upper range A250, which uses a 221bhp 2.0-litre turbo petrol unit, decked out in range-topping AMG Line trim.

Source: Autocar Online

800 miles in a week in an electric car: 12 things I learned

The Kia e-Niro meets a (diesel) BMW X6 in an electric charging bay

The Kia e-Niro meets a diesel BMW X6 in an electric charging bay

Nice people, stupid people, Tesla lovers, strokes of marketing genius and the highs and lows of the charging network

Earlier this year, as part of a long-term test review, I had six months to discover just how good the Kia e-Niro is. But as the time neared its end, it became apparent that the car’s real-world 250-300-mile range meant I hadn’t driven anywhere that necessitated the use of the UK’s public charging network.

So it was that I took the plunge, adding further jeopardy by making this pioneering journey with my entire family in tow, off on our summer holidays to West Wales.

At worst, I wouldn’t return just on a flatbed truck but also divorced and with children who no longer wanted to know me.

The challenge was complex, because we needed to travel to and from Wales on the motorway networks, whereas we would be looking for every kind of charger available while we were there, from rural public spots to those provided by local car dealers and even, on occasion, three-pin plugs where we were staying.

However, 800 miles later and with two journeys of more than 250 miles under our belts, we were back home and still on speaking terms. It took some planning and there were fleeting moments of inconvenience and lost time, but it worked out just fine, a few ultimately minor dramas aside.

Here, then, are some of the lessons learned from a trip that proved to me once and for all that the capability of today’s EVs and charging network make the switch from a petrol or diesel car far easier than most people imagine.

1. Electric car people are nice people

I’ll be honest, I had my doubts. Social media is awash with virtue-signalling EV evangelists who jump at the chance to strike out at anyone who dare suggest even the slightest compromise of electrification. But everyone I met in an electric car was friendly, helpful and informative, and many went out of their way to help and educate me. This is the kind of advocacy needed to persuade anyone with doubts to switch to electric motoring, and it was a joy to discover a positive subject that bound people together in a common goal.

2. Some people can’t help behaving like idiots

Based on my journey, ‘some people’ is actually mostly made up of BMW drivers. The chap who parked his diesel X6 in a charging bay and left its engine running for 20 minutes? Idiot. The BMW 5 Series plug-in hybrid buyer who dropped it in a charging bay but then got ticketed because he wasn’t smart enough to plug it in? Bigger idiot. The only upside was that they weren’t using disabled bays, I guess.

3. The Tesco/Podpoint/Volkswagen tie-up is a stroke of genius

Parked up in Tesco in Cardigan taking on a quick top-up, I must have encountered close to 100 shoppers wanting to know what I and my Hyundai Ioniq-driving neighbour were up to. It helps, of course, that there are big signs and a video screen to catch the attention, but for most people I spoke to, it was the prospect of free fuel that had them intrigued and – from the quality of the questions – off to research more about electric cars. Greater news for EV uptake, even greater news if you’re about to launch the ID 3.

4. 7kW charging on the motorway is useless

You don’t need big energy to charge overnight at home, but it’s all you want when you’re trying to get somewhere. Incredibly, I encountered numerous motorway outlets that could only trickle around 20 miles of range into the car in the maximum 45 minutes of charging allowable. That’s nigh-on useless and underlines that as well as expanding the network, providers must focus on upgrading it where appropriate.

5. Ecotricity’s motorway network needs urgent improvement

I have pondered over naming and shaming, but the weight of evidence against Ecotricity is overwhelming, both from the fact that my only disrupted or failed charges came at its hands and the catalogue of complaints online. The company isn’t without its positives, but it’s regularly providing the sort of experiences that would put off many people from making the switch to an electric car and prompt hugely damaging headlines. If it won’t improve its act, someone else should be asked to step in.

6. Planning ahead isn’t that hard – but it helps to do it

It sounds obvious, but if you’re like me, the only planning you’ve thought about ahead of long trips previously is trying to avoid rip-off motorway prices. Driving an electric car requires more care, but not much, and of course you get better with experience. There are apps to tell you where chargers are, how fast they charge, whether they’re working and whether they’re available to use. Even if you hate planning ahead, you’re looking at five minutes of homework.

7. Charging needs to be simpler

That said, the infrastructure providers and legislators need to bang their heads together fast. I was delighted to discover a Welsh Government initiative trying to pull together the mishmash of providers under an umbrella scheme, so that users could access all the chargers using one app or card, rather than having to sign up to a patchwork of providers. Rumour has it there are more than 50 providers in the UK; someone needs to get the patchwork working together or make contactless payment easier, becuase it’s not unreasonable for people to reject anything that makes life harder.

8. Range doesn’t just get you from A to B, it gives you options

For all the headlines about there being more chargers than fuel stations in the UK now, one of the electric car owner’s biggest fears must be crawling up to a charger only to discover it’s either busy or broken. It actually happened to us, but whereas the 100-or-so-mile Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe owners were trapped in line, we could motor on to the next set of chargers. If you’re buying, don’t just consider what’s enough, consider what will give you freedom whatever the circumstances.

9. Everyone wants a Tesla

Every car maker is either launching or developing a so-called Tesla-killer, yet it only takes half a day on the road to realise just how lazy a line that is. Yes, Tesla has many issues to overcome and yes, it faces mounting opposition from the establishment, but be in no doubt that it remains the maker of the most desirable electric cars on the planet today, as well as garnering something of a cult status among children, the next generation of car buyers. It’s far from a perfect car company, but write it off at your peril. The Supercharger network is a major bonus, too.

10. Don’t underestimate the three-pin plug

It’s a crime that some car makers sell electric cars without the choice of what kind of cable you get with it. My advice would be to have both fast/rapid and three-pin options, as supplied by Kia. The latter may take days to fill a car like the e-Niro from empty to full, but it’s a great way to top up in remote locations and earn a few more options for where you can get to once you get going again.

11. The cars and the charging infrastructure are good enough today

I know there’s a mountain of obstacles still to overcome, but the number of mainstream media articles showing long-distance electric car journeys ending in disaster, prompting widespread disbelief at how the country will never be ready to switch, are nonsense. I know it’s possible because I did it and met tens of drivers who’ve happily taken on far more ambitious journeys without issue. Cars like the e-Niro with 250-plus miles of real range transform the capability, and there are more than enough performing chargers out there to keep most people moving. It’s not for everyone, I know, but I truly believe that for most of the people, most of the time, switching would be no barrier to their lives as they know them today.

12. Don’t forget what you’ve forgotten

As I write this, the e-Niro has gone to find a new owner, its loan having ended a week ago. Yesterday, I took my new test car – a perfectly brilliant diesel-powered seven-seat SUV – for its first fill. I’d forgotten how dirty fuel pumps are, how much time you end up spending at them and – above all – how expensive they are, to the extent one 500-mile tank cost me £75. That’s precisely half what I estimate the e-Niro to have cost me over 10,000 miles, thanks to my access to some free and much relatively cheap home charging. Charging sounds a faff, and it can be, but 99% of the time I plugged in and forgot about it until it was time to get in the car again. That is an infinitely preferable experience to going to a fuel station and parting with wads of cash.

Read more

Kia e-Niro long-term review

EVs need paying and charging conformity, says top charger maker

Electric chargers should offer card payment by 2020

Source: Autocar Online

Mercedes-Maybach luxury SUV to be revealed in November

Mercedes-Maybach SUV set for 2019 launch

The Mercedes-Maybach SUV as imagined by Autocar

Bentley Bentayga and Rolls-Royce Cullinan rival set to cost around £150,000

Mercedes-Benz will crown its SUV line-up in November with the reveal of a plush new Maybach-badged GLS model conceived to act as an upmarket rival to the Bentley Bentayga, Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic and Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

Mercedes launched Maybach as a premium sub-brand in 2014, initially with a reworked Mercedes-Maybach S-Class. It has now confirmed that it will reveal the first Maybach SUV at an event in November.

Sources at the Frankfurt motor show told Autocar that the the GLS Maybach will launch at a price of around £150,000. It has been developed to offer performance, accommodation and features commensurate with the existing Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, according to senior Mercedes-Benz officials. They cite China, North America and Russia among the new model’s key target markets.

Autocar can confirm the new Mercedes-Maybach GLS will receive its own unique styling elements, many of which will be drawn directly from the Mercedes-Maybach 6 coupé concept revealed at Pebble Beach in 2016 as a preview to the future of Mercedes-Benz’s Maybach sub-brand.

Despite retaining the same aluminium, high-strength steel and composite body panels as future standard GLS models, the new upmarket SUV is expected to sport a different grille and unique headlight and tail-light graphics, as well as added chrome and individual wheel designs in a move aimed at providing it with a more noble appearance in line with the current Mercedes-Maybach S-Class.

Secrecy surrounds the layout of the new Mercedes-Maybach GLS, although there are suggestions it could also have an extended wheelbase in an attempt to provide it with the sort of rear-seat leg room offered by the luxury SUV competition. The current 5130mm-long second-generation GLS rides on a 3080mm wheelbase – some 40mm shorter than that used by the 5199mm-long Range Rover SVAutobiography Long Wheelbase but 80mm longer than that of the 5140mm-long Bentley Bentayga.

Inside, the second of the new generation of Maybach models is planned to gain a luxuriously equipped cabin with appointments and materials beyond those of Mercedes-Benz’s existing Designo line. Among the more unique touches will be Maybach-themed digital instrument infotainment system graphics, says an insider closely involved in the new model’s development.

Although the standard third-generation GLS is planned to offer seating for up to seven on three rows of seats, the new Maybach model is set to offer two rows of seats with dedicated seating for four, or, as an option, five.  

Among the engines likely to be offered by the future range-topping GLS model is Mercedes-Benz’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol mated to a standard nine-speed automatic gearbox, with both 4Matic four-wheel drive and Air Body Control air suspension due to be standard. Insiders also hint at plans for a twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre V12 flagship, although this has yet to be officially acknowledged. Also under development for the new GLS are petrol-electric and diesel-electric hybrid drivetrains – the latter of which is set to debut in the E-Class later this year.

Mercedes-Benz’s plan to extend the Maybach line-up to include a GLS-based model comes after strong sales of the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class.

Source: Autocar Online

New Skoda Kamiq crossover priced from £17,700

Skoda Kamiq

Nissan Juke rival arrives on roads in November and completes Czech firm’s SUV line-up

The Skoda Kamiq, revealed at Geneva motor show and on roads this November, will be priced from £17,700.

The smallest SUV in Skoda’s line-up, the Kamiq range comprises four trim levels, S, SE, SE L and Monte Carlo, the latter of which will be available later this year. Of the three trims available to order now, prices range from £17,700 to £25,130. Rival, the new Nissan Juke, starts from £17,395.

The entry-level S trim includes 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and tail lights, air conditioning, infotainment system with DAB and a 6.5-inch touchscreen display.

The Kamiq, which completes Skoda’s European SUV range, will offer class-leading space and features, claimed the Czech firm.

The Juke rival, first shown at the Geneva show, sits underneath its Karoq and Kodiaq siblings. The Kamiq is based on the Vision X concept shown at last year’s Geneva show and is the first Skoda to show the influence of new design chief Oliver Stefani.

While it takes styling cues from both the Karoq and Kodiaq to ensure a ‘family’ resemblance between Skoda’s SUV offerings, the Kamiq has several distinctive features, including a more upright grille and optional narrow LED running lights. The latter feature animated ‘dynamic’ indicators and sit above the main headlights. As with the new Scala, the boot displays the Skoda name in letters, instead of the firm’s logo.

The Kamiq will be offered in front-wheel drive only. Although aimed primarily at a family market in urban areas, it will deliver “sporty” handling, according to project manager Emil Nikolov. The Kamiq is available with optional Sport Chassis Control, which makes the car sit 10mm lower than standard and includes adjustable shock absorbers. 

Three petrol engines and one diesel are offered in the UK. There are two 1.0 TSI petrol options, with 94bhp and 113bhp respectively; and a 1.5 TSI petrol with 148bhp. The diesel offering is a 1.6 TDI with 113bhp. In certain European markets, a CNG powertrain will be offered, although this version won’t come to the UK.

There is a choice of a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. 

The Kamiq is built on the Volkswagen Group MQB A0 platform used by the Seat Arona and Volkswagen T-Cross but has more interior space than both. 

The new compact SUV is 4241mm long with a wheelbase of 2651mm, both of which are 85mm longer than the Arona. That also makes the Kamiq 106mm longer than the Juke, with a 121mm-longer wheelbase. Skoda says extending the wheelbase has allowed it to maximise interior space, claiming more rear leg room than in the Octavia and Karoq. 

It has a boot capacity of 400 litres, identical to the Arona’s and 46 litres bigger than the Juke’s. The Kamiq’s boot can be accessed using an electric tailgate and expands to 1395 litres with the rear seats folder. 

The interior features a similar layout to the recently launched Scala, including the option of a 9.2in free-standing infotainment touchscreen that sits above a hand-rest ‘shelf’ and an optional 10.25in virtual cockpit. The air vents have been pushed to the side of the dashboard in a bid to increase space and ambient lighting is offered in three colours. Options include heated front and rear seats. Skoda claims more than 20 of its ‘Simply Clever’ features are available, including a removable LED torch in the boot.

The Kamiq will be offered with a permanent internet connection and a number of connected features, such as remote vehicle access via an app. The car comes with Front Assist and Lane Assist as standard, with optional safety features that include Park Assist, Rear Traffic Alert and a rear-view camera. 

The Kamiq is unrelated to the Chinese-market SUV of the same name. That machine is larger and built on an older platform, but Skoda has used the same name because they are the smallest SUVs it offers in each market. As with the Karoq and Kodiaq, the Kamiq name is based on a word from the Inuit language. It “embodied something in which you can feel comfortable in any situation and that has its own character,” according to Skoda sales boss Alain Favey.

Read more

Skoda Kodiaq review

New Volkswagen T-Roc R packs 296bhp for 2019​

Nissan Juke is bigger, cleaner, more ‘grown up’

Source: Autocar Online

Volkswagen ID 4: 2020 electric SUV tests alongside ID 3

Volkswagen ID 4

Volkswagen’s two core EVs are seen alongside each other, revealing ID 4’s close size and linked design

Volkswagen upcoming ID 4 SUV has again been caught testing, a week after it was on display in camouflage at the Frankfurt motor show.

The electric crossover-style SUV will be a big part of VW’s ID brand’s range offensive in the US. The bodywork similarities of these two prototypes suggests the ID 4 will be closely linked to the ID 3 it is testing alongside, albeit slightly larger and sporting more evident SUV design cues. 

The ID 4 was on show at Frankfurt sporting a heavily camouflaged livery and is inside a glass box wrapped in a similar pattern. The set-up was similar to that used by VW when it launched pre-sales for the ID 3 hatch earlier this year.

Although VW was giving away little information about the car at Frankfurt, to keep the focus on the company rebranding and the launch of the production ID 3, the Kia e-Niro rival is set to go into production next year.

Despite the camouflage, the new EV appears to retain many of the same exterior themes as the ID Crozz concept car, which was first shown more than two years ago and then reworked for the 2017 Frankfurt motor show. 

Volkswagen ID 3 2020 review

Two production versions of the ID Crozz will be offered: a coupé-SUV in the vein of the original concept and this straight SUV model with a more conventional roofline and tailgate design. We can also see it has conventional rear doors, ditching the sliding items of the 2017 car. It’s not yet clear if the coupé variant will also adopt this approach, but it’s likely.

The ID 4 will be built in Europe, the US and China, cementing its status as a truly global model and a crucial kingpin of the brand’s rapid EV rollout.

“As early as 2020, we aim to sell 100,000 all-electric Volkswagens [per year],” said Volkswagen Group chairman Herbert Diess at the concept’s 2017 unveiling. “But this is just the beginning. By 2025, annual sales could increase tenfold to one million vehicles.” 

Volkswagen had previously shown ID hatchback and ID Buzz concepts, which will lead to production models. Diess said the new electric car line-up will be offered alongside traditional combustion-engined and hybrid-powered Volkswagen models.

The ID Crozz aims to combine the dynamic lines of a modern day sports car together with the all terrain capability of a dedicated off-roader. It’s said to offer interior space on a par with the Tiguan Allspace, a new long-wheelbase version of Volkswagen’s best-selling SUV model, together with a claimed 515 litres of luggage capacity.

The ID Crozz concept is 4625mm long, 1891mm wide and 1609mm tall, putting it in between the five-seat Tiguan and seven-seat Tiguan Allspace in terms of dimensions. It will have a wheelbase of 2773mm.

The MEB-based ID Crozz is powered by the same zero-emissions driveline used by the original concept, featuring two electric motors – one mounted within the front axle, and one at the rear – powered by an 83kWh lithium ion battery housed within the floor structure. The front electric motor sends its 101bhp and 103lb ft to the front wheels. The rear unit delivers 201bhp and 228lb ft to the rear wheels, giving the car a combined output of 302bhp and 332lb ft of torque.

This is just under 100bhp more than the powertrain used by the rear-wheel-drive ID hatchback, intended to offset a likely weight increase. The ID Crozz is set to have a range of more than 311 miles, with no specific figure yet quoted. No performance figures have been revealed, though Volkswagen says it intends limiting the production version’s top speed to 112mph.   

With its large battery mounted low down within the floor structure and the electric motors also housed within the axle assemblies front and rear, Volkswagen also claims the ID Crozz possesses a front-to-rear weight distribution of 48:52. VW officials are already talking up the dynamic qualities, suggesting the new platform and chassis provide a “large spread between handling and comfort”. The ID Crozz has been built to offer a choice between manual and autonomous driving modes. 

Read more

Volkswagen ID 3: vital EV launched with up to 341 mile range

Volkswagen to launch high performance ID 3 R in future

All-electric VW ID estate on the cars for future launch

The Wolf of Wolfsburg: Autocar meets VW boss Herbert Diess

Source: Autocar Online

2020 Wiesmann 'Project Gecko' to have BMW V8 power

Wiesmann Project Gecko front end

New sports car will spearhead the German company’s comeback; is inspired by its 2009 limited-edition GT MF5

German sports car maker Wiesmann will end a tumultuous period in its history by introducing a new car in 2020. Called Project Gecko internally, the model will draw inspiration from the limited-edition GT MF5 of 2009.

Project Gecko will spearhead the company’s comeback after a short hiatus. It remains under wraps, but teaser images strongly suggest it falls in line with the previous design language, featuring a long bonnet that flows into an upright grille with vertical slats, plus a sloping roofline and pronounced rear wheel arches. Wiesmann points out that its stylists call the model an evolution, not a revolution.

Lightweight materials such as aluminium keep the car’s mass in check. That’s even more important than it was in 2009, because the regulations with which the coupé must comply to be street legal in key markets around the globe have become much stricter. Wiesmann has also pledged to modernise key features, likely in the name of comfort and daily usability.

Project Gecko – a name that won’t be used in production – will arrive with a front-mid-mounted 4.4-litre V8 engine provided by BMW’s M division. The twin-turbocharged unit will spin the rear wheels through a BMW-sourced automatic gearbox in a mechanical layout that enable a 50:50 weight distribution. Wiesmann hasn’t published any performance specifications yet.

The new car will be assembled by hand at the original Wiesmann factory in Dülmen, Germany. Production is scheduled to start in 2020, so we expect to learn more details about the car over the coming months. While pricing hasn’t been announced publicly, enthusiasts interested in the first new Wiesmann model in more than a decade can put their name on the waiting list from 17 September.

Wiesmann’s decision to rummage through the BMW parts bin hardly comes as a surprise. Founded in 1988, the German firm has historically powered its cars with six, eight and ten-cylinder engines stamped with a Munich parts number. Using turn-key components allowed it to keep costs in check while developing limited-edition sports cars with a retro-inspired design, although it filed for bankruptcy in 2013 and has struggled to recover since.

Read more

All BMW reviews

New 2021 Range Rover spotted with BMW V8 engine

Source: Autocar Online

Hyundai's hydrogen boss predicts sales growth will continue

Korean maker has had to cut off Nexo supply in Europe and US this year because of huge demand in home market

Hyundai Nexo sales are being held back by limited production capacity, but still growing exponentially according to the firm’s hydrogen fuel cell business head Dr Sae-Hoon Kim.

The Nexo, the firm’s second-generation production fuel cell passenger car, was launched last year, with plans to sell around 1500 cars in 2019. However, in Korea alone 5500 cars have been ordered, meaning supply has been cut off for potential US and European buyers.

“We have to do what makes most business sense, and with good subsidies available in Korea that could be cut off at any time the decision was made to fulfill those orders,” said Kim. “We are doing our best to meet demand but it keeps on growing.”

As a result Hyundai has invested in upping its production capacity of fuel cell vehicles to 40,000 per year, on a par with Toyota’s current projections. While these figures remain tiny in global car production terms, and even compared to battery-electric production numbers, Kim says that it brings production ever-closer to a point that it is commercially viable.

“At around 200,000 units a year you get the scale to buy the materials you need at a cost that could put a hydrogen car on a cost par with today’s battery-electric vehicles,” he said. “At the current rate of demand I can see that happening within five years.”

Kim also highlighted Hyundai’s recent work in developing fuel cell technology for commercial vehicles as a priority for advancing the uptake of hydrogen, saying: “The key is that you need 5-10 times more durability than for a passenger car, around one million kilometres,” he said.

“We can see today how we get to 500,000km in two to three years, and from there it is possible to take the next steps with the stack design I believe. These improvements don’t necessarily add cost – if you improve technology, sometimes it can reduce costs.”

Read more: 

Audi renews hydrogen powertrain development scheme

Under the skin: why hydrogen could be an easy cell

Autocar Awards 2019: the winners


Source: Autocar Online

James Ruppert: the surprisingly cheap world of online dealers

Ford Ka - static front

One dealer had a 2012, 83,000-mile Ka 1.2 for £2200

Are there bargains to be found via dealer groups online?

Got a fairly daft press release the other day going on about ‘decidophobia’. Apparently, we Brits struggle with information overload when buying a used car. 

At that point, I’d have usually binned it, since the basis of the quoted stats will be a small survey. Good job I kept reading, though, because I found out that the company that carried out the survey is owned by Volkswagen and Daimler. They should have told me that a lot earlier rather than making up a phobia. They should also have mentioned they use selected dealers who supply cars that are less than eight years old and under 100,000 miles. So let’s go and do a virtual check of their stock. 

Being me, I searched for cheapness first and came up with a bunch of city centre assault vehicles. First off, there was a Ford Ka 1.2 Studio from 2012. It had 83,000 miles and cost just £2200, which is pretty good from a dealer group, in this case a Nissan outlet. They usually don’t stock affordables because they can be a pain to warranty. 

Similar models included a 2012 Citroën C1 1.0 VTR three-door at the same outlet with 70,000 miles and on offer at £2500. Otherwise, a badge-engineered Peugeot 107 1.0 Urban with 77,000 miles and a couple of extra doors at £2400 at a car supermarket offered something more practical.

You can compare and contrast, as most clever websites allow you to do these days. Plus you can get posh barges like Bentleys. Without searching too hard, I found a 2013 Bentley Flying Spur with 35,000 miles from Bentley’s own Specialist Car Division, priced at £53,950. If a Spur makes you feel like a chauffeur, then a Continental GT – in this case, a 2012 car in Mulliner Driving spec – came in at £57,950. Or £69,000 would get you the same model and spec but this time as a roof-free GTC

Somewhere in the middle of these two extremes come the everyday family cars. A Vauxhall Astra 1.4i Exclusiv from 2012 with 74,000 miles is a reasonable £3500. 

So what we have here is another way of choosing your next used car. You may well end up at the same place as you would have anyway, but it is true the reassurance is very nice. That is what buying from a dealer should be. There are 1400 dealers in this arrangement so there is plenty of choice. A couple of big manufacturers are involved so clearly there is money to be made from us. Should I use such a service, or some other used car search? I just can’t decide what to do.

What we almost bought this week

Perodua Myvi 1.3: When it was launched in 2006, Malaysia’s version of the Daihatsu Sirion cost just £6799 after a £1000 dealer cashback. Today, those same folk who bought into the tough little hatch should be congratulating themselves since, as we found, a 2010-reg example with 83,000 miles and full service history still commands a price of £1690.

Tales from Ruppert’s garage

Land Rover Series 3, mileage – 130,565: Just checking in with the Lorry, which is doing sterling work, shifting all sorts of stuff. Indeed, not pictured is a load bay stuffed to the roof with all sorts of metal- and paper-based nonsense. 

I also took the time to do a check and saw that, after a long time of being normal, the oil level had dropped a bit. I don’t think it is a problem – just might be a week or two longer since I checked. I use the mineral stuff that Halfords does, although I am sure someone else supplies something that is just as good. But I can’t be bothered to find it.

Reader’s ride

Honda Accord: Here’s the second instalment of Nick Williams’s love-in with used Hondas. “My Accord is still going strong. I’ve had it for five years now. It has done 90,000 miles and is extremely reliable. Expenditure – apart from insurance, car tax, fuel, servicing and MOT – has been a set of Michelin Primacy 3 tyres three years ago and brake pads and discs on the front. 

“Even though it has a 200bhp 2.4-litre, I get very reasonable mpg. I think it will be our main car for years yet. And it’s not costing me a £300-per-month PCP!”

Readers’ questions

Question: I paid a deposit on a car but have changed my mind about buying it. Can I get my money back? The car was a nearly new MX-5, so the dealer will have little trouble reselling it. Gary Kingman, Basingstoke

Answer: Whether the dealer does or does not have trouble selling it is irrelevant. In paying the deposit, you formed a legally binding contract to buy the car and your deposit is non-refundable. Circumstances when you could get your money back include if the dealer broke their side of their agreement, there’s a cooling-off period in the contract or you bought the car away from the dealer’s premises. John Evans

Question: I can’t decide between a 2016 Subaru BRZ SE Nav with 22,000 miles for £14,290 and a 2015 Toyota GT86 D-4S with 24,000 miles for £15,500. Both have full history. Can you help, please? Paul Hudson, via email

Answer: The Subaru is younger and £1000 cheaper but still you’re undecided between it and the older, more expensive Toyota? It can only be an image thing because both are equally well equipped and drive identically. We’d go with the BRZ and spend the saving on getting a little more power out of that 2.0-litre engine. John Evans

Read more

Nearly-new buying guide: Mazda MX-5 Mk4​

Subaru BRZ review

UK new car sales: what is each region buying?​

Source: Autocar Online

McLaren GT 2019 review

McLaren GT front three quarters

Woking’s most user-friendly car to date is still a McLaren first and foremost, and a GT more in name than behaviour

McLaren says this is a new kind of grand tourer. A lighter, more dynamic, more, er, McLaren-y kind of grand tourer. It exists because the 570GT didn’t quite hit all its marks. It was gorgeous, rapid and more practical than the 570S, but the feedback from the punters was that they wanted a car like that but even more so. And the GT is the result.It’s anything but a softened-off, reskinned and renamed 570GT. It has its own bodywork, its own specification of carbonfibre monocell, the 4.0-litre engine from the 720S – albeit with smaller turbochargers and high-compression pistons – and the Proactive Chassis Control suspension also developed for the 720S. Its steering, brakes and stability system all have a bespoke tune, while Pirelli has provided a new P Zero tyre with a compound that has a broader envelope of ability, particularly on wet roads.The engine has been lowered to provide more luggage space, while the ride height has been raised so that, with the nose lift, the GT will get over the same speed hump as a Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Inside, there’s a new instrument pack and sat-nav five times faster than the previous version. Yet the price is a surprisingly modest – by McLaren standards – £163,000. Perhaps that’s why the company expects it to account for 25% of sales. And no, there’s no Spider version in the current product plan, which extends up to 2023. The GT is a standalone model.Yet despite the fact that 60% of the parts on this car are new, it feels neither like a new kind of McLaren nor a new kind of grand tourer. It feels like a McLaren. And I have no issue with that.

Source: Autocar Online

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