Kit your car with the latest tech

Put your money where your motor is. Top tech to invest in.

These days, car manufacturers use all kinds of gadgets and technical wizardry to make your car safer, and let’s face it, slicker. Here’s a list of the latest in-car tech that should be on every driver’s wish list.

Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)

Perhaps one of the most important innovations in car safety, AEB works by helping to prevent nose-to-tail collisions or the ‘rear-ender’. According to Thatcham Research, experts in car safety, “It’s probably the most significant development in car safety since the seat belt and could save an astonishing 1,100 lives and 122,860 casualties in the UK over the next 10 years”.

How does it work? AEB uses sensors to monitor your environment; the speed you’re driving at; the traffic flow ahead and the distance between you and the car in front. If the system senses that you’re about to crash, it will apply the brakes, avoiding or at least minimising any impact

Lane-keeping assist

This relatively new technology is so important because it helps to prevent head-on collisions at high-speed. Given that these collisions result in more fatalities than low-speed shunts, this technology marks a real watershed in car safety. Lane-keeping assist technology can detect if your car is about to cross into the next lane without signalling and will then actively steer your car back into lane. Clever eh?

Blind spot detection

Many new cars now offer blind spot detection. These systems use cameras and radar to detect if there’s a vehicle or pedestrian in your blind spot. If this happens, the driver is alerted by a flashing LED light in the side-view mirror or dashboard and with some systems, an audible alarm will be triggered.

Adaptive headlights

Unlike traditional headlights, adaptive headlights can angle themselves to follow the road as the car corners. They work by using tiny sensors inside the headlight casing, which track the cars movement, speed and elevation. As the car turns, so do the headlights, illuminating the road ahead, rather than blinding approaching drivers. Some newer systems can even adapt their brightness levels according to factors like the weather and the presence of oncoming traffic.

Dash cam

This clever little device records your journey while you’re driving. In light of the recent ‘crash for cash’ claims, dash cams can be used to prove who’s responsible in the event of an accident – helping to protect you from any fraudulent claim. Most dash cams range from £30 to £500. However, you can get yourself a free dash cam by downloading the Aviva Drive app.

The free Aviva Drive app has an in-built collision detector that auto-records in the event of an accident. The app also monitors your driving, reviewing how you brake and accelerate. After 200 miles, it gives you a driving score and the chance to save money on Aviva car insurance.

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Ford B-Max Mini MPV Review: A Good Car for the Money

What do you get when you cross the Ford Fiesta platform with the size and the styling of the Ford Focus? The B-Max Mini MPV, Ford’s strongest entry in the European minivan market. The B-Max was originally introduced as a concept car at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show as a way to display the company’s revolutionary B3 platform. It has done very well since being introduced to the consumer market in 2012.

The 2015 B-Max is everything you would expect from this car, and then some. Its strongest selling point for families is a combination of its price point and practicality. You get a lot for your money with the B-Max, although you will probably not win any style points for driving a sleek and sexy sport sedan. That is why the B-Max is really designed for families with young kids.

A bonus for families is that used versions of the B-Max are available through manufacturer-approved schemes such as Ford Direct. Choosing one that is a model a year or two older is yet another way to get an excellent car for not a lot of money.

The Positives

We like the B-Max, first and foremost because it answers one of the most annoying features of most minivans: barely accessible rear seats. Ford designers got rid of the centre pillars to create an open system that makes it easy to get the kids in and out. Believe it or not, child seats have never been easier to use in a minivan. No other minivan offers 59 inches of open space between side doors.

The use of the hatch in the back is another significant positive. Owners have easy access to the rear of the vehicle for loading everything from luggage to groceries. That said, there is not a whole lot of room in the back when the passenger seats are in their normal position. Travelling a long distance with a lot of luggage probably means using a roof-mounted luggage rack or a trailer.

Lastly, the fuel economy of the 99bhp 1.0-litre petrol model is excellent. Ford says you can get 55 mpg if you are careful not to drive aggressively. That’s not hard to do with the 1.0. You may have more difficulty getting mileage that good with the 1.4-litre engine. You will, however, get more punchy performance.

The Negatives

Despite the amount of space afforded by the removal of the central pillars, we cannot help but think that the B3 design presents a safety issue in the event of a side impact crash. Nevertheless, crash tests have resulted in a five star rating for the B-Max in the States. The Euro NCAP also gave the B-Max a five-star safety rating for the 2012 model.

There is not a lot to be impressed about with the comfort level of the B-Max. It is adequate, in the sense that it is not an uncomfortable car, but it is not as smooth and gentle as we would expect a family car to be. Some have described the ride as ‘firm’. It needs to be that way in order to give owners the handling they expect in a car of that size and shape.

Lastly, the design for the interior can be a bit annoying until one gets used to it. The dash seems overly generous while all of the gauges and user controls are compressed into a tiny area. It seems as though Ford could have done a better job of spreading things out a bit. Nonetheless, perhaps the dash arrangement was designed around the overall theme of more room to work rather than valuable space being taken up by unnecessary features.

Where to Buy the Ford B-Max

The Ford B-Max has done very well in a UK market that is heavy on fuel economy and low price point. It is available from most dealers in the UK as a brand new model and there are no real stock restrictions, some sites have strong special offers such as There is no reason it should not continue to do well for the foreseeable future. It is a minivan worth looking at for young families that need space for the little ones. In short, it is a good car for the price.

For a quick part exchange valuation then is a good bet or alternatively direct from a dealer against a car you are interested in

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Avoid Buying Sports Cars If You Want Your Teenager Drive It

It takes time, money and planning to buy a new vehicle for families. There are a few things to consider before making the decision. Parents may want to buy a nice car even before their children comes to driving age. Children grow really fast and before you know they have their driving license and want to drive. Having a safe family car for them to practice on would reduce the immediate pressures to buy them a car of their own.

Even though you may be comfortable with your child driving your car this may prove to be problematic for certain models. One of the problems may be adding the newly qualified teen driver onto your existing policy. If you want to avoid such problems you need to think about who will drive the car when you are looking at certain models with high insurance ratings.

Sports cars and teenagers are two high risk combinations for auto insurers. They usually charge high rates for both owning a high performance vehicle and having a teenage driver in the family. When these two combined you may face serious problems. You may have to pay extortionate premiums if you want your teenager drive a sporty looking auto. In some cases, it may actually be impossible to insure the teenage driver.

There are cars that are clearly sporty and there is no argument about it. And there are the ones that have powerful engines but they may not be considered sports car by many people. In some cases, people buy those automobiles for family use and advanced safety and security features they come with.

For example, BMW X3 and Porsche Cayenne are great cars for families. They have spacious and luxuries interior, large boots and generally considered safe cars in terms of protection they provide in accidents. However, they have powerful engines and take off really fast.

You can understand why families buy them. In the same time you can see why insurance companies would consider them to be riskier.  Most companies not only wouldn’t want a teenage driver included in the policy but also they would impose a condition that any driver allowed should be over the age of 25 years old.

Keep this in mind when you are considering a new auto for your family. says “families should look for more modest automobiles when they want their teenage daughters or sons drive it, too”. It is always a good idea to look at insurance ratings of a new car and it is even a better idea to get a few quotes before making the final decision.

Otherwise, your insurer may exclude young drivers from driving the insured automobile. This will force you to buy another auto for your children to drive and improve their skills or you may have to accept that they cannot drive for some time. Understandably, this will result in resentments and disappointments within the family. And it would cost a lot of money to sort it out with another automobile and insurance policy purchase.

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5 Great British Drives

Britain is a nation of car and travel lovers and, unsurprisingly, we are always on the lookout for new places to discover. This article will take a look into 5 of the best roads to explore in the whole country and, naturally, they are all located far from the everyday rush hour locations.

1. Buttertubs Pass – Yorkshire Dales:

Not one for the faint of heart, the Buttertubs Pass was once described by Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson as England’s ‘one spectacular road’ and we can see what he means. There are a number of steep cliffs which offer up stunning panoramic views, in addition to enough twists and turns that might make you feel like you’re driving through Monaco. The whole pass takes around 10 minutes to drive and is a shade over 5 miles in length and will be used in the 2014 Tour de France. It is definitely not one to leave you disappointed with its interestingcraggy landscape, though caution is advised particularly around some of the bends.

2. A537: Cat ‘n’ Fiddle

The so-called ‘cat ‘n’ fiddle’ road is another tricky, but beautiful road that begs to be driven. Located slightly south of the Buttertubs Pass, in Derbyshire, this has been named one of the most dangerous roads in the country, due to the sheer number of bends. A firm favouriteamong classic car owners, what could be better than a lazy sunny Sunday afternoon cruising around the corners in a best of British car such as a Bentley rental or an Aston Martin?

3. A272:

Heading south to the beautiful drive between Horsham and Winchester is probably the best drive for those living in one of the most populated areas of the country. On a quiet Sunday morning, you can really appreciate the large stretch of road in front of you and enjoy the surrounding Hampshire countryside. There are plenty of interesting bends and long straight stretches, whilst another highlight of this 1 hour 15 minute drive is that you pass the South Downs National Park, among the most beautiful nature spots in the whole country. One final advantage of this road compared to some of the others on this list is that there are plenty of market towns to stop off and visit.

4. Black Mountain Road: A4069

This is Wales’ offering in this list, and what a stunning road to experience. During low season this offers one of the best driving opportunities in the world, with little to no traffic and just an open, winding road in front of you. The quieter periods also allow you time to sit and admire the landscapes, including the flat top of Black Mountain itself. The A4069 is again around the 5 mile length and should be number one on anybody’s list if they are heading to Wales this year. In the winter months it is generally a quiet road and provides a great driving experience, although it is perhaps advisable to take a vehicle which can handle the British weather. A Range Rover would be the perfect example of this.

5. A896: Pass of the Cattle

To finish off this list, it is only natural to add a Scottish road into the equation. Perhaps the best place in Britain to drive is Scotland, given that away from the major cities there is simply more space to explore. The A896 is one road which simply begs to be explored, with fantastic bends which lead down to beautiful lochs, there is plenty to see. It also has the added advantage of being in the Scottish highlands, so it is unlikely that you will encounter too many other road users unless you go in July or August.

These are simply five of the many enjoyable roads to explore in Great Britain and whilst it is sometimes difficult to imagine a pleasant drive when you are stuck in traffic at 7.30 in the morning, it is good to know that there still remain some roads on which we can have a bit more fun.

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Car Problems? Take Cover.

One of the great lies perpetuated upon us all is the one that says it is always other people’s cars that break down. The fact is that an automotive breakdown can happen to any of us at anytime, anywhere. Cars have no sense of timing. This is a problem for all of us and can be especially daunting for people who have little or no knowledge of how cars work.

The list of things that can go wrong is something that most of us don’t really want to think about. There’s the usual problems, obviously, but what happens if your battery dies or if – it doesn’t bear thinking about – you put the wrong fuel in the car?

Of course, the stricken driver could call out their local garage but life’s not like that. The chances are that the breakdown will occur miles from home. Thanks to mobile phones it’s straightforward to summon local help and, if necessary, get the car towed in but the car owner doesn‘t know who he is dealing with or how competent they are. It’s all a bit of a lottery. Then of course, there follows the need to get the occupants home or to arrange for onward travel.

Fortunately, it is possible to get the security of breakdown cover at very reasonable rates so that when it happens to you, you know you can get moving again quickly thanks to the efforts of properly trained technicians, without it costing the earth. Of course, some cars never break down but what price peace of mind eh? When it does happen the consequences will not only be inconvenient, the cost of rescue is likely to be expensive.

Luckily, it is easy to match breakdown cover with the driving budget. For example, some policies will even cover issues that occur before the car has even left the driveway. There’s a whole raft of ways to spread coverage from the basics to car hire when something goes wrong.

Not wishing to be alarmist, it gets worse if driving abroad. Language barriers, different currency and simply a different way of doing things all serve to exacerbate the situation. Fortunately, it is also possible to purchase European breakdown cover for when  travelling in on the Continent. This is normally the highest level of cover and will include benefits such as repatriation back to the UK if you car can’t be fixed abroad, and a hire car so that you can continue your holiday.

So, it’s easy to obtain breakdown cover and equally easy to set the terms to suit the budget. One day, someday, you’ll be glad you invested.

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Say Goodbye To Coolant Leaks

Historically, one of the things that made you glad you owned a really reliable car was the sight of some poor unfortunate soul standing at the roadside next to a car with steam coming out of the engine.

Overheating, possibly because of water leaks from faulty or damaged radiators or other engine coolant issues were relatively commonplace in days gone by and can still plague those who by choice or necessity run older motors.

Modern cars, it is commonly believed, are less prone to this sort of thing but this is absolutely no reason to become complacent. Today’s vehicles, when they do malfunction, do so in a much trickier way because they are considerably more complex than cars from days gone by.

When air-conditioning first became popular on cars, drivers began to notice the little pools of water that could gather under their vehicle. A frisson of fear would run through them because they did not know what the problem was or, indeed, how to fix it. Now, of course, we all know that it is a harmless by-product of running air-con systems and not a fault at all, but that moment of doubt should serve as a timely reminder about reliability issues.

There are things car owners can do to minimise the possibility of leaks. In addition to keeping the water/coolant level where it needs to be, a driver can prevent trouble in the car’s cooling system by keeping an eye out for mysterious leaks before they get troublesome and by replacing old or damaged hoses. The common trouble spots in the cooling system can be identified by a few minutes of research. Good maintenance practices are vital and this is especially true the older a car gets, particularly if it is a classic model.

This is why the sensible driver carries a little pack of useful safety items in case of breakdown. Most motoring outlets carry these as ready assembled kits. It doesn’t hurt to have a little tool roll to hand as well. The trouble is there is no way that every eventuality can be taken into consideration. Fate has a strange way of dishing it out.

There exists out there on a shelf near you a range of products that can fix most leaks in all types of water cooled engines – including cracked cylinder heads, head gasket failures, cracked blocks, radiators, heater cores and water pumps. One easy-to-use and respected product, called K-Seal, can have your vehicle up and running, leak-free, within minutes with the added benefit of not having to flush the system before or afterwards. Finally, drivers can say goodbye to coolant leaks.

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Nissan LEAF drivers racing towards one billion kilometres

The LEAF is Nissan’s first fully electric car and the owners of the LEAF are quickly approaching the one billion kilometres driven milestone.

As part of this accomplishment Nissan have created a number of animated stories, the first one being made around a Spanish taxi driver called Roberto San Jose. Roberto bought his LEAF in October 2011 and has covered 62,000 miles (100,000 km) making a large contribution to the aim of one billion LEAF miles. There are a number of other LEAF owners who have had these animations designed around them. Vito Mondelli, who resides in Bari in Italy decided to make a 100km trip to a charming town called Taranto. He was mocked by his friends as they didn’t believe he would make it in one charge of the LEAF’s electric engine, he proved them wrong. Nissan have also announced that they are making further animations based around Laura Farina, the first ever Nissan LEAF owner from Italy, and Sue Terry and Darren Golder from the United Kingdom. These animations describe how making the transition to an electric car has changed their lives for the better.

The LEAF being 100% electric leaves no trail of CO2 behind it when driving; you don’t have to pay congestion charges (London), road tax, of benefit-in-kind for businesses. With sat nav, rear view camera and climate control the LEAF is also not compromised of gadgets. The Carwings telematics SatNav system cleverly tells you the exact amount of energy that will be required to get to your desired destination, on top of this it also tells you where the nearest charging point it for increased ease of use. If its peace and comfort you are after look no further than the Nissan LEAF, at 21 decibels because the LEAF is 100% electric it statistically makes less noise than a crying baby (95db) and a ceiling fan (26db), ensuring you travel in comfort and silence.

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Lexus RC Coupé Roars In For 2014


Wow! Lexus have certainly pulled out all the stops with their brilliant new four-seat RC Coupé, based on the IS saloon. Shown recently at the Geneva Motor Show it has captured the imagination of car enthusiasts everywhere.

Initially the car will be available with a choice of two engines – a 3.5 litre V6 engine and a 2.5-litre petrol-hybrid. It is understood that further options are in the pipeline. For the UK, buyers should expect to see the hybrid first.

The V6 petrol engine is paired with an eight-speed sports direct shift transmission, with paddle shift controls whilst the hybrid version uses a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine working in conjunction with a 141PS electric motor. The hybrid is driven through an electronic continuously variable transmission with six step-gears.

In addition to the above, the Japanese manufacturer will also release a fire breathing version called the RC-F which is featured in this video. It’s the most powerful Lexus yet, developing an awesome 450hp from its five litre V8 power plant. This version will have the added handling benefit of an active, speed sensitive rear spoiler.

Lexus have long been known for their quality and exclusivity. Now they have added sporting flair as well.

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Why Is It Absolutely Necessary To Have The Correct Tyre Pressure?

Many of us go on motoring for mile after mile without checking our tyre pressure. Some can go between services without even considering the amount of air that ought to be pumped into their tyres. Although some of us might kick the car’s tyres from time to time, maybe ahead of long motorway journey for instance, this is only the roughest of gauges and is hardly an accurate measurement of pressure. Even if you stop to check the tyre pressure using an electric pump at the filling station once in a while, it is worth asking yourself if you do this often enough. Perhaps, if your tyres need pressure adding every time that you check, then it might be worth doing this with a greater regularity. After all, driving with tyres that are under-inflated can cause problems which are easily avoided.

Extend the life of the tyres

Most mechanics would agree that maintaining the correct air pressure in your car’s tyres is important. With the right amount of air pressure set in your tyres, they will go on for a longer period. Once your tyres have become sufficiently worn down, they are no longer street legal and you could face a fine. Under-inflated tyres wear more rapidly on all sorts of road surface. If you fit new tyres because yours have worn down, buy them from a good independent dealer like Point-S Tyres and remember to keep them pumped up in future.

Brake Efficiently

Not only do correctly inflated tyres enhance the handling of a car, they can also prevent accidents. This is because tyres which have a low pressure cause you to brake inefficiently. Simply put, swerving out of trouble and braking quickly are both harder with under-inflated tyres. This is the case even if it just one of your wheels that is affected.

Avoid Poor Mileage

Failure to maintain the correct tyre pressure with your vehicle can also result in poor mileage. Low tyre pressure leads to more energy being used by the car to get it moving in the right direction. You end up burning more and more fuel to accelerate. Even when you have reached a good cruising speed, on the motorway or a dual carriageway, under-inflated tyres cause you to use more energy maintaining that speed. Low tyre pressure means that you have to fill up with fuel more often and, like the cost of tyres that are wearing down quickly, all of this ends up costing money.

Find out the correct air pressure for your car

The correct air pressure for your car can be found in the owner’s manual or on a tyre panel. This is usually located on the edge of the driver’s door or in the glove box. Some models of car have it handily displayed on the inside of the fuel filling cover. Remember that – with some models – you have to inflate the car’s rear and front wheels to differing levels for them to be correct. For van owners, it is essential to adjust the tyre pressure depending on the weight of the load that you carry in the back, because heavy loads can cause problems for tyres which are over-inflated.

About the Author
My name is Emily Cole. I am an avid blogger. I love to write about the automotive industry, travelling and tips and tricks on how to take care of your vehicle. I believe that keeping your ride well maintained can save you from unforeseen events and can help in saving money!!

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What Makes the New Qashqai 2014 the World’s Most Parkable Car?

To help position the highly anticipated 2014 Qashqai as the ultimate urbanvehicle, Nissan has boldly branded it as the “world’s most parkable car” – but is it? We think so!

The model’s new advanced Park Assist System, which is an add-on for the Around View Monitor, has the unique ability to measure the size of the open parallel parking space and then steer the car carefully into it.

Spaces only need to be 80cm longer than the car itself, with the driver only required to move the car forward and back in order to position it into even the tightest city parking spots. The system is also able to pick up moving objects and provide the driver with a 360 degree view of the space around them. Even bay parking is a breeze when activating the ‘helicopter view’ mode of the Around View Monitoring, which can detect the white lines of parking bays to steadily steer the car into position.

In addition, the new Qashqai is fitted with a high pressure water jet and compressed air nozzle to keep the rear view camera clean and clear so that it can be used effectively at all times.

Earlier this month the 2014 Nissan Qashqai was crowned Best Car of the Year as well as Best Small SUV by What Car?, adding further to its highly acclaimed reputation of being one of the most impressive and awaited cars of this year so far. Easy on the eye and easy to park, there’s no wondering why the Qashqai is currently the best-selling Nissan in the UK.

The new range of models includes the Visia, Acenta, Acenta Premium and Tekna, with a choice of four turbocharged petrol and diesel engine options available withstop-start technology for improved fuel economy and low C02 emissions ratings.

The Smart Vision Pack can be added to the Visia and Acenta models and comes standard on Acenta Premium and Tekna models, featuring Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Departure Warning, High Beam Assist and Front Collision Avoidance.

For more details and great deals on the new Nissan Qashqai, visit

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