Tag Archive | "used cars"

What Cars Are For

The car can be our pride and joy yet equally it can be the bane of our lives. We lavish attention and money upon them in equal measure. They make us happy. The trouble is, happiness is an abstract concept. Curiously, you can feel it but you can’t touch it. Our cars make us happy but this euphoria evaporates almost from the minute you pull out and enter traffic. This is when even the most benign suburban streets can turn into a war zone. This is our driving lives – pleasure and pain; mostly financial. Yet still we strive for more.

We all aspire to better, faster cars because it makes us feel good. The car has long since ceased to be just a method of transport and has become a lifestyle choice. We like to customise our cars and, where possible, make them seem unique to us; a personal statement, if you like; an extension of our personality. Fortunately, there is a wealth of products available to car owners to style and individualise their precious transport.

But it doesn’t just stop there because cars don’t just need goodies and bling, they need love too. Although cars have become increasingly complicated there are still many jobs that we can do ourselves. There’s a wide variety of DIY auto products to make car maintenance a doddle. There’s kit to winterise your car and there’s electronic gadgetry to bring your audio and connectivity bang up to date.

Then, of course, it has got to be kept clean. Sure, you can take it to the supermarket and get the trolley guys to do it but, although it is hard work, that final ‘stand back and admire your handiwork’ moment is worth savouring. When you’ve done detailing your ride then a coffee and a sit-down with a little light reading will be much deserved.

The good news is that all these various aspects of owning and running a car can be found easily. From your high street motor factors, the car dealerships and onto the internet ‘webiverse’ all you need for car joy and is just a phone call or click away. There’s something for every one – from sensible ideas to vintage luxury goodies, silly fripperies to travel essentials; take your pick; you might even get some ideas about buying a second car – something unique – just for fun.

Setting aside all the money issues and nasty surprises that cars can thrust upon us, there’s nothing better than the call of the open road and a fun lifestyle that suits you, the driver. Yes, they drive us up the wall; yes they cost us a fortune but, in the end, they are what gives us our freedom. That’s what cars are for.

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Audi Q7 – Still A Great 4×4

The car you see in the images – and what a fab colour – is the Audi Q7. It’s a big vehicle and although this translates into superb passenger space and seven-seats as standard while the air suspension ensures supreme comfort, it still takes up a lot of room although, with the driver aids on board, it isn’t too bad for parking.

The Q7 first went on sale in 2007 as Audi’s first true SUV, so seven years on how is it standing up against more youthful opposition? Surprisingly well as it happens. Naturally, the design has been refreshed and all the high-tech toys added but with the trend for smaller, lighter offerings from other manufacturers does the Q7 still have what it takes?

q1 Audi Q7   Still A Great 4x4The model shown here in SE trim has the less powerful 205PS version of the rugged 3.0L V6 TDI coupled to an eight-speed Tiptronic ‘box with the usual drive options including ‘Sport’.  The three litre engine (with an unobtrusive Stop/Start system) has plenty of gusto; it gets the massive Q7 up to speed without drama, and it’s very smooth.

The 62mph sprint is accomplished in under nine seconds but that’s not what this car is about. In the gears there is plentiful power for effortless overtaking and for rolling on to 127mph, should that be allowed, obviously. Audi reckon that fuel consumption should be in the high thirties and I think that’s achievable – if you drive appropriately. Certainly the big beast seemed to be sipping the fuel in use.

Comfort is taken care of by adaptive air suspension – electronically controlled with a continuously adaptive system for all four wheels which regulates ride height and damping automatically. Alternatively, there’s a choice of five modes (automatic, comfort, dynamic, off-road and lift) selected via the excellent MMI (Multi-Media Interface) system. I have to admit the Q7 spent most of its time in dynamic mode which sets the car’s suspension up with firmer performance-orientated characteristics at it’s lowest ride height. I might also have been mostly in sport mode to maximise the engine’s power output.

The comfort is further augmented by the firmly supportive seats.  The driving position is excellent and the interior is generally a nice place to be.  The second row of seats offers plenty of legroom but the third row is strictly for the kids.  Surprisingly, the boot wasn’t as massive as I had expected although 765 litres is probably enough for most purposes. With the third row of seats down it becomes positively cavernous.

The car obviously features the now legendary Audi Quattro four-wheel-drive plus an automatic hill-hold which works very well and then of course there’s the handbrake. When I say handbrake I do of course mean parking brake. This is foot operated to apply and is released by a manual pull lever. It’s quirky, but I like it.

The vehicle featured had the technology package that included Sat-Nav – obviously – Audi’s advanced parking and a host of the other kit you’d expect, itemised below. There’s adaptive Xenon headlights and a really very good Bose sound system complete with a video Jukebox which I liked very much.

Overall then, The Audi Q7 is a luxury motor that focuses on comfortable seating for the whole family, and a safe on-road ride. Not that most buyers will be likely to need much in the way of off-road capability, but the Q7 won’t disappoint if the going gets a bit gnarly and we all know full well that Quattro technology has few peers. Yes, The Audi Q7 is ageing a little but it is doing so gracefully and remains worthy of serious consideration.

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I Want a Car!


If every there was a sentence to strike fear into the hearts of parents everywhere it is that one. Children grow into young adults and the bank of Mum and Dad is expected to front up the hard cash needed to put their beloved offspring on the road. What’s worse is that it isn’t just the financial burden that’s the worry for the old folks, they also have to think about safety and running costs – possibly on a student budget.

There’s a lot to think about. Selecting the right car at the right price; one that has manageable expenses, is safe and reliable and crucially is the right price. Parents will, inevitably, especially worry about how a daughter might get on. They know what the boys want – that’s a no-brainer – but finding the right car that suit’s a female buyer may have an entirely different set of parameters.

And so the search commences. Virtually everyone trawls the ‘net these days. Even if it isn’t first choice for the parents, the kids will know their way around but it still remains a bit of a chore. That’s why it is great to know that there’s a new app on the market and it sums up the situation perfectly – I Want A Car.

This exciting new step into the world of cars is a buyers dream. No more having to go to this website or that website, no more trawling the reputations of the country’s sellers; all the facts are now in one place. It’s simple and intuitive to use and any first timer will have no problem using all the search options and the voice search functionality. Those more knowledgeable potential buyers can however cut straight to the point.

 I Want A Car gives the user the complete low-down. Even if the buyer hasn’t the first idea where to start or, indeed, what their ideal car is then this app has the answers, taking the old ways of searching for cars and consigning them to the dusty annals of internet history.

Once that ideal vehicle has been located it is time to contact the dealer. With this new app it’s the buyer that’s in the driving seat. He or she can choose when to contact the seller and whether, in the first instance, they want to remain anonymous. It’s just like sending a friend a text. With hassle-free communication and all the knowledge needed to make an informed decision this is the 21st Century solution to the age old problem of choosing the best car to buy – for all the family. All of a sudden the cry of ‘I want a car!’ isn’t such a problem after all.


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Keep Calm, Carry On – And Buy A Car

Motor Blogger has no doubt that most people with at least half a brain could make a better job of running the economy than the present incumbent on the basis that they do at least have an understanding of what life is like on the ground floor of existence. Sadly though none of us are likely to get the chance, so there is nothing to be done about it. Instead of worrying then, why not treat yourself?

Buying a car is great. It’s a treat we don’t get very often, after all. They are expensive enough to merit some serious pondering before parting with your hard-earned cash, but generate enormous pleasure and satisfaction to the lucky new owners.

The problem is that most of us only have a finite amount of money to spend on what is, in effect, a luxury purchase. Should one push the boat out and go for a new car, or maybe cannily buy a used vehicle and save a bit? There are advantages to both.

Buying new means that the happy customer can have a car that is made to order, like a bespoke suit. Specifications can be fiddled with and colour combinations discussed. Options lists can be pored over to make the new car as unique as possible. The choice of fuel can be considered – conventional fuels or perhaps a hybrid or even an electric job. All avenues are open.

A new car hasn’t had any accidents, hasn’t been stolen and won’t require a check for outstanding finance. It will not have been fiddled about with and won’t have have signs of wear and no suspicious stains to ponder over. It will have a full length warranty and you will not have to trek across the land seeking your heart‘s desire. It will chock-full of the latest technology. All the connectivity you need is just a pencil tick away and the car will be as safe as the latest regulations require.

A new car will be more fuel efficient. It will be kinder to the environment. The Green brigade will nod with approval and your bank manager will be grateful for the variety of finance or lease agreements available. There is no doubt that a new car ticks all the boxes. But there‘s a downside. New cars depreciate. They lose the most value in the first couple of years of their life? Some cars will lose as much as forty percent of their value as soon as they leave the forecourt. This is an important consideration.

A used car might after all be preferable. For a start your money will go further. A more upmarket motor will be available for the same (or less) money than that new vehicle you covet. It might not have the very latest gadgets on board but it may well be better appointed for comfort and smoothness of ride.

For the most part a quality used car from a reputable source will already have lost most of that first hit of depreciation. Certainly there will be signs of use but a careful inspection and selection of cars with a full service history should show clearly that the vehicle is in good order. Remember, 30,000 miles on the clock is nothing these days.

It may well be that you can’t find exactly the car for you but the choice of used cars on the market at any one time should mean you could well come close to that ideal specification without too much trouble. These days the latest number plate only lasts six months so it all comes down to a personal decision. New or used? You pays your money….

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The 2014 Model Year Jaguar XJ

In July 2009, the newly styled Jaguar XJ was unveiled and it has gone from strength to strength since. This is the car as limousine and it has now been updated once again. Enhanced luxury features in the rear cabin of the 2014 model year XJ, for example, add to the already luxurious status of Jaguar’s flagship saloon. The version featured has the V6 diesel in Premium Luxury trim and is, frankly, all the car you’ll ever need.

The model boasts a comprehensive range of engines: 2.0L turbocharged petrol, 3.0L V6 diesel and supercharged petrol and four 5.0L V8 petrol power plants – all of which enhance customer choice. All the engines in the 2014 XJ range – including the 2.0-litre i4 Ti 240 turbocharged – deliver their power through the smooth shifting eight-speed automatic transmission which offers a broad spread of ratios for a perfectly balanced combination of smooth-shifting, economy and driver control.

Intelligent All-Wheel Drive System, which monitors grip levels and driver input to provide maximum traction at all times, is available as an option on the XJ with 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine.

An even more spacious long-wheelbase version is available and a new Jaguar flagship sports saloon – the 550PS XJR – combines supercar performance and assertive looks with the XJ’s typically high levels of luxurious motoring. More on this version at a later date.

Inside, both front and rear passengers can enjoy the daylight through their own glass roof. The entertainment system has been enhanced with a Rear Seat Entertainment package featuring two hi-resolution touch-screens, and optional premium Meridian Reference Audio System (superb, incidentally) with Conversation Assist.XJin The 2014 Model Year Jaguar XJ

The 14MY XJ’s luxurious feel is underlined by the palette of materials used on the interior. This includes Bond grain, soft grain and semi-aniline leather, and a wide choice of veneers including Piano Black, Carbon Fibre, Gloss Burr Walnut and Satin Rosewood.

The diesel can whisk you comfortably to 62mph is a scant six seconds yet will return in excess of 40mpg under normal driving conditions, ably assisted by an unobtrusive stop/start system. For such a big, powerful car the emissions are a stingy 167g/km. That’s brilliant.

It isn’t just about the big picture though. It’s the little touches that please. An example is the digital dashboard dials. Both the odometer and the rev counter display the range in which the car is working. For example, if the car is doing forty miles per hour, the dial highlights the 30-50 range. This makes it so much easier to glean information at a glance.

Sadly perhaps, the car in the image costs £66,000. It is out of reach of most motorists yet is good value for money. One day, perhaps; one day.

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Search Used Cars For Sale In Derby

How To Find Cars

Over the last few years the way we search for the best deals on new or used cars has changed to match the times. No more dragging around car showrooms or poring over the small ads in the local paper to find the bargains, these days the canny car buyer searches online.

New Or Used
At the start of this New Year, as Spring approaches, many people will be toying with the idea that it might well be time to change that faithful old motor outside for a younger model. It’s an expensive decision and requires a good deal of research whilst ensuring that the head absolutely rules the heart. For starters, is it better to buy new and get an auto that is untouched by others, or is it better to buy used cars and avoid the depreciation issue? How far afield do you have to go to buy used cars?

A Site For Sore Eyes
A buyer who may only be looking, let’s say, for cars in Derby for sale or is prepared to travel further would no doubt find it be easier to go to a one-stop-shop that solves all the problems in a single step rather than be constantly browsing from site to site and getting eyestrain for their trouble. Let’s say the potential purchaser is looking for a good deal on used cars in Derby, for example. There’s absolutely no point in trawling the far reaches of the country to seek that that special motor when the solution is much closer to hand.

The sensible approach is to work out in advance how much money is available for purchase and what effect the running costs will have on the household budget. Having a figure in mind and searching online it is straightforward to, say, use the popular ‘slider’ method to set the parameters for the right choice of car. It’s easy to allocate maximum and minimum amounts and dictate if the car is diesel or petrol powered. The search can be further refined for hatchbacks or saloons as well. Even if the buyer’s search is confined to cheap cars, it doesn’t matter. Works the same for all budgets.

The Right Place To Go
It works both ways. Car dealers or motor companies looking to sell vehicles can advertise their wares in the same place; after all, this is where the customers are. Everybody wins in a single marketplace.

Then of course there’s the big question. Can you afford or do you need a new motor or would a used one make more sense? It’s a harder choice than you think. A new car is a wonderful thing – especially with the deals around just now – with its optional extras and so on but local dealers can usually satisfy most buying needs so the right car might yet still be available immediately on the forecourts. This is why one-stop-shopping works; the money is ready and burning the proverbial hole and a few clicks of the mouse on the local car website will tell clients about all the used cars for sale in Derby, the new bargains to be had in the local area or indeed at the other end of the country. The solution is one click away.

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The Petrol Pump Blues

In these days of economic gloom many drivers dread filling up at the pump. With petrol prices as high as they are right now, saving money whilst sustaining vehicle performance with the fuel we choose are about the only things that matter. We need to get the most out of our vehicles for the longest possible time, which essentially means maintaining properly rather than spending huge sums on costly repairs or a new vehicle.

In order to get the most out of their trusty wheels, some people tend to spend more by choosing a higher octane fuel rating because they assume that their car will perform better and they will as a consequence get better mileage. This is a falsehood. By understanding what fuel octane is and how it affects your engine, you can see that this is not necessarily the case and you can instantly save money at the pump by using cheaper petrol.

Octane ratings measure a fuel’s ability to resist engine knock. The numbers relate to the fuel’s octane rating. Most garages offer two octane grades: regular is usually 95RON in the UK and premium is usually 97, although some can be as high as 99RON. The higher the number, the slower the fuel burns. An internal combustion engine uses pistons to squeeze fuel until it explodes in the cylinder through spark ignition. With high octane fuel, the pistons need to put more pressure on the fuel to get it to ignite.

With the exception of a few high performance luxury vehicles and specially-designed engines, the majority of vehicles on the market are designed to use regular octane. High-compression engines in sports or luxury motors need premium grade to prevent knocking (also known as pre-ignition or ‘knock’). Your car’s manual will provide the answers.

So what exactly is engine knock? Well, it is defined as a rattling or pinging sound that results from premature ignition of the compressed fuel-air mixture in one or more cylinders. This means that the fuel is igniting too soon and may create too much pressure that the engine simply cannot sustain. When vehicles that are designed to use premium are filled with regular, problems like the latter can occur.

Some people believe that buying a higher-octane rated fuel will benefit their engine and that is simply not the case. Choosing a higher octane rating will not affect performance at all.

In most cases, using a higher-octane petrol than your vehicle manual recommends offers absolutely no benefit. It won’t make your car perform better, go faster, get better mileage or run cleaner. The answer to saving money on fuel is to drive smoothly and even more slowly and to ensure regular car maintenance.

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Cars vs. Nature

Looking out of the window at my car I have noticed how dirty it is. I only washed it the other day. Or to be more precise a bloke at the supermarket washed it, but all it needs is to be stuck behind a lorry on a dirty, wet road and all that good work is undone.

For most people cleaning the motor is a necessary chore if for no other reason than to help retain value. Some people really like doing it and some are even obsessive about it, but everybody, once the job is done, likes to stand back and admire their handiwork. There are few things more pleasing than a nice clean car.

The trouble is – it’s a never-ending task because car bodywork is constantly under attack. Scratches and minor dents are an ongoing concern and the car owner neglects them at their peril. A deep scratch could go down through the paint and the primer and reach bare metal. Give our British weather half a chance and find out how corrosion begins. There are plenty of suitable products on the market that make these little jobs straightforward or, if it’s too much, there’s an army of mobile specialists willing to come to the house.

Our feathered friends are another menace. Everybody like birds and birdsong but few people can tolerate great dollops of dung on the paintwork. Sometimes it is easy to believe that a full grown albatross with a fondness for curry must have flown overhead, such is the mess. It isn’t just unsightly, it is also acidic. It eats into the paint. Look at any city centre statue for the evidence. Clean off that guano as soon as possible – there are products and wipes available. Remember also that birds eat seeds which could make the mess abrasive, so wipe with care. I know you think you’re doing them a favour with the bird-feeders but all you are really doing is providing ammunition.

There’s nothing like a pleasant drive out during the summer. The roads are clear, the sun is shining and, sadly, many bugs are flying straight into the front of your car: their aim, as they give themselves up to a tonne of rushing metal, is to damage your paintwork in revenge. As a matter of course we clean them of the windscreen but we tend to leave them stuck to the front of the vehicle until the next wash. The result is that, just like the avian doo-doo, their remains are acidic and cause damage to paint. The answer is to carry a bug remover spray and get the worst off until the car can be properly washed.

In that brief period that we amusingly call Summer, it is good to remember that the golden orb fades paint, as anyone with a red motor can attest. A good polish – as opposed to wax – can revive paintwork or in desperate cases there are stronger preparations that can freshen the bodywork and bring the colour back up.

Because of the sun some drivers like to park under trees to make the most of shade. This is not necessarily a good idea. If you remember, birds live in trees. Also, trees emit sap. In ancient times our ancestors used tree sap as glue; imagine then what it does to car paint. Just wiping it will simply spread it out over a bigger area. If it is allowed to dry a proprietary product will be needed. Mineral salts will dissolve it.

Now, as Winter flexes her icy fingers and gets into your bones, the cleaning and repairing car bodywork is just as essential and remember – any work will more than likely clean off your faithfully applied wax which means that car cleaning time has come around again. Such is the circle of life.

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Understanding Your Car Priorities

These days with the wealth of choice available, choosing the right car for your needs is getting harder and harder. Selection choices must be both rational and emotional. Family commitments combined with an itchy right foot mean that any decision must be properly informed.

There’s a need to get to grips with the options available which must begin with body size and type. Convertibles are fine for young singles or retired lotharios trying to recapture a misspent youth but they don‘t really work with two kids and a dog the size of a Shetland pony. Hatchbacks are easy to use, great as family cars and shoppers but are often, in standard form at least, a bit dull and ubiquitous. The best of all worlds can sometimes be achieved by getting a sporty estate. MPV’s are great but are they, perhaps, just a bit too normal? The decisions are endless but it is a lot of money being spent so selection has to be right first time.

A car purchase must be carefully analysed from various different perspectives. The trick is to prioritise preferences and the first item to raise its head will always be the budget. This is the one that controls all the others and the one that needs the most respect. Nobody wants to spend their entire life paying for an ageing car so if there is a budget it is best to stick religiously to it.

Some people are swayed by style, others by comfort and others still by reliability. Build quality and performance must also be taken into account. Some buyers couldn’t give a fig what a car looks like provided it will carry four people, return in excess of 50mpg and be serviced for under £200. Enthusiasts will want to be performance orientated which means that whilst the drive might be great the chances are that the collective family buttocks will pay the price of stiff suspension.

Then of course we come to the issues of specification: extras like climate control, leather, infotainment and so on whilst still catering for roominess and safety; not necessarily in that order. On and on it goes.

The careful buyer will ensure that not one T is left uncrossed and no I left un-dotted. Make sure that the final decision satisfies all – or at least most – of the many requirements we have for cars these days. Only then can the careful buyer be sure that life with the car will be as near to perfect as possible. Bliss.

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Don’t Ask The Family

Running a car – any car – is an expensive business. These days they are fairly complex too, so the days of DIY car repairs have perhaps lost the appeal they once had and we have lost those basic automotive skills. Obviously, there are still some diehard auto enthusiasts who will tackle pretty much any job but most of us baulk at the prospect. Nevertheless, DIY saves money so maybe it is worth a shot – or you could ask the family; but is this a good idea?

Many of us will have a family member or friend who reckons that he or she knows a thing or two about cars. Often this is an overbearing avuncular who won’t take no for an answer. The danger is, no matter how well intentioned, their assistance could end up being a costly experience.

Figures reveal that motorists and householders pay out an estimated three hundred million pounds a year after being forced to enlist the services of a professional to put things right. It seems that one in six of us is left regretting ever accepting help.

The maintenance blunders, made by well-meaning amateurs, range from elementary mistakes involving car batteries, to more serious errors such as using the wrong oil or fiddling with the electrics or engine parts. As a result almost half of those who subsequently had to employ an expert were left with an additional bill of over one hundred pounds

“What’s the worst that could happen”? Well, here’s some true examples – One in twelve experienced problems starting their cars after a battery change because the leads had been connected wrongly and a further one in six had water added to their screen wash not realising that diluting it reduced its ability to clean effectively and increased the risk of it freezing in winter. Imagine using your screen wash whilst driving at speed and having it freeze on the windscreen! It doesn’t bear thinking about.

Finally, even if all goes well there’s another problem. Many of us will feel obliged to return the favour or at least feel indebted to the person who helped them. This means that we have to return that kindness. Who knows where that could lead? You could find yourself teetering on a high ladder in a gale fixing someone else’s guttering. No – best play safe. If you cannot do it yourself or feel that the job is beyond you then leave it to the professionals. It will cost more but what price do you put on peace of mind?

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