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21 Feb 2019

Best family cars to buy 2019

Family car buyers are in a good position, whether they need an SUV or affordable hatchback, there is a great family car for everyone

Building the best family car is harder than you might think, mostly because motorists with kids (and the kids themselves) tend to ask a huge amount of these vehicles. That isn’t to say car makers are throwing in the towel, if anything, the choice facing family car buyers is greater than ever.

Buyers want their family cars to be reliable, affordable, comfy, spacious, well-made, full of helpful technology, cheap to run and more often than you’d think, easy on the eyes, too. Rarely are all of these achieved in a single vehicle so the typical family car search involves scouring the market for the best compromise. It all makes finding the best family car, large, small or medium-sized, just that bit harder.

• Best hatchbacks on sale

Which is where Auto Express comes in. We have analysed the market, looking at SUVs, saloons, hatchbacks and MPVs and come up with a definitive list of the best family cars on sale right now. Which, aside from anything else, shows that the days of mums and dads having to drive around in a three box saloons are well and truly over.

While a hatchback can provide a good mix of saloon and estatecharacteristics, SUV and crossover models can offer the higher driving position and soft-road capabilities motorists of today seem to crave.

The once revered family saloon is on a downhill slope in terms of sales with big cars of that ilk tending to offer hatch backed rears like those on the SUVs and crossovers that are in the ascendancy. The good-old estate car is still finding favour with some buyers and then of course you have the venerable MPV.

MPVs still offer the largest amount of cargo space for both family members and their many possessions. Often with van-based bloodlines, these versatile machines normally have seven seats and a boot big enough for each passenger to bring luggage. Not far behind, of course, are the largest of the SUV crowd, which offer more off-road ability than you’ll ever need, as well as more stylish looks.

Estates tend to have a more subtle look and a more composed driving experience than an SUV but they’re really just large family cars with rear extensions. Finally, the more traditional options like the Skoda Superb and Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport offer a similar mix of comfort, style, fuel economy and driving dynamics without quite as much space.

Without further ado then, below is our top 10 family cars…

Best family cars to buy in 2018

  1. 1. Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport
  2. 2. Skoda Superb
  3. 3. Toyota Prius
  4. 4. Volkswagen Golf
  5. 5. Skoda Karoq
  6. 6. Citroen C4 SpaceTourer
  7. 7. Hyundai Ioniq PHEV
  8. 8. Peugeot 3008
  9. 9. Skoda Octavia
  10. 10. Nissan Leaf

Family car buying advice

Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer - front action

it’s important to break down the criteria that a family car needs to cover while considering your options.

How many seats do you need? A four or five-seater might be enough for your family, but there are seven-seaters available if you need them. There are even eight or nine seaters available, too. Take a look at our dedicated pages for the best seven- and eight-seater cars to find out more

How often would you use seven seats? It’s worth considering how often you’ll travel seven-up. If a car is available with seven seats or five seats and a bigger boot, the latter might be a better buy if you won’t be using the third row that often.

How much room do the seats need to have? If you’ve got grown-up kids, it might not be enough to simply to have a car with two extra seats in the boot. The smallest seven-seaters will only have room in the rearmost row for small kids, so teenagers could be cramped in the back. And of course, small kids grow, so if you’re planning on keeping a car for a long period, that should also be factored in.

How often would the family car be used? If you don’t use the car during the week and only need a family car at weekends, then you could go for something that has higher running costs than average just so you get the extra space you need. Likewise, if you’re using a family car for the school run, then you’re probably better off with something that’s a bit smaller, while kit such as parking sensors and cameras will be a bonus.

How much boot space do you need? A conventional hatchback might be big enough, but if not, estate versions of hatches offer a more room. The same goes for larger family cars which are available as estates, while crossovers and SUVs have similar space, but their raised ride height mean they might be harder to load.

What about extras? If you go out and do activities, do you need to carry extra items such as bikes, skis or a canoe? If so, does the car you’re looking at have roof rails? If so is the roof low enough that you can lift items up there easily?

This is all worth considering, and once you have an idea of what kind of family car you want, take a look at our top 10 and see which ones we think are the best at the business of being family transport.

19 Feb 2019

2019 BMW Z4: images leaked online

Images of the all-new BMW Z4 sports car, which goes on sale next spring, have been leaked online and clearly show both its exterior and interior.

In particular, they confirm that the car you’ll be able to buy sticks closely to the design of the Concept Z4, which BMW unveiled at last summer’s Pebble Beach Concourse in America. But what else can you expect from the 2019 Z4?

21 Aug 2018

City of London considers trial of non-electric car ban

Financial district’s council weighs up pilot scheme that would allow only electric cars and plug-in hybrids on low emission street

Non-electric vehicles could be banned from a “low emission” street in the City of London in a pilot project aimed at cutting air pollution.

London’s financial centre is home to a number of nitrogen dioxide pollution hotspots, which are exacerbated by the area’s tall buildings and narrow streets.

To combat this, the City of London’s air quality manager, Ruth Calderwood, said the council may introduce an “ultra low emission vehicle” street, onto which only electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) would be allowed.

Calderwood told the Financial Times: “What we realise is the Ultra Low Emission Zone won’t be quite enough for us to meet the limit values, so we are going to have to look at additional measures at our busiest roadsides”.

The London Ultra Low Emission Zone, or ULEZ, is being introduced in April 2019 and will require petrol cars to meet Euro 4 emission standards, with diesels needing to meet those of Euro 6. Owners of cars that do not meet the standards will have to pay an extra fee to enter the Congestion Charge zone, in addition to the standard Congestion Charge.

Areas in the City of London with high nitrogen oxide readings include Walbrook Wharf, which posted an average of 92 micrograms per cubic metre in 2016, and Beech Street, in which 83 micrograms per cubic metre were recorded. The EU annual limit for nitrogen oxide is just of 40 micrograms per cubic metre on average.

Calderwood wouldn’t be drawn on which streets were under consideration for the pilot scheme, telling the FT: “Because we haven’t done that before, it would be a pilot trial on a small street to see how many vehicles will be able to comply with that.” Calderwood added, though, that the council wants “to make sure about the availability of vehicles: we don’t want to introduce something that’s going to be a problem.”

If the pilot scheme goes ahead, the City of London would be following Hackney council, which recently confirmed it would ban cars emitting more than 75g/km of CO2 from certain areas at certain times.

07 Aug 2018

New car sales stabilise in July

New car sales stabilise in July

Best first cars for new drivers - Ford Fiesta

Alternative fuel vehicles sales rise by 21 per cent year-on-year, while diesel registrations continue to drop

After a shaky first six months to the year for new car sales, the market has stabilised in July, with overall registrations totalling 163,898 – an increase of 1.2 per cent over July 2017.

Diesels continue to take a significant hit in sales. Though the government has acknowledged that new-tech diesel models still have relevance in its Road to Zero strategy – which sees an ambition to achieve a market share of 70 per cent for new cars emitting less than 70g/km of CO2 by 2030 – overall sales figures of 52,303 represent a 24.4 per cent drop compared to the same time last year. Petrol models, meanwhile, have increased from 83,965 in July 2017 to 100,861 in 2018.

The trend move away from diesels has also contributed to the ever-increasing uptake of alternative fuel vehicles. A total of 10,734 were sold in July, compared to 8,871 last year. Plug-in hybrids saw the biggest increase, with registrations up 35.5 per cent, while regular hybrid sales improved by 17.5 per cent. The increase in demand for full EVs is still yet to fully hit its stride, with sales increasing by a more modest 2.4 per cent.

Small businesses remain cautious when it comes to new registrations: companies with fleets of fewer than 25 cars are buying at a rate 10.2 per cent lower than in July 2017. However, larger fleet sales have risen by 2.6 per cent, and private sales are up by 0.1 per cent.Despite the July increase, the overall sales in 2018 to date are still down on last year. The first seven months of 2018 have seen a total of 1,477,892 new car registrations, which is a 5.5 per cent drop on the 1,563,808 of one year ago.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “The feel-good factor from a sun and sport-packed July, combined with some fantastic deals on a raft of exciting new models, clearly helped keep showrooms relatively busy last month.

“It’s great to see alternatively fuelled vehicles benefiting from this growth, and government’s acknowledgement of the vital role new-tech diesel will play in its Road to Zero strategy should help more even more motorists benefit from the latest, safest and low emission technology over the coming months.”

07 Aug 2018

Best new car deals 2018

Best new car deals 2018

New car finance deals on models from SEAT, Audi and Citroen, plus online brokers

There’s only a month to go until the UK’s latest 68-plate registration numbers begin to appear on the road, but dealers are far from finished with the with 67-plate just yet. Indeed, with a rush on to register as many new cars as possible before September arrives, now could be a great time to buy.

It’s been widely reported that UK car sales figures have fallen short of expectations so far this year, the slump driven by factors including a lack of consumer confidence in diesel, as well as uncertainty of how Britain might be affected by Brexit.

While economics prevent car prices going down generally, car manufacturers are still offering incentives in the hope of luring potential buyers into the showroom. There are some tidy deals for the taking, many of which run for a short period only and are separate from the brand’s quarterly deals – you’ll find a comprehensive list of the latter at the bottom of this page. At the top, we pick out some particular alluring deals for this week.

 

Scroll a little further down the page and you’ll see what online brokers can offer. Firms such as Buyacar can often beat the deals offered by bricks-and-mortar showrooms – right now Buyacar has dozens of new and pre-registered cars that start at less than £100 per month.

Pre-registered cars can be extremely good value – many have only ever been driven off a transporter, and have been registered simply to boost a dealer’s ‘new car’ sales figures. We’ve produced a guide that offers advice about buying a pre-registered car. We can also offer help on choosing the right car for your needs.

Don’t forget that it always pays to negotiate, and you might secure a healthy discount by simply haggling with a salesperson. If you’re a nervious negotiator, we can help you drive a bargain with our guide to securing the right deal. You might also find that your existing car is worth more than you think in part exchange. Following controversy surrounding diesel emissions, several manufacturer scrappage schemes are still in action, which might tempt you to trade in your older, less efficient diesel for a new, less polluting model.

Read on for our in-depth guide to the best new and nearly new car deals, including those from manufacturer websites and online brokers.

Best new car deals – latest deals updated 03/08/2018

The SEAT Ateca is one of our favourite compact SUVs, and is one family car that’s sure to put a smile on the face of drivers and passengers alike. It’s good value, too, especially while SEAT is offering a £500 discount when you test-drive an Ateca, as well as 0% finance.

The deal means that an Ateca SE Technology with the economical 1.0-litre TSI petrol engine will cost you £199 per month on a 36-month agreement, after you place a deposit of £5,299. 35 months later, there’s an option to own the car outright if you pay a final £11,376 payment.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
35 x £199 £5,299 £23,640 £23,640 0%

With the promise of more scorching summer heat to come, travelling topless in a convertible is an idea that appeals to many. The Audi A3 Convertible is made for weather like this, and is one of the more practical compact convertible choices, too. What’s more, with a £3,750 dealer contribution towards finance, it won’t necessarily break the bank, either.

You’ll need to place a £7,114 initial deposit, but Audi will contribute £3,750 to bring your 47 monthly payments down to £289 apiece. After that, you can own the car with a final payment of £12,413, and will have only paid £739 more than list price over your four-year agreement.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
47 x £289 £7,114 £3,750 £32,385 £33,124 6.8%

The Citroen C1 city car makes good sense as an urban runabout and is a popular choice among first-time buyers. Right now, Citroen is offering a £250 manufacturer reward and 0% finance, making it an affordable choice, too.

The deal, available until 30 September, means you can buy a 71bhp 1.0-litre petrol Citroen C1 Flair for £119 a month on a four-year agreement. You’ll need to place an initial deposit of £2,592, plus a final payment of £3,510 if you want to own the car outright at the end of the agreement. But you’ll have paid only £11,695 in total (including roadside assistance at £120) – less than the car’s £11,825 list price.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
48 x £119 £2,592 £250 £11,695 £11,825 0%

Deals from brokers

With such competitive offers from manufacturers and dealers, online brokers need to work hard to keep up. This week’s top broker deal shows that your business has never been more welcome.

BuyaCar deals

Volvo is a brand that’s going from strength to strength, and has released some of the most stylish saloons, estates and SUVs of recent years. The Volvo V60 estate is one of the best, and BuyaCar can offer discounts of over £4,000 when a new V60 is built to order, as well as 0% finance.

The iconic Fiat 500 is one of the most fashionable city cars you can buy, thanks to its retro charm and classy image. If you order a new 500 through BuyaCar and take advantage of the broker’s low-interest financing, you can save up to £2,890 – the equivalent of a 21% discount.

The Nissan Qashqai is arguably the car that started the trend for compact family SUVs, and its popularity shows no sign of slowing. It represents great value, too, and makes particular sense when bought pre-registered. BuyaCar can supply pre-registered 2018 examples of the well equipped Qashqai N-Connecta for discounts of over £7,000 from their original list price. Prices start at below £19,000 – not bad for a family SUV with a panoramic glass roof.

Carfile deals

Carfile is offering big discounts on the Skoda Kodiaq SUV. This means you can choose a 1.4-litre petrol Kodiaq S for £19,888 – a saving of £2,742 over the £22,630 list price.

If you have an eye on something else, additional discounts are available on certain new, unregistered cars in the company’s stock.

Best new car deals – quarterly

Keep reading for the best deals straight from the manufacturers, or visit our best carssection to check out the top models on the market today.

Alfa Romeo

The Alfa Romeo Giulia is a genuine rival to the Audi A4BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class – and Alfa is offering a deposit contributions of £3,000 if you buy via the company’s PCP scheme.

Under the deal, you can buy the turbocharged 276bhp 2.0-litre petrol Veloce model for £399 a month over four years after an initial deposit of £8,015. After four years, an optional £12,844 final payment will make the car entirely yours.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
48 x £399 £8,015 £3,000 £38,265 £39,612 5.5%

Audi deals

The latest Audi A3 Sportback is a capable premium family hatchback that scored 4.1 stars out of 5 in our review. Audi is currently offering the five-door model on a four-year contract hire deal. The A3 in 1.5-litre TFSI S line form is available for £229 a month after an initial rental of £1,374.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution
47 x £229 £1,374

The Audi A5 is available on PCP finance and Audi is contributing £4,500 towards the cost of your deposit. For the 148bhp 1.4-litre TFSI model in S line Ultra trim, you’ll pay £7,500 up front followed by 47 payments of £299 per month.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
47 x £299 £7,5007 £4,500 £36,140 £39,927 5.1%

BMW deals

The latest BMW 5 Series is an excellent proposition if you’re in the market for a large executive saloon. It scored 4.6 in our review, and is great to drive, very comfortable and laden with technology. If you buy a 520d M Sport on 48-month PCP deal, BMW will contribute £4,129 towards your deposit. This then leaves you with a deposit of £5,889 to make. After 47 monthly payments of £399, a final payment of £14,615 makes the car yours.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
47 x £399 £5,889 £4,129 £40,775 £39,257 2.9%

If you want a sporty, economical coupe, the 420d M Sport is available with big finance incentives. In the latest deal, BMW boosts your £6,399 deposit with an additional deposit contribution of £5,091. After 47 payments of £349, a final payment of £11,466 makes the car yours.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
47 x £349 £6,399 £5,091 £37,925 £34,268 1.9%

Citroen deals

The Citroen C1 Flair is fun and frugal, and makes a great first car – particularly with 0% finance and a £250 discount with finance from Citroen. Under the deal, a £2,592 deposit brings your monthly payment to £119. After 48 instalments, an optional £3,510 payment makes the C1 yours to keep.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
36 x £119 £2,592 £250 £11,575 £11,695 0%

Dacia deals

The Dacia Sandero is currently the cheapest car you can buy in the UK, and is available with affordable 4.9% finance, too. You can now buy a well equipped Sandero Essential with the 89bhp TCe 90 petrol engine for just £119 per month. You’ll need to pay a £1,457 deposit, but Dacia contributes an extra £250 and, after 37 instalments and a £3,367 optional payment, the Sandero is all yours.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
37 x £119 £1,457 £250 £8,995 £9,358 4.9%

Fiat deals

If you like the looks of the Fiat 500, but need a little space, the Fiat 500X could be the answer. And with 0% PCP finance and a £500 deposit contribution from Fiat, it’s surprisingly affordable. The special Mirror edition has stylish exterior chrome detailing, as well as infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s currently available for just £192 per month if you place a deposit of £4,611, with Fiat contributing an additional £500. 37 months later, an optional final payment of £6,422 makes the 500X yours to keep.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
37x £192 £4,611 £500 £18,445 £17,945 0%

If you’re looking for a small car with five-door practicality and a stylish interior, then you could do worse than looking at the Fiat Panda, as the Panda Pop 1.2-litre petrolis currently available from just £7,496 – a customer saving of £2,015.

Ford deals

If you like the SUV look, but don’t need the size, the Ford Fiesta Active could be just what you need. Based on one of the best superminis you can buy, it has tough looks and bodyside cladding to fend off those urban scrapes. And it’s now available with 0% interest finance. This means that, after you place a £4,529 deposit, an Active can be yours for £190 a month with an optional £7,221 final payment after 36 months.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
36x £170 £4,529 £18,590 £18,590 0%

Ford is offering 0% APR on a number of its most popular cars, when you sign up for finance on the company’s Options PCP scheme. A Ford Ka+ Zetec with the 84bhp 1.2-litre petrol engine, for example, costs £130 per month for two years after an initial £3,534 deposit. After the 24-month term, a final payment of £5,941 will see you owning the car for good.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
23 x £139 £3,534 £12,595 £12,595 0%

Hyundai deals

Hyundai will contribute £500 towards the cost of the Hyundai i10 when you buy one on PCP finance. For the Go! SE model with a 1.0-litre petrol engine and standard equipment including air-conditioning, electric windows and USB connectivity can be yours for 43 monthly payments of £154, following a deposit of £1,200. An optional final £4,005 payment then makes the car yours.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
43 x £154 £1,200 £500 £10,795 £12,159 5.9%

Jaguar deals

The Jaguar XE is a very impressive saloon that’s more than capable of rivaling the BMW 3 Series – we gave it 4.3 stars when we reviewed it thanks to its efficient engines and the balance it strikes between comfort and performance.

Jaguar is currently offering a £3,720 contribution towards your deposit when you buy a Jaguar XF 197bhp 2.0-litre Prestige model. This leaves you with a £5,999 deposit to make, followed by 36 monthly payments of £279. At the end of the agreement, a final £13,344 payment makes the car yours.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
36 x £279 £5,999 £3,720 £31,050 £29,387 3.83%

Land Rover deals

The Range Rover Evoque hasn’t waned in popularity since it appeared a few years ago. Now, a £3,500 deposit contribution from Land Rover means that the Range Rover Evoque 2.0 Si4 HSE Dynamic model can be yours for £399 a month if you stump up a deposit of £8,510. With a £4,000 contribution from Land Rover, at the end of three years, you can return the car to Range Rover or pay £23,566 to own the car outright.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
36 x £399 £8,510 £4,000 £45,515 £46,440 5.9%

Mazda deals

The Mazda CX-3 is available on PCP finance with a £1,750 deposit contribution from Mazda. The SE Nav model looks great and its standard equipment includes air conditioning, cruise control and a 7-inch infotainment screen. If you can afford a deposit of £3,001 you can secure payments of £199 per month, though lower deposit, and even zero deposit deals, are also available.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
42 x £199 £3,001 £1,750 £19,365 £20,912 3.9%

We really like the Mazda MX-5 and awarded it 4.2 out of 5 stars in our review. Mazda has made ownership even more appealing by making the excellent 129bhp SE model available with a £1,500 deposit contribution. If you can stump up a £3,757 deposit, you can secure monthly payments of £219, and after 42 payments, an optional final £6,804 payment makes it yours to keep.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
42x £219 £3,750 £1,500 £19,785

Mercedes deals

The latest Mercedes A-Class offers a luxurious interior and lots of power. The A 180 Petrol SE is being offered at £269 per month deposit contribution from Mercedes when you buy one via its Personal Agility PCP scheme. After you make a £3,996 deposit and 48 monthly payments, the car can be yours following a final £9,250 payment.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
48 x £269 £3,996 £22,850 £26,168 5.9%

Mitsubishi deals

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has proved a popular car for Mitsubishi, combining the fashionable SUV bodystyle with the green image of a hybrid. The company is currently matching the £2,500 government grant with a £2,500 deposit contribution when you buy the car on PCP finance. The deal works out at £258 per month on the entry-level model after a deposit of £10,502. A final £13,112 payment makes the car yours.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
36 x £258 £10,502 £2,500 £35,005 £32,904 5.9%

Nissan deals

Nissan is offering the Qashqai on PCP finance with 0% finance. Under this deal, you can pay for the car over three years for £199 a month. After the Nissan contribution, a 1.2 DIG-T model in N-Connecta trim requires you to make an initial deposit of of £6,619. Outright ownership is yours if you want, following a final £10,477 payment.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
36 x £199 £6,619 £24,260 £24,260 0%

Peugeot deals

Are you aged between 18 and 20, and keen to get behind the wheel of a brand new Peugeot? If that sounds like you, Peugeot’s ‘just add fuel’ offer might be right up your street. Available on the Peugeot 108 and 208 hatchbacks, and the stylish Peugeot 2008 SUV, Just Add Fuel brings you three car tax and routine servicing, as well as warranty and roadside assistance, and three years free insurance when a telematics device is fitted to your car. The insurance will cover up to three drivers, with no curfews in place. Offers form a 37-month contract, with deposit contributions available.

Offers are subject to status – visit Peugeot’s Just Add Fuel website for further details.

Peugeot is currently offering customers a £2,000 deposit contribution towards a Peugeot 308 SW estate. For the well equipped Allure model with the 1.2-litre PureTech petrol, the deal works out at £237 a month over four years after a deposit of £3,555.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
36 x £238 £3,555 £2,000 £21,900 £21,344; 2.9%

Renault deals

The Renault Clio is one of the more stylish superminis you can buy and its low running costs make it a popular choice among younger drivers. Thanks to a depositi contribution from Renault of £1,996, 4.9% interest financing offers attractively good value right now, too. If you put down a deposit of just over £1,198, you can drive a 1.2-litre petrol Clio Play for £179 a month on a three-year deal, with an optional £5,001 final payment to make it yours.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
36 x £179 £1,198 £1,996 £13,500 £12,643 4.9%

Renault has also rolled out a new 0% finance offer for the stylish Kadjar SUVif you order before 1 October. On a Dynamique Nav with the 128bhp TCe130 engine, a £6,438 customer deposit is enough to bring your monthly payment to £189. After 37 instalments, an optional £8,338 payment makes the Kadjar yours to keep.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
37 x £189 £6,438 £21,580 £21,580 0%

SEAT deals

SEAT is currently offering the Leon ST Estate on PCP finance with a £2,250 deposit contribution. For the 123bhp 1.4-litre petrol model in FR Technology trim with 17-inch alloy wheels, satnav and LED headlights, the deal works out at £259 per month for 48 months after a deposit of £9,899. A final payment of £7,042 makes the car yours.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
47 x £259 £3,899 £2,250 £22,475 £23,383 6.4%

Those buyers looking for plenty of space may want to consider SEAT’s latest deal on the Alhambra. You can currently buy the car on PCP finance for £329 per month over four years, thanks to SEAT’s contribution of an additional £2,000 to your deposit of £6,899. SEAT will give you a further £500 off when you test drive the car. In 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel SE trim, the Alhambra comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlamps and seats trimmed in Alcantara suede and leather. A final £10,542 payment makes it yours.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
47 x £329 £6,899 £2,000 £30,895 £32,914 6.3%

Skoda deals

Skoda is currently offering a £3,000 deposit contribution towards the Superb Estate on PCP finance. You can choose the size of your deposit, but an initial payment of £3,182 will secure monthly payments of £375 and get you the car with the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine in Sportline trim. An eight-inch sat-nav system, alloy wheels and sports seats are just some of the items on a lengthy kit list. A £11,445 final payment makes it yours.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
47 x £375 £3,182 £3,000 £31,515 £32,262 5.2%

The Skoda Citigo is currently available on a PCP deal with a £1,500 deposit contribution from Skoda. For the three-door Colour Edition, which includes black alloy wheels, front fog light, ‘sunset’ glass and sat nav. If you can afford a deposit of £1,752, you can have the Citigo for just £155 per month.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
47 x £155 £1,752 £1,500 £10,930 £12,346 6.7%

Smart

The Smart ForFour Passion is available on PCP finance with a £1,214 deposit contribution from Smart . You don’t have to pay a deposit, so the deal works out at £159 per month over four years. The Passion model has the 70bhp petrol engine and after a final payment of £3,460, it’s yours to keep.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
48 x £159 £1,214 £11,910 £11,092 2.9%

SsangYong

SsangYong is a manufacturer of four-wheel-drive cars that’s making quite a name for itself in great-value SUVs. It’s now offering 0% interest on finance across several models in its range. For instance, the large SsangYong Korando SE 2.2-litre diesel can be yours on a hire-purchase deal for £229 a month after a £6,853 deposit. After 48 payments, the car is yours to keep.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
48 x £229 £6,853 £17,845 £17,845 0%

Toyota deals

The Toyota Auris is currently available on PCP finance with a £1,500 deposit contribution and at an interest rate of 0%. You can choose the size of your own deposit, but an up front payment of £5,957 leads to 42 monthly payments at £199 each. The Auris Design trim comes with equipment including 17-inch alloy wheels, a reversing camera, sports seats, and the Toyota Safety Sense package. A £6,570 final payment makes the car yours.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
42 x £199 £5,957 £1,500 £22,185 £22,185 0%

Volkswagen

The Volkswagen T-Roc is one of the latest compact SUVs to hit the market, offering a more adventurous alternative to a Volkswagen Golf. With a £1,000 deposit contribution offered by VW when you use PCP financing, it might be more affordable than you think. A deposit of £4,323 will secure a 1.0-litre petrol T-Roc S for £165 a month on a four-year agreement. An optional £7,582.50 final payment makes it yours to keep.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
47 x £165 £4,323 £1,000 £18,455 £19,670 5.4%

Volvo deals

The Volvo S90 D4 Momentum diesel saloon is currently on a PCP deal for £279 a month over four years. Volvo contributes £3,250 towards the cost of your deposit, leaving you to pay £4,591 up front.

The D4 Momentum model comes with a long list of standard equipment, including a nine-inch tablet-style touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth compatibility, sat nav, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, LED lights, voice control and wireless internet access. After 48 payments, a final £14,275 payment makes it yours to keep.

Monthly payments Deposit Deposit contribution List price Total payable APR
48 x £279 £4,591 £3,250 £32,449 £32,258 2%
07 Aug 2018

Vauxhall adds 197bhp petrol engine to Insignia range

Grand Sport hatchback and Sports Tourer estate gain new 1.6-litre turbo engine

The Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport hatchback and Sports Tourer estate are now available with a 197bhp turbocharged petrol engine, with prices starting at £25,610.

The new engine fills a gap in the Insignia’s line-up of petrols and diesel, slotting in between the 138bhp 1.5-litre and 257bhp 2.0-litre. Vauxhall promises an impressive turn of speed from the new engine, with 0-62mph possible in just 7.2 seconds. This performance is more than a match for rivals, which include the Ford Mondeo, Volkswagen Passat and Peugeot 508, although the Insignia can’t match the most powerful Skoda Superb for outright power.

 

The 1.6-litre petrol engine is claimed to return 44.8mpg, placing it on par with similarly powerful rivals. CO2 emissions of 146g/km are competitive for the class, too, and bring company-car users a 30% Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax rate. It’s worth noting, too, that its emissions have been measured using the latest “RDE” testing procedure, peformed on public roads in a bid to accurately simulate real-world driving situations.

Those who cover more than 12,000 miles a year or so, or who don’t need the extra performance of the 1.6-litre turbo petrol, might be better of with one of the diesels – they’re claimed to return up to 70.6mpg. The 1.6-litre is only available from the SRi VX-Line Nav trim level and up, so it’s far from the cheapest model in the range, but boasts a sporty bodykit, heated steering wheel, sat nav and all-round parking sensors.

The Vauxhall Insignia VX-Line Nav starts at £25,610 when equipped with the 1.6-litre engine.

07 Aug 2018

High tech cars to push up repair costs and car insurance premiums

High tech cars to push up repair costs and car insurance premiums

Car insurance damage check
Stephen Hester of RSA Insurance claims that modern cars’ added complexity will drive up repair bills and car insurance costs for motorists

New cars are becoming more expensive to insure than ever before. The ever-rising levels of standard equipment mean that repairs are more costly than ever, which in turn pushes up customers’ premiums.

That’s the opinion of Steven Hester, CEO of RSA Insurance Group. Hester, whose RSA group owns More Than, says: “In the motor area, the cost of cars continues to go up as cars have more and more technology in them.”

Of course, while some of that added tech is due to customer demand for extra comfort and refinement, other tech has been added to reduce the risk of injury to both occupants and other road users.

So while the increase in radars, sensors and other tech makes a newer car more expensive to repair if an accident occurs, the flip side to this is that accidents are less likely to happen in the first place.

According to a study conducted by Euro and Australasian NCAP in 2015, the addition of Autonomous Emergency Braking, for example, has proven to reduce rear-end collisions in the real world by 38 per cent. With many of these systems able to detect and avoid both pedestrians and cyclists too, third party injury claims have reduced by 45 per cent relative to cars unequipped with the tech.

The cost of repairs will become more of an issue once these cars depreciate in value several years into their lives, making expensive repairs no longer economically viable. A study by the Direct Line group in 2017 shows that a car is written off once every 90 seconds in the UK.

11 Feb 2018

2018 Jaguar F-type 400 Sport AWD Coupe Tested

2018 Jaguar F-type 400 Sport AWD Coupe

Yet another type of F-type.

2018 Jaguar F-type 400 Sport AWD Coupe

In five short years, Jaguar has turned its F-type lineup into a complex tangle not dissimilar to a ball of yarn undone by a catnip-addled feline. To wit, the 400 Sport reviewed here is now the third six-cylinder F-type. It joins a coupe and convertible family that launched with 340- and 380-hp six-cylinder variants and a 495-hp V-8 model but has since expanded by way of an entry-level four-cylinder engine, optional all-wheel drive, an available manual transmission for certain V-6 trims, and more-powerful V-8s including a range-topping 575-hp SVR.

HIGHS
Sharp handling, extroverted exhaust note, heart-melting looks.
LOWS
Limited visibility to the rear, rather heavy.

Keepin’ It 400

Counting every engine tune, transmission, drive layout, and body style, there are 24 distinct F-type permutations to choose from, with four cylinders and $65,000 separating each end of the family. It sounds crazy until you consider that Porsche’s 911 club has more members and spans an even wider price spectrum. The new-for-2018 400 Sport is actually four variants in one: You can have it with rear- or all-wheel drive and as a coupe or a convertible.

The 400 Sport’s defining feature is a 400-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine. It is the same engine used in the lower-output six-cylinder F-types, only tweaked for a few more ponies. Peak torque holds at the same 339 lb-ft as in the 380-hp version, just 7 lb-ft greater than in the 340-hp variant. Like nearly the entire F-type lineup, the 400 Sport uses a sharp-witted eight-speed automatic transmission. (A six-speed manual is limited to lesser versions of the V-6.) Manual gear selection is possible via the shift lever or a pair of steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles and produces satisfyingly quick responses.

Other 400 Sport–specific items include a deeper splitter and rocker-panel extensions (the former wearing nifty yellow “400” script), a darkened rear diffuser, and 20-inch wheels. Jaguar also tosses in larger-diameter rear brake rotors, black-painted calipers, 12-way power-operated sport seats, and yellow stitching for the all-black interior. Prices start at $90,495 for the rear-drive 400 Sport coupe and rise to $93,595 for the convertible; all-wheel drive adds $3000 to each version.

Our all-wheel-drive coupe test car thus rang in at $93,495 before options. Unlike most F-types, the special-edition 400 Sport doesn’t offer many extras. The model comes standard with a heated steering wheel, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with navigation, leather seats, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and Jaguar’s Configurable Dynamics driving-mode selector.

Buyers can choose from three paint colors—white, silver, or black—and the only stylistic adjustments one can make to the interior are adding leather to more surfaces, replacing the headliner with suedelike cloth, or garnishing the center console with carbon fiber. Our car benefited from that last upgrade ($765) plus the Climate 2 package ($1430) that brings dual-zone automatic climate control, a heated windshield, and heated and cooled seats. An $1175 fixed panoramic sunroof (a carbon-fiber roof also is available), $185 auto-dimming door mirrors, an $870 Meridian surround-sound system, a $410 power-operated liftgate, and a $460 blind-spot monitoring system brought the total to $98,790 and nearly exhausted the options sheet. Here we’ll once again point out that F-types of all stripes remain veritable bargains among sports cars and GTs from blue-chip European automakers; prices for Porsche’s 911 and Mercedes-Benz’s SL are just getting going around where the Jaguar tops out.

Familiar Performance

This version isn’t the quickest six-cylinder F-type we’ve tested, despite being the most powerful. Then again, it’s the only one saddled with all-wheel drive. A lighter, rear-drive, 380-hp automaticreached 60 mph in 4.3 seconds, 0.1 second quicker than this rather porky 400 Sport. All F-types have a bit of a weight problem, and all-wheel drive adds even more pounds. We expect that in an AWD-to-AWD (or RWD-to-RWD) comparison, the 400 Sport would outaccelerate its lesser six-cylinder counterparts, if only just.

Even if the all-wheel drive dulls a bit of the F-type’s off-the-line gusto, it adds palpable traction when exiting corners under power. We notched 0.98 g of grip on our skidpad, placing this 400 Sport near the top of the pile of six- and eight-cylinder F-types we’ve tested. The system is tuned to favor sending engine torque to the rear axle, meaning throttle-on oversteer is still always available at the aggressive flex of a right ankle. At times that becomes almost necessary, as the relatively nose-heavy Jag tends to understeer at its grip limit. As in other F-types, the body stays flat through corners and wheel control over bumps is excellent. The quick and accurate electrically assisted power steering offers disappointingly little road feel; although a lot of modern cars fail this touch test, it’s an especially important source of information in sports cars such as the F-type.

Less to excuse the matter than to change the subject to rosier topics, not many cars look like this Jaguar. Particularly in coupe guise, the F-type remains a stunner even five years after its initial debut. To date, Jaguar has changed only the headlight internals and the vents at each corner of the front bumper, and yet the design still looks fresh.

Few new cars sound like the Jag, either. The supercharged V-6 spits the same raucous note here as it does in other F-types, and popping the dual-mode exhaust into its louder setting amps up the volume to nearly offensive levels. Blatting around in an F-type, gratuitously downshifting just to trigger the resultant litany of pops and cracks from the exhaust, is about as subtle as leaping around your front lawn in your birthday suit and firing a six-shooter at the heavens.

Is there anything the F-type 400 Sport does that other six-cylinder F-types don’t? Not really, its extra 20 horsepower and special design touches aside. That means the newest F-type also is encumbered by the same limited rearward visibility and a touchscreen that suffers from inconsistent responses. The 400 Sport merely gives F-type buyers yet another delectable option when they walk into their local Jaguar dealership. If this is your cup of 400-hp tea, act now—it’s limited only to the 2018 model year.

11 Feb 2018

THIS WEEK IN THE FUTURE OF CARS: THE STRUGGLE IS REAL

THIS WEEK IN THE FUTURE OF CARS: THE STRUGGLE IS REAL

As Elon Musk races to ramp up production of the $35,000 Model 3 sedan, Tesla is struggling to keep its financial losses in check.
TESLA

AFTER NEARLY A year of hearings, discovery, motions, and legal maneuverings, Waymo v. Uber, a bitter battle over autonomous tech trade secrets, finally kicked off this week. And in its opening days, the case has lived up to its billing as the first great trial of this self-driving century.

Good thing our own Aarian Marshall has volunteered to slog through days that start at 7:30 am and involve unyielding wooden benches to bring us all the haps: Uber ex-CEO Travis Kalanick’s well hydrated testimony, deleted and embarrassing texts, the peskily hard-to-nail-down definition of “trade secret,” and more. If you care at all about what’s going on here, follow her on Twitter.

Elsewhere in the car world, more fights: Tesla reported a record loss while Elon Musk races to ramp up Model 3 production; Ram Trucks caught flak for a questionable Super Bowl ad; Uber is trying to win back drivers; and someone slapped a self-driving Chevy Bolt. It’s been a wild—and kinda weird—week. Let’s get you caught up.

Headlines

Stories you might have missed from WIRED this week

Aarian marked Week 1 of Waymo v. Uber with a trio of dispatches from the federal courthouse in San Francisco. She explained why Waymo is focusing its firepower on Uber founder Travis Kalanick, not Anthony Levandowski, the self-driving tech engineer who previously worked at Waymo before bouncing over to Uber. Because really, the case isn’t about people—it’s about trade secrets. Though, still, the people are fascinating, as evidenced by Kalanick’s time on the stand defending some questionable texts, lots of tiny water bottles in hand.

If you’ve been following this case, maybe you’re wondering why it’s such a BFD that Waymo alleges Uber copied its design for lidar, the sensor that fires out lasers to build a map of the world around the robocar. So while Aarian sat in court, I hopped on a hoverboard and grabbed a Nerf gun to explain why lidar is so key to the self-driving future.

When they’re not getting dressed up for court, engineers at Waymo and Uber—and plenty of other places—are tackling all the practical questions that come with commercializing self-driving tech. Jack Stewart comes with tidings of a little-discussed quandary: These rolling computers consume huge amounts of power, and it’s becoming a problem.

On Wednesday, Tesla revealed that in the last quarter of 2017 it lost a record $675 million. But Elon Musk, having just shot a Tesla Roadster into space (no, really), was optimistic. He’s identified the problems hampering Model 3 production, he says, and everything will get better on that time horizon all shareholders and customers love to hear—soon.

Say Tesla achieves its dream of putting everyone in America in an electric car: What might happen to our aging electrical grid? Nick Stockton takes on the issue of the Pluggening and finds an ambiguous future.

All this newfangled tech is going to require a major rethinking of the rules that govern how cars are built. But even now, those regulations are holding back progress even for regular old cars that need human drivers. Marc Scribner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, argues it’s time to grab an eraser.

Roboflogging of the Week

Thanks to California regulations that require companies working on self-driving vehicles report all crashes, we know humans have a tendency to rear-end these cautious creatures. But on Thursday, Cruise, GM’s autonomous arm, had an unusual encounter in San Francisco’s Mission District on a recent Sunday night, when it stopped behind a taxi, whose driver apparently isn’t much impressed by autonomous tech.

A Cruise engineer reported to the DMV: “The driver of the taxi exited his vehicle, approached the Cruise AV, and slapped the front passenger window, causing a scratch. There were no injuries and the police were not called.”

“Told you those things were cruisin’ for a bruisin’,” dads everywhere joke.

Required Reading

News from elsewhere on the internet.

In the middle of Tesla’s call with investors discussing its not-so-good Q4, Bloomberg reported that the company’s head of global sales and service, John McNeil, jumped ship to Lyft, where he’ll serve as COO.

A longer term threat to Tesla comes from the growing list of established automakers promising to build many more electric cars. This week, it was Porsche’s turn: The German sports car maker is doubling its EV investment to nearly $8 billion, Jalopnik reports. And its coming Mission E, a battery-powered sports car, looks like a nice rival to Tesla’s Model S.

Back in September, Jaguar announced that by 2020 it will offer an electric or hybrid version of every car it sells. This week’s news, though, focused on a more backward-looking project: The automaker will finally finish its production run of D-Type sports cars. More than six decades after building 75 of the lovely sports cars, Autoweek explains, it will use classic techniques to roll out 25 more.

More than 60 years after building 75 D-Type sports cars, Jaguar will finish its original planned run of 100.
JAGUAR LAND ROVER

If you watched the Patriots lose the Super Bowl, maybe you had some thoughts about that Ram Trucks commercial set to a sermon by Martin Luther King Jr. about the importance of service. Some people certainly did, and not many of them were nice. “There’s so much emotion right now around race in this country that this was a high-risk move, and clearly it’s not going over very well,” one marketing professor toldThe New York Times.

OK, back to Uber, which is fighting fires well beyond its courtroom tussle with Waymo. It has long had a strained relationship with its three million “driver partners,” the folks who actually make ride-hailing work. Recode’s Johana Bhuiyan takes a deep dive into Uber’s effort to patch things up in this vital partnership.

01 Feb 2018

UK car production slides as Brexit fears erode confidence among business and consumers

‘We urgently need clarity on the transitional arrangements for Brexit’

Britain’s car industry slid into reverse in 2017, with production of new cars down 3 per cent to 1.67 million, the first decline in eight years.

The latest data shows that production for the domestic market slumped by almost 10 per cent, but exports by just 1.1 per cent. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) blamed weakening business and consumer confidence in the UK for the fall, with the continuing “confusion” about official policy on diesel engines exacerbating problems.

The slowdown in diesel demand is a particular problem because Britain remains an important location for diesel engine manufacture, with firms such as Ford and Toyota producing large numbers of power units – in total about one million, worth £8.5bn to the economy. The SMMT also warned that a hard Brexit could chop 10 per cent off export production “overnight”.

Investment in the UK industry – where many important potential projects are “overdue” for approval in multinational boardrooms – fell by a third in 2017, compared to 2016, and is running at only around half the levels during the pre-Brexit period.

Job losses were recently announced at Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant. Vauxhall was acquired by Peugeot last year, and is thought to be one of the most vulnerable to a Brexit effect loss of investment in new models.

The SMMT warned once again about the “serious threat” Brexit poses to the UK auto industry, which has been a success story since the 1980s, attracting substantial inward investment from some of the world’s most successful companies. The SMMT stated that the current proposed transition period for leaving the EU, of about two years, is too short.

Around 80 per cent of British car production went for export, and this helped dampen the problems in the “home” market. The EU remained the UK’s biggest trading partner, taking more than half (53.9 per cent) of exports and seeing conditions recover from post-financial crisis lows, while the demand for British-built cars rose in several key markets, notably Japan (up 25.4 per cent), China (up 19.7 per cent), Canada (which rose by 19.5 per cent) and the US, where demand increased by 7 per cent.

Top 10 British sellers worldwide

1. Nissan Qashqai

2. Mini

3. Honda Civic

4. Toyota Auris

 5. Vauxhall Astra

6. Nissan Juke

7. Range Rover Sport

8. Jaguar F- Pace

9. Range Rover Evoque

10. Land Rover Discovery Sport

The Chief Executive of the SMMT, Mike Hawes, said: “The UK automotive industry continues to produce cars that are in strong demand across the world, and it’s encouraging to see growth in many markets. However, we urgently need clarity on the transitional arrangements for Brexit, arrangements which must retain all the current benefits else around 10 per cent of our exports could be threatened overnight.

“We compete in a global race to produce the best cars and must continue to attract investment to remain competitive. Whilst such investment is often cyclical, the evidence is that it is now stalling so we need rapid progress on trade discussions to safeguard jobs and stimulate future growth.”

Although encouraged by a recent industry round-table meeting with the Prime Minister, and by the Government’s industrial strategy, Mr Hawes said “we do not know what the Government wants for a permanent or future relationship” with the EU.

Further devilment for the British car industry will lie in the detail of any UK-EU trade deal. According to SMMT sources, UK-originating content on motor vehicles may turn out to be rather less than the 50 per cent needed to meet the “rules of origin” terms of most free trade agreements and to gain zero tariff access to the EU.

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