29Jul/14Off

Alfa Romeo 159 Review

July 29th, 2014

Alfa Romeo’s 159 has all of the familiar styling traits that have come to be expected from an Alfa. This car has a long stylish front-end, a short tail, and of course the Alfa Romeo shield shaped grille. The 159 is an elegant attention grabber that has Alfa enthusiasts and everyone in the industry taking notice. This car has been improved from the smaller 156 version with better performance quality, high standards of workmanship and more cabin space. Alfa Romeo has never had a shortage of style; they have always produced a beautiful, stylish end product. They have however, had some performance problems that have given their competitors an upper-hand in the past. The 159 has given Alfa their competitive edge back in this niche of the market. The 159 seems to be the total package that Alfa has been striving to create. The 159’s quality levels have been compared to that of Audi and have surpassed other leading competitors. The Alfa 159 provides a classy, reliable vehicle, with fantastic safety features at an affordable price. This Alfa certainly puts the company back on the radar screen not just as a contender but as a leading competitor.

 Practicality

 When compared to the 159’s compact executive rivals the 159 provides a lot more value for the money. The diesel engine option provides increased value in the form of fuel savings. Insurance costs will be similar to other cars in this sector; however, resale value for the 159 will be considerably less. The front of the cabin is quite spacious; passengers have plenty of room and should find it quite comfortable. The rear passengers however have substantially less room and the level of comfort will depend largely on the size of the passenger. The rear storage area is fairly large, but the opening is a tad bit on the small side. The Alfa Romeo 159 comes with controls large controls that are easy to manipulate and use. The displays are easy to read and functional. Front seat passengers should have no trouble loading and unloading from the vehicle. The doors open wide and the seat sits high enough that passengers can slide into the vehicle without having to climb down into the seat. This isn’t the case with rear passengers. The door opening is smaller and the back seat is less spacious making loading and unloading from the rear more cumbersome. The 159 is a larger car and from the position of the driver it can be difficult to tell where the car’s large tail ends. In some models parking sensors are included and in other models they can be added on to the package. The car has light steering making navigating at low speeds trouble-free.

 Life Style

 Alfa Romeo’s 159 has a sophisticated driver appeal. This car is well built and a quality ride without sacrificing any of the style that Alfa Romeo has become famous for. The 159 is designed for a more mature driver. The larger car handles better on the road and provides a smooth, quiet ride. The diesel engine option makes the car an economical choice. The seats provide an extremely comfortable driving position and the competitive price makes it an all around great deal. The 159 would make a decent family car. Children could more easily gain access to rear seating than adults, and there would be plenty of legroom and headroom for a child. The boot is not quite large enough to comfortably carry large items (strollers, wheel chairs, etc). This would not be the ideal first car. The car is a little too large for new drivers, and certain variations make the car too powerful for first time drivers. The controls are easy enough to use for new drivers, but the car size is not ideal. Alfa Romeo has had its fair share of image problems. The company has had to face poor performance and reliability issues head on. Things started to take a turn for the better with the introduction of the 156 model, and now the improved Alfa 159 model. Both vehicles were a testament to Alfa’s determination to provide a gorgeous, dependable vehicle at an affordable price.

 Security and Safety

The 159 comes equipped with an alarm and an immobilizer system. This Alfa stands-out and it is strongly advised that the buyer purchase a visual theft deterrent system also. The 159 encompasses Alfa’s high standard of safety. It comes with seven airbags, not the usual six. Alfa has included a knee airbag for increased driver safety. The car has quality traction and stability controls that work well with the hard-hitting 2.4 diesel variant.

 The Finishing Touches

 Taking center stage on the console the 159’s stereo comes with large knobs and a large display. Basic functions have been duplicated on the steering wheel. Sound quality is good and there is an option for a sat-nav system that puts the driver in contact with the necessary assistance. The 159 blends light and dark color variations throughout the cabin. Red is the color of choice to enhance all of the 159’s stylish features. Other colors are available, but the buyer is encouraged to stay away from darker colors that do not enhance the visual style of the Alfa 159.

 Summary

The year 2011 saw the end of any new car offers on Alfa Romeo 159s as they were discontinued.  Alfa has always produced visually beautiful cars that for one reason or another never delivered the expected level of performance. The Alfa’s 159 seems to be one of their first well rounded cars. It delivers in terms of size, performance, reliability, safety, and style. The 159 definitely raised the bar for Alfa Romeo.

Alfa_Romeo_159_SW_front_20080620

 

29Jul/14Off

Vauxhall Insignia Review

July 29th, 2014

The Vauxhall Insignia is a desirable car that is a big step forward from the Vectra it replaces. It is fitted with lots of high-tech kit and features smart coupe-like styling.

Practicality

The Vauxhall Insignia is a fine family car though it is not as spacious as it first appears from the outside due to the sweeping roofline restricting headroom in the back.
However the compromise is worth it because the Insignia looks so good – and you have to be over six feet tall to notice it.
There’s a practical boot in the hatchback that that offers a rectangular 520 litres of space – and this can be increased by lowering the rear seats when you want to carry larger loads.
The Insignia is a practical option for a family as its running costs are reasonable with both diesel engines returning the best part of 50mpg, while servicing and insurance costs will not empty the piggy bank.
Prices for the car have been kept down making the Insignia good value for money.
Vauxhall have made the Insignia a pleasure to drive although initially it takes a bit of time to get used to the layout of the dashboard. The centre console is a blizzard of buttons which is a bit surprising as most of the car’s functions can be accessed via menus on a digital screen.
On the plus side all shapes and sizes can be accommodated behind the wheel as there is a huge range of seat and steering wheel adjustment to help the driver get comfortable.

Life Style

The Vauxhall Insignia is a classy way to transport a family. Both build quality and the materials used in its construction are excellent making life anything but a chore for passengers and driver.
The interior is surprisingly sumptuous with an elegantly crafted cabin that could easily pass for a luxury model.
The Insignia is also a decent drive with a composure that is regal. It gobbles up miles on the motorway with ease that leaves the driver fresh as a daisy even after the longest trip. Even on twisty tracks the Insignia offers fine body control and a generally smooth ride. The steering could be a little sharper but that is a minor quibble as the handling is pretty impressive. At the end of the day Vauxhall has gone for composure rather than an eyeballs out sport set up. If that is what is required though the sporty SRi models and the Sport mode on the optional Flexride system should prove adequate.
If there is a criticism of the Insignia it is perhaps its refinement when driven over rough roads as the resulting noise can make its presence felt in the cabin.
The Insignia sets new benchmarks when it comes to exterior design for this type of vehicle and there may be some who do not like the its shape – but there is no doubt that the bold grille and coupe-like profile will certainly stand out in any supermarket car park.
As far as the environment is concerned every Insignia engine meets European emissions standards.

Security and Safety

The Vauxhall Insignia is a desirable motor so its defences against theft are good with all models fitted with remote central locking, alarm and immobiliser.
The Vauxhall Insignia is fitted with six airbags, stability control, anti-whiplash front head restraints and an alert to tell you if anyone in the rear has undone their seatbelt. This excellent safety package is augmented at the front of the car with headlights that have nine different beam patterns to suit prevailing driving conditions.

The Finishing Touches

The Vauxhall Insignia is crammed full of kit. There are five trim levels with the entry-level Exclusiv cars getting cruise control, front electric windows, climate control, powered seat adjustment and radio/CD player. By the time the top of the range Elite specification is reached, heated front seats seats, parking sensors, electric rear windows and alloy wheels are just some of the goodies that have been added.

Vauxhall Insignia Car Review Summary

The Vauxhall Insignia is offered as a hatchback, saloon and an estate with styling that catches the eye. The Insignia has a real presence on the road with a sleek, modern exterior and an elegant, ergonomic cabin.
Six engines are offered – four petrol and two diesel – with the 2.0-litre 158bhp and 128bhp oil burners likely to be the better sellers as they offer the best blend of performance and economy.

vauxhall-insignia-front-three-quarters

29Jul/14Off

Suzuki Spash Review

July 29th, 2014

The Suzuki Splash is billed as an all-new mini MPV that has decent looks and is fun to drive around town. It is a generously spacious family-style car that comes with practicality as standard.

Practicality
The Suzuki Splash provides an impressive amount of space for such a small car. The roofline is high which means there’s loads of headroom whichever seat you end up in. Even those in the back get a reasonable amount of legroom with more than enough to keep taller passengers happy. The boot is a bit small, but you can extend it by folding down the split rear seat.
Drivers should have no trouble getting a comfortable position as the steering wheel and driver’s seat adjust for height.
The dashboard is simply laid out with all the buttons and dials easy to locate and use. The rev counter will either delight or annoy however as it sits on a stalk on top of the dash. Both ends of the car have thick window pillars that can hinder visibility.
The Suzuki Splash’s interior has plastics that are hard to the touch, but a textured finish makes them look smart. They’re sturdy as well and should prove to be very hard-wearing even if subject to regular assaults from the kids. The tight panel gaps give confidence about how carefully the car is made and, being a Suzuki, the mechanicals should be trouble free.

Life Style
The Suzuki Splash is a cute-looking car that will appeal to couples of all ages and young families with its big wide-eyed headlights and split front grille. It certainly has enough going for it to appeal to a mum with a young family or elderly people looking for a car with easy access that is cheap to buy and run.
That the Suzuki Splash is a cinch to enter and exit is down to the noticeably tall body, drawing on MPV-like styling cues to get the best use of interior space.
Despite its high stance, the wheel-at-each-corner Suzuki Splash is fun to drive as direct power steering and lots of grip give it a surprising amount of vim into and out of corners with not too much body roll in evidence. There’s a firm edge to the ride, especially at low speeds, but only the worst surfaces will make their presence felt in the cabin.
The Splash is also a competent performer on the motorway.
As far as the environment is concerned the diesel unit is impressive producing just 120g/km of carbon dioxide while the 1.2 petrol engine is a little higher at 131g/km.

Security and Safety
The Suzuki Splash does a good job of deterring those with sticky fingers as all versions of the car come with remote central locking, an engine immobiliser and deadlocks.
The Suzuki Splash is also choc full of safety kit and the Japanese firm deserves praise for this. All versions of the car get twin front, side and curtain airbags, and, even better, stability control.

The Finishing Touches
Suzuki has aimed the Splash at the higher end of the supermini market, so its mini MPV has plenty of kit fitted as standard.
All versions of the car get heated electric mirrors, electric front windows, air conditioning, a CD stereo and a leather-covered steering wheel with audio controls. Step up to the GLS+ car and Suzuki throw in alloy wheels, front foglamps and rear privacy glass.
The stereo is competent and easy to use but the speakers sound a little tinny and the radio doesn’t re-tune itself when it goes out of radio reception.

Suzuki Splash Car Review Summary

The Suzuki Splash was designed in Japan with Europe in mind. It looks cute inside and out and is generously equipped – particularly with safety kit. It is good to drive as well.
Suzuki offers two engines to power the Splash – a 1.3-litre 74bhp diesel with low carbon dioxide emissions and fuel economy in excess of 62mpg, and the feisty and very capable 85bhp 1.2-litre petrol engine which will manage around 51mpg. There are also pretty generous trim levels in GLS, GLS+ and DDiS grades thanks to the Splash’s upmarket aspirations.
The Splash is based on a Suzuki Swift platform with a slightly smaller wheelbase. The styling is neat with the wheel arches actually projecting beyond the vertical tailgate. The tail lights are tall and arrow-shaped and the waistline is a rising wedge.

 

29Jul/14Off

Mercedes-Benz CLC Review

July 29th, 2014

The Mercedes-Benz CLC is a stylish coupe that still manages to offer a decent amount of room inside with running costs are reasonable despite its prestige image.

Practicality

The Mercedes-Benz CLC offers a surprising amount of room in the cabin despte its compact appearance. Passengers in the rear have a decent amount of leg and elbow space although headroom is a little tight.
Mercedes ensure that you don’t have to be a gymnast to reach the coupe’s back seats as the front seats tip forward, then the bases lift up and out of the way.
The seats are supportive and there’s lots of adjustment to ensure a comfortable driving position is easily achieved. The boot is a good size – accommodating a set of golf clubs with ease – and the rear seats split and fold almost flat for bigger loads.
Build quality on the CLC is good but for a premium brand coupe the interior could be plusher. That said most of the swithgear on the dashboard is easy to see and use.
The Mercedes-Benz CLC has relatively high sides and a small rear window impairing visibility behind. Head room isn’t bad, although six-footers may suffer slightly in the rear, but leg and elbow room is decent for this type of car.
Fuel economy is reasonable with the 200 and 220 diesel variants offering fuel economy approaching 49mpg with the six-speed manual transmission. The CLC 180 Kompressor will manage around 40mpg – which is decent for the entry-level petrol – and the CLC 200 Kompressor with its boosted power still offers a relatively frugal 36mpg.

Life Style

The Mercedes-Benz CLC is for those who like cruises rather than all action holidays. The superb suspension ensure that life is unruffled by the humps and hollows that bedevil the nation’s highways.
It handles with an ease that invites relaxation so those requiring a sporty coupe should look elsewhere. The chassis floats over rough and smooth surfaces alike and eases its way round corners rather than taking them on full throttle. The steering is nicely weighted and the car feels best when sauntering up a motorway.
Life in the cabin is peaceful as the CLC’s cabin shuts out wind noise completely while all occupants are cosseted by an interior that uses quality materials and has comfortable seats.
The Mercedes-Benz CLC is not a cheap car to buy but running costs are reasonable so there should be a bit of cash leftover to afford the meal at the restaurant once you have driven there.
The smart exterior of the CLC should attract the attention of friends and neighbours – especially the rear which has chunky lights and a large central brake light along the boot line.
All the CLC’s engines have been improved to be far more environmentally friendly. Carbon dioxide emissions and fuel economy both head the right way as far as the green brigade and indeed the bank balance of the CLC’s owner are concerned.

Security and Safety

The usual security features are employed to keep the CLC out of the clutches of car thieves although there are no deadlocks, as Mercedes believes they hinder rescue efforts after a crash.
Safety is taken seriously in the CLC with stability control included as standard to help you remain in control on the road. Six airbags are also provided to keep you from harm if there is an accident. There are also ISOFIX anchorage points to keep child seats wedged firmly in place.

The Finishing Touches

Even the entry level Mercedes-Benz CLC is packed full of goodies. These include parking sensors, part-leather-effect upholstery, alloy wheels and automatic climate control. Step up to the Sport models and Mercedes throw in bigger alloy wheels, metallic paint, full synthetic-leather upholstery and an upgraded interior, as well as sports suspension and a speed-sensitive steering system.
All models come with MP3 compatible radio/CD player, eight speakers, Bluetooth connectivity and Aux-in socket as standard. A European navigation system is available as an option.

 

Mercedes-Benz CLC Car Review Summary

The Mercedes-Benz CLC looks the part and represents decent value for money despite lacking the driving dynamics of some of its competitors.
The CLC comes with a choice of six engines – the 180K and 200K petrol engines, two diesels in the form of the 200 and 220 CDI oil burners, and two V6 variants, the 230 and 350.
Undoubtedly the best of the bunch is the 220 CDI which offers a winning combination of fuel economy and performance. All the engines are significant improvements on their predecessors offering big reductions in fuel consumption with carbon dioxide emissions reduced by up to seven per cent.

24Jan/13Off

Muscle Car MOT and Servicing

January 24th, 2013

Looking to get your Ford Mustang Serviced or maybe your annual MOT test is coming up? Whilst this can be an inconvenience and an annoyance, it can be made much simpler, and you can end up saving money thanks to a new service offered by automotive site BuyYourCar.

Originally a Used Car site, BuyYourCar have basically taken the idea of comparison sites and applied that to MOT and Servicing. So, you enter the necessary details, as well as your location, and within seconds your eyes will behold a list of Service and MOT costs for your car, from garages nearby.muscle

 

17Jan/13Off

Favourite Fives

January 17th, 2013

They don’t make them like they used to. Thirty years ago we were fascinated with muscle cars and power, now we are being force fed these lefty friendly cars like the Twingo and the Volkswagen up  which are pathetic. Join me as we take a look a some of the Muscle Cars that are now a thing of the past.

No.5: 1969 Dodge Charger R/T
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The 1969 Dodge Charger was popularized by ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ a famous TV show which aired in the 1980s, though it was a brilliant car long before the TV show. The Charger was able to generate a massive 480Ibs-ft of torque with its legendary -half a ton- 428 HEMI engine which packed 425bhp. It is therefore no surprise that the 1969 Dodge Charger R/T was cast as the “General Lee”, a car-acter which became just as big a star as its human co-stars.

No.4: 1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500KR
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The “KR” in the GT00KR stood for King of the Road, and boy did it live up to its name.  It featured a whopping 7L supercharged V8 engine which at the time, Shelby claimed to be capable of 335bhp, though since then it has been speculated that the actual figure was closer to a much more impressive 450bhp! What really put the Shelby Mustang GT500KR on our radar were its looks. It is a timeless piece which wouldn’t look out of place on the road today; it is absolutely stunning. We would have included the Shelby Mustang GT500 in this list as well, but in the name of diversity, we have decided to leave it out.

No.3: 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge Ram Air IV
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Now this car is incredibly rare and you won’t often see them on the road, if at all as it was only sold as a special edition at the time. The Pontiac GTO Judge Ram Air IV has plenty of power thanks to its V8 engine and high-flow heads. Again, it looks great, featuring a protruding nose typical of Pontiac and setting it apart from the other muscle cars of the era. The 1964 Pontiac GTO is often cited as the starting point for the muscle car era, so it is only right that it makes our list.

No.2: 1969 Z28 Chevy Camaro 2
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This beauty should be on any good muscle car list. This Camaro had a small-block 302 cubic inch engine which was built with Trans-AM racing in mind. The engine was said to create 290 horsepower at the time of its release, but many have speculated that the Z28 Chevy could muster up many more horses than that. Even so the 1969 Chevy was by no means the fastest muscle car on the road, but its personality and looks meant it had a certain allure over its competition. I restored mine with some new Chevrolet Camaro Car Parts not too long ago, and I’ve fallen in love all over again.

No.1: 1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda
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Some of the boys might disagree but for some reason I have had a love affair with the Plymouth Hemi Cuda for as long as I can remember. What initially hooked me were the cars looks and the shaker scoop, then, when I discovered what was beneath the Hemi Cuda’s hood, I was confirmed. The hemi engine packs 425/426 horsepower. Only 11 of these models were made -three of which were left hand drives- making it one of the rarest muscle cars ever! If you are lucky enough to find one for sale, you have to be lucky enough to have $500,000 to spare, because that’s how much they cost. Maybe you’ll just settle for a Used Pontiac Firebird or something.