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Ferrari Resolve To Be A Better Driver In 2014
December 31, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
As the end of the year approaches we take stock of the past twelve months and think about how we can improve as people and citizens. Yes folks, it’s time to make those New Year Resolutions. Here at DriveWrite we have picked up a rumour that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has resolved to be a better person and will reduce the cost of petrol to 1980’s prices! What a gent! Actually, if we’re honest that might be a bit of a pipe dream but hey, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of optimism for 2014 is there?
Read "Resolve To Be A Better Driver In 2014"
Jaguar DriveWrite Automotive - Six Months On
December 30, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
After tickling around the edges for a few weeks earlier in the year, we resolved to begin putting DriveWrite properly on the automotive map six months ago and it has been a steep but successful learning curve ever since. The principal difficulty was persuading the Motor Industry that what the world really needed was yet another car website. Fortunately, the enlightened folk at Subaru and Jaguar came in early with a choice selection of cars and events took off from there.
Read "DriveWrite Automotive - Six Months On"
Jaguar An Excuse Is No Excuse
December 30, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Did you hear about the man whose wife ran away with a policeman? When speeding, he saw the flashing blue lights in his driving mirror and put his foot down even more because he thought they were bringing her back. How’s that for an excuse? Or what about the woman who assumed her speedo was deficient because she was at high altitude in the mountains? “It never does that at home!” Just two of the many excuses used to try and get away with a speeding offence.
Read "An Excuse Is No Excuse"
Futuristic Car The End of the Automobile Era?
December 29, 2013
By Bill Crittenden
Sometimes, people appreciate things beyond their useful scope, to the point of considering what some see as a want as a need by all.  Not everybody needs or even wants a V8 muscle car, or old-school body-on-frame construction, plenty of people are just fine and happy in their Honda CR-Vs.  A lot of "car guys" have a hard time grasping that our appreciation for fast or artistic cars just isn't universal.  But, as I've mentioned before, we have the fuel-efficient masses to thank for keeping classic cars and their fossil fuels affordable.  Just as the automobile saved the horse for recreation, so too will fuel cells save the internal combustion engine and its limited fuel resources for the recreation of those who can really appreciate it.
Read "The End of the Automobile Era?"
Cell Phone App How To Grass Up Your Neighbour
December 29, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Fancy being a traffic warden, only without the abuse and the ill-fitting uniform? Well, if a company across the pond in Canada has its way you too can dish out parking tickets anonymously and get paid for it. This is a rather nasty form of what the originators are calling ‘crowd sourced parking control’.
Read "How To Grass Up Your Neighbour"
Porsche A Plethora Of Porsches - Quite An Experience 2
December 28, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Well, as ever, Christmas has come and gone and it is disappointing to report that once again nobody bought me a Porsche. Not even a used one. I can see a trend here so thank goodness for those excellent folk at Porsche HQ who at least let me drive the things.
Read "A Plethora Of Porsches - Quite An Experience 2"
Jaguar The Official Start To The New Year
December 27, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Now that you have stuffed yourself full and lain sprawled, replete, on the sofa like a beached walrus, traditionally it is time to start thinking about New Year resolutions and doing something about that surplus avoirdupois. One good form of exercise is walking and DriveWrite can think of nowhere better for that sort of health inducing activity than Birmingham’s NEC. I don’t for a moment suggest you should actually walk to the venue but once there you can spend many happy hours strolling about and taking in the sights; and what sights they will be.
Read "The Official Start To The New Year"
Blue & White Van Man - In The Beginning
December 27, 2013
By Stan Potter
I travelled widely in Europe before I purchased my Blue & White van. My first trip was in 1965 when a group of lads toured around several countries in a Thames mini bus. There were seven of us but we were not magnificent. Between us we could speak about ten words in total of any language other than English.
Read "Blue & White Van Man - In The Beginning"
Pothole Reporting Potholes - Action For The Crater Good.
December 24, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Great news! The Government has given £30,000 of your money to back the development of an innovative smartphone application to report potholes, according to Roads Minister Robert Goodwill. The Department for Transport (DfT) has pledged the cash to enable the Cyclists' Touring Club (CTC), the national cycling charity, to revamp its ‘Fill That Hole' website and develop a new app compatible with smartphones running Android software.
Read "Reporting Potholes - Action For The Crater Good."
Road Signs New Year, New Car?
December 24, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Well, why not? Mrs DriveWrite could make a better job of the economy than the Chancellor (and my goodness you’d hear the pips squeak in Whitehall) but otherwise there is nothing to be done about it. So instead of worrying, why not treat yourself?
Read "New Year, New Car?"
Puppy in Car Window A Puppy Is Not Just For Christmas
December 23, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
There’s an old story that Volvo estate cars were once only designed for wealthy country folk to ferry Labrador dogs up and down motorways. To an extent this was true. Volvo’s of the time had a reputation for solid dependability that was admired by people who spent a lot of time in fields wearing waxed clothing. They needed somewhere to put the pooches.
Read "A Puppy Is Not Just For Christmas"
Jaguar XFR Jaguar XFR - Play Dirty
December 23, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
I will, with shame, admit to taking the shocking images you see on this page; but seriously, it wasn’t my fault. When this XFR turned up (sparkling clean) from Jaguar the other week I couldn’t wait to get out on the road. Mrs DriveWrite wanted to go to Cheltenham of all places for some extravagance or other so I seized my chance to put the pedal to the metal.
Read "Jaguar XFR - Play Dirty"
Dakar Rally Bringing The Dakar Rally To The World
December 22, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Ever since the North African situation made it too dangerous to run the original route of the Dakar Rally, the event itself has gone from strength to strength at its new home in South America.
Read "Bringing The Dakar Rally To The World"
Zaporozhet The Artful Bodger 6 - On The Road To Crickhowell
December 22, 2013
By Stan Potter
I was reading about a Russian car called a Zaporozhet (pictured below). This was built in the Ukraine in the mid 1960’s. It had a 764cc air cooled engine, rear mounted. The engine was a V4 based on the VW boxer unit but built as a vee to make servicing easier. The whole car was made for ease of maintenance and repair with the minimum of basic tools. As the materials used were not up to western standards, this was often required.
Read "The Artful Bodger 6 - On The Road To Crickhowell"
Lamborghini Huracán A Time For Wishful Thinking
December 21, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Well, we can dream can’t we? A new era is beginning for Lamborghini and the luxury super sports car segment. With the brand new Huracán Lamborghini is not only presenting the successor to the iconic Gallardo, but is also redefining the benchmark for luxury super sports cars in this segment.
Read "A Time For Wishful Thinking"
Renault Mégane Megane Revitalised
December 21, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Renault is upgrading the entire Mégane range, which now features the new design identity increasingly seen across the whole brand. The Mégane family has gained an extra dash of vitality apparently that further strengthens its appeal and the cars are fitted with Renault’s latest equipment and technological innovations. The brand’s quality flagship remains firmly focused on travelling comfort and driving pleasure.
Read "Megane Revitalised"
Honda Vezel Honda To Join The Crossover Bandwagon
December 20, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
I don’t know about you but are the car manufacturers getting a bit carried away with this crossover business? The latest company to get on the bandwagon is Honda who will join in Europe's booming small SUV/crossover segment by launching a European version of its new Vezel, which is based on the ubiquitous Jazz.
Read "Honda To Join The Crossover Bandwagon"
Mini Cooper John Cooper Works (JCW) Mini To Showcase The New JCW In Detroit
December 20, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Not so long ago DriveWrite tested the John Cooper Works version of the MINI Paceman and great fun it was too. Next month, in Detroit, the company plan to show the concept for the new JCW Mini.
Read "Mini To Showcase The New JCW In Detroit"
Citroen Saxo Better Than A Goldfish - A Really Cheap Car .
December 20, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
When I was a young lad all I wanted was a goldfish to call my own. One day, at a travelling fair, I won a beautiful creature swimming happily in a plastic bag of full of water. I was over the moon.
Read "Better Than A Goldfish - A Really Cheap Car ."
Porsche The Porsche Cayenne - Quite An Experience
December 19, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Game of Thrones devotees will be familiar with The Wall and the fear and apprehension of new recruits to the Night’s Watch. Well, they had it easy, let me tell you. DriveWrite was just one of an intrepid band of automotive scribes who descended upon the Porsche Experience Centre at Silverstone to be subjected to a hardcore induction courtesy of the Porsche off-road demonstration team.
Read "The Porsche Cayenne - Quite An Experience"
Renault Master Blue And White Van Man 8 - Driving In France
December 19, 2013
By Stan Potter
Every trip in the van is an adventure. It is 15 years old but well looked after. It is carefully checked over before each trip and gets oil and filter change every fifth trip. Any problems are dealt with as they occur. I am lucky that the majority of them I can deal with myself as I keep a selection of tools in England and France.
Read "Blue And White Van Man 8 - Driving In France"
Toyota Camry A Voice For Common Sense
December 18, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
DriveWrite has in the recent past complained about the unseemly haste in which car makers seem to be pursuing the dream of the autonomous car. For example, the all-seeing, all knowing Google organisation - who do not make cars - promise to commercialise autonomous driving technology within five years, thus pushing car makers to speed up their research and development.
Read "A Voice For Common Sense"
Traffic The Waning Joy Of Driving
December 18, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
As someone who has just spent an exhilarating and slightly hair-raising week with a Jaguar XFR, I don’t count myself amongst those who are fed up with the whole business of motoring. A third of drivers simply don't enjoy driving anymore, at least according to the latest survey. It seems that the main reason given - according to fifty-one percent of those surveyed - for not enjoying driving on our roads was the cost of fuel.
Read "The Waning Joy Of Driving"
Christmas Present Car Deck The Cars With Boughs Of Holly
December 18, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
At the time of publishing this we will be at that pre-Christmas point when you will remember all the people you have forgotten to buy gifts for. These will include your husband/wife/partner (“I knew there was something…”), children you may have temporarily forgotten about and people who it transpires are not, as you previously thought, dead. It is at this point that you will rush out into the mean streets in a last minute panic.
Read "Deck The Cars With Boughs Of Holly"
Audi Q7 The Audi Q7 - Too Big For Britain?
December 16, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Now then. I often seem to be at odds with others when it comes to the suitability of certain cars on UK roads and the Audi Q7 is a case in point. True, this behemoth is not a ‘B’ road special but that’s not what it was designed for. Basically, car manufacturers are on a hiding to nothing. They design a big, seven seat go-anywhere family cruiser and are then criticised for it being to large for our narrow town and village high streets. They can’t win.
Read "The Audi Q7 - Too Big For Britain?"
Kris Meeke There’s Splendid - Welshman Evans Joins The Top Flight WRC
December 16, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Out of the blue it has just been announced that next year’s FIA World Rally Championship will see not one but two British drivers competing at the highest level for the first time since the glory days of Colin McRae and Richard Burns.
Read "There’s Splendid - Welshman Evans Joins The Top Flight WRC"
Vauxhall Carlton The Artful Bodger 5 - Carlton Catastrophe
December 16, 2013
By Stan Potter
So our holiday plans were in tatters due to the breakdown of the Town Ace (The Artful Bodger 4) and the kids still wanted to go. I scoured the Cars for Sale column in the local paper, looking for a car with a tow bar fitted large enough to tow our caravan and carry two adults, three teenagers and a dog. The only one that could possibly suffice was a Vauxhall Carlton 2L, so we went to inspect it. It was the lowered, skirted and body-kitted version. Very boy racer. Of course the kids loved it, I was not too sure but the pleading finally won me over. Big Mistake!!!
Read "The Artful Bodger 5 - Carlton Catastrophe"
London Cyclists Safety Solutions For London Cyclists
December 14, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Although the tragic deaths of some London cyclists are too recent to have been responsible for the coming road safety improvements, they have certainly served to highlight the issue and that‘s no bad thing.
Read "Safety Solutions For London Cyclists"
Driverless Ford Fusion Driverless Cars - The Big Question Mark
December 14, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The inexorable march of the autonomous car continues. Now it’s the turn of Ford to be working towards bring driverless cars to the market. They are testing now to see how the technology might be applied to reduce congestion and improve traffic safety.
Read "Driverless Cars - The Big Question Mark"
Born On A Back Seat Born On A Back Seat
December 13, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Some people sing of being born on the 4th of July; others wax lyrical about being born with a smile on their face whilst some poor benighted souls were born under a bad sign. If however, you were born on the back seat of a knackered Mondeo you’ll probably want to keep it to yourself.
Read "Born On A Back Seat"
Renault Mégane Coupé-Cabriolet Looking Forward To Renault Summer Fun
December 13, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
At this time of year when the weather is dank and the days dark; when Christmas is looming in on you and the economic situation in your house is a breaking point, it is nice to think that someone, somewhere is basking in the sun.
Read "Looking Forward To Renault Summer Fun"
BMW M The Latest BMW M Cars
December 12, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The launch of the new BMW M3 Saloon and new BMW M4 Coupé heralds the arrival of the fifth-generation of the iconic high-performance sports car from BMW M. For the first time the Coupé and Saloon models receive individual model names, in deference to the different model series that provide their basis.
Read "The Latest BMW M Cars"
Subaru BRZ Subaru Offer A Winter Bargain
December 12, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The best thing in the world is a front-engine sports car with old-school rear wheel drive. The worst thing in the world is a front-engine sports car with old-school rear wheel drive. In the winter.
Read "Subaru Offer A Winter Bargain"
Hyundai i20 Rally Car The New Hyundai N Performance Range
December 12, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Hyundai will exploit its return to international rallying next year by launching a range of high-performance road cars. A new sub-brand, Hyundai N, is being created as the umbrella for the performance models. The two i20 cars which will contest all thirteen rounds of the World Rally Championship will carry N branding, as will the team personnel clothing.
Read "The New Hyundai N Performance Range"
Blue And White Van Man Blue And White Van Man 7 - Exhausts Take Their Toll
December 12, 2013
By Stan Potter
When we first started on our travels we stuck to routes with which we were familiar. But as time went on we adjusted our route to minimise tolls and optimise fuel and coffee stops. As we travelled overnight the only places to get coffee were Autoroute service areas. We settled on Route National from our stop for diesel at a Boulogne supermarket just before the toll section of Autoroute. Then by Route National to Abbeville. Then on the toll free Autoroute to Rouen. From Rouen we drove on the toll free section of the A11 to the service area we have used many times in the past and thence to the A28 towards Le Mans.
Read "Blue And White Van Man 7 - Exhausts Take Their Toll"
Ford Mustang A Tale of Two Fords
December 11, 2013
By Bill Crittenden
The new 2015 Ford Mustang unveiled last week is supposed to be the first "world car" Mustang.  Up until its creation, one of the great icons of the American auto industry was rolling around on what is, to the European auto industry, laughably outdated technology.  Anyone who's seen Top Gear (and what car guy hasn't?) knows the disdain shown for the old-tech Mustang.
Read "A Tale of Two Fords"
Vauxhall VXR8 VXR8: More Motoring Madness - And Don't We Love It.
December 11, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
It’s funny, isn’t it? As governments and other agencies devoid of fun try to drive us into health and safety cars, some manufacturers - like a last throw of the dice - continue to offer us craziness on wheels. This time it’s Vauxhall, with their delightfully bonkers VXR8 GTS.
Read "VXR8: More Motoring Madness - And Don't We Love It."
Hyundai Intrado Introducing Intrado
December 10, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
At the 2014 Geneva Motor Show The Hyundai Motor Company is set to unveil the Intrado, an iconic concept car at the Geneva Motor Show in March. The company reckon that it confirms their ongoing commitment to innovation by previewing future developments for the brand. It’s not that long ago that this company made cars that could charitably, be described at best as OK. Now they build a popular range of excellent vehicles including our favourite, the quirky Veloster Turbo.
Read "Introducing Intrado"
Championship 2014: World Rally Round-Up Championship 2014: World Rally Round-Up
December 10, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Following the terrific season-ending Rally Wales last month DriveWrite wondered if Citroen might bow out as a works team. Given their lacklustre performance pretty much all year and getting consistently hammered by VW, it seemed possible that, as they plan to field a team in the World Touring Car Championship in 2014, they might concentrate their efforts on that.
Read "Championship 2014: World Rally Round-Up"
Ferrari Dashboard One Less Thing To Worry About
December 10, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Car repairs can be expensive so, when buying a used car, it is best to make sure that all is as it should be. A crystal ball would be nice to predict the future of life with any car purchased but, given that they are probably very expensive and hard to find, a buyer should make sure that everything is double checked; and that goes just as much for the interior as it does for the mechanicals. Modern cars come loaded with gadgets. Some are useful and some are pointless but they all still need to work. MOT’s are becoming increasingly detailed and ignoring the ‘check engine’ light on the dashboard is no longer acceptable. It will therefore pay the used car buyer to make sure all the knobs and buttons work.
Read "One Less Thing To Worry About"
Autonomous Cars The Road To Autonomous Cars
December 9, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
I once went to Milton Keynes. The purpose was to support a friend’s photography exhibition. I have no plans to go there again - ever - unless it truly does come to pass that by 2017 there will be one hundred ‘driverless’ cars that will run on pathways using sensors to avoid collisions and pedestrians.
Read "The Road To Autonomous Cars"
Teaching Kids to Drive Is It Humanly Possible To Teach Your Own Kids To Drive?
December 9, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Are you a parent? Is there a humanoid bundle of inappropriate clothing sitting in the corner, grunting and complaining that you don’t understand? Well, did you know that teaching your teenage child to drive can be a bonding experience? This is what we are told. There’s a lot of stuff about bonding flying about, usually written by child-less psychologists who have never experienced the raging hormones of those pre-adult years. The horror.
Read "Is It Humanly Possible To Teach Your Own Kids To Drive?"
Audi Headlight And Audi Said - Let There Be Even More Light
December 8, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The inexorable rise of technology continues. Prestige car makers, in an effort to keep one jump ahead of the competition, constantly evolve automotive science. This time it’s Audi’s turn. In its bid to overtake BMW as the world's best-selling luxury car manufacturer, Audi wants to dazzle, not blind, us with new lighting systems.
Read "And Audi Said - Let There Be Even More Light"
Sleepy Driver The Creeping Killer
December 8, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Most older drivers would have seen from time to time as they went about their travels a roadside sign that bore the legend ‘Tiredness Can Kill’. We don’t see them so much these days though as they‘ve been replaced by those nannying overhead gantries; it’s as if it is a side-issue when there are so many other things for the agencies to peck at our heads about.
Read "The Creeping Killer"
Toyota Town Ace The Artful Bodger 4 - Eastern Promise, Western Woe
December 8, 2013
By Stan Potter
I came up through the ranks of caravan owners. I started with a tent progressed to a frame tent, larger frame tent, trailer tent, motor caravan, small old caravan and finally to a fairly modern van with all mod cons (hot & cold running water, flush toilet and blown air central heating). Then we decided we needed a different tow car.
Read "The Artful Bodger 4 - Eastern Promise, Western Woe"
Cadillac Sixteen Automotive Dreaming
December 7, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Every year at every motor show around the world car makers display their concepts for the future. Quite a few of these make it into production in some form or other although the more radical and off-the-wall ideas tend to get softened and shaped into something that customers will accept. It’s called playing safe and it is often a bit of a shame because some hugely desirable designs get left at the starting gate. Look at this Cadillac Sixteen. That’s an actual working version on the road. Isn’t it just the business?
Read "Automotive Dreaming"
Parking Ticket Just The Ticket
December 7, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
If asked whether or not they had ever received a parking ticket most people will as like as not nod their heads in a resigned fashion. If asked whether they had received more than one the nodding would probably continue unabated. If asked whether they thought they had been unjustly treated most of the nodders would probably continue with the nodding only with considerably more venom and vigour.
Read "Just The Ticket"
Jaguar XFR Birthday Treat
December 6, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
This week is an auspicious week. It is the week in which we celebrate the birth date of me. The family have all descended bearing inappropriate gifts and are huddled around the flickering embers of the central heating. Most importantly of all, courtesy of those nice people at Jaguar, this XFR has turned up:
Read "Birthday Treat"
Mitsubishi i-MiEV Mitsubishi Will Reduce The Price Of The i-MiEV
December 6, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
In January of this year it was announced that Nissan were going to drop the price of their all-electric Leaf in an effort to boost sales. Although EVs are selling they are not selling as well as the makers would like and all the manufacturers with similar products are cutting prices to gain a bigger slice of a very small cake. This time it is Mitsubishi who will be reducing the cost of the I-MiEV and by quite a lot.
Read "Mitsubishi Will Reduce The Price Of The i-MiEV"
Audi allroad More Teaser Pics For The New Concept Audi
December 6, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit Audi will exhibit a new crossover show car combining trademark allroad ground clearance and design elements with driving characteristics more akin to a sports car. They have published a couple more teaser images to go with the one we showed a couple of days ago. It will be interesting to see it in the flesh next month. Given the amount of pre-show publicity this concept is getting, Audi may well have high hopes.
Read "More Teaser Pics For The New Concept Audi"
Ford Ka Ka In The Community
December 6, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Unquestionably, these days the Ford Motor Company makes good cars. DriveWrite recently tried a C-Max with the new EcoBoost engine and found it excellent. Now, Ford have decided it is time for the Ka to have a complete makeover and, I‘m sorry to say, I think they have made a mistake. That’s it in the image.
Read "Ka In The Community"
Ford Ka Blue and White Van Man 6 - The Value Of Breakdown Cover
December 5, 2013
By Stan Potter
My van has been almost totally reliable. The one occasion it let me down proved very interesting. About a week from one of our planned trips a front wheel bearing started growling. Any wheel bearing I would normally change myself but to change the bearing on a Renault Master involves using a press which I do not have access to. On most cars you can get away with a good bench vice but the components on the van are too large to use this method. The garage I use for my MOTs I trust, but they were not able to fit in a repair before our booked departure. We decided to use our car for this trip which at that time was a 2.0L Mondeo estate.
Read "Blue and White Van Man 6 - The Value Of Breakdown Cover"
Toyota iQ Toyota iQ - The Intelligent Choice
December 2, 2013
The Toyota iQ is a stylish city car and the world’s first four-seat car measuring less than three metres long! The car was first shown to the public at the March 2008 Geneva Auto Show. Toyota says the ‘i’ stands for ‘individuality’, ‘innovation’ and ‘intelligence’ and the ‘Q’ for ‘quality’ and points to the iQ’s cubic shape. The iQ’s individuality is heightened by the fact that you are able to customise your iQ with a range of unique stamps. The artwork used in the stamps was created by car-art specialists Creative FX.
Read "Toyota iQ - The Intelligent Choice"
Audi Q1 Another Audi SUV
December 4, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
On the basis that you can never have enough of a good thing Audi have confirmed that a new SUV model called the Q1 will be produced at its plant in Ingolstadt, Germany from 2016. That’s it in the design drawing above.
Read "Another Audi SUV"
Speed Radar Ray Gun Remedy?
December 4, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Technology is a wonderful thing. Or is it? Apparently a British company has demonstrated a prototype device capable of stopping cars and other vehicles using a blast of electromagnetic waves. It uses radio frequency pulses to ‘confuse’ a vehicle's electronic systems, thus cutting its engine. It seems that there may be several different manufacturers trying to bring similar devices to market.
Read "Ray Gun Remedy?"
Audi R8 V10 The Audi R8 - V8 or V10. That Is The Question.
December 3, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
It’s one of those situations you often find yourself in. You decide to buy an Audi R8 but are then faced with a tricky dilemma in that the car comes in two flavours. Although I wasn’t intent on buying on this occasion, alas,(these cars cost between £91,000 and £130,000 depending) I was certainly intent on trying as I was confronted by not one but two of the brilliant sports cars to choose from; both of them red. The obvious answer was to sample both, so that’s what I did and it occurred to me that the real story here was to see which version was best - V8 or V10; that was the question. Now, of course, a Spyder has been introduced to complicate things further but here we will concentrate on the coupés.
Read "The Audi R8 - V8 or V10. That Is The Question."
Lamborghini Veneno Ridiculously Sublime
December 3, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The Lamborghini Veneno Roadster made its public debut on board an Italian aircraft carrier on 1st December 2013. At an exclusive ‘Italian evening’ attended by authorities, clients, VIPs and media, the limited edition super sports car, of which only nine will be produced, was formally unveiled on the flight deck of the 240 metre ship while docked in Abu Dhabi’s Mina Zayed port.
Read "Ridiculously Sublime"
Britain Will Britain Become A Parking Utopia?
December 2, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Diligent readers will recall DriveWrite’s article back in October about Swindon becoming the motoring centre of the universe thanks to its new enlightened parking policy. Now it seems that no less a body than the Lake District National Park Authority has taken note. The article has presumably put the wind up them for fear of losing all those wealthy tourists to the arcane mysteries and delights of Swindon Town Centre.
Read "Will Britain Become A Parking Utopia?"
Saab Saab - The Good News And The Bad News
December 2, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
It is great news for Sweden and great news for die-hard Saab fans that the company is definitely commencing new production. Saab's new owner, National Electric Vehicle Sweden, will begin series production of the 9-3 mid-sized saloon at its plant in Trollhattan Sweden today, almost two years to the day since the company was forced to file for bankruptcy. The last cars produced by the Swedish car maker rolled off the production line in April 2011. Subsequently, Saab, then filed for bankruptcy in December of that year.
Read "Saab - The Good News And The Bad News"
Saab WRX - Scooby Doo Or Scooby Don't?
December 1, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The all-new Subaru WRX, the latest in a line of sports saloons from the Japanese brand, made its debut at the 2013 Los Angeles Motor Show last month. Is it me, but is there something odd about the official portrait, above?
Read "WRX - Scooby Doo Or Scooby Don't?"
Royal Mail Van The Artful Bodger 3 - Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
December 1, 2013
By Stan Potter
Over the years I have owned various odd vehicles. One that had an interesting life was an ex-GPO Sherpa van. It had the usual battle scars common to such van (similar to the one in the image only with many more dents) that had spent most of their working life in London. A previous owner had fitted an Auto-Sleeper motor caravan conversion but strangely had left it Post Office red. I decided to paint it white, so I borrowed a compressor and re-sprayed it in the drive. Not the best repaint but at least it covered up the red.
Read "The Artful Bodger 3 - Smoke Gets In Your Eyes"
Audi A1 Sportback Audi A1 Sportback - Supermini, Super Class
November 30, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The car you are viewing is the Audi A1 Sportback S Line, on this occasion in 143PS four-cylinder turbocharged diesel form. There is a trend these days for a whole array of personalisation options to be available from most car manufacturers to highlight our preferences and lifestyle choices. Some of the variations appearing would be best left in the catalogue frankly, and it makes me wonder how the buyers think they are going to sell their more outrageous personal selections on in due course.
Read "Audi A1 Sportback - Supermini, Super Class"
Dacia Duster and ATV Do A Double-Deal With Dacia
November 29, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
If you live in Wales - or even if you don’t - and are planning to go to the Royal Welsh Winter Fair then there’s an extra treat in store. If you have always fancied a quad bike, but never quite gone through with it? Then now’s your chance. On Monday, 2nd December, Dacia, the home of truly affordable 4x4s, is launching a unique off-roading duo at the Fair. An ATV (All-Terrain-Vehicle) Pack to go with a Duster, which includes atow bar and trailer fitted to it, plus a quad bike, from as little as £5,400.
Read "Do A Double-Deal With Dacia"
Wales Rally GB WRC Wales A Huge Success - Media Take Note
November 29, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The revitalised Wales Rally GB has been hailed a huge success by all involved in the organisation of the UK’s concluding round of the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship. The move to a new base in Deeside took this year’s event (14-17 November) back into what are seen as the spectacular sport’s heartlands in north Wales, reintroducing many of the classic competitive special stages that haven’t featured on the itinerary since the halcyon days of the old RAC Rally.
Read "WRC Wales A Huge Success - Media Take Note"
Audi RS7 Mad, Bad And Out Of This World - The Audi RS7
November 28, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
This is the new Audi RS7 Sportback 4.0L TFSI. One or two dissenters in the ranks were not so keen on the coupé-style design but I certainly am. It is beautifully made, roomy, magnificently appointed and as mad as two angry frogs in a box. Someone at the German company’s HQ must have just received some good news or a pleasant surprise because at that very moment they presumably thought it would be a good idea to slot a hugely powerful, twin-turbo V8 into an A7 and, at a stroke, turn a luxury car into a supercar.
Read "Mad, Bad And Out Of This World - The Audi RS7"
Mazda Miata Ice Racing Blue and White Van Man 5 - Motor Sport In Frnace
November 28, 2013
By Stan Potter
Most people are not aware that France is the birthplace of motor sport. Apart from two individuals trying to find who had the faster car, the first ever public race was in 1900 around the roads of Pau in the South West of the country. It was called Le Circuit de Sud Ouest, changed in 1901 to Grand Prix de Sud Ouest. This was the first race to be called a grand prix. From this beginning Motor sport has grown and spread worldwide.
Read "Blue and White Van Man 5 - Motor Sport In Frnace"
CO2 A Cleaner Planet Later Rather Than Sooner
November 27, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Whatever your views on climate change it is not unreasonable to try and go along with the idea that cleaner is better. We are constantly cajoled to this green and pleasant end and also taxed for it, moreover. We have just experienced the unedifying news that in private our PM wants to ‘get rid of all the green crap’ and it seems that the EU in their wisdom are happy to delay it too after Germany said ‘Nein’.
Read "A Cleaner Planet Later Rather Than Sooner"
Nissan Leaf Nissan’s Five-Point EV Plan
November 27, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The whole motoring world is now well aware of the limitations of electric cars. Now it seems that manufacturers are waking up to the fact that they need to change public opinion if only to recover all that R&D money. One such is Nissan – a company that has listened to its growing LEAF customer base and is introducing a comprehensive customer commitment to dramatically improve the ownership experience of their otherwise excellent EV. Nissan believe that their innovative Nissan CARE-EV LEAF customer commitment scheme is unrivalled in the pure EV market. It makes five cast iron pledges designed to provide the ultimate in reassurance and peace of mind and answer many of the questions that customers face when considering electric car ownership for the first time. Available at all 205 Nissan retailers nationwide, the scheme makes the following promises:
Read "Nissan’s Five-Point EV Plan"
Subaru XV Black Limited Edition Subaru XV Black Limited Edition
November 27, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
We tested the Subaru XV in October - here - and found that we liked it. There was a question mark over the inevitable compromise between on and off-road, however. We felt that whilst the car was great on the sticky stuff (It won a prestigious 4x4 of the year award in 2012) the XV lacked the finesse of some of its on-road rivals. The car in the images is effectively the same although it has been given a successful and very smart limited edition makeover.
Read "Subaru XV Black Limited Edition"
Christmas Lights on Car Festive Car Decorations - Share The Spirit Of Christmas.
November 27, 2013
By BreakerLink
Decorating Your Car for Christmas – 'What’s the worst that could happen?' asks BreakerLink: If you somehow hadn’t already realised it, Christmas is most definitely on its way. Festive chocolates are creeping onto the shop shelves, the money saving brochures are dropping through your letterbox and with a little luck your local council have unveiled some forgotten 1990s BBC celebrity to come and turn on your Christmas tree lights. Is anything immune from the wide bristles of the brush of seasonal cheer? In past years your vehicle could have been one place that stayed free from baubles and banners – but we’ve got a bunch of great car decoration ideas that could give it the Christmas touch you’ve always secretly wanted.
Read "Festive Car Decorations - Share The Spirit Of Christmas."
Audi Quattro Ur-Quattro - Driving A Legend
November 26, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Now that’s what I call horticulture. You don’t get that sort of ornamentation down at the garden centre; but it doesn’t stop there. At the very hospitable Audi event at Walton Hall in Warwickshire this Monday a little gem took pride of place and this is it:
Read "Ur-Quattro - Driving A Legend"
1973 Chevrolet Chevelle Not What It Appears To Be
November 26, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
A visit to your local movie store will offer up a massive choice of films for you to watch, most of them ‘straight to DVD’ tripe. The covers will try to entice you to taste the delights within. After a few years of this the discerning viewer will not be fooled by images of decorative ladies, pictures of explosions or muscular chaps armed to the teeth with imaginative weaponry. We want something more from our movies.
Read "Not What It Appears To Be"
SRT Viper America Still Understands The Need For Speed
November 25, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Now this is what you call a track-day special. Posting a fast lap time on a circuit requires a combination of driver skill and a properly balanced high-performance machine. The Chrysler Group’s SRT - Street and Racing Technology team - delivers half that equation with the 2014 SRT Viper TA (Time Attack). You provide the other half along with the brown trousers and the massive bank balance.
Read "America Still Understands The Need For Speed"
Max Motors More Bang For Your Buck
November 25, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
In 2008, Max Motors of Butler Missouri, an enthusiastic car and pick-up dealer, was offering a special deal: buy a new vehicle and get either $250 worth of free fuel (and that’s a lot of gas in the USA) or a free semi-automatic pistol! Eighty percent of happy clients chose the shooter. One indignant viewer complained to the local TV station KMBC that he felt the promotion was dangerous. You don’t say, fella.
Read "More Bang For Your Buck"
Mini Van The Artful Bodger 2 - Really Cheap Motoring
November 24, 2013
By Stan Potter
One day at work a friend approached me and asked if I knew anybody who wanted an old Minivan with a rusty rear sub-frame. He had a new car coming at the weekend and the Mini was blocking his garage. Being me I said “how much?” He said £10; I put my hand in my pocket and told him I only had £8. He agreed! I got the car home, jacked up the rear end and with the help of large quantities of Plus Gas changed the sub-frame. It was a bog standard van with a rear seat.
Read "The Artful Bodger 2 - Really Cheap Motoring"
Nav Screen Call An Image Of Our Driving Future
November 24, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
It’s incredible just how quickly the world of cars changes. It seems like only yesterday that we marvelled at the CD player or gasped as ABS saved our bacon. Now, ABS has evolved into a whole raft of safety gizmos known only by their initials. The demise of the CD player is imminent as we witness the rise of total connectivity.
Read "An Image Of Our Driving Future"
Taxi Bath City Wants To Ban Taxi Technology
November 24, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Bath Council have reacted to the high-tech wizardry that is satellite navigation with the notion that they will ban the City’s taxi drivers from using sat-nav equipment on the basis that it is distracting. Scaling the heights of credulity, they seem to be oblivious of the fact that this technology is increasingly being built into everyday cars and has literally become a part of our motoring lives. In the manner of local bureaucracy everywhere other councils around the country have heard about this potential new ruling and are planning to bring it into being in their neck of the woods in the interests, they say, of road safety. Why just taxi drivers? Presumably the same rule must apply to any vehicle in local government use as well. Mayoral cars for example.
Austin Allegro Does Technology Make Cars More Unreliable?
November 23, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Or are they just unreliable in a different way? It wasn’t so long ago that motorists knew where they stood with a car (If it was a British Leyland motor this would probably have been in some remote layby, miles from any assistance). The purchase of certain makes and models would once have been considered daring at best and absolute madness at worst. Certainly not any of those fancy foreign jobs. Once, a patriot would only have considered buying a car made in Britain.
Read "Does Technology Make Cars More Unreliable?"
Ford Mustang The Global Mustang Is On Its Way
November 21, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Thoughtfully, just in time for Christmas, Ford will take the covers off the first-ever Mustang for sale in Europe on December 5, the sixth generation of the iconic car that celebrates 50 years of production next year. It probably looks like the striking car in the image above, which is a representation of the proposed ‘Global Mustang’.
Read "The Global Mustang Is On Its Way"
French Bridge Fire Blue and White Van Man 4 - Diverting Experiences In France
November 21, 2013
By Stan Potter
Roads in France have changed very rapidly over the years. Every time we go over there seems to be new Autoroutes under construction. Most of them are toll roads operated by private companies and they normally parallel the Routes National which are toll free. The speed limit on the Autoroutes is normally 130kph (80mph) and the main roads 90kph. As the motorways go straight through the middle of some towns it is possible to cruise at high speed for hours on end. The main roads cut through every village and town (50kph) so progress is much slower.
Read "Blue and White Van Man 4 - Diverting Experiences In France"
Nissan GTR 2014 Nissan GTR Looks Better Than Ever.
November 20, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Evolution never stops for the Nissan GT-R. The iconic sports car brings a refreshed vision of - in the overwrought language popular with car makers - "innovation that excites". The new 2014 model will, say Nissan, offer a new level of sophistication, yet with no compromise in performance. Sales of the 2014 Nissan GT-R begin in Japan on December 2, to be followed by sales at Nissan dealerships in other markets worldwide.
Read "2014 Nissan GTR Looks Better Than Ever."
Jeep Wrangler Get Off Your Horse - Here's A Real Jeep
November 20, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The roots of America’s love affair with Jeep can be traced to the Second World War, as the one-of-a-kind vehicle dutifully served the United States military with durability and ruggedness. The affinity for Jeep gained traction as the first civilian Jeep (“CJ”) vehicles – the Willys-Overland CJ-2A – reached the public in 1945. The CJ-2A, and successor CJ-3A, were immortalised for their go-anywhere capability and strictly functional (i.e. sparse) amenities.
Read "Get Off Your Horse - Here's A Real Jeep"
Seat Mii The Mii And Me - A Brief Dalliance With A Small Spaniard.
November 19, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The opportunity arose to test this car over a morning. Sorry that it’s dirty but that is how it was given to me. I stuck a fiver’s worth in and went for a spin. The idea occurred that I could compare this latest incarnation of the city car to my long-suffering two-year old Citroen C1. The C1 has been around for a good while now and, although refreshed from time to time, seems to be getting a bit long in the tooth; so how does it shape up against Spain’s cheeky newcomer?
Read "The Mii And Me - A Brief Dalliance With A Small Spaniard."
Luxgen U6 This Is Luxgen
November 19, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
This is the LUXGEN U6 TURBO, which premiered on Monday 11 Nov. 2013 and reflects - according to the promo - the “For you, For all, For Family” design philosophy by offering an exceptionally long wheelbase within a medium sized body. The car has a low step up height aimed at maximising interior space and vehicle access without sacrificing the manoeuvrability required for typical urban driving.
Read "This Is Luxgen"
Mini Cooper A New Original - The Latest MINI Hatch
November 18, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
MINI has today unveiled the new MINI Hatch. Even though the new MINI is instantly recognisable - something which comes from having such a globally identifiable design - the car is completely new from the ground up. Every component has been back to the drawing board in an effort to optimise its function, performance and style.
Read "A New Original - The Latest MINI Hatch"
Hyundai A Petrol Engine - But Not As We Know It
November 18, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Here’s an interesting development. The Korean car maker Hyundai is working on a 1.8L engine that works like a diesel, yet burns petrol. Hyundai reckon that if it works as they think and they can see their way clear for production, it could deliver a twenty-five percent fuel economy gain over a comparable petrol engine. Genius. That’s around the same saving as a true equivalent diesel will give you but it would cost less to buy and run.
Read "A Petrol Engine - But Not As We Know It"
Autonomous Lane Change Autonomous Car Technology Is Accelerating
November 18, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
DriveWrite would like to see the statistics that state just what proportion of the world population are truly clamouring for autonomous cars. There seems to be a sort of dull acceptance that this technology is to be foisted on us regardless of whether we want it or not. Anyone who has ever marketed something new and improved will know full well that consumers once had a certain resistance to change and it usually took a goodly while for a particular thing to catch on.
Read "Autonomous Car Technology Is Accelerating"
What Next For The WRC? What Next For The WRC?
November 17, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
For several years, until this year, the mighty Citroen Works team and the astounding ability of Sébastien Loeb have maintained a stranglehold on the top spot of the World Rally Championship. The Ford Works team were always the eternal second and understandably got a bit cheesed off with this. They withdrew the Works outfit at the end of the 2012 season and left it to the M-Sport organisation to fly the flag for the Blue Oval.
Read "What Next For The WRC?"
Triumph Herald The Artful Bodger And The Life Lessons Of Motoring DIY
November 17, 2013
By Stan Potter
My friends call me the ‘Artfullbodger’ because, although I have been playing with cars since I was 15 years old, my methods do not necessarily follow the normal rules. In fact I normally work by the principle “if all else fails read the instructions”. All cars and other machines work to the same rules so as long as you know these rules you can normally work out what is wrong and how to fix it. This only applies to “Classic Cars”. The more modern cars with high-tech electronics and computers do not play by the same rules. So often it is only mechanical faults than can be fixed by traditional methods such as look, listen and smell. I have owned and driven many classic cars. Only when I was driving them they were known as old bangers.
Read "The Artful Bodger And The Life Lessons Of Motoring DIY"
Greed In Sport Greed In Sport
November 16, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Mrs DriveWrite loves to watch ski-jumping and biathlon. To me, they work like an instant sleeping pill the size of a gobstopper; but there is one thing about them that I do like. The purity: the lack of any sense that the sports are solely about money. Obviously there is sponsorship and advertising but it maintains at a reasonable level.
Read "Greed In Sport"
Bologna Auto Show Beautiful Bologna Fails To Attract An Automotive Audience
November 16, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
You’d think, wouldn’t you, that the home of such legendary names as Ferrari and Maserati and Silvio Berlusconi would have a halfway decent motor show but this is not the case. In fact, this year‘s only Italian show, scheduled to be held in the beautiful city of Bologna (pictured below), was cancelled due to a lack of exhibitors in a moribund local market. Presumably some other manufacturers were unwilling to foist their dowdy products on the country that bought us the 458. So next year the event will run from December 11-21, 2014 - just in time for Christmas - in the not so beautiful city of Milan.
Read "Beautiful Bologna Fails To Attract An Automotive Audience"
To Infiniti And Beyond To Infiniti And Beyond
November 16, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The world’s car markets are opening out and right now the Far East seems to be a target for all the major car makers. For example, Nissan’s luxury Infiniti brand plans to attract younger Chinese buyers who are more open-minded about trying out new cars because they find an Audi, Mercedes or BMW too commonplace. Tell that to the UK’s hard-pressed car fanciers.
Read "To Infiniti And Beyond"
Volkswagen CrossBlue CrossBlue Concept - VW Look To The Future
November 15, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Gird your loins. More news of concepts cars to be revealed. This time it’s Volkswagen who are giving a spectacular glimpse of the future with a new era of SUV design with the U.S. debut of the CrossBlue Coupé concept at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show.
Read "CrossBlue Concept - VW Look To The Future"
Subaru Legacy Concept A New Subaru Legacy Concept - But Will It Come To The UK?
November 15, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
As you know, we're fans of Subaru cars here at DriveWrite. Later next week we've got a limited edition XV attending at DW Towers for a week. The company are still remaining tight-lipped about the possible return of the WRX though. Now it looks like there'll be a new Legacy saloon in the not too distant future too.
Read "A New Subaru Legacy Concept - But Will It Come To The UK?"
Subaru Legacy Concept Blue & White Van Man 3 - Motoring & Auto DIY in France
November 13, 2013
By Stan Potter
Driving in France is much more enjoyable than the UK. In the countryside roads can disappear arrow straight to the horizon and in the mountains there are ascents, hairpins and descents to test the handling of any car. It is only in the large towns that things can become fraught. There is a rule called Priorité à droite.
Read "Blue & White Van Man 3 - Motoring & Auto DIY in France"
Source My Car Looking For A New Car? Make The Dealers Earn Their Money.
November 14, 2013
By Kerry Smith
The buyer is put firmly in control when using a new concept in digital motoring. Source My Car is a unique alternative to trawling through pages of car adverts and motoring websites. Rather than finding a proverbial needle in a haystack the buyer can now list the car they are looking for, i.e. make, engine size, colour, and the traders then show the buyer what they have on offer via the website.
Read "Looking For A New Car? Make The Dealers Earn Their Money."
Ford C-Max Titanium Ford C-Max Titanium 1.0L EcoBoost - Final Verdict
November 13, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
As you can see, a lot of kit is supplied for the money. In addition to the above our C-Max was fitted with the Ford Driver Assistance Pack and the Convenience Pack that include blind spot monitoring (a brilliant idea that really works), active city stop (that helps to avoid colliding with the car in front at low speeds), traffic sign recognition, lane keeping alert, front and rear parking sensors, Start/Stop and a lane keeping alert for those dozy moments.
Read "Ford C-Max Titanium 1.0L EcoBoost - Final Verdict"
Classic Aston Martin Make Time For Classic Car Care
November 13, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
For most of us the daily grind will involve driving somewhere. We have become used to our cars starting and performing properly, even in the depths of winter, such is their dependability. Classic cars however require a rather more dedicated approach.
Read "Make Time For Classic Car Care"
Messerschmitt KR200 A Rare Opportunity - The Messerschmitt KR200
November 13, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
One of the more unusual consignments at the forthcoming auction on November 30th by Surrey-based Historics at Brooklands is this 1955 example of the three-wheeled classic. With its distinctive ‘line astern’ seating arrangement, it served as a bridal carriage with a difference during its 58-year lifespan since leaving the German factory.
Read "A Rare Opportunity - The Messerschmitt KR200"
Audi A3 Cabriolet Ever The Optimists, Audi Plan For Spring
November 12, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
As we plunge inexorably into the dark heart of winter and huddle around our minimal overpriced heating it is fairly hard to imagine the pleasure of open-top motoring. Not so at Audi. Those eternally optimistic folk at the German manufacturer are looking ahead to balmier times as they open the books for the all-new A3 Cabriolet, which has just become available to order in readiness for first deliveries next April.
Read "Ever The Optimists, Audi Plan For Spring"
Ford Focus ST Motor Shock - Young U.S. Drivers Discover Cornering
November 12, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Hello America - the land where everything is bigger, including the portions, and the same goes for the cars - or at least that’s how it used to be. These days it seems that across the board size has ceased to be an issue - except the portions, obviously - as American citizens discover that small can be beautiful. Of course and as usual it has taken the young people of the Land Across The Pond to ring the changes.
Read "Motor Shock - Young U.S. Drivers Discover Cornering"
Music, Romance And A Motor Music, Romance And A Motor
November 12, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
It used to be so easy. You’d take your Chevy to the levee - whilst wearing a white sport coat and a pink carnation - just to tell Laura you love her. Romance was simple all those long days ago; boy meets girl and assesses the merits of the back seat. That’s how it worked.
Read "Music, Romance And A Motor"
Turned Out Nice Again Turned Out Nice Again
November 11, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
An immaculate 1950 Rolls-Royce originally owned by Lancastrian comedy actor and singer-songwriter, the ukulele-strumming George Formby, will go under the auction hammer on Saturday, November 30th at Historics at Brooklands in Surrey.
Read "Turned Out Nice Again"
Lexus LF-CC A Concept Too Far Or Our Automotive Future?
November 11, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Japan's car manufacturers will go futuristic and local at this year's Tokyo Motor Show, with far-out concept cars. We’ve already seen on these pages the three aggressively styled concept hybrid vehicles and the three-seat Nissan BladeGlider; but there‘s going to be a lot more to see.
Read "A Concept Too Far Or Our Automotive Future?"
Ford Focus ECO - The Mitigation Of Motoring
November 11, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
There are two types of person in the world. Those that love cars and those that know how to assemble a yurt. Sadly there are many people who hate cars (as opposed to people who love to own cars and hate them, like Alfa Romeo drivers) and it is these people who, right now, are shouting the loudest.
Read "ECO - The Mitigation Of Motoring"
Porsche Porsche To Showcase New Models - At Two Shows
November 10, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Porsche is celebrating two world premieres and three North American debuts at the 2013 Los Angeles Motor Show in a few short weeks. The much anticipated Porsche Macan SUV, the car maker’s fifth model line, will be unveiled to an international audience at the L.A. Convention Centre during the Porsche press conference on Wednesday, 20th November.
Read "Porsche To Showcase New Models - At Two Shows"
Everyman Racing Negative Reaction To The UK Driving Age
November 10, 2013
By Chloe Richards
Recent government proposals have been put forward to increase the legal UK driving age to 18 and enforce a stricter learning system for new drivers. Everyman Racing is a UK company that offers drivers of all ages, including juniors (accompanied by an instructor), racing day experiences in some of the world’s most expensive supercars.
Read "Negative Reaction To The UK Driving Age"
Car Sharing Takes Hold In Europe Car Sharing Takes Hold In Europe
November 9, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
It’s a sign of the times. Young drivers - and others suffering economic hardship - can’t afford the costs of car ownership and those of us that can are beset on all sides by eco-initiatives. It would probably be right to say that town and city dwellers are falling out of love with the automobile. So what’s the alternative?
Read "Car Sharing Takes Hold In Europe"
Nissan BladeGlider A Nissan EV Concept With A Difference.
November 9, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
More than a concept, Nissan Blade Glider - according to the Company - is both a proposal for the future direction of Nissan electric vehicle (EV) development and an exploratory prototype of an upcoming production vehicle from the world's leading EV manufacturer. BladeGlider was developed with form following function. Nissan crafted the vehicle's unique architecture to give the driver and passengers "sustainable exhilaration" -- a fresh electric vehicle driving experience based on peerless technology and exotic styling.
Read "A Nissan EV Concept With A Difference."
Ford C-Max First Impressions Of A Ford Fave
November 9, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The C-Max has been with us for some time now and in its present incarnation since 2010. Plenty has been written about it - almost all of it favourable - except that now buyers can have it with the diminutive and technically impressive Ford EcoBoost 1.0L engine.
Read "First Impressions Of A Ford Fave"
Honda Dealership UK New Car Sales Continue To Accelerate
November 8, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Motorists are buying more new cars but willing to pay less for them, new research shows. Some 18% of adults are interested in taking advantage of new car deals from respected manufacturers like Honda, in the months up to and including February 2014, according to recent research by Sainsbury’s Bank.
Read "New Car Sales Continue To Accelerate"
Elfyn Evans Welshman Evans Targets Home Glory
November 8, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
At just 24, Elfyn Evans is one of rallying’s top prospects for future success. The young Welshman, whose father Gwyndaf Evans was British Rally Champion in 1996, has already underlined his huge potential by winning last season’s FIA WRC Academy as well as the R2 title in the British Rally Championship and the UK Fiesta Sport Trophy.
Read "Welshman Evans Targets Home Glory"
Toyota GT86 Four Things To Do With A GT86
November 8, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Just to whet your need for speed. Everyday Toyota models have been transformed into petrolhead dreams at the 2013 SEMA show in Las Vegas this week, the world’s largest gathering for the after-market and customisation business. And when it comes to the “hottest compact ride,” the GT86 – alias the US-branded Scion FR-S – has retained the title it earned on its 2012 debut, as voted for by industry experts at the show.
Read "Four Things To Do With A GT86"
Socks Time For Winter Socks?
November 7, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Over the last few years much has been made about the use of winter tyres during the cold season. In general, reviews have been good and the overall opinion seems to be that they are a good thing. Put simply, they are made of a softer compound which provides more grip in bad weather, including snow
Read "Time For Winter Socks?"
Blue & White Van Man Blue and White Van Man 2 - French Motoring Bureaucracy.
November 7, 2013
By Stan Potter
A 3500kg van is ideal for conveying goods in bulk over long distances, but it is not very good for going to a restaurant or the local supermarket. My wife and I are both partially disabled and have Blue Badges, so arriving in a large van raises many French eyebrows. In our supermarket unusual vehicles are not that rare. Tractors, very old 2CV vans and Sans Permis cars are often seen. The Sans Permis is a peculiar French idea. If you have no licence or have your licence taken away you can still drive one. This is because most of France is very rural and a car is a necessity. If you lose your licence through drink driving you can remain mobile. If you are caught driving a Sans Permis under the influence the police confiscate your car and at around €8000 they are not cheap.
Read "Blue and White Van Man 2 - French Motoring Bureaucracy."
Winter Socks 2 - How The Norwegians Do It Winter Socks 2 - How The Norwegians Do It
November 7, 2013
By Stan Potter
The Northern most Porsche Centre is in Tromso, Norway and they don't have any trouble. In the UK we see two inches of the white stuff and it's chaos. Norwegians have a plan says Stan Potter: My brother-in-law lives in Norway. He recently purchased a Ford Kuga which came with a set of steel wheels with winter tyres as well as the summer tyres on the car. Also in all the papers a date is published when you must by law change to winter tyres. They use no salt on Norwegian roads because it is too cold for salt to work. You should never put chains onto alloy wheels as the chains can badly damage alloy rims. In the Spring, road sweepers go out to collect the grit ground off the road surface by studded tyres, this is then reused. In Oslo there is a congestion charge like London but cars with studs pay a higher tariff than those with soft winter tyres. How they police this I do not know but studs on tarmac can be quite noisy.
1986 Ford Sierra RS Cosworth A Rare Chance To Catch A Cossie
November 6, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Here’s something for the automotive nostalgia buffs and all petrol heads everywhere. Let’s go back in time to those rortin’, snortin’ pre-technology days when cars, like their owners, had hairy chests.
Read "A Rare Chance To Catch A Cossie"
Great Wall Steed The Great Wall Steed - Noble Carriage Or Chinese Junk?
November 6, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Well, that’s our week with the Great Wall Steed Chrome. Today’s the day that we wave it goodbye and to be frank we still can’t decide one way or the other. As we said in our early thoughts here, it only costs £15,000 (Ex. VAT). You can’t buy a similar vehicle cheaper unless you buy second-hand and therein lies the dilemma.
Read "The Great Wall Steed - Noble Carriage Or Chinese Junk?"
Jaguar F-Type Coupé Jaguar F-Type Coupé Ready For Spring 2014
November 6, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The all-aluminium F-TYPE Coupé range will deliver in production form the uncompromised design vision of the acclaimed C-X16 concept, (seen below at the Frankfurt Show in 2011) and will complement the existing 2013 ‘World Car Design of the Year’ award-winning F-TYPE Convertible range.
Read "Jaguar F-Type Coupé Ready For Spring 2014"
Older Drivers Understand And Influence Older Drivers
November 5, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The sad fact is that we all get old. There are many plus points to getting older in terms of knowledge and wisdom, so we’re told, but the fact is that old age brings with it a certain frailty to a greater or lesser degree. As a matter of course older people deal with these things stoically and continue to enjoy life and this, of course, includes driving.
Read "Understand And Influence Older Drivers"
Chevrolet Camaro The Cars We Really Want To Drive
November 5, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Over time I have driven some fantastic cars. To date my favourite is the Jaguar XFR-S, closely followed by the Jaguar XKR-S. Not even biased a bit. I have luxuriated in a Bentley Continental GT Speed and hurtled around in a Mini JCW Paceman; great cars all - yet there is a list as long as Erin O’Connor’s leg that have passed me by and that’s a shame.
Read "The Cars We Really Want To Drive"
Nissan Leaf Leaf It To The Norwegians
November 3, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Five million folk live in Norway. That is tens of millions of people less than on this Sceptre’d Isle. They are a very nice lot although they insist on trying to force feed you with a pickled dish of fermented salmon called Gravlaks (Gravlax, to us) and make you wear ‘Heroes of Telemark’ style knitwear. If you read your Jo Nesbo novels you might be given to thinking that it is a land of murderers and rapscallions. Fortunately it isn’t.
Read "Leaf It To The Norwegians"
Seat Leon Leon Helps You Breathe More Easily.
November 3, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Those wags at SEAT are being a bit of a tease by saying that their latest mid-sized hatchback is ‘the most extreme production SEAT Leon ever.’ Sadly what they actually mean is that they have opened the order books on the most extreme production Leon ever - extreme in the environmental efficiency sense. The SEAT Leon Ecomotive is, with a CO² rating of just 87 g/km, the most CO²averse conventionally powered car that the Company has ever produced.
Read "Leon Helps You Breathe More Easily."
1964 Mini Cooper Simple Pleasures
November 2, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Some time before 1961, a race car builder called John Cooper considered the original Mini and saw that it was good. ‘Except for one thing‘, he opined, ‘It needs more power’. The result was the first Mini Cooper. The basic 848cc engine was modified to belt out a stunning 55bhp. The subsequent hardcore Cooper S offered an outrageous 70bhp or so and a 0-60 time of 13.5 seconds, unheard of in consumer road cars. Young men then started modifying them to try and break that magic 12 second barrier. The world loved them and the legend was born.
Read "Simple Pleasures"
Halford's Autocentre Halford's Helping Hand
November 2, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Right now your local Halfords Autocentre is lowering the cost of its service pricing for cars with smaller, more fuel-efficient engines. Clearly the company is mindful of Ford's recent servicing deal for older cars.
Read "Halford's Helping Hand"
Mitsubishi Mitsubishi Taking 3 Concepts To Tokyo
November 2, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation will unveil three world premiere concept cars at the 43rd Tokyo Motor Show 2013 from November 20th. That’s them in the rather unconvincing rendering. Incorporating a new design that symbolises the functionality and reassuring safety inherent to SUVs, they say, the three concepts take as their theme Mitsubishi’s @earth Technology and point to the direction the company’s development and manufacturing will take in the near future.
Read "Mitsubishi Taking 3 Concepts To Tokyo"
Headlights Let There Be Light
November 2, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Last weekend we put the clocks back. Don’t even get me started on this antiquated practice but we did it anyway. There is apparently a retired couple who no longer do this and live permanently on British Summer Time. They live 'in the future' an hour ahead of everybody else and insist they save a third on their gas and electricity bills. Presumably they are either perpetually early or late, depending, for appointments and the like but each to his or her own. They are from Somerset. The rest of us dutifully toe the line and begin to get used to the difference.
Read "Let There Be Light"
Great Wall Steed Wall Of Steel - But Will It Be Great?
November 1, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
This is the Great Wall Steed, seen here in its middle of the range ‘Chrome’ Version. We’ve had it for a couple of days now and these are our first impressions. Basically, it all depends upon what you want from a vehicle.
Read "Wall Of Steel - But Will It Be Great?"
Great Wall Steed A Good Deal From Ford
November 1, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
In a move that will delight owners of ageing Ford cars everywhere, the company has capped the price of servicing and maintenance for older Ford vehicles with the launch of a new programme that aims to make the cost of motoring more transparent and more affordable.
Read "A Good Deal From Ford"
Walter White and Pontiac Aztek Know Your Rights
November 1, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
In Britain we don’t like to complain. It’s simply not in our reserved natures. In this country we ‘grin and bear it’ and ‘look on the bright side’. Yet we also know that the only way to seek redress for being wronged in some way is to complain - like the gent in the image.
Read "Know Your Rights"
Walter White and Pontiac Aztek Big Yellow Taxi
October 31, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The yellow New York taxi is something of an icon. From the earliest ‘Checker’ cabs through to the long-bonnet Ford Crown Victoria of the 1990’s the sight of these canary cabs is part of the history of NYC. During the 2000’s a different type of vehicle started to horn it’s way into the affections of New York’s holders of the official ‘medallion’ licence.
Read "Big Yellow Taxi"
Subaru Levorg Subaru To Preview The Levorg At The Tokyo Show
October 31, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The Levorg concept hints at a new vehicle currently under development for market launch in Japan in 2014. The name ‘Levorg’ comes from a combination of the words ‘Legacy’, ‘Revolution’ and ‘Touring’, and the concept will blend the practicality of a tourer and the stylish design and feel of a sports car.
Read "Subaru To Preview The Levorg At The Tokyo Show"
Driving To Work - The Cost Of The Commute Driving To Work - The Cost Of The Commute
October 31, 2013
Courtesy of Chaucer Direct Insurance
View the Infographic
Renault Master Blue And White Van Man - The Road To Fenioux
October 31, 2013
By Stan Potter
My wife and I decided to move to France and we purchased a house in Fenioux, a little village 80 miles south of the Loire and 50 miles from the Vendée coast. It is 531 miles from our house in Essex. The reasoning behind the van is that the French house is fairly remote (10km to the nearest town and 40km to the nearest DIY store). We buy most of what we need in the UK and take it with us in the Van. In England the Van sits in the front garden pretending it is a shed. When it has a fair load it trundles off down the roads of France. Some things we have to buy in France, mainly electrical and plumbing items. Everything else we buy in the UK to secure the best price and to have it to hand when we need it.
Read "Blue And White Van Man - The Road To Fenioux"
Flat Black Mini Paceman Back In Black
October 30, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
MINI is extending its programme of exterior paint finishes for current models to include an exclusive new variant. Frozen Black metallic paint is now available as a limited edition colour for the top of the range MINI Countryman and Paceman models. This innovative paint which has a textured, shimmering matt finish, gives the car a striking and expressive appearance. The new colour and finish is available for the MINI Cooper S Countryman, Cooper SD Countryman, Cooper S Paceman, Cooper SD Paceman, John Cooper Works Countryman and John Cooper Works Paceman.
Read "Back In Black"
Jaguar C-X17 A New Jaguar Based Range Rover?
October 30, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Nothing definite yet but Land Rover may introduce a new model for its Range Rover line-up - based on Jaguar Land Rover's new aluminium platform - which would fill the not exactly yawning gap between the Evoque and the Range Rover Sport.
Read "A New Jaguar Based Range Rover?"
Control Your Speed Or They Will Control You.
October 30, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk, one Stephen Bett, said in an interview a few months ago that experienced drivers should be allowed to travel as fast as they want to. He went on to say he would, “abolish speed limits on motorways and other major roads” and, “take down all the signs and say all villages are 30mph and you drive on roads like they do in Germany and Italy, as road conditions say (sic). We ought to drive to road conditions rather than set limits.” Why, thanks, Stephen. You’re a pal.
Read "Control Your Speed Or They Will Control You."
Bird Poop Obama Car Nature Hates Cars
October 30, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
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.
Read "Nature Hates Cars"
Highways Agency Sign Will We Have Our Say On Roads?
October 29, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Motorists are set to benefit from a more effective road network and will have a greater say in how their roads operate. That’s the proposal anyway. Turning the Highways Agency into a government-owned company will improve efficiency and reduce running costs, with taxpayers expected to benefit from savings of at least £2.6 billion over the next 10 years.
Read "Will We Have Our Say On Roads?"
Renault Zoë Zoë Needs Some Of Nicole’s Old School Magic
October 29, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
A while back I had the opportunity to try the Renault Zoë electric car. It was very good indeed and even I, as a non-believer, felt it had a place on the road. It seems however that buyers feel different and it is all probably down to the reasons that we all know too well. This lack of interest has clearly affected sales. Renault will sell about 10,000 units of its Zoë supermini EV this year which is some 40,000 below its target.
Read "Zoë Needs Some Of Nicole’s Old School Magic"
Demystifying The Dashboard - A Guide to Warning Lights Demystifying The Dashboard - A Guide to Warning Lights
October 29, 2013
By Scott Kirby
Over the last few decades, developments in vehicle technology have significantly improved the capabilities of the dashboard to warn the driver about possible car faults. Incorporating a vast range of sensors and sophisticated on-board electronic equipment, your vehicle is able to self diagnose a wide range of issues relating to its health and performance.
Read "Demystifying The Dashboard - A Guide to Warning Lights"
Jones The Joke Joins Jeep Jones The Joke Joins Jeep
October 29, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
At DriveWrite we are great fans of the comedian Milton Jones. We especially look forward to shows like ‘Mock The Week’ if either he, or Canadian Stewart Francis, are featured; but you can go off people you know. We understand that long, tiring journeys are no joke but it seems that Jones has taken delivery this month (October) of the Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 V6 CRD Overland 4x4 car as part of a support deal with the company, and already he’s feeling the benefits.
Read "Jones The Joke Joins Jeep"
Jaguar XF Jaguar XF - A Smooth Operator
October 28, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
At the time of writing, here in this household, we are feeling sad. We are feeling sad because it is today that the XF goes back to Jaguar - storm permitting. Mrs DriveWrite, normally a scrupulously honest woman, asked if we could accidentally misplace the car - possibly in a secret lock-up somewhere in beautiful downtown Swindon because she loved it so much. I immediately put her straight that such a thing was out of the question - we don’t have a secret lock-up; but we have had an excellent week with this car. After our first drive we were impressed (you can recap on the facts and figures here) and our high opinion then has only deepened over the past few days.
Read "Jaguar XF - A Smooth Operator"
Jaguar XF New Qashqai Just Around The Corner
October 28, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Built for the UK at the productive Sunderland plant since 2007, the Nissan Qashqai has been something of a success story. Nissan named the Qashqai after the eponymous semi-nomadic tribe living in mountainous south-western Iran and it has been a hit with buyers.
Read "New Qashqai Just Around The Corner"
Subaru WRX Subaru WRX - Will They Or Won’t They?
October 27, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
It is usually possible to hear an Impreza coming from some distance away, sporting as they do massive drain-pipe exhausts and sounding like Brian Blessed being given a vasectomy without anaesthetic. Rumours have abounded for sometime now about a new car. The Impreza name is dropped and it will be called simply, WRX.
Read "Subaru WRX - Will They Or Won’t They?"
Mark Weber’s Porsche Mark Weber’s New Car
October 27, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
A unique and successful history links Porsche with Le Mans. 2014 will see Porsche making a return to the top category of the Le Mans race with two LMP1 prototypes - 16 years after its last overall victory in 1998 with the Porsche 911 GT1. For Porsche, the coming year will mark the start of a long-term commitment to the WEC - no wonder they recruited Aussie Mark. In addition to the 24-hour endurance race, Porsche will also participate in seven 6-hour races with the LMP1 prototype.
Read "Mark Weber’s New Car"
The WRC Circus Comes To Conwy The WRC Circus Comes To Conwy
October 27, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Thursday evening’s Ceremonial Start to the final round of the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship will be staged against the historic backdrop of Conwy Castle while the busy Mostyn Street in Llandudno will witness the Sunday afternoon’s Ceremonial Finish. With free access available to all, both dazzling showpieces are expected to draw huge crowds.
Read "The WRC Circus Comes To Conwy"
BMW 2 Series When It Comes To BMW Coupés, 2 Is Better Than 1
October 26, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Yesterday, BMW released details of its new 2-Series Coupe, touting the car's sporty looks, powerful engines and bigger size than the 1-Series Coupe it will replace. The new car will go on sale in global markets including Europe and the United States in March after its world debut at the Detroit Motor Show in January.
Read "When It Comes To BMW Coupés, 2 Is Better Than 1"
Hyundai Genesis Sedan Will You Turn With Me To Genesis - Chapter 2
October 26, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
These days we are liking the Hyundai range and recently drove the Veloster. Well, pictured above is the Hyundai Genesis as it appears in the company’s latest rendering, looking not unlike the model that appeared at the Detroit Motor Show early this year. We’ve got to presume that the real thing will look the same. The company said yesterday that it plans to launch its new premium saloon in Europe next year in order to challenge the might of the German premium brands BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi on their home turf.
Read "Will You Turn With Me To Genesis - Chapter 2"
Customer Opinion Counts Customer Opinion Counts
October 26, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
As someone who has purchased many cars, used and new, I could regale you with tales that would freeze your blood. Conversely, there have been car dealers who have given impeccable service. If I get a duff motor from a duff dealer you can be sure that the whole world will know of it in short order whilst simultaneously getting a crash course in very basic Anglo-Saxon.
Read "Customer Opinion Counts"
Volkswagen Golf How To Shoot Yourself In The Foot
October 25, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The car industry is very, very competitive. Huge sums of money hang on the success or otherwise of new products. Take The Volkswagen Golf (pictured), which is, arguably, one of the most enduring success stories in the history of cars. Next year will see the fortieth anniversary of this iconic car. That’s right; the first one rolled off the production line in 1974 and collectors continue to seek out those early models. It probably isn’t fair to compare those pioneers to today’s high-tech versions but it is probably fair to say that it would still be a decent drive. That’s a success story.
Read "How To Shoot Yourself In The Foot"
Lambretta The Legend Of Lambretta
October 25, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Attention all ageing Mods out there. Yes, you with the old Lambretta in the garage and the mildly mildewed Ronnie Barker on the coat hook - remember those days? Well, Pete Davies does.
Read "The Legend Of Lambretta"
A Guide to Safe Winter Driving Get Your Car Ready For Winter Driving says Claire Atkinson
October 25, 2013
By Claire Atkinson
As daylight hours get shorter and the weather gets colder, are you prepared for driving in the winter months ahead? More to the point, is your car? Adverse winter weather can be hard on vehicles, and to avoid accidents, delays or big expense, you will want to make sure that your car is ready for whatever driving conditions the British weather brings.
Read "Get Your Car Ready For Winter Driving says Claire Atkinson"
Jaguar C-X17 The Future Of Jaguar
October 24, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
We’re having a bit of a Jaguar love-in at the moment on DriveWrite and who can blame us? On these pages you will find a variety of reviews but we must also look to the future. Above is the C-X17 sports crossover vehicle that Jaguar will hopefully launch in 2016. The word is that it will cost from about £30k but we would think maybe a little more. Whatever - we want it already. This is what Jaguar are saying about this great looking car:
Read "The Future Of Jaguar"
Fernando Alonso Helmet Alonso's New Helmet & Kubica's Dream Shattered
October 24, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
A record is always a record and it has to be celebrated. Fernando Alonso today showed his Twitter followers the special livery that will adorn his crash helmet for the coming Indian Grand Prix, scheduled for the Greater Noida circuit this weekend. In full view there is obviously the number 1571, the total points the Spanish driver has won in his career, accompanied by the words: “F1 Points World Record”. There is also a thank you to his fans in three languages (English, French and Italian), all on top of an unusual white background. Maybe, as all Ferrari’s tifosi hope, that the total can go even higher as soon as next Sunday, ideally by another 25 points!
Read "Alonso's New Helmet & Kubica's Dream Shattered"
Subaru XV Black Subaru XV - Best In Black
October 23, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
As you will have read on an earlier page my week with the Subaru XV was fine, it’s a good car, but it didn’t exactly light my fire. This is a shame as I had really enjoyed the Forester. Well, Subaru announced yesterday the launch of the Subaru XV Black, a new limited edition variant of this manufacturer’s compact crossover. This is a good idea. I found the XV aesthetically to be a bit dull and this new model certainly improves the looks.
Read "Subaru XV - Best In Black"
Passenger in Pain Car Insurance Costs to Fall Say Government.
October 23, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
As part of its plan to help hardworking people, the Government is today announcing measures to help motorists to cut the cost of running a car. These include a crackdown on whiplash fraud, a freeze on MOT test prices and a scheme designed to reduce the cost of fuel at motorway service stations, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling announced today.
Read "Car Insurance Costs to Fall Say Government."
Jaguar XF The Jaguar XF - Early Impressions On A Wet Day
October 22, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
There’s nothing like a nice day at the seaside and today was nothing like a nice day at the seaside. Rain? I met a bloke called Noah who suggested we stay indoors, but we have been loaned this XF courtesy of Jaguar and it has to be soundly evaluated. So it was that we took to the M4 and headed for Weston-Super-Mare and some award winning fish and chips.
Read "The Jaguar XF - Early Impressions On A Wet Day"
Autonomous Cars Autonomous Cars And A Bucket Of Cold Water
October 21, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The annual Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) World Congress met in Tokyo last week. The gathering was to discuss intelligent transportation systems and engineers and operators alike injected doses of realism about the hurdles ahead for such technologies and especially autonomous motors.
Read "Autonomous Cars And A Bucket Of Cold Water"
British Standard Time Isn’t It About Time For European Time?
October 21, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Seven out of ten motorists in the UK are against the clocks going back this week, according to a new survey, whilst six out of ten drivers thought there would be fewer deaths on British roads if the system were abolished.
Read "Isn’t It About Time For European Time?"
Skoda Octavia vRS Make Mine A Skoda
October 19, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Skoda have been around for a long time; since 1859 in fact, when they were an arms manufacturer. The first car appeared around 1905. It was still for sale in 1980! No, no; only kidding! These days it is simply not possible to crack bad jokes at the expense of this brand which has, for various reasons, become a byword for quality and competitive pricing.
Read "Make Mine A Skoda"
Five Stars All Star Cast
October 20, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Like most things in life including Marmite and Katy Price, cars are a matter of opinion. For years would-be car purchasers have relied on the opinions of others to help sort out the jumble sale that is the automobile market. A sensible buyer accepts that one person’s opinion is just that and, in the end, makes his or her own mind up.
Read "All Star Cast"
Citroen WRC Citroen Planning A Full WRC Assault In Spain
October 19, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The penultimate round of the 2013 World Championship, Rally Catalunya (24 - 27 October 13) serves up an extremely varied menu to the competitors taking part. With the rally including night and day stages, on tarmac and gravel, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team crews will need to produce something special to challenge for the win. Winners in Germany and runners-up in France, Dani Sordo and Carlos del Barrio will be looking for another big result in front of their home fans.
Read "Citroen Planning A Full WRC Assault In Spain"
Chevrolet Impala CNG General Motors New Bi-Fuel Saloon
October 17, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
In what some may consider a slightly controversial move General Motors in the USA is to produce a car that runs on both petrol and compressed natural gas. This is to take advantage of the boom in the exploitation of American shale gas reserves by process of hydraulic fracturing; otherwise known as fracking. This has made the fuel considerably cheaper and thus a viable alternative.
Read "General Motors New Bi-Fuel Saloon"
Maserati Riding High Maserati Riding High
October 17, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
It seems you just can’t keep a good car brand down so it is great to see Maserati returning to good fortune. Modern technology has a lot to do with it and the cars are less delicate than in the past. Couple this with the Fiat / Ferrari association, not to mention superb design, and the future is looking good for this legendary name.
Read "Maserati Riding High"
Car Sharing Parking Car In The Community
October 17, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Despite their repeated denials at the time, the previous government hated the motorist and used drivers as a sort of captive cash point. The present administration stated upon election that the war on motorists was over but - although it seems that the police are not quite so purposeful now that most speed camera partnerships have closed down and police numbers have dropped significantly - it seems that the Chancellor isn’t in any hurry to reduce fuel duty or generally help in this sector.
Read "Car In The Community"
1981 Ferrari F126C Sporting Maranello
October 16, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
If you find yourself at a loose end in Maranello, as you do, you could do worse than check out the “Ferrari Sporting Spirit” exhibition. The show takes as its theme the sporting spirit that has always characterised the Prancing Horse marque. It opened yesterday at the Ferrari Museum. It features 25 cars, from the earliest 125 S to the latest 458 GT2, passing through the 156 F1 which Phil Hill took to the 1961 world championship title, Gilles Villeneuve’s 126 CK, the 330 P3 that won Daytona in 1967 and Nigel Mansell’s F1-89, the first Formula 1 car to feature a steering wheel-mounted gear change. These cars are the best possible representation of an element fundamental to all Ferraris. The logical car to round it off is the 458 Speciale, the very latest creation, which captures the essence of this spirit in its road-going version.
Read "Sporting Maranello"
Toyota GT86 TRD - Simple Pleasures Toyota GT86 TRD - Simple Pleasures
October 16, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Despite all the advances in automotive technology there is still something about an old school sports car that appeals. The Toyota GT86, pictured, is just such a car. The model shown is the limited edition TRD (Toyota Racing Development) version, but under the skin it remains pretty much the standard car although a new sports exhaust system, with quad tailpipes, is the most mechanical change and its freer breathing appears to slightly sharpen the throttle response. On paper the GT86 doesn‘t seem too exciting. Front engine, rear wheel drive with 2.0L four cylinder boxer engine and a six-speed manual gearbox. So far so normal. An auto is offered but you really want the manual for maximum enjoyment.
Read "Toyota GT86 TRD - Simple Pleasures"
BMW Begin Sales Of The Electric i3 BMW Begin Sales Of The Electric i3
October 15, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
DriveWrite is yet to sample the delights of BMW’s baby electric car, the i3 ut initial reports are positive. It is certainly a good looking car that perhaps looks taller than it really is because of the 19-inch wheels fitted with low rolling resistance 155/40 profile tyres. BMW have stuck with their tradition in that this is a rear-wheel drive car. Having driven the excellent front-wheel drive Renault Zoë recently, it will be interesting to see how they compare in the fullness of time.
Read "BMW Begin Sales Of The Electric i3"
Europe News - Germany Get Their Own Way
October 15, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
European Union environment ministers agreed to German demands to scrap an agreement to cap average EU new-car emissions at 95 grams per kilometer in 2020 from about 130/g/km now after Berlin argued the deal would cost jobs and damage its premium automakers. It has come to the media's attention that the owners of BMW recently donated a huge sum to the ruling Christian Democratic Party. Make of that what you will. Ministers insisted that they will come back to this subject sooner rather than later in which case it rather begs the question as to why they didn't tough it out in the first place! Sounds like a typical fudge to us.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Meeting
October 15, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
As I walked across the venue car park - at an event courtesy of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders - I saw this car. The Brilliant Black paint gleaming despite the grey weather. I resolved to get my hands on it. For the next three hours or so I seemed doomed to be pipped to the post by others who had obviously planned their day more meticulously.
Read "Summit Meeting"
The Regent Street Concours d’Elegance The Regent Street Concours d’Elegance
October 15, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
For those people of the automotive persuasion lucky enough to live in good old London town there’s a little treat in store - and it is free. For those outside of our Capital City it means negotiating the Boris ’n Ken tax, finding a place to park for less than all the money you possess that’s within a fifty mile radius of Regent Street at which point there’s a little treat in store and it is free.
Read "The Regent Street Concours d’Elegance"
European Union The Lady’s Not For Greening
October 14, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
A few days ago DriveWrite reported that Germany’s Iron Lady, Angela Merkel, had effectively blocked new EU rules on capping car emissions. Today is the day that EU environment ministers gather together to debate the issue, presumably between the long lunch courses.
Read "The Lady’s Not For Greening"
European Union The Global Car Language
October 15, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
As car manufacturers march towards more and more autonomy a slight snag has arisen. If one British made car could talk to another British made car, what would you get? A conversation that only any car that spoke English could understand. So what happens when an English made car wants to talk to a Spanish made car? Does it just speak more loudly and crassly?
Read "The Global Car Language"
Road Of Death Road Of Death
October 13, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Much is written on this subject and usually it forms part of the warnings and advice freely doled out to unwary drivers planning to travel beyond these shores, or indeed, just up the road.
Read "Road Of Death"
What Is Alfa Romeo Planning For 2014? What Is Alfa Romeo Planning For 2014?
October 12, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Car manufacturers are notoriously secretive about their plans for the future. This is not unreasonable. Nobody wants to invest huge sums of money into research and development only to find their ideas already crowding another brand’s forecourt. Alfa Romeo is such a company and appears to be in the process of rebuilding its empire. New cars are discussed and product plans changed, rumours circulate, and then everything goes quiet again. So what can we expect from Alfa Romeo in 2014?
Read "What Is Alfa Romeo Planning For 2014?"
Virtual Co-Pilot In Toyota Cars Virtual Co-Pilot In Toyota Cars
October 12, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Whether we like it or not, Toyota plan to introduce systems in about two years enabling cars to communicate with each other to avoid collision. The system will use radio waves to gather data on the speed of other vehicles thus keeping a safe distance. It showed another system, consisting of cameras, radar and control software, that helps a car maintain position in a lane on its own.
Read "Virtual Co-Pilot In Toyota Cars"
Subaru Forester Wins American SUV Award Subaru Forester Wins American SUV Award
October 11, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Here at DriveWrite we'd like to say we had a hand in this but sadly that's not the case. In fact our American colleagues decided this without recourse to us, if you can believe such a thing. Never mind - they got it right:
Read "Subaru Forester Wins American SUV Award"
Mazda6 Tourer 165PS Sports Nav Make Mine A Mazda
October 11, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
This is the Mazda 6 Tourer 165PS Sports Nav; a rather clumsy name for a very versatile and sporting family car. The standard version costs £24,995 and the one in my images costs £530 more, thanks to the pearlescent paint, which is very striking despite not being enhanced by the dull weather.
Read "Make Mine A Mazda"
Greater Los Angeles Auto Show The L.A. Motor Show - Bigger And Better
October 11, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Los Angeles! City of Angels - and fast cars. The Los Angeles Auto Show in November (22/11 - 1/12) will host no less than twenty-two world debuts from thirteen brands, according to the organizers.
Read "The L.A. Motor Show - Bigger And Better"
Pothole The Advantages Of Potholes
October 11, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
That’s got you thinking, hasn’t it? What, you might well be asking, is there anything good in any way about potholes? Well, some very clever people have realised that, in a similar way that energy can be reclaimed from vehicle braking, it is possible to recover energy generated when a car goes over any sort of bump.
Read "The Advantages Of Potholes"
Mini JCW Paceman What A Blast! The Mini JCW Paceman
October 10, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Sometimes jaded motoring hacks need a shot in the arm but what they crave doesn’t come out of a syringe. One day last week I had the opportunity to drive a variety of cars and they all pretty much had one thing in common - quality; but sometimes a car will come along which ignites the spark. In my case it was the car in the images - the Mini John Cooper Works Paceman.
Read "What A Blast! The Mini JCW Paceman"
Sports Cars Choosing the Right Car for an Affordable Lease Deal
October 10, 2013
By LeaseYourNextCar.com
When you decide to lease a car, it can be tempting to select a desirable, new-to-market and technologically superior model that you could never afford to buy, for self-satisfaction and to impress your peers and fellow motorists. However, this is a far from wise decision if you’re on a budget, as the majority of lessees are. To select a car which will provide affordable monthly lease payments - and other costs - follow these tips…
Read "Choosing the Right Car for an Affordable Lease Deal"
Subaru XV Subaru XV: Off-Road Credibility On The High Street
October 9, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Having just reluctantly handed back the excellent Subaru Forester (see elswhere on Drivewrite) we were not sure about the XV (pictured) when it arrived. What, we wondered, is it for? We know of course that it has the tried, tested and reinforced Impreza underpinnings inspiring four-wheel drive confidence but do potential buyers for what is effectively a ‘crossover’ want to be doing with anything of a seriously mud-plugging nature?
Read "Subaru XV: Off-Road Credibility On The High Street"
Audi Quattro AWD Rain Won’t Stop Play - It’s Quattro Time
October 9, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
As our uncharacteristically balmy Summer gives way to Autumn, the number of wet-weather ‘Quattro days’ in 2013 could still exceed last year’s total of 172. In timely fashion, the number of Audi models equipped with this world renowned aid to driving in all weathers is on the rise. New Quattro-equipped versions of the A3 Saloon, the A6 Saloon and the A6 Avant have just joined the largest all-wheel-drive range in the premium sector, which amounts to well over 150 models. All new additions are available to order now.
Read "Rain Won’t Stop Play - It’s Quattro Time"
Porsche 918 Spyder Porsche Expect To Profit From New Models
October 9, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Earnings from Porsche and other luxury brands such as Audi and Bentley have helped the Volkswagen Group cushion the fallout from economic woes in its home region, where demand for new cars is at a two-decade low amid unemployment rates lingering near record highs. The Company believe that the extra volume created by the Macan will offset what they believe will continue to be a weak European market in 2014. Thankfully, they have been doing strong business in Asia and the USA.
Read "Porsche Expect To Profit From New Models"
MG MG3 MG3. A Surprising Package
October 8, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Last week motoring writers descended on an hotel in Hampshire for a car testing day courtesy of The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Many brands displayed their wares. It’s a fact that nobody really makes bad cars anymore but it is good news when a venerable old name is on the comeback trail - in this case, MG.
Read "MG3. A Surprising Package"
Bentley Continental GT Speed Bentley Continental GT Speed - Lasting Impression
October 7, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
As I’ve said before, the good thing about car test days (in this case thanks to The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) is that I get to drive a variety of the latest offerings from manufacturers. The downside is that I have to give them back after about a half-hour. This is probably enough time to make an initial assessment but not enough time to grow to love, hate or be indifferent to the vehicle in question.
Read "Bentley Continental GT Speed - Lasting Impression"
Controlled Environment On The Roads Controlled Environment On The Roads
October 8, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
It‘s doubtful that many motorists are aware of this but our poor blighted road system is soon to become home to Britain’s first high-tech highway. Yes folks, in just a few short weeks we will see our automotive future. What you may think about it is a different matter.
Read "Controlled Environment On The Roads"
BMW 4 Series BMW 4 Series - For Men Only
October 7, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
At DriveWrite I get irritated by products aimed at a target audience. Why neuter sales? Take the new BMW 4 Series which is, according to the company, aimed at ‘mainly men age 35 to 50 who are successful, sporty and with a sense of style’. What about the successful, yet scruffy, blokes or the poor sods who are deemed to be too old or too young eh? Where does the wealthy couch-potato fit in? What about the girls?
Read "BMW 4 Series - For Men Only"
Swindon Swindon - Motoring Centre Of The Universe
October 7, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
In 2009 an enlightened official confirmed that the five speed cameras in our great Wiltshire metropolis would be switched off. Drivers learned their whereabouts, slowed appropriately and then beetled off much as before. The devices cost the Council £250k and it was decided that it simply wasn’t worth it. Since then accident statistics have remained static. The decision was indeed a wise one.
Read "Swindon - Motoring Centre Of The Universe"
Angela Merkel For The Love Of Angela
October 6, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
It is now official that we’ve only got ourselves to blame. Scientists are 95% certain that our atmospheric ills are down to our own misguided behaviour. Clearly our EU masters already knew this for a fact as they have been reeling out many tough automotive regulations. Well, in Germany there’s a woman for whom enough is enough.
Read "For The Love Of Angela"
Tron Lambo Menace To Society
October 6, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The people who are the most likely to be caught speeding have been revealed by a recent survey based on insurance quotes and the effect on them of penalty points. It is not, as you thought, some miscreant youth with his baseball cap on back to front; it is in fact your average professional business man. The young folk of Britain can now formally reject any slur on their driving character.
Read "Menace To Society"
Tron Lambo You Can’t Keep A Good Clamper Down
October 6, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
A year after most wheel clampers were banned from operating in private car parks, parking enforcement firms are reaping large sums from issuing automated so-called ‘penalty' tickets. While Communities Minister Eric Pickles is reining in local authorities who over zealously use CCTV, private parking operators now rely heavily on this technology and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) to watch drivers and issue tickets through the post when they put a foot wrong in parking areas. In short - situation normal.
Read "You Can’t Keep A Good Clamper Down"
Tron Lambo Will Renault Embrace Hybrid Technology?
October 5, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
In recent years Renault have been cutting out the deadwood and ‘rationalising’ their fleet. In terms of technical advancement they have concentrated their efforts on electric vehicles like the excellent Zöe but haven’t really shown their hand as regards hybrids.
Read "Will Renault Embrace Hybrid Technology?"
Hyundai Veloster …And Now For Something Completely Different
October 4, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
It seems that, with the Veloster, Hyundai intended to come up with something a little different from the norm. They have succeeded. It contrives to be both a hatchback and a coupé and, bizarrely, it works.
Read "…And Now For Something Completely Different"
Petrolhead ecard A Marriage Made In The Paddock
October 5, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
One of the dangers of planning a wedding to a petrolhead is the worry that he or she won’t turn up on the day because of a double-booked diary date at a motor racing track, previously unmentioned. You could of course get married in the week but usually work commitments prevent that. You could get married late in the day after the sport but who wants a new spouse sunburned or windblown and reeking of burgers and cheap lager? The blokes are just as bad. It’s a thorny issue.
Read "A Marriage Made In The Paddock"
Kia Kia Support YouTube Music Awards
October 4, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Kia Motors Corporation will be the exclusive Presenting Sponsor of the first-ever YouTube Music Awards - an unprecedented digital music entertainment event, which will immerse YouTube viewers across six live streaming concerts around the world.
Read "Kia Support YouTube Music Awards"
James & Browne Age Is No Barrier
October 3, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
A veteran born in 1902 joins young students for an annual outing from capital to coast. He might be more than 110 years old, but that doesn’t stop Bo making an annual trip to the seaside with a group of students in their 20s. And he’s been doing it for more than 80 years.
Read "Age Is No Barrier"
Subaru Forester 2.0L Diesel XC - Final Review Subaru Forester 2.0L Diesel XC - Final Review
October 2, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The latest Forester offers lots of space and equipment. It is solidly built with a functional if unexciting interior. It’s a much better looking car than its predecessor with smoother, sleeker lines and similar to its smaller sibling, the XV. It has to be said that the Forester is up against a packed SUV sector with plenty of rivals battling for customer attention but the Subaru is, well, a Subaru. It has a certain reputation to uphold; one that suggests ruggedness and reliability rather than trendy design tweaks or urban pretensions.
Read "Subaru Forester 2.0L Diesel XC - Final Review"
1970 Dodge Dart The Name Game
October 2, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Americans are christened with really cool names. Amongst the car guys, past and present, there’s Boyd Coddington, Wayne Carini, Chip Foose, Ryan Friedlinghaus and the legendary Carroll Shelby to name but a few. Why aren’t our names like that? Even the great John Wayne changed his name from Morrison so as not to reveal his early life as a British grocer.
Read "The Name Game"
Car Logos What’s In A Name?
October 1, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
It has just been reported that there are some 800,000 names already trademarked in the car world. If manufacturers thought it was hard to come up with a catchy new car name a generation ago, their task is looking even more onerous now. It shows how these things snowball. Only twenty five years, or so, ago, there were just 75,000 names registered.
Read "What’s In A Name?"
Barn Find Chevrolet Impala Auction Hunter's Paradise
September 30, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
There are car auctions and there are car auctions. In this country there’s a lot of trade at the auction houses but it rarely springs any surprises. In the USA things are just a bit different. It seems that barely a day goes by without some magnificent barn find or other and sometimes many cars can be involved.
Read "Auction Hunter's Paradise"
Land Rover Kool Kars For Kidz
September 30, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
What do you think about the title eh? Here at DriveWrite we know how to be down with the vibe or whatever. This is especially true if you have teenage children. There comes a time in every parent’s life when you cease to have to concern yourself with the contents of a nappy and start to worry about what exactly it is that children do when they’re out and about. Actually, having been there yourself you know exactly what they are doing and that’s the worrying thing. As if school discos or boyfriend girlfriend sagas are not enough, the time comes when they say the dreaded words - ‘driving lessons’!
Read "Kool Kars For Kidz"
UltraCar Starter Engine
September 30, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Young entrepreneurs operating out of so-called ‘bedroom boardrooms’ are turning more to subprime vehicle leasing to get their growing workforces mobile because they cannot get credit through conventional channels.
Read "Starter Engine"
Subaru Forester Subaru Forester - The First Impressions
September 28, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The Forester has been with us since 1997 and has since gone through four incarnations. Starting life as, effectively, a pumped up estate car beloved of country folk, it has morphed over the years through the early stages of life in the SUV world until finally reaching maturity in 2012. That’s the latest version in the photos and it is now a fully fledged adult SUV.
Read "Subaru Forester - The First Impressions"
Motorway Reflectors Now Why Didn't I Think Of That?
September 29, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The Forester has been with us since 1997 and has since gone through four incarnations. Starting life as, effectively, a pumped up estate car beloved of country folk, it has morphed over the years through the early stages of life in the SUV world until finally reaching maturity in 2012. That’s the latest version in the photos and it is now a fully fledged adult SUV.
Read "Now Why Didn't I Think Of That?"
BMW 750iL Bag A Big Beast
September 29, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Car dealers, bless ‘em, get a bit of a raw deal. They are in business to make a profit, much the same as the rest of us, one way or another. They have overheads, wages and taxes to pay, yet they are lambasted as thieves and charlatans to a man. Often, this is because they do not seem to make the sort of trade-in offer that a customer might have been looking forward to. This is often because the type of car being offered for trade is not popular in the prevailing climate. Right now, because of our economic woes and the eco-pressures forced upon us, the stigma has fallen upon big, luxury cars.
Read "Bag A Big Beast"
Skoda S100 Brochure Skoda - The Joke That Backfired On The Jokers
September 28, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
These days, you can cheerfully study car reviews and be confident that your decision to buy a new or used Skoda is indeed a sensible and wise choice. However speak to an older motorist about his past purchases and, if Skoda is mentioned, don’t be surprised if he becomes a bit quiet and defensive. He may possibly start crying. Because, you know, it was only about the mid 1970s onwards (Doesn’t it all seem so terribly last century now, darling?) that the name of Skoda became a byword for awfulness and terrible jokes.
Read "Skoda - The Joke That Backfired On The Jokers"
Pinch Point Priority Pinch Point Priority
September 28, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
We are rapidly approaching the pothole season when winters’ fearful forces lift the temporary repairs from the craters in the road and also make some new hazards for good measure. Our roads are a mess so it is nice to hear that we are finally going to see some action on our roads even if doesn’t concern potholes this time.
Read "Pinch Point Priority"
Autonomous Cars - The Snag. Autonomous Cars - The Snag.
September 27, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Will some kind soul please tell me why autonomous cars are such a big deal? Anyone who enjoys driving even a little bit can’t possibly see themselves sitting there knitting or snogging whilst science does the motoring for them. Call me a Luddite but it seems to me that this sort of technology is developed and made because they can rather than because we want it. Then it is flogged to us at exorbitant prices as buyers flock to the Next Big Thing like religious acolytes.
Read "Autonomous Cars - The Snag."
Subaru Eyesight Better Eyesight - Subaru Style
September 27, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Much has been made about automatic braking whereby a car will brake itself if it senses an imminent collision. This is a positive addition to safety that will help to prevent low speed shunts; minor repairs are expensive these days. It might even help to bring down the cost of car insurance although I shouldn’t hold your breath.
Read "Better Eyesight - Subaru Style"
Bike Lane Police Numbers Down Tragedies Up
September 26, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Road safety charities are shouting out for action following a rise in drink driving and cyclist deaths on our roads. In 2012 drink driving fatalities rose by an enormous seventeen percent although the total number of road deaths fell. 17% - that’s 280 souls. Add to that a further twelve hundred seriously injured where the accidents all involved drink in some capacity. That’s a lot of needless suffering, one way or another, because of someone over-zealously bending the elbow.
Read "Police Numbers Down Tragedies Up"
Citroen FWD The Global Appeal Of Front Wheel Drive
September 26, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
In the 1950’s an automotive genius called Alec Issigonis looked up from his drawing board and said to the assembled company, ‘You know, if we just turn the engine around sideways…’. It may not have gone quite like that but, whatever, the Mini was born and front wheel drive began its domination of the world of motor cars in the modern era.
Read "The Global Appeal Of Front Wheel Drive"
Citroen Rally Support Wales Rally GB
September 26, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Since its inception in 1932, the rally has been contested 68 times. Enforced stoppages have included World War 2, the Suez Crisis in 1957 and the Foot and Mouth epidemic of 1967. Wales Rally GB is the British and 13th and final round of this year’s FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and we urge you to support it. Perhaps that way we might get better media response to the Championship as a whole, not to mention the IRC, ERC etc.
Read "Support Wales Rally GB"
Qoros 3 Qoros - A Star From The East?
September 25, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The Chinese manufacturer Qoros seems likely to be planning a European campaign at some point. The first car in the range will launch in September. No sign of a RHD version and no diesel as yet but it seems the car has sailed through European NCAP tests. Maybe we’ll see it in the UK around 2015.
Read "Qoros - A Star From The East?"
What You Make Of It
September 25, 2013
By Bill Crittenden
A new friend, Geoff, wrote to me about how boring it was being assigned to review a van.  I recalled my first time watching Top Gear.  It was a white van test, and amongst broken things being thrown around and much mocking of the "white van man," the highlight of the episode was when a masked thief was invited to break into each van.  The van that kept him out longest, won.
Read "What You Make Of It"
Tailgating Come Back Papa Tango Charlie 2
September 25, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
About three weeks ago DriveWrite published an article bemoaning the fact that traffic police were a disappearing breed. The fact is, it’s no good inventing new laws - like the recent tailgating business - if there’s nobody around to enforce it.
Read "Come Back Papa Tango Charlie 2"
Millionth Ford Mustang Mustang - A Living Legend
September 25, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
By the time the 1965 Ford Mustang officially went on sale on April 17, 1964, it had been rolling off the assembly line at the Rouge factory in Dearborn, Michigan for about five weeks. Thousands of Mustangs had been shipped to dealers throughout North America so they would be available in showrooms on opening day. However, not all of the cars on display were actually meant to be sold to customers.
Read "Mustang - A Living Legend"
Lamborghini Urus Finally, A Lamborghini SUV
September 24, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Lamborghini, designers of breathtaking sports cars, were possibly on a hiding to nothing if they decided to develop a SUV. Nevertheless, with typical Italian flair they went at it and came up with a concept (shown at Beijing last year) which confounds the would-be critics. That’s it in the image and, although an SUV, couldn’t be anything else than a Lambo.
Read "Finally, A Lamborghini SUV"
Mercedes-Benz S-Class Mercedes Bargain Basement
September 24, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Or at least as close as we’ll ever get to it from the prestigious German car maker. Their new S-Class in long wheelbase form is only 0.3 percent more expensive than the outgoing model yet is loaded to the roof lining with many new high technology items. There’s attention assist and crash avoidance in case one’s chauffeur dozes at the wheel and a self-parking system in case one’s chauffeur is just dozy. There’s even cross-wind assist and all this and more is standard.
Read "Mercedes Bargain Basement"
Union Jack Mini Cooper New Models Boost British Car Building
September 24, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Here’s a surprising fact. Britain is the 14th largest car producer in the world. Thailand, Canada and Mexico trump us for units built and even hard-pressed Spain produces more. Never mind; given our financial woes after years of economic incompetence our car industry is doing very well indeed. Perhaps we should dump politicians and vote the auto industry bosses instead because they‘ve certainly turned the car business around.
Read "New Models Boost British Car Building"
Back to the Future Mr. Fusion A Bug In The Tank
September 23, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Across the world scientists are constantly striving to develop new super-fuels that will reduce or replace our reliance on the black gold before the planet deflates like an old football unless all the fracking does for it first. Electric power is already with us and hydrogen is just around the corner, but that doesn’t stop the boffins from seeking The Next Big Thing.
Read "A Bug In The Tank"
A Car World Without Borders A Car World Without Borders
September 23, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Across the world scientists are constantly striving to develop new super-fuels that will reduce or replace our reliance on the black gold before the planet deflates like an old football unless all the fracking does for it first. Electric power is already with us and hydrogen is just around the corner, but that doesn’t stop the boffins from seeking The Next Big Thing.
Read "A Car World Without Borders"
One Man’s Meat etc One Man’s Meat etc
September 22, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
There is a problem with reviews, no matter what for. The new movie ‘Diana’ is being hounded by the press every bit as much as the original subject was, only for different reasons. This time it is because it has been roundly criticised for being dreadful but, if you haven’t seen it, how would you know for sure?
Read "One Man’s Meat etc"
DriveWrite in Vogue DriveWrite in Vogue
September 22, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
They say that in every life a little rain must fall. That’s acceptable only if it is tempered by a sunny day. Recently your correspondent experienced such a day. In fact, it wasn’t a very nice day but it was brightened by A Very Kind Lady from the Jaguar Land Rover Group who handed over the keys to a Range Rover (what were they thinking of?) and told me to enjoy myself. Well, Drivewrite doesn’t need telling twice.
Read "DriveWrite in Vogue"
ZenGrab And The Art Of Money Making ZenGrab And The Art Of Money Making
September 22, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
You know your local council? It comprises a group of people who come forward to be elected to serve the community. How is it then, that as a body, they have come to understand that they are the boss of you? Now; you know our national government? It comprises a group of people who come forward to be elected to serve the nation. Over the years the various factions have absolved themselves of the onerous duties of running the unimportant things - Utilities and the like - and instead concentrate their efforts on telling you what to do.
Read "ZenGrab And The Art Of Money Making"
Comment: Social Media And The Car Comment: Social Media And The Car
September 21, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Just because you don’t like something or don’t have any interest in it, does that mean you should ignore it and hope it goes away? Ignoring what goes on about you is one thing, but does your ignorance stand in the way of your own betterment or personal pleasure? Blimey, after a while these philosophical questions peck at your head, don’t they? So does making a statement that always ends up as a question, wouldn’t you say?
Read "Comment: Social Media And The Car
Cadillac Dry And Bright With A High Chance Of Driving Pleasure
September 21, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Although we tend to take it for granted, the advances in auto-science in the last ten years have been pretty staggering if you think about it, and it continues apace. This time it’s the turn of American car giant Cadillac who are publicising their latest techno-wizardry whereby their new engine monitors the weather to maximise performance and efficiency. DriveWrite found what follows to be very interesting. Apart from anglicising Americanisms, here’s their report verbatim:
Read "Dry And Bright With A High Chance Of Driving Pleasure"
Volkswagen Golf Plus Interior Ageing Golf Plus Gets Much Needed Refreshment
September 20, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The current Volkswagen Golf Plus is being phased out in favour, like a footballer’s wife, of a more youthful model. It will remain in production until the end of the year at which point it is to be replaced by the Sportsvan. This is no bad thing. Although the Golf is justifiably popular the Golf Plus has been saddled with a slightly fuddy-duddy image which, VW say, is borne out by the number of older buyers; which is a very diplomatic way of expressing this age-related point; although in Germany the car accounts for some twenty percent of Golf-line sales.
Read "Ageing Golf Plus Gets Much Needed Refreshment"
ParkatmyHouse London Is The World’s Rip-Off Parking Charge Capital
September 20, 2013
By ParkatmyHouse
LONDON, 17th September 2013 - London has the highest monthly parking costs of any city in the world according to research from ParkatmyHouse.com. Frustrated motorists in the UK’s capital city are shelling out a staggering £709.67 a month to park in the city centre. Bankers, financiers and those working in the centre of the City and travelling by car have to pay an eye-watering average of £23.60 a day for parking. The West End came in at £19.87 per day whilst Westminster averaged £21.57.
Read "London Is The World’s Rip-Off Parking Charge Capital"
NEVS Push On With Saab Revamp NEVS Push On With Saab Revamp
September 20, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
When an old established automotive name rises like the phoenix from the fiery furnace of financial disaster then it should be a cause for celebration. Saab is such a name and, following on from the abortive Spyker attempt to resurrect the brand, their new owner, National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), has built two Saab 9-3 test cars at the company's Trollhattan assembly plant in Sweden ahead of a production launch later this year. This planned restarting of production was announced some time back although the car will carry a new logo as future Saab cars will not have the distinctive griffin head badge seen on previous cars after NEVS failed to acquire the rights to use the badge when it bought Saab out of bankruptcy last August.
Read "NEVS Push On With Saab Revamp"
Vauxhall Insignia Tourer The Best Of Both Worlds
September 19, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
At least that’s how Vauxhall must see it with their new Insignia Country Tourer. This is not a brand that DriveWrite would normally take a lot of interest in. Of course, Vauxhall make excellent cars now but it was not always so. The problem is that my opinion is clouded by the hideous spectre of a blue 1990’s Cavalier that still sometimes wakes me, screaming and sweating, in the night.
Read "The Best Of Both Worlds"
LeaseYourNextCar.com Mileage Calculation Spreadsheet: Avoid Car Lease Penalty Fees
September 19, 2013
By LeaseYourNextCar.com
Leasing a car is convenient option for drivers who prefer fixed motoring costs, or like to get their hands on a new model every few years. However, leasing becomes a far less attractive and cost-effective option should significant penalty fees be incurred when the contract hire ends. The penalty most often faced by lessees is that which applies for every mile exceeding the quoted limit. While many dealerships will charge just a few pence per additional mile on the car’s clock, this can quickly add up, leaving you with a debt of hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds.
Read "Mileage Calculation Spreadsheet: Avoid Car Lease Penalty Fees"
Volvo P1800 Three Million Mile Volvo
September 18, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Today, 74-year-old Long Island native and retired science teacher Irv Gordon will reach a milestone no other individual has accomplished in more than 100 years of automobile manufacturing: driving three million miles in the same vehicle – a shiny, cherry red 1966 Volvo P1800. To mark the occasion, Gordon will drive his three millionth mile today on the Seward Highway – Alaska Highway 1 – along the Turnagain Arm. The “Last Frontier” is one of two U.S. states Gordon has never visited and a fitting backdrop for this historic, record-breaking achievement.
Read "Three Million Mile Volvo"
Kia Niro Kia Niro’s Waiting, Talking Korean
September 18, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Playful but gutsy, sturdy yet impish; not my words thankfully, but rather those of Korean auto manufacturer Kia who showed this dramatic new urban-lifestyle concept at Frankfurt. It’s called the Niro (amusing puns etc, start here) which apparently means a type of stainless steel. The car is aimed squarely at the B-segment of the market, taking on the likes of the ever popular Juke.
Read "Kia Niro’s Waiting, Talking Korean"
Jaguar XFR-S. This Is It. Jaguar XFR-S. This Is It.
September 18, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
A couple of years ago I had the chance to drive both a Porsche GT3 and a Ferrari at speed around a circuit on an ‘experience’ day. It was, as you’d expect, fabulous. However, with cars of that ilk, although they are desperately desirable, for purely practical reasons most folk wouldn’t want one. It’s not so much the cost as the inconvenience.
Read "Jaguar XFR-S. This Is It."
Bentley EXP 9F Bentley SUV For 2016
September 17, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Bentley make some great cars, there‘s no denying it. Their sporting Continentals are so fabulous that just standing next to one cures most ills. Now, the Company plan to move into the SUV market. It expects its ultra-luxury SUV to create its own new segment when it begins sales in 2016.
Read "Bentley SUV For 2016"
Ford Europe SUV Ford Are Confident About Our European Future
September 17, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
You just can’t keep a good optimist down. Ford of Europe is adopting a tactic that their American parent company used during the 2008-09 recession in the USA. The company plan to bulk up its vehicle line-up as it awaits the European car market's recovery, according to Ford of Europe's head of product development, Barb Samardzich. Ford wants to be prepared to gain its full automotive share in a healthy Europe.
Read "Ford Are Confident About Our European Future"
Giant Muffler Honda Accord The Sound And The Fury
September 17, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
It is often possible, when out and about, to hear what seems to be a monster car approaching only to find that it’s an old Citroen Saxo with a drainpipe for an exhaust. This, it seems, is what passes for customisation today, along with after-market rear light clusters.
Read "The Sound And The Fury"
Rally Datsun 240Z Resurrecting A Rally Relic
September 16, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Few true sports cars in history can lay claim to not only being a road-racing champion, but also a rally legend. One such car is the Datsun 240Z (Sold as the Fairlady in Japan) which provided the basis for the renowned off-road race machine, the Safari Rally Z. In the USA it was announced that Nissan's Restoration Club has decided to bring the Safari Rally Z back to its original running condition.
Read "Resurrecting A Rally Relic"
Jaguar F-Type The Right Type For An F-Type
September 16, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Selecting a car based on colour can sometimes be a mistake. Or so I once thought. The car in the picture is in a shade called ‘Firesand’, whatever that is. It is a very attractive hue that isn’t given full justice in my snap. Once on board I realised that I had chosen the baby version with a pathetically tiny three litre V6. I need not have worried. This V6 was also supercharged.
Read "The Right Type For An F-Type"
Range Rover Evoque Evoque - A Change Of Heart
September 16, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Having a day out testing cars is great but the snag is you don’t get enough time with them. Not all mysteries are revealed and not all buttons pressed nor knobs twiddled. All that can be achieved from a half-hour is an overall impression but, hey, it’s better than nothing and nothing on the day made a better impression than the Range Rover Evoque, despite all the exotic machinery on offer. This is probably due to my preconceived negative vibes.
Read "Evoque - A Change Of Heart"
Mercedes S-Class Coupe Concept Mercedes S-Class Coupe Concept - Things Are Looking Up
September 15, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The car in the image suggests the future ‘look’ for Mercedes cars. It was shown as a concept at Frankfurt but a production version is expected to go on sale late next year in Europe and a tad later in the USA. Mercedes makes, as we know, some great cars and yet there has been a bit of an image problem which, in my view, hasn’t been completely resolved by the current model line-up.
Read "Mercedes S-Class Coupe Concept - Things Are Looking Up"
The Machine Stops Driverless Cars - The Madness Continues
September 15, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Over the last decade or so, the prospect of self-driving cars has edged ever closer. Test cars loaded up with all manner of technical wizardry have gradually brought us to the stage whereby one company has confidently announced that these autonomous vehicles will be available to buy from the year 2020. The trouble is that nobody has satisfactorily answered the question, ‘why’?
Read "Driverless Cars - The Madness Continues"
Jaguar XJL Trans-Continental Express
September 14, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Over the last decade or so, the prospect of self-driving cars has edged ever closer. Test cars loaded up with all manner of technical wizardry have gradually brought us to the stage whereby one company has confidently announced that these autonomous vehicles will be available to buy from the year 2020. The trouble is that nobody has satisfactorily answered the question, ‘why’?
Read "Trans-Continental Express"
Jaguars How To Run An Event - JLR Style
September 14, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Dateline: Friday 13th and a band of car enthusiasts from around Britain are descending upon a country estate near Solihull. What a date to pick; yet it’s funny how these things can be lucky for some.
Read "How To Run An Event - JLR Style"
Jaguar XKR-S Jaguar XKR-S. A Personal Taster
September 13, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Thanks to Jaguar Land Rover for the chance to get touchy feely with one of their very special cars. This little beauty is the XKR-S, five litres of supercharged V8 goodness. From the minute I sat in it, it felt right. This is a very comfortable car, considering its ultimate dark purpose. Plenty of seat adjustment got DriveWrite sitting pretty as the car trickled out of the car park, turning left into a thirty zone.
Read "Jaguar XKR-S. A Personal Taster"
Hyundai Veloster Velostar Needs More Power
September 13, 2013
By Bill Crittenden
A few of my Dream Cars take an idea from another outrageous automotive idea and twist it just a little to fit my own tastes. One of my old favorites was putting a Mitsubishi 3000GT V6 into the back of a Hyundai Accent, since I had one at the time at the end of the 1990's, Mitsubishi and Hyundai had some technical relationships, and I wanted to make the world's fastest Hyundai. Of course the idea came from the Renault Clio Sport, the mid-engine V6-powered version of their normally front-engine FWD 4-cylinder hatchback.
Read "Velostar Needs More Power"
Herr Martin Winterkorn The Shutters Could Come Down Across Europe
September 13, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Readers with longer memories (which is a nice way of saying older) will remember how the dark days of the 1970’s effectively ruined the motor industry in this country. That was, arguably, caused by years of outdated practices and industrial unrest. Now the European industry stands under the axe but this time it is being caused by global economic problems.
Read "The Shutters Could Come Down Across Europe"
Fernando Alonso On His Bike Alonso On His Bike
September 12, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
You may know nothing of the arcane mysteries of the human-powered two wheeled world, but you can’t help but have noticed a hardy band of skinny, lycra clad, whippet-like men and women hurtling around our highways and byways on bicycles.
Read "Alonso On His Bike"
Toyota Plan A Performance Brand - Maybe Toyota Plan A Performance Brand - Maybe
September 12, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Toyota is a well established brand that has suffered recently from a reputation for being, well, just a bit bland. Instantly they countered that with the amazing GT86 which brings sports cars back into a more affordable price bracket.
Read "Toyota Plan A Performance Brand - Maybe"
The New Nissan X-Trail The New Nissan X-Trail
September 11, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Muscular, modern and packed with technology, the new Nissan X-Trail has made its world debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. Building on Nissan's respected 4x4 heritage but adding world-leading crossover know-how, the new X-Trail re-defines the compact SUV segment, according to the Company.
Read "The New Nissan X-Trail"
Honda Civic Type R Finally: A New Civic Type R - But We’ve Got To Wait
September 11, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Honda has revealed that the hotly anticipated new Civic Type R will be powered by a direct injection turbocharged 2-litre engine and will deliver at least 280PS. The car has already been put through its paces by Honda’s WTCC driver, the legend that is Gabriele Tarquini, and a rather good film demonstrating its storming performance and handling on the Nurburgring can be viewed here www.myjourneys.com/typer.
Read "Finally: A New Civic Type R - But We’ve Got To Wait"
EV Batteries EV Batteries - Is There Life After Death?
September 10, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The take-up of electric cars has no doubt disappointed both manufacturers and the green lobby. DriveWrite had a chance to drive the Renault Zoë a while back and found it excellent but, like many other interested spectators, can’t get past the range issue for general use. What has perhaps been less considered is what to do with the motor batteries after use. It seems that after about eight to ten years their power dwindles with the obvious adverse effect on the car’s performance.
Read "EV Batteries - Is There Life After Death?"
Suzuki iV-4 Suzuki Shine With SUV
September 10, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
DriveWrite has always had a soft spot for Suzuki. For some reason, until recently, the brand has never really been a huge seller in the UK despite making good cars. The Swift has changed that but nevertheless the brand has been fairly low profile. The Jimny definitely has a bit of a following. Average on road, take it onto some rough stuff and it is like a little mountain goat with true off-road ability that makes it a decent rural ride.
Read "Suzuki Shine With SUV"
Car Repair Mystery Noise? Do It Yourself.
September 10, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
These days, once you've discovered a reliable and trustworthy garage it pays to stick with it. Some people even become reliant on them, phoning up or visiting for every little issue, like a lonely hypochondriac at the doctor’s.
Read "Mystery Noise? Do It Yourself."
Bullish BMW Bullish BMW
September 9, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
When there are rumours of a major car industry casualty in the near future and the certain knowledge that some European manufacturers are having a rough time and haemorrhaging money, it is good to know that all is calm in Germany.
Read "Bullish BMW"
Mercedes SLR McLaren The Rise And Rise Of The Super Car
September 9, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Over the past couple of years the green press have been hinting at the demise of the hypercar and indeed high powered sports cars generally. They have been saying that we must all look forward to a brave new world of economy, twin-air engines and the noiseless advance of alternative technologies. Endless streams of verbal and written bureaucracy seem to support this.
Read "The Rise And Rise Of The Super Car"
Number Plates The Pressure On Car Sales
September 8, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Anyone who buys cars regularly more or less knows what the experience will be like. Anyone who sells a car privately knows how difficult it can be. Armed with this knowledge most fair-minded people will understand that a car salesperson is there to make a living and the dealer is there to make a profit. That ’s how the world turns.
Read "The Pressure On Car Sales"
Smart ForJoy ForJoy Or Not ForJoy? That Is The Question.
September 7, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
They tried it once and we didn’t like it but you can’t keep a good car manufacturer down for long and Daimler/Smart are giving the four seater another go with the production version of the concept - called ForJoy(!) - in the image.
Read "ForJoy Or Not ForJoy? That Is The Question."
London to Brighton Veteran Car Run History Repeating Itself
September 7, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Today’s automotive world is packed with new technology and innovation. Over the decades the car has evolved into a sophisticated marvel almost capable of thinking for itself; but, if you think about it, the dawn of the motoring age only began a little more than a scant one hundred or so years ago. Then, around the globe, an inspired group of oily pioneers emerged from the sheds of the world to rejoice in the discovery of the horseless carriage. The rest is history.
Read "History Repeating Itself"
Citroen C4 Cactus The Crazy Cool World Of Concept Cars
September 6, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Soon, very soon now, the auto show season will begin, bringing some light into our blighted winter darkness. One feature that is sure to be of interest this year is just how bonkers some of the concept cars will be. Concepts - often the result of years of research - are a way of introducing styling changes and possible future developments to the waiting world. In reality, the final production models will probably bear very little resemblance to the concepts as the company directors bottle it at the last minute.
Read "The Crazy Cool World Of Concept Cars"
Citroen C4 Cactus Concept Citroen Cactus Pricks Our Interest
September 5, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Drive Write - unashamedly a Citroen fan - mentioned this on 16/8 (Citroen Strive To Reverse The Losing Trend) and now the French manufacturer has issued more details on this concept car. Today they’ve released pictures and details of the Cactus Concept that previews the new positioning of the brand's mainstream cars as affordable vehicles emphasizing practicality, fuel efficiency and low ownership costs.
Read "Concept Citroen Cactus Pricks Our Interest"
Alfa Romeo 4C Alfa Romeo 4C Is A Masterpiece, Say FIAT
September 5, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
To which the cynic responds with, ‘well, they would say that wouldn’t they?’ On the other hand, it certainly looks the part and ‘masterpiece’ is not a word that can be bandied about lightly. There has to be something in it. It seems that the company used the Porsche Cayman as a comparison and it doesn’t get any better than that. Rather cruelly, FIAT stated that at slow speeds being in a Cayman feels just like being in a Golf. It’s only when the foot goes down that things liven up. The 4C, they say, is different; it is apparently like being in a racing car at all times. In pure handling terms they are rating it as highly as a Ferrari. You can’t say they are not talking this one up.
Read "Alfa Romeo 4C Is A Masterpiece, Say FIAT"
Hyundai i10 Rally Prototype Hyundai Heading For WRC In 2014
September 4, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Over the summer Hyundai have continued to develop the car they plan to contest in the 2014 World Rally Championship. They have certainly lined up some top drivers to test the 2014 spec i20 over many miles of tarmac and gravel surfaces with both Bryan Bouffier and Juho Hänninen taking time out from their IRC and Rally Europe campaigns to run the car in WRC conditions.
Read "Hyundai Heading For WRC In 2014"
Lexus LF-NX Crossover Concept World Premiere Of The Lexus LF-NX Crossover Concept
September 4, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
That’s it in the picture. Lexus describe it as having a distinctive, sculpted appearance. It is their vision of what a mid-sized crossover should look like and it would be powered by the Lexus Hybrid Drive full hybrid powertrain tuned for SUV performance. Any pedestrians straying too close would end up being sliced like victims of Ben-Hur’s chariot. Or it is a transformer in disguise?
Read "World Premiere Of The Lexus LF-NX Crossover Concept"
Bentley S Bentley Add ‘S’ - For Superlative?
September 4, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The current range of sporting grand tourers from Bentley, should you be sufficiently well-heeled to afford one, have just been given a extra lease of life by the addition of an ‘S’. Obviously, a little more than that has gone into making these already stylish, luxury coupe & convertible models even more performance orientated.
Read "Bentley Add ‘S’ - For Superlative?"
Toyota Land Cruiser When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get a Land Cruiser
September 3, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
There are cars that have a general purpose and cars that are perfect for posing. There are cars ideal for ferrying Labradors up and down motorways and cracking cars for towing caravans; but when the going gets really tough the answer is usually a Toyota Land Cruiser. If you have a hankering to visit the war-torn regions of the world then the chances are you will be driven to your inevitable demise in one of these workhorses. If at any time you are stuck in snow drift you are likely to be rescued by a smug looking bloke in a you-know-what, such is their reputation.
Read "When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get a Land Cruiser"
Classic British Police Car Come Back Papa Tango Charlie
September 2, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Once upon a time you could always rely on a British Bobby. The firm but fair constables, reliably pounding their neighbourhood beats day and night in all weathers; the wily detectives feeling the collars of miscreants everywhere and the senior officers, steadfast in their duty and steeped in years of practised thief taking. Whatever happened to them?
Read "Come Back Papa Tango Charlie"
Maria Theresa De Filippis Blame it on Gloria Gaynor
September 2, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Have you ever heard of Maria Theresa De Filippis (pictured)? No, neither had I. In 1958 she entered five Formula One races. She didn’t score any points but that, ahem, is not the point. How about Lella Lombardi? Giovanna Amati? These and many other female drivers have competed at the top level in motor sport. On TV, Vicki Butler Henderson and Sabine Schmitz both demonstrate fantastic skills, so why is it that women drivers get such a bad reputation?
Read "Blame it on Gloria Gaynor"
Middle East Volatile Mid East Threatens Fuel Prices. Again.
September 1, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
We are told that the UK economy is beginning to see the green shoots of recovery - and other similar clichés - and no sooner is this announced than the terrible events in the Middle East, specifically Syria this time, come to the fore.
Read "Volatile Mid East Threatens Fuel Prices. Again."
Cars on British Road These Are A Few Of My Least Favourite Things
August 31, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Buses. Where would we be without them - apart from actually at the destination we were trying to get to, obviously. Just lately I ’ve noticed some advertising campaigns promoting the services of these public service charabancs as if their very use created some sort of idyllic new world where everyone is young, happy, unblemished, carefree, brightly dressed, multicultural and moderately wealthy yet caring enough to know that buying a car is tantamount to Earthly suicide. A particular bus company - craven fear of litigation stops me from naming them - some time ago ran a television advertisement in primary colours designed for children’s programmes where we are expected to believe the world is a clean, fresh place where even the bus drivers are happy-clappy people. It’s at this point that any last vestige of credibility goes out of the window. Well, tsk, say I; and other spluttering expletives. We all know the truth.
Read "These Are A Few Of My Least Favourite Things"
Hawkwind Seven by Seven Driven To Music
August 30, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
You know what it’s like. Boring motorways, traffic jams, children in the back trying to strangle each other, Mother egging them on; all the motoring distractions of modern life. Car manufacturers understand your pain and this is the reason why your average modern car has two hundred speakers and a music system to rival the Ministry of Sound. Some drivers could be raked with cannon fire by low level attack helicopters broadcasting ’The Ride of the Valkyries’ and not notice. OK, I confess. I am a music junkie. Rock music is the aphrodisiac of the keen driver and, it goes without saying, the great lover. Reactions are sharpened; sex appeal is increased exponentially. Your Renault Clio becomes a Silver Machine (Hawkwind) of love. Watch here.
Read "Driven To Music"
Classic Car Sunday With Queenie
August 31, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
There are people out there who have reached a certain age will remember with fondness those Sunday afternoon drives with Dad and the family. Weekdays were for working and school, Saturday’s for shopping and sport and Sunday’s for relaxing in the motor. The day started with the ritual car cleaning. This would be followed by a roast dinner and it would be then that Dad would suggest a nice drive out in the country.
Read "Sunday With Queenie"
Classic Car Restoration Married To The Motor - The tragedy of classic car enthusiasts
August 30, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
To many people, history is just a bunch of old stuff that’s already happened. That’s a shame because, although you can’t change it, you certainly can learn from it - although social evidence seems to show the opposite, to be frank. Never mind. There is a branch of society that still considers the past to be of importance and something worth treasuring as all classic car enthusiasts will be pleased to tell you and probably at some length!
Read "Married To The Motor - The tragedy of classic car enthusiasts"
The 13 Plate - Not Such A Disaster After All.
August 30, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
It seems that we Brits are not quite the timid shower that some thought. As last March approached there were many dire warnings about the run of bad luck that was sure to befall anyone foolhardy enough to buy a new car on a 13 registration. What faint hearts those Nay-Sayers must be! Far from shying away from such a risky purchase it appears that the Hearts of Oak instead flocked to the dealers with the intention of well and truly smacking the bottom of Lady Luck. The 13 plate has in fact outsold the last nine registrations. This counts back to September 2008 and the days before we realised that successive governments had been frittering our money away. Well over a million cars have been so registered and that figure doesn’t include the August sales as motorists snap up any late bargains preceding the new 63 plate. The motor industry needs to pat itself on the back and take itself for a slap-up steak dinner. Despite the pitiful state of the economy they have managed to make some spectacularly good offers on their products. Add to that a variety of affordable finance packages and it becomes clear that buying a new car is within reach. This is especially true with the new wave of small economical cars available under £10k. This clearly demonstrates that the number 13 can be lucky for some as drivers laugh in the face of black cats crossing their path and go out of their way to walk under ladders. 63 just won’t be the same.
Wriiten by Geoff Maxted, Facts by SMMT
Citroen WRC World Rally Championship - What’s The Problem?
August 29, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Congratulations to Dani Sordo and his co-pilot Carlos del Barrio on their maiden victory in last weekend’s German round of the WRC. Sordo has been banging on the door of a win for some time and deserves this victory. This extends Citroen Racing’s run of Rallye Deutschland wins to a consecutive thirteen.
Read "World Rally Championship - What’s The Problem?"
Bus Wireless Technology For Public Transport
August 28, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The city of Gumi, one hundred and fifty miles southeast of Seoul, is the testing ground for two so-called on-line electric vehicles, which ply a 15-mile route up to 10 times a day. The locally made buses can charge while moving or when stationary without physical contact with the power supply. At the heart of the buses is power-transfer technology that can shape electromagnetic fields in a specific direction, minimizing lost energy while in transit. Best of all for the locals is that whilst testing is in progress the rides are free.
Read "Wireless Technology For Public Transport"
Best Buy Cars Really Are Good Value
August 28, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Everybody loves statistics. This must be true because there are so many of them. The government especially love statistics because they allow them to tell us how lucky we all are when the evidence points to the absolute bleeding opposite. So; statistics can be made to mean what you want them to mean. That’s a given.
Read "Cars Really Are Good Value"
??? Omigod! I Was Like Totally, Y’know?
August 26, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
‘Oh! My! God! When Dave said, “Princess, want some new wheels, yo?” I was like totally “Babes!”. It was like the best prezzie eva an I was like crying an all? There was like tears coming out of me nose. We was watchin this advert and there’s this like totally cute car, you know? It was like peekin round corners and there was all these cool dudes, like, drawing on the walls an dancing an stuff. An it had like this really cute boys name y’know? It was like biblical an I thought, omigod, it totally reminds me of God an stuff. You can like pick out the colour of the roof and totally have the inside how you want it. Dave says, “Princess, you want like all the leather trim bits innit and the glass roof panel so’s you can look at the stars”. Dave’s a romantic innit, e’s always sayin nice lovey things like that. An I’m definitely having it pink cos it matches me iphone an it like says who I am, y‘know? I was like totally blown away! Test drive? What’s, like, the point of that? It’s gonna be pink….etc’
Read "Omigod! I Was Like Totally, Y’know?"
Driving Game Driving A Supercar On The Sofa
August 25, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Many drivers would love to own an Audi RS and now they can. All they need is a games console and a decent monitor. This is because, in the battle to shift more real motors, car manufacturers have made a devilish pact with computer game makers in a bid to attract new sales from, predominately, younger drivers both male and female.
Read "Driving A Supercar On The Sofa"
Frankfurt Motor Show Motor Show City
August 24, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
After the automotive Summer doldrums, next month sees the start of the long motor show season. Around the globe crusty, dusty auto journalists will drag themselves in, bearded and bleary-eyed, from bars and beaches and get stuck into their chosen vocation and the white heat of auto technology.
Read "Motor Show City"
Men & Women It's Hard being Right All The Time
August 24, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
This is the dilemma that people of the male persuasion have to deal with. All men believe that they are in the right. If they are wrong it is always on a technicality and that, basically, their wrongness is actually based on a solid grounding of rightness - it ’s just that others are too dim to see it.
Read "It's Hard being Right All The Time"
BMW X5 The Latest BMW Hybrid Concept
August 23, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
BMW will unveil the X5 plug-in hybrid concept next month at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The Concept X5 eDrive is the second hybrid e-drive model from BMW after the Concept Active Tourer unveiled last year, but the first to use the manufacturer’s all-wheel-drive xDrive system.
Read "The Latest BMW Hybrid Concept"
Ferrari LaFerrari, More Hybrids To Come, And The 458 Speciale
August 23, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
It seems we just can’t keep Ferrari’s Luca Di Montezemolo quiet these days. Yesterday he spoke of the past, today the future - and the future for Ferrari will be hybrid technology.
Read "LaFerrari, More Hybrids To Come, And The 458 Speciale"
Chevrolet Camaro The Death Of The Muscle Car Has Been Greatly Exaggerated
August 22, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Just to prove their point Chevrolet will introduce the new Camaro at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September in both coupé and convertible forms. We like. We like very much. The new car features a fast, low-slung silhouette and Chevrolet's new MyLink connected radio and is the latest edition of the famed American muscle car. This version represents the most significant redesign since the introduction of the fifth-generation Camaro as a concept car in 2006.
Read "The Death Of The Muscle Car Has Been Greatly Exaggerated"
Saab Are Saab On The Comeback Trail?
August 22, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
An interesting piece of news just out is that it Appears we may once again see the name SAAB emblazoned across the back of a car. Apparently, the new owner, National Electric Vehicle Sweden (itself owned by - surprise, surprise - Chinese investors, who bought out the bankruptcy) is hoping to restart production at the mothballed SAAB factory in Trollhatten later in the year. First up will be a 9-3 similar to the defunct model last built in 2011 (pictured). The petrol engine will be turbocharged and, given the name of the parent company, an electric version will be launched next year. It is initially destined for the Chinese and European markets but the plan inevitably is the global market; taking SAAB back to it’s former position. Let’s hope that the plans come to fruition and we see the name back on the forecourts. It has to be said that SAAB had lost it’s way in latter years so they’ve got some ground to make up, both in design and technology. Not sure that a 9-3 look-alike is the answer but it is very early days. Let us hope too that they can regain the enviable trustworthy reputation of old and that planned future vehicles aren’t just Chinese whispers.
Classic Car Brochure Cared For By Hand
August 21, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Once upon a time it was considered that cleaning the car was a ritual to be attended to on a Sunday morning somewhere between church and the roast. It became a bit of a joke beloved of film-makers and the like who would show rows of suburban houses with men (it’s always men) toiling away over their frothy motor. Sometimes these men would be replaced by erring children, paying dearly for their misbehaviour.
Read "Cared For By Hand"
Scenic Road Private Dance
August 20, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
We all live sedentary lives. We get up, we go to work blah, blah. Man, if you recall from your prehistoric genes, is a hunter gatherer. He should be out there, where the wild things are, doing hunter gatherer stuff; every day bringing a raised pulse and a rush of adrenaline and not a slight headache and a nauseous stomach from the night before. Obviously, the role of women has always been to tell hunter gatherers what to do, that’s a given, but it is also absolutely true that somewhere down the road we, both male and female, have lost the capacity for thrills.
Read "Private Dance"
Dick Van Dyke Jaguar Cor Blimey Mary Poppins, A Close Shave And No Error!
August 20, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Legendary actor Dick Van Dyke failed to diagnose a problem when driving his Jaguar on a LA motorway. The California Highway Patrol (known here by the rather less exciting moniker of Traffic Police) confirmed the 87 year-old performer's Jag caught fire on the hard shoulder of the Ventura Freeway. It’s not known what caused the problem at this stage although there are no known issues with the British made car, but the veteran actor was lucky to be helped by some off-duty nurses who found him slumped in the burning car at the side of the road. It is not known how Mr Van Dyke is although he was seen talking to the cops. Never a magical nanny around when you need one.
Classic Mercedes Get Yourself Into A Classic
August 20, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
It is worth passing this on in case you are both available for the day and have some cash burning a hole in your strides. The beautiful car in the image is a 1981 Mercedes-Benz 280SL once owned by The Who’s Roger Daltrey. Despite this slightly worrying provenance it is estimated to sell for between £12,000 to £15,000. That’s a lot of car for the money.
Read "Get Yourself Into A Classic"
Child Seat Crash Test Child Safety Is The Priority In Cars
August 20, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
All drivers ensure that cars that are used, however infrequently, to transport children are equipped with safety seats to minimise the prospects of injury should the worst happen, right? That is how it should be yet surprisingly not all parents are that responsible.
Read "Child Safety Is The Priority In Cars"
Dick Van Dyke Jaguar Porsche
August 20, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
PORSCHE continue to flaunt versions of their allegedly forthcoming 918 Spyder and the one in the image being shown at Pebble Beach a few days ago is suggested to be the one you can actually buy. It will be an electric/petrol hybrid which is said to produce some 800bhp. If you add three more zero’s to that number and add a £ sign you will still some fifty grand short of the mark. This hugely desirable car is due next year so best to start saving now.
Subaru WRX More Subaru BRZ But Will We Get The New WRX?
August 19, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Subaru UK has secured an increased supply of the Subaru BRZ for the British market, enabling it to better meet the strong demand for this special little rear-wheel drive sports car. The news coincides with confirmation that a number of Subaru UK approved BRZ performance, handling and styling modifications, courtesy of Pro-R, will soon be unveiled for the UK market. The new parts will be available in the coming months through Subaru’s UK dealer network. It will be interesting to see what these are because the car, in its original form, is a great old-school drive.
Read "More Subaru BRZ But Will We Get The New WRX?"
Chris Froome Jaguar F-Type Froome! Froome! Chris Gets An F-Type
August 19, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Team Sky rider and 2013 Tour de France winner Chris Froome visited Jaguar Land Rover global headquarters at Gaydon, Warwickshire this week for a high performance test of the Jaguar F-TYPE sports car. Froome was recently presented with a new F-TYPE by Jaguar to celebrate his remarkable Tour win. There he is in the grossly overlit image. He's earned it so let's all hope that he wheely enjoys it!
British Motorway More On Lane Hogging
August 19, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
As previously foretold the Police now admit that, at best, it will be difficult to enforce the new laws regarding tail-gaters, lane hogging and the like. Who makes the distinction between a driver who undertakes out of sheer frustration against a road hog? Where does the fault lie - the hog or the undertaker? They admit that they no longer have the numbers to police this sort of activity on the spot so erring drivers are going to be very unfortunate indeed if they get caught. They could use video evidence but that is costly and time-consuming apparently, so where does the law go from here? What is the point of this sort of legislation if the cops can't cope? Drivewrite suspects that although some will fall foul of the law not very much is going to change.
Cadillac Elmiraj Cadillac Reveal A Luxury Concept
August 18, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Cadillac is an iconic American car brand that is in the throes of reinventing itself after many years teetering on the edge of doom. To demonstrate that the company has serious intentions it has revealed a concept car called the Elmiraj. That’s it in the picture seen at a posh car show in Carmel, California.
Read "Cadillac Reveal A Luxury Concept"
Public Transport Schedule Board Is Car Ownership A Luxury?
August 17, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
What are you eating tonight? Italian, perhaps, or a curry? Which cinema to choose or DVD to rent? These are the daily dilemmas we must face, except they’re not really problems at all are they? They are luxury choices. Most of us know where our next meal is coming from. So do we really need luxury? Do we really need that motor outside?
Read "Is Car Ownership A Luxury?"
Anarchy On The Roads Anarchy On The Roads
August 17, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
OK, that might be stretching the point a bit but you’ve got to have a good headline, haven’t you? This very morning DriveWrite, whilst motoring along an urban dual carriageway, was overtaken by a BMW and a Mini going very fast indeed. They then proceeded to cut across my bows as it were. They appeared not to be associated with each other. This road is a 40mph limit. It doesn’t need to be - it’s an obvious choice for 50 - but that’s not what the sign says.
Read "Anarchy On The Roads"
Porsche LAST CHANCE TO DRIVE THIS CAR! If you've haven't seen this competition then hope is not yet lost.
August 19, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Not so long ago Porsche achieved the impressive milestone of five million ‘likes’ on Facebook. This, they felt, gave them ‘five million reasons to celebrate!’ and it was this slogan that got Porsche enthusiasts on the internet involved in designing a unique 911 Carrera 4S model which the company have built as a thank you to its fans. If you would like a chance to drive this car and haven’t yet seen this promotion then now’s the time to head off to www.porsche.com/5million with your Facebook account and a valid driving licence. There’s only a couple of days left to get into the draw for this once in a lifetime treat at the Silverstone based Porsche Experience Centre. So don’t delay. Do it now. You know it makes sense.
In The Bleak Mid-Winter In The Bleak Mid-Winter
August 16, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
As I write this it is raining but it’s warm and slightly humid and I am wearing shorts. The working day so far has been pleasant, yet I am beset by a sombre mood. The rain reminds me that Winter is not far away. Apart from the horror of knowing that as I pass one of many shops probably from around late September I will hear Wizard’s “I wish it could be Christmas every day” blaring out of some brainless retail outlet or other, I’m also getting bad vibes about the prospects of winter driving. We always get caught out.
Read "In The Bleak Mid-Winter"
Citroen Cactus Citroen Strive To Reverse The Losing Trend
August 16, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Most of us, if we’re honest, favour one brand over another. Some will prefer a German manufacturer, others will only buy from a Japanese car maker. There are the cars that we love but these are the cars that we drive. This writer loves Italian Alfa’s but has suffered too long and too hard at their hands to consider them anything other than a second car plaything. I prefer French cars; Citroen to be precise.
Read "Citroen Strive To Reverse The Losing Trend"
British Motorway ‘Hallo, Hallo; You’re Nicked Chummy’
August 16, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Whilst driving down the M4 the other day, DriveWrite came upon a massive camper van straddling the middle lane at a steady fifty mph. Are people so oblivious to the news and current affairs or even the comments of others that they still don’t realise how aggravating this is?
Read "Hallo, Hallo; You’re Nicked Chummy"
Citroen C1 The Citroen C1. A Long Term Review
August 15, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
As I see it, city cars were originally designed for, well, the city. Every motor manufacturer had the totally urban motorist in mind as they gradually produced a range of small, fuel efficient vehicles for transporting the nuclear family around our towns and cities.
Read "The Citroen C1. A Long Term Review"
Vauxhall Insignia Vauxhall’s Revamped Insignia Is Not Such A Drag
August 15, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The Vauxhall Insignia at launch was so much better than the previous offerings from the Company that it has done well on the sales front. It’s a roomy and comfortable vehicle; OK, it doesn’t exactly set the world on fire but most owners seem satisfied. Now though, Vauxhall have obviously decided that the time has come for a change - enter, with appropriate fanfare, the new Insignia.
Read "Vauxhall’s Revamped Insignia Is Not Such A Drag"
Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class New Mercedes SUV - Fit For Off-Road Excursions
August 14, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The Mercedes Benz GLA is due to be formally announced at the Frankfurt Show in September. Progressive in design, versatile and with impressive off-road capability: the new SUV has been unveiled, aiming to set new benchmarks in efficiency as it mixes practicality with surefooted 4MATIC capability. The first Mercedes-Benz in the fast-growing compact SUV segment is highly manoeuvrable around town, lively on country roads and dynamic and efficient on the motorway. The high-quality fittings, developed with much love for detail apparently, and the flexible interior clearly position the GLA as a compact premium vehicle in this competitive sector.
Read "New Mercedes SUV - Fit For Off-Road Excursions"
Road Trip Cat Hertz Bring Car Rental Into The 21st Century
August 14, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
For seasoned car renters there is usually an arrangement that can be made to speed the process up but for the occasional user the whole business can be a bit of a nightmare. Often, staff are harassed and some of their less discerning customers don’t help, but on the whole car rental can be a useful tool so we put up with the down sides.
Read "Hertz Bring Car Rental Into The 21st Century"
people2employ A New Look At Automotive Recruitment
August 19, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
An alternative recruitment solution for the motor industry has launched this week. It allows automotive job-seekers to connect directly to employers based purely on their skills and experience. People2employ is a pay-by-CV service that brings together employer and candidate, without the involvement of the middle-man found in the current recruitment process. Rather than asking users to invest in substantial fees with potentially little or no return, the pay-as-you-go facility means employers see exactly where their money goes. With the use of its confidential database feature, the site enables candidates to be judged on an overview of their experience alone, whilst maintaining their privacy and contact details until the point of payment. The Founder, David Crisp, has spent thirty years in senior positions within the automotive industry and thus is well placed to serve employers and job-seekers alike. He says, “People2employ is a new concept. As a centralized one-stop CV shop for the motor trade, it aims to put the dealer back in control of the recruitment process at minimal cost. At the same time, it gives many candidates that may usually be overlooked the chance to be considered in an un-vetted system.” There you are. In these difficult economic times anyone helping to put the right people into the right jobs has got to be worth investigating, which you can do here.
Go In Praise Of Low Cost Motoring
August 13, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Don’t get me wrong. It is absolutely fine to own and run big expensive cars, or wholly inappropriate cars or cars that take you back to your youth, but for most drivers these days there’s a problem and its name is money.
Read "In Praise Of Low Cost Motoring"
SsangYong Turismo SsangYong Introduces New Seven-Seater
August 13, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
In the timely manner that life sometimes has, on the day the new SsangYong Turismo was announced DriveWrite happened to be in the right place at the right time and was able to inspect this new seven seat leviathan from the South Korean company at close quarters. Sadly, I was not able to drive the thing so that pleasure is yet to come.
Read "SsangYong Introduces New Seven-Seater"
Honda Civic Tourer The New Honda Civic Tourer - DriveWrite can't decide.
August 12, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Honda has announced the new British built Civic Tourer ahead of its official unveiling at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2013. It is to be built in the beautiful surroundings of uptown Swindon.
Read "The New Honda Civic Tourer - DriveWrite can't decide."
Dacia Duster As Long As It's Black
August 11, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The budget Dacia range has certainly gained a foothold in the minds of British drivers. In these days of high motoring costs the budget ethos of the Dacia brand has struck a chord with car buyers. The Sandero is the cheapest car available today and whilst it won’t win any premium prizes it is certainly a reasonably attractive and functional car that pretty much gives drivers all they need even if it isn’t everything they want. A new car for shockingly affordable money is hard to resist. Not the greatest car that we have ever driven but for the money, who’s arguing.
Read "As Long As It's Black"
Comment - The Spare Pound In Your Pocket
August 11, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Schimpf! Do you recognise that sound? You have in fact heard it before. Quite often in modern times as a matter of fact. It is the sound of the thin end of the wedge being slipped between you and what‘s left of your money.
Read "Comment - The Spare Pound In Your Pocket"
Special Edition Car The Joy Of Special Edition Cars
August 10, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
We all know and love the brilliantly flawed FIAT Cinquecento, badged in the UK as the 500. It ’s as Italian as Silvio Berlusconi and probably more reliable. The hot versions are emblazoned with the legend that is Abarth. But when it comes to buying cars, why not really push the boat out - because you’re worth it?You could, for example, treat yourself to the Abarth 695 Maserati Edition. If you fancy standing out from the crowd it will cost you a measly £32,000. Apparently the price includes a set of ‘stunning’ Tramontano leather luggage. Have you ever tried to get luggage into a 500?
Read "The Joy Of Special Edition Cars"
BMW Isetta Terrible Cars We Love To Make Our Own
August 9, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
There are different cars that suit different kinds of people. BMW’s are for serious business people who own many gadgets whereas ageing VW camper vans are ideal for people who love organic food and know how to assemble a yurt. Classic car owners are, however, a more discerning lot. They do not, as popular opinion has it, spend all their time embracing oily bits or soaking engine parts in the bath much to the consternation of spouses. They also have an aesthetic side. They love the form and design of automotive beauty. Which is why it comes as a shock to learn that there are some classics that are so awful that they have become collectible.
Read "Terrible Cars We Love To Make Our Own"
Jaguar Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On
August 9, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
You don’t mind a little Shakespeare, do you? It is, after all, a part of our heritage. In this country, heritage is something we value: Royal occasions, stately homes, Katie Price and the Aston Martin DB4 are all icons of the best of British. Sadly, only the wealthy can afford the luxury of a DB4 or the expense of running a Katie Price but there still exists out there an automotive heritage that is within reach of most enthusiastic drivers - practical classic cars.
Read "Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On"
Vauxhall Cascada Vauxhall Cascada Gains Power
August 8, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
We are not used to seeing the words Vauxhall and convertible side-by-side, yet not only is the company’s new Cascada a convertible, it is also a bit of a looker, especially in black. Reviews have been mixed and one criticism is a lack of power given that the Cascada is a tad lardy. We suspect that most buyers of this car won’t much care about that.
Read "Vauxhall Cascada Gains Power"
New Cars Car Dealers Need Love Too
August 8, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
In the late 1950’s Ford needed a replacement vehicle for their ageing Thunderbird. By 1964 the company had come up with a car that was to become an icon of American motoring - the Mustang.
Read "Car Dealers Need Love Too"
Ford Mustang The Legend of Pony Cars
August 8, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
In the late 1950’s Ford needed a replacement vehicle for their ageing Thunderbird. By 1964 the company had come up with a car that was to become an icon of American motoring - the Mustang.
Read "The Legend of Pony Cars"
Maps Maps Maketh Man
August 7, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Somewhere in the bowels of your car there may be a symbol of the great days of true motoring. Hidden away, like the Dead Sea Scrolls, at the back of your boot or under the back seat you might well find - a dog-eared paper road atlas.
Read "Maps Maketh Man"
Porsche Macan Mighty Muscular Macan
August 7, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Here at DriveWrite we make no secret of our love of Porsches and it’s no good trying to persuade us otherwise. They could make a car that looked like a wart to the rest of you and we’d still find positives. It’s hard to remain impartial but, at least with the Macan, we can only comment on what we believe is to come.
Read "Mighty Muscular Macan"
MG MG3 MG3 - Fun On A Budget
August 7, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The new MG3 certainly looks the part and now we know how much it will cost. Although prices are not down in the Dacia bargain basement department, they are hugely competitive. Most buyers would be pleased to note that the range started at just under ten thousand pounds. They are therefore likely to be astonished that the top spec version retails at £1 LESS than that amount.
Read "MG3 - Fun On A Budget"
American Muscle Car America Gives In To The Eco-Pressure
August 6, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The news that true petrol-heads have been dreading has finally arrived. America, the final frontier of the legendary V8 engine, is finally turning its back on power derived through multi-pot normally aspirated engines and instead has begun to believe that small is good.
Read "America Gives In To The Eco-Pressure"
Renault Twingo Let’s Not Say Goodbye, Just Au Revoir To A True Pocket Rocket
August 6, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The hugely entertaining Twingo Renaultsport 133 has been with us for five years now during which time the Company have sold 1203 cars - a good number for a niche car. Sadly, now it is time for this version at least to be retired to a nice rural paddock somewhere in the countryside.
Read "Let’s Not Say Goodbye, Just Au Revoir To A True Pocket Rocket"
Traffic Jam Jam Tomorrow (and the next day)
August 6, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Jam today; more jam tomorrow. Not a statement that says everything is going to be OK but rather one that foretells forebodingly of our future as motorists. Unlike the Jetsons our future driving lives will not be spent whizzing about in space-age airborne vehicles but sweltering in our cars as we wait to move forwards by ten metres.
Read "Jam Tomorrow (and the next day)"
WRC Jump WRC Reminder
By Geoff Maxted
Is rally the UK's most neglected motor sport? We are reduced to just one hour a week of highlights courtesy of ITV4. We probably all already know who won WRC Finland at the weekend (no spoilers here!) but it is still a great watch. This time at 8pm Wednesday. It's better than nothing. Pic shows Thierry Neuville airborne.
Parked Car Don’t Buy A House - Buy A Parking Space
August 5, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
According to some statistics the average price of a house in the UK is around £162,000. That ’s fine if all you want is somewhere to live but what about parking your car if there’s no space available?
Read "Don’t Buy A House - Buy A Parking Space"
Mike Hind, Communications Manager of CAP Automotive Auto Trade Body Open Their Doors To The Public
August 5, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Mike Hind, Communications Manager of CAP Automotive, tells us about a new service designed to drive more retail sales for dealers, by helping motorists with their new and used car choices, will be launched this month by CAP Automotive.
Read "Auto Trade Body Open Their Doors To The Public"
V8 Supercars vs. BTCC Bloody Oath! It’s AUSSIE V8 vs. BTCC! DriveWrite’s Aussie cousin, Barry, has his say…
August 4, 2013
By Barry
Listen up Poms. I was writing a love-poem about aspects of my native homeland - God’s own country - Australia, when I had a mental block trying to think of a word. You know how it is - just won’t come to you. All I could come up with was ‘Aboriginal throwing stick’. Then, finally, the penny dropped. Boomerang! I knew it would come back to me.
Read "Bloody Oath! It’s AUSSIE V8 vs. BTCC! DriveWrite’s Aussie cousin, Barry, has his say…"
Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo EDC Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo EDC - a Belated Review
August 3, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
DriveWrite had the opportunity to drive this car a few weeks ago courtesy of Renault. It is one of a number of really rather good hot hatches around these days. Fans of the previous version may well consider this car to be a bit soft and to have lost some of its predecessors hardcore personality. This is undoubtedly true. On the other hand most other drivers will appreciate the more sophisticated approach although a ‘Cup’ option to stiffen things up is available.
Read "Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo EDC - a Belated Review"
Eric Pickles News: Cash for Driveways
August 3, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
As you may have seen on the news, mighty Eric Pickles, the Community Secretary (seen here making a selection in Greggs) has mooted that householders should be free to turn their driveways into car parks thus providing cheaper parking spaces for harassed drivers. This is part of his plan to clamp down on “back door parking tax”. A well known financial website reckons that the average drive owner could trouser a couple of hundred quid by so doing. Inevitably, town halls are crying foul and are insisting that this constitutes a change of use and thus requires official approval - at a price. Government plans seem to indicate that one car should be allowed before planning permission is required. We’ll see who comes out on top. In the meantime, has it occurred to any of you that if you watch your neighbours’ movements closely you’ll be able to tell when their property is empty. The more astute amongst you will instantly spot the opportunity to branch out onto their drives and clean up on parking charges in your street! Obviously you will have to ensure that the shoppers are gone by home-coming time but hey, what they don’t know won’t hurt them, right?
Cars USA Flooded With Cars
August 3, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The image on the left shows just some of the fifteen thousand cars on this storage facility alone, flood damaged by Hurricane Sandy late last year. Some of the estimated 230,000 vehicles damaged by the catastrophic saltwater surge will be auctioned off, others will be destroyed. Anyone choosing to buy one of these formerly submerged cars at auction will hopefully know what they’re getting in to. Elsewhere though, some won’t - and that’s the problem.
Read "USA Flooded With Cars"
David Coulthard Dynamo vs DC
August 2, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Last night the renowned magician, Dynamo, stunned racing legend David Coulthard by completing a blindfolded, fire-laden run in a Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG. Impressive in itself, but it proved to be a prelude to a much bigger mind-reading feat.
Read "Dynamo vs DC"
Volkswagen Volkswagen News
By Geoff Maxted
Volkswagen is offering free insurance on a number of its popular retail models until the end of September, giving customers even greater value for money. One year’s free insurance is available to retail customers purchasing most up!, Polo, Beetle and Beetle Cabriolet models on Volkswagen Financial Services’ Solutions (PCP) package over three years and 30,000 miles. Certain exclusions apply, for example, all owners must be over 21 while free insurance for higher-powered models is restricted to those over 25.
Police Officer Hell On Wheels 2 - Everything’s Fine
August 1, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Eric Pickles is a Member of Parliament who casts a giant shadow. As Community Secretary he has occasionally put his foot in it but also on occasion - no doubt much to the consternation of senior colleagues - talks a bit of common sense. His latest bandwagon is to slag off councils who are ripping off motorists.
Read "Hell On Wheels 2 - Everything’s Fine"
Townsfolk Hell On Wheels 1 - The Vigilantes
July 31, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Recently I read a letter of complaint in which the author was “horrified and disgusted”. The complainant was referring to the litter-lout actions of a fictional TV character. I thought this was great as I’d assumed ‘Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells’ had died sometime in the 1970’s. Certainly, littering is unpleasant and this person should perhaps spend more time outside attending to the matter rather than moaning about some flickering fancy on the goggle-box.
Read "Hell On Wheels 1 - The Vigilantes"
Nun Want Cheaper Car Insurance? Become A Nun
July 13, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
A nun that drives down to the village shop once a week in a tiny car and totals 500 miles for the year will surely not pay much car insurance. I mention this because as I far as I can see from research, being a nun cannot be found to be a reason for an insurance premium to increase.
Read "Want Cheaper Car Insurance? Become A Nun"
Renault Scenic XMOD New Renault Scenic XMOD - A Great Family Car
July 12, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The Renault Scenic has been around since 1996 as a multi-purpose family vehicle and has evolved as time has progressed. The latest redesign with hints of styling from the Clio and Captur has done away with that sense of plodding dullness and resulted in a modern and attractive appearance.
Read "New Renault Scenic XMOD - A Great Family Car"
Used Car Salesman The Rip-Offs That Men Do
July 11, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The other day there was a programme on television where three highly paid professional presenters informed us about how we are ripped off by the motor trade. They presented to the camera as if this was somehow news to the millions of hard-pressed drivers on the road.
Read "The Rip-Offs That Men Do"
Maserati Ghibli New Maserati Ghibli - can it compete?
July 5, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Maserati. The very name speaks of automotive history and an elegance that can only be Italian. How do they do it? Their leaders consort with dubious ladies, their workers are permanently on strike and yet they seem to design and build some of the most exquisite cars in the world. The cars don’t work very well, obviously, and they are assembled with a certain devil-may-care nonchalance but somehow it doesn’t seem to matter. Maserati seem to be having an all-out assault on the premium car market. They appear to be determined to take on the likes of the imperious BMW 5 Series and the like to make up some ground in that premium market. On looks alone they have already won that battle but will the car be up to high standard set by the Beemer? Time will tell.
Read "New Maserati Ghibli - can it compete?"
Maps & Road Signs How Hard Can It Be?
July 4, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
We Brits live on a relatively small island. Going from place to place has never been easier. There are many road signs, for example. In Wales, you even get to read everything twice - once in Welsh and once in English. Why? If Welsh people want to speak Welsh then let them. If we go to France we don ’t expect the French to double up on the signage, do we? Obviously they should, but you know what they’re like. The main problem with the Welsh system is that the driver’s eye is automatically drawn to the foreign language bit first. By the time this has been dealt with the sign has gone and you‘re none the wiser.
Read "How Hard Can It Be?"
Renault Zoe EV Zoe sparks new life into the EV debate
July 2, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Here at DriveWrite I have, if I’m honest, been a bit sceptical about the whole electric vehicle scene. I don’t think the cars offered to date look that appealing, there’s the range issue and, well, they’re not like really proper cars are they? Prepare then, to be amazed as DriveWrite has a Saint Paul moment and is converted on the Road to Tetbury. Reader, I give you the Renault Zoe.
Read "Zoe sparks new life into the EV debate"
Renault Renault Resurgence
By Geoff Maxted
Renault have recently announced their new crossover, The Captur. That’s it in the picture and very nice it looks too. This is just part of the French company’s planned resurgence in the UK. In addition to the Captur there’s also a new Clio and the electric Zoe amongst others. Next week DriveWrite will be featuring these cars in some depth along with the new and highly anticipated Renaultsport Clio and an offering from the budget brand Dacia. Watch this space.
Helmet Knights Of The Road
June 26, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Never mind. Here at Drive Write Automotive we are always looking to give out sound advice and today’s brilliant wheeze is - wait for it - helmets for drivers.
Read "Knights Of The Road"
Mazda6 The Future of Sports Cars
June 26, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
“The pursuit of high performance is over, Grasshopper. Accept that the seeds of our destiny are nurtured by the roots of our past. The truth lies at your local Mazda dealer.”
Read "The Future of Sports Cars"
Bernie Ecclestone I'll Never Forget Whats'isname
June 15, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Most people can put a face to Jenson or Lewis. They possibly know about the One-Finger Kid but how many mildly interested viewers can put a name to all the faces further down the grid. How many people know their Pic from their Bottas?
Read "I'll Never Forget Whats'isname"
Alfa Romeo 4C New Alfa 4C
June 14, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
Owning an Alfa Romeo is a task ruled by the heart and not by the head. They make some of the most beautiful cars in the world but also some of the most flawed. It remains to be seen which camp the new and hugely desirable 4C finds itself in.
Read "New Alfa 4C"
BTCC Race How To Ruin A BTCC Race Day
June 13, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
On a cool crepuscular day we settled ourselves on a grassy knoll. The light was strange; like being in a slate-grey Tupperware box. Around us the collecting horde began to don fleeces and rain jackets. The first large, sullen drops of rain fell as the temperature dropped. Suddenly the air was filled with noise of engines as the first of the touring cars roared out of the pit lane and onto the sweeping curves of the Thruxton track.
Read "How To Ruin A BTCC Race Day"
Porsche 911 911 is fifty
June 13, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
The legendary Porsche 911 is fifty years old this year and to celebrate the company is building a limited edition version for our delight. The trouble is, the average age of anyone who can afford a Porsche is also probably fifty, but if you are in possession of a spare £92k plus then get in quick because only 1963 will be built for worldwide distribution. As if it wasn’t immediately obvious, 1963 is the year the legend began.
Read "911 is fifty"
Aston Martin Photographing Cars
May 27, 2013
By Geoff Maxted
A picture paints a thousand words. This hackneyed old saying has been around forever yet it remains true, especially when selling a used car. With the rise of the internet as a sales tool buyers want to have a good hard look at a car before they start organising viewing trips and the like, and they will expect to see images.
Read "Photographing Cars"




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