Car buyers: buy now or pay more road tax from 2017

Car buyers: buy now or pay more road tax from 2017

Car buyers: buy now or pay more road tax from 2017

Motorists are rushing to buy new cars before new regulations come in next year – hitting drivers of even the most efficient vehicles with £140 a year road tax.

Announced in former Chancellor George Osborne’s summer budget in 2015, the existing vehicle excise duty (VED) system will be axed in favour of a one-size-fits-all blanket policy.

While drivers will continue to be charged road tax based on CO2 bands for the first year, in subsequent years drivers will have to pay £140 for any car which emits any CO2 from its tailpipe.

This means even ultra-low emission hybrids and small petrol models – previously exempt from road tax – will have to pay £140 a year.

The new VED bands will also be based on purchase price. While the £140 tax applies to all cars with a list price of less than £40,000, more expensive vehicles will be charged an extra £310 a year for five years.

That means the zero-emission Tesla Model S, with a list price starting at £58,335, will cost £310 a year to tax. A diesel family SUV, like the Volkswagen Touareg, will cost £450 a year in VED – as will high-spec versions of the plug-in hybrid Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

Car buyers: buy now or pay more road tax from 2017

The new regulations, being introduced from April 2017, will apply to all new vehicles bought from then.

So, if you buy a new car before this date, you could save as much as £450 a year in road tax.

AA president Edmund King said: “Many car owners may be unaware of the forthcoming changes to car tax. But these changes are coming and could make a big difference to their household spending.

“It seems counter-intuitive that ultra-low emission vehicles could cost more to tax than gas-guzzling cars. The new Chancellor may wish to consider if the proposed changes sends out the right message to encourage greener motoring.”

When Osborne announced the new road tax rules, he said that 95% of new cars would fall into the ‘standard’ category, costing £140 a year. He explained that the change was needed because too many cars were falling into lower road tax bands, meaning drivers are paying nothing in road tax.

He said: “Because so many new cars now fall into the low-carbon emission plans, by 2017 over three quarters of new cars will pay no VED at all in the first year.

“This isn’t sustainable and it isn’t fair. If you can afford a brand new car, including some of the most expensive models available, you can pay no VED. If you can only afford an older second-hand car you have to pay more tax.”

Cars registered before the new rules are introduced will be charged VED at the current rates.

BMW 5 Series Remote View 3D

The new BMW 5 Series will let you watch over it from afar

BMW 5 Series Remote View 3DThis is the new BMW 5 Series, uncovered and in all its glory… albeit viewed from above by someone watching over it on an app.

So while this technically is a world reveal, it doesn’t tell us much about the car. What it does reveal is a cool new app BMW’s developed for new 5 Series owners – that lets them watch over their car from their smartphone.

Using the car’s 3D cameras, BMW looks to be letting owners watch the same reverse parking camera view seen on the iDrive screen via the BMW Connected app.

As this works ‘live’ when in use during reversing, it will also mean owners can watch almost-live overhead footage of their parked car, wherever they are in the world (it seems to let them refresh the image, which presumably instructs the cameras to turn on so it can take another screengrab). How cool is that?

There’s likely to be more: it’s probably going to be linked into the car’s alarm sensors and other detectors, so would be able to alert owners if it picks up something untoward. Someone trying to break into your BMW? Watch what’s going on via the app.

It may even record incidents if someone drives into it, which would also be smart. And, we’re sure, BMW has loads of other functionality built into this new app – perhaps allowing owners to isolate individual cameras to spy in more detail, for example.

For now the firm, literally, isn’t saying much: in revealing the image, it simply stated: “Always know what is happening around your vehicle.

“The next generation of the BMW 5 Series with the BMW Connected feature ‘Remote View 3D. Coming soon.”

Consider us eager to see more, BMW. Not least of the new 5 Series you’ve actually given the world debut to here…

Drivers in Scotland will no longer get cash for their scrap cars

Drivers in Scotland will no longer get cash for their scrap cars

Drivers in Scotland will no longer get cash for their scrap cars

New regulations being enforced in Scotland from 1 September will ban scrapyards from paying for old cars in cash.

The new law is being introduced to cut down on scrap metal theft – and will require motorists to show identification when scrapping their vehicles.

The rules are being introduced under the Air Weapons and Licensing Bill, which also affects pubs, taxi firms and the licensing of air weapons.

Police chiefs have estimated the total cost of thefts of cable and metal from the nation’s infrastructure to be as high as £770 million.

Car recycling site CarTakeBack.com is warning drivers only to scrap their cars using reputable scrap metal dealers.

Spokesperson Rebecca Currier said: “These operators will offer to pay cash for cars, but because they are unlicensed aren’t able to issue a Certificate of Destruction for the vehicle or correctly deal with the official paperwork to inform the DVLA that the car has been scrapped.”

If you fail to notify the DVLA that your car has been scrapped, you could be fined £1,000. If you scrap your car to a scrapyard operating illegally, you could also be responsible for any road or traffic violations carried out by the car while it’s still in your name.

The website also says that scrapyards that continue to operate in cash payments could also be operating outside regulations that are in place to protect the environment.

Currier added: “Cars need to be recycled properly so that hazardous materials such as oil and batteries are disposed of correctly. This should only be done at a scrap car recycling centre with an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) licence.

“The licence requires businesses to invest substantially in the necessary equipment and buildings required to recycle cars correctly – the current target is 95% of the vehicle. Illegal operators who do not possess this licence tend also to deal in cash payments so the change in law will assist in cracking down on them.”

Revealed: Jeremy Clarkson’s worst cars of the year

Revealed: Jeremy Clarkson’s worst cars of the year

Revealed: Jeremy Clarkson’s worst cars of the yearLast week, the Sunday Times revealed Jeremy Clarkson’s top 10 favourite cars of the last year. They included gems like the new Mazda MX-5 and Volvo’s superb new XC90.

And while that’s great, what we really want to know is which cars he thinks are absolute stinkers. Writing for the Sunday Times again, Clarkson has listed his worst cars of the last 12 months. There are a few surprises…

Vauxhall Astra SRi NAVRevealed: Jeremy Clarkson’s worst cars of the year

We quite like the new Vauxhall Astra. It’s a huge step up over the previous model – and it even won the coveted European Car of the Year title. However, Clarkson isn’t a fan.

So why the Astra bashing from Mr Ex-Top Gear? Simple: he had an Aston to drive that weekend and wanted to be driving that instead. “I much preferred the idea of tooling around in a convertible Aston for the weekend to that of bumbling about in a mildly speedy Vauxhall,” he explained. Fair.

Infiniti Q30 Premium TechRevealed: Jeremy Clarkson’s worst cars of the year

When we drove the Infiniti Q30 last year, we didn’t think it was bad per se. It just had no distinguishing features that’d make you want to buy one over rivals from established premium brands.

Clarkson’s biggest criticism was the Q30’s diesel engine, which actually comes from Mercedes-Benz. It’s certainly a little grumbly.

“I think that’s what the engine does, in fact,” says Clarkson. “[It] turns diesel into sound. Because it sure as hell doesn’t turn it into large lumps of power. Every time I pulled out to overtake a caravan, I had to pull in again because there wasn’t quite enough grunt.”

Skoda Superb SE L ExecutiveRevealed: Jeremy Clarkson’s worst cars of the year

We rate the Superb for its upmarket interior, plentiful loadspace and attractive price tag – but Jeremy Clarkson isn’t as easily impressed. He gave the big Skoda two stars, concluding that it was ‘good for minicabbing but not for the soul’.

He adds that the Superb “has the same amount of soul as a fridge freezer. It’s the sort of car that you’d buy by the foot.”

Zenos E10 SRevealed: Jeremy Clarkson’s worst cars of the year

We said you’d be surprised by some of Clarkson’s choices. We gave the Norfolk-built Zenos E10 S a five-star rating when we drove it. But Jezza describes the unassisted steering as ‘wearing’, while complaining that he has ‘encountered better-equipped pencils’.

And then he comes to ‘the turd in the swimming pool’. The Zenos doesn’t come with anti-lock brakes, which means the front wheels have tendency to lock up under heavy braking.

“An anti-lock system would solve all that,” explains Clarkson. “But the whole point of the Zenos is that you get no driver aids. I like that philosophy, when I’m on a sofa and someone else is doing the driving, in a race, on the television. But a bit less when I’m heading towards a tree in a cloud of my own tyre smoke.”

Renault Kadjar dCi 130 Signature NavRevealed: Jeremy Clarkson’s worst cars of the year

Now this we can totally get behind. Like the Infiniti, it’s not that the Renault Kadjar is a bad car. It’s just… bland. Tediously bland. Based on the bland Nissan Qashqai, Renault has made it just as soulless.

“A dreary milestone on motoring’s road to oblivion” is how Clarkson sums up the Renault Kadjar.

BMW X1 xDrive25dRevealed: Jeremy Clarkson’s worst cars of the year

This is another car that isn’t actually that bad. But as Clarkson points out, because it sports a BMW badge, you expect it to be better.

The Fracas-gate star bemoans the X1’s off-road ability and the fact the range-topping 2.0-litre diesel ‘didn’t feel speedy’.

SEAT Leon X-Perience SE TechnologyRevealed: Jeremy Clarkson’s worst cars of the year

Throughout Clarkson’s 31-year car testing career, he’s never driven a SEAT. He’d never asked, because he ‘couldn’t see the point’, he explains. But then the company sent him its jacked-up Leon, the X-Perience.

We’re fans of the X-Perience’s metallic brown paint and brown Alcantara interior combo, but apparently Jeremy isn’t. “I’m grateful to SEAT for lending me this car because it reinforces every belief I’ve held about SEAT’s cars,” he says. “They’re a waste of time.”

Ouch.

Nissan GT-R Track EditionRevealed: Jeremy Clarkson’s worst cars of the year

The standard Nissan GT-R is a brilliant car. That’s something us and Clarkson agree on. But the GT-R Track Edition takes suspension from the (even more extreme) Nismo and a stiffer shell to make it a full-on track car. Too extreme for the road, reckons Clarkson.

“This track-day abomination gets no stars at all,” he concludes, after likening hitting a manhole cover to being in a plane crash.

Volkswagen Scirocco 2.0 TDIRevealed: Jeremy Clarkson’s worst cars of the year

Clarkson’s first car was an original Volkswagen Scirocco, which goes someway towards explaining why he doesn’t like the current model. Add in the fact that it’s getting old, based on the sixth-generation Golf and is powered by a diesel engine that needs lots of revs to stop it stalling, and he arrives at a two-star verdict.

Jezza concludes: “As an overall package it did nothing all week except remind me how much I wanted a Golf GTI.”

Hyundai i800Revealed: Jeremy Clarkson’s worst cars of the year

The Hyundai i800 is enormous, practical, and cheap. It makes for a great taxi – but if you’re an Uber driver with one of these and get summoned by a Mr J. Clarkson, don’t bother. He hates the thing, awarding a bit fat zero-star rating.

“I would rather apply sun cream to James May’s back than travel again in a Hyundai i800,” he says. Well, there we are.

Teenage owner of seized gold Maserati: 'I'll use my Roller instead'

Teenage owner of seized gold Maserati: “I’ll use my Roller instead”

Teenage owner of seized gold Maserati: 'I'll use my Roller instead'

The billionaire teenage owner of a gold Maserati GranCabrio that was seized by police earlier this month for not being insured has said it wasn’t a big deal – as he just drove his Rolls-Royce instead.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, 19-year-old Hamza Sheikh bragged that he’d just have to fit L-plates to his Rolls-Royce.

He said: “I was informed by my staff that the police were watching my car for more than an hour. I have security with me wherever I go and I’m very happy that I’ve got my car back, but I was not without a car — I drove my Rolls-Royce with my security.

“I am the golden child of my family, that’s why my car is gold. I was just coming from completing my theory test when I was stopped.”

A Pakastani immigrant, Sheikh has earned his money working as a property developer while studying as business management student at Regent’s University.

He blames the insurance issue on an admin error, saying his ‘busy lifestyle’ meant he missed a letter from the insurance company – leaving the gold Maserati GranCabrio uninsured.

Sheikh has since handed over a release fee to recover his Maserati from the police compound, but is yet to go to court – where he could be hit with a fine of at least £300 and points on his provisional driving licence.

He also has a Range Rover in his garage and is waiting for his new gold Lamborghini to be delivered.

Driving gold supercars around Central London with L-plates, the teenager is no stranger to controversy.

He added: “I am a billionaire and when learning to drive in my Maserati I get a lot of jealousy, but if I have the money why not? Everything I have is because of my mother’s prayers and Allah.

“Jealousy is a mental cancer, please get treated.”

Teenage owner of seized gold Maserati: 'I'll use my Roller instead'

Teenage owner of seized gold Maserati: "I'll use my Roller instead"

Teenage owner of seized gold Maserati: 'I'll use my Roller instead'

The billionaire teenage owner of a gold Maserati GranCabrio that was seized by police earlier this month for not being insured has said it wasn’t a big deal – as he just drove his Rolls-Royce instead.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, 19-year-old Hamza Sheikh bragged that he’d just have to fit L-plates to his Rolls-Royce.

He said: “I was informed by my staff that the police were watching my car for more than an hour. I have security with me wherever I go and I’m very happy that I’ve got my car back, but I was not without a car — I drove my Rolls-Royce with my security.

“I am the golden child of my family, that’s why my car is gold. I was just coming from completing my theory test when I was stopped.”

A Pakastani immigrant, Sheikh has earned his money working as a property developer while studying as business management student at Regent’s University.

He blames the insurance issue on an admin error, saying his ‘busy lifestyle’ meant he missed a letter from the insurance company – leaving the gold Maserati GranCabrio uninsured.

Sheikh has since handed over a release fee to recover his Maserati from the police compound, but is yet to go to court – where he could be hit with a fine of at least £300 and points on his provisional driving licence.

He also has a Range Rover in his garage and is waiting for his new gold Lamborghini to be delivered.

Driving gold supercars around Central London with L-plates, the teenager is no stranger to controversy.

He added: “I am a billionaire and when learning to drive in my Maserati I get a lot of jealousy, but if I have the money why not? Everything I have is because of my mother’s prayers and Allah.

“Jealousy is a mental cancer, please get treated.”

The average speed on local A-roads is just 25mph

The average speed on local A-roads is just 25mph

The average speed on local A-roads is just 25mph

Data released by the Department for Transport (DfT) shows that the average speed on local authority A-roads in the UK has hit a new low of just 25.4mph.

That’s less than half the 60mph national speed limit for single carriageway roads outside urban areas – and a drop of 1.7% compared to the same time last year.

The news comes ahead of the August bank holiday weekend, which could see delays of up to 90 minutes on some roads as motorists attempt to get away for one last summer break.

The DfT’s report shows the average speed drops to 22.4mph during the weekday afternoon ‘rush hour’ – between the hours of 4pm and 7pm.

Comparing local A-roads in urban and rural areas, the report found that average speeds have dropped the most in urban areas – down 4.0% to 18.6mph so far this year.

The drop was smaller in rural areas, where the average speed on local authority controlled A-roads is 36.8mph.

The report, which monitored traffic speeds using GPS trackers fitted to a sample of cars and light vans, found the average delay on local A-roads in England is estimated to be 45.2 seconds per vehicle per mile – an increase of 3.8% compared to a year before.

This increased to 75.0 seconds on urban A-roads, compared to 20.0 seconds on rural A-roads.

A further report published today by the DfT reveals that the average speed on the strategic road network – consisting of major A-roads, dual carriageways and motorways – is 59.2mph.

This network accounts for just 2% of all roads in the UK – but carries around a third of the traffic. During periods of congestion, drivers had to allow an extra 68% of time for their journey compared to when traffic was flowing freely.

Lotus Elise 250 Special Edition

Lotus Elise 250 Special Edition marks 50 years in Norfolk for £48k

Lotus Elise 250 Special EditionLotus has lived at its legendary Hethel, Norfolk site for 50 years and to celebrate, the storied British sports car company has launched a new Elise 250 Special Edition.

It’s priced at a hefty £47,900, but includes standard carbon fibre componentry that helps cut the kerbweight to below 900kg.

These include a carbon fibre front splitter, rear wing, engine cover and front access panel; they also look rather beautiful, particularly when complemented by the ultralightweight forged alloy wheels.

Offered in metallic blue, red, yellow or white (“four of the firm’s favourite colours,” says Lotus), the Elise 250 Special Edition also has a hand-finished interior including carbon fibre seats with leather stitched by someone’s fair hands and a choice of contrasting stitching colours (the leather’s either dark blue or dark grey).

Based on the high-performance Elise Cup 250, a 243hp 1.8-litre supercharged engine helps it from 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds and around Lotus’ Hethel test track in 1 minute 34 seconds – that’s the fastest-ever time recorded by any road-spec Elise.

Fancy performance kit as standard include Bilstein dampers, Eibach coaxial coil springs, AP Racing twin-pot front brake calipers and Bilstein rear calipers. But fancy luxury kit such as air con, Bluetooth functionality, cruise control, full carpets and extra sound insulation, cost extra.

“When we first introduced the Elise,” said Group Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales, “it redefined how involving and exciting, yet civilised, a sports car could be.

“As the Elise was conceived, designed, engineered and is built at Hethel, we wanted a 50th tribute that’s even lighter than the fastest road-going Elise we’ve ever produced.

“The new Elise 250 Special Edition achieves that.”

Lotus will make just 50 Elise 250 Special Editions: ordering is open now.

Video: watch an Uber rally driver scare passengers in a Ford Focus RS

Video: watch an Uber rally driver scare passengers in a Ford Focus RS

Video: watch an Uber rally driver scare passengers in a Ford Focus RS

When you order a lift through Uber, you can never be sure who’s going to turn up – or what car they’re going to be driving.

But as a publicity stunt for the excellent new Focus RS, Ford Romania loaned rally driver Simone Tempestini a car and told him to demonstrate drift mode to a few (un)lucky punters.

In the video clip, Tempestini is shown telling his customers that they could have the ride for free – as long as they could spare 10 minutes for a demonstration of the car’s abilities.

You can guess what happens next – he turns onto a convenient empty piece of concrete and does a bit of sidewaysness.

The passengers are all suitably impressed with the car some are dubbing the hot hatch of the century. We’ll let the video do the rest of the talking.

7 ways to save a classic car from the scrapper

7 ways to save a classic car from the scrapper

7 ways to save a classic car from the scrapper

This is a plea to the casual classic car enthusiast. More than 1.5 million Austin Metros were built between 1980 and 1991. Now fewer than 500 survive on our roads.

It’s not just the humble Austin Metro that’s on the verge of extinction. Ford Cortinas, Morris Marinas and Vauxhall Chevettes are all in decline – and you could prevent any of these disappearing entirely.

As part of its new Save our Classics campaign, ClassicLine insurance has released a list of eight ways you could prevent an endangered car driving its last mile.

1: Buy one

1: Buy one

Yes, it might seem obvious. Not all of us are in a position to give an Austin Metro a good home. But if you can, you might find it a worthwhile exercise. For example, you can pick up a Morris Ital in excellent condition for around £5,000. That’s so much cheaper than more exotic classics – and it could be a sound investment. For just £1,000 you could pick up a Metro or Triumph Acclaim in reasonable condition. Imagine how good you’d feel, seeing it tucked up in your garage.

2: Join a club

2: Join a club

Whether you’ve bought an unloved classic or are just enthusiastic about their plight, there’s a club out there for everyone – from the Allegro Club International to the Sunbeam Talbot Alpine Register. It could get you a discount on insurance, too. Plus, you’ll get to attend some great events.

3: Store your car correctly

3: Store your car correctly

An Austin Maestro that has survived this long doesn’t deserve to be left out in all elements. Classic cars can be fragile and hard work to maintain. They’ll be easier to live with if looked after properly – ideally stored in a dry barn, or a wood- or brick-built garage. If you haven’t got a barn or garage to hand, consider an inflatable plastic tent, using fans to keep air moving inside.

4: Use a specialist garage

4: Use a specialist garage

If you look, there are a surprising amount of specialist garages and part suppliers out there for all manner of cars. Support these – they’ll be able to provide expert advice on, say, the correct thermostat to fit to your Austin Maxi. And they’ll probably charge you considerably less than franchised companies.

5: Petition the Government

5: Petition the Government

As of 2014, classic cars over 40 years old face a rolling exemption from paying UK road tax. ClassicLine says owners should petition the Government to reduce this to 30 years – and make more classics exempt from the MOT. Currently, all vehicles made before 1960 don’t have to face the annual roadworthiness test.

6: Petition the Government some more

6: Petition the Government some more

While it’s great to have a local mechanic who’s old enough to have been around when your car was new, ClassicLine warns that 43% of the 22,000 people working in the classic car industry are more than 45 years old. A large number of the workforce could be retiring in the near future – so enthusiasts need to petition the Government to promote the IMI Diploma in Classic Vehicle Restoration. Doing so could get more younger people interested in old cars, and give them the skills to keep them on the road.

7: Use it

7: Use it

Cars like to be driven – and a vehicle that’s left in the garage for years will seize up, rubbers will harden and bodywork will corrode. Not only is regular use better for them, it’ll also help spread enthusiasm and promote the cause.