The biggest midweek car show in Britain: we were there.
The hybrid Honda NSX supercar is one of the most hyped cars of the year – and dealers are cashing in on that, with some asking more than £70,000 over list price.
With right-hand-drive models in high demand, an Auto Trader search reveals three delivery-mileage cars with a price tag of more than £200,000. When Honda’s given a list price of £144,765, that’s quite a mark-up.
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Two of those cars are at specialist London car dealer, Clive Sutton. Customers at the luxury car dealership can choose between a black and a blue NSX, both with fewer than 100 miles on the clock. The price? £209,950.
“Order books closed over two years ago and Clive Sutton brings you the chance to own Honda’s reborn icon as a ground-breaking hybrid,” said the dealer in an advert for the car. “The vehicle is a 2017/17 registration and in the very rare Nouvelle Blue with red/black leather & Alcantara power heated sport seats, carbon ceramic brake discs with red brake calipers, full carbon fibre options and the navigation pack.”
The claim for the priciest Honda NSX, meanwhile, goes to a Porsche specialist in Lincolnshire, which has a silver example with just 20 miles on the clock and an incredible £218,995 asking price.
Last year, Motoring Research reported that the hybrid supercar had a two year waiting list – which goes some way to explaining today’s extortionate prices.
“It’s a real halo car for the brand,” said Honda UK’s MD at the time, Philip Crossman. “Both us at Honda UK and our dealers are looking forward to doing lots with this car to boost our profile.”
The two-seater hybrid supercar combined a mid-mounted V6 engine with three electric motors to produce a combined 581hp. This takes it to 62mph in 2.9 seconds and a top speed of 191mph.
If you’re wanting to beat the waiting list but your budget falls short of £200,000, some dealers are offering them from around £160,000. The original NSX, meanwhile, starts at around £30,000 for a high-mileage example.
Car tracking expert Tracker has warned that car thieves are using a clever new technique to steal cars from outside their owners’ homes using keyless entry systems.
The so-called ‘relay’ method uses two criminals working together. One stands near the door of the owner’s home, within range of the car’s key fob. A device used by the crooks then picks up the key fob signal from inside the house and relays it to the car. If it’s successful, the criminals can start the car and drive away within seconds.
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“At Tracker, we are seeing more thefts recorded as ‘stolen without the keys’ which suggests that electronic manipulation and cyber compromise are on the increase,” said Tracker’s head of police liason, Andy Barrs. “The new relay attack technique has gained significant ground in the US and Germany, but it’s also beginning to take hold in the UK, so vehicle owners need to protect themselves and their assets.”
German research reveals BMWs and Peugeots are most likely to be targeted using keyless techniques, but testers have managed to unlock a wide variety of vehicles using the relay method. The BMW 7 Series, Toyota Prius, Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus are the most affected, says Tracker.
Barrs adds: “As relay attacks become even more prevalent, owners need to protect themselves, particularly since criminal gangs are routinely using relay devices to exploit weaknesses in keyless security systems across a broad range of manufacturers. These tools are readily available on the internet for as little as £80 and thefts typically occur in residential areas, where cars are parked relatively close to the house, especially at night.”
Ford knows how to appeal to the mainstream car buyer. Its Fiesta supermini has remained the best-selling car in the UK since 2009, while the Focus is a favourite among company car drivers and families alike. It can do performance cars, too, from the Fiesta XR2 to the latest Focus RS. But there have been a few duffers over the years. Keep scrolling to discover the most controversial Fords ever.
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Never mind being one of the most controversial Fords ever, the North American market Ford Pinto is one of the most controversial cars, full-stop. It was subject to a huge recall in 1977 when it was discovered that locating the fuel tank behind the rear axle could have explosive consequences. Ford was accused of knowing about the design fault, and subsequently faced more than 100 lawsuits following the recall.
Ford couldn’t have predicted the Bronco’s rise to infamy. When ex-NFL player and movie star OJ Simpson went on the run from police following the murder of his wife and her friend, he used his Bronco as his getaway car. Unfortunately for Ford, more than 95 million people tuned in to watch the chase unfold live on TV. The Bronco has been synonymous with OJ Simpson since then. Bizarrely, Ford has said it will be bringing back the Bronco badge for 2020.
The Ford Explorer was a top-heavy SUV based on the Ranger pick-up truck. In a bid to improve stability while keeping costs to a minimum, Ford lowered the suspension and reduced tyre pressures. This increased temperatures of the standard Firestone tyres during everyday driving, which could lead to the tread separating from the tyre. Blaming Firestone for the issues, Ford issued a recall in 2001, but only after hundreds of crashes involving Explorers, some of them fatal.
Ford Escort Mk5
“Ford’s new Escort meets its rivals… and loses”, read the cover of Autocar magazine on 29th August 1990. The fifth-generation model of Ford’s popular family hatchback was a real dud, with disappointing engines, bland styling and handling that couldn’t compete with cars such as the Volkswagen Golf.
It wasn’t so much the Indian market Ford Figo that’s proved to be controversial, but the advertising around it. An ad for the Fiesta-based supermini appeared on Ford India’s website showing former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi with a group of gagged women in the boot of the car. Beneath the picture, it stated: “Leave your worries behind with Figo’s extra-large boot.”
Ford desperately needed a small crossover to rival the Nissan Juke. Rather than designing an all-new Fiesta-based crossover for the European market, it brought its Ecosport ‘world car’ across. Reviewers were pretty unanimous that the Ecosport was one of the worst new Fords in a long time, and sales reflect this.
The Ford Capri was intended to be a Mustang for Europe, but it fell well short of being a European pony car. The Mk1 shared a lot of components with the Cortina family saloon, and was offered with a range of engines kicking off with a disappointing 1.3-litre four-cylinder unit. It was far from a European Mustang, but the Capri proved to be a sales hit and is a desirable classic car today.
Ford Escort RS Cosworth
The Ford Escort RS Cosworth was so quick that, back in the day, police cars couldn’t keep up with them. As they were relatively easily to steal, they were very popular with joy riders and more serious criminals alike, making them extremely expensive to insure. A great car, but one that got Daily Mail readers in a twist almost as much as the Lotus Carlton.
The Ford Granada was a reasonably successful and attractive executive car. We’ve no idea what Ford was thinking when it introduced its replacement, the Scorpio, in 1994. It featured bulbous headlights and to this day, Ford hasn’t revealed the chief designer responsible for its controversial appearance (“Nearly every Ford designer had a go at this one”, said Ford’s product development man at the launch). It wasn’t a massive sales success.
After 20 years in production, Ford axed the popular Cortina and replaced it with this: the first-generation Sierra. Nicknamed the ‘jellymould’ because of its futuristic styling, sales of the Sierra were initially slow. This wasn’t helped by speculation that its design hid crash damage (its smart bumper design could withstand minor impacts, concealing more serious damage underneath), and rumours even arose that Ford might reintroduce the Cortina.
Ford Mustang II
The second-generation Mustang was launched in time for the 1973 oil crisis, and was very different to the original. To appeal to a wider market, the V8 was axed in favour of an in-line four-pot, plus an optional V6. It was based on a smaller platform shared with the Ford Pinto. As soon as America moved on from the oil crisis, Ford had to re-engineer the engine bay in order to squeeze in a V8.
Ford Five Hundred
Launched in 2005 as a successor to the popular Ford Taurus, the Five Hundred was uninspiring in many ways. It was based on a Volvo-sourced platform, with no rear-wheel-drive option and bland styling. Its designer, J Mays, likened it to the Audi approach, but buyers weren’t convinced. It was heavily revamped and rebranded as a Taurus after just two years on sale.
Originally intended as a replacement for the fourth-generation Mustang in America, the Mazda MX-6-based Ford Probe instead filled a gap previously occupied by the Capri in Europe. Divisive looks, along with disappointing engines, front-wheel drive and that name contributed towards the Probe being a flop. It was axed in 1997.
Ford Mustang Mk6
The latest Mustang is the first to be officially sold in Europe, and it’s proving to be a hit for Ford, fast becoming the most popular sports car with more than 250hp in the UK. However, not everyone is a fan. Its Line Lock feature, which lets drivers pull a burnout at the press of a button, was banned in Australia, while initial crash tests in Europe awarded it just two stars.
Ford Model T
The Ford Model T is accepted as being the world’s first mass produced car: one that changed the motoring landscape entirely. But you can imagine the hysteria around it at the time? “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses,” Henry Ford allegedly said at the time.
Ford Focus CC
Ford commissioned Italian styling house Pininfarina to turn its popular Focus into a convertible. You wouldn’t believe it to look at it, though. The Focus CC’s two-piece folding hard-top contributes to its ungainly looks, while practicality also took a knock. Added wind noise and issues with the retractable roof mechanism meant the CC sold in relatively small numbers.
In some ways, the Ford Fusion was ahead of its time. Based on the fifth-generation Fiesta, the Fusion was a half-hearted attempt at a crossover, intended to appeal to young, active buyers who’d appreciate the added practicality and beefed-up looks. Instead, it proved to be popular with older drivers who appreciated the ease of getting in and out, along with its increased headroom.
Based on the Ford F-250 Super Duty pickup, the Excursion was the longest and heaviest SUV to ever enter production. Intended for the North American market, the Excursion proved to be too big even for American roads, and was axed in 2005.
Ford Torino Talladega
The Ford Torino Talladega was a muscle car built for a matter of weeks in 1969 before it was axed on cost grounds. Intended to make Ford more competitive in NASCAR and sold under homologation rules, the beefed-up Torino was named after the Talladega Superspeedway, which opened the same year. It didn’t last long before Ford abandoned all its racing programs after being questioned over their cost compared to improving the efficiency and safety of its road cars.
BMW has launched a new scrappage-style scheme that offers owners of older diesel cars an extra £2,000 off any new BMW or Mini – provided the new car emits 130g/km CO2 or less.
The BMW ‘Lower Emissions Allowance’ incentive is targeting owners of diesels with Euro 4 emissions compliance or less: in other words, most cars built before 1 September 2009 (BMW and Mini car dealers will help determine whether your vehicle is eligible or not).
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The £2,000 allowance is on top of any other trade-in prices, dealer offers, discounts or government incentives, meaning owners of older cars could potentially get quite a tasty incentive to swap into a modern Euro 6 model.
BMW is not forcing people into a petrol car or plug-in hybrid, either: all new models are eligible for the saving, provided they emit 130g/km CO2 or less. “For those who the alternative drivetrains do not suit their lifestyle we still offer allowance qualifying Euro-6 compliant petrol and diesel engine cars that are cleaner than ever,” said BMW Group UK CEO Graeme Grieve.
80 percent of new BMWs emit 130g/km or less, and 70 percent of Mini models are also eligible: the full list is shown on its website.
BMW does, however, point out that it has a decent range of electrified and electric models, including the i3, i8, BMW I Performance plug-in hybrids and the new Mini Countryman PHEV…
The small print
Not everyone can just go and buy an old diesel tomorrow in order to save £2,000 on a new BMW or Mini, though. “To ensure fairness,” customers must have owned the car for at least a year. The new model must also be registered to the same name and address as the old trade-in dirty diesel.
BMW vows dealers will give a “suitable average price” for their old car as trade-in: this is on top of the £2,000 allowance.
Only private buyers can take up the offer (sorry, those running seriously tired fleets of diesels) and all new cars must be registered by 31 December 2017.
“BMW offers the widest range of low emission vehicles of any manufacturer,” said Grieve. “We know in the early phases that people still need some incentive to make the jump to fully electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles and that is why we are delighted to announce this new allowance.”
On the day the Government announced plans to ban the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars in the UK by 2040, Auto Trader noticed a 680 percent spike in searches for electric cars as people panicked about the future of their traditional vehicles.
Data released today by the new and used car website reveals that it saw a 680 percent increase in consumers searching for electric cars on July 26th, as well as a 257 percent rise in petrol ethanol searches. Hybrid searches increased by 170 percent while bi-fuel cars, such as those fitted with LPG conversions, saw a 129 percent rise in popularity.
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The ban will be on sales of all new petrol and diesel vehicles (not including hybrids), and will not affect the sales of secondhand cars. Despite this, the data from Auto Trader suggests people are keen to trade their petrol and diesel cars for plug-in vehicles ahead of the ban coming in.
As diesel cars continue to face a difficult time, Auto Trader says it has seen a dip in the number of people searching for diesel vehicles. Around a quarter of searches on the website are based on fuel type, with 71 percent of those seeking a diesel car in November 2016. This dropped to 54 percent in May 2017, but are now on their way back up – with diesel vehicles accounting for 56 percent of all fuel-specific searches in June.
While more car buyers continue to search for diesel vehicles rather than petrol models, this might be because anyone searching based on fuel type place a higher importance on fuel economy. Three quarters of Auto Trader searches don’t specify a fuel type.
“Given the level of coverage it’s not surprising there has been a decline in searches,” said Auto Trader’s retailer and consumer product director, Karolina Edwards-Smajda. “But despite the ongoing negative rhetoric, the impact on diesel has been fairly limited up to this point. The return to growth on our marketplace is testament to not only the resilience of diesel, but also its popularity amongst car buyers.”
Secondhand diesel values lag behind
As demand for secondhand diesel cars has taken a slight knock, so too have their prices. In July 2017, the average price of a used car was £11,780, 4.5 percent higher than it was for the same month in 2016. Despite this average market increase, diesel is the only fuel type where month-on-month price increases are slowing. The average year-on-year price increase for diesel used cars was just 1 percent in July 2017, compared to a year-on-year price increase of 7.7 percent for petrol vehicles.
Edwards-Smajda added: “While diesels remain a popular option for car buyers, it’s interesting to observe that at a time when the used car market is experiencing year on year growth, the ongoing negative commentary is having a slight impact on their retail value. Given the timing and the fact the slowdown is isolated only to diesel, a coincidence seems unlikely. Price is still increasing year on year, but growth is slowing, suggesting retailers are finding it harder to increase prices.”
It’s easy to say you can’t put a price on safety, but when it comes to buying a new car, you don’t need to break the bank to protect yourself on the road. All of the 20 cars featured here have been given the highest possible rating of five stars for safety by Euro NCAP – yet even the most expensive currently costs less than £19,000.
Euro NCAP safety ratings explained
Established in 1997, the European New Car Assessment Programme has challenged car manufacturers to take safety seriously. Subjecting new cars to a series of crash tests, Euro NCAP independently rates new cars on a scale of one to five stars. As safety technology has developed, Euro NCAP has changed the rating process to ensure its standards also become ever-more demanding.
This means the scores needed to hit five stars in 2017 is more demanding than it was, say, in 2012, with cars also needing standard crash avoidance technology to claim top marks. All cars here were awarded five stars at the time of testing, and have been reviewed annually by Euro NCAP to ensure the score remains valid.
Suzuki Ignis (with Safety Pack)
With a starting price of just £10,499, the Ignis supermini is the cheapest car on our list. There is a catch – the five star rating awarded in 2016 only applies to the Ignis when specified with an optional ‘Safety Pack’. This includes a camera-based automatic braking system that, without, sees the Ignis score just three stars. However, even adding the £750 Safety Pack to the price of the entry-level SZ3 model, still see the Ignis undercut everything else on this list.
Skoda takes safety seriously, so you can be confident that even the most basic Fabia supermini will have your back, despite costing just £11,295. Awarded top marks when assessed in 2014, the Euro NCAP testers noted that the passenger compartment of the Fabia remained stable on frontal impact, with good protection of head and legs. The entry-level S trim means no air conditioning or satellite navigation, but you can add the option of a collision mitigation system for just £280.
Nissan Micra (with Safety Pack)
The latest Micra might just be filtering through to dealerships, but that hasn’t stopped Euro NCAP from already testing it. As with the Ignis, in order to claim the full five stars the Micra needs to be equipped with certain safety features. Fortunately, all Micras sold in the UK come with the requisite Lane Departure Warning, and Intelligent Emergency Braking to qualify for five stars. It means you can spend just £11,995 and feel quietly confident.
Renault has built an impressive reputation when it comes to safety, mastering the requirements of the Euro NCAP tests to persistently claim high marks. The current Clio supermini was tested back in 2012 when safety technology requirements were slightly less stringent, but that doesn’t change the impressive 88% scored for adult occupant protection. Child occupant safety was rated even higher, at 89%, meaning your kids will be even safer than you. Perhaps make them contribute to the £12,445 price tag.
Currently available with a £500 discount if ordered by the 1st October, the Yaris may have been recently facelifted but the car underneath was first tested by Euro NCAP all the way back in 2011. The good news is that more safety equipment has been added since then, including a Pre-Collision Warning system and Lane Keeping Assist, even on the most basic Active trim level. Take advantage of the current offer and stump up from just £12,995.
Another new contender in the supermini class, Seat’s latest Ibiza has recently been rated by Euro NCAP. Although the £13,130 S version may lack creature comforts like satellite navigation, or even alloy wheels, at least it’ll be safe. Scoring an impressive 95% for adult occupant crash protection, the Ibiza comes with a wealth of airbags, brake assistance technology, and even a speed limiting function as standard.
It might lack the glamour of other C-segment family hatchback rivals, but the Pulsar can include strong safety alongside spacious rear legroom. The Visia Limited Edition costs a bargain £13,275, and boasts the same five star rating as the higher-priced models in the range, despite lacking their standard Forward Emergency Braking system. Adult occupant safety was rated at 84%, with child safety at 81%. With a rating of 75%, Euro NCAP also noted that the bumper and bonnet of the Pulsar were kind to pedestrians.
The sensible car choice for many, it is perhaps hardly unsurprising that the Honda Jazz notched up a strong performance when evaluated by Euro NCAP in 2015. Its adult occupant rating of 93% even outscores the latest Civic, along with good protection against whiplash for both front and rear passengers. An active city braking system is standard on all models, including the cheapest S model which costs just £13,955.
Recently refreshed, Peugeot’s supermini was first unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 2012, with Euro NCAP getting their hands on it the same year. Tested under the older regime, the 208 didn’t need technology like Active City Brake to score the highest marks. This is now available as an option, but not on the lowest specification Active model you’ll be getting for £14,465. You do get standard cruise control with a speed limiter function, multiple airbags, and 15” alloy wheels for your money, though.
There’s no need for extra safety packs with this Suzuki. The £14,999 Vitara in SZ4 trim comes with seven airbags, ISOFIX child seat fixings, Electronic Stability Protection, and cruise control with a speed limiter. Higher specification versions also include radar-operated brake assist, which Euro NCAP assessors noted as ‘good’ when tested in 2015. All of the above helps the Vitara make a strong case for itself in the competitive compact SUV market.
The Captur became the 15th Renault model to be awarded five stars by Euro NCAP when tested in 2013. Recently revised with an incredibly subtle facelift, the Captur should continue to remain popular in the compact crossover sector, with safety just part of the appeal. Euro NCAP praised the adult occupant protection of the Captur, rating it at 88%, although pedestrian safety scored just 61%. With prices starting at £15,615, all Capturs get cruise control, air conditioning, and alloy wheels.
Built in Britain, and a favourite of police forces throughout the land, the Astra undercuts many C-segment hatchback rivals with prices from £16,535. It also picked up the award for European Car of the Year for 2016, and was tested by Euro NCAP in 2015 where it was awarded all five stars. The assessors noted particularly good performance in side impact testing, despite a rear door coming open unexpectedly. Whilst the basic Design model includes a range of standard features, a Driver Assistance Pack including automatic city braking is an extra £825.
Launched earlier this year, it should be no surprise that the latest Hyundai i30 comes packed with standard safety equipment. That includes Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, and a forward-facing camera that scans for potential collisions. Of all of this kit comes as standard on even the cheapest S model, priced at £16,995. Euro NCAP were clearly impressed, awarding the i30 five stars after testing it this year.
With a current promotion available on the Zetec Edition model, a new Ford Focus could be yours for just £17,185 – saving some £2,450. The current Focus has been around for quite some time, with Euro NCAP’s earliest rating published in 2012, where the Focus scored the full five stars. Adult occupant protection was notably good at 92%, with child occupant safety rated at 82%. Due to the date the Focus was tested, standard Electronic Stability Control was the only safety tech needed to help score big.
Known for offering a lot of car for the money, it’s good to know that the Skoda Octavia can also include comprehensive safety as part of the deal. A recent facelift has tweaked the looks, but beneath this is still the same car that was endowed with five stars by Euro NCAP in 2013. An adult occupant score of 93% is commendable, although the assessors did note that side impact protection in the more severe pole test was weak for the chest. At £17,185 the basic S model represents good value, although rear side airbags are a £485 optional extra.
Strong and stable, the Volkswagen Golf is a paragon of dependability. Fortunately, reality matches expectations when it comes to safety, and the Golf received top marks when evaluated in 2012. Adult occupant safety was very high at 94%, with Euro NCAP praising the Golf for good protection in all areas but the lower leg in frontal impacts. At £17,765, the entry-level S makes do with steel wheels, but still features an 8” touchscreen multimedia system and DAB radio.
Another Renault, another five star safety rating from Euro NCAP. Tested in 2015, the Megane made sure the reputation of the French brand was upheld, scoring a very respectable 88% for adult occupant safety. Even pedestrian safety was rated well at 71%, although try to avoid the hard A-pillars if you have the misfortune of being hit by a Megane. Standard equipment on the cheapest Expression+ model includes ESP, cruise control, and multiple airbags – a lane departure warning system is additional to the £17,790 list price though.
It might be at the pricier end of the C-segment family hatchback scale, but the Mazda3 boasts handsome styling and efficient engines. Throw commendable safety performance with a five star Euro NCAP rating into the equation, and the £17,995 starting price for the SE model becomes easier to justify. With a score of 93% for adult occupant protection, the Mazda3 impressed when tested back in 2013. However, features like cruise control and automatic city braking are relegated to the options at this price point.
With a rough and tough image, you might hope the Jeep Renegade would be able to keep you safe. According to Euro NCAP, it certainly did enough in December 2014 to be awarded five stars by them. Curiously, the Fiat 500X which shares a platform, and much of the same technology with the Renegade, was only given four stars. This was due to a lower score for safety assist systems. At a price of £18,250, the most advanced safety tech is only optional at Sport level, but you do get Jeep’s amusingly-titled ‘Panic Brake Assist’ as standard.
It might be the most expensive car here at £18,340, but the Ateca has proven to be very popular by undercutting key rivals like the Nissan Qashqai. That doesn’t mean scrimping on safety, with stars all round for the Seat when evaluated in 2016. With airbags for head, chest, pelvis and knees, plus forward collision warning and emergency braking, it’s easy to see why it scored so highly. The lack of a standard lane keeping assist was the only thing missing in terms of safety technology.
Fast Ford fans flocked to Silverstone this weekend for the annual Ford Fair event. In its 32nd year, more than 18,000 Blue Oval fans visited the show, with a wide range of modern, retro and classic Fords on display. Continue scrolling to see the highlights.
With 4,000 cars at the event, there was a Ford for everyone. How small does this Mk2 Escort look next to a Focus ST?
Fans wanting to try their cars on track could book a session on Silverstone’s legendary National circuit throughout the day.
For those searching for a rare part for their Ford, a Retail Village covered a huge area dedicated to traders and a vast autojumble.
To celebrate 15 years of the original Focus RS, the Mk1 Focus RS Owners Club gathered with a line-up of the rare Imperial Blue cars.
Of course, it wasn’t just the Mk1 Focus RS enjoying all the attention. A line-up of Mk2 and Mk3 models, with a wide range of modifications, also featured.
Is this the ultimate fast Ford? Fans enjoyed a rare glimpse of the 2017 Ford GT supercar. Power comes from a 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 producing 656hp.
Another iconic anniversary being celebrated at this year’s Ford Fair was 25 years of the Escort RS Cosworth. The blue collar supercar was powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine producing 230hp as standard. But some tuning companies have been able to double that.
Fast Ford fans not taking their cars out on track could get their thrill by watching stunts in the live action arena. Here, Paul Swift’s team put on an incredible display using Focus STs…
Not to mention a new Focus RS, which was driven around the arena on two wheels.
For classic Ford fans, a special Classic Zone featured a variety of Fords from yesteryear.
Ford itself also had a number of models on display, just in case any visitors were considering an upgrade. Here’s a Ford Mustang convertible in 2.3-litre Ecoboost guise.
Even in the age of online auctions, nothing beats an old-fashioned autojumble.
Where else will you find an original Ford GT40 parked next to the new GT? Which would you take home?
Click through our gallery to see more pictures from Ford Fair 2017…
How do you measure the value of a car? A low price is one thing, but the gloss will soon wear off if you’re forever spending money on parts and repairs. Equally, a more expensive car could be rated as excellent value for money if it never goes wrong and puts a big smile on your face.
And, sure, a new car review might provide some insight into a vehicle’s strengths and weaknesses, but real-world experience is far more valuable. Which is where Auto Trader’s ‘best value’ list comes in. Using the views of 10,000 car buyers, it has created a rundown of the cost-efficiency of 10 car brands. We’ll present the results in reverse order.
Once upon a time, Citroen was the world’s most innovative carmaker, before it descended into the automotive equivalent of the bargain basement bucket towards the end of the century. Today, the innovation might be lacking, but its range of cars is arguably more interesting than the supposedly premium DS Automobiles. Discuss…
This will be seen as a good result for Volvo, with the Swedish brand keen to compete with the premium Germans without adopting a me-too approach to design and marketing. It’s working, because the XC90, XC60, V90 and S90 are terrific cars.
SEAT is on a bit of a roll at the moment, with motoring experts hailing the new Ateca as the best thing since somebody took a knife to a loaf of bread. The new Ibiza is also a bit of hit and has the potential to steal sales from its Polo sibling and the new Fiesta. SEAT also sells the Toledo…
There will be some head-scratching going on at Jaguar Land Rover, with the latter brand near the bottom of Auto Trader’s chart. The Jaguar range is shaping up rather nicely, with products that tick both the ‘head’ and ‘heart’ boxes. If the F-Type appeals to the heart, the F-Pace can appeal to both.
Such is Lexus’ reputation for reliability and excellence, a top 10 finish was almost guaranteed. The posh arm of Toyota tends to score well in customer satisfaction surveys and was recently named ‘Best Manufacturer’ in the Auto Express Driver Power Survey. In the same survey, its dealers were named the best in Britain.
And so we reach the top five, where we find Skoda, which has managed to upstage Volkswagen, Audi and SEAT. The Kodiaq is arguably the most convincing new crossover of 2017, although we’re a little sad to be waving goodbye to the Yeti. Its replacement, the Karoq, has a lot to live up to.
If you’ve been paying attention, you can probably guess the top four using a process of elimination. Hyundai has always appealed to the head, but the launch of the i30 N hot hatch should add some much needed emotional qualities to the brand. Meanwhile, Hyundai offers a five-year unlimited mileage warranty.
Speaking of warranties… Kia offers a seven-year warranty, but it’s worth noting that, unlike Hyundai’s five-year cover, this one is limited to 100,000 miles. Kia’s range kicks off with the £9,450 Picanto S, but extends to the £42,045 seven-seat Sorento KX-4.
Suzuki doesn’t make an expensive car – although the £22,249 Vitara S raises a few eyebrows – but this result is proof that cheap can be cheerful. There’s a ‘Ronseal’ quality to Suzuki’s range: all the cars do exactly as they promise. Even the bargain basement Celerio is well equipped and surprisingly appealing.
Congratulations, Dacia, because 10,000 Auto Trader readers believe you build the best value cars in Britain. Prices start from £5,995 for the basic Sandero Access, but the majority of buyers splash the cash on some much needed ‘luxuries’. Here’s a side note: far from being worth next to nothing on the secondhand market, we couldn’t find a used Dacia for less than £2,600.
Update (August 31, 2017): Dacia says ‘we keep things simple’
Dacia has responded to news that it’s been voted the best value car brand in the UK. Dacia UK’s head, Louise O’ Sullivan, said: “The Dacia range offers UK drivers the most affordable new cars on the market and a rapidly growing number of them are drawn to the brand because we keep things simple and offer cars we know our customers want.”
It comes a day after Dacia revealed the first photos of its new Duster ahead of its reveal at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show.
It’s an annual decision. Take the car ferry to France, or pop the car on the train? For many it’s a conclusion they came to years ago. Now, throw away your prejudices and take a fresh look at the pros and cons.
With Eurotunnel you’ve only once choice – its down the M20 down to Folkestone. The Dover-based ferries also depart from the much same area of the south east of Kent, and end up a few miles apart from each other in Calais. Dover and Folkestone are some 65 miles from the Dartford crossing on the M25.
You don’t have to go to Calais. DFDS Seaways runs a Dover-Dunkirk service, which places you 25 miles up the coast closer to Belgium, Holland and Germany.
Deeper into France
How quick is a short crossing?
Speed is why most people choose Eurotunnel. The crossing time to Calais is 35 minutes. P&O and DFDS take around 90 minutes to do the same, or two hours to Dunkirk. Factor in a 60-minute check-in, though, and the difference between train and ferry becomes 95 minutes and 150 minutes.
What about the long ferry crossings?
Getting you closer to central and western France will require a longer – and more expensive – ferry crossing. It takes approximately four hours to get to Dieppe, six to Caen or Roscoff, and between eight and 12 to St Malo or Le Havre. Overnight crossings tend to take longer than day crossings, so that you can disembark at a respectable time of the morning. Brittany Ferries also has a high-speed ferry from Portsmouth to Cherbourg that takes just three hours.
How much will it cost?
How long is a piece of string? ‘Fluid’ pricing is commonplace, so that when sales have been high, the best deals disappear – just like Ryanair and Easyjet. Last-minute bookings in August, for a family of four with a car on the short crossings, are around £220 for the ship to Calais, and closer to £300 through the Eurotunnel. Reckon on saving a third of that on the ferries by booking a year ahead. Eurotunnel hasn’t published fares that far in advance, but there will be deals too.
Brittany Ferries, with its longer crossings, is naturally more expensive, and at short notice it was hard to find a crossing for less than £600 at the weekend, rising to nearer £800 on the popular St Malo crossing.
So which is best: ferry or train?
In my view, the ferries win hands down, every time. Do I want to save an hour of my life simply to travel in metal tube, at best industrial-chic, but to my thinking more like putting my car and my family into a larger version of an Underground train? Can I relax here, go for a pleasant walk, get some decent food, find a nice place for a wash and brush up? You already know the answer.
By the time I get to Dover, and I live only 100 miles away, I am ready for a meal, a break, and a tangible sense that I am going on holiday. The ferry does all that for me, and more. Take a long Brittany Ferries crossing and I can step the whole experience up a further notch, with fantastic restaurants and comfortable cabins. My advice is there’s no need to be in such a rush. Chill out and take the boat.
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