We’ve given the Citroen C3 a thorough long-term test. Should you buy one over a new Ford Fiesta or Seat Ibiza?
The RAC has warned that 19 million leisure journeys will be made over the upcoming Easter weekend as motorists make their first big getaway of the year.
A survey by the motoring organisation reveals that Thursday will be the busiest day on the roads as holiday traffic mixes with regular commuter traffic. A total of 3.18 million individual leisure trips will be made on top of commuter traffic on Thursday, while Good Friday will see 4.45 million leisure trips.
While it’s normal to see heavy traffic over Easter weekend, the RAC has warned that it will coincide with bad weather causing chaos on the roads.
“While Easter is a little earlier this year than last, our research suggests drivers are just as keen as ever to get away and make the most of the long weekend,” said RAC traffic spokesman Rod Dennis. “In fact, between Thursday and bank holiday Monday our data indicates around a million more confirmed leisure journeys by car than in 2017.
“But if drivers are hoping for the longer days to herald better weather, they are likely to be disappointed. The ‘Beast from the East’ might have departed but much more unsettled conditions look set to make a very unwelcome return – with the risk of snow for some of us, and strong winds and rain for a lot of the country.
“We strongly recommend motorists keep abreast of the weather forecast through this week to help them organise their trips, especially if they are planning on driving any great distance.”
Planned upgrades to parts of the national rail network could also hit road traffic as buses carrying rail passengers take to the roads in parts of the north west, south west and east of England.
It’s not all bad news, however, as Highways England has put the majority of planned roadworks on hold over Easter.
“We’re doing everything we can to make journeys as smooth as possible this Easter and that’s why we’re keeping 99 per cent of the road network we manage, free from roadworks,” said Highway England’s customer service director, Melanie Clarke.
“Safety is our top imperative and we know from experience that almost half of breakdowns are avoidable and these can easily be avoided with simple vehicle checks. Easter is always a busy period on the road network and we’d urge all motorists to make sure they do their bit to check their vehicle is roadworthy before setting off over this period.”
GSI badge returns on a warmed-up Insignia. Marketing stunt or desirable performance car?
A survey of 2,000 drivers has revealed that parallel parking is the driving manoeuvre we dread the most.
According to the poll, commissioned by the Accident Advice Helpline, many of us are happy to drive almost a hundred metres further just to find an easier place to park.
“Parallel parking has been a thorn in drivers’ sides since the invention of the motor car,” said Accident Advice Helpline’s David Carter.
“We’ve all felt the pressure of getting into a tight parking space on a busy street when there are others watching.
“So it’s no surprise that twice as many people said they dread parallel parking as the next most difficult manoeuvre.”
Reversing into a parking bay and reversing around a corner also made the list of drivers’ more challenging manoeuvres. Motorists also admitted to being daunted by reversing in a straight line.
The survey found that nearly half of drivers admit to attempting a parallel park that went so badly wrong that they gave up halfway through. A quarter have exited the car and let someone else finish off for them.
It’s no surprise, then, that respondents put a reversing camera to the top of their wish list to make parallel parking easier.
10 trickiest parking manoeuvres
1. Parallel park
2. Reverse into a parking bay
3. Reversing around a corner
4. Turn-in-the-road/three point turn
5. Driving forward into a parking bay
6. Reversing in a straight line
7. Parking close to the kerb
8. Navigating a roundabout
9. Emergency stop
10. Pulling up on the right of the road
Rewind by even just a decade and the idea of two performance cars from Korea battling it out on pure merit would certainly be a left field one. Yet we should not really be too surprised that Hyundai and Kia have produced a duo of fast cars that have made the establishment take notice.
From poaching key European designers and engineers, to thousands of miles of arduous testing at the Nurburgring, the two brands have made no secret of their plans to develop impressive hot machinery.
We’ve pitted the Kia Stinger GT-S and Hyundai i30 N against each other, with our comprehensive twin test on one of the most challenging bits of road in the UK. Don’t forget to check out our video, too.
This week has also seen the impressive new Volkswagen Up GTI introduced to its young predecessor, a first drive of the new sensible Citroen C4 Cactus, and a preview of what to see at the 2018 NEC Classic Car and Restoration Show.
As a blast from the past, Vauxhall is restoring the GSi badge to the Corsa. Set to go on sale later this year, expect sporty styling and finance deals to pull in the buyers.
- Although 1 in 3 Vauxhall dealerships may end up closed in the next year.
- Whilst Ford is planning to open showrooms inside Next clothing stores.
- One in three cars sold in Europe during February 2018 was an SUV.
- Cadillac owners in the USA can now stream music via Spotify Premium.
- Suzuki GB has cancelled its advertising deal with ITV’s Ant and Dec.
Twin Test – Kia Stinger GT-S vs Hyundai i30 N
The twisting Zig-Zag Hill was the venue for a battle between the two hottest South Korean cars to date. Which one would emerge victorious from the epic showdown?
Twin Test – Volkswagen Up GTI vs Lupo GTI
It’s taken Volkswagen more than a decade to create a successor to the acclaimed Lupo GTI. Andrew Chapple introduced the newcomer to the previous miniature GTI.
First Drive – 2018 Citroen C4 Cactus
It might have been around for just four years, but the C4 Cactus has been revised with a more adult look. Has it lost the charm of the original in the process though?
Red alert – what you dashboard warning lights mean
With modern cars more complex than ever, the number of warning lights on the dashboard can be overwhelming. This is everything you need to know about them.
A total write-off?
Insurance categories for written-off cars changed in 2017. We have a guide to what the categories mean, and their implications.
Self-driving trial is go
Jaguar Land Rover is set to release a fleet of self-driving cars onto the roads of Milton Keynes, as part of a major public trial.
Retro MR – Barn finds at the 2018 NEC Classic Car & Restoration Show
Can there be many barns left still harbouring undiscovered cars? Given the sheer number on show at the NEC this weekend, the barns must surely all be empty now.
Retro MR – Fast Fords on display at the NEC
Performance Fords are more popular than ever at the moment, which should make the sheer number of them on display at the NEC Classic Car Show no surprise.
The Practical Classics Classic Car and Restoration show is in full swing, with enthusiasts filling the halls of the NEC to see all manner of classic cars – from restored beauties to in-need-of-restoration barn finds.
One car manufacturer that is well represented is Ford, with a model to appeal to everyone…
Ford Escort RS Cosworth
With fast Ford prices rising as quick as they are, it’s no surprise to see this RS Cossie roped off at the Classic Car and Restoration Show. Finished it silver, it almost looks understated. Almost.
Ford Focus WRC
The Focus WRC is a rally car loosely based on a Mk1 Focus and driven by Colin McRae following his Subaru days. It made its debut at the Monte Carlo rally, where it was disqualified for being equipped with an illegal water pump. It soon picked up 11 world rally victories.
Ford Escort XR3i
Sunburst Red paint. Cloverleaf alloys. Do XR3is get any more perfect than DJX? It’s also got one of the cleanest MOT histories we’ve ever seen, and has covered less than 80,000 miles. It’s high on the ‘want’ list…
Ford Escort RS1600i
As is this RS1600i. Based on the non-fuel-injected XR3, the RS1600i was a homologation special built to limited numbers. This example at the NEC looks to have escaped the rust that has killed off most examples of the RS1600i. In fact, it’s mint.
Ford Taunus 20M RS Coupe
This is an exceptionally rare car in the UK: a 20M RS Coupe built in Germany in 1971. It was one of the first Fords to be given the Rallye Sport moniker, along with the Mk1 Escort RS1600.
Mk1 Ford Mustang
Mustang fever shows no sign of waning as Ford facelifts the current model, so it’s nice to see such a tidy example of what started it off originally. We particularly like the whitewall tyres.
Mk4 Ford Mustang
By the 1990s, the Mustang had got fat. It wasn’t a patch on its former self. Ford’s since restored its honour with the latest one, but if you don’t have that sort of cash, this V6 Mustang is at least a bit of a steal. You can honestly say you do actually own a Mustang – just don’t let on which one…
Mk1 Ford Escort Mexico
More than 10,000 Mk1 Escort Mexicos were built in celebration of the model’s rallying success in the late 60s and early 70s. Those who couldn’t afford an Escort Mexico wanted an Escort Mexico, so replicas were once very common.
Ford Escort RS Cosworth
Along with the McLaren F1 and Honda NSX, the Ford Escort RS Cosworth is one of THE finest cult cars of the 1990s. Its muscular styling was absolutely millimetre-perfect and the motorsport-focused chassis beneath was so ready-made for the WRC rally stage, it made light work of British B-roads. One of the most covetable fast Fords of all time.
Mk1 Ford Escorts
Take two early Ford Escorts, one in full-bore fast Ford Mexico guise and the other perfect and pristine in cooking shopping-car spec (and the most gorgeous colour). Now try to pick between them. Can’t we just have both of these beauties?
Ford Fiesta XR2
In facelifted guise, the hot Fiesta was one of the most popular hot hatches of the 1980s, along with its sportier bigger brother, the Escort XR3i. It produced less than 100hp but that wasn’t such an issue in those days, thanks to light kerbweights, and sentimental children of the 80s are now busily pushing prices up to well beyond what they cost when new.
Based on the Mazda MX-6, the Probe was intended to be a modern-day Capri when it was launched in 1993. Its lacklustre styling and front-wheel-drive layout – not to mention a poor interior – meant it wasn’t the sales success Ford hoped for. Today, the Probe is a fairly rare sight, but it’s finally getting recognition as a modern day classic.
Ford Sierra XR4i
The V6-powered Ford Sierra XR4i was a pretty special thing, with a bespoke three-door bodyshell and fruity engine. With its Cosworth-style ‘whale tail’, it was a bombastic-looking thing, although it ultimately didn’t quite have the right sort of sporting edge to make it a classic. With the roll-out of the Sierra RS Cosworth, it was quietly forgotten…
Ford Fiesta Supersport
It took Ford a little while to find the fast Fiesta formula. This Supersport was getting closer, and was certainly a better package than the earlier 1300S it was based upon. But it still only had a 1.3-litre engine, so wasn’t a match for more potent rivals. That would soon change with the 1982 launch of the 1.6-litre Mk1 Fiesta XR2 (a car that actually nabbed a few styling bits from this UK-only Supersport…).
Ford Racing Puma
The Racing Puma was a limited-run model based loosely on the regular Puma. Converted by Tickford, the Racing Puma was heavily modified – with a wider front and rear track, Sparco seats and an engine producing an extra 30hp over the standard car. Although only 1,000 were planned, Ford struggled to sell them due to the high price tag. 500 were shifted in the end, and they’re increasingly seen as a solid investment today.
Ford Granada Perana V8
A Ford Granada Perana? What’s that? Why, a bona fide fast Ford that’s what – courtesy of a 5.0-litre V8 Mustang engine under the bonnet. Yes, that would do it. It’s part of the famous range of cars developed by Basil Green in South African starting in the early 1970s.
Ford Capri Perana V8
Green also popped a V8 into the Ford Capri. It really was the British Ford Mustang – and remarkably, the Windsor Small Block motor weighed barely any more than the lumpy old 3.0-litre V6 it was swapped for. Buyers could pick from Bright Yellow or the Peri Peri Red pictured here.
Ford Escort XR3i cabriolet
Those of us of a certain age, who grew up watching Dempsey & Makepeace, will always hanker for a Ford Escort XR3i Cabriolet. This later ‘Mk3.5’ was posher than anything Makepeace ever drove, but still desirable, particularly in this limited-run two-tone paint finish.
Suzuki GB has announced it is ending its advertising campaign with Ant & Dec, following Ant McPartlin’s drink-driving charge.
The firm says it will air no further material featuring the pair – and its endorsement deal with Ant & Dec has also ended.
“We agree with ITV and Ant & Dec that it was the correct decision not to broadcast Saturday Night Takeaway this weekend. As a car brand. we recognise the seriousness of Ant’s charge.
“We completely support Ant’s decision to seek treatment.”
It’s not the immediate end of Suzuki on Saturday Night Takeaway, though. The car firm has agreed to continue its sponsorship of the final two series of the show, with its current advertising films.
“Suzuki very much supports Dec and ITV’s decision to broadcast the shows and as headline sponsors we also want to support the competition winners who have won places on the Plane to Florida for the series finale.”
Ant was charged with drink-driving after being arrested last Sunday after crashing his black Mini Countryman Cooper S. A passenger in one of the other cars he hit – a green Mini – was later taken to hospital as a precaution.
Amateur footage showed Ant emerging from the crashed Mini in a dazed state, after colliding head-on with a BMW X3.
Which is the best sporty Korean?
We head to Zig-Zag Hill to drive the most exciting South Korean cars on the planet: the Kia Stinger GT-S and Hyundai i30 N
Cadillac owners in the United States can now stream music via their Spotify Premium account without their phone, cables, or a Bluetooth connection. Available on select models, including the XTS, CTS, ATS, CTS-V and ATS-V, the service will soon be available on all-new Cadillacs, including the 2019 CT6.
As a result, Spotify users will enjoy a richer user experience, more akin to that found via the desktop or smartphone app, rather than the limited features available when connecting via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
Volvo launched the first in-dash, voice-activated Spotify in 2013 before it became the first carmaker to integrate the streaming service globally in 2016. The XC90, S90 and V90 were the first models to feature the system, which does away with the need to use a smartphone for music streaming while on the road. You simply login using your username and password.
— The Verge (@verge) March 21, 2018
In a Cadillac, users will see five screen icons at the top of the home screen: Home, Recently Played, Your Library, Browse and Mini Player. Spotify-curated and personalised playlists will also be available, such as Discover Weekly, Release Radar and Your Daily Mix.
The app will also deliver recommendations geared towards the drive, such as songs for a road trip, singing along with friends or commuting to work. Stay tuned for The Boomtown Rats’ I Don’t Like Mondays and The Bangles’ Manic Monday when you start your working week.
Jonathan Tarlton, Spotify’s senior manager of automotive business development, said: “Cadillac has been an amazing partner to make it easier and safer for Spotify users to listen to music in the car. We love the innovation we are seeing with Cadillac’s entertainment systems and are excited to bring personalised on demand music to more Spotify lovers on the road.”
No more lousy or inappropriate music?
Is this such a big deal? After all, Spotify is available via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and other music streaming services can be accessed via other smartphone apps. We think it is, as it shifts Spotify from feeling like an external application into something at the core of a car’s infotainment system.
Chris Velazco, senior mobile editor at Engadget, seems to agree. He says: “What seemed special after playing with this new Spotify experience for a little while is just how… Spotify it felt. Once you’ve signed into the account (either by punching in credentials on the car’s touchscreen or generating a PIN inside Spotify on a smartphone), you’ll find a slew of suggested playlists, a history of recently played tracks and full access to your Spotify library.
“There are some limitations due to driver distraction guidelines – you can’t sift through long lists of tracks, for instance – but the service’s suggestions are good enough that I didn’t need to worry about being served lousy or inappropriate music.”
While Spotify’s integration with Cadillac is of little consequence to UK motorists – unless they plan to hire a Caddy as part of their summer vacation – the streaming company is already working on apps for other manufacturers. Time to start predicting the songs it will play when you’re stuck on the M25.
ACDC’s Highway to Hell and Chris Rea’s Road to Hell should be at the top of the playlist.
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