Chancellor Philip Hammond

Budget 2018: key points for motorists and how the industry reacted

Chancellor Philip Hammond

Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced what’s described as the biggest ever cash injection for England’s major roads in the 2018 Budget.

The flagship £28.8 billion National Roads Fund upgrade plan will run from 2020-2025, and forms the major part of a £25.3 billion budget for Highways England, called Roads Investment Strategy 2.

This is a 40 percent increase on the previous five-year plan’s £17.6 billion (dubbed Roads Investment Strategy 1) – and it will be raised largely from ring-fencing Vehicle Excise Duty (VED). This was announced in the 2015 Budget by then chancellor George Osborne, following claims only 25p in every £1 raised from VED was being spent on roads.

The government also announced £3.5 billion of ‘new money’. This will be used by local councils to upgrade major local roads that fall outside the control of Highways England.

Another £150 million will be provided to improve problematic road junctions and congestion hotspots, benefitting all road users, not just motorists.

The UK’s pothole scourge was addressed in the 2018 Budget with an extra £420 million for road repairs. This is on top of a previous £300 million pothole fund (although the Asphalt Industry Alliance says to fix all England’s potholes would actually cost £8 billion).

The Chancellor said the £420 million sum “will be available immediately, to local highway authorities, for fixing potholes, bridge repairs and other minor repairs”. 

There’s also a £680 million commitment to supporting sustainable transport in cities – that’s buses, trams and cycling routes. From 2022, Future Mobility Zones will be created with £90 million from the Transforming Cities Fund. The Treasury says this will help “trial new transport modes, services, and digital payments and ticketing”. The West Midlands region alone will receive £20 million of it.

As earlier announced by Prime Minister Theresa May, fuel duty has been frozen for the ninth successive year. “This will keep the cost of fuel down for millions of drivers across the UK,” said the Chancellor, “saving people around £800 million this year alone.”

The saving to the average car driver will be more than £1,000, and for the average van driver, £2,500.

The tougher new WLTP fuel economy test has raised the CO2 emissions of many big-selling cars, with particular impact on company car tax. The government says it will review the impact of WLTP, both on VED and company car tax, in the spring.

Ahead of this, VED and company car fuel benefit charges will increase in line with RPI. 

The 2018 Budget also hinted that greater changes to motoring taxation are being considered. “Technology is changing many aspects of the economy – including the vehicles we drive – and the government is considering how the tax system will need to adapt to manage those changes.” Could this be an early indication of road pricing, perhaps?

2018 Budget for motorists: reaction  


“There are some welcome announcements in the Budget,” said Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive Mike Hawes, but “the automotive industry was looking for a stimulus to boost a flagging market. We wanted to see more incentives for consumers to purchase the latest, most environmentally friendly vehicles.

“The forthcoming review into the impact of WLTP on Vehicle Excise Duty and company car tax must, therefore, ensure that motorists buying the latest, cleanest cars are not unfairly penalised. Industry looks forward to working closely with government on this review to ensure we encourage the newest, cleanest vehicles on to our roads rather than incentivising consumers and businesses to keep older vehicles going longer.”


“This is good news for the nation’s motorists,” said RAC chief engineer David Bizley. “While the focus of this cash injection is on strategic major roads, it is also positive that other local roads will benefit to some extent. But what is also needed going forward is a similar long-term strategy and funding for the maintenance and improvement of all local roads so that we can, over 10 years, eliminate the backlog.”


“The BVRLA was dismayed to hear that the Budget included no reference to an early introduction for the 2 percent company car tax rate for electric vehicles,” said chief executive Gerry Keaney. “The Chancellor chose to ignore the overwhelming voice of fleets, motoring groups, business organisations, environmental groups and MPs – all of whom were united in calling for this simple tax measure to support the electric vehicle market.

“The Government has missed a golden opportunity to incentivise the most important market for electric cars and is in danger of undermining its own Road to Zero strategy. “

Cox Automotive

Philip Nothard, customer insight and strategy director at automotive solutions provider Cox Automotive UK, said: “This was a very broad budget. We now need to have a real look into the detail and what it actually means for car owners.

“The freeze in fuel duty is obviously welcomed but there didn’t appear anything new, with no obvious references to challenges that the industry currently faces such as WLTP, autonomous vehicles and #dieselgate”.

Paul Johnson, IFS director

Labour MP Emily Thornberry

2018 Budget: cash for motorists

  • £28.8 billion: Roads Investment Fund (2020/25)
  • £420 million: local road maintenance (2018/19)
  • £150 million: tackling local congestion hotspots (£75 million in 2021/22 and the same in 2022/23)
  • £680 million: Transforming Cities fund (2022/23)
  • £90 million: Future Mobility Zones (2019/20 and 2021/22)
car sickness

How to prevent car sickness

car sickness

The RAC reports that up to one in five people experience car sickness. That’s around 7.3 million people in the UK suffering from what is widely considered to be a problem we grow out of as we age.

So what causes car sickness – and how can it be helped?

What causes car sickness?

Reading (61 percent) and using a phone or tablet (50 percent) were found to be the top causes of car sickness. Nearly four in 10 reckon winding roads wind up their tums, while a third say a lack of fresh air makes them queasy. As many as 30 percent said not looking out of the window makes them feel sick.

In total, 75 percent of sufferers said sitting in the back seat was the worst place within the car. Just 12 percent said the front seat was the worst place.

How can car sickness be prevented?

car sickness

Needless to say, there’s no need for a medical cure. It’s better to simply address the causes. Here are five top tips the RAC has for keeping it down while on the road.

  • No screens

Get off your phone and start looking out of the window. Car sickness isn’t unlike seasickness in that if you’re being jiggled around as you focus on one thing, you’re going to feel queasy. Try some of those classic in-car games that keep you scanning your surroundings. I-Spy anyone?

  • Roll ’em down

A stuffy, confined space is enough to get anyone tasting what they last had to eat again. In a moving car? No chance. Luckily, cars have windows that can be lowered. Fresh air is a tonic any sufferer of car sickness should take.

  • Have a bite

Believe it or not, it’s easy to feel queasy when you’re hungry. A bite to eat beforehand (not a three-course meal, perhaps) can stand your tummy in good stead for the journey ahead.

  • Easy on the controls

Make sure your driver isn’t doing his or her best impression of Ken Block. A smooth drive is far more likely to be vomit-free than a re-enactment of the best power lap round the Top Gear test track.

  • On the beaten path

Stay off twisty, undulating roads if possible. A-roads and motorways are your friends.

  • Take a break

Here’s one from us – not RAC-sanctioned. Many sufferers of car sickness we’ve spoken to say it mostly affects them on long journeys. You’re just a service station away from your suffering coming to an end, if your driver so chooses. A refreshing break out of the car could be all you need.

Read more:

Family cars for £250 a month

Best family cars for less than £250 a month

From the Skoda Rapid Spaceback to the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid, here are 20 new cars you can own for £250 a month

Porsche 993

Porsche ‘Project Gold’ 993 911 sells for £2.4 million

Porsche 993

Porsche’s Project Gold 993 restoration has just sold for £2.4 million at RM Sotheby’s Porsche 70th Anniversary auction held at the Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Project Gold 993 Turbo is Porsche’s own interpretation of the ‘reimagine and restore’ craze that’s happening in the world of classic cars right now. How would Porsche make its own 1990s classic better for the modern age? Project Gold is the answer.

It’s clearly an object of desire, given how the £2.4 million hammer price came after a 37-bid war for ownership of the car. Auctions normally pass in a flash: this one took 10 minutes!

It was a part of a group of 51 cars that comprised the anniversary sale. All the net proceeds of the Project Gold sale (that’s £2.3 million) will be going to the Ferry Porsche Foundation.

Porsche 993

Painted in the 991 Turbo S Exclusive Series gold hue, it doesn’t take Sherlock to work out where Project Gold got its name. It’s certainly distinctive, with gold highlights all around, from the wheels to the cabin, finishing this stunning project.

It’s not legal for road registration or use in the United States. However, the prospective owner, should he or she so choose, could deploy the 450hp special project on a private track.

Modern styling additions include black exhausts and an alloy fuel cap. Both are now available as Project Gold-inspired genuine accessories for all 993 owners. That fuel cap is compatible with all 911s from 1980 to 1998.

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2019 F-350 Lariat Crew Cab

Diesel trucks 2019: Everything we know so far

2019 F-350 Lariat Crew CabThe latest crop of trucks for 2019 have some of the most advanced and efficient diesel engines ever designed. The most powerful versions produce over 900 lb-ft of torque and are capable of pulling over 16 tons.

Some of the latest trucks to be released this fall are yet to release their diesel specifications, but we have done some educated sleuthing to provide the most up to date information available.

Let’s take a closer look at the latest crop of diesel trucks, see what’s available and what’s coming up in 2019.

Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon

2019 Chevrolet Colorado Bison

Chevrolet’s popular Colorado truck is made even more appealing with the option of a Duramax turbodiesel under the hood ($4,965). The 2.8-liter four-cylinder churns out 181 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. WIth the six-speed automatic, maximum towing climbs to 7,700 pounds.

The engine can be had in the upcoming  ZR2 Bison model (shown above). The package builds on the popular ZR2 offroad model and adds beefy (bisony?) steel bumpers. Boron steel skid plates cover the engine oil pan, fuel tank, transfer case and differentials front and rear.

The Bison goes on sale January 2019.

Ford Ranger

2019 Ford Ranger Raptor

Ford has not yet announced a diesel engine for its U.S.-spec Ranger pickup, nor released any specifications for a high-performance Raptor version thereof, but most industry insiders assume that both are coming.

The company did announce a diesel Raptor for the Asia-Pacific market back in February, and one for the European market (shown above) in August. Both are powered by a 2.0-liter turbodiesel paired to a ten-speed transmission.

Though physically small, fanatical attention to efficiency gains yields 210 horsepower and a big 369 lb-ft of torque. An offset crank reduces piston side load, crankshaft bearing diameters are minimized, and driving belts are in oil to reduce every ounce of friction.

Is this the engine that could appear in the American Ranger? It would have to compete with the gasoline-powered 2.3-liter turbo installed as standard equipment that makes 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. Diesel fans will want an option, though.

Here’s hoping.

Ford F-150

2018 Ford F-150 Diesel

The perennially popular Ford F-150 can be optioned with a 3.0-liter V6 Power Stroke turbodiesel that makes 250 horsepower and 440 lb-ft from a low 1,750 rpm. Towing is boosted up to 11,400 pounds, and diesel’s natural efficiency returns an excellent 25 mpg in the combined cycle. It’s even relatively green, producing just 412 grams of CO2 per mile.

Interestly, the diesel is focused on economy and heavy duty applications rather than just on maximum power. For the biggest bang of torque, buyers need to opt for the available 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 that puts out 375 horsepower and a massive 470 lb-ft of torque. Maximum towing moves up to 13,200 pounds, but economy drops to 21 mpg and emissions rise to 426.

Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500

2019 Chevrolet Silverado High Country

GM’s all-new Silverado/Sierra twins will be the recipients of a Duramax 3.0-liter inline-six diesel paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission sometime next year.

When the truck debuted at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, GM product chief Mark Reuss said, “I’m not going to go into the numbers today, but some of our competition has already given their numbers on their new diesel, and I am really confident that we’ll have the best-performing diesel in this segment.”

Images of the option were recently added to the Silverado configurator page, but specifications were not. The rumor mill has some dealership materials that say 282 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque. That does indeed beat the Ford F-150, with its 250 horsepower and 440 lb-ft.

Ram 1500

2019 Ram 1500 Rebel

The Ram 1500 is all-new for 2019 and company says the EcoDiesel will return with it.

Production is expected to begin next summer, and Ram claims the engine will put the 1500 on the top of the pickup heap.

In 2018, the 1500’s EcoDiesel made 240 horsepower and 420 lb-ft. The engine is slated to appear in the 2019 Jeep, however, with 260 horsepower and 442 lb-ft. According to rumours, the version to be installed in the 2019 1500 will make even more.

Previous generation EcoDiesels are caught up in FCA’s emission scandal. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board both claimed FCA used illegal software that allowed its diesel vehicles to pass emission tests, when in fact the engines allegedly emitted nitrogen oxides five to twenty times higher than standards. A settlement is still pending.

Nissan Titan XD

2019 Nissan Titan XD

Nissan’s Titan pickup is not offered with an oil-burning powerplant, but its bigger XD sibling is. The optional 5.0-liter Cummins turbodiesel V8 twists out 555 lb-ft of torque and 310 horsepower. The engine boosts towing to just over 12,500 pounds (when properly equipped).

The mill uses a compacted graphite iron block, aluminum alloy heads, a forged steel crank, and composite heads to keep weight down while retaining strength. Sequential turbos ensure continuous delivery of peak torque throughout the RPM range.

Qualified as a heavy-duty vehicle, the XD is not rated by the EPA.

Ford Super Duty F-250 and F-350

2019 Ford F-350 XLT

Both the Ford F-250 and F-350 Super Duty can be optioned with a mind-blowing 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 diesel. Horsepower is 450; torque is a truly Leviathan 935 lb-ft.

Like the Cummins installed in the Nissan Titan XD, the Power Stroke uses compacted iron graphite to keep weight down. A single turbocharger is installed between the cylinder heads above the engine block, allowing faster access to exhaust pressure.

In the F-250, maximum towing jumps up to 18,500 pounds. In the F-350, the number is a staggering 16 tons.

The engine employs driver-activated exhaust braking to keep everything under control. The system generates back pressure by chokers down the turbo’s exhaust flow. Engine braking also minimizes brake use and therefore brake maintenance. An Auto setting feathers in engine braking to help maintain a preset speed.

Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500HD plus 3500HD

2019 GMC Sierra Denali 2500HD

GM’s Heavy Duty truck family has some pretty serious chops when it comes to diesel power. The optional Duramax 6.6-liter V8 will boils out an brutal 445 horsepower and  910 lb-ft of torque.

In the Silverado 2500HD, the Duramax will yank 18,100 pounds. Installed in the Sierra 3500HD, that number climbs to 23,100.

The engine block is a solid chunk of cast iron topped by aluminum heads, backed up by an heavy-duty Allison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission with tow/haul mode added to reduce cycling. Exhaust braking is also used for better control when descending steep grades.

Ram 2500 and 3500

2018 Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty

Ram offers plenty of optional diesel beef in its heavy-duty 2500 and 3500 models: a 6.7-liter Cummins.

The inline-six comes in three power outputs: 350 horsepower and 660 lb-ft of torque when paired with a manual transmission, 370 horsepower and 800 lb-ft with the 68RFE automatic, and 385 horsepower and a bone-shattering 930 lb-ft when mated to a heavy-duty Aisin transmission in the 3500 only.

Feel like towing a mountain, or perhaps the entire chain? The 2500 will pull a maximum of 17,980 pounds, and the 3500 will do a brobdingnagian 32,210.

While mileage is not reported for heavy-duty trucks, Ram claims that the big Cummins will go 15,000 miles between oil changes, lowering maintenance costs.

10 overrated fast Fords

10 overrated fast Fords

We set our man a challenge to name 10 overrated fast Fords. It’s an experience he didn’t enjoy.

Land Rover Defender Selfridges Edition

Land Rover builds Selfridges Edition Defender… in Selfridges

Land Rover Defender Selfridges EditionA special one-off Selfridges Edition Land Rover Defender Works V8 is now on permanent display in the London store – after being disassembled, hoisted through a first-floor window 11 metres off the ground and rebuilt on the shop floor.

The new exhibit for the Oxford Street store’s Designer Street Room menswear department will be left unlocked for visitors to sit in. Selfridges’ Sebastian Manes says the Defender will “act as a platform for our art and fashion partners and is a key feature within this dynamic space”.

Land Rover Defender Selfridges Edition

It’s going to be an “ongoing relationship that will celebrate creativity and design in an unexpected way,” he added. Sounds like there’s plenty more to come.

Which will be just reward for the team of Land Rover Classic technicians who worked flat-out to build the Defender from a rolling chassis in just four days. It took more than 930 man hours to create the vehicle, said Land Rover.

Land Rover Defender Selfridges Edition

Jaguar Land Rover Classic director, Tim Hannig, said: “This may be the most quickly-assembled one-off Defender in the world, but it will be on display at Selfridges in London long enough for customers to enjoy.”

Prior to the V8 conversion, it was a 2016 Defender 110 2.2 TDCi Pick up. Five months of craftsmanship at Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works saw it turned into the one-off Selfridges Edition.

The 405hp V8 gives it a 237 percent power boost, and bespoke Selfridges features include Bronze Green metallic paint, branded hood in Selfridges yellow, retro seats and plenty of Selfridges badges. There are 25 bespoke parts over and above the 70th Edition Works.

It’s a prime bit of product placement for Land Rover: an estimated two million Selfridges customers will see it each year, and it’s likely to form a key part of the store’s 110th anniversary next year.

Land Rover Selfridges Edition Defender: in pictures

Car break-ins are on the rise - with London hit the hardest

The UK’s most dangerous places to own a car revealed

car crime

Comparison experts Quotezone have collated numbers on the most dangerous places in the country to own a car. Perhaps unsurprisingly, our Capital takes the cake.

The locations are ranked for both accident rates and vehicle offence rates. Vehicle offences include anything criminal involving a car: theft of, and from, and anything else in between

Topping the list with a dramatic car danger rate of 97.86 is City of London. Second-placed Northern Scotland is way, way back at 28.17.

The safest place to own a car, out of 45 policing regions, is North Wales, enjoying a danger rate of 7.29. In general, southern and eastern areas including Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Essex are in the bottom half of safest places to have a car.

Norfolk, however, is third to the top of the safest, with a car danger rate of 8.98. Quite the achievement compared to neighbouring Lincolnshire, with 12.37.

Worryingly, vehicle-related theft is said to be on the up, rising 17 percent between 2016 and 2017. Furthermore, vehicle offences such as speeding and drink driving are up 12 percent.

As for how to reduce the chances of your car coming under attack, the following measures can do a world of good:

  • Keep valuables out of site – a car packed with visible treasures can look like an easy target
  • Turn your wheel to the curb – if robbers trigger your steering lock, they’ll have a hard time moving it away from the curb
  • Install an anti-theft system – whether it’s a tracker, an immobiliser or an alarm, or all of the above

When it comes to car crime, every little helps. Don’t give the criminals an easy ride.

Read more:

Jaguar F-Type Chequered Flag special edition

Jaguar F-Type Chequered Flag special edition celebrates sports car landmark

Jaguar F-Type Chequered Flag special edition70 years of Jaguar sports cars is being marked with a new special edition, the F-Type Chequered Flag. It’s on sale now with prices starting from £62,335.

The car that celebrates 70 years since the launch of the Jaguar XK 120 is itself marked out by a number of chequered flag logos: on the rear, the steering wheel and seats. 

Jaguar F-Type Chequered Flag special edition

It’s all pretty subtle, but the Windsor leather interior is more standout (pick contrast stitching in either red or cirrus). Performance Seats are fitted, there’s an Ebony suedecloth rooflining and dark brushed aluminium centre console to complement them, plus a steering wheel with a red ‘top centre’ marker. 

Jaguar F-Type Chequered Flag special edition

Colours? Caldera Red, Fuji White or Carpanthian Grey. All are fitted with Chequered Flag-unique gloss black 20-inch wheels with diamond turned finish, and coupes get a gloss black contrast roof.

There’s a new treat for the Touch Pro infotainment system too: the 10-inch touchscreen comes as stadnard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (following its JLR introduction on the I-Pace earlier this year), plus a fancy Meridian sound system. 

Jaguar F-Type Chequered Flag special edition

Jaguar offers the Chequered Flag either with the 300hp 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine, or the supercharged 3.0-litre V6 in 340hp or 380hp all-wheel drive guise. 

“In creating the Chequered Flag,” said Jaguar design director Ian Callum, “we’ve focused on details which enhance the F-Type’s presence and promise of performance – and in doing so, made a fitting celebration of 70 years of beautiful, fast Jaguar sports cars.”

Jaguar F-Type: 20MY changes

Jaguar F-Type Chequered Flag special edition

Jaguar has announced other tweaks for the F-Type range, as part of a 20MY (2020 model year) upgrade. Standard fitment to all F-Type is a rear parking camera and front park aid. 

The F-Type R has been given the damping tune of the higher-performance SVR, improving ride quality at lower speeds. There’s up to 24 percent less damping force at slow speed, but up to 30 percent more stiffness at higher speed.

The SVR’s rear upper ball joint has also been fitted to the R, plus modified rear knuckle and upper control arm. 

The 20MY Jaguar F-Type range is priced from £51,925 and is open for ordering now.

Prices: 20MY Jaguar F-Type


  • F-Type auto: £51,925
  • R-Dynamic auto: £55,625
  • Chequered Flag auto: £62,335


  • F-Type: £54,925
  • R-Dynamic: £58,625


  • R-Dynamic: £65,675
  • Chequered Flag auto: £72,715

P380 AWD

  • R-Dynamic: £72,325
  • Chequered Flag: £78,095

550hp AWD

  • R: £93,215

575hp AWD

  • SVR: £113,395

Jaguar F-Type Chequered Flag: in pictures

Caffeine & Machine opening weekend

Caffeine & Machine is the buzzing new retreat for petrolheads

Caffeine & Machine opening weekendCaffeine and Machine is a new coffee house, bar, restaurant and B&B that celebrates cars and motorcycles in the most unashamedly passionate way – and proof that petrolheads are already embracing the concept has come from the crowds flocking to its opening weekend. 

Located in Ettington, Stratford-upon-Avon, the Caffeine and Machine has seen a local B&B and restaurant , The Houndshill, transformed into a destination for enthusiasts of every persuasion. Everyone is welcome, nothing is frowned upon: “No judgement, no sneering, no worries.”

The main house has been fully redeveloped in an exhaustive (and high end) refurbishment, and the grounds remodelled to be car- and motorcycle-friendly. Supercar friendly at that, judging by the number of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Porsches who were there for the opening day.

Caffeine & Machine opening weekend

Outside, a huge marquee tent supplies the caffeine to complement the machines, fuelling what will surely be regular ‘cars and coffee’ meets at the site in months and years to come. Non-drivers could grab a beer from the main house, and the Caffeine and Machine Roadhouse cooked up food that the owners say will have “even die-hard foodies coming back”. I can vouch for how amazing the burgers looked. 

Motoring journalist and TV star Tom Ford is one of the partners in the project led by successful businessman Phil McGovern. On the opening day, he was busy. “I don’t know where to put them all!” he said, as another Ferrari and another Lamborghini turned up on site. With a look of delight, he agreed it was a nice problem to have.

Caffeine & Machine opening weekend

Caffeine and Machine is already on the map, judging by the crowds in attendance, the full car parks, the breathtaking variety of cars that turned up, the dozens of cars parked on the verge outside and in the lanes surrounding the site. The Ace Cafe of the Midlands? The Goodwood of the north? It will be fascinating to see how it develops. 

Having visited it, I can say excitement that everything Caffeine & Machine speaks of on its website appears to be true. I can’t wait to go back. Be sure to visit when you can, and look out for an events calendar to come at some point. It’s everything an unashamed petrolhead like me loves, and I’m certain you’ll feel the same.

“Caffeine and Machine offers everything you expect from a modern member’s club – except you don’t have to be a member to enjoy it”, say the owners. Nailed it: bravo, guys.

Where is Caffeine & Machine? 

In pictures: Caffeine & Machine