Ford gets first Reader Recommendation from Good Housekeeping

Good Housekeeping Ford ecosport

The Good Housekeeping Reader Recommendation is a highly sought-after accolade for anything in the consumer sphere – be it technology, clothing or indeed housekeeping.

Now cars are on the iconic magazine’s radar, with the Ford Kuga and Ecosport earning a first ever automotive Reader Recommendation.

The Reader Recommendation comes with a combination of the ‘expertise of Good Housekeeping’s acclaimed testing institute’ as well as the insights of readers giving their personal experiences of a product.

Good Housekeeping Ford Kuga

Fully 98 percent of readers rated the Kuga as very good or excellent. And 96 percent said they would recommend the crossover to friends or family.

The Ecosport scores slightly lower, with 96 percent of readers giving a good/excellent score and 91 percent saying they’d recommend it. Still, not a score to be sniffed at.

Alongside the success and acclaim the Fiesta and Focus are accruing, Ford has quite the award-winning lineup on its hands. 

Good Housekeeping Ford Kuga

“We are incredibly proud to be the first automotive manufacturer to be Reader Recommended,” said Mandy Dean, marketing director, Ford of Britain. “It’s great to have Ecosport and Kuga, two very popular vehicles in our range, receive further validation from such an established and respected consumer voice, representing everyday users.” 

“It’s great to see a brand like Ford engaging in our rigorous Good Housekeeping testing programme to ensure they’re providing the best quality for the ever-discerning consumer,” added Jim Chaudry, automotive director at Good Housekeeping publisher, Hearst UK.

Good Housekeeping Ford ecosport


Dogs are more expensive to insure than cars

Dogs more expensive than cars on insurance

Dogs are more expensive to insure than many cars, according to comparisons made by AA Insurance.

Incredibly, if you’ve got yourself a great dane, you can expect to pay more than twice as much for insurance as for a BMW X5. A steep £1,138.80 for the pup plays £474,78 for the German SUV.

Dogs more expensive than cars on insurance

Even Her Majesty the Queen could be buckling under the weight of insurance costs. A corgi costs £483 to insure, though you can times that by 30 for the number she’s owned over the years. Compare that to the £636 it’ll cost to insure a royal Land Rover Discovery.

So what about the most popular dogs versus one of the most popular cars? Well, it’ll cost £216 to insure a Ford Fiesta, otherwise known as the UK’s best-selling car so far in 2019. Compare that, if you will, to the chihuahua – the UK’s second most popular dog breed in 2018. That’ll set you back £336 for a year’s worth of insurance.

The cars’ figures were based on their being one year old and belonging to a 38-year-old with a protected no claims bonus. The dogs’ figures were based on the AA’s Gold Plus cover for a one-year-old dog.

Dogs more expensive than cars on insurance

So, there you have it. When it comes to samoyed versus Sportage or rhodesian ridgeback versus RAV4, you’d best have your pockets lined to insure your pup.

The ridgeback’s £706 figure is well over twice as much as the £289 for a Toyota RAV4. The samoyed is only £386 – £21 more than the £365 for a Kia Sportage.

Lexus UX review: hybrid SUV is a classier Qashqai

Good things are expensive, we all know that. It’s why we flock to buy Apple products. It’s how Rolex sells watches. And its why the Rolls-Royce is held in such high esteem. No one needs these things, but plenty of us want them.

How do you grow from ‘everyday’ to desirable? History counts for a lot: look at Rolls and Rolex. Yet Apple, which had already been around for a couple of decades, went from almost zero to hero overnight with the iPhone.

It’s that type of success that Toyota’s top brass aims for with the Lexus brand. Fortune has shined on Lexus in the States, but in Europe they still dream of selling 100,000 cars a year. The new UX is the major part of this ambition to grow.

So the Lexus UX is an SUV?

Yes, well… sort of. The trouble with the SUV acronym – which stands for ‘Sport Utility Vehicle’ – is it used to mean a full-blooded 4×4 with some creature comforts. Something like a Land Rover Discovery. Other things that looked like SUVs, but were really just tall cars? They’re crossovers.

Now SUV is the ultimate catchphrase, and woe betide any manufacturer that doesn’t have one in its range. So, led by Peugeot and Citroen, who have few scruples and even fewer proper 4x4s, the SUV tag is game for almost anything on four wheels. Basically, if you want your car to be an SUV, it is. Just call it that and you are a player.

The new Lexus UX thus qualifies as an SUV. The vast majority are likely to be bought with front-wheel drive, but you can get four-wheel drive as a £1,250 option. Brilliantly simple, there’s an electric motor that powers the rear wheels when required. So it can deal with snow and wet grass when the need arises.

Quality counts for a lot


In any customer satisfaction survey you care to look at, Lexus comes out very high – often top. The cars are supremely reliable and, if you do need help, the dealers are great. That’s a damn good reason to buy any car.

Yet to make its cars better than mere Toyotas, Lexus gets a bit anal. For example, neural scientists measured brain waves to create the most pleasing door closing sound. The wipers also stop when you open a door, so you don’t get splashed.

The tightness of the gaps between the doors is paper thin, and you only have to lift the bonnet to admire the neatness of all the pipework. It’s solidly good work. You feel more confident than you might in, say, a Land Rover, that it’s all going to work dependably.

It looks striking, but hardly elegant

So the Lexus UX seems well-built and is likely to be reliable, but is it really desirable? In the UK, Lexus sales have been on the slow-burn.

Pitched against Audi, BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz, Lexus has forged its own path rather than facing rivals head-on. Which means a distinctive design dominated by an insanely massive front grille that only a mother could love. Only by sticking a number plate across the middle, to break up this mishmash of chrome squiggles, does it start to look less alarming.

Elegant? I don’t think so. Of course, good design is partly down to individual preference, but the UX is unlikely to be bought by anyone desiring a great looking compact crossover.

What about the X1, Q3, E-Pace, GLA and XC40?

The UX is a direct competitor for compact crossovers from BMW, Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. Lexus is diving head-first into a busy sector already full of competence. The big difference here, though, is that every UK version of the UX is a petrol-electric hybrid.

And that’s definitely the flavour of the moment. Diesels are fading fast, and petrol engines are too thirsty, but hybrids answer the question that many are asking – without the apparent cost or unknowns of a purely electric car.

Lexus is keen on the term ‘self-charging hybrid’, which is a bit self-serving because it doesn’t have a plug-in version of the UX. No matter, though: this is the technology of the Toyota Prius, honed into its fourth generation. No-one knows better than Toyota and Lexus how to get the best out of a hybrid.

Tell me about fuel economy

The numbers certainly stack up. You should be able to get close to 50mpg in the front-wheel-drive version, although opting for bigger wheels or the E-Four (4WD) version hits economy a little. The CO2 emissions of the front-wheel-drive UX sneak below 100g/km, which is also an excellent result.

It’s all very easy to live with, too. An automatic transmission is standard, the (all-new) 2.0-litre engine is powerful and there’s extra punch from the battery when you need it. If the battery has a decent amount of charge, the UX will drive away on electric power before the petrol engine chimes in.

You won’t go much more than a mile on the battery alone. You’d need a plug-in hybrid to get 20-30 miles of electric range, and then, of course, you’d need to plug in your car once or twice a day to recharge it.

A 181hp output? Sounds like a hot hatch

It isn’t. There are people at Lexus who’d love you think the UX was a sporting drive, but it doesn’t have the engine refinement at high revs. Also, the CVT automatic gearbox works in a way that discourages getting the most from the car.

That makes what will likely be the most popular version, the UX F Sport, seem slightly incongruous. Yet this doesn’t really matter, because you’ll buy a UX for its refinement around town, relaxed motorway cruising and quiet demeanour.

The ride is also very good: best on the 17-inch wheels that come with the lesser models.

Blending the boundaries

It’s good fun going to a Lexus press conference. They desperately want you to believe their new car has some sort of magical quality that could only come from a deep-rooted Japanese fable. Here’s it’s engawe, a blending of the boundaries between the interior and exterior. Like wide-opening doors from a lounge onto a patio.

Here, though, we – rather obviously – have glass that gets in the way. Maybe it translates better at home.

Snipes aside, the interior, with a facia firmly focused on the driver, is a nice place to be, even though calling it luxurious is stretching things a bit. The seats are very comfortable. In the rear, however, it’s more of a two- than three-seater. Luggage space is a disappointment: more shopping-friendly than weekend-away usable.

How much does the Lexus UX cost?

Prices start at a shade under £30,000, rising to just over £40,000. If you want a few choice options, including leather seats, a UX is going to cost a minimum of £35k.

So the Lexus UX is far from a bargain. As a company car proposition, though, it looks a strong option. The CO2 levels are very low for a petrol car, while there is no dastardly diesel penalty to contend with.

Yet the UX has to face competition from an unexpected quarter: electric cars. The latest models from Hyundai and Kia, the Kona Electric and Niro EV, are electric cars that offer the best everyday practicality seen so far, including a range as high as 250 miles, for a touch less outlay than the UX. They are certainly worth considering.

Lexus UX verdict: 4 stars

By moving into a more compact segment of the car market, Lexus is following the well-trodden path of the other luxury brands. Affordable cars inevitably sell in greater numbers.

There’s much to admire about the UX, not least its easy nature and pleasing levels of comfort. The hybrid system is as good as you’ll find in any car, and the ownership costs – whether you buy privately or run it as a business expense – will be very competitive.

For those who aren’t quite ready to go fully electric, it makes a great deal of sense.

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Lexus UX: rivals

Audi Q3


Jaguar E-Pace

Mercedes-Benz GLA

Volvo XC40

Lexus UX: specification

• Price: £29,990-£39,100

• Engine: Four cylinder, 1987cc, electric motor

• Drivetrain: Front-engine, front-wheel drive

• Transmission: CVT automatic

• Chassis: Steel with aluminium doors, front wings and bonnet

• Suspension: McPherson struts

• Wheels: 17 or 18 inches

• Power: 181hp@6,000 rpm

• Torque: 140lb ft@4,400rpm-5,200rpm

• 0-62mph: 8.5 seconds

• Top speed: 110mph

• Fuel economy: 46.3-53.3mpg

• CO2 emissions: 94-103g/km

• Length/width/height: 4,495/1,840/1,540mm

• Kerb weight: 1,540-1,680kg

Tesla Model 3: consumer watchdog withdraws its recommendation

Tesla Model 3 Consumer Reports reliability

Respected American watchdog Consumer Reports has revoked its recommendation of the Tesla Model 3, following numerous complaints of sub-par build quality.

Viral social media threads and online ranting are one thing, criticism from an organisation like Consumer Reports is quite another. And Tesla’s Model 3 troubles have come to a head with this critical blow.

The company faced issues getting its entry-level electric car to market, both in terms of quality and speed of delivery. Although it was thought that such kinks had been ironed-out, Tesla’s troubles clearly aren’t over yet. As a result of the CR decision, its stock dropped 2.2 percent last Thursday.

Tesla Model 3: the issues

Tesla Model 3 Consumer Reports reliability

Owners had reported everything from paint defects and poor quality trim, to windows cracking out of the blue in cold conditions and electronic glitches. Even the Consumer Reports test car got a crack in its rear glass during a cold snap.

The screens in the car’s cabin have been reported as freezing and ‘acting strangely’. “The touch screen would intermittently begin acting as if someone was touching it rapidly at many different points,” reported one Consumer Reports member. “This fault would cause music to play, volume to increase to maximum, and would rescale and pan the map in the navigation system.”

Suspension issues have also been reported, although these are largely exclusive to earlier 2017-build cars.

On the plus side, the actual driving systems have largely been reliable. Consumer Reports puts that down to the simplicity of electric powertrains versus conventional internal combustion engines.

Tesla’s response

Tesla Model 3 Consumer Reports reliability

Tesla was swift to respond to the Consumer Reports decision, saying that “significant improvements” had already been made to address the issues owners raised with the organisation.

“The vast majority of these issues have already been corrected through design and manufacturing improvements, and we are already seeing a significant improvement in our field data,” said a Tesla spokesperson.

Insurance auto-renewals cost UK drivers £1.2 billion

Insurance renewal robbery

Insurers are costing UK motorists £1.23 billion every year with expensive auto-renewals on car insurance policies. 

Research by Go Compare has revealed a ‘loyalty trap’ that around 4.6 million fell into at their last renewal. These drivers could have saved up to £262 per person if they’d shopped around.

Misplaced loyalty

Nearly a third of the 62 percent who let their policy roll over didn’t query or shop around because of a feeling of loyalty to their insurance providers.

That beats the 22 percent who lacked the confidence to switch, the 15 percent who assumed other insurers wouldn’t be able to compete on price and the 10 percent who couldn’t be bothered because of the hassle.

The lowest earners pay the most

Those who pay for their insurance monthly (and more often than not, therefore, pay more) are 54 percent more likely to allow their policy to continue past renewal. 

Drivers from the lowest earnings groups are 38 percent more likely to pay monthly, and in turn will pay out an average of 18 percent more in fees and interest as a result. That’s not even taking into account the costs of letting a policy roll over.

It doesn’t hurt to ask

Insurance renewal robbery

You can save serious money simply by getting other quotations, going back to your insurer and threatening to leave.

Inflated renewals are a liberty that insurers are often allowed to take. As such, they will often be happy to re-quote on the threat of your departure, just to keep your custom. Loyalty is fine, just don’t let them take advantage of it.

A few tips from Go Compare, condensed by us:

  • Don’t accept your renewal quote without checking the price is competitive
  • Note your renewal date and give yourself time to check prices
  • Check the small print, make sure there are no hidden costs
  • If you can only afford monthly payments, consider a low-rate credit card to pay off over the course of a year

Radical new Peugeot 208 goes electric from launch

2019 Peugeot 208Peugeot will wow the 2019 Geneva Motor Show with the all-new 208 supermini range – which includes, from launch, an all-electric e-208 model boasting a range of more than 200 miles.

The Peugeot e-208 will be a strong performer, boasting a 135hp electric motor (that’s more power than a retro Peugeot 205 GTI 1.9). It also has a 50kWh electric battery, with an official WLTP driving range of 211 miles.

An all-new platform has allowed Peugeot to locate the battery beneath the floor, meaning the e-208 has exactly the same boot space as other versions with internal combustion engines.

2019 Peugeot e-208

If you have time to kill, it can be fully recharged from a domestic plug in 20 hours. Peugeot dealers are likely to steer you to a home charger though; a full charge takes eight hours.

The new Peugeot e-208 also supports rapid charging from 100kW units. An 80 percent charge takes less than 30 minutes.

2019 Peugeot e-208

Peugeot will also sell the new 208 with three flavours of 1.2-litre PureTech petrol engine: 75hp, 100hp or 130hp, the latter coming as standard with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Bravely, Peugeot will also offer a 1.5-litre BlueHDi 100 diesel, although almost nobody is expected to buy it.

Pretty Peugeot

2019 Peugeot 208

The design of the new Peugeot 208 is as headline-grabbing as the e-208 electric model that’s offered from launch. It’s distinctive, curvaceous and cute. Whereas Renault has taken the evolutionary route with the new Clio, its French rival is going for a bigger, bolder step on.  

All models have a large chrome grille and Peugeot’s ‘3-claw’ full LED lighting signature. Note the 208 logo on the nose, sitting above a big Peugeot lion. Harking back to the classic 205 are model grade badges placed within a stamp on the rear pillar.

Eye-popping new colours include Faro Yellow, Vertigo Blue and Elixir Red. GT Line and GT models are more distinctive still, with gloss black wheelarch extensions and window surrounds.

2019 Peugeot 208

As for the e-208, this is identified by an ‘e’ monogram on the rear panel, body-colour chequered grille and a dichromic lion badge which changes colour depending on the angle you’re viewing it.

2019 Peugeot 208

It’s distinctive inside  as well, with an evolution of the Peugeot 3D i-Cockpit, marked out by its tiny steering wheel, ‘head up display’ instruments and either a 7-inch or 10-inch HD colour touchscreen in the centre.

2019 Peugeot 208

Satin chrome ‘piano’ toggle switches are a premium touch, as is a fully padded dashboard with central carbon finish.

Peugeot will give the new 208 and e-208 their public debut at the Geneva Motor Show next week (yes, Peugeot IS attending), ahead of an online reservation site going live in late March. Ordering will open in late summer 2019.

Lexus landmark: luxury car company has now sold 10 million vehicles

Lexus has sold 10 million vehiclesLexus sales have now broken the 10 million mark, 30 years after the firm was founded to shake up the luxury car establishment.

Beginning with the landmark Lexus LS in 1989, the company has grown to cover multiple model segments; its latest car, the Lexus UX small SUV, is arriving soon in UK dealers.

Like all new Lexus, the UX is a hybrid, technology that’s come to define Toyota’s premium division. Sales of hybrid Lexus are now nearing 1.5 million vehicles.

Lexus UX

Lexus launched its first petrol-electric hybrid in 2005; today, it sells 11 different hybrid models. And in 2018, new models helped the firm’s hybrid sales grow 20 percent.

Last year, Lexus sold almost 700,000 new cars globally, 4.5 percent up on 2017. This was the company’s best-ever year for sales, and international president Yoshihiro Sawa reckons the firm won’t be easing up this year.

Lexus RC F

“Lexus continues to enjoy substantial growth around the world, expanding its footprint in emerging markets as well as reaffirming its strength in established ones.

“The brand’s clear focus on amazing products and guest experiences provided by the finest dealers will support its global growth for years to come.”

2019 JD Power Dependability Survey Results

Lexus and Toyota win big in latest annual American reliability study

2019 JD Power Dependability Survey ResultsA study investigating the reliability experiences of American drivers with three-year-old cars, has seen Lexus and Toyota top both key categories.

The J.D. Power Dependability Survey is now into its 30th year, measuring the number of problems encountered by owners of the cars who bought them new. Almost 33,000 respondents shared the stories of their 2016 model year vehicles.

Covering a detailed 177 different categories, J.D. Power ranks brands based upon the problems experienced per 100 vehicles, creating a PP100 score. The lower the score, the more dependable the vehicle is.

Luxury and reliability together

2019 JD Power Dependability Survey ResultsLexus finished top of all brands included in the survey, scoring an impressive 106 PP100. The industry average for all luxury cars was 141 PP100, with J.D. Power noting that mainstream brands actually outperformed their fancier counterparts.

An average score of 136 PP100 was seen across all mass market brands, with Toyota topping the list with a 108 problems per 100 cars. The Toyota Camry and Toyota Tundra pickup truck also scored wins in individual model segments.

The Japanese brands did not have it all their own way, with the Porsche 911 ranked as the single most dependable car of all surveyed. Porsche also scored an overall 108 PP100 across the survey.

Bringing up the rear

2019 JD Power Dependability Survey ResultsAt the other end of the scale, Fiat recorded a worrying 249 problems per 100 vehicles of those surveyed. Given the limited range of vehicles sold under the Fiat brand in the United States, the 500 range the likely culprit.

Land Rover finished second bottom in the survey, scoring 221 PP100 vehicles, with Volvo just one step above with 204 problems per 100 cars.

German brands have been noted to have made big improvements this year, with Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW and Volkswagen all improving their standings. All German companies ranked above the industry average for the first time ever in the history of the survey.

Making the biggest gains

2019 JD Power Dependability Survey ResultsChrysler made the biggest improvement of all brands compared to the 2018 survey, showing a considerable reduction of 65 problems per 100 vehicles. Mini and Subaru also made big gains in dependability.

Overall, J.D. Power found scores had improved by 4% in comparison to 2018, finding this commendable given the ever-increasing complexity of modern vehicles. Issues with voice recognition software, battery failures and transmissions were recognised as problem areas.

J.D. Power’s research has found the need for manufacturers to deal quickly with reliability issues, and that long-term quality issues can affect residual values.

Classic Ford Mustang lives again… in Lego form

Lego Ford Mustang

Authors are immortalised in print, musicians are immortalised on vinyl, cars are immortalised in Lego. At least that’s how it seems at the moment, with the number of incredible cars you can now pick up in Lego form. The latest addition is the classic 1967 Ford Mustang, available in Lego Creator Expert form from the beginning of March 2019.

Lego models are usually a bit hit and miss when it comes to accurately replicating cars but the Mustang is certainly one of the better efforts. The famous pony car’s robust cuboidal proportions lend themselves well to recreation in brick model form.

Lego Ford Mustang

Made up of 1,470 pieces, the Creator Expert Mustang has a particular party piece, because all these models do. In tribute to its status as the darling of the modified muscle car scene in the ‘60s, the Lego recreation is ‘highly customisable’. Side exhausts, an enormous supercharger, a ducktail spoiler, chin spoiler and nitrous oxide tanks come with ‘for an authentic muscle car build experience’.

Lego Ford Mustang

In terms of detail, the Lego ‘Stang comes with working steering, viewable engine, openable doors and trunk and rollable wheels. It measures 10 centimetres high, 34 centimetres long and 14 centimetres wide, so is a bit more compact than the bonkers Chiron

Now all we need to know is how much. The new Lego Creator Expert Ford Mustang can be yours for £119.99 in the UK. One would look good alongside our Chiron…

Lego Ford Mustang

“The Ford Mustang is one of the most iconic, symbolic cars in history – and to bring this fan favourite muscle car to life in brick form, with this level of customisation, has been exhilarating,” said Jamie Berard, Design Lead on LEGO Creator Expert. “We can’t wait to see our LEGO and Ford Mustang fans’ own creations when they get their hands on this new set.”

RM Sotheby's Sale Mario Andretti Lamborghini Diablo

Your chance to buy a Lamborghini bought new by racing legend Mario Andretti

RM Sotheby's Sale Mario Andretti Lamborghini DiabloMario Andretti is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest racing drivers of all time, and now you could get behind the wheel of a Lamborghini Diablo supercar originally ordered by him.

Offered as part of the forthcoming RM Sotheby’s sale at the Amelia Island 2019 event, lot 113 represents a modern classic supercar with real heritage.

RM Sotheby's Sale Mario Andretti Lamborghini DiabloEstimated to sell for between $150,000 to $175,000 (£115,000 to £134,000), despite the historical connection with Andretti as the original owner, this Diablo actually appears reasonable value.

It is certainly less than the $460,000 (£352,000) asked for a Diablo VT Roadster, purportedly owned by Donald Trump, back in 2016.

When you’re a Formula 1 World Champion, NASCAR Daytona 500 winner, Le Mans 24 Hour class winner, and multiple Indianapolis 500 victor, driving a road car must seem fairly mundane.

RM Sotheby's Sale Mario Andretti Lamborghini DiabloA mid-engined supercar, powered by a 485 horsepower 5.7-liter V-12, was possibly one of the closest ways Mario could come to replicating the performance he experienced on track.

Andretti ordered this particular Diablo from new, with documentation showing him as the original owner, plus the recorded delivery mileage.

Specified by Andretti in the eye-catching shade of Diablo Rosso paint, this 1991 car also came with the optional large rear wing fitted by the factory. A recent respray has helped keep the Diablo looking fresh, whilst the tan leather interior also appears well cared for.

RM Sotheby's Sale Mario Andretti Lamborghini DiabloUnlike many collector cars, this machine has certainly been used. Covering some 22,300 miles from new, this Diablo has been driven as intended.

A full engine-out service was undertaken in 2018, which also included the fitment of a new clutch and starter motor. The cylinder heads for the complex twelve-cylinder engine were also rebuilt, along with gaskets being replaced. 

A new front windscreen was fitted when the paintwork was refreshed, and a more modern Alpine stereo system can also be found inside.

RM Sotheby's Sale Mario Andretti Lamborghini DiabloTrue to his Italian heritage, Andretti is a Lamborghini aficionado, having owned several of the greatest modern supercars made by the brand.

Along with Lambos from the 1980s and ‘90s, Andretti has featured later Sant’Agata cars such as the Murcielago and Aventador in his garage.

His collection did once include a rare Countach model. The 25th Anniversary Edition Countach gained internet notoriety, after the driver delivering it to a new owner was reportedly involved in an accident whilst street racing.

RM Sotheby's Sale Mario Andretti Lamborghini DiabloCrossing the block on Friday March 8th, the Andretti Diablo is just one of the numerous special supercars and classic vehicles in the RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island sale.

However, we think which lucky bidder takes home this Diablo will be very satisfied with a usable 1990’s supercar. But with the added bonus of owning one connected to a man who was voted “Driver of the Century” in 1999 by The Associated Press. 

RM Sotheby's Sale Mario Andretti Lamborghini Diablo