Car clocking is getting worse: up 30% in 3 years

car clocking

As many as one in 14 cars in the UK have been clocked, costing motorists around £800 million every year, according to data experts HPI.

This is up from one in 16 cars in 2017 and one in 20 in 2014 – an increase of 30 percent in just five years.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the act of ‘clocking’ – or winding back the odometer – died along with the death of the analogue odometer, but digital dashboards have made it even easier to go all ‘Johnny Hates Jazz’ by turning back the clock.

While it’s illegal to sell a clocked car without declaring its genuine mileage, the act of altering an odometer is not an offence.

Commenting on the worrying increase in the practice, Barry Shorto, head of industry relations at HPI, said: “Clocking and mileage fraud is a problem that refuses to go away and continues to get worse.

“Used car buyers now have a one in 14 chance of purchasing a vehicle with a mileage discrepancy which is extremely concerning. Criminals are increasingly using more advanced technology to make it easier for them to clock vehicles and cover their tracks.

“The continued development of technologies to alter digital odometers, easy access to this technology via the internet and similarly, the ease of access to mileage adjustment services online, some of whom will behave legitimately, others less so, are all exacerbating the trend.

“The increase in mileage-related finance arrangements such as PCP and PCH may also be a contributing factor as motorists look to avoid costly penalties for exceeding mileage allowances.”

‘Impossible to tell a clocked vehicle’

Clocked car

It can be difficult to spot a clocked car, but checking the service and MOT history will reduce your chances of ending up with a dodgy motor.

You can also ask HPI to check the car against the national mileage register. Barry Shorto said: “It can be almost impossible to tell a clocked vehicle just by looking at it, which makes a vehicle history check an even more vital form of protection for buyers.

“A clocked vehicle could be hiding serious levels of wear and tear, especially if it has been previously used as a high mileage private hire vehicle for a couple of years, meaning the additional cost of unexpected repairs or even a potentially serious safety threat to driver, passengers and other road users. An HPI Check can help protect consumers from buying a vehicle with something to hide, saving them cash and keeping them safe.”

Affordable luxury: range-topping Dacia Techroad prices and specs revealed

Dacia Techroad prices

The top-of-the-range Dacia Techroad special editions will cost from £11,660, with the first customers taking delivery in April.

Dacia unveiled the new models at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, with the Techroad trim available on the Sandero Stepway, Logan MCV Stepway and Duster. Two exclusive colours are available: Fusion Red and Highland Grey.

All Dacia Techroad cars feature side decals, red detailing on the door mirrors, Techroad badges and red centre caps for the two-tone alloy wheels (16-inch on the Stepway models and 17-inch on the Duster).

On the inside, Techroad models boast seats with red and grey detailing, along with red accents on the air vents, around the gear lever, and on the door handles and floor mats.

Sandero Stepway and Logan MCV Stepway Techroad

Dacia Techroad interior

The Sandero Stepway Techroad costs £11,660 (£660 more than the Comfort version), with the Logan MCV Stepway Techroad priced at £13,160 (£665 more than the Comfort).

Both models are offered with a TCe 90 petrol engine, while the Logan MCV Stepway Techroad also gets the Blue dCi 95 diesel. 

In addition to the upgrades listed above, Stepway Techroad editions boast a soft-feel steering wheel, air conditioning, the Media Nav multimedia system with Apple Carplay and Android Auto, DAB radio, Bluetooth, rear parking sensors, cruise control and a speed limiter.

Duster Techroad

Dacia Duster Techroad

The Dacia Duster Techroad costs £16,360 (£660 more than the Prestige version) and is offered with a choice of three engines: TCe 130 and 150 turbocharged petrol units, plus the Blue dCi 115 diesel. Two- and four-wheel-drive versions are available.

Spec includes rear parking sensors, climate control, hands-free key card, blind-spot detection and multi-view camera, along with Media Nav Evolution with Apple Carplay and Android Auto.

You can order a Dacia Techroad today: deliveries will commence this month.

Aston Martin Zagato

Z Cars: the 58-year history of Aston Martin and Zagato

Aston Martin DBS Zagato

Aston Martin’s new DBS GT Zagato supercar has been teased in rendering form. It forms the second part of a £6 million ‘DBZ Centenary Collection’, along with a classic DB4 GT Zagato continuation model. Aston Martin and Zagato have been collaborating for many decades. These are some of their finest efforts.

1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato

Aston Martin Zagato

Marking the beginning of this 58-year collaboration is the legendary DB4 GT Zagato. It was a racing hot-seat for stars like Jim Clark in-period, and a better-than-gold investment today. These are some of the most important – and rarest – Aston Martins ever built.

1986 Aston Martin V8 Zagato

Aston Martin Zagato

The V8 Zagato is certainly one of the more challenging-looking cars yielded by this collaboration. Based on the muscular Aston V8 of the era, it came in both coupe and open-top Volanté configurations. It was powerful for 1986, packing more than 430hp.

2002 Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Zagato

Aston Martin Zagato

The long-serving DB7 was not long for this world in 2002, and it was the first Aston Martin to be sent out in Zagato style. The DB7 Vantage Zagato brought back the ‘mouth’ grille and exaggerated double-bubble roof.

2003 Aston Martin DB AR1

Aston Martin Zagato

The DB AR1 was essentially an open-top version of the DB7 Zagato. However, it wasn’t originally part of the plan. The AR stands for American Roadster, after the rapturous demand from overseas collectors that forced its hasty creation. It was also automatic-only.

2004 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato

Aston Martin Zagato

This is possibly the rarest of all the Zagatos, given it was a one-off concept. Being based on the original Vanquish, it’s also one of the prettiest. Aside from the missing roof, it’s probably one of the most subtle Zagato re-designs.

2011 Aston Martin V12 Zagato

Aston Martin Zagato

This was the first Zagato since the DB4 GT to be built with racing firmly in mind. A competition version of the Vantage-based V12 Zagato famously raced at the Nürburgring 24 Hours. Road cars followed in 2012.

2013 Aston Martin DB9 Spyder Zagato

Aston Martin Zagato

Like the V8 Zagato, the Zagato-bodied DB9 Volanté is nothing if not visually challenging. The car features a front-to-rear overhaul, with few of the original Aston design tropes left intact.

2013 Aston Martin Virage Zagato Shooting Brake

Aston Martin Zagato

The Virage Zagato Shooting Brake takes that remodelling to a whole other level, with the addition of an extended roof and hatchback. Being a shooting brake, it’s naturally the most desirable and interesting of Zagato’s Aston Martin ‘Centennial Trilogy’.

2013 Aston Martin DBS Zagato

Aston Martin Zagato

As with the DB7, the Zagato version was something of a swansong for the DBS, as well as one-third of Zagato’s ‘happy hundredth birthday’ celebration. It looks virtually identical to the Virage and DB9 from the front and back, but is distinguished by its bespoke chrome-stripped coupe design and double-bubble roof.

2016 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato

Aston Martin Zagato

The latest Zagato is one of the coolest. The Vanquish S underneath represents the last free-breathing Aston Martin V12, so these cars had to be special. While featuring the signature Zagato touches, they also came with a gorgeous bespoke cabin.

2016 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake

Aston Martin Zagato

This is top of our Zagato wishlist. The Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake adds an estate body style similar to the Virage. There aren’t many load-luggers more welcome on Monaco’s Casino Square.

2016 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Speedster

Aston Martin Zagato

Although the other Vanquish Zagatos are very special in their own right, the Speedster is arguably the most special. Just 28 of these cars were mooted for production, compared to 99 of the others. Cue traffic-light envy if you pull up in a Zagato Volanté…

2019 Aston Martin DBS GT Zagato

Aston Martin DBS Zagato

Following in the footsteps – certainly in name – of the original DB4 GT Zagato, the DBS doubles up with a continuation of the classic car, sold as a pair in the £6 million DBZ Zagato Centenary Collection. It’s an instant classic designed to set the tone for future Aston and Zagato collaborations.

Read more:

2019 Nissan Kicks

The cheapest SUVs to buy and own in 2019

2019 Nissan KicksThe market is filled today with excellent SUVs in all shapes and sizes. We went through all the models on sale and selected those with the best reliability records and lowest maintenance costs, then balanced the purchase prices against fuel costs. After all, savvy buyers know that value for money is a difference concept than sticker price.

What were were genuinely surprised to see is just how large a difference size, class, and engine choice makes. Buyers willing to downsize can save enough to spring for a luxury package or hotter engine. Buyers willing to forgo a bit of power can opt for a larger vehicle. Buyers willing to do both can spend next winter in Nassau or send the kids to a better college.

When choosing our picks, the differences were often razor thin. Some winners eked out their victories by less than the cost of a pizza dinner. When choosing our midsize models, we only considered three-row SUVs. All these vehicles are in the same ballpark for maintenance costs.

More SUVs from Motoring Research:

CITY | Nissan Kicks

Starting MSRP: $18,540

Annual fuel cost: $1,100

The affordable, city-sized Kicks entered the market last spring, making a splash with its low price and tiny appetite. Cargo and passenger room is surprisingly good given the cute ute’s tiny footprint, with ample headroom and easy loading.

One engine is offered, a 1.6-liter four making 122 horsepower. Variable valve timing and a continuously-variable transmission take aim squarely at economy and provides the Kicks with 33 mpg in the combined cycle.

Generous amenities add value, with even the base S model being offered with automatic emergency braking, Bluetooth hands-free calling, touchscreen infotainment, three USB ports, keyless entry, and automatic headlights. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto appear in midrange along with advanced safety features, while top models add luxury flair like leather interior accents and upscale exterior trim.

CITY | Hyundai Kona

Starting MSRP: $19,990

Annual fuel cost: $1,200

The Kona kills it with good looks and an affable nature, but Hyundai piles on amenities that add significant value for buyers.

Seven-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard, with six-speaker sound and steering wheel controls. There are dual USB ports up front for easy syncing, and connectivity appears at the first step up the trim ladder. Top models get an eight-inch touchscreen, navigation, a head-up display, and wireless charging,

For 2019, the Kona adds standard active safety features: forward collision avoidance assist, lane keeping assist, and driver attention warning. Blind spot collision warning and rear cross traffic alert become available midrange.

Two engines are offered, depending on trim. SE and SEL models get a 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine with 147 horsepower, while Limited and Ultimate get a 175-horsepower, 1.6-liter turbo. Both engines return 30 mpg in the combined cycle with standard front-wheel drive.

All-wheel drive is available at every level for $1,300.

CITY | Mazda CX-3

Starting MSRP: $20,390

Annual fuel cost: $1,150

The Mazda CX-3 packs full-size fun into a striking subcompact package. Genuinely athletic handling might be its strongest defining characteristic, with a spirited 2.0-liter engine providing a smooth 148 horsepower, up from last year’s 146. Even better that, it returns 29 mpg in the combined cycle (front-wheel drive).

Inside, Bluetooth and smartphone connectivity are standard features, along with steering wheel-mounted controls for audio and phone, automatic volume control, and USB inputs. The seven-inch infotainment system has voice control and seamlessly integrates with Stitcher, Pandora, Aha, and others.

The littlest Mazda has added additional safety for 2019, as well. Now standard on all trim levels are direct tire pressure monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and blind spot monitoring. Adaptive cruise control and smart city braking with pedestrian detection are available on the top Grand Touring model.

For an added dose of fun (or simply extra grip in sloppy conditions), torque-vectoring all-wheel drive is available across the model range for an additional $1,250.

COMPACT | Hyundai Tucson

Starting MSRP: $23,200

Annual fuel cost: $1,400

The Tucson is one of the best compact SUVs on the market today, offering economy and real value for money without ever feeling low budget.

The base engine is a thrifty 2.0-liter four that returns 26 mpg in the combined cycle, but still puts out a peppy 161 horsepower on tap. SEL models and above up the displacement to 2.4 liters and power to 181, while still returning 25 mpg combined. (Economy numbers are for front drivers; all-wheel drive is available across the range for $1,400 and returns 23 mpg combined with either engine).

A seven-inch infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto are all standard. Heated front seats with power adjust and power lumbar support are standard in all but the base model.

A full gambit of active safety systems are standard, such as forward collision avoidance assist, lane keeping assist, and driver attention warning.

COMPACT | Subaru Forester

Starting MSRP: $24,295

Annual fuel cost: $1,250

Subaru’s best-selling Forester is all-new for 2019 and sees efficiency gains across the range. All models come equipped with a upgraded 2.5-liter boxer engine under the hood, now making 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. A continuously-variable transmission is the sole option and helps to boost economy up to 29 mpg in the combined cycle. All-wheel drive with active torque vectoring is standard.

The wheelbase grew an inch in the redesign, allowing an airier cabin with more legroom. Standard amenities have grown, too, and now include a high-resolution touchscreen, smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, dual front USB ports, keyless entry, and a security system with engine immobilizer.

Advanced safety features like adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and pre-collision braking with throttle management are now standard.

COMPACT | Honda CR-V

Starting MSRP: $24,350

Annual fuel cost: $1,300

We like the compact Honda CR-V for its “bigger on the inside” interior (we would have said TARDIS, but that would make us nerds). There’s a ton of room for both people and all the stuff that people carry. The second row accommodates adults without cramped feet or legs, and there’s still 39 cubic feet of cargo area behind the seats. With the second row folded, the CR-V will swallow a ginourmous 76 cubic feet.

The base LX has a 2.4-liter four under the hood making 184 horsepower and returning 28 mpg in the combined cycle (our annual fuel cost is base on this motor and front-wheel drive). All other trim levels are equipped with a 1.5-liter turbo returning 30 mpg (FWD).

All-wheel drive is available across the range.

MIDSIZE | Kia Sorento

Starting MSRP: $26,290

Annual fuel cost: $1,450

The Kia Sorento comes in so cheap compared to its competitors, we wondered if all four wheels were included in the price. We scrutinized the spec sheets to find the cost-cutting differences between it and our two other picks in the category.

Base L and LX models come equipped with an economical 2.4-liter four-cylinder that returns 25 mpg in the combined cycle. Mid-level models step up to a powerful 290-horsepower V6 with a starting MSRP of $31,290.

Amenities in base models are a bit scarce as well. Seats are cloth with manual adjustability and the air conditioning is not automatic. A seven-inch touchscreen is, however, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, USB input, and six-speaker sound.

Active safety only appears at the LX model ($27,650) and above. A convenience package ($2,000) adds heated seats with power adjustability, connectivity, and leather trim. Even at $29,650 total, the Sorento still stands out as a value winner.

MIDSIZE | Nissan Pathfinder

Starting MSRP: $31,430

Annual fuel cost: $1,550

Nissan adds value to its popular Pathfinder SUV with a standard 284-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine. The grunt is managed well and paired standard continuously-variable transmission, returning good economy at 23 mpg combined. Available four-wheel drive ($1,690) drops milage one point in standard models, and two in the top-of-the-line Platinum model.

An 8-inch touchscreen graces the center console with standard connectivity and voice control. Six—six!—USB ports are standard, along with two 12V power outlets, and three-zone automatic climate control.

All 2019 Pathfinder models come with automatic emergency braking, with blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic assist standard on all but the base model.

Buyers needing a two-row midsize SUV would do well to look at the Pathfinder’s sibling, the Murano ($31,750).

MIDSIZE | Toyota Highlander

Starting MSRP: $31,530

Annual fuel cost: $1,650

In base LE trim, the Toyota Highlander comes equipped with a 2.6-liter four-cylinder engine making 185 horsepower and returning 22 mpg in the combined cycle. A V6 is offered ($2,050) and is an attractive choice with 295 horsepower and slightly better combined economy of 23 mpg.

On the inside, the Highlander starts off with front and rear air conditioning, five USB ports, and a 6.1-inch touchscreen with integrated backup camera. There is smartphone integration, but CarPlay and Android Auto still appear to be absent.

Where the Highlander shines is in standard safety. All models come with a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beams, and dynamic cruise control.

LARGE | Nissan Armada

Starting MSRP: $47,100

Annual fuel cost: $2,250

Nissan’s eight-passenger Armada is anything but a blushing flower. All models come with a 5.6-liter V8 steaming out an impressive 390 horsepower, good for 8,500 pounds of maximum towing. Combined fuel economy is 16 mpg, which isn’t great, but the Armada’s low starting price makes up the difference. That is the front-driver, of course; four-wheel drive models drop to 15 mpg for a total of $2,400 in fuel per year.

For 2019, Nissan has added value across the range with standard automatic emergency braking, dynamic cruise control, and intelligent forward collision warning.

Inside, all models come with standard 13-speaker Bose audio, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, connectivity, navigation, automatic dual-zone climate control, and a 12V power outlet per row.

LARGE | Chevrolet Tahoe

Starting MSRP: $49,195

Annual fuel cost: $2,000

The big Tahoe embodies everything likable about American trucks and does so in a family-friendly package.

Standard infotainment fare is Chevy’s 8.0-inch touchscreen with easy Bluetooth streaming, connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, voice operation, app shopping integration, and five USB ports. Conversation is made easier by acoustic-laminated windshields and triple door seals keeping the cabin quiet.

The base 5.3-liter 8-cylinder engine makes 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque while returning 18 mpg combined. Adding four-wheel drive only drops economy by one point.

A basic active safety package ($695) is available for LS models and adds low speed automatic braking, forward collision alert, lane keeping assist, and automatic headlights.

Rear cross traffic and blind spot alerts are standard on the Tahoe Premier ($63,995)

LARGE | Toyota Sequoi

Starting MSRP: $48,850

Annual fuel cost: $2,400

The Toyota Sequoia comes in at an attractive starting price, but the elephant in the room must be addressed: fuel economy is “punch a panda in the mouth” bad, just 15 mpg in the combined cycle and worst in class. Adding four-wheel drive drops it to just 14 mpg, at which point the Sequoia might as well run on actual sequoias.

That being said, the 381-horsepower SUV has earned a reputation for being nearly as eternal as its giant redwood maesake. The 381-horsepower, 5.7-liter V8 and rugged body-on-frame construction create a solidity that buyers love and keeps resale values high.

The base SR5 model comes loaded enough to mitigate the high fuel costs, with seating for eight, independently sliding and reclining seats for all three second-row occupants, and connectivity.

The Sequoia’s standard safety puts it over the top, with blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert, a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert, dynamic cruise control, and trailer sway alert and control.

ELECTRIC | 2020 Kia Soul EV

Starting MSRP (2019 model): $33,950

Fuel cost: $600

Everything we love about the Kia Soul is made better in the electric model. The crossover’s defining fun and funky looks translate into adorable goofiness in the EV, as if your prized French Bulldog had English Bulldog offspring.

All the utility of the original is intact, though, with ample usable cargo area, high seating, great visibility, and a supremely comfortable cabin.

The 2019 model has 111 miles of range, which puts it firmly in city car category for most buyers. In our experience, that is more than enough for 90 percent of daily life, however, shopping trips and soccer practice and garden stores (o my!).

Even better is the low MSRP. Combined with an available tax credit of up to $7,500—which may not be available to all buyers—the Soul is one of the cheapest ways to go green.

An all-new 2020 model was announced in November and promises better battery life and faster charging.

ELECTRIC | Kia Niro EV

Starting MSRP: TBA ($35,000 est.)

Fuel cost: $550

The Niro EV will drop in two flavors, EX and EX Premium. Both are powered by a 201-horsepower electric motor with 291 lb-ft of torque, with a battery stack that provides 239 miles of range. Fast DC charging is standard and provides approximately 100-mile recharge in 30 minutes or 80 percent total battery capacity in 75 minutes.

The list of standard amenities is long and includes advanced connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and wireless charging.

The latest in safety is on deck, too, with forward collision warning and avoidance assist, lane departures warning and lane keeping assist, smart cruise control with stop and go function (auto follow), blind spot and rear cross traffic warning, and parking distance warning.

Buyers concerned about such things as the environment and human rights will be pleased to know that Hyundai is going out of its way to address the cobalt used in its EV batteries, promising that the company is “ultimately looking at other ways to source cobalt and to reduce usage. Battery engineers are striving to progressively reduce the cobalt required, and are succeeding.”

ELECTRIC | Hyundai Kona Electric

Starting MSRP: $36,500

Fuel cost: $550

If further proof was needed that the Hyundai Motor Group (which owns roughly 33 percent of Kia) has decided to corner the EV market, the company has released an electric version of its popular and award-winning Kona.

The compact SUV manages 258 miles of range from its 201-horsepower powertrain, with 291 lb-ft of torque for plenty of scoot off the line. Fast charging is standard, and an eighty percent charge can be achieved in 54 minutes.

The battery stack weighs less than 1,000 pounds, improving driving dynamics. The long wheelbase and short overhangs mean the Kona EV is every bit as much the urban warrior as the standard model, with excellent maneuverability and a forgiving ride.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, along with three years of Hyundai’s advanced connectivity service.

Inbetweeners Fiat Panda Hawaii

April Fools’ Day: the best car manufacturer pranks

Inbetweeners Fiat Panda HawaiiMany car manufacturers have a penchant for prankery and April Fools’ antics. Highlights from over the years include a Skoda umbrella for dogs, a Mini for hipsters and a four-seater Mazda MX-5.

But this is an absolute corker from Fiat. Behold, the Panda Hawaii – a tribute to the Cinquecento that starred in cult TV show ‘The Inbetweeners’. It will apparently be offered with free insurance for first-time teenage drivers. No one wants to be a bus… well, you know. Features include ‘amphibious qualities’ in case you get too friendly with your local pond, as well as a pre-dented red door, plus a cassette player in place of the usual infotainment system.

“The Panda Hawaii is perfect for young men as, not only is it cheap to run, it also attracts members of the opposite sex,” said a Fiat spokesperson. Quite. Ordering opens on April 1…

Tesla Roadster in space-age sale

Tesla Roadster

The Tesla Roadster sent into space is up for sale. The electric sports car was blasted beyond the Earth’s atmosphere aboard a SpaceX rocket, with a David Bowie ‘Starman’ mannequin in the driving seat.

Pending its return to solid ground, the interplanetary Tesla will be offered for sale via auction website Collecting Cars. With one owner from new and full main-dealer service history, its estimated hammer price is $420,000 (£320,000).

Aida Prilgrap, Collecting Cars’ specialist in the Netherlands, said: “Our early auctions include cars from across Europe, but this is the first vehicle we’ve consigned outside our atmosphere. It’s unbelievable.” Well, quite.

Kahn Design electronically customisable paint

Kahn Design electronically customisable paint

Kahn Design has created the world’s first electronically customisable paint. Via an app, owners can control the 3 billion diodes in the paint to create a bespoke colour at the touch of a finger. The video explains all: 

Skoda ProjectaPal LED reminder system

Skoda ProjectaPal April Fools' Day

Many Skoda Karoq now have standard boarding spotlights, illuminating the ground when the door is opened. Cue a development of this, called ProjectaPal lighting system, which projects personalised messages onto the ground.

Skoda ProjectaPal April Fools' Day

“Owners can create a bespoke reminder or link to their diary,” says Skoda, and also “project images from smartphone galleries”.

Skoda ProjectaPal April Fools' Day

The firm’s head of infotainment development, Dr Ivor Tüchskreen apparently said: “Every week, I forget to put my bins out for recycling. Before ProjectaPal, I would tape a note on the interior door handle, but it would always fall off. Then I thought ‘why don’t I ask my Karoq to remind me instead?’ – and that’s when we started designing ProjectaPal.”

MG road-colouring tyres

MG colour the road

MG’s mantra is ‘colour the road’. So on April 1 2019, it has announced road-colouring tyres. They’re coated with a water-soluble dye that covers the road as the car drives, before fading shortly afterwards. And don’t worry about safety, adds the firm; they’ve passed the strictest industry tests with, ahem, flying colours.

The most remote charging point in the UK

Land Rover April Fools' Day

Land Rover is taking a stand in the fight for a better electric vehicle charging infrastructure. For EV owners on the remote Scottish Isle of Skye, the company has installed what is officially the most remote charging point in the UK. The non-existent electric outlet allows for zero-emissions adventures in the new P400e Range Rover. Its batteries will charge in two hours and 45 minutes, according to LR. “Plenty of time to take in the electrifying view,” then.

BMW Motorrad iRace Kit

BMW iRace Kit

BMW’s astonishing S 1000 RR produces 207hp, weighs just 193kg and is a superbike of the highest order. What about if you’re not quite so talented, but still want to sample what it’s capable of? Enter the new iRace Kit, which uses BMW’s patented autonomous-ride motorcycle tech to accelerate, brake, gearshift and steer riders around circuits at speed all the way up to the current lap record. They simply hold on. “What I experienced was sheer fear,” said test pilot Rosario Froschle, “but I started to gain trust. It was pure madness, but completely safe.”

A 1,000hp jet-powered motorbike

Triumph Rocket

From the vaguely silly, to the absolutely insane; here’s a new accessory for your Triumph Rocket motorbike. Two jets are fitted where the exhaust would normally be, each lending 500hp to the cause of forward motion. And that is forward motion only, given this Rocket will be thrust-driven. “The new Rocket Mode Thrusters will beat just about anything in a straight line, including up,” said S.P. Aceman, chief project engineer at Triumph. We believe you, Mr Aceman.

Toyota ‘Pieace’ mobile oven

Toyota Pieace

Somebody at Toyota Australia has been busy with Photoshop. The result is a convertible version of the Hiace van, complete with an optional pie oven. Meet the Pieace.

Apparently the slide-out oven includes a grill with four cooking racks. Toyota Australia’s head of public affairs, Brodie Bott, said the Pieace “made smoko a breeze”. Whatever that means.

Toyota Pieace

“It works a lot like a slow cooker,” continued Mr Bott. “All you do is pop an uncooked pie or sausage roll in the Pieace, set it to the desired temperature using the buttons on the steering wheel, and away you go. An alarm on the dash lets the driver know when the pie is cooked.” 

Mini Hipster Hatch

Mini Hipster

Mini is famous for its special editions and here’s one that taps straight into the current psyche. The Mini Hipster Hatch answers the needs of “what those who refused to be categorised want from a car”: enter red lumberjack check exterior details and Instagram-filtered windows. Take it in Brooklyn Blue, Monochromatic Green or this rather fetching Organic Pumpkin. It has a fixed gear drive, just like hipsters’ beloved fixie bicycles, with a maximum speed of 25mph.

Mini Cooper T

Mini Cooper T

Does it get any more British than this? It’s a Mini Cooper that’ll run on tea. Colours include ‘Chamomile Yellow’, ‘Red Bush’ and ‘Early Grey’.

Toyota Aygo Instagram app

Toyota Instagram April Fools' Day

How can Toyota make its Aygo city car more desirable to young drivers? It’s found the answer, by teaming with photo-sharing app Instagram to offer its famous filters on the car’s rear-view camera. Selfies taken through the camera can then be shared through the app.

Toyota x-touch engineer Flora Poli said: “This is certainly one of the trickier projects I’ve worked on. At first I was worried, because let’s face it, using a reversing camera to take selfies seems a stupid idea. But if this engages people in what is actually an important and useful safety feature that is available across most of the Aygo range, it is worth it… I think.”

Morgan MOGrod

MOGrod

The Malvern firm that specialises in sports cars made out of wood teased its latest project – a new range of hot rods, powered by Ford’s 3.7-litre V6. We kinda wish this wasn’t an April Fool gag.

Hyundai i10 special project

Hyundai April Fools' Day

In 2009, Hyundai claimed that world leaders were becoming concerned about emissions from large limos and adapted SUVs, so announced a cost effective solution in the form of a customised i10 city car. The roof was specially raised to accommodate VIPs, while the seats were finished in a cloth nicknamed ‘holy sheet’…

Paw-wheel drive

Volkswagen April Fools' Day

Volkswagen announced that it had been working with the RSPCA to teach dogs to drive its Amarok pick-up truck. Apparently the three mixed-breed dogs, Tulip, Jacob and Harry were initially taught using a wooden trolley, before upgrading to the four-wheel drive.

Nissan Gym

Nissan gym button

Thanks to Nissan, driving to work could be as healthy as walking, courtesy of this ‘Gym’ button. It turns off features drivers take for granted, such as power steering and electric windows, while also increasing the resistance in the accelerator, brake and clutch pedals. The firm reckoned motorists would burn thousands of calories a week and raise their fitness levels as they drive. There was even a ‘Gym and Go’ app in the infotainment system.

Kia KEE_wii

Kia Kee Wii

Another Kia prank, this time from 2008. The Korean manufacturer took its Kee concept car, seen at Frankfurt the previous year, and claimed it could be driven using a small controller inspired by computer games consoles.

Citroen C4 Cactus Arsenal edition

Citroen April Fools' Day

The Citroen C4 Cactus is already an eye-catching car, but its blue, red and gold Arsenal edition got a mixed reception ahead of the 2014/15 season. It featured a Geo Organised Away-day Location, Information & Entertainment interface (GOALIE), pre-loaded with Arsenal’s away fixtures including directions to the matches, a database of pie and mash vendors and a music playlist of football anthems.

SEAT electro reflective technology

Seat April Fools' Day

Could invisible cars be a thing? In April 2008, SEAT claimed that it had used technology similar to that used in auto-dimming mirrors to create a Leon that could mimic its surroundings.

SEAT Aero-Tonto

Seat April Fools' Day

On 1 April 2009, SEAT followed this up with a wind turbine that could be mounted on top of the Ibiza Ecomotive’s roof to generate power for its headlights. As a result, it could return an extra 3mpg.

Vauxhall Astra VXR Accelerator Pedal Retarding Intervention Lump

Vauxhall April Fools' Day

Back when you could get a new Vauxhall Astra VXR, the firm offered a solution to quelling the expensive fuel bills that went with it: the Accelerator Pedal Retarding Intervention Lump (APRIL), which prevented a heavy right foot.

BMW Force Injection Booster

BMW April Fools' Day

Like every drive to feel like an Autobahn blast? BMW’s Force Injection Booster (FIB) extracts kinetic energy from the car’s engine at speeds of up to 20mph, converts it into positive g-forces and channels it through the air vents. At the same time, a mild electric current is delivered through the front seats, to simulate the same exhilarating feeling of driving at high speed.

BMW xDrive Baby Boots

BMW xDrive Baby Boots

Good news! Now your baby can enjoy the benefits of xDrive, BMW’s intelligent four-wheel drive system. The xDrive Baby Boots enable perfect weight distribution, providing maximum walking pleasure for your toddler. You know something, if BMW actually produced these, we think there’d be a queue outside dealerships everywhere…

Mazda MX-5 four-door

Mazda four-door MX-5

We doubt Mazda will have much trouble shifting its MX-5, but would it more desirable as a four-door? The manufacturer tweeted this picture, saying “We’re excited to share with you the first picture of the all-new Mazda MX-5 4 seater.”

BMW Canine Repellent Alloy Protection

BMW Canine Repellant Alloy Protection

Fed up of dogs doing their business on the wheels of your new BMW? In 2008, the manufacturer revealed its Canine Repellent Alloy Protection (CRAP) which would give animals an electric shock if they came too close to your BMW.

BMW Political Roundel Attachment Tag

BMW PRAT

BMW has form for April Fools’ gags. Ahead of the 2010 general election, it revealed its Political Roundel Attachment Tag (PRAT) – a bonnet badge that could be specced in the colour of whichever political party you support.

Vauxhall Astra Copacabana

Vauxhall Astra Copacabana

On April Fools’ Day, Vauxhall revealed a £41,024.01 Astra. The Copacabana’s 2.6 second 0-60mph time would push passengers back into their seats, which were trimmed from genuine Rio turf. The footwells were filled with sand and the horn resembled a Vuvuzela.

BMW M3 pickup

BMW M3 pickup

The way BMW’s model line-up is going, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see an M3 pickup added to the range. Apparently its lightweight (50kg less than the convertible) and lower centre of gravity meant it could hit a top speed of 300km/h (186mph).

Land Rover self-levelling tax disc holder

Land Rover self-levelling windscreen

In 2011, Land Rover developed a self-levelling tax disc holder in response to new legislation that said tax discs legally should not be displayed at jaunty angles.

Kia Concept i

Kia i-Kia

Buying a new car is getting increasingly like buying home furnishings, with some manufacturers now opening dealerships in shopping centres. Kia saw this coming in 2007, with the introduction of its Concept i. Described as a ‘modular car’, buyers could choose the engine, transmission and trim specification of their new car before opting for the rear model (saloon, hatch, estate etc). Dealers would then supply the modules for the customer to put together at home, creating their new, erm, i’Kia.

Vauxhall Taxi Kebabi

Vauxhall Taxi Kebabi

Many nights on the town end with a quick kebab before a taxi ride home. In a stroke of genius, Vauxhall launched the Taxi Kebabi, which is like having your kebab and eating it. Based on the nine-seat Combi minibus, it featured two gas-fired spit rotisserie grilles, integrated salad bowls, chili dispensers and a selection of sauces.

Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Mini

Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Mini

If today’s vans are a little too large, the Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Mini could be the answer. This pint-sized van is just 2.4 metres long and answers the need for ultra-compact vans in urban environments. It can even be parked at right angles to the kerb, Smart style.

Skoda Simply Clever dog umbrella

Skoda Simply Clever dog umbrella

You couldn’t make it up. Actually, you could, with Skoda’s new dog umbrella for its flagship Superb. Like its ‘human’ counterpart, the dog umbrella integrates into the car’s doorframe, and can be attached to a conventional lead to provide a unique ‘paws-free’ operation.

Honda emoji licence plate

Honda emoji licence plate

Honda’s response to demand from younger drivers in the UK? Plans to introduce the world’s first official emoji vehicle registration plates. Shigastu Baka, First Officer of Licences at Honda UK, said: “We are really excited to offer our customers a fun, quirky way to customise their car, which importantly, is reflective of their personality and lifestyle.

World’s first Formula 1 coach

Luxoria Formula 1 coach

This is Luxuria, the world’s first purpose-built track and tour coach. It develops 3,614lb ft of torque, with a top speed of 122.6mph. It has lapped the Barcelona F1 circuit in a mere 2m 18 sec, with a list of features that includes an adjustable carbon fibre rear spoiler, carbon ceramic disc brake sand super-soft slick tyres. 30 guests can enjoy this unique experience.

 

We tour London in a fab classic Mini to celebrate its 60th

Why is the Mini still so well-loved, 60 years after it was first revealed? We spend a morning driving one around London to find out