What are the greatest cars of the decade?

Bugatti Chiron - greatest cars of the decade

We’re approaching the end of the decade and nobody is really sure what to call it. The ‘twenty-tens’? The ‘teens’? The ‘noughties’? Coming up with a list of the greatest cars of the past decade is just as hard, but we’ve had a stab at it.

Well, it makes a change from reading about Love Island, right?

To sharpen our minds, we’ve limited the list to 20 cars and have attempted to provide a broad spectrum of vehicles. Oh, and no more than one car for every manufacturer.

Have a read and then come up with a list of your own in the comments below. 

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio - greatest cars of the decade

God knows it isn’t perfect, but in a world of engine downsizing, all-wheel-drive safety nets and derivative crossovers, we’re mighty pleased that the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio exists. It’s everything an Alfa Romeo should be – yes, including the faults – and we salute anyone who spends upwards of £63,500 on this Italian gem. Do you want some good news? Used prices start from £45,000…

Alpine A110

Alpine A110 - greatest cars of the decade

In the same way that it’s seemingly impossible to write about the Reliant Scimitar without mentioning a certain member of the Royal Family, every review of the Alpine A110 we’ve read has included a reference to a sports car from Stuttgart. For us, the little A110 is more than simply an alternative to the 718 Cayman, it’s a breath of fresh air and an example of what can be achieved when engineers and designers stick to a tight (and light!) brief. We have a deep fondness for the gem from Dieppe.

BMW M2

BMW M2 - greatest cars of the decade

Our man Tim Pitt has driven a fair few performance cars in his time. Of the BMW M2, he said: “The new BMW M2 is a staggeringly good performance car. The combination of supercar acceleration with a cleverly developed chassis, all wrapped in a package that’s sufficiently compact to make the most of UK roads, is tantalising.” The final sentence of his 2016 review was simple and to the point: “Buy one.”

Bugatti Chiron

Bugatti Chiron - greatest cars of the decade

Tim hasn’t driven the Bugatti Chiron – nobody at Motoring Research has – but as a flagship for the performance car industry and a pin-up for a generation of young car enthusiasts, it has to go down as one of the cars of the decade. The world doesn’t need a 1,500hp and 1,180lb ft of torque hypercar, but it’s thanks to cars like the Chiron that engineers keep pushing themselves and kids keep dreaming. It’s also the reason why – spoiler alert – the likes of the P1 and LaFerrari are absent from this list.

Citroen C4 Cactus

Citroen C4 Cactus - greatest cars of the decade

If the Bugatti Chiron is a demonstration of what can be achieved when you have an unlimited budget, the Citroen C4 Cactus – in its original, Airbump-to-the-max form – is an example of clever thinking and real world practicality. It had many flaws – far too many to list here – but for its feel-good cabin, a focus on reducing weight, and the Airbump technology, it deserves recognition. It’s also far more interesting than the vast majority of modern crossovers. In years to come, it will be good to remember the decade this way.

Dacia Sandero

Dacia Sandero - greatest cars of the decade

Competitive PCP deals have encouraged consumers to push further upmarket, with manufacturers doing little in the way to discourage them. Kia and Hyundai have all but forgotten their budget-led roots, while the mainstream manufacturers have introduced premium sub brands and more posh trim levels than you can throw a Ferrero Rocher at. It means that Dacia has dominated the budget end of the market, establishing a firm foothold in the UK. We still find it remarkable that Dacia was able to offer a brand new car with a three-year warranty for just £5,995.

Ferrari 458 Speciale

Ferrari 458 Speciale - greatest cars of the decade

According to Tim Pitt, the 458 Speciale is the pinnacle. The grand fromage. The best of the best. It is, to Tim, “‘peak’ naturally-aspirated Ferrari”. At its heart is a 4.5-litre V8 engine producing 605hp and mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. As Ferrari’s last ever naturally-aspirated V8 supercar, it has a place in Maranello’s history books. It also just happens to be one of the greatest cars of the decade.

Ford Fiesta ST

Ford Fiesta ST - greatest cars of the decade

If you’re after an era-defining hot hatch, look no further than the Ford Fiesta ST. This is the Peugeot 205 GTI for a new generation – the benchmark for affordable hot hatches. The outgoing Fiesta ST rendered the previously untouchable Renault Sport Clio null and void, while the new three-pot version is every bit as magical as its predecessor.

Jaguar I-Pace

Jaguar I-Pace - greatest cars of the decade

We suspect the next decade will be remembered for its range of alternative fuel vehicles, which means the Jaguar I-Pace. This multi award-winning EV is one of a new breed of premium electric cars, and in our opinion, it’s one of the best. Our man with the light foot, Richard Aucock, called it a “landmark car”, saying that it sets an “impressively high bar to battle over”, High praise.

Kia e-Niro

Kia e-Niro - greatest cars of the decade

Richard had similar words of praise reserved for the Kia e-Niro, too. While it won’t feature in too many people’s top 20 cars of the decade, it’s going to do as much for the mainstream EV market as the I-Pace will do for the premium end. “It’s the best ‘everyman’ electric car we’ve yet seen”, claimed Richard. More high praise.

Lamborghini Aventador SV

Lamborghini Aventador SV - greatest cars of the decade

How can two little letters mean so much? As if the ‘standard’ Aventador wasn’t hardcore enough, Lamborghini injected 50hp and 170 percent more downforce, removed 50kg of weight, and added a host of upgrades to create the SV. There’s a sense that cars like this snarling, V12-engined nutjob are a dying breed – performance for performance’s sake and to hell with emissions, and practicality. The SV tells future generations that we could let our hair down once in a while.

McLaren 600LT

McLaren 600LT - greatest cars of the decade

Some people reckon the 600LT is the best car McLaren has ever built. That’s quite a claim when you stop to think about some of the other cars in McLaren’s back catalogue. Tim Pitt said it was probably the best driver’s car of 2018, claiming that it’s “fit to follow in the tyre tracks of the 675LT and F1 GTR”. If it’s good enough for Tim, it’s good enough for this list.

Porsche 911 R

Porsche 911 R - greatest cars of the decade

There will be some who will claim that this slot belongs to another 911 or even another Porsche. Some would argue that you could fill the entire gallery with Porsches. But we’re opting for the 911 R, with its 4.0-litre flat-six naturally-aspirated engine, six-speed manual gearbox and genuine 200mph top speed. Just 991 were built, with many changing hands for vastly inflated prices. That’s one of the downsides of the current decade.

Rolls-Royce Phantom

Rolls-Royce Phantom - greatest cars of the decade

In truth, we’ve enjoyed better drives in the Wraith, but driving isn’t really the point of a Rolls-Royce. Which is why we think the Phantom is one of the best cars of the decade. Nobody does luxury like Rolls-Royce, so as the company’s newest model, this is arguably the best car in the world right now. We’d rather go for a drive in a Wraith, mind.

Skoda Superb

Skoda Superb - greatest cars of the decade

We think the Skoda Superb is the best all-rounder in the Volkswagen Group, not to mention proof that you don’t really need a crossover or SUV to achieve peak practicality. We’ll take ours with the 280hp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, please. Oh, and finished in Dragon Green paint. Thanks.

Suzuki Jimny

Suzuki Jimny - greatest cars of the decade

Few cars have generated as much buzz and excitement as the new Suzuki Jimny. An unprecedented number of pre-orders was followed by a length weighty list, catapulting Suzuki into waters normally charted by limited-run sports cars and supercars. Our verdict: “Think of the new Jimny as a puppy. It’s not perfect, and there might be more sensible ways of spending your cash, but if you’ve fallen in love with the looks, the car will win you over with its boundless energy and deep-rooted character. As a bonus, the Jimny won’t leave a puddle on your kitchen floor.”

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S - greatest cars of the decade

Tesla has done a brilliant PR job for the electric car industry. While the likes of Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Jaguar are only just getting their electric houses in order, Tesla has been churning out Model S EVs since 2012. The poster car for the plug-in segment offers a realistic range, a host of tech – some useful, others less so – and has provided a springboard for Tesla to launch further sector-busting electric cars.

Toyota GT86

Toyota GT86 - greatest cars of the decade

This might be a controversial choice, but we have a soft spot for the Toyota GT86 and its near-identical twin, the Subaru BRZ. Some might argue that the GT86 needs more power, but that overlooks the delightful balance, the perfect poise and the wonderful steering. It feels like a Porsche 944 for a new generation.

Volkswagen Up

Volkswagen Up - greatest cars of the decade

There are many cars to choose from in the city car segment, but for almost the entire decade, the Volkswagen Up has been the number one choice. It’s well built, neatly packaged, has a strong image and is as good outside of the city as it is in it. The fact that you can order an electric version or a GTI is the icing on the cake. Also available as the Skoda Citigo and Seat Mii.

Volvo XC40

Volvo XC40 - greatest cars of the decade

The roads are filled with crossovers and SUV, and whether you like ‘em or not, they appear to be here to stay. If you must have one, make sure it’s a good one, which is where Volvo comes in. The XC40 is like the brilliant XC90 but in a smaller and more affordable package. If you buy one, make sure it has the orange carpets. Sorted.

How to drive on a smart motorway

How to drive on a smart motorway

Just a couple of weeks after fines were introduced for ignoring a red ‘X’ sign, the government has updated its advice for driving on a smart motorway.

A smart motorway is a technology-enabled section of motorway that uses traffic management methods to control the flow of traffic, reduce congestion and improve journey times. 

In some cases, the hard shoulder is used as a ‘live’ running lane to increase capacity, with variable speed limits put in place to maintain a smooth flow of traffic.

Not everyone is a fan of smart motorways, with some motorists arguing that the absence of a hard shoulder makes them more dangerous than conventional motorways.

Highways England, which manages the motorway network, said that since the introduction of the first smart motorway in 2006, journey reliability has improved by 22 percent and personal injury accidents have reduced by more than a half.

Red X closed lanes smart motorway fines

The RAC said: “In recent years, there has been a movement towards the permanent conversion of the hard shoulder into a running lane which has concerned us.

“The removal of the hard shoulder fundamentally increases the risk to drivers who might suffer a breakdown and are unable to reach a refuge area.

“To combat this, the RAC has worked with Highways England to increase the numbers of emergency refuge areas (ERAs), increase awareness and prominence of these by getting them repainted orange and make sure that the latest technology is used to detect when a vehicle is in trouble.”

Tips for driving on a smart motorway

Highways England has issued the following ‘quick tips’ for motorists driving on a smart motorway:

  • Never drive in a lane closed by a red ‘X’: not only is it illegal, you also risk receiving a £100 fine. You’re also endangering the lives of other motorists and anyone who could be working in the closed lane.
  • Keep to the speed limits shown on the signs: Highways England uses sensors and cameras to monitor traffic volumes, with limits set accordingly.
  • A broken white line indicates a normal running lane.
  • If the hard shoulder is being used as an extra lane, use the designated emergency areas for emergencies.
  • If your vehicle experiences difficulties, exit the motorway immediately.
  • If you break down, put your hazard lights on.
  • Most breakdowns are preventable: keep your car maintained, check your tyres and ensure you have enough fuel for your journey.

In an emergency or breakdown

Using the hazard lights

If you’re unable to exit the motorway, follow these steps:

  1. Use an emergency area. These are marked with blue signs with an orange SOS telephone symbol.
  2. If you can leave your vehicle safely, contact Highways England using the emergency telephone. Alternatively, call 0300 123 5000 from your mobile.
  3. If you can’t get to an emergency area, move to the hard shoulder (where available) or as close to the nearside as possible.
  4. Consider exiting the vehicle via the nearside door and waiting behind the safety barrier.
  5. Switch on your hazard lights and side lights. DO NOT USE A WARNING TRIANGLE.
  6. Contact your breakdown provider.

Red ‘X’

A red ‘X’ means that you must stay out of a lane that is closed to traffic. The red ‘X’ might be displayed on an overhead gantry or on large signs next to the motorway.

It’s illegal to drive in a lane closed by a red ‘X’ sign. You could receive a fixed penalty of up to £100 and three points, and in some cases more severe penalties or a court appearance.

Variable speed limits

Variable speed limit sign

Highways England might impose a variable speed limit at busy times, but they can be automatically triggered by sensors that monitor traffic flow.

The speed limit is displayed inside a red circle and is legally enforceable. If no limit is displayed, the national speed limit applies.

Keep left

You should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear. You must not drive on the hard shoulder except in an emergency or if instructed to by the police, Highways England or by signs.

Click here for more news and information on smart motorways.

Mazda is getting rid of touchscreens on its cars

Mazda is getting rid of touch screens

Mazda has begun the eradication of touchscreens in its cars, starting with the new 3 hatchback. It’s often a marque to buck prevailing trends, but never without reason, and this latest dismissal of dashboard touchscreens is no exception.

Why get rid of touchscreens?

Touchscreens have been hot tech since they became mainstream over decade ago. They’re now getting up to a standard of clarity and responsiveness in our cars that we’ve been enjoying with our smart hand-held devices for the last 10 years. So why is Mazda ditching them? 

There is method and logic in Mazda’s madness. Research has suggested that touchscreens can present too much of a distraction for drivers, finding usage both takes our attention away from the road, and affects our physical control of the car.

Mazda is getting rid of touch screens

“Doing our research, when a driver would reach towards a touchscreen interface in any vehicle, they would unintentionally apply torque to the steering wheel, and the vehicle would drift out of its lane position,” said Matthew Valbuena, Mazda North America’s lead engineer for HMI and infotainment.

A troubling revelation indeed. Highways England has expressed a disliking for in-car touchscreens, too. Chief executive Jim O’Sullivan is quoted as saying “we don’t like them from a safety perspective” and that on-screen controls are “small” and “fiddly”.

Touchscreens require what Mazda calls ‘gross’ motor skills. These are large movements on our part to achieve specific goals. By our recollection, lifting your hand up to a screen and accurately pressing a ‘button’ has been a bit of a chore in some cars, and has felt like a distraction too far.

Head-up displays and Command Controllers

Mazda is getting rid of touch screens

Mazda wants to revert to safer ways of delivering information and controlling in-car systems. As for the former, head-up displays gain favour given they require less of a transition in focus with your eyes.

In short, a head-up display is basically a part of the scenery as far as your eyes are concerned. Contrast that with a touchscreen that’s much closer and requires more of a re-focus. You’ll note in the cabin of the new Mazda 3 that the screen is further away, out of reach. Indeed, it doesn’t need to be in reach.

As for controlling systems? Mazda wants to go analogue, with physical toggles. In the 3 it’s the Command Controller, positioned naturally within reach. It requires what Mazda calls ‘fine’ motor skills, rather than ‘gross’, as above. These are small precise movements that require less concentration to achieve, and are staggered by the controls themselves – i.e. when toggles, spin-wheels and buttons ‘click’.

Why touchscreens are pursued

Mazda is getting rid of touch screens

We would suggest that all who use touch screens in cars will feel pangs of uncertainty at some point about whether they’re safe.

Assuming that safety is in question, why are manufacturers sticking with them?

Well, reverting would literally feel like a backward step. Can you imagine an Audi A8 that replaces two giant touch panels with buttons once more?

On the button issue, too, touchscreens are simpler to tool for carmakers. Smatterings of buttons can be fiddly to both manufacture and use. Touchscreens can also pack a lot more functionality into a finite space.

Mazda going back to physical controls

Then there are systems that are now being integrated. How does one control a touch interface like Apple Carplay with physical controls? That’s part of the reason Audi is discontinuing its rotary controller, allegedly.

Regardless, Mazda is the first to commit to persevere without touchscreens, for all the right reasons we’d say.

Beloved British racing legend’s car collection for sale

Barrie Whizzo Williams Collection for sale at Silverstone Classic

The collection of the late Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams is to be auctioned at the Silverstone Classic sale at the end of July. Barrie was adored throughout the motorsport community. A character whose driving was as exuberant as his personality.

This excellent and very personal collection includes his 1964 Mini Cooper 1071S. Whizzo ordered this car from his hospital bed after an accident.

In spite of the six-month waiting list, he received it just three weeks later. He and co-driver John Griffiths went on to win the International Welsh Rally with the car, as a private entry. It turned out to be the first international win for a Cooper S.

Barrie Whizzo Williams Collection for sale at Silverstone Classic

After a couple of years and two seasons of use, Barrie moved the Mini on, only to buy it back later in life and restore it to 1964 Welsh Rally Spec. He’d use it as a daily driver, frequenting lunch at the BRDC in it.

One of, if not the coolest Mini in the world, will be hitting the block at the Silverstone Classic and is estimated to make between £60,000 and £80,000.

Barrie Whizzo Williams Collection for sale at Silverstone Classic

Joining the Mini will be Whizzo’s 1972 Lancia Fulvia HF Series II. A near-immaculate example, it’s recently undergone an extensive restoration and comes with documentation to back it up. It could be yours for between £30,000 and £35,000.

The last two lots are very personal to Barrie. The first is his Fastakart – a ‘50s racing kart of his father’s design – that’s being sold with a box trailer. The second is Barrie’s own paddock bike, a 2007 Gilerta Stalker.

Barrie Whizzo Williams Collection for sale at Silverstone Classic

“Barrie was an exceptional racer who touched the lives of many people with his larger than life character,” said Guy Lees-Milne, general manager, Silverstone Auctions

“We are honoured to be auctioning this history-making and very special car at our Silverstone Classic sale.”

2020 Dodge Charger Hellcat Widebody Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak date for Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody Concept

2020 Dodge Charger Hellcat Widebody Pikes PeakThe updated 2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody may have just been announced, but it is ready to go racing at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

A race-prepped concept version of the latest Mopar muscle car will compete in the Exhibition class at the 97th running of the famed motorsport event. 

Despite the gruelling demands of the 14,115-foot climb to the top of the mountain, this SRT Charger is still largely based on the new road car.

Wider bodywork means wider rubber

2020 Dodge Charger Hellcat Widebody Pikes PeakKey to the introduction of the Widebody version of the Hellcat Charger is the extra girth applied to the fenders and bumpers. 

Stretching the Charger body out further by 3.5 inches compared to regular version means room to safely add a set of 11-inch wide wheels. Fitted to these rims are a set of fatter and stickier 305/35ZR20 Pirellis, although the race car uses Toyo slicks. 

It means the new Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody accelerates from 0-60mph in 3.6 seconds, and can run to a top speed of 196mph. 

2020 Dodge Charger Hellcat Widebody Pikes PeakThe Pikes Peak race car also gains an enhanced version of the supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V-8 engine. Dodge has not specified outputs, but starting with 707 horsepower and 650lb-ft of torque means the numbers will always be impressive.

Just like the road car, the Pikes Peak concept machine uses an eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic gearbox for quick shifting. 

Upgraded Brembo brakes make an appearance on the new Widebody Charger Hellcat, and will no doubt be put to good use on the twists and turns of the Pikes Peak course. Bilstein suspension also gets a specific tune for the wider Charger.

The sky really is the limit

2020 Dodge Charger Hellcat Widebody Pikes PeakCovering the widened bodywork of the Charger is a bespoke racing livery custom-designed by the FCA US Product Design Office. It certainly makes the Widebody Hellcat standout, even amongst a field of racing machinery.

Inside is a full FIA-spec roll cage to keep legendary driver Randy Pobst safe, along with a racing fuel cell and upgraded bucket seat. 

Talking about his latest ride for the ‘Race to the Clouds’, Pobst said: “This specially prepared Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody concept has the three ‘must haves’ for this hill climb: lots of horsepower and torque to hit 120 mph plus on the sweepers; great handling with the wider wheels and tires, because there is absolutely no room for mistakes on a mountain road; and the superb brakes to haul that puppy down for 20-mph hairpin turns.”  

2020 Dodge Charger Hellcat Widebody Pikes PeakTurning the new Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody into a Pikes Peak contender has clearly been a passion project for those at Dodge. 

Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Cars FCA – North America, said the team took a Charger and “threw big horsepower, big rubber and big brakes at it. It’s just that easy to make a Dodge race ready. And the best part, most of what we did is available off the showroom floor in the new 2020 Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody.”

A race-prepped version of the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat will also be competing in the Time Attack 1 class at Pikes Peak. Mopar fans will only have to wait until Sunday to see just how good the new Charger really is against the clock.

All new government-funded home chargers must be ‘smart’

New electric car home chargers must be smart

From 1 July 2019, all electric car home chargers backed by the government’s Electric Vehicle Homecharge scheme must use ‘smart’ technology.

The government made the announcement in December 2018, but the roads minister Michael Ellis has reiterated the requirements ahead of the new legislation coming into force.

It means that home chargers must have the ability to be remotely accessed and capable of receiving, interpreting and reacting to a signal. Smart charging reduces high peak electricity demand and minimises the impact of EV on the grid, says the government.

‘In the driving seat’

Michael Ellis said: “The government wants the UK to be the best place in the world to build and own an electric vehicle, with leadership and innovation helping us pave the way to a zero emission future.

“We’re in the driving seat of the zero emission revolution. Our new requirements for charge points could help keep costs down, ensuring the benefits of green transport are felt by everyone.”

Approximately 200 home chargers from 25 manufacturers have been confirmed as being eligible after 1 July, with each one marked on the government website.

Home chargers must be smart

Daniel Brown, policy manager at the Renewable Energy Association, welcomed the news but urged the government to extend the legislation to the workplace.

He said: “As more of our power comes from renewable technologies such as wind and solar, it’s key that we increase the ‘flexibility’ of our energy system.

“Smart charging will be an important part of this in the future, allowing homes to benefit from new tariffs and from bill-reducing technologies such as rooftop solar and battery storage.

“We welcome this move and hope the government go a step further in the future, by mandating the smartness of all new charge points including those installed in workplaces and in public locations.”

‘Allow the grid to cope’

Edmund King, AA president, added: “Three-fifths (59 percent) of drivers agree that domestic charging points should automatically default and delay charging a vehicle until energy prices are at their lowest. As well as keeping bills down, it will also allow the grid to cope with the new demand.

“However, there are occasions when drivers will need to override the system and charge their cars immediately. Three-quarters (75 percent) want this option as part of the new system and we are pleased it is in place ahead of the new installations.”

Contraflow will be extended to ease congestion on the M6

M6 contraflow to ease congestion

The contraflow introduced on the M6 upgrade scheme between junction 13 at Stafford and junction 15 at Stoke is to be extended.

Introducing a contraflow to the motorway has resulted in fewer overnight closures and has helped to speed up work on the project, says Highways England.

Drivers on the M6 still go through the roadworks at the same speed, but the contraflow creates a larger construction area at the side of the motorway, enabling more work to be safely carried out in one shift.

The contraflow is running on the northbound carriageway from Yarnfield to junction 15, but from next month it will be extended to run all the way between junctions 14 and 15 – a total of 11 miles.

‘Exploring new ways’

Motorway roadworks

Highways England Smart Motorway project sponsor Peter Smith said: “The contraflow gives us more space when we’re working in the verge, making it safer for our workers and helping us complete the scheme quicker.

“Because there is more room in the verge, we can carry out most of the disruptive activities during the day, reducing the amount of full overnight motorway closures which benefits local communities.

“Highways England is always exploring new ways to maximise efficiency and this is another important achievement in our work which will ultimately improve journeys by adding extra capacity and technology to the motorway.”

‘Keeping traffic on the move’

M6 motorway

Helen Fisher, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport added: “The introduction of the smart motorway on this section is key for keeping traffic on the move on the busy M6.

“We have worked closely with Highways England to ensure that the impact on local routes such as those through Stafford and along the A34 is minimised while this vital scheme is completed.

“The use of the contraflow has improved productivity, safety and disruption to residents living close by and also reduced the amount of full overnight motorway closures due to having the availability for one lane of traffic to travel in the contraflow lane.”

Work begins on 1 July to install the extended stretch of contraflow which will involve a series of night-time closures.

The southbound carriageway will be closed for five nights from Monday followed by the northbound carriageway for five nights, all between the hours of 9pm to 6am.

Revealed: the UK’s most commonly asked motoring questions

Most common motoring questions on Google

“Why is my BMW 3 Series the best?” This, believe it or not, is one of the most common motoring questions, according to a study conducted by Scrap Car Network.

Researchers analysed the most popular Google search queries relating to the UK’s 20 best-selling cars of the past decade to discover the most common motoring questions.

“Is my Vauxhall Mokka a 4×4?” was another popular query, along with “Is my Mercedes C-Class rear-wheel drive?”

Disappointingly, “Are modern Audis fitted with indicators?” didn’t feature in the results.

Most questions started with “Why is my…” or “Why won’t my…”, which suggests many people turn to Google for help diagnosing a problem. 

Losing power was a major concern for Vauxhall Corsa, Audi A3, BMW 1 Series and Vauxhall Insignia drivers.

‘Inexplicable beeps’ was the second most common question for Kia Sportage, Fiat 500 and Peugeot 208 drivers.

Indeed, the majority of queries were related to maintenance or problems, with drivers asking Google for help with juddering, starting issues, overheating, burning smells and a loss of coolant.

‘Better to be safe than sorry’

BMW 3 Series

William Fletcher, managing director of Scrap Car Network, said: “It’s a good sign that drivers are curious to discover what’s going on with their car. It enables them to make informed decisions about maintenance.

“And while search engines may provide tips on fixing basic issues, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Drivers should consult a professional if they’re worried.

“It’s an equally good thing that buyers are doing proper research before deciding what car best suits their needs

“It’s often the case that inexperienced buyers take a test drive and fall in love with a car without understanding important issues like maintenance costs, availability of parts, reliability and common faults. Ignoring these things can result in a months, if not years, of unhappy motoring.”

Most popular search queries for top 20 cars of the past decade

  1. Why is my Vauxhall Corsa losing power?
  2. Why is my Audi A3 losing power?
  3. Why is my BMW 1 Series losing power?
  4. Why is my Vauxhall Insignia losing power?
  5. Why is my Kia Sportage beeping?
  6. Why is my Fiat 500 beeping?
  7. Why is my Peugeot 208 beeping?
  8. Why is my Ford Fiesta juddering?
  9. Why won’t my Mercedes A-Class start?
  10. Why is my Vauxhall Astra juddering? 
  11. Why is my Nissan Juke not starting?
  12. Why is my Volkswagen Golf losing coolant?
  13. Why is my Nissan Qashqai not locking?
  14. Why is my Volkswagen Polo losing water?
  15. Why is my Mini overheating?
  16. Why is my Toyota Yaris using oil?
  17. Why is my Ford Kuga burning?
  18. Is my Mercedes C-Class rear-wheel drive?
  19. Is my Vauxhall Mokka a 4×4?
  20. Why is my BMW 3 Series the best?

 

 

Highways England’s new super-truck promises to cut congestion

Highways England ECRU super-truck

Its official name is Enhanced Customer Response Unit (ECRU), but if it delivers on its promise to ‘dramatically reduce delays for drivers’, it’ll develop a reputation as a ‘super-truck’.

The ECRU – which is the first of its kind in the UK – is being trialled in the West Midlands from July, with the vehicle manned by both Highways England traffic officers and incident support staff from contractor Kier.

It combines the expertise, knowledge and equipment of both teams who deal with post-incident clean-ups and repairs.

Motorists in the West Midlands are unlikely to miss the ECRU super-truck – it looks like a full-size Lego Technic creation. The warning beacons and electronic message signs are the most visible features.

But the ECRU can also carry bigger signs and more cones. Super-truck is super-size.

Other features of note include impact-absorbing cushions on the back to protect road workers, an on-board sweeper and a pressure washer. 

‘Huge strides’

Highways England ECRU in the West Midlands

Highways England corporate group leader Martin Bolt said: “Highways England continually strives to develop new ways and innovations that will help keep our road network clear and traffic moving.

“By combining services in one vehicle we can deal with incidents and issues more quickly.

“Working with our partners Kier we have been able to take huge strides in ensuring smoother, safer journeys for all road users.”

Scott Cooper, managing director strategic highways at Kier, added: “Having one innovation performing a range of tasks will allow us to respond to incidents quicker, inevitably saving time for our customers.

“Jointly occupying the vehicle demonstrates our continued commitment to working collaboratively to improve efficiencies and achieve the best results for both road users and workers.”

If the West Midlands trial is successful, you can expect to see the ECRU multi-tasking super-truck appearing on a main road near you in the future. 

Electric Fiat 500 ‘Jolly’ is the ultimate holiday hire car

Hertz electric classic Fiat 500

Meet the Fiat 500 Jolly Spiaggina Icon-e, an all-electric version of the Italian icon. And it could be your next holiday hire car.

Hertz has commissioned the conversions from custom auto coachbuilder Garage Italia, with an electric motor sending power to the rear wheels. There’s no word on how many miles you’ll get from a battery charge, though. We suspect not many…

The Spiaggina features hand-woven seats in natural rope, heritage bodywork and matching wheels. It’s a classic Fiat 500, then, but with an electrifying twist.

This isn’t the first electric Fiat 500, though: a previous effort was inspired by Tesla.

Hertz electric classic Fiat 500

Enrico Vitali, CEO of Garage Italia calls the Icon-e “a perfect blend of tradition and modernity”.

In the Icon-e, “aesthetic research and production craftsmanship meet technological innovation and electric redevelopment, in the name of sustainability and style”.

Hertz electric classic Fiat 500

The Icon-e 500 Jolly will be available to rent from early July and will be the jewel in the company’s ‘Selezione Italia’ all-Italian offering.

“We are very proud of this new initiative with Garage Italia, offering our customers a fun-to-drive, tailor-made electric Fiat 500 that sports true Italian flair,” said Massimiliano Archiapatti of Hertz Italy.

Hertz electric classic Fiat 500

Selezione Italia is much more than a rental offer, it’s a philosophy; it’s the way we honour the relationship with our guests. In Italy we are proud of our traditions, of our distinctive culture that embodies authentic design, fashion, food, art, but most of all, hospitality – all embedded in Selezione Italia.”