Millions are planning festive leisure trips this Christmas

British motorists will drive 449 miles EACH this Christmas

Millions are planning festive leisure trips this Christmas

Motorists will drive 4.3 billion miles this Christmas with more than 1 in 4 planning to travel 500 miles or more.

The average driver will cover a total of 449 miles.

Nearly 6 million separate leisure journeys were estimated to have been driven on Boxing Day alone – and Friday 27th December will be equally busy, according to the survey by the RAC.

Saturday 28 December and Sunday 29 December will also see more than 5 million individual leisure journeys taken by car.

“This is very much a time of year when we tend to cover much longer distances than usual to ensure we get to spend valuable time with family and friends, regardless of where we or they live in the country, with drivers depending on their cars more than ever,” said RAC spokesman Rod Dennis.

The survey of 3,500 motorists about their festive driving plans showed that nearly 1 in 3 plan at least one long-distance trip of two hours or more.

A large proportion say they will take two or more lengthy journeys this Christmas.

Highways England customer service director Melanie Clarke added that a little planning beforehand could save a Christmas nightmare of suffering a breakdown.

“We know from experience that almost half of breakdowns can easily be avoided if motorists carry out simple vehicle checks before setting off.”

The roads are expected to be much quieter in the build-up to the New Year, adds the RAC’s Dennis.

Around 3.4 million leisure journeys will be taken on New Year’s Eve – and less than 2.5 million drivers will take to the road on New Year’s Day…

McLaren Speedtail during high-speed testing

McLaren Speedtail hits 250mph 30 TIMES during testing

McLaren Speedtail during high-speed testing

A McLaren Speedtail development car has reached 250 mph more than 30 times during high-speed testing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA.

Famously exuberant chief test driver Kenny Brack consistently reached the impressive maximum speed figure in Speedtail prototype ‘XP2’.

McLaren Speedtail during high-speed testing

The tests are part of a high-speed validation regime that has already carried out flat-out runs at Idiada in Spain and Papenburg in Germany.

McLaren Speedtail during high-speed testing

McLaren is making just 106 Speedtails, each boasting 1,070 horsepower – that’s enough to accelerate from 0-196mph in less than 13 seconds.

A 1.1-litre version of the Ford Fiesta, Britain’s best-selling car, takes 13.8 seconds to reach 62mph.

Each costs £2.1 million ($2.7 million). 

McLaren Speedtail during high-speed testing

“It’s fitting that the Speedtail’s high-speed test programme concluded with multiple maximum-speed runs at a location strongly associated with pushing the boundaries of extreme performance and engineering excellence,” said McLaren Automotive CEO, Mike Flewitt. 

“The Speedtail is a truly extraordinary car that epitomises McLaren’s pioneering spirit and perfectly illustrates our determination to continue to set new benchmarks for supercar and hypercar performance.”

McLaren Speedtail during high-speed testing

The Speedtail is McLaren’s tribute to the original McLaren F1 hypercar – like that icon, it even has a centrally-positioned driver’s seat within the three-seat cockpit.

The F1 factor is also why McLaren is only making 106 Speedtails: to match the number of F1s made. 

The Speedtail is a substantial 5.2 metres long (the same as a long-wheelbase Range Rover) and is described as the most aerodynamically efficient McLaren ever.

McLaren Speedtail during high-speed testing

The Speedtail is also a hybrid: it has a petrol-electric drivetrain that self-charges when the vehicle is driven – although McLaren will also give owners a wireless trickle-charge pad to keep the hybrid system in peak condition.

McLaren says production of the first Speedtail hypercars is already underway at its Woking production centre. Deliveries will begin in February 2020.

McLaren Speedtail 250mph tests – in pictures

Accidents from driving too SLOWLY are increasing

Slow driving causing more accidents

The Department for Transport (DfT) says the number of road deaths in the UK directly related to slow driving is on the up.

According to DfT figures, 26 people were seriously injured and two were killed in 2019, in incidents where slow driving was a contributing factor. And 132 more sustained less severe injuries in slow driving incidents.

Slow driving itself is rarely the direct cause of incidents or injuries. However, there are behaviours associated with it that are dangerous. Over-ambitious overtakes, undertaking on the motorway, tailbacks and road rage can all be directly related to slow driving. Those who incorrectly merge on motorways, coming to a stop on slip roads, for example, find themselves facing cars passing by at 70mph.

Motorway speed limit 80

Although punishments are normally associated with excessive speed, you can face a fine and points for driving too slowly. In the UK, the punishment is similar to low-level speeding: three points and a £100 fine. Whether a speed awareness course is an option for motorists caught driving too slowly is unclear.

Minimum speed limits are a rarity in the UK, though some high-risk areas do have them, where it’s important to avoid tailbacks. Some tunnels will have a minimum and maximum speed limit. Mersey Tunnel, for instance, has signs to tell drivers the minimum speed limit. The only difference is the number will have a red line through it.

Minimum speed limits are more common in certain parts of Europe.

Drivers mistakenly fined for speeding

“I’m not in the least bit surprised by these worrying statistics,” said Hugh Bladon, a founding member of the Alliance of British Drivers.

“I have advocated for a long time that driving too slowly causes frustration for other people and can cause them to attempt an overtaking manoeuvre, which is the most dangerous thing you can do on the roads.”

3D Printed Lamborghini Aventador Christmas Gift

Family 3D-printing a Lamborghini gets a REAL Aventador for Christmas

3D Printed Lamborghini Aventador Christmas Gift

Lamborghini has shocked a family in Erie, Colorado by presenting them with a new Aventador S supercar. 

The unexpected arrival of the Aventador was to acknowledge the dedication of Sterling Backus, who has spent the past two years working to 3D print his own Lamborghini.

Although the real Aventador will be spending only a few festive days with the family, it will at least serve as a reminder as to what Backus is working towards.

From the screen to the street

3D Printed Lamborghini Aventador Christmas Gift

The story began when Sterling’s 12-year-old son, Xander, was playing on the Forza Horizon 3 Xbox One racing game. Xander found himself consistently picking the Aventador to use in the game.

This prompted the simple question from Xander to his father of whether they could build their very own Lamborghini to use in real life. 

Working as a physicist, Sterling Backus decided it would be a cool project to attempt, and would also help promote science and technology subjects to kids. 

Armed with a $900 desktop 3D printer, Sterling then set to work designing and printing the various parts and panels needed to create a life-sized Lamborghini replica. 

3D Printed Lamborghini Aventador Christmas Gift

Some 24 months later the project is still ongoing, with Sterling having spent around $20,000 on parts and materials to create the replica. The chassis beneath the body panels is made from steel and, unlike the V-12 engine in the real Aventador, this one is powered by a Chevrolet V-8.

Backus has been keen to point out this is not a direct copy of the Aventador, and has modified each body panel slightly with his own design touches. This should avoid any accusations of copyright infringement or intellectual property theft. 

The commitment of Sterling Backus to the project, which has been documented on his special Facebook page, has been enough to win approval from Lamborghini.

Story of authentic passion

3D Printed Lamborghini Aventador Christmas Gift

Katia Bassi, Chief Marketing and Communication Officer of Automobili Lamborghini, commented that: “Lamborghini is against any attempt at counterfeiting. However, a true story of such authentic passion deserves to be featured, which is why we chose to tell of Sterling’s and Xander’s project in our 2019 Christmas video”. 

The video tells the story of how the project came to life, along with the reaction to Xander Backus finding a real Aventador S within the family’s garage. Driving the real Lamborghini more than likely going to inspire Sterling Backus to finish the project even faster. 

Gran Turismo Sport Update December 2019

Gran Turismo Sport adds new cars and extra circuit for Christmas

Gran Turismo Sport Update December 2019

Gran Turismo Sport developer Polyphony Digital has confirmed the new content to be added to the Sony PlayStation racing game this month. 

As part of Update 1.53, GT Sport players will get access to seven new cars, along with the chance to race at a familiar venue again.

The update is the latest in the series of free additional content for Gran Turismo Sport, which has doubled the number of cars initially available in the game. 

Time to expand the (virtual) garage again

Gran Turismo Sport Update December 2019

Taking a starring role in the list of cars being added for December 2019 is the 2017 Ford GT. The second-generation of Ford’s mid-engined supercar made a debut in the rival Microsoft Forza Motorsport series. 

However, the 647 horsepower machine is now finally on the PlayStation, along with six further cars added. The full lists consists of:

  • 2017 Ford GT,
  • 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera RS Clubsport
  • 2013 Toyota Crown Athlete G
  • 2013 Toyota Crown Athlete G Safety Car
  • 1983 Volkswagen Golf GTI
  • Renault Sport Megane R.S. Trophy Safety Car
  • Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Safety Car

All the cars are now available to use in Gran Turismo Sport, with the rare Porsche 911 Carrera RS Clubsport likely to be a popular addition. 

Prepare for the Corkscrew 

Gran Turismo Sport Update December 2019

Long-time Gran Turismo fans will also be pleased to see the return of one of the most popular real-world race circuits to the PlayStation. 

The Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca, to use its full title, has been included in the Gran Turismo series since 1999. Despite Gran Turismo Sport first launching in October 2017, the California race track only now makes its virtual debut. 

Players are likely to have found it worth the wait, with the chance to tackle the challenging twists and turns in the latest machinery. The dramatic change in elevation through the rollercoaster-like Corkscrew will certainly bring back memories. 

More challenges and competitions

Gran Turismo Sport Update December 2019

In keeping with previous updates, Polyphony Digital has also added a range of new races to various league competitions in Gran Turismo Sport. 

For December 2019, these include:

  • Beginner League – two new rounds added to the Z Heritage
  • Amateur League – two new rounds added to the Super Formula Championships
  • Professional League – two new rounds added to the Midship Challenge
  • Endurance League – one new round added to the Gr.1 Prototype Endurance Series

Update 1.53 was released on Tuesday December 17th, and also includes Laguna Seca as an environment for in-game photography. 

Chevy Suburban Hollywood

Chevrolet Suburban is the only car to get a Hollywood star

Chevy Suburban Hollywood

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is usually reserved for the most famous movie stars. But now a car is joining them. Congratulations are in order for the biggest movie car, the Chevrolet Suburban, which has received its own Award of Excellence star.

No, it’s not an Aston Martin riddled with bullet holes, or a time-travelling DeLorean. It’s not an ocean-dwelling Lotus, nor a ghost-busting wagon. It’s an all-American Chevy SUV.

Why? Well, the Suburban has had the most on-screen appearances of any motor vehicle, since its first iteration in 1952. Across television and film, Suburbans have been in front of the camera 1,750 times.

You can watch a bulletproof, gadget-laden Chevy fight off SWAT teams with Sam Jackson behind the wheel in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. And in 2020, similar models will be appearing in Black Widow.

Chevy Suburban Hollywood

“For six decades the Chevrolet Suburban has been Hollywood’s longest-working actor,” said Rana Ghadban, president and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

“Appearing in classic feature films and on must-see television shows, the Suburban is a well-established industry mainstay. With the Chevrolet Tahoe also making an impact in movies and on television, it’s impressive to have both vehicles now join an illustrious group of actors and characters that are forever known as Hollywood legends.”

The Suburban is the long-wheelbase sibling of the Tahoe. If you combine the film careers of these movie star brothers, they’ve had more than 2,500 on-screen appearances. The Tahoe has an average of one on-screen appearance every year since its introduction in 1995.

New Tahoe and Suburban: made for moviesChevy Suburban Hollywood

It’s claimed the new Chevrolet models, just revealed, have been designed with Hollywood in mind.

“The popularity of Suburban and Tahoe in film was first inspired by the real-life roles they played in the military, in law enforcement and family trips around the world,” said Tim Kozub, design manager for Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe.

“Today, their role in Hollywood inspired the design of the all-new models, as we integrated the sense of capability, action, and importance associated with Suburban and Tahoe on screen.”

DIY Daytona: Buy this classic Ferrari and build it yourself

Collecting Cars Ferrari Daytona GTB/4

Would you buy yourself a classic Ferrari if you had to assemble it yourself? If so, this could be the perfect opportunity to own an iconic Daytona. 

The car was once a gleaming 1971 365 GTB/4 Berlinetta (affectionately known as the ‘Daytona’), but it hasn’t been driven since 1974.

This UK-market car, collected from the Ferrari factory in May 1971 by its first owner, was taken to the Monaco Grand Prix along the Italian Riviera. That’s the Daytona-driving dream, right?

The DIY DaytonaCollecting Cars Ferrari Daytona GTB/4

The car was driven and serviced accordingly for the following three years, but the Daytona dream soon turned to a nightmare. The story goes that it left the road and tumbled down a slope, which damaged it. The chains used to recover it then damaged it even more.

Multiple custodians took it on over the next 45 years, wanting a project. One even relieved it of its roof to turn it into a GTS/4 Spider recreation, but never followed through.

It sat fallow for 30 years until 2006, when work finally got underway on a restoration. With some expert coachwork and painstaking parts-sourcing, its bodywork is probably in better condition than when it left Maranello. Yet there’s still work to be done.

Collecting Cars Ferrari Daytona GTB/4

It’s offered now as a partially finished project, with the original V12 engine and boxes of parts ready to go. Some of the parts to be supplied with the car are brand new.

The engine will need work, but its internals are apparently in good condition. Original, too, is the instrument cluster, with a believed-to-be-accurate 26,117 miles on the odometer. 

This is a DIY Daytona, with everything needed to build a complete car. We say ‘DIY’ in a light-hearted way. You’ll almost certainly want the help of a specialist to get it across the line. You’ll need to decide what colour to paint it, though. Once complete, it should be perfect for someone who wants to drive their Ferrari, rather than simply own a garage queen.

You’ll be able to bid in this Daytona, and its associated bits, on Collecting Cars in the new year.

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Rear-view mirror: best cars and drives of 2019

Best cars and drives 2019

It’s the time of year for round-ups and retrospective features. Here, we look back at some of our best drives of 2019, including a drop-top Bentley, a Volvo saloon and a Honda electric car. Tuck in to our Christmas pick ‘n’ mix, as we take you through our favourite drives of 2019.

Bentley Flying Spur

Best cars and drives 2019

In November, Tim Pitt flew to Monaco to mingle with the Russian billionaires and enjoy a taste of the high life. A night at the famous Hotel de Paris, followed by a drive along Route Napoleon in a Bentley Flying Spur. It’s a tough job, but Tim is always happy to take one for the team.

Tim’s verdict: “The Flying Spur soothes like few other cars can. There’s also joy to be found in its details: the rich wood veneer, diamond knurling on the door handles and analogue dials on the reverse of the media screen. I’m tempted to forget my flight and set the sat nav for Calais.”

Read our Bentley Flying Spur review

Ford GT

Best cars and drives 2019

The Lake District doesn’t have quite the same appeal as Monaco – the boats are smaller, for a start – but when there’s an opportunity to drive a Ford GT, who’s complaining? Not Tim, who polished his impression of Christian Bale and headed north. Coincidentally, Tim does a mean Batman impression.

Tim’s verdict: “It responds like a race car. Anti-lag technology keeps the thrust coming, while the dual-clutch gearbox never pauses for breath. Its suspension is taut and tied-down, its steering telepathically direct. However, while its sheer speed intimidates, its balanced, cohesive chassis does not. I’m convinced I could win Le Mans.”

Read our Ford GT review

Ferrari F8 Tributo

Best cars and drives 2019

Back in the summer, Richard Aucock was fortunate enough to drive the Ferrari T8 Tributo. The 3.9-litre V8 engine delivers a mighty 720hp, making it “eye-poppingly fast”. It’ll do 0-62mph in 2.9 seconds, before hitting a top speed of 211mph.

Richard’s verdict: “The Ferrari V8 sport Berlinetta line began with the 1975 308 GTB, we were told. This F8 Tributo is the latest and greatest. But the last in the line? We shall see. If it is, though, the name will be justified. This is the finest imaginable tribute to a remarkable run of mid-engined Ferrari V8 sports cars.”

Read our Ferrari F8 Tributo review

Mazda MX-5 30th Anniversary

Best cars and drives 2019

Providing proof that there’s more to Motoring Research than exotic sports cars and unattainable supercars, Richard drove the very orange Mazda MX-5 30th Anniversary. Mazda launched the limited edition MX-5 to celebrate 30 years of The Simpsons… probably.

Richard’s verdict: “Best driven with fingertips, it’s nimble and flows beautifully, feeling exactly like the 1960s throwback Mazda intended since day one. The 30th Anniversary model is the finest MX-5 to date – it’s the perfect way to celebrate.”

Read our Mazda MX-5 30th Anniversary review

Ford Fiesta ST M225

Best cars and drives 2019

Keeping it real, the only way for Ethan Jupp was Essex. The Ford Fiesta M225 packs 225hp, lowering springs, upgraded brakes and a new shifter. It’s the Fiesta ST turned up to eleven by Mountune.

Ethan’s verdict: “Overall, Mountune has succeeded in further enhancing a lot of what makes the Fiesta ST such an essential grassroots hot hatch. But then, was a company this flush with fast Ford heritage ever going to botch it? Hardly.”

Read our Ford Fiesta ST M225 review

Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante

Best cars and drives 2019

There was always going to be a battle for the keys to Aston Martin’s flagship convertible. Tim is a champion ‘rock, paper, scissors’ athlete, so the keys to the 5.2-litre V12 drop-top were pressed into his palm. It’s fair to say he rather enjoyed the experience.

Tim’s verdict: “I’m not usually a fan of convertibles; I like my car to be a cocoon, sealed off from the outside world. I’d make an exception for the DBS, though. It’s so evocative, so richly visceral, that you want to savour every sensation and drink in every decibel. The opportunity for a 211mph blow-dry is tempting, too.”

Read our Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante review

Toyota GR Supra

Best cars and drives 2019

Was this the most hotly-anticipated car of 2019? Possibly. One thing’s for certain, the Toyota GR Supra divided opinion like no other new car this year. Tim braved the traffic in Madrid to drive the Cayman rival.

Tim’s verdict: “It isn’t quite the “Porsche-killer” Tada-San promised. The mid-engined Cayman is still a more polished dynamic package, but the Toyota counters with two extra cylinders and a vastly superior soundtrack. Then there’s the Alpine A110, arguably the best driving machine of the lot, albeit down on power and subjectively less substantial.”

Read our Toyota GR Supra review

Volvo S60

Best cars and drives 2019

Gavin doesn’t do expensive hotels and PR lunches. So when he was invited to drive the Volvo S60 in Scotland, he took a red-eye flight to Edinburgh, drove the car to Glen Etive, and was back home before the News at Ten bongs.

Gavin’s verdict: “I’m going to stare into the middle distance and contemplate a more decisive future for the S60. As a trailer for the main feature, the T5 R-Design Edition is a competent teaser. Here’s hoping the Polestar version is more of a thriller, leaving the Inscription to feel as cosetting and cosy as watching a black and white movie in front of the fire on a wet Sunday afternoon.”

Read our Volvo S60 review

Ford Ranger Raptor

Best cars and drives 2019

As spring turned to summer, Tim took a flight to drive the Ford Ranger Raptor on the sun-scorched dunes of Morocco. The traffic was bad, but unlike the camels, Tim didn’t get the hump.

Tim’s verdict: “In the right environment, this pumped-up pick-up is as exciting as any supercar. And yes, there is nowhere in Britain you can drive like this, but that doesn’t stop me wanting one. So, forget that Ferrari, buy the Ford and spend the money you saved on shipping costs to Morocco or Baja. You will never experience driving quite like it.”

Read our Ford Ranger Raptor review

Morgan Plus 8

Best cars and drives 2019

There was snow on the ground when Tim took a farewell drive in the last Morgan Plus 8. Although he struggled to keep the Mog in a straight line on the snow-capped hills around the Morgan factory, Tim enjoyed this last hurrah.

Tim’s verdict: “The Plus 8 closes a long chapter in Morgan history. All eyes are now on the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, where it’s rumoured the car’s ‘wide body’ successor will be revealed. Hell, we’ve only waited 51 years. Until then, I’ll imagine the Plus 8 roaring into a sepia-tinged sunset: gone, but not forgotten. Certainly not by me.”

Read our Morgan Plus 8 review

Ferrari Portofino

Best cars and drives 2019

Ethan popped his cherry in January, losing his soul to a fiery Italian. His excuse for a drive in the Ferrari Portofino: he has friends living on the Scottish border. It’s a shame he doesn’t have friends in Saint-Tropez.

Ethan’s verdict: “The Portofino isn’t the most spine-tingling of sports cars. It will, however, put a smile on your face if you take the scenic route and let that muzzled 488 lump off its lead. The rest of the time, it really is a car for all seasons: a well-judged entrance into Ferrari ownership and a supremely accomplished GT. The smallest horse in the stable is still a prize steed, by my reckoning, a worthy introduction to this most prestigious of automotive marques.”

Read our Ferrari Portofino review

Bentley Continental GTC

Best cars and drives 2019

Tim does drive ‘normal’ cars. In fact, he likes nothing more than taking a trip to a convenience store in a compact crossover. Sadly for him, he was sent on a Spanish jaunt to drive a Bentley Continental GTC from Marbella to Seville. He’d have preferred a trip from Mansfield to Stockport in a Vauxhall Crossland X.

Tim’s verdict: “The old fashioned idea of a grand tour has largely been lost, but given the choice of crossing Europe by budget flight or Bentley, the GTC wins hands-down. Roof down and W12 up front, it’s a fine way to fly.”

Read our Bentley Continental GTC review

Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Best cars and drives 2019

If push came to shove, Tim would choose a coupe over a convertible, but that didn’t stop him falling for the charms of the Porsche 911 Cabriolet. This was the only time he has managed to crowbar ‘willy-waving’ into the first line of one his reviews. One to tick off the bucket list, Tim.

Tim’s verdict: “What impresses most is the 992’s sheer breadth of ability. How it can switch from calm to combative without pausing for breath. And how it’s still relatively practical for a sports car. As a daily driver, it would surely tick most boxes.”

Read our Porsche 911 Cabriolet review

MS-RT Ford Transit Connect

Best cars and drives 2019

Gavin ventured to Wales with a mix of fear and trepidation. It’s 20 years since he had driven a Ford van, but the memories of that battered Escort still linger. Would the MS-RT Ford Transit Connect leave a better impression?

Gavin’s verdict: “Cooler than a crossover, more space than an estate car and – in my opinion – better resolved than the Transit Custom, it has banished my memories of that tired Escort once and for all. I’m not sure I’ll ever buy one, but I’ll give a knowing nod to anyone who does.”

Read our MS-RT Ford Transit Connect review

Volkswagen Golf

Best cars and drives 2019

Of all of the cars featured in this round-up, the Volkswagen Golf is the most relevant. The eighth-generation Golf goes on sale in 2020 and is likely to be one of Europe’s best-sellers. Will it lose sales to the all-electric ID.3? Time will tell.

Tim’s verdict: “The Golf still feels like the benchmark in its class. Its broad appeal and breadth of abilities make it the default ‘people’s car’ – for 45 years and counting. Don’t write this Volkswagen out of history yet.”

Read our Volkswagen Golf review

Lamborghini Huracan Evo Spyder

Best cars and drives 2019

The Huracan is Lamborghini’s best-selling car, which sort of makes it Sant’Agata’s answer to the Volkswagen Golf and Nissan Qashqai. Sort of. Tim was on hand to unleash the fury of this 5.2-litre V10 drop-top.

Tim’s verdict: “The Huracan feels special at any speed: its extravagant styling and shock-and-awe soundtrack make children point, boy racers salute and rev their engines, and strangers strike up conversations every time you stop. That simply doesn’t happen in a Qashqai.”

Read our Lamborghini Huracan Evo Spyder review

Mercedes-Benz G 350d

Best cars and drives 2019

Back in October, Ethan went missing for a few hours and returned with a dirty Mercedes-Benz G-Class. He did something that few British G-Class owners do – he ventured off-road.

Ethan’s verdict: “For a car with capabilities far beyond what most people will need, it’s really quite sensible. It really has had what the Kardashians call a ‘glow up’ and feels, at 40 years old, in the prime of its life.”

Read our Mercedes-Benz G 350d review

Honda e

Best cars and drives 2019

The Honda e electric car couldn’t be further removed from the Mercedes-Benz G-Class. What the EV lacks in electric range it more than makes up in cutesy appeal. It’s likely to be one of the most talked about cars of 2020.

Richard’s verdict: “What we know is that an early taster of the Honda e Prototype suggests it will be as appealing to drive as it is to look at and sit in. It looks characterful, and its on-road performance is distinctive too, particularly the comfort, the quietness and the turning circle.”

Read our Honda e review

Cupra Ateca

Best cars and drives 2019

We’ve managed to get this far without featuring a crossover, but we must include a couple of cars that represent the most popular segment on the planet. We’ll focus on two performance crossovers, starting with the Cupra Ateca.

Tim’s verdict: “It’s true that premium alternatives cost upwards of £15,000 more, especially after you take options into account. But fast estate cars, not least the Seat Leon ST Cupra 300 4Drive and VW Golf R Estate, are similarly priced, equally practical and better to drive. It depends how much you want the elevated driving position and status of an SUV.”

Read our Cupra Ateca review

Skoda Kodiaq vRS

Best cars and drives 2019

Ethan is too young to own a seven-seat SUV. He doesn’t even have any children. But the Skoda Kodiaq vRS isn’t your common or garden seven-seat SUV. It has a Nurburgring lap record to its name. That kind of thing gets Ethan excited.

Ethan’s verdict: “If you’re dedicated to the vRS life, we’d suggest the excellent Octavia vRS estate is a more practical performance car for far less cash. It’s more economical, better looking, faster and more fun to drive. A full-fat Octavia Estate vRS Challenge will cost you £31,300, in fact. That’s a healthy £11,000 less than kick-off in a Kodiaq vRS. We also reckon the Kodiaq looks better in the chunky ‘Scout’ spec, but that’s your call.”

Read our Skoda Kodiaq vRS review

Is your Volvo dirty? There’s an app for that

Volvo car wash app

Volvo will be the first car manufacturer in Europe to offer an app-based mobile washing and valeting service. The app works with the Volvo On Call digital services platform.

Volvo Car Mobile Wash is available anywhere. Well, anywhere within the M25 at first. It’s designed ‘for complete convenience and a premium-quality finish’. You choose a level of care within the app, with prices opening at £22 for an exterior wash.

That base price is likely subject to the size of your car, mind. Sorry, XC90 and V90 owners… Volvo expects the most popular option to be the mini-valet, which is £39.

A wash and health check for your Volvo

Blockchain Volvo battery ethics

One thing you’re unlikely to get with any other wash facility is a health check for your car. Tyre pressures, tread depth, screenwash, coolant and bodywork assessments are included. 

You book a date and location via the app, and you can pick a time to suit your schedule. You don’t actually need to be with the car, either, given you can unlock it remotely via Volvo On Call digital services.

Volvo car wash app

“We have designed this new service to be hassle-free for our customers and to provide them the kind of premium-quality valeting their car deserves,” said Mike Johnstone, Volvo UK marketing strategy director.

“It is another example of how we can use the technology and peace-of-mind security of Volvo On Call to make life easier.”

Driving school to teach the importance of tyres

Get a Grip tyre campaign to get young drivers educated

Tired of hearing about how important tyres are? Tough, says a driving school, which is trying to get the message across early to new drivers.

It’s believed the majority of new drivers are under-educated when it comes to tyres. Of course, what puts many off being attentive to the quality and condition of their rubber is expense. However, a high quality tyre can actually reduce the cost of ownership, as well as make the car safer and reduce your environmental impact.

Get a Grip tyre campaign to get young drivers educated

Red driving school has partnered with Michelin and Kwik-Fit on its campaign to get tyre education across to drivers. Red says 68 percent of its customers buy a car within three months of passing their test. It wants to educate students more broadly on what to prioritise when maintaining their car. Tyres, it says, should be much further up the list of priorities.

It’s a well-trodden mantra, but tyres are the most important safety feature on your car. They’re key to the function of both the steering and brakes. 

Get a Grip tyre campaign to get young drivers educated

“Michelin and Kwik-Fit play vital roles in ensuring tyre safety in the UK, and we are thrilled to be partnering with both businesses to open up the conversation to the learner driver community,” said Ian McIntosh, CEO of Red Driving School.

“The partnership recognises our commitment to promoting the highest levels of road safety for all our customers. High-quality, well-fitted tyres are a vital part of staying safe on the road.”