2020 Fiat 500 Mild Hybrid

Fiat launches £99 ‘pay as you go’ car lease

2020 Fiat 500 Mild Hybrid

Fiat has introduced the UK’s first ‘pay as you go’ car lease. It allows motorists to get a new Fiat 500 Mild Hybrid for a £99 up-front payment.

Subsequent monthly payments are also capped to £99 – with motorists paying 19.6p a mile on top for every mile they drive.

Fiat says that with the monthly payment and fuel factored in, the average 25-mile daily commute will cost £10.39.

According to research, those living in London pay, on average, £15.25 for their daily public transport commute.

To make the deal more tempting, Fiat is giving the first 500 miles for free.

“I am confident that one of the most affordable offers in Fiat’s history will become very popular with consumers over the coming months,” said Fiat UK country manager Francesco Vanni.

Fiat likens the deal to those found in the mobile phone sector – it comprises a low base rental price and any usage is calculated via the ‘pay as you go’ concept.  

Mileage is tracked using an onboard black box, which monitors all vehicle movements.

So confident is Fiat in its new offer, the company has hinted there are already plans to extend it to other models within the Fiat, Abarth, Jeep and Alfa Romeo ranges.

The company has also separately launched a car finance package with job-loss protection

How does the Fiat pay-as-you-go car lease work?

2020 Fiat 500 Mild Hybrid

The Fiat 500 Mild Hybrid car lease is a four-year agreement – after which motorists hand back the car with nothing more to pay.

The upfront cost at the start of the lease is £99.

After that, the monthly cost for 47 months is again £99 – plus 19.2p for every mile driven.

This is all calculated though the onboard black box, so owners automatically pay the correct sum each month.

Fiat’s offer to give the first 500 miles free saves owners £96.

There is no upper mileage limit – owners can drive 20,000 miles a year if they wish (which would cost £3,840 a year).

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Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Jeep offer job-loss protected finance on new cars

Alfa Romeo showroom

Alfa Romeo has introduced job-loss protection to its finance and leasing deals on new cars. The offer is intended to give buyers confidence in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

The free-of-charge protection covers involuntary job loss, along with being unable to work due to sickness. It can be activated during the first 12 months of the finance agreement, waiving payments for up to seven months.

Every new Alfa Romeo financed or leased until the end of September will be covered. The offer also applies to other brands within the FCA Group: Fiat, Jeep and Abarth.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

A recent survey of 2,000 UK drivers by Alfa Romeo revealed 31 percent are interested in buying a new car, but are worried about job security. One in five said the pandemic had stopped them buying a new or used car.

Arnaud Leclerc, managing director for FCA UK and Ireland, said: “We know these are uncertain times, so what better way to support our customers than to give them the reassurance that should their financial circumstances change in the months ahead, we will be there to cover their monthly car repayments.”

Alfa Romeo recently updated its flagship Giulia Quadrifoglio (new colours, larger infotainment display, optional Akrapovic exhaust) and revealed a hardcore GTA model.

The company’s Tonale small SUV is also due later this year – taking on big sellers such as the BMW X1, Audi Q3 and Mazda CX-30.

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Confirmed or cancelled? Your guide to 2020’s motoring events

Best motoring events 2020

The 2020 motoring events calendar has been thrown up in the air due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. 

Organisers of events for car enthusiasts are already postponing events or announcing rescheduled dates.

Here, we aim to highlight some of the UK’s biggest and best car shows and motorsport events of the year, along with any revised dates as they are announced.

We’ll be updating the list as more news comes in, so be sure to bookmark this page. Get in touch if you’d like us to add a motoring event you’re organising, or revise the details listed.

LATEST UPDATE: The 2020 British Grand Prix has been confirmed by Formula 1. A double-header will run on 31 July-2 August and 7-9 August, although both races will be held behind closed doors. 

CONFIRMED FOR 2020

British Grand Prix – new dates 2 August AND 9 August

British Grand Prix

The 2020 British Grand Prix at Silverstone has been confirmed by Formula 1 bosses – and it’s an unprecedented double-header, with two races run over two weekends: 31 July-2 August and 7-9 August. 

HOWEVER, in line with strict coronavirus crisis measures, both races will be held behind closed doors – the event is on, but fans will NOT be allowed in. 

This is disappointing, as Silverstone has long been rated one of the world’s most popular F1 events to attend. It does still mean that we’ll be able to watch this event from afar though, rather than seeing it cancelled, to the relief of many eager motorsport fans. 

BTCC, Donington – NEW DATES 1-2 August

BTCC

Organisers have “taken the decision to provisionally plan events from August onwards, however, the calendar will of course remain conditional upon receiving appropriate government directives”. To this end, rounds one, two and three are pencilled in for 1 and 2 August at Donington Park.

Gaydon Land Rover Show – NEW DATE 1-2 August

Hundreds of Land Rovers will be on display at the Gaydon Land Rover Show in August. It was due to take place in May. Owners can enter their vehicle for just £8, giving entry to display the Land Rover, as well as admitting the driver and one passenger to enter the show for the weekend. The event is held at the British Motor Museum, which is five minutes from junction 12 of the M40.

Ford Fair – 9 August

Ford Fair

Ford Fair is Europe’s biggest Ford event, with around 4,000 cars and 18,000 guests expected to flood Silverstone. You can expect the usual mix of showroom-quality vehicles, sprint tests and track time.

Ultimate Street Car – 7-9 August

Ultimate Street Car

Ultimate Street Car (USC) at Santa Pod Raceway is the ‘largest, loudest, hottest and fastest modified car festival in Europe’. Expect drifting, stunt displays, drag racing, music and tyre smoke. Lots and lots of tyre smoke.

Classic & Performance Car Spectacular – NEW DATE 15-16 August

Classic and Performance Car Spectacular

Tatton Park, Cheshire, is the venue for the Classic & Performance Car Spectacular on 15 and 16 August. Around 2,000 cars will be on display, along with 250 stalls and 90+ clubs. If you miss this one, Tatton Park will also play host to a Classic American show in July and a ‘Passion for Power’ show in August.

London Concours – NEW DATE 19-20 August

London Concours

Billed as the ‘ultimate automotive summer garden party’ London Concours takes place at the Honourable Artillery Company, in the heart of the city. Around 130 high-end classics and supercars were on show last year, from the ‘Beast of Turin’ to the latest Ferraris and Lamborghinis. Tickets for the 2020 event, which has moved to August, are on sale now, priced from £40.

Tewkesbury Classic Vehicle Festival – 23 August

Tewkesbury Classic Vehicle Festival

Sunday 23 August will be when 1,000 classic vehicles of all ages, plus motorcycles, automobilia and market stalls, gather at Tewkesbury School, just minutes from J9 of the M5 motorway. The celebrated marque this year is Alvis, and there will also be a Hawker Hurricane flypast, as part of the VE Day 75th anniversary celebrations. 

CarFest Festival – NEW DATE 28-30 August

CarFest North

The organisers have decided to combine CarFest North and CarFest South to create one big event: CarFest United. It will be held at Laverstoke Park Farm in Hampshire across the weekend of 28 to 30 August 2020. The organisers say it will be “like the Cup Final“.

Concours of Elegance – 4-6 September

Concours of Elegance

The Concours of Elegance 2020 will take place at Hampton Court Palace in September, with 60 of the rarest cars ever built lining up in the Fountain Gardens. Many of the entrants will also take part in a two-day driving tour in the days running up to the main event.

Beaulieu International Autojumble – 5-6 September

Beaulieu

If rummaging for oily car parts is your idea of a dirty weekend, the International Autojumble is the event for you. Some 2,000 stands are expected to fill the grounds of the Beaulieu Motor Museum, making it the biggest outdoor sale of motoring items this side of the Atlantic.

Goodwood Revival – 11-13 September

Goodwood Revival

Step back in time at the Goodwood Revival. Visitors are encouraged to dress in period clothing at this event celebrating the golden era of motorsport. Tickets are available now and you’re advised to book early to avoid disappointment.

Le Mans 24 Hours – NEW DATE 19-20 September

Le Mans 24 Hours

The 88th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours will now take place on 19 and 20 September. Le Mans is located less than three hours from the ferry terminals at Cherbourg, St-Malo and Le Havre. The exact schedule for the revised date is to be confirmed.

Simply British Classics – 20 September

Simply British Classics

Two new events have been added to Beaulieu’s ‘Simply’ range of motoring events. Simply British Classics takes place on 20 September, while Simply BMW is a couple of months earlier on 19 July. There are other events throughout the year, including Simply Ford, Simply Land Rover and Simply Japanese.

Salon Prive – NEW DATE 23-26 September

Salon Prive

Salon Prive is a motoring event for fans of superlatives. ‘The most luxurious of garden parties set against the backdrop of Britain’s greatest palace (Blenheim Palace). Presenting the finest collection of supercars, hypercars and classic cars, along with a luxury retail village and exquisite cuisine, it is a truly unique experience’. Tickets are priced accordingly…

Truckfest – 10-11 October

Truckfest

The TruckFest calendar draws to a close at the Wolsingham Showground in October, but there are seven other opportunities to get your trucking fix. The TruckFest year kicks off at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern in May, before rolling into Edinburgh, Kent, Peterborough, Shepton Mallet, Knutsford and Newark. Keep an eye on the TruckFest website for the latest information.

Wales Rally GB – 29 October – 1 November

Wales Rally GB

The 12th round of the FIA World Rally Championship drops in on Wales in October and November. Wales Rally GB takes place over four days of competition and each day is divided into a number of ‘Special Stages’.

London to Brighton Veteran Car Run – 1 November

London to Brighton Veteran Car Run

This year’s London to Brighton run takes place on 1 November, with veteran cars arriving at London’s Hyde Park before sunrise. From there, they will set off for the 60-mile journey to Brighton. Any car registered before 1 January 1905 is eligible to do the run.

Classic Motor Show – 13-15 November

Classic Motor Show

If you’re looking for a reason to keep your classic on the road over winter, this could be it. The Classic Motor Show is held at the Birmingham NEC, where more than 3,000 classics are expected to go on display in an area the size of 18 football pitches.

Fully Charged Live – NEW DATE 30 November-1 October

Fully Charged Live Farnborough 2020

Robert Llewellyn’s Fully Charged Live, Britain’s biggest electric car show, has outgrown its base at Silverstone. For 2020, the EV event will move to Farnborough International, with the organisers planning to show every electric vehicle available in the UK. More than 150 exhibitors are set to attend the show during its revised autumn date.

Please get in touch if you’d like to see your event included in our next update. Happy motoring.

POSTPONED – PENDING NEW DATES

The following events have been postponed, pending new dates from the organisers.

Goodwood 78th Members’ Meeting – POSTPONED

Originally scheduled for 28-29 March, organisers of the 78th Goodwood Members’ Meeting have announced the event is postponed. It is hoped to run it later in the year. The Bonhams auction due to take place will still run, albeit behind closed doors.

Land Rover Legends – POSTPONED

Land Rover Legends

The third edition of Land Rover Legends has been postponed. All tickets will be valid for a rescheduled event, which will celebrate 50 years of the Range Rover and the 40th anniversary of the UK launch of the V8-powered Stage 1 109.

Goodwood Festival of Speed – POSTPONED

Goodwood Festival of Speed

In 1993, Lord March hosted a hillclimb in the grounds of Goodwood House in Sussex and created the Festival of Speed. It has grown to become one of the world’s biggest and most famous motoring events, but the hillclimb remains central to its appeal. This year’s Festival of Speed has been postponed, but Goodwood hopes to reschedule it later in the year.

MG Live – POSTPONED

MG Live

Organised by the MG Car Club, MG Live is the world’s biggest event for MG owners. This year’s event has been postponed, with the organisers working with Silverstone to find suitable options to reschedule the event.

Donington Historic Festival – POSTPONED

Donington Historic Festival

The Donington Historic Festival has been postponed to an alternative date later in the year. The new date has yet to be confirmed. You’re advised to keep an eye on the website and social media channels for the latest updates.

Japfest – POSTPONED

Japfest

Europe’s biggest Japanese car show has been postponed. The organisers have said that all existing bookings can be carried forward to Trax on the 4 October or used for a future event.

CANCELLED FOR 2020

The following events have been cancelled for 2020.

Practical Classics Classic Car & Restoration Show – CANCELLED

Practical Classics Classic Car and Restoration Show

The Practical Classics Classic Car & Restoration Show brings together 1,000+ cars, 150+ car clubs and 250+ exhibitors and autojumblers. Highlights include the UK’s biggest ‘barn-find’ display, the Practical Classics Live Stage and the Lancaster Insurance Pride of Ownership competition. It had been hoped to postpone it until August, but now organisers have said the 2020 event is cancelled. It returns on 26-28 March 2021. 

Silverstone Classic – CANCELLED

Silverstone Classic

To some people, this is one of the highlights of the motoring calendar – a three-day, non-stop historic motoring racing extravaganza. However, the organisers have now announced “t is with a heavy heart that the organisers of the Silverstone Classic announce that this summer’s flagship three-day festival – originally scheduled for the weekend of 31 July to the 2 August – has sadly been cancelled”. 

June Scramble, Bicester Heritage – CANCELLED

April Scramble

The Bicester Heritage Sunday Scramble began as a ‘cars and coffee’ get-together but has grown to become one of the country’s biggest motoring events. You’ve missed the first Sunday Scramble of the year, and now the planned April event, originally rescheduled for 21 June, has been cancelled.

Techno-Classica Essen – CANCELLED

Techno-Classica Essen

Techno-Classica Essen is a European classic car show with a global reputation, with around 1,250 exhibitors from 30 countries. In 2019, the event attracted 190,000 visitors from 46 different nations. Essen is a four- to five-hour drive from Calais, and has now become a summertime event.

Monaco Historic Grand Prix – CANCELLED

The Grand Prix de Monaco Historique (or Monaco Historic Grand Prix) takes place every other year. This year would have marked the 12th edition of the prestigious event, but it will return in 2022.

MotoFest Coventry – CANCELLED

MotoFest Coventry is ‘a unique blend of motorsport demonstrations, static displays, live music and anything else with a connection to Coventry and transport’. Brilliantly, Coventry’s ring road becomes a sprint circuit for the weekend, creating one of the best spectacles of the motoring calendar. Following its cancellation, MotoFest Coventry will now place take place on 4, 5 and 6 June 2021.

The Isle of Man TT– CANCELLED

The Isle of Man TT

The fastest road race on the planet was due to get underway on Saturday 6 June, with qualifying scheduled for Sunday 31 May. Sadly, the Island’s chief minister has now decladed the 2020 event to be cancelled: we won’t be seeing world’s bravest riders test their mettle on the formidable 37.73-mile course this year.

Bath Festival of Motoring – CANCELLED

ColinPeachey / Shutterstock.com

Last year’s Bath Festival of Motoring played host to 500 cars and around 6,000 visitors. This year’s event has been cancelled, with the next Bath Festival of Motoring taking place on the 19 and 20 June 2021.

Bromley Pageant – CANCELLED

The Bromley Pageant is one of the world’s largest one-day classic car shows, with more than 3,000 vehicles expected to be on display in Kent. The 2020 event has been cancelled, with the next Pageant taking place on 13 June 2021.

Yorkshire Motorsport Festival – CANCELLED

Julia Bradbury Yorkshire Motorsport Festival

The organisers of the Yorkshire Motorsport Festival say they hope to offer northern motorsport enthusiasts ‘something new and different’. Following the cancellation of the 2020 event, the Festival will now run on 25 to 27 June 2021. The event host was due to be former Top Gear presenter Julia Bradbury.

Auto Royale – CANCELLED

Auto Royale Althorp is “a true ‘festivalised’ event which will attract the very affluent and high net worth collectors along with ABC1 owners and enthusiasts of the automotive lifestyle”. Up to 150 cars from Britain and overseas were set to compete for a range of traditional class awards, special celebration awards and the coveted Best in Show. The event will now place in summer 2021.

Classics on the Common – CANCELLED

For one Wednesday every July, Harpenden is invaded by classic cars as it plays host to the UK’s largest weekday car show. Unfortunately, the event won’t take place in 2020, but it’s likely to return on 28 July 2021.

Festival of the Unexceptional – CANCELLED

Festival of the Unexceptional

This year’s Festival of the Unexceptional has been cancelled. Owners of unexceptional cars of the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s are invited back in July 2021.

Events you’ve missed: save the date for next year 

Haynes Breakfast Club – 2 February

Haynes breakfast club

Car fans in the South and South West will be converging on the Haynes Motor Museum for the second Breakfast Club of the year. The museum, which is located just off the A303 in Somerset, is home to around 400 cars, while the cafe opens at 8.30am on Breakfast Club Sundays. These events are free to attend and held on the first Sunday of each month.

Retromobile – 5-9 February

Retromobile 2020

Retromobile is held in the largest and most prestigious hall at the Porte de Versailles Exhibition Centre, Paris – a location befitting an event of this stature. This year, the show will celebrate Aston Martin, the Volkswagen Combi and the fabulous Automotoclub Storico Italiano Bertone collection.

Great Western Classic Car Show – 8-9 February

Great Western Classic Car Show

The Footman James Great Western Classic Car Show is the biggest event of its kind in the South West of England, with thousands of car enthusiasts converging on the Royal Bath & West Showground near Shepton Mallet.

Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show – 18-23 February

Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show

The Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show is the largest showcase of motorhomes, campervans, caravans, caravan holidays and lodges in the UK. The latest 2020 touring caravans and motorhomes will be on display, along with a Camping Zone and a display of electric ride-ons. Head to Birmingham’s NEC if caravans are your thing.

London Classic Car Show – 20-23 February

London Classic Car Show

The London Classic Car Show is moving to a new venue at Olympia London. The four-day event will celebrate 40 years of the Audi Quattro, with five examples of the legendary car on display in the capital. The show will also introduce a new Car Stories feature, which celebrates six of the world’s most iconic vehicles. On display this year will be the Porsche 962C, Lotus 49 and Maserati 250F.

Race Retro – 21-23 February

Race Retro

At the end of February, all motorsport roads will lead to Stoneleigh Park for the Race Retro international historic motorsport show. Highlights include a live rally stage, ‘arrive and drive a classic car’, Pride of the Paddock and a Silverstone Auctions sale.

Drive It Day – 26 April

Drive It Day

On Sunday 26 April, thousands of classic cars will take to the road for the annual Drive It Day. First introduced by the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs in 2005, the date is as close as possible to the anniversary of the 1,000 Mile Trial – an event that saw vintage motor cars drive from London to Edinburgh and back.

Motorway services open for business as lockdown lifts

Motorway service area at night

Motorway service areas have remained open throughout the coronavirus lockdown, but often with reduced facilities and shorter opening hours. Now many are increasing the services available, with fast-food and coffee outlets serving takeaway orders

Motorways and major roads provide crucial links for key workers, even as many others continue to work at home. Highways England is committed to keeping motorway service areas open, albeit still with a reduced service.

As this table shows, all services are open 24/7, with a partial site closure in a minority of cases.

Transport Focus said ‘lorry drivers delivering goods, NHS volunteers taking medical supplies around the country and others making essential journeys will still need to rest, refuel, go to the toilet and have something to eat and drink.

‘Without [motorways] open there would be very little on the supermarket shelves.’

Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, also asked motorway services to remain open during the lockdown period. 

How are motorway service operators helping?

Southwaite services sign

There are four major motorway service operators: Moto, Roadchef, Welcome Break and Extra, plus the smaller operators Westmorland, Stop24 and Euro Garages.

At the time of writing (1 June 2020), this is their position on the coronavirus outbreak.

Moto

As the tweet above states, Moto has donated 10,000 free hot meals to HGV drivers during the lockdown period. Many of its food and drink outlets, including Costa Coffee and Burger King, are now open for takeaway orders.

Free fuel is also available to all emergency services at the 46 BP forecourts in the Moto network. The offer began on 21 March and runs to 7 June, and is open to NHS emergency ambulance services, NHS Trust non-emergency vehicles, local police and fire authorities. Click here for full terms and conditions.

Roadchef

Roadchef showers, toilets and retail stores remain open, with hot drinks, food and other essentials available. The operator has increased the frequency of contact surface sanitising in its dining, retail and toilet facilities.

Free parking has doubled to four hours and the 24-hour parking rate is reduced to £15. Also, drive-thru Costa Coffee sites have reopened at Clacket Lane (M25), Strensham (M5) and Rownhams (M27).

Welcome Break

Welcome Break CEO John Diviney said: “In these uncertain times some of us still need to be on the move. I wanted you to know that all our locations are still open, clean and continuing to serve the nation’s motorists. Please be assured we are following government guidance to keep you and all our team members safe and well.”

Blue Light & Defence discount card holders and NHS staff get 50 percent off at Welcome Break’s Waitrose and WHSmith stores. Burger King, KFC and Starbucks have also reopened for takeaway orders.

Extra

A limited amount of food outlets are open for takeaway only. All Extra filling stations and toilet/washroom facilities remain open 24/7.

Westmorland

Westmorland, which operates motorway services areas at Tebay and Gloucester, is operating a reduced service. The filling stations remain open 24/7 and will offer an increased range of products from the farm shop.

Toilets in the main building are open 10am until 3pm, while the kitchens, farm shops and butcheries are closed. Fast-food outlets such as Burger King have reopened, however.

Euro Garages

Euro Garages is offering a free Starbucks hot drink to all NHS staff and the emergency services.

Stop24

Stop24 Folkestone Services is located at junction 11 of the M20 and is the closest motorway service area to the Channel Tunnel and Port of Dover.

The filling station and main building remain open, but a limited range of food and drink is available. The convenience store is open, but seating areas are shut. All toilet, washroom and shower facilities are open for lorry, car and motorhome drivers.

For the latest information, visit the Traffic England website

Aston Martin Gaydon manufacturing

Britain built just 197 cars in April

Aston Martin Gaydon manufacturing

New car manufacturing in Britain plummeted to levels not seen since the Second World War in April 2020 with just 197 new models rolling off the production lines.

In April 2019, almost 71,000 new cars were built – and this in itself was down 44.5 percent on 2018 due to preparations for an expected March Brexit.

45 cars built in April were for UK customers, and the rest were for export. 

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, which collates the figures, says the plunge is due to the coronavirus crisis.

New car registrations also collapsed to WW2 levels in April

All volume UK car plants were closed in Britain, with only luxury and sports cars leaving the finishing line due to largely being assembled ahead of shutdown.

British car manufacturers instead turned to making PPE – and the SMMT says that to date, well over 700,000 pieces of PPE have been built in Britain.

Tremendous challenges

“With the UK’s car plans mothballed, these figures aren’t surprising,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes, “but they do highlight the tremendous challenge the industry faces.”

He called upon government to work with the car industry and help accelerate the sector’s recovery – although Mr Hawes stopped short of calling for a new car sales incentive.

Earlier in the week, France rolled out a £7.1bn scrappage-style incentive, including grants of more than £6,000 to those purchasing a zero-emissions electric vehicle.

President Macron expressed a desire to ‘relocalise’ car production in France.

“Support to get all businesses through this short-term turmoil will ensure the UK’s many globally-renowned brands can continue to make the products that remain so desirable to consumers the world over and, in turn, help deliver long-term prosperity for Britain,” said Mr Hawes.

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Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 front

Volvo XC40 Recharge all-electric SUV ordering opens from £53,155

Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 front

The Volvo XC40 Recharge is the firm’s first all-electric car to go on sale in the UK with launch prices starting from £53,155.

Deliveries to UK customers are expected in early 2021.

The five-seat electric SUV has a range of 249 miles and the launch P8 version has two electric motors for a total power output of 408hp.

0-62mph takes 4.9 seconds.

Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 rear

The 75kWh battery is ready to be charged via 150kW ultra-rapid chargers, such as the BP Chargemaster Ultracharge units.

Volvo says this will charge the batteries to 80 percent capacity in 40 minutes.

Frunk

Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 frunk

Because the XC40 Recharge doesn’t have an engine up front, Volvo has used the space to create a 30-litre front stowage compartment, or ‘frunk’.

The batteries themselves are located underneath the car.

The XC40 Recharge also debuts a new infotainment system for Volvo, powered by Google Android.

Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 interior

This is an open-source platform that includes built-in Google Maps, Google Assistant and other apps. Updates will be carried out over the air.

An upgraded Volvo Pilot Assist driver assist system also uses Google Maps, so it can predict speed limits and curves in the road.

Volvo XC40 Recharge buyers won’t get to take advantage of the £3,000 government Plug-in Car Grant, though. Changes in the 2020 Budget capped the grant to cars costing less than £50,000.

However, owners will still save – because electric cars are not subject to the £320 ‘expensive car’ VED road tax premium, imposed for five years on cars costing over £40,000.  

Volvo adds that the launch XC40 Recharge in R-Design P8 specification is an initial offer: less expensive versions may arrive later, taking the price down below £50k and allowing electric car buyers to save.

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Volvo steering wheel logo: the automaker is now electronically limiting all its cars to a 112mph top speed

Every new Volvo now has a 112mph top speed

Volvo steering wheel logo: the automaker is now electronically limiting all its cars to a 112mph top speed

Every new Volvo now has a top speed electronically limited to 112mph as part of the Swedish brand’s quest for zero fatalities and serious injuries in its cars.

The firm admits the move has proven controversial, with some questioning the right of car makers to impose such limitations.

Volvo, however, insists it is the right move – even if it means losing potential customers.

“Above certain speeds, in-car safety technology and smart infrastructure design are no longer enough to avoid severe injuries and fatalities in the event of an accident.

“People have poor understanding of the dangers around speeding. As a result, many people often drive too fast.”

Volvo’s 112mph speed limiter – 180kmh – is how the firm aims to stop excessive speeding.

Volvo Care Key

The Volvo Care Key has also been standardised on all new models.

This allows Volvo motorists to set further limitations on their vehicle’s top speed – before, for example, lending it to younger or more inexperienced drivers.

Volvo adds that millions of motorists still get speeding tickets each year – and that it is one of the most common reasons for fatalities in traffic.

The firm indicates that apart from speeding, intoxication and distraction are two other primary areas of concern for traffic safety and “constitute the remaining gap towards Volvo Cars’ vision of a future with zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries”.

Volvo will be taking action to address “all three elements of human behaviours in its safety work, with more features to be introduced in future cars”.

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Car insurer offers free home recovery as lockdown lifts

RAC recovery

Car insurance company NFU Mutual is providing free RAC recovery and home breakdown cover as the lockdown lifts.

The offer applies to more than 600,000 of NFU’s car and light van customers. It remains valid until 31 August, even if UK lockdown restrictions are fully lifted before that date.

RAC data shows a 78 percent increase in home breakdowns between 23 March and 11 May, with a record number of call-outs due to flat batteries.

This number is expected to increase in the coming months. 

Battery breakdowns at record level

RAC recovery

The NFU offer includes national recovery and home start (normally an addition to standard RAC breakdown cover). 

To quote the small print: ‘The cover will include emergency roadside assistance, recovery of the vehicle, driver and passengers to any UK destination if the vehicle cannot be repaired at the roadside, accidental mis-fuelling cover, unlimited call outs and no call-out charges, and small hire car for 48 hours if the vehicle needs a longer repair and the repair cannot be done the same day.’

Motorcycles and larger commercial vehicles (e.g. tractors and lorries over 3.5 tonnes) aren’t covered, but the vast majority of NFU Mutual policyholders will be eligible.

There is no need to activate the offer. If you are insured with NFU Mutual and need RAC assistance, simply call 0800 282 652 and select ‘breakdown’ when prompted, quoting your vehicle registration. 

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2020 Kia Rio facelift front

2020 Kia Rio facelift coming this autumn

2020 Kia Rio facelift front

Kia has released the first images of its facelifted 2020 Rio supermini, ahead of sales beginning in the UK this autumn.

The exterior styling is subtly revised with a narrower grille, wider bumper and new fog lamp surrounds.

Every facelifted Rio gets full LED headlights with distinctive built-in running lights.

The choice of colours is increased to nine with the addition of two new hues, Perennial Grey and Sporty Blue, plus there’s a new design of 16-inch alloy wheel.

Inside, Kia has carried out detail changes to improve quality, fitted a widescreen infotainment system and introduced a new blue colour pack to brighten up the interior.

A height-adjust driver’s seat is now standard, and a height-adjust passenger seat is optional.

Advanced infotainment

2020 Kia Rio facelift interior

All facelifted 2020 Kia Rios feature a wider 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen. This either has Display Audio or built-in sat nav.

Display Audio lets those with a compatible smartphone access sat nav via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto – and it’s a wireless system, so they don’t need to plug in a cable.

Kia is offering its latest ‘UVO Connect’ telematics system. This includes live traffic information, local fuel prices and an advanced voice control system that lets motorists set sat nav guidance via voice.

The system will also allow owners to remotely send sat nav directions, check the location of their car and other functions.

New engines

2020 Kia Rio facelift rear

An advanced new 1.0-litre T-GDI ‘Smartstream’ petrol mild hybrid version will be launched with the facelifted Kia Rio.

Offered in 100hp and 120hp guises, fuel economy is more than 10 percent improved, thanks to the 48V mild hybrid system.

It broadens the range of engine stop-start, so the motor can shut down when, say, rolling to a halt.

The more affordable 1.2-litre 84hp engine is also improved and Kia is offering a new ‘clutch by wire’ manual transmissions – more details are due later this year.

The 2020 Kia Rio facelift will launch in Europe later this summer. The UK will follow in the autumn. Prices and specs are still to be announced.

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MG UK auto retail showroom

Auto industry calls to reopen car showrooms

DS Store in Manchester. Car showrooms are spacious areas that are as safe as garden centres, says the industry trade body

The UK automotive industry is calling on the government to give almost 5,000 car showrooms in Britain the green light to urgently reopen, deeming them as safe as garden centres.

Trade body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders says auto retailers are ready to go back to work with social distancing and hygiene measures already in place.

It calculates the daily cost of car showrooms remaining closed to be £61 million, due to lost VAT income and furlough payments for almost 600,000 employees.

“The sector is now ready to return to work,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.

“Car showrooms, just like garden centres, are spacious and can accommodate social distancing easily, making them some of the UK’s safest retail premises.”

MG UK auto retail showroom

Mr Hawes said a green light to reopen would stimulate consumer confidence and restart the sale of new cars.

In April 2020, new car registrations were down 97.3 percent.

“Car sales act as the engine for manufacturing and reopening showrooms is an easy and relatively safe next step to help get the economy restarted.

“With every day of closure another day of lost income for the industry, we see no reason for delay.”

The SMMT is backing its call with a campaign called ’10 reasons to #unlockukauto’, highlighting the importance of reopening car showrooms.

This is aimed at encouraging ministers to clear car dealers to reopen, and outlines some of the measures retailers have put in place during the past few weeks.

These include one-way walkways, shielding, contactless transactions, cleaning and test-drive processes, appointment systems and revised showroom layouts.

Many retailers are already offering ‘click and collect’ facilities.

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