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The cars most likely to be written off

The cars most likely to be written offThe percentage of vehicles checked with at least one serious warning against them increased from 25.6% in 2015 to 28.5% in 2016. That’s the warning from used vehicle checker Mycarcheck.com, which has released write-off, finance and stolen risk data for its 10 most searched-for makes.

The most common serious risk, write-off, increased from 29% of all warnings in 2015 to 33.6% last year. It pays to approach with caution when buying a used car as doing a little pre-purchase research will reduce the risk of buying a pup. The question is: what cars are most likely to be written off?

10. BMW: 17.88The cars most likely to be written off

There are four write-off categories, ranked in order of serious. In summary, these are: Category A – scrap only; Category B – car to be crushed, but parts can be salvaged; Category C – vehicle repairable but costs exceed market value; Category D – vehicle repairable, but repair costs are significant.

Taking this into consideration, a car declared a Category C or D write-off needn’t be a risky purchase, you simply need to do your homework.

9. MINI: 18.28%The cars most likely to be written off

It’s also worth bearing in mind that a Category C or D car will be worth less on the used car market. This should play a part in your negotiations.

MINI finished 9th with 18.28% of vehicles checked returning a write-off warning.

8. Renault: 18.59%The cars most likely to be written off

In June 2001, the Renault Laguna became the first car to be awarded a five-star Euro NCAP rating for occupant protection.

According to Mycarcheck.com, 18.59% of all Renault vehicles checked returned a write-off warning.

7. Nissan: 18.61%The cars most likely to be written off

If you want to keep a car declared as a Category C or D write-off, the insurance company will provide a payout and then sell the vehicle back to you. You must send the complete log book back to your insurance company before applying for a duplicate log book using a V62 form.

Around 18.6% of Nissan vehicles checked returned a write-off warning, according to the Mycarcheck.com figures.

6. SEAT: 18.69%The cars most likely to be written off

Meanwhile, SEAT finished 6th with 18.69% of vehicles checked returning a write-off warning.

5. Peugeot: 18.81%The cars most likely to be written off

In September 2016, the Peugeot 208 Active was revealed to be the most written-off car in the UK, based on mycarcheck.com data collected between January and June 2016.

Nearly half of all 208 Active models checked were previously written off. Across the entire year, Peugeot finished fifth.

4. Suzuki: 19.09%The cars most likely to be written off

Roger Powell said: “Any previously written off vehicle must be viewed with caution, especially when inspecting the quality of repairs.

“The implications of being involved in a further accident in a car which has not been properly repaired don’t bear thinking about.”

3. Ford: 19.21%The cars most likely to be written off

Powell continued: “In a survey a couple of years ago, 79% of mycarcheck.com customers said they wouldn’t buy one.

“The flipside is that some buyers are happy to look at Category C or D write-offs and use the data to push for a price reduction.”

2. Vauxhall: 19.99%The cars most likely to be written off

In a previous Mycarcheck.com survey, three of the vehicles in the top 10 had a Vauxhall badge. More specifically, the Corsa Limited Edition, Corsa SRi and Corsa SXi.

Vauxhall finished second in the table of the most searched-for makes.

1. Honda: 21.65%The cars most likely to be written off

For the second year running, Honda was the worst for written-off cars, with 21.65% of all vehicles checked returning a warning.

If in doubt, get a used car check. If you’re still in doubt, walk away and look at something else. There are plenty more cars in the classifieds.

Dirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Dirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Dirty diesels: most polluting cars revealedDiesel emissions testing carried out by Which? has revealed the worst diesel cars for air pollution. The figures highlight a huge variation across the industry, with the worst offenders emitting up to nine times the level of dangerous pollutants permitted in official tests. Read on to discover more about the dirtiest diesels and how Which? conducted the tests.

There are emission laws in place to limit the amount of NOx produced by cars, but Which? has uncovered huge differences in the amount of NOx emissions produced by diesel cars from different brands. Crucially, Which? uses real-world tests, replicating the way drivers really drive their cars.

Which? has provided the averages for diesel cars tested between 2012 and 2016, with the results based on data for Euro 5 compliant cars, rather than the stricter Euro 6 emission limit. The results are presented in reverse order, with Euro 6 information included where applicable.

21. Mitsubishi: 0.31 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

The Euro 5 diesel limit is 0.18g/km of NOx, which means even the cleanest car on the list fails to meet the target. The Which? data is more accurate as the tests use more realistic cycles, including motorway testing, where the car is accelerated to and then sustains motorway speeds.

20. SEAT: 0.32 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Of the figures, Richard Headland, Which? magazine editor, said: “While our tests show that some car manufacturers are making progress on reducing the amount of toxic emissions from their models, many have a long way to go in cleaning up their act.”

SEAT, Euro 6: 0.11 NOx g/km.

19. Audi: 0.33 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Headland continued: “We hope that the improved official tests brought in later this year will more clearly name and shame those manufacturers that are failing to meet their obligation to lower emissions.”

Audi, Euro 6: 0.15 NOx g/km.

18. Skoda: 0.33 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

The improvements mentioned by Richard Headland refer to the World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), which replaces the much-criticised New European Drive Cycle (NEDC). In a nutshell, WLTP will introduce stricter controls and cycles to reflect normal driving behaviour.

Skoda, Euro 6: 0.14 NOx g/km.

17. Volkswagen: 0.34 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the NOx figures for SEAT, Audi, Skoda and Volkswagen are within 0.2g/km of each other. As Which? points out, the Euro 5 diesel cars tested are part of the ongoing VW emissions investigation, so a question mark remains over the results.

Volkswagen, Euro 6: 0.11 NOx g/km.

16. Volvo: 0.40 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Which? says it recorded a (comparatively) low NOx average across the seven Euro 5 Volvos it tested, but the four Euro 6 Volvo cars actually emit more NOx than the Euro 5 vehicles.

Volvo, Euro 6: 0.43 NOx g/km.

15. Toyota 0.40 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Toyota performed well, with the Euro 6 figure even lower at 0.13g/km. However, this is still higher than the 0.08g/km European limit for Euro 6 vehicles.

Toyota, Euro 6: 0.13 NOx g/km.

14. BMW: 0.41 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Which? is quick to praise BMW and MINI, saying that the 33 cars tested produced some of the lowest NOx averages for diesel cars. While MINI doesn’t feature in the Euro 5 results, it did produce the best result for Euro 6 compliant cars. A figure of 0.08g/km means it just meets the European target.

BMW, Euro 6: 0.14 NOx g/km.

13. Honda: 0.45 NOx g/mDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

To produce the figures, Which? analysed 278 diesel cars from leading manufacturers between 2012 and 2016. Five Honda vehicles were tested, producing a result of 0.45 NOx g/km.

12. Vauxhall: 0.46 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Other brands for which only Euro 6 compliant cars are tested include Dacia (0.59g/km), DS Automobiles (0.26g/km), Mazda (0.21g/km) and Jaguar (0.18g/km). Meanwhile, in the Euro 5 table, Vauxhall achieves a figure of 0.46g/km.

Vauxhall, Euro 6: 0.25 NOx g/km.

 

11. Fiat 0.48 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Meanwhile, four Fiats were tested, with a result of 0.48 NOx g/km.

10. Mercedes-Benz: 0.48 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

A total of 17 Mercedes-Benz cars were tested (7 Euro 5 and 17 Euro 6), with a Euro 5 result of 0.48g/km.

Mercedes-Benz, Euro 6: 0.15 NOx g/km.

9. Peugeot: 0.52 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Peugeot finishes 9th in the Euro 5 table, making it the best performing French brand on the list. Its Euro 6 performance is one of the best recorded by Which?.

Peugeot, Euro 6: 0.11 NOx g/km.

8. Kia: 0.53 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Kia finishes eighth, with a NOx figure of 0.53g/km.

Kia, Euro 6: 0.29 NOx g/km.

7. Citroen: 0.56 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Slightly behind Kia we find Citroen, with a NOx figure of 0.56g/km.

Citroen, Euro 6: NOx 0.16g/km.

6. Ford: 0.58 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

There’s not a huge amount of difference between Ford’s Euro 5 and Euro 6 figure, with the more lax Euro 5 test revealing an output of 0.58g/km.

Ford, Euro 6: 0.49 NOx g/km.

5. Hyundai: 0.60 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Hyundai is committed to delivering 14 or more new environmentally-focused models by 2020, which should go some way to improving this top five finish.

Hyundai, Euro 6: 0.40 NOx g/km.

4. Renault: 0.73 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

NOx emissions from the 16 Renault diesel cars tested are seven times higher than the Euro 6 MINIs tested. In response, Renault said: “Since mid-2015, Groupe Renault has committed to improve the performance of its anti-pollution systems. The vehicles tested by Which? would not have benefitted from this improvement plan”.

Renault, Euro 6: 0.72 NOx g/km.

3. Land Rover: 0.78 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

In third place is Land Rover, which was one of six manufacturers for which the consumer group only has average figures for Euro 5 compliant cars.

2. Nissan: 0.81 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

In response to the results, Nissan said: “We are committed to upholding the law and meeting regulations in every market where we operate. Specifically in Europe, all our vehicles sold in Europe meet the Euro 5/6 emission standards. This report, which looks at the variation between lab and ‘real world’ conditions, shows significant variances for most brands tested”.

1. Jeep: 1.74 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

That leaves Jeep to secure the unwanted position at the top of the dirty diesels tree. Jeep failed to provide a response to the research.

20 embarrassing car publicity photos

20 embarrassing car publicity photos

50 embarrassing car publicity photosWe often stumble across awkward, dodgy and slightly embarrassing press photos. Now, for the first time, we’ve assembled a collection as some kind of press office rogues gallery. Get ready for cheesy grins, awkward poses and images that shouldn’t be taken out of context.

Audi 10050 embarrassing car publicity photos

One to be filed under ‘embarrassing holiday snaps’? Not exactly, because this happens to be an official Audi press photo, from the days when the German company required the help of ladies to promote its brand.

Skoda Felicia50 embarrassing car publicity photos

Mate, you really ought to think about moving your Skoda.

Daewoo50 embarrassing car publicity photos

How do you celebrate the opening of a new dealership? By asking the company’s MD and dealer’s aftersales manager to clamber into the boot, of course.

Citroen Saxo VTS50 embarrassing car publicity photos

Ah yes, the good old days. When the Citroen Saxo VTS ruled the streets – or at least the McDonald’s car park – and Katie Price was still known as Jordan. Some might say the car has aged better than the lady…

Peugeot 207 CC50 embarrassing car publicity photos

Here’s Britain’s favourite pantomime dame, Christopher Biggins, out enjoying his Peugeot 207 CC. Check out the motion blur on his hand. Jazz hands, Biggins?

Fiat Panda50 embarrassing car publicity photos

Here’s the cast of the Italian version of Fame demonstrating how many people you can’t fit in a Fiat Panda. Probably.

Citroen XM50 embarrassing car publicity photos

Back in the day, nothing said business car quite like the Copthorne Hotel and a huge mobile phone…

Daihatsu Charade50 embarrassing car publicity photos

The child is wearing a look that says “Daddy, do we have to downsize from the Range Rover?” Mum’s response: “If it means we get to keep the cottage in the country, Tabitha, then yes.”

Renault Twingo50 embarrassing car publicity photos

Here we find two sumo wrestlers about to demonstrate the flat-folding seats in the Renault Twingo. We’re pretty sure they managed to get in, although getting out again was a different matter.

Chrysler PT Cruiser50 embarrassing car publicity photos

In 1998, Michael Owen had the world at his feet following an outstanding goal against Argentina. He was also given a Chrysler PT Cruiser. Life is all about pleasure and pain, Michael.

Ford Focus50 embarrassing car publicity photos

Some photos need a little context. In reality, Ann Widdecombe was demonstrating Ford’s self-parking technology. Taken out of context, it looks like she’s been left horrified by the Ford Focus.

Rover 100 Ascot SE50 embarrassing car publicity photos

Hats off to you, Rover, that’s not a bad way to promote the Ascot special edition. The hat shop is still there. The Rover, we suspect, has long since retired.

Suzuki Vitara50 embarrassing car publicity photos

That look might work on the American West Coast, but at a British marina, we don’t think so. We wouldn’t like to say how many dogs have cocked their leg on that lamp post.

Proton GEN-250 embarrassing car publicity photos

Des looks delighted to have won a Proton GEN-2, although he quite fancied a Jumbuck.

Renault Clio50 embarrassing car publicity photos

We’ve got absolutely no idea what’s going on here, but we really fancy a Renault Clio Baccara.

Citroen Xantia20 embarrassing car publicity photos

Glynis Barber, is that you? And is that Boris Becker? Not, it’s another period press photo.

Volkswagen Derby20 embarrassing car publicity photos

She could have dressed for the occasion. It’s not everyday you’re asked to stand alongside a Volkswagen Polo saloon.

Saab Sonett50 embarrassing car publicity photos

Don’t start stripping off now, for goodness sake. You’ll catch your death in rural Sweden.

Revealed: the car brands with the most warranty claims

Revealed: the car brands with the most warranty claims

Revealed: the car brands with the most warranty claimsAnalysing data from 40,000 policies and £3 million worth of authorised claims, Warranty Direct has revealed the car brands with the most problems and the cost of repair should things go wrong.

Listed in reverse order, these are the 10 manufacturers which had the highest percentage of claims made against them, along with the average cost a claim. Owners of an Alfa Romeo, Porsche and Land Rover without warranty cover might want to look away now.

10. Citroen: 15% claimsRevealed: the car brands with the most warranty claims

The number of Warranty Direct claims are measured as a percentage of the number of policies held per manufacturer. On this basis, Citroen finishes 10th, with 15% of drivers needing to make a claim against their warranty.

Philip Ward of Warranty Direct said: “With many cars becoming increasingly more complex in terms of component parts, repair costs will continue to rise throughout 2017. Vehicles which might initially seem reliable and reasonably priced can end up becoming a financial liability for the owner.”

£363.20 average claim

Meanwhile, Warranty Direct has revealed the cost of the average authorised claim, which ranks Citroen as the second lowest on the list. If something goes wrong, you can expect to pay £363.20 to repair your Citroen, unless you’re covered by a warranty.

=8. Volvo: 16% claimsRevealed: the car brands with the most warranty claims

Finishing joint 8th in terms of total claims is Volvo, with 16% of drivers needing to call upon their warranty for financial help.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Honda, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota are deemed to be the most reliable vehicles on the market. Between 3% and 6% of policies were claimed against throughout the year.

Volvo: £466.92 average claim

When something does go wrong with your Volvo, you can expect to pay just under £477 to repair it.

=8. BMW: 16% claimsRevealed: the car brands with the most warranty claims

Level with Volvo is BMW, with 16% of policies claimed against throughout the year. Predictably, it’s manufacturers of larger, more complex vehicles that feature on Warranty Direct’s ‘repair scares’ list.

The company reveals that superminis and hatchbacks did not receive many claims, largely due to the simplicity of their parts and reduced labour cost. Other brands to perform well in the survey included Smart, Kia, SEAT, Ford and Hyundai.

BMW: £609.13 average claim

Be prepared to dig deep should things go wrong with your BMW. At £609.13, this is the second highest average authorised claim on the list, which suggests you might want to consider an aftermarket warranty.

7. Lexus: 22% claimsRevealed: the car brands with the most warranty claims

The figures make for good reading for the Japanese carmakers, although Lexus bucks the trend by finishing 7th.

Lexus might be the posh arm of Toyota, but if the Warranty Direct data is anything to go by, the more humble brand should provide fewer headaches.

Lexus: £469.68 average claim

If something goes wrong with your Lexus, you can expect to fork out just under £470 to put things right.

6. Jaguar: 23% claimsRevealed: the car brands with the most warranty claims

Finishing just outside the top five is Jaguar, with 23% of policies used throughout the year. On the flip-side, this does mean that 67% of Warranty Direct policies were unused.

Jaguar: £442.68 average claim

Jaguar performed relatively well in terms of the cost of the average claim, with £442.68 the third lowest on the list.

5. Mercedes-Benz: 25% claimsRevealed: the car brands with the most warranty claims

Into the top five, where we find Mercedes-Benz. According to Warranty Direct, this result is significant as “in 2015 alone the company sold 145,254 units in the UK, which equated to more than 5% of the market share”.

Mercedes-Benz: £559.99 average claim

Warranty Direct goes on to say that an average repair cost of £559.99 is the highest after Porsche and BMW.

4. Chrysler: 26% claimsRevealed: the car brands with the most warranty claims

When assessing the top five manufacturers on the list’s most frequent reasons for a claim, axle and suspension issues were common, along with electrical problems. Chrysler – which is now defunct in the UK – finishes fourth with 26% of total claims.

Chrysler: £474.28 average claim

Although not one of the most regular faults, Warranty Direct says gearbox repairs come at a significant cost and averaged over £1,250 across the top five brands. Meanwhile, it’ll cost £474.28 to repair your Chrysler.

3. Land Rover: 34% claimsRevealed: the car brands with the most warranty claims

A total of 34% of Land Rovers covered by a Warranty Direct policy suffered a fault of some kind. Perhaps a Japanese SUV would have made more sense…

Land Rover: £513.31 average claim

If something goes wrong with your Land Rover you can expect to receive a bill for just over £513.

2. Porsche: 36% claimsRevealed: the car brands with the most warranty claims

Finishing second is Porsche, with a claims rate of 36% across policies held with Warranty Direct. Common claims for Porsche owners included suspension and electrical issues, along with steering faults.

Porsche: £1,019.07 average claim

The average cost of £1,019.07 per repair is eye-watering in the extreme and just goes to prove how valuable an aftermarket warranty can be.

1. Alfa Romeo: 40% claimsRevealed: the car brands with the most warranty claims

Sitting at the top – or should that be bottom? – of the list is Alfa Romeo with a claims rate of 40%. Suspension, electrical and cooling system problems were the most frequent cause for payouts in 2015.

Alfa Romeo: £335.47 average claim

To provide some balance, Alfa Romeo is able to claim the lowest average repair cost on the list of worst offenders, although if you’re making regular trips to the garage, this could turn out to be a red herring.

Phoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

Phoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

Phoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be botheredWhat’s the worst crime in the world of car design? Sure, you might find a particular car ugly or offensive, but at least it encourages some kind of reaction. In our view, there’s nothing worse than a car that goes by unnoticed, failing to register on anyone’s radar.

Which is why we’ve assembled 20 cars that are so bland and so derivative, you might struggle to find them in a supermarket car park. Whether designed by committee or simply because the designer fancied a day on the beach, these are the cars that style forgot.

Vauxhall VectraPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

Of the Vauxhall Vectra, a certain Jeremy Clarkson said: “Trying to road test it is like trying to road test a microwave oven”. In a memorable episode of Top Gear, Clarkson went to great lengths to talk about anything other than the replacement for the Cavalier.

In desperation, he pointed to the “cunning little tool which gets the dust covers off the tyre valves” and the “great door mirrors” as the only reasons to buy a Vectra. In a stroke, Clarkson wrote himself into motoring TV history and off Vauxhall’s Christmas card list.

Mitsubishi MiragePhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

You’ve resisted the all-round brilliance of the Up, Citigo and Mii siblings, the cheekiness of the Suzuki Ignis, the joie de vivre of the Renault Twingo, and the value-added Hyundai i10. Against all the odds, you arrive at a Mitsubishi dealer.

Somehow you manage to look beyond its ditchwater-dull exterior and drab interior, getting to the point of discussing finance options with the dealer. You’re not having a good day, but it’s not too late to turn back. From April 1st, even the tiny carrot of free road tax will be removed from the very short list of reasons to buy a Mirage.

Ford Escort Mk5Phoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

“These days you can’t help noticing how cars are becoming increasingly alike. More and more efficient but, some would say, less and less enjoyable. That’s the Law of Averages at work. Whatever happened to the idea that, above all, a car should be a pleasure to drive? Ford haven’t forgotten. For that’s precisely the idea behind the new Ford Escort. It breaks the Law of Averages in every possible way.”

It did, but not in a good way. The press ad introducing the fifth generation Escort promised a lot, but the car delivered so little. It was all-new, but the styling was bland beyond belief, so much so that Ford was forced into a facelift after just two years. Average? This Ford couldn’t even reach that benchmark.

Renault 9Phoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

The Renault 9 is a former European Car of the Year award-winner, but that’s hardly a barometer of brilliance. Throughout the 60s and 70s, Renault built some legendary cars: the 4, 16 and 5, to name but three. And the signs were good when Robert Opron was chosen to work on the design of the 9.

The Frenchman had penned the SM, GS and CX for Citroen, not to mention the redesign of the DS. For Renault, he had already sorted the svelte and futuristic Fuego. In contrast, the 9 was a backward step, and a rare dead branch on an otherwise brilliant family tree.

Toyota PriusPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

The first Toyota Prius was launched in Japan back in 1997 and soon became the darling of green-washed celebs, doing their bit for the environment. It became the brand generic, not only for hybrid vehicles, but for green cars in general.

So it’s a disappointment that Toyota made no effort with the styling. One day, we’ll look at the dawn of the hybrid vehicle and ask: really, was that the best we could do? Such a shame that the better looking and technologically brilliant Honda Civic Hybrid has been largely forgotten.

SEAT ToledoPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

The first generation SEAT Toledo was a stylish, Giugiaro-designed five-door hatchback, designed to look like a saloon. The follow-up was a handsome, if forgettable saloon version of the SEAT Leon. The third generation: well that just made us long for the sanctuary of mediocrity.

In fairness to the designers, they were hampered by the need to base the Toledo on the Altea, whilst retaining the Toledo’s big boot. The result was something with the face of the Elephant Man and the bottom of Kim Kardashian.

Toyota CorollaPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

The Toyota Corolla started life as a pert and pretty saloon, coupe and station wagon, but time hasn’t been kind to the world’s most successful nameplate. That’s the problem when you’re trying to cater for a mass audience: the result is something terribly generic.

It’s the vanilla ice cream of the automotive world. The magnolia paint. The music you’ll hear in a lift. The Rich Tea biscuit. Toyota knows this, which is why it has placed an attractive woman to the right of this photo, in the hope that you might overlook its blandness.

Skoda Fabia saloonPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

Not everybody shares our obsession with hatchbacks. In some markets, buyers prefer the security of a compact saloon, in the mistaken belief that a closed boot offers more class and prestige than a glass tailgate.

As a result, carmakers are all too keen to graft a stubby boot onto the back of an otherwise inoffensive hatchback, creating monstrosities such as the Skoda Fabia saloon. It’s an abomination. A stain on the pants of the automotive world.

Fiat MultiplaPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

The original, modern-day Fiat Multipla was an interesting, radical and genuinely practical compact MPV. Despite being shorter than the Fiat Bravo/Brava upon which it was based, it was able to offer two rows of three seats, giving it a genuine standout quality in a crowded sector.

But some people found the styling offensive and small children had nightmares. Fiat bottled it, and gave the Multipla a facelift akin to slapping a layer of magnolia paint over its unique and bold exterior. A victory for blandness and a defeat for originality.

Skoda YetiPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

It’s a similar story with the Skoda Yeti. When it arrived in 2009, the Yeti impressed us with its bold styling, which was a welcome tonic to the ubiquity of rival crossovers. Skoda had a hit on its hands, leading to waiting lists of up to six months and a legion of new and loyal fans.

Everything changed in 2013. In an effort to bring the quirky Yeti into line with the corporate look, Skoda furnished it with a bland new face, removing its character in the process.

Toyota RAV4Phoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

Remember the original Toyota RAV4? Launched in 1994, the RAV4 was a crossover before the Qashqai was a twinkle in Nissan’s eye, with an ability to offer car-like dynamics in an SUV suit. In three-door guise especially, it was also bold and interesting to look at.

The current RAV4 is neither bold or interesting. Both inside and out, it’s the automotive equivalent of the television test screen. In 2016 it was the seventh best-selling car in the world. In other news: McVitie’s Rich Tea biscuits are more popular than Ginger Nuts, Hobnobs, Custard Creams and Jammie Dodgers. Proof that being popular isn’t necessarily a reliable barometer of fine taste.

Nissan SunnyPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

Even as recently as 1978, the Nissan (neé Datsun) Sunny was an interesting alternative to the humdrum saloons being offered by European carmakers. The 120Y coupé was quite an iconic car of the 1970s, if only for the fact that it kept moving when other family cars were struggling to cope with damp mornings in suburbia.

By the turn of the 1990s, the Sunny outlook had turned to drizzle, as the family car spiralled into an abyss of blandness and mediocrity. Worse was to come: it would have to suffer the ignominy of being replaced by the Almera. Oh, the shame.

Fiat 500LPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

‘Divisive’, ‘challenging’ and ‘quirky’ are just three of the more pleasant words we’ve seen used to describe the looks of the Fiat 500L. Others aren’t repeatable before the watershed.

You can understand the rationale behind styling a compact MPV to look like one of the world’s most popular small cars, but doesn’t make it right. Even moody photos fail to make the 500L look anything other than bed-wettingly distasteful. And to think some people found the Multipla hard to look at.

McLaren MP4-12CPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

Its inclusion is likely to be controversial, but the McLaren MP4-12C has always felt a bit too clinical. It’s the cold and aloof member of the sports car fraternity: a car that’s easy to admire but hard to love.

Even the name – later shortened to 12C – sounds like a laptop. “The shape is not overpowered by styling elements that don’t need to be there,” said designer Frank Stephenson. Fair enough, but this is one McLaren that’s unlikely to be battling for bedroom wall space.

Ford Ka+Phoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

Once upon a time there was a small and cheeky city car with the world at its feet. It was fun to drive and blessed with quirky good looks that enabled it to stand head-and-shoulders above its tedious rivals. That car was the Ford Ka.

Then Ford replaced it with a second-generation model that was a shadow of its former self. Its character and charm ripped from its core. The current Mk3 Ka+ plays the role of a ‘world car’, catering for the masses and majoring on blandness. The Ka, as we once knew it, is dead. The end.

Toyota AurisPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

The Auris name is derived from ‘aurum’, which is latin for gold. That’s about the most interesting thing we can say about the Toyota Auris. Sorry, Toyota, a new name doesn’t make it any more interesting than the Corolla.

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Vauxhall MerivaPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

No child has or will ever grow up wanting to drive a Vauxhall Meriva. It’s dull to drive, dull to look at and dull to be inside. We’ve seen more excitement in the cardigan department at Marks & Spencer.

Vauxhall facelifted the Meriva in 2006, in the mistaken belief that a chrome strip across the tailgate would make the world of difference. It didn’t. Comically, Vauxhall also built a VXR version, which was akin to sticking a firework under a beige riser-recliner chair.

Lamborghini HuracanPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

Look, we’re not saying the Lamborghini Huracan isn’t good looking. Park one of these on your driveway and net curtains will be twitching. But by Ferruccio Lamborghini’s own standards, is it a true Lamborghini? The Italian always maintained that if passers-by didn’t turn around in astonishment, the styling was not good enough.

Compare and contrast the Huracan with some of Lamborghini’s past greats: does it pass the bedroom-wall test? Sure, it might be a more civilised and useable Lamborghini, but is that what we really want from Sant’Agata? Heck, it might even be upstaged by the Audi R8…

Nissan LeafPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

If the automotive world wants us to get behind an electric future, it might want to start building cars we’d want to be seen in. Renault has made a good fist of the Zoe, but the Nissan Leaf is dull, bordering on ugly.

We’ve seen more stylish hospital bedpans.

Mitsubishi CarismaPhoned in: 20 cars where the designer couldn’t be bothered

The irony of this car’s name isn’t lost on us, but this Mitsubishi suffered from more than just a charisma bypass. Reliable it might have been – you probably wouldn’t need to call upon that AA badge – but the Mitsubishi Carisma could so easily have been called the ‘Tiresome’ or the ‘Bleak’.

Amazing to think that it was based on the first generation Volvo S40 and that its chassis would be used for the Proton Impian. Actually, those aren’t amazing facts. Mount Everest is the height of 643 double-decker buses: that’s an amazing fact.

Revealed: Jeremy Clarkson’s worst cars of the year

Revealed: Jeremy Clarkson’s worst cars of the year

Revealed: Jeremy Clarkson’s worst cars of the yearLast week, the Sunday Times revealed Jeremy Clarkson’s top 10 favourite cars of the last year. They included gems like the new Mazda MX-5 and Volvo’s superb new XC90.

And while that’s great, what we really want to know is which cars he thinks are absolute stinkers. Writing for the Sunday Times again, Clarkson has listed his worst cars of the last 12 months. There are a few surprises…

Vauxhall Astra SRi NAVRevealed: Jeremy Clarkson’s worst cars of the year

We quite like the new Vauxhall Astra. It’s a huge step up over the previous model – and it even won the coveted European Car of the Year title. However, Clarkson isn’t a fan.

So why the Astra bashing from Mr Ex-Top Gear? Simple: he had an Aston to drive that weekend and wanted to be driving that instead. “I much preferred the idea of tooling around in a convertible Aston for the weekend to that of bumbling about in a mildly speedy Vauxhall,” he explained. Fair.

Infiniti Q30 Premium TechRevealed: Jeremy Clarkson’s worst cars of the year

When we drove the Infiniti Q30 last year, we didn’t think it was bad per se. It just had no distinguishing features that’d make you want to buy one over rivals from established premium brands.

Clarkson’s biggest criticism was the Q30’s diesel engine, which actually comes from Mercedes-Benz. It’s certainly a little grumbly.

“I think that’s what the engine does, in fact,” says Clarkson. “[It] turns diesel into sound. Because it sure as hell doesn’t turn it into large lumps of power. Every time I pulled out to overtake a caravan, I had to pull in again because there wasn’t quite enough grunt.”

Skoda Superb SE L ExecutiveRevealed: Jeremy Clarkson’s worst cars of the year

We rate the Superb for its upmarket interior, plentiful loadspace and attractive price tag – but Jeremy Clarkson isn’t as easily impressed. He gave the big Skoda two stars, concluding that it was ‘good for minicabbing but not for the soul’.

He adds that the Superb “has the same amount of soul as a fridge freezer. It’s the sort of car that you’d buy by the foot.”

Zenos E10 SRevealed: Jeremy Clarkson’s worst cars of the year

We said you’d be surprised by some of Clarkson’s choices. We gave the Norfolk-built Zenos E10 S a five-star rating when we drove it. But Jezza describes the unassisted steering as ‘wearing’, while complaining that he has ‘encountered better-equipped pencils’.

And then he comes to ‘the turd in the swimming pool’. The Zenos doesn’t come with anti-lock brakes, which means the front wheels have tendency to lock up under heavy braking.

“An anti-lock system would solve all that,” explains Clarkson. “But the whole point of the Zenos is that you get no driver aids. I like that philosophy, when I’m on a sofa and someone else is doing the driving, in a race, on the television. But a bit less when I’m heading towards a tree in a cloud of my own tyre smoke.”

Renault Kadjar dCi 130 Signature NavRevealed: Jeremy Clarkson’s worst cars of the year

Now this we can totally get behind. Like the Infiniti, it’s not that the Renault Kadjar is a bad car. It’s just… bland. Tediously bland. Based on the bland Nissan Qashqai, Renault has made it just as soulless.

“A dreary milestone on motoring’s road to oblivion” is how Clarkson sums up the Renault Kadjar.

BMW X1 xDrive25dRevealed: Jeremy Clarkson’s worst cars of the year

This is another car that isn’t actually that bad. But as Clarkson points out, because it sports a BMW badge, you expect it to be better.

The Fracas-gate star bemoans the X1’s off-road ability and the fact the range-topping 2.0-litre diesel ‘didn’t feel speedy’.

SEAT Leon X-Perience SE TechnologyRevealed: Jeremy Clarkson’s worst cars of the year

Throughout Clarkson’s 31-year car testing career, he’s never driven a SEAT. He’d never asked, because he ‘couldn’t see the point’, he explains. But then the company sent him its jacked-up Leon, the X-Perience.

We’re fans of the X-Perience’s metallic brown paint and brown Alcantara interior combo, but apparently Jeremy isn’t. “I’m grateful to SEAT for lending me this car because it reinforces every belief I’ve held about SEAT’s cars,” he says. “They’re a waste of time.”

Ouch.

Nissan GT-R Track EditionRevealed: Jeremy Clarkson’s worst cars of the year

The standard Nissan GT-R is a brilliant car. That’s something us and Clarkson agree on. But the GT-R Track Edition takes suspension from the (even more extreme) Nismo and a stiffer shell to make it a full-on track car. Too extreme for the road, reckons Clarkson.

“This track-day abomination gets no stars at all,” he concludes, after likening hitting a manhole cover to being in a plane crash.

Volkswagen Scirocco 2.0 TDIRevealed: Jeremy Clarkson’s worst cars of the year

Clarkson’s first car was an original Volkswagen Scirocco, which goes someway towards explaining why he doesn’t like the current model. Add in the fact that it’s getting old, based on the sixth-generation Golf and is powered by a diesel engine that needs lots of revs to stop it stalling, and he arrives at a two-star verdict.

Jezza concludes: “As an overall package it did nothing all week except remind me how much I wanted a Golf GTI.”

Hyundai i800Revealed: Jeremy Clarkson’s worst cars of the year

The Hyundai i800 is enormous, practical, and cheap. It makes for a great taxi – but if you’re an Uber driver with one of these and get summoned by a Mr J. Clarkson, don’t bother. He hates the thing, awarding a bit fat zero-star rating.

“I would rather apply sun cream to James May’s back than travel again in a Hyundai i800,” he says. Well, there we are.

The least economical new cars on sale in 2016

The least economical new cars on sale in 2016

The least economical new cars on sale in 2016When the oil wells run dry, these are the cars you don’t want to be driving. We’ve crunched some numbers to identify the least economical cars on sale in Britain today. Time to get friendly with your local petrol station…

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S: 19.2mpgThe least economical new cars on sale in 2016

Good news: the Aston Martin V12 Vantage S can now be equipped with a thoroughly old-school ‘dog-leg’ gearbox. Bad news: you’ll have to live with 19.2mpg on a combined cycle. The manual version is yours for £140,495.

Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible: 19.0mpgThe least economical new cars on sale in 2016

Few convertibles offer the potential to hit speeds in excess of 200mph, but the Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible is an exception to the rule. Its 6.0-litre twin-turbo engine helps to propel this 2,495kg droptop to a top speed of 204mph, sprinting to 62mph in an unfathomable 4.3 seconds.

Rolls-Royce Phantom EWB: 18.9mpgThe least economical new cars on sale in 2016

The Phantom Extended Wheelbase offers an additional 250mm in the rear passenger compartment compared to the ‘standard’ Phantom. The website says: “With its lounge-like proportions, it’s an indulgent private space that’s perfect for working, entertaining or relaxing between engagements.” Engagements such as filling up with fuel?

Ferrari GTC4Lusso: 18.8mpgThe least economical new cars on sale in 2016

The FF was Ferrari’s first all-wheel drive car. The GTC4Lusso is the FF updated for 2016, with a revised V12 engine and a new look. It’ll seat four in comfort and propel its occupants to a top speed of 208mph. Deliveries start in March 2017, so if you have £230,000 burning a hole in your pocket, now’s the time to talk to your Ferrari dealer.

Bentley Mulsanne: 18.8mpgThe least economical new cars on sale in 2016

Whatever you think of the Bentayga, you have to admire the fact that it’s more efficient than the Flying Spur, Continental and this – the Mulsanne. Power is sourced from a 6.75-litre twin-turbo V8 engine, and you can select from a range including a standard Mulsanne, Mulsanne Speed and an extended-wheelbase version.

Ferrari F12tdf: 18.3mpgThe least economical new cars on sale in 2016

The F12tdf is the Ferrari F12 with the volume cranked up to 11. Lighter this, more powerful that – a root and branch study on how to take something excellent and make it more excellent. Ferrari says that just 799 will be built, each one costing a pound shy of £340,000. You can spend that quid on a chocolate bar during one of your many trips to the petrol station.

Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale: 18.2mpgThe least economical new cars on sale in 2016

The MC Stradale is the lighter, more focused version of the Maserati GranTurismo, powered by a 460hp 4.7-litre V8 engine. At its launch in 2011, Maserati presented the MC Stradale as the most focused GT of the range, doing away with the rear seats. These were reinstated in 2013, along with the small matter of an additional 10 hp.

Vauxhall VXR8 GTS: 18.0mpgThe least economical new cars on sale in 2016

We’ve reached the top – or should that be bottom – three, and there’s something deeply satisfying about the fact that two of the cars wear a Vauxhall badge. Admittedly, the VXR8 GTS is based on a Holden Commodore, which makes it as Australian as Crocodile Dundee, but its engine is sourced from the distinctly American Camaro ZL1. Think of it as an M3 or C63 rival, with £20,000 change in your pocket. Which you can spend on fuel…

Lamborghini Aventador LP 750-4 SV: 17.7mpgThe least economical new cars on sale in 2016

Sandwiched between the pair of Vauxhalls is this: the Lamborghini Aventador LP 750-4 Superveloce. It’s powered by a 6.5-litre V12 engine, developing 740 hp and 507 lb-ft of torque. Top speed is an eye-watering 217mph, while the 0-62mph time is polished off in 2.8 seconds…

Vauxhall VXR8 Maloo R8 LSA: 15.3mpgThe least economical new cars on sale in 2016

Bonkers! The least economical car on sale today is the Vauxhall VXR Maloo R8 LSA. The rear-wheel drive, two-seater pick-up is powered by the same 6.2-litre engine you’ll find in the Camaro ZL1, developing around 550 crazy horses. If you own and run one of these in the UK, we’ll buy you a pint. A pint of super unleaded…

More weird things car brands also make

More weird things car brands also make

More weird things car brands also makeFrom Christmas baubles to polo saddles, carmakers will do anything to lighten your wallet. Check out our handpicked range of exclusive items you can buy if you want to show the world what fine taste you have. Here are some of the weird and wonderful things can brands also make.

Toyota Energy Observer

A fresh update to this list comes with Toyota’s sponsorship entanglement with the Energy Observer hydrogen research vessel. A curiously amusing means to a noble end. Toyota is known for its endeavours in alternative energies with the Toyboata being the latest.

Lamborghini Tauri 88 SmartphoneMore weird things car brands also make

At around £4,000, the Lamborghini Tauri 88 smartphone it’s a bit pricey, but it does have a 5-inch HD touchscreen, more memory than most laptops and a 20-megapixel camera. You can choose from four colours, too, but only 1,947 will be made. So you’ll have to act fast.

Bristol Cars merchandiseMore weird things car brands also make

Carmakers like to cash in on their brand’s heritage by making weird and wacky items designed to appeal to the discerning enthusiast. Take British luxury car manufacturer Bristol, which launched a range of luxury merchandise. You’ll be able to buy branded clothing, scale models and even leather bags and wallets designed by Paul Smith.

Alfa MiTo by Marshall concept carMore weird things car brands also make

Carmakers will do anything to breathe new life into a car nearing the end of its product lifecycle – and Alfa Romeo turned the MiTo into a four-wheeled amplifier. It’s called the Alfa MiTo by Marshall concept car and it “draws inspiration from the look and feel of Marshall’s iconic amplifier equipment”, featuring a 50w amp head and two 12-inch 75w speakers in the boot. It’s even powered by its own battery system.

Maserati and La Martina luxury polo saddleMore weird things car brands also make

We’re tempted to ask the horse, why the long face? It’s clearly not impressed with the one-off La Martina and Maserati polo saddle on its back. In a statement, the horse, which received only a couple of sugar lumps and a polo mint for its troubles, said, “Happy 100th birthday, Maserati, but I still can’t forgive you for putting a diesel engine in the Ghibli”.

Maserati aluminium diceMore weird things car brands also make

Now we don’t know about you, but after a hard day in the office, we like nothing more than getting dressed up and heading to our local multi-storey car park. Whilst some may be tempted to take advantage of the empty car park in their expensive Italian four-door saloon, we like to chuck dice about for a few hours. Maserati aluminium ones, obviously. The fun never stops.

Lamborghini ceramic baublesMore weird things car brands also make

These aren’t just Christmas baubles… These are Lamborghini ceramic Christmas baubles, finished in a special orange glaze and available as a set of three. Proof that you can take the bull out of the Lamborghini logo…

Peugeot pepper millMore weird things car brands also make

The Peugeot brand dates back to 1810, when it made its first tool: a saw blade, using high quality laminated steel. The brand also developed a reputation for delivering the very best salt and pepper mills, something it continues to this very day. Peugeot estimates that it has made tens of millions of mills for grinding salt, pepper and coffee, which includes over 900 different variants. Next time you’re in a restaurant, turn the salt and pepper mills upside down to see if they’re Peugeot-branded.

Porsche ice cube trayMore weird things car brands also make

It’s impossible not to love this Porsche ice cube tray. We’re tempted to say it’s the coolest piece of car-branded nonsense we’ve ever seen…

Ferrari golf collectionMore weird things car brands also make

The Ferrari Golf Collection could be the name given to Ian Poulter’s own private collection of Ferrari cars. But no, the Ferrari Golf Collection is a range of official licensed products, from clubs, to footwear and from clothing to accessories. You can even buy a Ferrari-branded driver with improved aerodynamics and a reduced drag coefficient.

Lotus 108 bicycleMore weird things car brands also make

The Lotus Type 108 bicycle could never fall into the nonsense category. In fact, the Lotus 108 was a trailblazer – the bike that helped Chris Boardman achieve greatness and lay the foundations for years of British cycling success. And to this day, it’s arguably the best looking bicycle ever created.

Bentley Home CollectionMore weird things car brands also make

The press release for Bentley’s Home Collection at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano includes terms such as “rigorous aesthetic sensibility”, “sophisticated velvets”, “pastel nuances” and “exquisite taste”. Which all sounds rather lovely. Yes. It is basically a range of Bentley furniture.

Bugatti hookahMore weird things car brands also make

Well if you were going to drop another million pounds on yet another “final edition” Bugatti Veyron, you were probably smoking something. Allegedly. Which may go some way to explaining the $100,000 (£76,000) Bugatti by Desvali luxury shisha pipe. Personally, we’d rather spend the money on a Porsche 911 Carrera and use the leftover cash for a second set of tyres. Smoking!

Porsche bobsleighMore weird things car brands also make

And speaking of Porsche, how about this – a Porsche bobsleigh. Apparently its designed for children. Which can be used as justification for buying one next Christmas.

Jeep strollersMore weird things car brands also make

Carmakers will often speak about customer lifetime value. In short, a 20-year-old has the potential to buy more cars in their lifetime than a 70-year-old. But surely the Jeep stroller is taking things too far? What next, Audi-branded four-wheel drive cots? Quick, get the head of product planning on the phone – untapped niche alert.

Peugeot Design Lab pianoMore weird things car brands also make

If we were to review this Peugeot and Pleyel piano, we’d probably complain about the pedal arrangement, the lack of seat support and the limited amount of boot space. On the plus side, the soundtrack is pretty spectacular.

Audi R18 Ultra ChairMore weird things car brands also make

This is the Audi R18 Ultra Chair. For best results at dinner parties, position it really close the person sat next to you and shine a torch into their eyes until they move aside. Works every time.

Bentley aftershaveMore weird things car brands also make

In fairness to Bentley, we could have picked on any number of car manufacturers for this one, including Ferrari, Lamborghini, Jaguar or even Hummer. The question is, why would you want to smell like a car? Most interiors smell like Magic Tree air fresheners and old socks.

Audi Q3 camping tentMore weird things car brands also make

The Audi Q3 Camping Tent has a wind load rating of 43 mph. But even so, we’d recommend dismantling it before you make your way out of the camp site.

Bentley barbers’ chairs for PankhurstMore weird things car brands also make

The Pankhurst men’s grooming store is apparently the finest barbershop in London. Which is why Bentley was keen to supply six barbers’ chairs.

Jaguar Concept SpeedboatMore weird things car brands also make

The Concept Speedboat was designed to demonstrate the diverse and active lifestyle enjoyed by owners of the Jaguar XF Sportbrake. Check out the fin on the teak decking. It’s offset in a nod to the Jaguar D-Type. Something that will impress your boating chums down at the marina.

In or Out: European cars we love – and those we’d send back

01_In_or_OutVote Leave or vote Remain – soon we’ll know which way the UK public has voted in the EU referendum. The crucial vote got us thinking – if we were voting to decide the future of European cars, which ones would we keep and which ones would we send packing? We took a virtual tour of the European plants to find out.

European cars: leave or remain?AUSTRIA: Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen – REMAIN

It might be long in the tooth, but there’s something reassuringly old-school about the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen. In the absence of the Land Rover Defender, it stands shoulder to shoulder as a last bastion of the traditional full-size SUV. Since 1979, the G-Wagen has been built by Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria.

European cars: leave or remain?AUSTRIA: MINI Paceman – LEAVE

Meanwhile, the Austrians are also responsible for the MINI Paceman. Production started in 2012, two years after the MINI Countryman. MINI describes it as a “VIP lounge on wheels… with a rocket up its backside”. For that reason alone, we’re asking the MINI Paceman to leave.

European cars: leave or remain?BELGIUM: Volvo XC60 – REMAIN

Belgium once had a proud automotive industry, with the Ford plant in Genk responsible for the production of some 14 million vehicles over 50 years. Today, the Volvo XC60 is the best new car to come out of Belgium.

European cars: leave or remain?CROATIA: Rimac Concept One – REMAIN

It might sound like the name of your girlfriend’s hair removal cream, but the Rimac Concept One is the best thing to come out of Croatia since Luka Modric. The Croatian-built all-wheel drive electric hypercar offers in excess of 1,000hp and can sprint from 0-62mph in just 2.6 seconds. This is one European car we love. Still want that Tesla Model S?

European cars: leave or remain?CZECH REPUBLIC: Skoda Superb – REMAIN

Into the Czech Republic and it will come as no surprise to find the Skoda Superb topping our list of cars that should remain. It’s one of the best new cars in Europe and a genuine rival to so-called premium badge rivals.

European cars: leave or remain?CZECH REPUBLIC: SEAT Toledo – LEAVE

SEAT – the supposed fun-loving and sun-drenched part of Volkswagen Group. So why on earth is the Spanish firm lumbered with the instantly forgettable Toledo? It’s built alongside the equally lacklustre Skoda Rapid at Mlada Boleslav, Prague.

European cars: leave or remain?DENMARK: Zenvo ST1 – REMAIN

There are many reasons to love Denmark: Lego, bacon, butter and pastries, to name but four. We could also add the Zenvo ST1 to the list – the 7.0-litre V8 supercar, arguably most famous for bursting into flames during an episode of Top Gear.

European cars: leave or remain?DENMARK: Garia Mansory – LEAVE

Not all golf carts are created equal. Danish firm Garia loads its carts with the kind of features you’d find on an entry-level S-Class. You can spec anything from a refrigerator to a heated windscreen. It’s all very country club and that’s perfectly fine. But the Mansory treatment, complete with clear-coat carbonfibre, is a stretch too far.

European cars: leave or remain?FINLAND: Fisker Karma – REMAIN

While hardly a powerhouse of the European automotive industry, Finland has a history of car production. Various Saab models were produced there between 1969 and 2003, while the Porsche Boxster and Cayman were also built in Finland. Our pick would be the Fisker Karma, which is now available with a V8 engine from the Corvette ZL1.

European cars: leave or remain?FRANCE: Renaultsport Megane 275-S Cup – REMAIN

We’re unable to gaze into our crystal ball to predict whether or not the UK will vote to say goodbye to EU membership, but we can say with some confidence that the Renaultsport Megane is about to face the final curtain. But what a way to say au devoir: the cut-price 275-S Cup. Ooh la la!

European cars: leave or remain?FRANCE: DS 4 – LEAVE

Meanwhile, France can keep the DS 4. There’s nothing particularly wrong with the DS 4, it’s just that it smacks of an ageing product, with a recent refresh doing little to make it any more appealing. The current DS range is just a hor d’oeuvre while we wait for the real DS cars to appear.

European cars: leave or remain?GERMANY: Ford Focus RS – REMAIN

Choosing a German car to represent Remain is a tough, but not because we’re struggling to find anything decent. Quite the opposite, in fact. Our choice is the Ford Focus RS, which just happens to be built in Saarlouis, a town situated within drifting distance of France.

European cars: leave or remain?GERMANY: BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer – LEAVE

It’s hard to criticise the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer, because it does exactly what it sets out to do. If you’re after a premium seven-seater, it’s hard to beat. But it, along with the Active Tourer, is a radical departure for BMW – we can’t quite get our head round a front-wheel drive people carrier from Bavaria. And ask yourself this: does that driver look good behind the wheel?

European cars: leave or remain?HUNGARY: Audi A3 – REMAIN

Europe’s most popular premium family hatchback wears a German badge, but some A3s are built in Hungary. Audi Hungaria Motor is based in Györ and started series production of the A3 Saloon and A3 Cabriolet in 2013. A year later, the plant also started series production of the TT Coupe and TT Roadster.

European cars: leave or remain?HUNGARY: Mercedes-Benz CLA – LEAVE

Amazing, isn’t it? When the Mercedes-Benz CLA was complete, somebody, somewhere, took a look at the car and said: yes, that looks very smart indeed. The Audi A3 is an example of how to create a good looking medium-size saloon. The CLA, on the other hand, isn’t. Hungary – you can keep it.

European cars: leave or remain?ITALY: Ferrari 488 GTB – REMAIN

There are many Italian cars we love – take your pick from the Ferrari, Lamborghini and Pagani stables for starters. Others include the Fiat Panda, Alfa Romeo Giulia and Abarth 595. Our choice would be the Ferrari 488 GTB, because it encapsulates all that we love about Italian cars.

European cars: leave or remain?ITALY: Fiat Punto – LEAVE

The Fiat Punto is the unfortunate victim here, but that’s only because our first choice, the 500L, is built in Serbia, a nation currently outside of the EU. We like the Punto for its ‘mini Maserati’ styling, but alongside more modern superminis it’s feeling very dated.

European cars: leave or remain?NETHERLANDS: Spyker C8 Preliator – REMAIN

We don’t know what they’ve been smoking at Spyker, but if the C8 Preliator is anything to go by, we suggest they keep puffing. Adding a supercharger to Audi’s 4.2-litre V8 engine creates a 525hp hypercar wrapped in a body said to be inspired by aircraft design. Enough power to take off and leave – which is something the Remain campaigners won’t want to read.

European cars: leave or remain?POLAND: Fiat 500 – REMAIN

The quintessentially Italian small car just happens to be built in Poland. The Fiat Auto Poland plant has a long history of building Fiat cars, dating back to the construction of Polski Fiat 126p.

European cars: leave or remain?POLAND: Lancia Ypsilon – LEAVE

For a short while, the Lancia Ypsilon was available in the UK as the Chrysler Ypsilon. The car was facelifted in 2015 and subsequently subjected to a Euro NCAP safety test. It’s miserable two-star rating suggests it’s time to, er…  call time on the Lancia with the hard-to-spell name.

European cars: leave or remain?PORTUGAL: SEAT Alhambra – REMAIN

The original SEAT Alhambra, Volkswagen Sharan and Ford Galaxy rolled off the same AutoEuropa production line in Portugal. When Ford and Volkswagen went their separate ways, the plant continued to produce the Alhambra and Sharan, along with the Volkswagen EOS and Scirocco.

European cars: leave or remain?ROMANIA: Dacia Duster – REMAIN

The Dacia Duster is a truly global SUV, produced in far away places such as Romania, Brazil, India and Indonesia. It’s our favourite cut-price SUV and therefore wins the right to remain.

European cars: leave or remain?ROMANIA: Ford EcoSport – LEAVE

It’s fair to say we’re not big fans of the Ford EcoSport, but with European sales more than tripling in 2015, not everyone agrees with us. To capitalise on its success, Ford is set to invest 200 million euros in its Craiova plant to build the EcoSport for European markets. To paraphrase Barry Davies: look at its face, just look at its face.

European cars: leave or remain?SLOVAKIA: Volkswagen Up – REMAIN

We’ve run out of superlatives to describe the really-rather-good Volkswagen Up and its SEAT Mii and Skoda Citigo siblings. Bratislava can be rightly proud of its brilliant city car.

European cars: leave or remain?SLOVAKIA: Porsche Cayenne – LEAVE

We have to thank the Cayenne for enabling Porsche to do fun things with the 911, but we find it hard to love the SUV. We’re not sure if it’s the styling, the price or the image. Probably a combination of the three.

European cars: leave or remain?SLOVENIA: Renault Twingo – REMAIN

A rear-engine, rear-wheel drive city car – yes please. We like the Twingo for its different take on the city car recipe and we’re salivating over the prospect of the new GT model. Is this French fancy Slovenia’s finest export?

European cars: leave or remain?SLOVENIA: Smart Forfour – LEAVE

The Smart Forfour rolls off the same production line and adds some extra practicality to the Fortwo/Twingo. But it comes at a price and we’re not sure many passengers will thank you for confining them to the rear seats.

European cars: leave or remain?SPAIN: Citroen C4 Cactus – REMAIN

The Citroen C4 Cactus – so chic, so innovative, so different, so French. Only it isn’t French at all. The C4 Cactus is built in Spain. Sorry Gareth Bale, when it comes to flair and panache, this is the real star of Madrid.

European cars: leave or remain?SPAIN: Citroen C3: LEAVE

Meanwhile, the Citroen C3, which forms the basis of the C4 Cactus, is an ageing supermini that’s well past its sell-by date. Fortunately there’s a new version waiting in the wings, which is expected to land this summer.

European cars: leave or remain?SWEDEN: Volvo XC90 – REMAIN

Sweden has given so much to Europe – Abba, IKEA, meatballs, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Roxette and Saga from The Bridge. Oh, and not forgetting the new Volvo XC90 – a near faultless SUV and contender for the cliched all-the-car-you-could-ever-need award.

European cars: leave or remain?SWEDEN: Volvo S60 Cross Country – LEAVE

For some reason we have a soft spot for the Volvo S60 Cross Country – the high-riding saloon car that answers a question nobody ever asked. But it’s a niche too far, which is why we’re asking it to leave.

European cars: leave or remain?UNITED KINGDOM: McLaren 675LT – REMAIN

It’s only fair that we include the UK in this virtual tour of Europe. The question is: which car should represent the nation teetering on the edge of EU membership? A Nissan Qashqai? Jaguar F-Pace? MINI Hatch? No, it has to be the McLaren 675LT – a charismatic and entertaining example of British engineering.

European cars: leave or remain?UNITED KINGDOM: MINI Coupe – LEAVE

As for the MINI Coupe, we would be quite happy if it packed its bag and headed across the English Channel, never to be seen again. Perhaps it can live on a desert island with only a MINI Paceman and a Wilson volleyball for company.

Least reliable car brands

The 5 least reliable car brands

Least reliable car brandsThink modern cars don’t go wrong? Think again. Claims data from third-party warranty provider Warrantywise reveals big discrepancies between the brands when it comes to reliability and typical repair costs. We count down the 20 least reliable carmakers – is your car on the list?

Least reliable car brands5. Chrysler

Dependability score: 64

Like Chevrolet, Chrysler is an American carmaker that tried and failed to make its mark in the UK. It will mainly be remembered for the brash 300C – and those black Voyager MPVs that ferried around the candidates on The Apprentice.

Least reliable car brands5. Chrysler

Average repair cost: £464

If you need evidence of where Chrysler went wrong, look no further than the Ypsilon supermini. It’s basically a Fiat 500 with all that car’s retro character and charm removed. There was no compelling reason to buy one, and few did.

Least reliable car brands4. Alfa Romeo

Dependability score: 60

Good old Alfa Romeo: always languishing near the bottom of car reliability charts. Journalists are already hailing the new Giulia saloon – seen here in Ferrari-baiting QV spec – as the best Alfa in years. But will it do better than a dependability score of 60?

Least reliable car brands4. Alfa Romeo

Average repair cost: £590

Alfa Romeos used to be notorious for rust, which certainly won’t be a problem in the carbon fibre-bodied 4C sports car. These days, electrical issues are more likely to cause headaches – and contribute to the £590 average repair cost.

Least reliable car brands3. Porsche

Dependability score: 57

Porsches generally feel bulletproof, so it’s a shock to see the brand near the bottom of the Warrantywise list. If we were being kind, we suspect many Porsches are driven quite hard. Nonetheless, a dependability score of 57 simply isn’t good enough.

Least reliable car brands3. Porsche

Average repair cost: £842

At £842, average Porsche repair costs are predictably high. With new ‘downsized’ engines, such as the four-cylinder units in the 718 Boxster and Cayman, let’s hope future costs will be downsized, too.

Least reliable car brands2. Jaguar

Dependability score: 54

Hype about Jaguar’s new F-Pace SUV has reached fever pitch. However, a woeful dependability score of 54 does rather take the shine off those five-star reviews. It’s also considerably worse than Jaguar’s sister-brand, Land Rover.

Least reliable car brands2. Jaguar

Average repair cost: £794

Repair costs for Jaguars are high, too – at more than any of its German rivals. Let’s just gaze upon this lovely S1 E-Type (still the most beautiful car ever made) and pretend none of this is happening, shall we?

Least reliable car brands1. Maserati

Dependability score: 41

So here we are: the least reliable brand of all is… Maserati. The marque is keeping the old cliches about temperamental Italian supercars alive, with a shocking dependability score of 41. That’s 13 points below second-placed Jaguar.

Least reliable car brands1. Maserati

Average repair cost: £1,430

Maserati repair costs aren’t quite in the £2k-plus Ferrari league, but nor are they exactly affordable. Owners can typically expect to fork out £1,430 to fix a car that’s outside warranty. No wonder old Maseratis are so cheap to buy.