Are car headlights getting brighter? Ask around, and you’ll find it’s a common grumble among anyone that drives, especially those that frequently take to the road first thing in the morning or at night.
They’ll tell you that on an unlit road, especially one with crests or undulations, oncoming traffic can leave them feeling as if they can’t see.
During the winter months, the problem is exacerbated. Fewer daylight hours mean cars spend more time with their lights on. And the latest technology on modern cars has introduced superior lighting power to even the average family car.
While that’s great for any driver of a car with powerful lights, it’s not so safe for drivers of oncoming vehicles. They can find themselves blinded by the brilliant light from the latest systems.
Is there anything dazzled drivers can do? And will headlights continue to get brighter?
The days of the independent car companies are pretty much over. Motor makers are now superbrands so they can reap the enormous financial rewards of selling millions of models all over the globe. In a world where every car company seems to be owned by someone else, we look at some of the smaller firms and ask who owns them? Some of the questions are cunning. And there are a couple of teasers in there to make it a bit of a challenge. If you enjoy this, try some of our other mind-stretchers.
It’s not easy being a driver who wants to do their bit and buy a car with the lowest nitrogen oxide emissions. These NOx are harmful pollutants emitted by cars that are estimated to contribute to over 30,000 premature deaths a year in the UK. Information about a car’s NOx levels has been hard to come by as, for obvious reasons, vehicle manufacturers tend to advertise cars’ fuel economy or performance rather than the nasty particulates pumped out of exhausts.
But now a new website allows drivers to see just how polluting Britain’s most popular makes and model of car are when used in normal, everyday driving conditions.
You may need to sit down before looking at the price of options on a Rolls-Royce Wraith (Picture © Rolls-Royce)
Anyone who has bought a new car recently can’t help but fail to have noticed the lengthy lists of optional extras that can be added to their new pride and joy – at a cost. These are so long that they make any fixtures and fittings list for a house purchase seem like a Post-it note. Yet extras are increasingly popular, as they allow drivers to give their car the personal touch, stand out of the crowd, or show-off the latest gadgets and gizmos to friends and family.
So, without further ado, here are five of the most expensive options available on new cars in the UK. And not one of them is an April Fools joke…
Ford’s new Glare-Free Highbeam system costs from £900 (Picture © Ford)
Glare-free headlamps which prevent drivers being dazzled by on-coming lights could be on a car near you in the very near future. In the 70s, the Manfred Mann hit Blinded by the Light could be heard coming from cars all over Britain. More recently, the song’s chorus has been adopted as a protest against super bright car lights.
Ever since the introduction of Xenon or High Intensity Discharge (HID) lights in the early ’90s on the BMW 7 Series, and Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights in cars such as the 2006 Audi R8, the brightness and intensity of headlamps has increased. Continue reading
Cars including the VW Golf 1.6TDI have been affected (Picture © Volkswagen)
The VW diesel engine crisis rumbles on. So we’ve got the answers to the most frequently asked questions for the 1.2 million UK owners of affected cars. In September 2015, news broke that German car maker Volkswagen had fitted a ‘defeat device’ to the engine software of some of its diesel cars. This was designed to cheat emissions tests, primarily in the US, by knowing when the car was being tested and cutting dangerous nitrogen oxide outputs down to a legal level. These were then put back up to be illegal to improve economy when the car was on the road.
VW diesel engine crisis: Which engines are affected?
The engine at the centre of this is the EA 189 engine. This is an engine architecture so it’s not as simple as saying it’s just an engine with a certain capacity. It affects the 1.2, 1.6 and 2.0-litre diesels that comply with EU 5 emissions laws. These have been fitted to models as diverse as the SEAT Ibiza, Skoda Octavia, Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3 Cabriolet. Petrol engines are unaffected.
VW diesel engine crisis: Are other engines involved?
The US environment regulators have now found that the ‘defeat device’ has also been used on the larger 3.0-litre diesel engines. These engines are in models that were built between 2014 and 16. They include cars such as the Volkswagen Touareg, Audi A4 and A6 and Porsche Cayenne. It is currently unclear if UK cars are involved.