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.
The Volkswagen diesel scandal has taken a new twist with British owners of affected diesel-powered Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Skoda cars possibly in line for compensation. And consumer organisation Which? wants the British government to do more to ensure British buyers of affected cars are suitably reimbursed.
European Union regulators are now urging 20 European countries to investigate whether consumers are entitled to financial compensation from VW, like drivers in the US. Vera Jourova, the EU justice commissioner, told The Financial Times it was likely the German car maker had breached Europe’s “unfair commercial practices directive.” The legislation is in place to protect consumers from misleading advertising claims.
Why does the EU want action?
The plug-in Golf GTE looks great but how does it stack up against its more conventional petrol and diesel siblings? (Picture © Volkswagen)
The debate over which is the best fuel is becoming an increasingly hot topic among car buyers. Petrol v diesel v hybrid v electric: which really is the best type of car to own? To try to find the answer, we’ve taken Volkswagen’s perennially popular Golf, the only model available in the UK that uses all four kinds of power source, and crunched the numbers.
We’ve split our report into four sections. This enables us to look at how the different versions of the Golf compare to each other in key areas of price, performance, economy, and running costs. The cars are ranked by our favoured criteria in each chart with the model at the top the best. It’s a fascinating read.
|Golf 1.0 TSI BlueMotion
|Golf 1.6 TDI BlueMotion
Avoid the obvious when searching for a cheap car (Picture © Volkswagen)
Brilliant bangers don’t have to come in packs of six, ready for the frying pan or barbeque: they can also be some of the best value motors money can buy.
Choosing a used car on a £1000 budget calls for patience, detective work and an ability to resist the lure of luxury names. You’ll also need to read between the lines and not be tempted by classic sales patter: “First to see will buy”; “One lady owner”; “Starts every time”.
A full service history, all accompanying paperwork, verified mileage – clocking can be common – are just your starting points. Check the length of the MOT, find out when the next service is due (and how much it’s likely to cost) and don’t be put off by cosmetic blemishes if the car is mechanically tip-top. After all, you’re buying it to get from A to B for the least amount of money, not cruise London’s Kings Road in head-turning style.
A final tip is to try to build a picture of how reliable the car is likely to be. A helpful tool is the Reliability Index, provided by Warranty Direct, a leading provider of mechanical insurance for cars. With all that in place, start hunting out any of these brilliant bangers…
Here are the cars for Group F in our Euros for Cars contest. The idea is simple. You vote for your favourite cars on Twitter using #Eurocars2016 when the two countries play each other in the Euro 2016 football tournament. As in the real Euros, the cars then get three points for winning the most votes, one point if it’s a draw and nothing for losing. The cars with the most points progress through to the knock-out stages.
For each of the 24 countries in Euro 2016, we’ve selected a car that we think best represents each. Of course not all the nations have a car industry. For those that don’t we’ve chosen cars popular or made in that country, or in some cases, cars that were once built or will be built there.
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.
New research says nearly every car pumps out illegal levels of toxic gases
It’s not just Volkswagens that allegedly pump dangerous toxins into the atmosphere, according to the latest emissions shock. New research claims nine out of 10 diesel cars on Britain’s roads exceed official limits for illegal gases. The study also found that 10 per cent of petrol cars surpassed nitrogen oxide (NOx) limits, set in 2011. And the majority of petrol cars go beyond EU carbon monoxide (CO) output levels.
According to Which?, part of the Consumer Association: “It’s not just Volkswagen. In fact, it’s not just diesel engines, either. It’s almost everyone. Whether diesel, petrol or hybrid, the majority of cars exceed EU emission limits when faced with our more realistic tests.” So what is the truth behind the latest revelations? And more importantly where, as drivers and car owners, do we stand? 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.
The Volkswagen emissions scandal has rocked the car industry and prompted drivers everywhere to wonder if they can trust anything car makers tell them. The outrage was discovered in the US and involves a programme hidden in cars’ computers. This can tell when the vehicle is undergoing an emissions test. It then switches the engine to a mode where it emits less Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) to pass strict air quality tests. There are 11 million cars world-wide that could be affected. Here’s what British drivers need to know.
September means one thing for millions of parents across the country: back to school. But after the fun of the summer holidays it can be a rude awakening – especially if the family car is on its last legs.
Just as children outgrown their school uniform and shoes faster than parents can ask ‘Does that still fit you?’, so they can outgrow the family car. One minute your Ford Fiesta fitted them perfectly, the next they’ve got their knees wedged into the back of mum or dad’s seat and are grumbling that there’s no way to stream music or charge their smartphone.
As a parent of three who knows what it takes for a car to make light work of the school run, I’ve rounded up three of the best used and new cars for busy families: cars that are as practical as they are safe, and as affordable to run as they are good to drive. Continue reading