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  • Peugeot 508 SW PSE

    Written by Justin Delaney, an Independent Reviewer, Journalist, and Motor expert. We recently got to spend some time with the Peugeot 508 SW in PSE trim. The SW or Sport Wagon range kicks off from €46,110 plus delivery related charges for the Allure 1.5 BlueHDi diesel 130bhp 6-speed manual version. Like the fastback model we previously tested the front design is identical only now it has a low-slung, beefy estate bodyline. It gives the 508 the perfect balance between sporty and a practical design that we believe is actually better looking than the fastback. With ample passenger space and a large, easy-access boot offering a total load space from 530 litres, it will swallow those weekend holiday bags or golf clubs with ease! Our PSE or “Peugeot Sport Engineered” version is a flagship model but it has to sacrifice a little boot space to 467 litres to accommodate the electric power source that works in harmony with the petrol unit. This is by no means a hindrance and you still have the option to drop the seats if you need more space. Features Inside you can expect Peugeot’s latest innovative i-Cockpit with a fully configurable 12.3-inch head-up digital instrument panel. Then depending on the trim level you have either a ten-inch or eight-inch capacitive touchscreen along with a compact multi-function steering wheel. In Allure trim, the all-new 508 SW gets Active Blind Spot Detection, Advanced Driver Attention Alert, PEUGEOT Smartbeam Assist, Speed Limit Recognition and Recommendation, 3D Navigation with Voice Recognition, twin chrome exhaust, 17-inch alloy wheels and dark tinted rear glass. Prices for the Allure trim start from €46,110. If you are in a position to step up to €49,775 for the GT Line variant you can expect Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go function, Lane Positioning Assist, a smartphone charging plate, 18-inch alloy wheels and self-levelling full LED headlights, with Peugeot’s signature 3D rear light cluster. The GT Line also comes with i-Cockpit Amplify, which allows you to change the interior lighting balance, as well as the engine note through active speaker technology. The next trim level available is the PSE which is available from €71,890 and features an Active Suspension system, smart electric tailgate (foot operated), electrically adjustable and heated driver and passenger seats with driver seat memory function, driver and passenger seat multi-point massage function and full leather upholstery, 20-inch alloys and the power to put a smile on any face! Power Buyers will have a choice of two new petrol hybrid engines and one diesel option on the SW. The reliable 1.5-litre BlueHDi engine with 130hp or the 1.6-litre PureTech featuring a 225bhp plug-in hybrid (PHEV) providing power to all four wheels using a 1.6 180bhp petrol engine along with a 110bhp electric motor. Our PSE test car was had the turbo charged 1.6 litre engine pushing 200hp along with two electric motors one assisting the front wheels and the other to the rear. You get 355hp and 520Nm of torque fed through a seamless 8 speed automatic gearbox. Peugeot state you can cover 41km of electric-only driving which is very impressive consider what most of us do as a daily commute. Safety As you expect from Peugeot there is a host of safety features throughout the various different trim levels. From standard expect Emergency Brake Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assistance with edge detection along with multiple airbags throughout the cabin. MirrorLink with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is also included as standard in every model and helps you work on the move without distraction. When the fastback variant was tested by Euro NCAP it scored an impressive 5 stars. Costs Although we have covered the pricing in the various trim levels which range from €46,110 up to our test car priced at €71,890 it is worth noting there are various offers currently in place. Right now you can pick up a fastback Peugeot 508 for as little as €396 per month with a 5-year warranty. Both PCP and HP is available throughout the trusted dealer network. Summary Our time spent with the 508 SW PSE was nothing short of delightful. D segment cars are often overlooked these days but particularly in this estate trim the Peugeot 508 is all the car you could ever need. Yes we were spoiled have the 355hp variant but you don’t need all that power! Our realistic choice would be the 225hp petrol PHEV which, should give you the best of both world’s providing you get into the routine of charging the vehicle each night. If you are lucky enough to be able to get a PSE version then more power to you! The Selenium Grey paint mixed with the blacked out grills and Kryptonite details including the calipers is just gorgeous on the road! To accommodate the 20-inch rims the track has been slightly widened and various aerodynamic enhancements have been made. It’s far from all show and no go either with the 0-100km sprint coming up in just 5.2 seconds. That’s fast in any mans language! This is a trim specification that will no doubt be rare on Irish roads but whoever can pick up one on the used car market in a few years time, will be getting one hell of car. We salute Peugeot for still making good looking practical estate cars and we look forward to the inbound 308 SW which will soon be on Irish roads. For Styling Interior Comfort Power Against Steering wheel a tad small. To see our video review of the Peugeot 508, please click here. To check out Peugeot stock on DoneDeal, click here. DoneDeal hosts the widest selection of cars for sale in Ireland, with 78,000 on sale today. The vast majority of those, over 60,000, are from over 1,000 trusted local dealerships that offer certainty in your purchase through warranties History checks. One car ad is placed every minute on DoneDeal, with about 600,000 cars advertised a year. DoneDeal is Ireland's No.1 Motor Website with over 70 million car searches taking place annually. To check out DoneDeal’s range of cars from all of Ireland’s trusted car dealerships, see here. #Motors

  • Selling Your Car

    Selling your car can be a daunting process so we have created this handy guide to bring you through the process. When thinking about selling your car, you first need to figure out what you car is worth and where you are going to advertise it. Deciding to Sell What is my car worth? Use classified websites to work out what value you can get. If trading-in to a dealership, expect the trade-in price to be 15-25% below the sale price. Where can I advertise it? You can advertise your car in a number of places, including classifieds sites like DoneDeal & Adverts, social media & in some print publications. Choosing the right place to sell will impact the speed & value of your sale. Private sale or dealer sale - You can sell directly to private sellers via classifieds site or, if you are buying a new or used car from a dealership, you may be able to trade your existing car in against your new purchase. A new way to sell is directly to a trusted dealer via DoneDeal's Instant Offer feature. You can find out more about Instant Offer here. Prepping for Sale Before you advertise your car, there are a number of steps you need to take to maximise your sale price and help you sell faster. Documents Gather all documents relating to the vehicle. NCT Doc Log book - The documentation certifying ownership of a vehicle will be in the form of a Vehicle Registration Certificate (VRC) or Vehicle Licensing Certificate (VLC). These documents are also commonly known as the "Logbook". Which document your vehicle will have depends on when the last change of ownership was completed or the age of the vehicle. The Vehicle Registration Certificate (VRC) is the newer document and the Vehicle Licensing Certificate (VLC) is the older form of this ownership document. Service History Preparing Your Car Clean outside of car Clean inside of car Invest in professional valet Wipe under bonnet with damp cloth Replace any blown bulbs Replace floor mats if worn Empty storage areas (glove box, boot, under seats) Preparing Your Ad Now that your car is ready to be photographed, you can starting creating your ad. Follow our guide below to help you through the process. Photos Ensure you have a number of photos showing all angles of the car so the buyer can make an informed decision on whether to contact you. We would recommend the following images: Front quarter left Front quarter right Back quarter left Back quarter right Wheel / Allows Internal full dash Drive view Internal from centre Passenger looking at driver dash View in from open front door View in from open back door Front Back Side profiles Front interior Rear interior Engine Odometer NCT cert Mistakes - Some tips to avoid common mistakes when taking photos which may make your ad appear unprofessional or untrustworthy Multiple cars in photos Zooming in too far - give a full view of the car Bad quality / bad light Not cleaning the car Take photos in landscape not portrait Video You can enhance your ad by including a video of your car, both the inside and outside. Some rules to follow when creating your video: Do a full 360 tour of the outside of the car Show the inside - start at the driver's door and show the passenger side & back seat Open the boot and show the storage and spare wheel Compress the file before uploading Information to Include in Your Ad Include as much information as possible in your ad and answer as many potential questions that buyers could have so you only get really keen buyers contacting you. Essential to include: Registration number Year Mileage Service history Colour Number of owners Features / specifications Contact information - ensure you include your preferred contact method & time so you can manage buyer expectations and replies Greenlight Greenlight your vehicle by inputting the Vehicle Licence Certificate (VLC) number from your vehicle logbook. This will help you to sell your car. For a quick and hassle free car sale, make sure your care has the Greenlight tick. Greenlight, our trust initiative, means as a seller you can opt to provide your logbook reference number to us when listing your ad. This means we can put a green tick next to your ad, indicating that we have checked your Vehicle License Certificate against the car registration number to verify your ad. Potential buyers have a greater sense of trust in verified ads which results in more enquiries for the vehicle you are selling. Find out more here Happy Selling! Now that you have completed the steps above, you're ready to sell your car, best of luck!

  • Toyota Yaris Cross

    Written by Justin Delaney, an Independent Reviewer, Journalist, and Motor expert. You might not have seen one on Irish roads just yet but the fresh faced Toyota Yaris Cross is an all-new model that blends Toyota's small car experience with it’s SUV design and engineering knowledge. It has been developed specifically with European customers in mind from the word go and aims to capitalise on the key qualities of the new generation Yaris hatchback. This philosophy includes maximising interior space and practicality whilst also giving it the fourth generation hybrid electric powertrain, excellent safety standards and making it fun to drive! To do this this Toyota used its knowhow from over 27 years of creating the RAV4 with their intelligent all wheel drive (AWD-i) system and applied it to this B-segment car. The European market for B-segment SUVs appears to be growing steadily at present and Toyota expects growth to continue with many customers downsizing from larger C-segment models or seeking an alternative to B-segment hatches in vehicles that better suit their needs. Features So what do we see when we approach the Yaris Cross, is it in essence just a normal Yaris on stilts? Well no, not exactly, the front end has a strong modern look with upper and lower grilles forming a completely new face. Slim and sharp shaped headlights use LED projector lamps with separate, vertical daytime running lights and circular LED fog lights set at the bottom corners of the lower grille. Walking around to the rear and you will see a wide tailgate and a square central section that makes for a practical loading area. There’s actually 397 litres of cargo space available and you can drop the rear seats to fit a maximum of 1,097 litres. The rear lights use LED technology and sequential turn indicators on higher spec models. For more perspective the Yaris Cross comes in 95mm taller at 1,595mm, 20mm wider (1,765mm) and 240mm longer (4,180mm) than a standard Yaris. Ground clearance also jumps by 25mm to 170mm to stay true to that SUV design. Opening the drivers door and you are greeted by a host of new trim finishes on the door panels, arm rests and even the A pillars. The centre console has the multimedia display north of the shift lever and incorporates the heating and driving function controls. This Yaris Cross uses Toyota's latest multimedia system with a nine-inch, High Definition touchscreen display for easier visibility and has an embedded SIM card that provides constant connection. The Drive Mode Select and all-wheel drive mode switches are grouped immediately in front of the shift lever and within easy reach of the driver. Power As mentioned Toyota's fourth generation hybrid electric technology unit powers the Yaris Cross. It’s a sophisticated three-cylinder, 1.5-litre hybrid engine that has the same basic structure and operation as the larger two-litre unit featured in the Toyota Corolla and C-HR. The power is made low down in the rev range and you get 90bhp at 5,500rpm and 120Nm between 3,600 and 4,800 rpm. Maximum output when combining engine and electric motors is 114bhp. Fuel economy and CO2 emissions (WLTP combined) are 54.6-64.2mpg fuel economy and 100- 117g/km, which is very impressive! Safety The Yaris Cross uses the latest generation Toyota Safety Sense active safety and driver assistance system which are are provided as standard on all versions. It adopts a series of new and improved measures that can detect a wider range of common accident risks, warn the driver and initiate measures to prevent an impact, or lessen the consequences if a collision is unavoidable. Buyers can expect Pre-Collision System (PCS), Full-range Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert (LDA) and Lane Trace Assist (LTA), Road Sign Assist (RSA), Automatic High Beam (AHB) along with the usual gaggle of airbags and a strong safety cell to keep you and yours safe! Costs Irish buyers will have a choice of 4 different specifications to choose from kicking off with Luna from €28,050. The next price walk up to Luna Sport for €31,030 will add Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, 17-inch bi-tone Alloys and privacy glass to name but a few. Our test car was the Sol model priced at €34,390 and featured heated sports seats and a 9-inch multimedia display. The top of the range Adventure model features the even larger 10-inch display, 18-inch alloys and aluminium roof rails. As always various PCP and finance options are available from your local Toyota dealer. Summary The introduction of Yaris Cross has been an interesting one really. It not just extends the Toyota Yaris family, joining the hatchback Yaris and GR Yaris but also gives Toyota the largest hybrid electric SUV model range on the market. With the compact C-HR, mid-size RAV4 and seven-seat Highlander this really gives buyers adequate choice from one manufacturer. It carries forward some the best bits from the Yaris hatchback to include the powertrain, safety systems and generous space but is it enough to make you really want one? After spending a week with the Yaris Cross we can say it’s a perfectly capable machine but no more so than the standard Yaris. Unless you need that added height or ground clearance for where you live, we feel the normal Yaris will serve you perfectly well. For us we understand why Toyota brought the Yaris Cross to the market. It wanted to compete with the likes of the Renault Captur, VW T-Cross and perhaps the Ford Puma but our choice should you want to stick with Toyota would be to opt for the much better looking C-HR. The striking design of this vehicle makes it a clear favourite in our eyes. Then again we could be wrong and car design is subjective and as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Either way you know with a Toyota you are getting a pedigree machine backed up by a standard 3-year warranty and up to 10 years’ extended hybrid battery care warranty. This should give you further peace of mind! For Economy Extra Space Against Normal Yaris as good! To check out Toyota Yaris stock on DoneDeal, click here. To watch our YouTube video on the Toyota Yaris Cross, please click here. DoneDeal hosts the widest selection of cars for sale in Ireland, with 78,000 on sale today. The vast majority of those, over 60,000, are from over 1,000 trusted local dealerships that offer certainty in your purchase through warranties History checks. One car ad is placed every minute on DoneDeal, with about 600,000 cars advertised a year. DoneDeal is Ireland's No.1 Motor Website with over 70 million car searches taking place annually. To check out DoneDeal’s range of cars from all of Ireland’s trusted car dealerships, see here. #Motors

  • How Long Do Electric Car Batteries Last?

    Electric car batteries are becoming more advanced and lasting longer than ever before. Although electric car technology has been around for a while, many people are still unsure how electric cars work. One of the areas that people most frequently have questions about is the batteries that power electric cars and, more specifically, how long do electric car batteries last? In electric cars, power is stored in a battery pack, which, in turn, powers the electric motor(s) that drives the car forward. In vehicles with internal combustion engines, the range is determined by the size of the fuel tank and the vehicle's average fuel consumption, but in EVs, the range is determined by the size of the vehicle’s battery bank and its average electric consumption. Like internal combustion vehicles, individual electric vehicles' range or battery life differs based on several factors, such as battery pack size, driving style, and charge levels. It is also important to keep in mind that the question “how long do electric car batteries last” can refer to two different things. The first aspect to consider is the distance that can be travelled per charge, and the second is the number of times that the battery can be recharged before it needs to be replaced with a new battery. In both cases, EV battery technology has evolved significantly, and new technology has made batteries more reliable than ever before. Let’s look at the factors that influence how long EV batteries last and what can be done to get the most out of your EV battery. Understanding the factors that influence EV battery life EV batteries are built to be tough and last for a long time, but a few factors can influence the lifespan of a typical electric vehicle battery. Some of these effects are temporary, while others can, over time, cause permanent changes in the battery. However, there is no reason to fret as you can extend the service life of your EV battery by following a few simple steps. One of the biggest factors that influence the lifespan of an electric vehicle’s battery is the number of charge cycles that it is subjected to. Every time the battery is recharged to full capacity, one charge cycle is completed. In general, EV batteries can handle several discharge-charge cycles before the battery begins to show minor signs of capacity loss. However, there is something that you can do to increase the lifespan of your EV battery every time you charge it. By charging the battery to a maximum of 80% of its capacity, you can significantly extend its service life. In addition, make sure to never deplete the battery to below 20% of its capacity. Each time you charge your electric vehicle’s battery, it is placed under stress. This is due to the chemical reactions that occur inside the battery during charging and discharging, and this is why batteries tend to lose a small percentage of their capacity over time. By keeping the battery's state of charge between 20- and 80% during normal day-to-day operation, the stresses on the battery are kept to a minimum. While the lifespan of an electric vehicle's battery is quite important to any EV owner or prospective EV owner, the range is an equally important consideration for the average electric vehicle driver. Most people know that the driver's specific driving style heavily influences EV range, but the prevailing weather conditions can temporarily influence the battery capacity. Colder temperatures during the winter months can reduce the range of electric vehicles by a small amount. Although this is unlikely to be a problem for short urban journeys, it is worth considering when planning longer journeys. As is the case with all batteries, electric vehicle batteries are sensitive to cold temperatures and thus require heating in winter. The systems that keep the battery pack at its optimal operating temperature require some electricity to function, and this is the reason for the slight reduction in the range of most EVs during the winter months. In traditional internal combustion engines, the passenger compartment can be warmed or cooled using the heat generated by the engine, but since electric vehicles do not have an engine that generates heat, battery power must be used to heat the passenger cabin during the winter months. This, too, can affect the range of the vehicle, but by opting for an energy-efficient heat pump, it is possible to minimise this effect as much as possible. Protecting EV batteries and increasing their lifespans Correctly charging your EV battery is one of the most important ways in which you can protect and extend its service life as much as possible. EV battery packs are not just the power source that keeps electric cars going; it is also one of the most expensive parts of the vehicle. Because of this, it only makes sense to protect the battery and increase its lifespan by as much as possible. One of the easiest ways to do this is by using a smart charger to keep the battery charged and in optimal condition. Luckily, most modern electric vehicles have built-in smart charging systems that regulate the charging process so that the battery is never overcharged. It is also important to ensure that your electric vehicle’s battery is kept at the right state of charge when the vehicle will not be used for an extended period, such as while you are on holiday or away from home. It is recommended to store the vehicle with a charge level of between 20- and 75%. There are several ways to do this, and many electric vehicles allow owners to activate storage mode via their onboard computers. EV drivers can also take advantage of public smart chargers, which are programmed to charge the vehicle's battery to a certain level. While it might seem like a good idea to always keep your EV fully charged, it isn't necessarily the best approach. The most battery-friendly approach regarding EV battery charging is to ensure you keep the battery level between 20- and 80%. By doing this, you will always have enough range to travel without experiencing any range anxiety. Many drivers who are new to the world of electric vehicles prefer to keep their vehicles as close to fully charged as possible and often leave them to charge overnight. However, a fully charged battery is not always needed. While charging the battery to 100% when you need to take a longer trip is always a good idea, it might not always be needed for your daily commute to the office and back. In short, the key to keeping the battery pack in your electric vehicle in good shape is to plan ahead. Charging the battery to match the needs of a specific journey is one of the simplest ways to ensure that you get the most from its battery pack. How long does the average EV battery last? So, how long do electric car batteries last on average? The switch from traditional internal combustion vehicles to electric vehicles is well underway, but the technology is still new to many drivers. As with all new technology, many people have questions about the batteries that power the vehicles and their longevity. However, electric vehicle batteries have come a long way since they were first invented. Nowadays, the average lifespan of most battery packs ranges from 10 to 20 years. Many potential electric vehicle drivers are concerned about the costs related to replacing battery packs, but the fact is that the costs related to EV battery packs have dropped significantly in the last few years. With the appropriate care, EV battery packs can last for a very long time, and most users will not need to replace the battery pack during their ownership of an electric vehicle. In addition, EV manufacturers offer guarantees to ensure that the driver doesn’t need to worry about battery-related problems when switching to an electric vehicle. Another incentive for switching to electric vehicles is that the cost of replacing an electric vehicle’s battery is likely to drop significantly in the near future, making it much easier for electric vehicle drivers to replace the battery with a new pack when it comes time. Conclusion on how long do electric car batteries last In general, city drivers tend to overestimate the range they need to perform their daily tasks. For this reason, many drivers are looking for battery packs that last much longer than they truly need. The truth of the matter is that modern EV battery packs offer, for the most part, a wide enough range for the average city driver. By following these simple charging tips and planning longer journeys well in advance, you should always have enough range to cover your needs and safeguard the lifespan of your electric car's battery.

  • How Can Fuel Efficiency Be Improved?

    Fuel efficiency has become a major concern for many vehicle owners due to constantly rising fuel prices. Whether you are looking to save some money on your monthly fuel bill or are simply trying to protect the environment by reducing pollution, you will be glad to know that there are several simple ways in which you can improve the fuel economy of your car. By making a few small changes to your driving habits, you can significantly reduce the amount of cash you spend on keeping your car filled up and ready to go. Fuel-efficient driving is not just about driving in a specific way — it is about a mindset and adopting a more planned approach when it comes to driving. Although that might sound complicated, it doesn't have to be. So, how can fuel efficiency be improved? One of the easiest ways to improve your car's fuel efficiency is to plan your journeys better. For example, taking the shortest possible route to your destination reduces the amount of fuel you need to get there. However, that is not the whole story regarding effective journey planning. You can further improve your fuel efficiency by waiting until you have more than one destination to visit and grouping your destinations by area. The reason is simple — by running all the errands you need to get done together in a specific area, you ultimately reduce the distance you need to travel. Most vehicles are less fuel-efficient in urban surroundings, and choosing a route with fewer traffic lights or stops is another easy way in which you can help to improve your average fuel economy. Naturally, driving styles also have an enormous impact on fuel consumption. For example, a particularly aggressive driving style results in significantly higher fuel consumption, while a more moderate driving style will decrease fuel consumption. Sticking to the speed limit and avoiding harsh acceleration or strong braking also goes a long way toward increasing your vehicle's fuel economy. Other small changes that can make a huge difference in fuel consumption include changing gears on time in manual vehicles and avoiding the use of kick-down functionality in automatic vehicles. Another often overlooked way to increase your vehicle's fuel economy is to ensure that you do not lug around unnecessary luggage. Every unnecessary item your vehicle has to carry is extra weight that the engine must move around. By frequently clearing out the boot, you can get rid of that excess weight and save some fuel in the process. Vehicle maintenance and fuel economy Fuel economy and maintenance go hand in hand, and a well-maintained vehicle will generally have better fuel economy than one that isn't serviced regularly. Consumable items such as air- and fuel filters can negatively impact your vehicle's fuel consumption when they reach the end of their service life. However, fuel economy is not the only thing affected when you do not service your vehicle regularly. The general reliability of your vehicle significantly reduces when you do not service it regularly, which is another important reason to ensure that you stick to the recommended service schedule. Consumable elements, such as the air filter and fuel filter, are replaced during servicing to ensure that your vehicle's engine doesn't have to work harder than it should. Use intelligent assistance features Most modern vehicles come equipped with fuel-saving features that make vehicles more fuel-efficient without inconveniencing drivers. One of the most popular fuel-saving systems that you can find in modern vehicles is a stop-start system. The purpose of the stop-start system is to automatically switch the engine as soon as the vehicle is stationary. Research has shown that significant fuel savings can be made by switching a stationary vehicle's engine off. It also reduces pollution, which has an altogether positive effect on the environment. Many people believe that restarting a vehicle's engine uses more fuel than simply keeping it running. However, numbers do not lie, and research has conclusively proven that these systems do save fuel in the long run. In addition to stop-start systems, many modern vehicles are fitted with eco-coaches that help drivers improve fuel consumption by providing helpful tips. Some tips include information on the optimal moment to change gears and guidance on how the current driving style affects fuel consumption. Another little-known fact is that cruise control can also be used to help improve fuel efficiency. By activating the cruise control system during long journeys on the open road, you can make your vehicle maintain a constant speed. This feature is excellent for fuel economy because the top reason for poor fuel economy is erratic driving. By driving at a constant and economic speed, your car's engine doesn't need to constantly adjust to increasing or decreasing speed demands, which means you can expect better fuel economy. Because of this, cars are usually more economic to drive on longer journeys than short urban hops. If you have a lead foot and you frequently find yourself driving just a bit too fast, there is another electronic aid that might be useful to you. This tool is called a speed limiter, and its purpose is to prevent the vehicle from going faster than a pre-set speed. Speed limiters are great devices for avoiding traffic fines, but they can also improve your car's fuel efficiency by limiting the top speed. Speed limiters can be used in both the city and on the open road, which means you can save fuel on every type of journey. How can fuel efficiency be improved with tyre maintenance? Surprisingly, tyre pressure can greatly influence your car's fuel efficiency. You should make sure that your tyres are inflated to the pressure level recommended by the vehicle manufacturer to get the best possible fuel economy. In addition to affecting fuel economy, over-filled and under-inflated tyres can also be dangerous. So it is best to regularly check the tyre pressure of your car. Incorrectly inflated tyres can also wear down much quicker than correctly inflated tyres, so you can even save on maintenance costs by ensuring that your tyres are at the correct pressure. Although it is not always necessary to check the tyre pressure every time you use your car, it is wise to check them when you visit the petrol station to refuel. Most modern cars have built-in tyre pressure sensors that will tell you when the tyre pressure is incorrect, so really, there is no excuse for driving around with over-pumped or under-inflated tyres. Remove accessories that you do not need Roof rails and roof boxes are excellent accessories to have when you need to lug a vast amount of luggage around, and they are especially great for holidays. However, they are not so great when it comes to fuel consumption, as they can significantly reduce the fuel consumption of your vehicle. The increase in fuel consumption is a small price to pay when you consider the convenience of having the extra luggage space when you need it. However, lugging around an empty roof box when you do not need it uses more fuel, ultimately reducing fuel economy. Most roof boxes are designed to be easy to remove, and they can be taken off within five minutes. In many cases, by removing an unused roof box, you can improve your fuel efficiency by up to 5%. While we're talking about aerodynamic drag and its effects on fuel efficiency, driving with an open window can also cause fuel economy to drop slightly. An open window creates drag and slows the car down a bit. The car uses more engine power to overcome the drag and perform as expected, resulting in the use of a bit more fuel. With that being said, this effect is most notable at motorway speeds, so driving with an open window in town will not have a sensational effect on your car's fuel efficiency. How can fuel efficiency be improved by adjusting air conditioning? Did you know air conditioning can have a pronounced effect on fuel efficiency? That means if your budget is particularly tight, you might want to consider leaving it switched off. This loss in efficiency is because the air conditioning system draws power from the engine to operate. So when it is in use, the engine needs to work harder to provide enough power to run the AC. Not using the air conditioner can help improve the fuel efficiency of your car significantly, but it comes at the price of comfort. Conclusion on how to improved fuel efficiency Ultimately, fuel-efficient driving is more of a mindset than anything else. Plus, driving proactively instead of reactively is one of the simplest ways to increase your fuel economy. Simple things like avoiding high engine speeds, changing gears on time, and avoiding hills as much as possible can result in significantly better fuel efficiency.

  • What is the difference between a turbocharger and a supercharger?

    Turbochargers and superchargers are both forced induction systems. Both compress the intake air and pump more oxygen into the cylinders. Both benefit from additional charging of the combustion chambers as it increases the maximum torque and the engine output. So both can see a significant power boost – up to 50% more – from a relatively small engine capacity. But what about the differences? The best way to describe these is to first cover how everything works… What is a turbocharger and how does it work? The first thing to know is that a turbo is, quite simply, an air pump. It allows more air to be pumped into the engine at high pressures, mimicking the effect of a larger cylinder. More air allows more fuel flow, which is how more power is achieved. The next thing to know is that a turbo is made up of two sections – compressor and turbine – and the process works as follows: The turbo is mounted on the engine exhaust manifold and fed with exhaust gases. Once the exhaust gases are expelled through the exhaust port, the gases pass through the exhaust manifold and are fed to the turbine housing of the turbocharger. The compressor wheel (on the inlet side) and the turbine wheel (on the exhaust side) are connected to each other. The efficiency of the turbo system is higher than that of the compressor because, while the compressor is mechanically coupled to the engine and uses its drive power to compress the fresh air, the turbocharger works largely without loss of energy. This means that the turbocharger can use the pressure and energy of the hot exhaust gas flow for charging, while the compressor achieves a lower overall efficiency through a mechanical connection to the crankshaft. When the exhaust gases come out of the exhaust manifold, the gases can go in two directions: either the exhaust gases go through the wastegate if it is open, or they go through the exhaust turbine when the wastegate is closed. The exhaust turbine, in turn, starts drawing in air through the air filters. As the compressor wheel turns, it sucks in and compresses air before sending the air to the inlet. Once this combustion process starts, it creates a continuous cycle, and the spin speed is very impressive – a standard turbine wheel can achieve up to 200,000 rpm! Important things to know about turbos Given the spin speed, the main shaft must have a good oil supply to prevent wear. In addition, the axle and wheels must be very well balanced as with such a fast-spinning turbo, every small vibration might cause the turbo to destroy itself in a few seconds. A disadvantage of the turbo is that it actually limits the engine power. Since the turbocharger is part of the exhaust system and the exhaust gases are forced to flow through it, it actually causes a restriction on the exhaust itself as well. This is why the exhausts can quickly become very hot with a turbo, and you can even see them light up in the dark. Ultimately, they waste a lot of energy on heat. What is a supercharger and how does it work? In principle, the supercharger is very similar to the turbocharger. A supercharger also pushes air to the engine, but the big difference is that exhaust gases do not power it. Instead, a supercharger is belt-driven from the engine. This means that the engine's speed determines the supercharger's speed, so it does not require a wastegate or a boost pressure regulator. Additionally, to create a bigger boost, you can make the supercharger work harder from within the software. Or, if it is running at maximum, there is also the option of changing the pulley. Situated at the end of the input shaft, the supercharger pulley size is directionally proportionate to the speed that the supercharger turns. If you alter the size of the pulley, you change the drive ratio – and get more boost. There are three types of supercharger: Roots-type Centrifugal Twin-screw The main difference between these superchargers is in the kind of compressor used. The roots-type supercharger is often called an external compression pump because there is no air compression in the 'charger' itself. Centrifugal and twin-screw superchargers, however, are considered internal compression superchargers because the rotors in these systems compress the air in the unit itself, and then send this compressed air to the engine's intake manifold. The pros and cons of a supercharger The supercharger has a significant advantage over a turbo in that the exhaust system does not need to be adjusted. This is why naturally aspirated engines are more often converted with a supercharger, as this is a lot simpler and cheaper. In addition, superchargers are generally more efficient, so in general, smaller intercoolers can be used, or none at all. As with everything in life, there's always a downside. And here, it's that it can take 100 horsepower just to propel the supercharger. Also, the size of the supercharger can be an issue – as Drag Race fans will know, some superchargers won't even fit under the bonnet. Excellent for show cars, but not very practical for your weekday commute. Two technologies with one goal: more performance In these challenging times, when global fuel prices are rapidly rising, especially for diesel vehicles, cars are in the media every day. And although the environment is also a concern for many, the demand for high-performance cars remains high. Ultimately, when considering the difference between turbochargers and superchargers – and which you personally prefer in your ride – there are a couple more things to consider: After-lag Each of these performance-enhancing technologies has its pros and cons. For example, modern turbochargers reach speeds of almost 300,000 rpm, and the plain bearings of the turbocharger shaft are very sensitive. However, the most obvious difference for the driver of a turbocharged vehicle compared to a supercharged model is the slight lag in response, especially when the accelerator pedal is fully depressed. That's because the turbocharger needs a moment to rev up before there's an extra boost, as it takes a short time until the waste heat and the pressure are sufficiently high. In contrast, a supercharger has no delay. Since the pump is connected directly to the engine's crankshaft, it continuously rotates and reacts immediately. Therefore, the increase in performance occurs as soon as you press the accelerator pedal. Fuel consumption The power that an internal combustion engine can produce depends on how much fuel it can burn and how quickly and efficiently that heat is converted into mechanical power. However, energy requires air (actually the oxygen contained in the air) to burn. Therefore, an engine's maximum power depends mainly on how much air it can take in to burn the fuel. So while the main disadvantage of the turbo is the after-lag, it is the efficiency with the supercharger that should be considered. Because a supercharger uses the engine's own power to spin itself, it siphons off the power. Such engines, therefore, tend to consume more fuel. The (current) automakers' choice The automakers have a clear favourite right now: the turbocharger wins because of its fuel efficiency. However, politics is the driving factor here, as the requirements for more environmentally friendly vehicles are becoming ever more stringent. Turbos make it possible to replace V6 engines with four-cylinder ones, which offer more torque for the same power. The same applies to V8 vs V6 aggregates. However, only a few brands, such as Volvo, use both technologies in their models. So what if the problem of fuel consumption and lag could both be solved with something new...? Electric charging as a future-oriented alternative A third variant is now on the market, which is likely to shake things up considerably: electric charging. V6 turbochargers are combined with an electrically driven compressor to plug the well-known turbo lag to create a torque burst. So while the turbocharger is currently still in the lead, the supercharger is far from dead. Although car manufacturers may appear to have chosen turbocharging for virtually all of their current power-boosted engines, the truth is that this battle between the rival technologies is likely to continue. In fact, it seems probable that the future of internal combustion engines could involve both technologies working together.

  • Car Dashboard Symbols and Meanings

    Modern cars are often equipped with a dizzying number of features, and keeping track of all of them is not the easiest task in the world. Have you ever paid attention to the number of dashboard symbols that light up when you switch your car on? Although there are quite a few symbols on most dashboards, not all of them are warning lights and knowing which are warnings and which are simply informational is essential to keeping your car working as it should. By understanding the differences between various car dashboard symbols and meanings, you can better avoid unnecessary stress and act appropriately when urgent situations arise. In general, vehicle manufacturers use various colours to group car dashboard symbols and meanings together to make them easier to understand. In most cases, the colour scheme replicates that of a traffic light and uses red, amber and green or blue symbols to communicate the importance level of a specific symbol. Red symbols are usually reserved for serious warnings that require immediate attention. However, safety-related informational messages are often shown in red as well. Amber- or yellow-coloured symbols are used to communicate important but non-critical warnings, while green or blue symbols are usually reserved for informational purposes. As is the case with a traffic light, red is used to tell the driver to stop, while amber or yellow warnings are used to tell the driver to proceed with caution. Green is used to tell the driver that everything is in order. Red dashboard symbols and meanings Warnings or informational messages shown in red symbols are almost always urgent and should not be ignored because doing so might lead to personal injury or damage to your vehicle. Most of the systems that are critical to your vehicle's safe and sound mechanical operation will have red symbols to warn you when a problem is detected. Oil pressure, engine temperature and braking system errors are a few examples of systems that might use red symbols to alert a driver to potential problems. An example of a safety reminder displayed in red is the safety belt reminder, which usually has a flashing red symbol accompanied by a dinging noise. Amber or yellow vehicle symbols and their meanings The next group of symbols that can often be seen on a vehicle dashboard are yellow or amber symbols. These symbols are usually responsible for alerting the driver to serious but non-critical problems. Although not as serious as red lights and symbols, amber or yellow symbols should never be ignored because they are designed to alert you to problems before they become serious. Some of the most common amber coloured symbols include tyre pressure warnings, traction control systems, ABS systems and general engine-related issues. Amber symbols can also appear for informational purposes, such as indicating that your car is running low on fuel. Green and blue car dashboard symbols and meanings The last group of lights and symbols found on most vehicles' dashboards are green symbols. These symbols are generally purely informational, and they usually do not indicate a fault. In most cases, green symbols are used to indicate that a specific system is operational. Some of the systems that use green symbols are lights (fog lights and headlights.) and cruise control. When these systems are active, the symbols may light up. You might have noticed a blue symbol that appears on your vehicle’s dashboard from time to time. This symbol is most likely there to indicate that you have activated the vehicle's high beam, and the blue symbol is there to remind you that the high beam is active and might dazzle oncoming drivers if not switched off in time. Green and blue symbols are designed to remind drivers that a specific system is active and that they usually do not require any intervention by the driver. It is important to remember that every vehicle is unique and has its own specific warning lights and symbols. In many cases, vehicles are equipped with special or optional accessories that might use non-standard warning lights and symbols. For this reason, it is important to read your vehicle's instruction manual and make sure that you are well acquainted with the different symbols that your car uses. What to do when a dashboard symbol or warning light appears? Now that you understand the general classification of warning lights and symbols, it is important to know what you should do when they appear on your car’s dashboard. It is important to remember that not every symbol is designed to declare an emergency, so you should calmly evaluate the seriousness of the warning before reacting. The appropriate response depends mainly on the warning symbol; for example, an ABS brakes fault doesn’t always require you to stop the vehicle immediately, but an engine error or oil level warning usually does. As a rule, red warning symbols represent serious problems, and when they appear, it is usually best to stop your vehicle to avoid causing any mechanical damage. Warnings such as the red oil pressure symbol are particularly important because ignoring them can cause severe damage to the vehicle, costing vast sums of money to repair. On the other hand, red warning symbols that relate to the vehicle’s brakes are just as important because they relate directly to the safety of the driver and the passengers. Amber warning lights are also important. When one of them appears on your dashboard, it is important to be capable of distinguishing between informational amber symbols and amber warning symbols. Many vehicles use amber symbols to alert the driver to problems such as low fuel or washer fluid levels. While these problems do not require immediate attention, continued use of the vehicle may lead to damage or the vehicle breaking down. In most cases, yellow warning lights can be remedied with a simple visit to the nearest petrol station. Many yellow warning symbols relate to low fluid levels, and petrol stations can help you with various maintenance tasks, such as topping up your fuel, washer fluid or oil levels. Green and blue symbols are generally informational, but they also remind drivers that a specific system is active and that this system can distract or bother other road users. For example, fog lights can dazzle oncoming drivers if they are used when there is no fog present. Because it is very easy to forget to switch them off once the fog clears, there is a reminder light on the instrument panel to show that they are active. In general, most modern vehicles are equipped with an onboard computer, and drivers can use this to get more detailed information about specific car dashboard symbols and meanings. For example, an amber low tyre pressure warning symbol is usually accompanied by a text message that explains the location of the problem tyre and shows the air pressure level in the specific tyre. This makes it easier for the driver to take the appropriate action in time to avoid damage or inconvenience. With that being said, it is important to read the instruction manual that came with your vehicle. Different manufacturers use different symbols to relay information to drivers, and while most symbols are more or less universal, some differences might exist. Conclusion on car dashboard symbols If a warning symbol appears and you are unsure of its meaning, the best approach is to stop the vehicle when it is safe to do so. Once the vehicle has come to a stop, call your vehicle dealer or authorised workshop and explain the warning symbol to them, they should be able to tell you if the situation is serious or not. Warning and informational symbols are designed to make it easier for drivers to use and interact with their vehicles to avoid situations that can lead to getting stranded on the side of the road. For this reason, it is always wise to pay attention to warning symbols when they appear. For most of us, vehicles are a big financial outlay, and the last thing we want to see when heading out on a long journey is a dashboard that flashes like a Christmas tree. By maintaining and servicing your vehicle based on the manufacturer's recommendations, you can avoid warning light stress and enjoy problem-free motoring. However, warning lights are part of a vehicle's normal operation, and they will inevitably appear from time to time. The key is not to ignore them when they appear and act as quickly as possible, especially if the warning is red or flashing or relates to a critical component, such as the engine or brakes.

  • Introduction to Automatic Transmissions

    One of the major choices you'll make when buying a car is choosing between an automatic transmission or a manual gearbox. The choice affects everything from the cost and reliability to the availability of the car. It can also impact how you drive every day and even what kind of driving licence you need. People can have strong opinions on the subject — some petrol-heads will insist that only a manual is good. Others only want to get from A to B and make sure that the car manages itself as much as possible. The difference between manual and automatic transmissions What is the difference? Put simply, a car with an automatic transmission manages the linkage and gearing between the engine and the drive shaft, while with a manual, you have to select the gears yourself and work the gear change. Mechanically, a manual transmission is simpler and more robust than an automatic. Manual technology has been in use since engines needed gears. A skilled driver can also get more out of a manual transmission than an automatic. So why would you choose an automatic? Driving an automatic car When you drive a car with an automatic transmission, you only have to focus your attention on steering, accelerating and braking. As with a manual, there is a gear lever, but the choices on it are limited to "drive," "reverse," "neutral", and "park". When you select "drive", the vehicle goes forward slowly, and you use the brake to control the speed until you switch to the accelerator. "Reverse" and "neutral" explain themselves, while in "park", the wheels are effectively locked by the transmission. More expensive cars have more options on the transmission, including the choices of several lower gear ratios and "overdrive" for sportier handling. The automatic driving experience differs greatly from driving with a manual. You are balancing the accelerator and the clutch, finding the bite point when you start moving and coming off the accelerator when you change gears so that the engine change doesn't over-rev the vehicle. It is not impossible to stall an automatic, but it isn't easy, and some manoeuvres — like hill starts — are taken care of for you. It is much more relaxing to drive an automatic, especially in-town driving and handling traffic jams, plus beginner drivers find automatics much easier to learn. The difference between driving the different types of transmission also means that while you can pass your driving test using an automatic in Ireland and the UK, your driving licence is limited. You also have to pass another test in a manual before you can drive one legally. Many people take the manual driving test first because you are then permitted to drive both types, and it takes a very short time to get used to driving an automatic. Automatic gearboxes The most common automatic transmissions are hydraulic systems that use a torque converter instead of a clutch. They rely on engine demand to force the system up and down each gear. The system usually has fewer gears than a manual transmission and is set up for cruising rather than rapid gear changes. It is less suitable for twisting roads and active driving than a manual or the more advanced kinds of automatic. The torque converter cannot be 100% efficient, which has led to overheating and higher fuel consumption than manual models in the past. Another fully-mechanical system is CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), a compact gearbox often fitted in smaller cars. It works by having two cone-shaped pulleys linked side-by-side to a drive belt. When you rev the engine, one cone moves and the other cone automatically adjusts so that the drive belt maintains tension. CVT systems are used in several modern cars, particularly in low-power applications, such as commuters. Honda uses this system in its Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) system fitted with the Prius and the Lexus IS300h. CVTs are fairly reliable, but the drive belt can wear and slip, which leads to the engine revving while the car fails to accelerate. Dual-clutch transmissions (DCTs) use two clutches in the gearbox — one clutch for each odd and even gear. This layout allows the transmission to engage the next gear as the current one disengages, and it allows the system to change far more rapidly than a manual gearbox. The system is controlled by electronics, which is why the system was first developed for racing cars in the sixties and seventies. As electronics have become cheaper and smaller, DCTs have come into use in high-end cars since 2003 with the Volkswagen Golf R32 and performance cars, such as the Bugatti Veyron and Ferrari California. Automated manual transmissions (AMTs) use electronic controls and actuators to operate the clutch and gearbox. They can be fully computer-controlled or operated by the driver with switches that are often mounted on the steering wheel. This system was again developed from the racing scene, where drivers needed manual control of the gears for performance, but the steering wheel control and electromechanical clutch increased the speed of gear changes. AMTs are a halfway option between automatic and manual systems, and they provide more driver engagement than an automatic while allowing for a more relaxed drive. Automatic transmissions vs manual gearboxes Car enthusiasts end to prefer manual gearboxes to automatic transmissions. The experience of working the clutch and choosing the gear is more active than with an automatic, and it gives more of a feeling of connection to the car and the road. Prior to developing electronic control systems, automatic transmissions could feel sluggish and underpowered, making them less popular with drivers. The technique of active driving, where you use your skills and experience as a driver to change gears, also gives you more fuel efficiency and power than you can achieve with automatics. Automatic transmissions have historically been less efficient than manual systems. Older automatic vehicles with torque converters rely on engine power to shift gears. They divert power from the engine output and require higher torque to operate, reducing fuel efficiency. Automatics have previously been less reliable than manuals, as their design is more complex. They also rely on the hydraulics of the transmission fluid to transmit torque and operate the gears, not only to lubricate the system. Modern automatic transmissions with electronic engine management and advanced hydraulic design are reportedly just as reliable as manual systems. Complex designs, lower fuel economy and higher maintenance requirements have resulted in fewer sold automatics units than manual options. With autos requiring more development, manual gearboxes are cheaper to produce. Most newer cars with electronic engine management systems can deliver better performance and fuel economy than an equivalent manual. However, concerning vehicle ranges, an automatic model will still cost you about £1,000 more than a manual or £1,500 for a DCT variant. The performance characteristics of automatics and manual gearboxes will vary in different driving regimes. On twisting roads, the automatic will be sluggish and can also cause the car to yaw as the system enters and leaves the turn in a gear that is not optimal. However, the automatic can maintain power and torque on hills and at low speeds because the transmission is always engaged, unlike using a clutch. Additional options are available on many automatic gearboxes to mimic the performance of manuals. Examples include holding on longer to lower gears for more revs and power or limiting the range of gears to two or three. Some automatics come with more gears than manuals and use engine management systems to choose between them for power or efficiency, as directed by the driver. Conclusion on automatic transmission There is no doubt that a car with an automatic transmission is easier to drive than a manual car. An automatic transmission is a great choice if you are only concerned with commuting and getting from point A to B. In Ireland and the UK, they are still a less popular and more expensive option, and new drivers are still encouraged to pass their manual test to avoid being limited in options. If you are concerned with the driving experience and enjoy being allowed to work the car more directly, then automated manual transmissions are becoming available on less expensive cars. Automatic gearboxes are also being designed with more sporty performances and increased options to choose between the range of gears. As electronics improve and are integrated into engine and power management systems, automatics are becoming a less expensive choice. At the moment, the additional price point is noticeable because they are not the standard in Ireland and the UK. But an automatic transmission is the only option on some hybrids and all-electric vehicles, so this will likely change.

  • What are the best electric car manufacturers?

    According to global analytics, electric vehicles could outsell conventional cars by 2030. Soon it could be cheaper to operate and buy electric cars than internal combustion engine vehicles. Having an EV reduces maintenance and servicing costs for customers, making affordability a significant selling point. Besides, the best electric car manufacturers are behind the fast adoption of electric cars. Let's explore the leading EV manufacturers. Tesla Tesla is an innovative technology company that started manufacturing futuristic electric cars in 2008. Elon Musk's company has a popular electric vehicle line-up due to the cutting-edge technology and high-end features. Since it is an all-electric company, you will only find plug-in electric vehicles. They have proven that electric cars are fast, fun to drive and convenient compared to petrol or diesel cars. The first car ever sold by the brand was the Roadster sports car in 2008. Globally, Tesla is among the best electric car manufacturers. Popular electric cars from the brand are Tesla Model S, Model X and Model 3. Model S is highly rated among EVs since it can cover 405 miles on a full charge and has neck-snapping acceleration. The creative interior entertainment features also improve your ride. Apart from Model S, Model 3 is also famous for its spacious and tech-laden interior. Model 3 is less pricey and provides all the features of a high-performance EV. Tesla EVs are also roomy and relaxing with luxurious interiors, and you can find them in various sizes. Renault-Nissan Alliance Renault-Nissan is an alliance formed by the top French and Japanese brands. Unlike other electric vehicle manufacturers focusing on luxurious cars, Nissan and Renault designed mainstream vehicles. Their EVs are practical and affordable and still possess modern features to compete with other cars in the market. Models released by the alliance include Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe, created to have a decent range and zero emissions. Since the cars are designed for the mass market, customers can expect quiet, responsive vehicles with smooth rides and stable handling. The alliance currently produces both hybrid and pure electric cars. The release of the Megane E-Tech electric is a significant boost to the Renault-Nissan EV model range since it is a pure electric model. The Renault Megane E-Tech has quick acceleration and takes 7.4 seconds from 0 to 62mph. The two battery options available are 40kWh and 60kWh packs that deliver 186 and 292 miles, respectively. The reinvention of the Renault 5 as an affordable electric hatchback also boosts its sales significantly. Volkswagen Group Volkswagen Group has been around since 1937, manufacturing the best petrol and diesel cars. The recent introduction of VW electric vehicles puts its name on the map as one of the best electric car manufacturers. Volkswagen has few EV models, but they are best sellers due to their reliability and affordability. For instance, the VW e-up! and e-Golf were the first full-electric models from the group. The e-Golf is an efficient, sustainable and powerful EV with exceptional handling. You can cover 144 miles on a full charge and enjoy quiet rides. The major attraction to VW electric cars is the full suite driver assistance, which provides Adaptive Cruise Control, blind spot sensor, traffic jam assist and park assist. Most cars retain classic styling, making them feel like authentic VW automobiles with an electric twist and better infotainment systems. The latest range of Volkswagen EVs is the ID.4, ID.5 and ID. Buzz. They have gained popularity for their emphasis on eco-friendly benefits. KIA The South Korean car company manufactures reliable and affordable electric vehicles that rival brands like Toyota and Honda. Popular models from the brand are KIA e-Niro, Soul EV and EV6. The KIA e-Niro provides 180 miles electric range and exciting tech features to improve your driving experience. For instance, the interior features a touch screen display with connectivity options. You also enjoy drive assistance like Reversing Camera System, rear parking sensors, smart cruise control, and forward collision avoidance assist. The latest bestseller from the brand is KIA EV6. It represents the new design with bold crossover aesthetics and high-end technical features. It is appealing for long-range drivers with ultra-fast charging times and a driving range of up to 328 miles. KIA promises a line-up of electric vehicles with superior qualities and faster acceleration. You can look forward to the electric Sportage joining the brands' line-up. They also have plans to announce a range of small and medium-sized electric vans alongside their sister brand Hyundai. All the recently-unveiled EVs are purely electric, and the car manufacturer is slowly moving away from hybrid cars. BMW BMW is a German luxury car manufacturer. While it is a latecomer to the electric car market, its releases gained popularity among buyers. The first EVs from the brand were plug-in hybrid electric vehicles introduced in 2013. New electric car models have been introduced over the years. The popular cars are the BMW i3, i4 and iX range. The i3 BMW is a hatchback car with a 153-mile range on an electric charge and comes with an onboard petrol generator. While it is lightweight, the structure is solid and made of reinforced plastic. The technically fascinating automobile comes in different variants, including sports cars. BMW plans to expand their EV range with various fully electric powertrains. The polarising iX range is rapidly gaining traction, especially the SUV, with a driving range of up to 370 miles and an impressive technical package. Customers can find the latest all-electric luxury SUV from BMW designed for city and motorway travel. Ford Ford is a renowned car manufacturer with a range of electric vehicles and hybrid cars. The famous EV from their range is the Ford Focus Electric, an electric version of the renowned Ford Focus. The Ford Focus Electric is a reliable and affordable car that looks and feels like a regular Ford car. The best part is that the battery provides a range of over 100 miles. The recent release of the all-electric Mustang Mach-E, launched in 2021, skyrocketed the popularity of Ford EVs with impressive features. The Mustang SUV five-seater offers 210 to 300 miles range, and acceleration from 0 to 62mph takes 3.5 seconds. The manufacturer plans to release an electric model of its renowned vehicle by 2026, beginning with the Ford F-150 named Ford F-150 Lightning. The F-150 Lightning boasts 300 miles on a full charge with impressive technical features. Toyota Toyota is a world leader in hybrid cars, with the infamous Prius hitting the road in 1997. Despite having a head start in hybrid cars, it took time to launch an all-electric vehicle. The recent launch of all-electric car models like bZ4x marked the brand's beginning of a series of battery-electric vehicles. The beyond zero (bZ) moniker is the first step to Toyota's plan to produce 70 electrified models. Toyota also focuses on zero emissions and may soon introduce fuel-cell electric cars that use hydrogen to further lower carbon emissions. The fully electrified models are hi-tech and feature unique interiors and exteriors. The design exudes a powerful stance with a sleek silhouette. The futuristic look and premium finishes accentuate the appearance. You also enjoy the reliable off-road performance and impressive driving experience due to the lightweight body. The best model provides a 250 miles range on a full charge. EV trends from top electric car manufacturers Top electric car manufacturers compete to improve the performance and features of electric vehicles as they gain popularity among consumers. The fierce competition has led to the introduction of the best features in EVs. Some of the trends in electric cars include: Technology In a tech-driven world, car manufacturers need to be creative to offer the best technical features in EVs. Technology provides safety benefits and adds a luxurious feel to the vehicle's interior. While the standard tech features are smartphone connectivity and app control, rearview camera, infotainment systems and heated steering wheel, buyers expect better technical components. Popular trends in EVs include integrated streaming services in infotainment systems, autonomous driving systems, parking assist, regenerated parking and voice-controlled operating systems. Exterior design Leading electric vehicle manufacturers have designed EVs to be pieces of art with appealing exteriors. An emerging trend in EVs is the panoramic roof that gives vehicles an attractive look. The exterior paint options are also moving from the conventional grey, white and black to energetic and invigorating colours like blue and red. Next-generation exterior lighting is becoming trendy in EVs, with LED lights topping the list of favoured exterior lighting. It gives the cars a futuristic look and comes with multiple safety advantages. Interior Features EV manufacturers improve the feel and look of vehicle interiors using dynamic interior lighting. The LED lights create a warm and luxurious ambience and are customisable. The lights can change based on your environment and personal preferences. The latest EVs also have minimal noise, and customers can cruise through roads in total silence. Conclusion: best electric car manufacturers The increased demand for electric cars has led to innovation by EV manufacturers to improve customers' choices. The best electric car manufacturers are leading the campaign for zero emissions and eco-friendly driving. Customers also find exceptional vehicle features from the top brands.

  • Best plug-in hybrid cars on the market

    Hybrid cars are popular among environmentally conscious vehicle buyers for their low emissions and good fuel efficiency, while electric vehicles are still limited in range and opportunities for recharging. Plug-in hybrid cars give you the best of both worlds with a larger battery and an external power socket, which you can use to recharge at your home or at charging stations on the street. The large battery gives you a much greater all-electric range for town driving and longer distance trips than a regular hybrid vehicle would typically offer. The petrol engine gives you hybrid fuel efficiency and independence from the still-sparse electric charging network, allowing you to take your car out longer distances and further away from the city. If you want to take a step towards even lower vehicle emissions and a smaller carbon footprint, here are the ten best plug-in hybrid cars to consider: Ford Kuga PHEV Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Volvo XC60 Recharge BMW 330e Mercedes-Benz E 300 e and E 300 de BMW 545e BMW X5 xDrive45e Renault Captur E-Tech PHEV Skoda Octavia iV Mercedes-Benz C 300 e Ford Kuga PHEV The Ford Kuga SUV is the first of Ford's vehicles to come with a plug-in hybrid system. At £36,905-£39,305, the PHEV is at the top end of the Ford Kuga's price range, but it still has a large boot space and offers good practicality, which has made it a popular choice. Unlike some rival SUVs, the Kuga PHEV is front-drive only, but that doesn't limit its versatility. In electric mode, the Kuga is quiet, and when you need it, the engine is there for a burst of acceleration. The Kuga's range in electric driving is 35 miles, while it gets 201.8 mpg with 32 g/km emissions. Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In The Hyundai Ioniq is aimed to compete with the Toyota Prius, and its range of 39 miles on electric driving and emissions of 26 g/km both beat the Prius. Fuel economy is also excellent at 256.8 mpg, but you will have to keep the battery topped up to achieve this. The Ioniq's boot space is sufficient for most families, but its 139 bhp powertrain will make it feel sluggish. This car has been designed for fuel efficiency over all other considerations. Volvo XC60 Recharge The Volvo XC60 Recharge is a premium SUV designed to do the daily commute on electric power alone. There are three versions, R-Design, Inscription, and the Polestar Engineered, which has 400 bhp from a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine and can reach 0-62 mph in 5.4 seconds. The XC60 electric motor drives the rear wheels while the petrol engine drives the front, but you won't notice the transition between the two motors. It also has a smooth gearbox, a refined upmarket interior and a 468-litre boot. The top speed is limited to 112 mph, which with Volvo's other excellent safety technology, makes this a quality family vehicle. BMW 330e The current release of the BMW 3 Series has been planned to be a plug-in hybrid since the start, so the car's passenger space has not been affected by its design. However, the boot capacity has been reduced to 375 litres from the usual 480 litres. The Touring 330e is also available if you need more space, which is the first estate car variant offered. The plug-in hybrid powertrain adds extra weight, but the BMW chassis is as excellent as ever, and the car handles well. The car can achieve 36 miles on battery power, and it has good fuel economy and low costs, with 176.6-217.3 mpg and 30-38 g/km emissions. Mercedes-Benz E 300 e and E 300 de The Mercedes-Benz E-class plug-in hybrid comes as either petrol or one of the few diesel hybrids available in the car market. Mercedes claim up to 217.3 mpg for its diesel and up to 188 mpg for the petrol version, although real-world driving will be less. The Benz E300 e has plenty of power, with 316 bhp and reaching 0-62 mph in 5.9s. It tops out at 155 mph, and with superb ride quality and hushed powertrain, this car is an excellent cruiser for long distances. BMW 545e The BMW 545e X-drive boasts a powerful six-cylinder 3.0-litre petrol engine, which delivers 387 bhp and a seamless transition between electric and petrol power. The battery is smaller than in some other ranges, but it has enough capacity to reach 33 miles on electric driving and boost the fuel efficiency to 166 mpg with 40 g/km emissions. The smaller battery means that the 545e X-Drive is more agile than other PHEVs, with excellent control and a smooth, supple ride. BMW X5 xDrive45e BMW's premium SUV is designed for comfort, refinement, as well as practicality, and the PHEV offering is no different. It comes with a 24 kWh battery and 3.0-litre turbocharged engine, giving it a claimed electric range of 54 miles and fuel economy of 201.8-235.4 mpg with 27-31 g/km emissions. The engine also delivers 0-62 mph in 5.6s, and the supple suspension limits body roll so that the xDrive45e is a comfortable, luxurious drive. Renault Captur E-Tech PHEV The Renault Captur is a great small-size SUV that can seat four adults in comfort or, thanks to a cleverly designed adjusting bench, can offer great boot space at the expense of a little less legroom. The Captur E-tech has a 1.6-litre petrol engine and two electric motors, with which a 9.8 kWh battery gives it 158 bhp and a claimed electric range of 31 miles. Its 188.3 mpg fuel economy and 34-35 g/km emissions also make this car very cheap to run. Skoda Octavia iV The Skoda Octavia is a comfortable and roomy family saloon. The new PHEV version comes with a 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine and an electric motor from the Volkswagen Golf GTE. The powertrain delivers 201 bhp, with an electric range of 34 miles. The 282 mpg range with 22-33 g/km emissions makes this one of the most economical company cars to drive, with just half the tax liability of the 12.5-litre petrol Octavia. Mercedes-Benz C 300 e The Mercedes C-Class executive saloon is comfortable and refined, and the C300e delivers the same quality. It features a 127 bhp electric motor combined with a 2.0-litre 201 bhp petrol engine. The 25.4 kWh battery also holds sufficient charge for a 60-mile electric range, which is more than enough for daily commuting and longer drives. The huge electric range delivers spectacular economy and emissions, with claims of up to 470.8 mpg and 14-15 g/km. What factors should you consider when choosing the best plug-in hybrid car? There are plenty of reasons to look at switching from a petrol or diesel car to a plug-in hybrid. You can take advantage of incentives, lower tax rates, or even just enjoy a quiet electric ride in town. The plug-in hybrid powertrain gives you the power and performance of an internal combustion engine when you really need it and lets you drive without worrying about whether or not you will be able to find a charging point. Design: PHEVs come in models to suit all your needs, from a small family SUV to a sporty executive saloon. You can get eco-friendly performance without limiting the usability of your car. Price: The downside of PHEVs is that they come at a premium price. The powertrain is more complex than both petrol/diesel engines and fully electric motors, and until demand makes PHEVs or electric cars the default, that is how it is likely to stay. Usage: The benefits of the electric motor really only come into their own when you charge it consistently and use it within its range. If you intend to take your PHEV for long distances rather than commutes, then you can find that the fuel economy is closer to that of a pure i-c vehicle or, in some cases, worse. Performance: The upside is that PHEVs have far better fuel economy and emissions than diesel or petrol engines, so you will likely recoup your higher investment in much lower fuel bills. It also means that you can take advantage of lower tax brackets for road tax and other benefits. This reduced operational cost and additional tax benefit make PHEVs an economical option for fleet vehicles and company cars. Conclusion There are so many great PHEVs available nowadays to suit every need and almost every price range. Their performance ranges from good to great, and the fuel efficiency and emissions range from great to spectacular. As fuel prices rise, electric charging networks expand, and environmental performance becomes more and more important. So now is a great time to consider plugging in with one of these ten best plug-in hybrid vehicle models.