The annual Business Car Awards, which took place at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, recognise and reward excellence in the fleet market.
The All-New Astra received praise from judges, for its competitive pricing and eye-catching design, and took away the award for Best Family Car.
The All-New Vauxhall Astra gives customers the choice of powertrains – offering petrol and diesel variants and a highly efficient Plug-in Hybrid model, capable of travelling up to 43 miles (WLTP, EAER) on electric power alone and therefore in the eight per cent Benefit-in-Kind taxation category. With emissions as low as 24g/km CO2, the All-New Astra is ideal for both fleets and private buyers looking to save on running costs. An all-electric version of Astra and Astra Sports Tourer will arrive in 2023.
Martyn Collins, Editor, Business Car, said: “The Vizor front is a highlight, but the new Vauxhall Astra’s overall design is a bit of a head turner. The inside is equally attractive, with its minimalist look. Prices are competitive, plus there are PHEV versions to keep running costs down and standard specifications represent great value for money.”
James Taylor, Acting Managing Director, Vauxhall, said: “It is rewarding to see such a positive response to the All-New Astra. Vauxhall’s success at the Business Car Awards demonstrates our commitment to design, innovation and leading the way in driving Britain towards an electric future, with an efficient Plug-in Hybrid model available from launch and a fully electric Astra arriving next year.”
The All-New Astra can be ordered entirely online via the Vauxhall Online Store, bringing the brand’s showroom experience straight into buyers’ homes. Customers can arrange a live video tour of a vehicle via the Vauxhall Virtual Showroom and proceed to the Online Store to configure their vehicle, personalise finance payments and place an order, all from the comfort of their home.
With the cost-of-living crisis becoming more embedded, a nationwide survey commissioned by Kia has identified how UK drivers are attempting to save money.
With fuel and electricity prices rising at a rate not seen in decades a significant proportion of UK motorists have changed their driving behaviours to cut down on costs.
A third (33%) of drivers surveyed say they now pay more attention to where they can refuel/recharge their car more affordably. In addition, 28% say they now make more effort to plan journeys (e.g. times and routes) to save fuel.
When behind the wheel, 31% of motorists say they are thinking more about their own driving style to increase efficiency and save money on fuel, accelerating less often and keeping to a lower speed. The survey found that a much higher proportion of younger drivers (54% of those aged between 18 to 24) have changed their driving style in this way, compared to just 26% of those aged between 55 and 64.
Impact on social interactions
The survey also highlighted how rising fuel costs are impacting how frequently drivers use their car to visit family and friends, with 25% of respondents confirming they have cut back on such journeys. The trend is highest among Londoners (35%), with those in Northern Ireland the least likely to say they have reduced this type of trip by car (11%).
Overall, 19% of those surveyed say they have cut their spending on non-essential items so they can continue using their car as normal. However, there are wide regional variations – 33% of Londoners have made cutbacks to keep driving, compared to 20% of Scots and just 10% of those based in the West Midlands.
While many car owners are changing their driving behaviours, Kia’s survey has highlighted that over half (52%) still wished they knew more about how to adapt their driving style to further reduce their fuel or battery energy consumption. Younger drivers aged between 18 and 24 were particularly enthusiastic about this (86%), compared to just 38% of those aged over 65.
The lure of electric
With the cost of fuel so high and environmental factors at the forefront of many people’s minds, more UK drivers are considering switching to an electrified vehicle. Of those with a petrol or diesel car, 52% of survey respondents said they were now either ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to switch to an electric or hybrid vehicle when they next change their car. The survey also highlighted that Londoners were the keenest on electric or hybrid car ownership (56%), while those located in the East Midlands were least enthusiastic (38%).
Of those likely to change to an electric or hybrid vehicle, an equal number (42%) would choose a hybrid or plug-in hybrid vehicle as those who would choose a battery electric vehicle, while 8% reported no preference.
Sanka De Silva, Marketing Director at Kia UK, said: “During these challenging times for many UK households, our survey highlights how drivers are changing their driving and wider purchasing habits to be more considered with their income.
With the financial challenges tightening budgets, Kia can support UK customers to reduce some of this burden with a wide range of electrified products suitable for a wide range of customer needs, all offering excellent efficiency and low running costs, including zero emissions electric vehicles.
In addition, Kia continually introduces and maintains competitive customer offers to support the initial purchase period and on-going affordability.”
Earlier this year, Kia launched its all-new Niro, a no-compromise solution for those looking for a stylish and practical eco-friendly compact crossover. Available in hybrid electric (HEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and all-electric (EV) configurations, the all-new Niro is an ideal choice for those looking to cut down on their vehicle running costs.
One of ŠKODA’s most enduring and popular models, the OCTAVIA estate, celebrates a significant milestone in 2022.
The variant, which has been a perennial best-seller for ŠKODA, made its first appearance 25 years ago this month – as a concept car at the 1997 Frankfurt Motor Show.
Although officially called a concept, the show car was effectively the finished production model. The striking purple OCTAVIA illustrated ŠKODA’s commitment to expanding its range and broadening its customer base into new markets. Designed by a team led by Dirk van Braeckel (which had created the OCTAVIA hatchback a year earlier), the concept previewed the unveiling of a barely altered production version six months later at the 1998 Geneva Motor Show.
The first modern-era OCTAVIA estate had the same 2,512mm wheelbase as the hatchback but was 6mm longer and 26mm taller. Despite the increases, the estate version weighed just 15kg more than the hatch – a testament to ŠKODA’s design and engineering skills. At the back, the first new-generation OCTAVIA estate offered a boot capacity of 548 litres with the rear seats up and a cavernous 1,512 litres with the seats folded. These figures made the new OCTAVIA the largest and most practical ŠKODA passenger car ever produced.
The OCTAVIA estate marked a return to the large estate sector for ŠKODA after a 26 year absence. Its distant predecessor, the 1961 OCTAVIA was a ground-breaking design that helped set the template for the modern-era estate car. First presented at the International Engineering Fair in Brno, Czech Republic on 11 September 1960, ŠKODA produced the estate until 1971 when it was succeeded by the 1000MB. Due to the MB’s rear-engine layout, an estate version was never built.
The OCTAVIA was designed and engineered under Volkswagen Group ownership. While the world’s media was quick to praise the new OCTAVIA for its quality, sophistication and practicality, the remarkable transformation of ŠKODA’s production facilities was equally newsworthy. Following massive investment from the Volkswagen Group, the ŠKODA plant at Mladá Boleslav was the most advanced car factory in Europe at the time. Featuring one of the largest presses in the world, the fully modernised plant was capable of stamping out a complete side section of the OCTAVIA estate in one piece.
Such was the demand in the early stages of production, British customers had to wait until 1998 for right-hand drive models to finally arrive in showrooms. The initial range consisted of 1.6-litre petrol versions in a simple two-model trim structure. A 1.8-litre turbo engine was added to the range in 1999, along with diesels and an estate version. The line-up was revised in 2000 with new trim names; Classic, Ambiente, Elegance and Laurin & Klement, and a new engine range.
In 2001, the first Octavia vRS model arrived in UK showrooms. Powered by a 1.8-litre turbocharged engine with 180PS on tap, ŠKODA’s first performance production model since the late 1970s proved a huge hit with buyers – especially in estate form – and provided the foundations for the current multi-model vRS range.
To date more than 166,000 OCTAVIA estate models have been sold in the UK. Estate variants have accounted for 45 per cent of OCTAVIA sales in the UK since 1998. The current, fourth-generation model has won eight titles since its introduction in 2020, including Auto Express Best Estate Car, UK Car of the Year (Estate category), Scottish Car of the Year (Estate category) and Carbuyer Best Car (Estate category).
Our very own Wheeler Dealer Mike Brewer visited Classic Car Auctions this week to take a look at the 140 cars on offer at its September sale.
Classic Car Auctions kicks off the Autumn season with it’s September Sale this Saturday 24th September, at the Warwickshire Event Centre with a massive catalogue of cars available, from modern classics to supercharged muscle cars, off-roaders and even a couple of diverse classic car projects to get your spanners into.
With so many different cars on offer, there has been huge interest as bidders register both online via CCA Live online or to attend in person.
Representing Porsche is this all-wheel-drive 996 Turbo. Offersing blistering performance thanks to its factory fitted “X50” pack, which includes larger turbochargers, revised ECU tune and uprated exhausts. A stunning, manual example up for sale this weekend!
This increasingly desirable BMW E46 M3 has only 22,000 miles and one owner from new! Finished in Cosmos Schwarz Metallic and fitted with an SMG transmission, this is a fantastic example of a highly collectable modern classic.
Viewing takes place on Thursday 22nd and Friday 23rd with sale day being Saturday 24th September. If you are buying the premium is 12.5% plus vat.
The Classic Car Auction September sale is being held at the Warwickshire Event Centre, where there is plenty of free parkig and it is easily accessed from the M40, M42.
The British Motor Museum has launched its Online Collections, enabling anyone to explore and find out more about the collection vehicles documented in detail on the website.
This is the culmination of a number of years behind the scenes work, including during lockdown. By digitising the vehicle collections, the British Motor Museum is inviting anyone to learn, enjoy and be inspired by the heritage that it preserves.
During the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, the Museum recognised the importance of connecting with people, especially when the building was unable to open to the public. During this period, technology helped people across the globe to learn and communicate. Behind the scenes at the Museum, work was underway to implement this concept across the vehicle collection.
Cat Boxall, Curator at the British Motor Museum, said “Collections and artefacts form a major part of the draw of the Museum, as being valuable resources to tell stories about environments, places, processes and people throughout history. In exploring and learning about the collections when the doors were closed to the public, it has become increasingly clear that the impact of the British motor industry is felt far beyond the reaches of the UK. The launch of the Online Collections portal enables access for audiences anywhere in the world”.
The British Motor Museum loves to work with people, collections and places across the UK. Another feature of the Online Collections means that staff, researchers and visitors alike will be able to access all the information about any vehicle in the collection and where it is currently on display – be that on loan, at an event, in the Museum or in the Collections Centre building.
Alongside the location of vehicles, users of the Online Collections will be able to see more technical vehicle information, images of the cars and key historic information associated with each entry. Having a vast collection of around 400 cars makes it difficult to get everything on display, but the access that the new portal provides means that even the unseen portions of the Museum’s collection can be enjoyed by anyone!
Launched as part of the Heritage Open Days festival to raise awareness and appreciation of the amazing collection, the Museum hopes the Online Collections portal will add to the growing digital presence of the Museum as it continues to develop online exhibitions programmes following the success of Metro at Forty back in 2020.
The series continued with another convertible, but this one was very fast and very complex. Would it be a bumpy road or a smooth ride?
Having done a cracking job with last week’s convertible Mike and Elvis were keen to tackle another, but this one would be a bit more powerful than the Escort XR3i. A lot more, in fact! Welcome, then, to the world of the Mercedes AMG and the wonderful SL55. With almost 500hp, this was a great way to celebrate an engine that’s becoming a bit of a dying breed.
Owner Emma wanted just £10,000 for this epic convertible, a car capable of more than 180mph. It performed superbly on the test drive, but Mike knew it was something of a risk, not least because of the complex suspension system. Emma admitted there was a problem with that, but at least the roof worked. Snapping it up for £9500, it was a proper bargain.
The first job for Elvis? Sorting the suspension problem that meant the car sagged at the rear when it was left overnight. A diagnostic test revealed nothing electronic amiss, so it had to be mechanical and it looked like it might be a simple fix. Stripping down the valve block and replacing various seals cost just £40, but did it work? Unfortunately, no…
The only answer was to replace the failing strut, at a cost of nearly £1000! Plus, Elvis had also spotted a problem with a ball joint on one of the front struts, although this would be a much cheaper fix. Mike headed off to see a specialist called Phil who carried out a clever repair that involved injecting a polymer into the worn joint, a process that returned it to perfect working order and that cost just £95.
It had been a lot of work for the master mechanic but with the suspension now fixed it was time to concentrate on the brilliant V8 engine, and Mike had a plan. You can never have too much power, and an upgrade kit bought from the US for almost £1000 promised to up the output by another 60hp. Sounds good, right?
Setting to work, Elvis replaced the supercharger pulley with a smaller item that would allow it to spin faster and produce more boost. New belts and other pulleys and tensioners also went on, and the job was finished by fitting an additional heat exchanger behind the front bumper, this important part helping to cool the air being sucked into the supercharger so it could produce all that extra power.
“If we were ever going to celebrate the V8 engine, then this has to be one of the best V8’s ever produced,” explains Mike. “The sound of a Mercedes AMG once the loud paddle is down astonishing. These cars have the ability to put you in the back of the seat with a huge smile on your face, whilst at the same time hurting!”
There was just one more job to do and that was to replace the wheels that had been subjected to numerous crack repairs. That wasn’t good enough for a car leaving the Wheeler Dealers workshop, so Mike dug a bit deeper into the kitty and purchased a set of aftermarket items and new tyres.
The awesome Mercedes AMG now owed our favourite duo a cool £12,626 but before it found a new owner there was just time for a test drive. Destination Yorkshire, to enjoy great roads and a visit to the NY500 café to meet up with some owners of other V8-engined cars. And buyer, Harry, was only too happy to pay the £14,500 asking price to get his hands on this cracking high-performance drop-top.
Mike adds: “We loved turning this one around in the workshop and showing some very clever fixes on the suspension system. Also for a car that cost at least five times the amount we sold it for, I think they represent a real bargain and a classic of the future.”
So many of us harbour a dream of one day owning a classic Ferrari, having watched them longingly on film, on the roads, in F1 racing, in books and magazines – and rather ruefully walked on.
But that could change on September 24th when Classic Car Auctions bring a selection of stunning classic Ferraris to sale:
Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano F1
UK-supplied 599 GTB Fiorano F1, superbly presented in Grigio Silverstone with a Sabbia leather interior. -£75,000 – £85,000.
All-aluminium chassis, F1 SuperFast gearbox, F1-Trac stability and traction control, magnetic semi-active dampers and carbon-ceramic brakes, all wrapped in aggressive, aero-optimised bodywork with minimal overhangs and maximum presence. Powered by a lightly modified version of the Enzo’s 6-litre V12 with a mighty 611bhp at 7600rpm, endowing Ferrari’s new series-production flagship with truly sensational performance with 0-62 in 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 205mph.
Superbly presented in Grigio Silverstone with a Sabbia leather interior. Great specification with extras including Daytona-style seats, Scuderia wing shields, front and rear parking sensors and leather headlining.
1978 Ferrari 308 GTS
Not fired up since emerging from long-term storage. An exciting Ferrari project on offer at No Reserve.
Part of a private collection in recent years remaining in long-term storage during that time. Invoices in the accompanying history file show that the Ferrari was serviced in 2017 having replacement auxiliary cambelts and tensioner bearings fitted.
The vehicle has not been started since removal from its slumber so the mechanical integrity cannot be confirmed.
Letters on file indicate that the current recorded mileage of 7,640 is genuine, however, we are unable to verify the accuracy of these statements. Being sold as a restoration project.
TheBritish Motor Museumis to host two great indoor Model shows in October for all the family to enjoy: The Large Model Aircraft Show and The Great British Model Railway Show.
The Large Model Aircraft Show returns to the British Motor Museum after an absence of three years, taking place on Sunday 23 October. Visitors can see over 100 large static radio controlled model aircraft. Organised by the Large Model Association, this popular family show also has specialist traders selling everything in model aircraft building, from miniature propellers to small jet engines and pre-assembled models.
The Great British Model Railway Show takes place on Saturday 29 & Sunday 30 October, a dedicated weekend to model trains and layouts. The show presents a rare opportunity to see all kinds of model railway layouts and visit a good selection of specialist traders. It’s also one of very few large model railway shows in the calendar.
Tom Caren, Show Manager at the British Motor Museum said: “Both indoor Model Shows are hugely popular and enjoyed by so many each year. There is so much to see and do from admiring the range of static models, browsing the trade area to find that perfect airplane and train project, and speaking to builders about their projects to get some handy tips and advice.”
The shows also coincide with October half term so there are plenty of other family friendly activities to enjoy at the same time. The theme is ‘Magic of Science’ with Science Shows midweek on October 26, 27 and 28, plus interactive Extraordinary Family Tours over both weekends (22 – 24 and 28 – 30 October). The Black Cat Museum Trail and family craft activities are available every day. All are included in the entry fee.
Show tickets cost £14.50 per adult, £9 per child, £12.50 per concession and £40 for a family. All tickets must be pre-booked and include entry to the Museum and the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust Collection.
The Max Adventure team has completed the Driven To Extremes Euro EV Marathon and driven a fully electric Kia EV6 Air from Oslo, Norway, to Portugal, beating its original target by arriving in just 3.75 days and having added an extra country to its itinerary.
Covering 16 countries and 3,174 miles (5,109 kms) in a little over 89 hours, the Driven to Extremes challenge was designed to show how easy it is to cover huge distances in a short time using a standard EV and existing charging infrastructure. The adventure started as the team were waved off from Kia’s Norwegian headquarters in Oslo, with Kia Portugal in Lisbon welcoming the travellers at journey’s end.
The team improved on the time set by racing legend Sir Stirling Moss, who undertook the drive in 1952, by 47 minutes. This is understood to be the first time the route has been attempted in a fully electric vehicle. Having completed the epic 3,174-mile adventure, the team arrived in Lisbon to mark World EV Day on September 9th.
Using the Kia EV6 Air’s impressive range and 800V rapid-charging technology to maximum effect, the team also relied on ‘Kia Charge’ to cut the journey time. Allowing easy recharging, the ‘Kia Charge’ service lets EV owners access more than 400,000 public chargers across Europe from a single account with a single RFID card. This provided the team with rapid charging locations along its route, enabling them to get back on the road as quickly as possible after each stop. The EV6’s rapid charging technology was critical to the team’s recorded time.
Speaking of the Driven to Extremes challenge, Project Leader Mac Mackenney said: “This wasn’t about trying to beat Sir Stirling, but demonstrate that mammoth trans-continental drives in an EV can easily be undertaken here and now in 2022. Many people still view EVs as ineffective or unable to cope as a daily means of transport outside of city life, but the Kia EV6, and the charging network show that just isn’t true.”
We’d like to thank Kia UK, as well as Kia Norway and Kia Portugal, for their support and hospitality, and want to recognise the enthusiasm and kindness we’ve experienced on the road as we’ve travelled from the top of Europe to the bottom.”
Originally intending to cover 15 countries in 120 hours, the team were able to shave more than a day and add an extra stop to their itinerary after it became clear just how quickly they could cover the distance. Only stopping to charge and change drivers, the team operated in shifts and adhered to the speed limits of each country visited.
Despite recording the journey, the drive wasn’t about setting the fastest time possible, and the team made detours to honour Sir Stirling along the way. This included the 7,500-foot high Julier Pass in the Swiss Alps, part of the original 1952 route, and Monaco, which allowed the team to drive the historic Grand Prix circuit.
In addition to the support of Kia UK, and the generous loan of an EV6 ‘Air’ for the challenge, project partner Kumho Tyre (UK) supplied the ECSTA PS71 EV tyre that is original fit on the challenge car and used throughout the trial. Partner DFDS provided ferry crossings to France and then again to the start point in Oslo to ensure that the team were as rested as possible ahead of the marathon drive. Keeping everyone fed and nourished, the AMG Group supplied Wayfarer expedition rations to ensure team meals were quick and fuss free.
Leaving Oslo, the team set a course for the border with Sweden. From there it was destination Denmark before driving through Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Monaco, Spain and finally Portugal.
The team departed on Sunday, 5th September at 15:00 and crossed the border into Portugal, at Vilar Formoso on Thursday, 8th September at 08:12. This marked the start and stop point for the timing – as per the original drive in 1952.
The entire trip was tracked by project partner YB Tracking, and the route trace is available at here.
Mike loves his ‘80s classics, so a brilliant drop-top Escort was the perfect way to celebrate the return of our favourite show. What would Elvis make of it, though…
How do you kick-off the next series of Wheeler Dealers? With one of Mike’s favourite cars, that’s how. A hit of nostalgia took him back to his car dealing days as our favourite duo tackled the brilliant Ford Escort XR3i Cabriolet, and this one was a bit of a bargain.
Belonging to his electrician friend, Patch, this example looked terrific in Azure Blue and with plenty of service history it was a promising start.
Mike said: “One evening, whilst at Caffeine And Machine hanging out, looking at the cars and grabbing a coffee, the electrician who had spent months with me working on my house, wandered up and said he’s looking to sell his car.
“Now I haven’t been near him for the past three months, he never even mentioned he had a classic car! However, once he got past the word, Ford Escort XR3i, I was already holding my hand out. Having owned it for nearly two decades himself, Patch thought it was time to move on as his garage, which he rented, was due to be handed back to the landlord, so timing was everything on this one, and perfect for us to kick off the new series.”
Thrilled to get behind the wheel of this classic fast Ford, Mike discovered that it drove really well – rather smoky engine aside – and with just a few other jobs to tackle a deal was soon done for the asking price of just £3500.
Elvis was impressed, too, and cracked-on with tackling interior trim in need of renovation. Both door cards were removed and handed over to Mike to sort out, and then it was on to the engine. Quickly identifying the cause of the smoke as worn valve stem oil seals, the engine was soon removed and with the help of a special tool it didn’t take the master mechanic long to fit new seals. A new cam belt, clutch and a few gaskets had the motor back to full health.
In the meantime, Mike headed out to visit a trimmer, Dave, who could make those tired door cards look as good as new. It was a clever repair that saw the damaged areas reinforced and the vinyl glued back in place, and at £300 for the pair it was good value.
Back in the workshop Elvis had tidied up the engine bay, cleaned the engine itself and got it back in the car and now it was time to sort a minor bodywork issue. Corrosion had caused part of the driver’s side front wing to become detached from the ‘slam panel’. It didn’t take long to cut out the rusty metal, form a new piece from fresh steel, and weld it into place so it looked just like the factory finish. Once re-painted it was as good as new.
There was one other major job to address, though, and that was the tatty soft top. Time hadn’t been kind to it, and the result was some nasty splits in the material that couldn’t be repaired. The only answer was a new roof, and that meant bringing in an expert called Tony. With Elvis lending a hand – and having splashed out £750 – this tricky job was soon completed and the appearance of the XR3i had been transformed.
But it wouldn’t be Wheeler Dealers without a few other jobs to do, but they’d turn out to be nice and easy. Visiting the autojumble at the Practical Classics Classic Car & Restoration Show saw Mike bag a new pair of headlights and indicator lenses along with a weather strip in need of replacement. The cost of this little haul? Just £80!
Once those parts had been fitted and Elvis had (carefully) replaced the damaged rev counter – another bargain at just a tenner – this cracking Ford was finished. All that was left was for the boys to don some ‘80s outfits and head to London’s Canary Wharf for a cruise in the company of a few other great classics from the decade.
Richard was the lucky buyer, bagging the Escort for £7500. With a tasty profit of almost £1800 this series was off to a great start!
“Driving through Canary Wharf with the rest of the Best of the 80s gathered around us was fantastic,” adds Mike. “Both myself and Elvis loved this episode and it’s been incredibly well received online with our social channels packed with congratulations so thank you for tuning in and making it another ratings hit.”