Jun 302015

Audi TT vs. Nissan 350Z

Coupes are meant to be fun. So the choice is the smooth German or the racey Japanese.

Why Buy?

The Audi TT looks very sophisticated and classy and has been available with plenty of engine options and four wheel drive. By contrast the Nissan 350Z is a much more hardcore proposition. The engine is noisier and the image is rather more dangerous.

Which models?

First major TT revamp was in 2006 when the styling was made a tad more aggressive, the handling tuned and a bit more practical space inside. As for the Nissan it is the original 350Z coupe made from 2003 to 2010, although the even more powerful 350Z was made from 2009.

Are they reliable?

Warranty Direct rate the TT as below average and cite the electrical system as the weakest area. Users are happy though rate it as good. Although the 350Z is above average when it does fail then the cost of fixing it is rather more than the Audi. Electrics again are the big issue.

How much do they cost?

Just under £7000 is the starting point for the early 2006 examples. The last of the 2013 models are still over £30,000. Early 350Zs are now around £4000 while the later cars are still £13,000 or so.

Sum Up:
These are two quite similar cars, both being sports coupes, but in so many ways they could not be more different. As we said at the beginning the TT is smooth and sophisticated and the 350Z raw. The choice is yours.


Audi TT
Average Repair Cost £389.30
Electrical: 54.32%*
Engine 12.35%*
Cooling/Heating 11.11*
Warranty Direct Rating: Below Average

* failure rate


Nissan 350Z
Average Repair Cost £527.75
Electrical 40.00%*
Axle Suspension 20.00%*
Steering 12.00%*

Warranty Direct Rating: Above Average

Jun 292015

story3HPI CrushWatch from vehicle history check expert HPI, saved over £56 million worth of vehicles that were being driven without insurance, from being crushed at the instruction of the police in 2014. Shockingly, supercars and prestige vehicles are often being driven by insurance evaders. However, popular, high volume makes of car, such as Vauxhall and Ford top the culprit’s chart.

The highest value vehicle HPI CrushWatch identified in 2014, was a Lamborghini Aventador worth £309,000. Rolls Royce, Bentley and Lamborghini vehicles dominated the list of top 10 highest value cars recoveries. Owners of the Vauxhall Corsa and Vauxhall Astra are the most likely to drive uninsured, with nearly 1,000 of these models being reclaimed in 2014. The Ford Focus came in third, with the Fiesta in fourth, showing that popular, mid-range vehicles are frequently hitting the HPI CrushWatch register.

Working under the umbrella of the Finance & Leasing Association’s (FLA) Vehicle Recovery Scheme, HPI CrushWatch brings together motor lenders and Law Enforcement Agencies to enable lenders to reclaim uninsured cars which could have been sold on or scrapped by the police without their knowledge. Not only are the FLA and HPI taking steps towards closing the net on insurance and tax evaders, they are making UK roads safer for law abiding motorists.

Neil Hodson, Managing Director for HPI, comments, “Although, the majority of cars we recovered in 2014, are popular, lower priced vehicles, we also helped recover a significant number of high-end makes and models. Along with some astonishing supercars, we recovered a significant number of Audi, BMW, Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz vehicles. It’s clear that insurance evasion crosses social and financial boundaries.”




Jun 262015

story2Who knew? The fact is that half of buyers visit only one dealer on the road to their next car. But the lure of a better deal is what drives 67% of the rest to visit multiple forecourts. That’s the latest finding from Auto Trader’s Buyer Behaviour Survey which pooled the views of more than 1,300 new and used car buyers earlier this year.

According to the research, 19% of buyers visit two dealers and 31% visit three or more. Two thirds said that one of the key reasons for multiple showroom visits was to shop around for a better deal. An additional 19% pointed to poor service as the driver.

“We know that online research is king for the vast majority of buyers,” said Nick King, Auto Trader’s Market Research Director. “The fact that half of buyers visit only one dealer en route to their purchase shows that many are armed with all they need before they arrive on a forecourt ready to do a deal.”

“However, half choose to visit multiple sites and that shows there’s still a job to be done on the forecourt itself. We know from other research that not achieving an anticipated part-exchange value is cited as the biggest cause of deal breakdown among consumers, reinforcing the need to align expectations on pricing. Helping consumers with part exchange values and making sure that cars in stock are closely priced to the retail market value gives sellers the best chance of making a sale.”

Jun 242015

story1Carrying out simple checks and basic driveway DIY could prevent 1.5 million MoT failures every year, according to Warranty Direct.

Research conducted by the leading used vehicle warranty provider indicates that doing basic maintenance and replacing some accessible car parts at home could slash the number of MoT failures recorded in the UK each year.

With a current national MoT failure rate of 39.52%** and a government set maximum MoT price of £54.85** there has never been a better time to undertake some driveway DIY.

Increasingly complex cars put many motorists off maintaining their own cars, but the list of simple jobs that can mean the difference between passing and failing an MoT includes changing light bulbs, replacing windscreen washer fluid and checking parts like wipers and tyres.

Warranty Direct managing director, David Gerrans, said: “It never ceases to amaze us how many MoT failures could be avoided with the simplest of pre-test checks. Things such as making sure there are no cracks in your number plate, your wheels and tyres are undamaged and ensuring there are no tears or holes in the windscreen wiper rubbers are all things the motorist can do at home, but if left to test day can be the cause of MoT failure.”

An empty screen wash container can also cause an MoT fail, as can blown headlights, sidelights, rear lights, hazard lights and indicators all of which could mean forking out for a re-test.

See the table below for the top 10 things a motorist should check before an impending MoT test.

For even the most anxious home mechanic, everyday actions, such as ensuring your vehicle is filled with enough fuel and engine oil, will ensure you are not turned away from an MoT for having insufficient levels of fluids required for testing.

*SMMT MoT Data
** MoT Angel Data


Jun 052015


Sitting in the middle seat has long been considered as pulling the short straw; siblings and family members pin you in on both sides, you’re robbed of a window seat and there’s limited leg room. However, new research conducted for the ŠKODA Octavia, shows that being a middle seat child may well set you up for success in later life, particularly in business.

The study of over 1,000 Brits with two or more siblings shows that 90 per cent of people in ‘director’ level positions sat in the middle, while nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of business owners and over three fifths (62 per cent) of senior managers also found themselves between brothers and sisters when on the road.

These developments may well be to do with the personality traits that middle seat kids develop. ŠKODA’s Octavia research shows that 44per cent of them are now described as easy going, while reasonable (28 per cent), patient (25 per cent), level headed (21per cent) and adaptable (21 per cent) also score highly. Four fifths (80 per cent) of middle seat kids attribute their work-life success to their childhood car position.
Consultant child psychologist and mother to three children, Laverne Antrobus, comments: “This research by ŠKODA into family car journeys is really interesting; cars are a unique environment and a lot can be revealed when everyone is sitting together in a confined space. It’s fascinating to see how a seating position in the back of the car, often over many years, can directly reflect or influence our personalities. Whether middle seat children were made to sit there or not, they seem to develop positive traits which prove to be of real value to them as adults, and often, interestingly, in their careers.”

Although avoiding the least popular seating position was the source of arguments for 43 per cent of families, over two-thirds (66 per cent) of middle seat children actually enjoyed their lot. Moreover, one in ten respondents remains in their allocated position to this day during family road trips.

Alasdair Stewart, head of brand at ŠKODA UK, comments: “As thousands of families take to the roads this bank holiday weekend, we were keen to shine a spotlight on the millions of family interactions that happen in the ŠKODA Octavia every day across the UK. It’s been fascinating to see how in-car dynamics such as seating positions can impact on us as people.”