August 2013


This post sponsored by Ford looks at Ford’s technologies and one in particular that caught our eye recently – Fords 1.0-litre award-winning EcoBoost engine. Combining high power woth a broad spread of torque, with reduced CO2 emissions and lower fuel consumption, what’s not to like. These Ecoboost engines have been creating quiet a buzz in the auto world but what is this technology and why is it so great?

Sponsored Post

EcoBoost came onto the market in the mid-2000s, as a part of Fords new technology to provide a more efficient vehicle engine. The EcoBoost is designed to make more power, produce less emissions, and use less fuel. Ford makes EcoBoost engines in a variety of sizes from a three-cylinder, four-cylinder, and up to a six-cylinder. All engines of which use some of the same technology that is direct fuel injection and turbo charging.

Basically, take a normal engine, cutting down the amount of cylinders for better fuel consumption, and replacing the lost cylinders with turbo charged and direct fuel injection technology to regain power. To prove how this small but powerful engine performs when compared with the likes of a Ferrari Enzo, Ford puts it to the test on the infamous Nurburgring racing circuit.
The track time results are really quite remarkable!

Technology is clearly playing a huge part in the way that Ford designs its cars and engines. This is an essential requirement for any new car design these days. Ford has released a series of new and interesting videos to show off the type of technology that is being built into the latest models.

Personally we think that this is the coolest way to show the technology in action, as reading is so one dimensional. With the videos, you are able to each feature in action and they really work in getting the message across. Check out Go Further to experience the technologies for yourself.

Shopping for a new car shouldn’t be as hard as buying your first one. Purchasing your first car is a big decision that often involves a lot of tedium and frustration. Buying a new car on the other hand, isn’t quite as bad, as you’ve been through the storm before.

Before you start shopping around, it’s vital that you decide what kind of car you want and how much money you’re willing to spend before you step out of the house or log on to a dealership website.

This is half the battle. If you know exactly what vehicle you want, it’ll make your search for a new car much, much more bearable and easier, so you can focus on other things like searching for the best car loan to go with.

Beware of the car dealer

No matter how amicable your car dealer may be, you should always remember that at the end of the day, the salesperson’s mission is to make as much cash as possible over every single deal. Your mission, on the other hand, should be to try and get the lowest possible price.

As long as you meet halfway, with you getting a good deal and the dealer making a small profit, everyone’s happy. You should beware of the add-ons the dealers will attempt to push for at the last stages as well as your salesperson palming you off to a ‘closer’ at the end, who specialises in high-pressure strategies to make you pay for more.

Timing your purchase

Most dealerships operate on a month-to-month basis, meaning that they will most likely accept lower offers towards the end of the month, just so they can hit their goals. If you visit a dealership on the last weekend or day of the month, you’ll find that the salesmen will be ridiculously flexible.

Better yet, visiting a dealership at the end of a quarter will get you some very surprising deals. You’ll find that the salesmen will be very accommodating, particularly with throwing various discounts into the mix.

Use the Internet

Of course, you could choose to avoid the dealership altogether and dive into the Internet for better deals and used cars. There’ll be fewer overhead costs and no commission to pay any salesmen. Overall, you can be sure that you’ll have some extensive reductions in price if you go with an online dealer.

What some people do is find quotes online and then take them to the dealership. If you’re lucky, they might match the price. As long as the seller believes you’re exploring other options, they’ll be willing to negotiate.

Despite environmentalists conditioning us to believe we should hang our heads in shame if we want to drive a 4×4, that doesn’t seem to have halted their ever-rising popularity. In 2012 alone, sales of SUVs rose by 10 per cent in the UK, and today pretty much every popular manufacturer has at least one tucked away on their stock list.
Whether vehicles are being bought to tow something, to cope in poor weather conditions or simply as a style statement doesn’t seem to matter.

The fact remains that the 4×4 market is incredibly buoyant and the desirability of these types of vehicles is on the up. If you are considering introducing a 4×4 to your family, here are some tips to help you choose the right one.
What do you want your vehicle to do?

The first thing to establish is whether you need your new 4×4 to perform like an actual, full-blooded off-roader, whether you would like some of the features to be useful or whether you just want to get the look.
For example:

  • If you are planning to tow a horsebox, explore the highlands or go shooting in your new car, then you’ll probably want to go for a ‘proper’ off-roader, such as a Range Rover, Land Rover Defender, Mitsubishi Shogun or Jeep Cherokee. Don’t forget to check the weight of the vehicle is at least as much as your horse box or caravan if you are planning to tow. 

  • If you want the looks with the benefits of a working four-wheel drive, but without the industrial finish and poor fuel consumption of their workhorse competitors, then a good midpoint vehicle would include the BMW X1 and X5, the Nissan X-Trail, the VW Tiguan and the all-new 4×4 family SUV from Honda, the impressive CR-V.

  • Finally, if you want the looks, height and space that comes with a 4×4 but actually have no need for four-wheel drive, there are a number of two-wheel drive look-a-likes which offer all the style without the additional fuel consumption. These include the Kia Sportage, the Nissan Quashqai, the Suzuki Jimny and the RAV4.

Buying tips for 4×4 vehicles

Before you rush out and buy the first big, shiny vehicle that catches your eye, take a moment to check it is going to provide you and your family with the space, reliability and safety you need. Ask yourself:

1. Do you need four wheel drive?

If you spend more time on the school run than crossing a muddy field, then you will be better off with a 4×4 version of a more conventional car, rather than a car designed for a farm.

2. Is it reliable?

Breaking down in a 4 x 4 can be significantly more expensive in terms of repair than a regular car. Parts, labour costs and recovery can all be more costly overall, so check the manufacturer’s reputation for reliability before making a purchase.

3. Can you afford it?

Aside of the higher repair bills, 4×4 vehicles typically have more stringent, more expensive servicing regimes, and the running costs can be staggering. Modern SUVs such as the Honda CR-V are designed for road use, and actually achieve a good MPG thanks to modern technology. Watch out for older ‘Chelsea Tractors’ though, as they could end up costing a bomb to run.

4. Is it as spacious as you think?

It is easy to think that a big 4 x 4 will have lots of space for kids’ stuff, hobby paraphernalia and more, but in reality many have less storage space than a normal family hatchback. Check the size of the storage and whether seating is flexible to ensure you are getting as much as you hoped.

5. Is it safe?

Most modern SUVs should have the standard airbags, ABS, ESP or equivalent and SIPS. Check how they performed in NCAP tests as well though, particularly in terms of pedestrian safety as well as that of the occupants.