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May 2016

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Cars aren’t exactly the most common gift idea on the planet. But parents buying their child a car as a reward for something isn’t exactly unheard of. And hey, if you’ve got a spare few thousand burning a hole in your pocket, maybe you even feel like buying one for a friend’s birthday present!


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Whatever the reason, people are buying each other cars quite often. And, of course, as with any gift, we’re always wondering if there’s a way we can make it a bit more special. It could certainly be argued that surely a car is enough. But here we’re going to throw around a few ideas that may inspire you to add a little something to the gift.




Add driving lessons



As referenced to earlier, most people who buy someone else a car are parents buying their child a car. A lot of the time, it’s to celebrate the teen having passed their driving test. But getting a teen a car to celebrate them getting to legal driving age is also quite common.





If you’re in the latter category, then why not include driving lessons with the car? After all, if they don’t have the lessons then how are they supposed to drive it? You can purchase several hours of driving lessons in one go and present the proof to them.




Get it in their favourite colour



Of course, the most important thing about any car is that it functions beautifully. But when people haven’t picked out the car themselves, they may feel a bit sensitive about the colour. Some people will buy a new car and will be able to select the desired colour right off the bat. But if you’re buying it secondhand, you might not have as much choice.





Consider getting a new paint job for the car. If you’re not sure what colour they’d like best, try to find ways to sneakily get the info out of them before you make the purchase.





Include fun additions



Everyone has smartphones now, which means that everyone has an MP3 player of some kind. Consider getting an audio system installed that allows for plug-in and play functionality with phones and iPods. It’s a great way to allow them to play their own music in their ride, which is, in turn, a great way of getting them comfortable in it.



What else is fun? A customised number plate. If you can think of a particular phrase they’d like or a set of characters that are important to them, look into private number plates.





Vouchers for car services



Eventually, they’re going to have to get the car serviced. It’s just one of the annoying realities of owning a vehicle. While it’s probably not going to be on their mind when you give it to them, it is somewhat of a burden.

So here’s an idea. Why not give them some vouchers so they can save money on local car services? You can find deals for chip repairs, money off of new tyres, even car insurance! It will seem like a small gift, but it will come in so useful eventually.


Nissan has big plans for the electric Nissan Leaf in the next couple of years. The word on the street is that they will up their driving range to 300 miles. That’s a vast improvement on the majority of electrics out there right now, and a sign that the electric car market is finally maturing. 

For now, though, the current Leaf is still a dominant force doing the business for the green car business. So, how does the Nissan Leaf stack up? We’re going to take a look at what you can expect in our brief review.




The basics


Right now, the Nissan Leaf is the best-selling electric car in the world, ever. That might surprise some as it isn’t something you hear a lot about in the motor press. Presumably because of the lack of glamour involved in helping to save the planet. Nissan has managed to sell well over 200,000 worldwide, which is an impressive statistic in itself. They also rate high on the satisfaction scale – Leaf owners are amongst the happiest drivers around. So, what is the big draw? Let’s take a closer look.



The new model


The new design features an upgrade to the battery cathodes, giving the Leaf a boost to the energy climb, up to 30 kWh. So, while the bodywork and size haven’t changed much, there is a lot more going on under the hood. It extends the previous Leaf’s driving range up to 155 miles; no mean feat for a fully electric set of wheels. It does come at a cost, though. A quick glance over at the sale options at Pentagon-Group reveals the Leaf is at least £1,500 more when you have the 30 kWh option. Overall,m though, it’s still a good value car. Prices start from around the £22-23K mark. That’s a significant drop in price from the competing Tesla Model S – which, admittedly, does go a lot further. But, for price and range, there isn’t anything else on the market that comes close to its value.




The drive


The biggest reason Leaf owners love their cars is quite simple: they are great to drive. They are more comfortable than their price might suggest. And, it’s a relaxing, gentle experience that you will struggle to find elsewhere. In other words, it’s a great mainstream car that has a lot of fans from all walks of life. Sure, you might not get the thrills and spills of a petrol guzzling speed machine, but there’s a surprising amount of power. It’s automatic, too, meaning all you need to do to get to speed is hit the throttle. The suspension is robust and calming while handling is sound – if unspectacular. But, again, what can you expect for the price?





Comfort


We have mentioned the relaxing feel of the Nissan Leaf, and a lot of it comes from the sheer comfort in the interior. There is no engine noise, of course, due to the electric battery power. It’s designed for the masses, so the Leaf features all the mod cons that have become standard in modern cars. You’ll get a good build in the cabin, plenty of leg space in the front and rear, and a logical if ordinary dashboard. There’s plenty of space in the boot, too, with enough room for 330 litres of luggage and equipment.


The savings


Of course, the primary reason for spending a five-figure sum on an electric car is because you want to save money at the pumps. Well, with the Leaf, you won’t need to visit the pumps at all. Your home electricity bill is going to rise a little, to compensate, but, it won’t be anywhere near the average car’s fuel spend. If you plump for the 30 kWh option, it’s the perfect vehicle for anything up to an hour long commute. When you consider all these facts, perhaps the price of the Leaf is worth considering after all.




Conclusion


Clearly, there is a lot to love about the Nissan Leaf. Given Nissan is promising to double that driving range, there will be many more people seeing the attraction in the coming years. It’s not perfect, of course. There are minor complaints on the quirkiness of the car, and the interior could be higher quality. But, for the mainstream audience that wants a first look at the power of the electric, there are fewer better options for the price.


Let us know your thoughts on the Nissan Leaf – and electric cars in general. Do you drive one, and how much are you saving at the pumps?
Ford is one of the biggest car manufacturers in the world. For years, they’ve created some of the best and most reliable cars on the market. Most people associate Ford with family cars and hatchbacks. But, over the years, they’ve made some seriously cool cars as well.

Here are the three coolest cars made by Ford:



Ford GT


When you think of supercars, your mind tends to drift towards the Lamborghinis and Ferraris of this world. However, a lot of people forget that Ford made a supercar, and it was brilliant. The Ford GT was a vehicle draped in quality and high-performance specs. It was fast, it handled well, and looked excellent. 


The Ford GT was a forgotten car because there weren’t any made for a fair few years. In fact, none has been made since 2006, until now! That’s right; there’s a second generation Ford GT that will be on the market. It looks utterly fantastic and is already conjuring up a storm. The design of the car stays true to the original, which I love, but with a modern edge. Everything looks more up to date, and I honestly can’t take my eyes off it. There are few cars that can rival its beauty, and I’m eager to see how it drives.

(Image Link: https://goo.gl/GQYOd8)


F 150 Raptor


The Ford F 150 Raptor is without a doubt one of the coolest cars Ford has ever made. And, it’s the coolest pickup truck on the market. The vehicle is designed brilliantly and oozes awesomeness. The 2017 Ford Raptor is arguably the best of the bunch. It looks modern, stylish, bold, and so many other things rolled into one. 

(Photo Source: https://goo.gl/2QoQHr)

What I love about this car is that it’s very functional. Pickup trucks are useful and tend to be bought by people that use them for a specific purpose. Plus, the new Raptor has an engine that roars. For such a large machine, it moves very swiftly. And, I love that the engine is economical too. There’s just so many cool things about this truck; it’s hard to mention them all.

Mustang


If you’re a fan of car racing video games, or films, then you’ll know a thing or two about the Ford Mustang. This muscle car has been popular over the many years it’s been manufactured. What most people love about this car are its looks. There’s a unique style to the Mustang that makes it appear so cool. 


No matter what colour you get it in, it looks like the kind of car you buy if you mean business. 
It’s the ultimate car to sit at the traffic lights and lock eyes with the driver in the other lane as you rev your engine and watch them squirm. 


Keen Ford Mustang fans will know that there’s a new one on the horizon too. It promises to bring your typical Mustang flair, with a few updates here and there. Many people are already claiming it’s the coolest Mustang yet.

(Picture Credit: https://goo.gl/01sh7C)
These three cars are my pick of the coolest that Ford has built. Let me know if you agree or what cars you’d add to this list!

If we went back a few years, we’d find everyone was obsessed with hybrids. Car magazines were filled with reviews of the latest hybrids. The government was practically drooling over the tech, offering people incentives to buy. Even supercars were aiming for more eco-friendly levels of fuel usage. Our question is quite simple. Has anything changed, or are hybrids still the epitome of a cool car?

Well before we get to that it’s worth going back further still to the first electric cars.





Introducing The Electric Car


In the late eighties, early nineties developers started toying with the idea of an electric car. It seems like an important innovative idea. After all, research and reports kept being released, showing we were slowly killing the planet. To this day we still are, and that’s why there’s an increased push towards the hybrid. But remember, when the first electric car was released it was a joke. You could only travel a few miles before it gave up completely. As well as this, it was nowhere near fast enough to get the power of a supercar. That all changed with the introduction of the hybrid.




The New Hybrid



Then in 2000, the hybrid was born. It showed everyone that electric cars didn’t have to be ridiculed. They could be fast and fun. They could handle just as well as any other car on the road. More importantly, they could save the planet. That was important because at this point many were already on the eco-friendly bandwagon.


But it wasn’t until the release of the first hybrid supercar that people started taking these engines seriously. The BMW i8 was an absolute marvel. At just under a hundred grand you could travel as fast as any other supercar using a hybrid engine. It didn’t have the roar of a petrol engine; it had the purr of a hybrid. It was truly incredible and is still a popular vehicle today. So what changed?




Are Hybrids Eco-Friendly?



You might think that if you drive a hybrid, you’re doing your part to save the planet. That’s what everyone believed when they first arrived. But as recently as last year reports started to emerge. The popular producers of hybrid cars had been lying about the level of pollution making them created. That meant the hybrids weren’t as eco-friendly as people believed. Particularly, when taking into account the greater than imagined pollution costs of production. It was a classic example of the ends justify the means. That brings us to today. Are hybrids still popular?


Are hybrid cars still cool?


We’re not sure whether they’re cool, but they are certainly still popular, with good reason. First, whenever a new car model is released, you can bet that the first design is going to have a hybrid engine. This is certainly true for the new Audi A8 in 2017. That will first be released as a hybrid. Second, the tech is still improving. Developers are still eager to make hybrids the way forward. They continue to make them greener and better for the environment as well as easier to manage and drive. The cost is an issue that bounces back and forth. In some ways, electric cars and hybrids are cheap to run and maintain. But the cost of first purchase are growing. Particularly if you want the best hybrids on the market. Hybrids were supposed to be car models everyone could afford. If you have a look at a car company like Carco Group, you’ll find many hybrids on sale at various prices. But not everyone manages to pay over hundred grand for their vehicle. If you want one of the best hybrids, that’s exactly what you’ll need to do.


What’s The Alternative?


Well, that’s the issue? If there was an alternative, maybe hybrids wouldn’t be as popular as they are today. But there isn’t. There’s no better way to save fuel than to buy a car with a hybrid engine. We can’t go back to using petrol because we don’t want to kill the planet. Hydrogen might offer a real possibility for zero emissions. But that hasn’t been embraced by the general public yet. Right now, hybrids are still the future.


Just How Popular Are The Really?

Although when we examine whether hybrids are cool, it’s worth thinking about how many people own them. Based on press and media coverage, you might expect the answer to be quite high. But is it? How often do you come across a car that’s barely making any noise? A real hybrid doesn’t roar and howl. It’s quiet and soft, even at high speeds. When you remember that, we think you’ll realize that most people don’t own a hybrid. But then again we suppose that’s what still makes them cool and a desired asset today.


We love when a new car is released onto the market, and the BMW 7 Series is no different. We know what you’re thinking. Does it capture the look of a BMW? Is it a winner on the track? How fast and how far will it go? What is this new tech you speak of? Don’t worry; we’re going to answer all these questions and more as we take the new BMW for a ride.








Looks


You’re not going to be wowed and amazed by the looks of this car. But that’s not because it’s not visually beautiful. It’s because you’ve seen it before. The new BMW doesn’t look all that much different from the older model. So much so we could show you a picture of the old one next to the new one and only true car fanatics would be able to tell the difference. The changes to the exterior are subtle and barely noticeable.



It’s still got the beautiful curves of the classic BMW. It still has the typical gorgeous bodywork. While the car does look modern, the latest BMWs always have so there’s no change there. The front is similar too, with distinguished curved headlights and a grand double grill. All in all, if you loved the older BMW you’re going to adore this one. But it’s when you step inside that things start to get interesting. Or rather when you approach the car for the first time. The new technology this car uses is where it excels, and it’s what’s going to make it stand out from the crowd.



Tech


We can promise you one thing. If you buy this car, you’re going to have some fun showing off the tech. As you approach the car, the door unlocks for you. There’s a sensor in the fob that does this automatically. You don’t have to touch anything. It works like magic. It’s everything you wanted and more from a car of the future. But that’s just the start of this vehicle’s hidden secrets.



You can remotely alter air conditioning settings as well. That means before you get in your car, it will be waiting for you at the perfect temperature. It’s even possible to check the amount of fuel you have left. Do you need to top up? You’ll know before you ever turn on the engine. Some people will say all these little features are overkill. But as you’ll discover when we discuss the price, the cost thankfully hasn’t ballooned. You can look at the cost of the older models on a site such as Autoworld.


Then, there’s the new gesture control. We told you it was the tech that was going to make this car unique. We weren’t lying. This is the first car on the market with gesture control. Essentially gesture control uses a tiny camera to track your movements. Due to this, you can change a song, answer the phone or indicate with a flick of your finger. You don’t have to touch anything on the dashboard. 


As you can probably imagine, since this is the first incarnation of gesture control there are some kinks to iron out. It doesn’t always work. But when it does, you’ll feel like a wizard. You’ll half expect the car to start replying in the voice of HAL 9000. While it won’t quite manage that it will welcome you with an onscreen named response as you hop inside. It’s incredible and frightening at the same time.





Comfort



Just how comfortable is this car? Well, some reviews have described it as a spa on wheels. While we wouldn’t go that far, we can’t deny it’s a treat. The seats will warm and massage your back while you’re driving. It’s got one of the most advanced forms of air con that we’ve ever seen, and that’s just the start. The interior has been painstakingly designed that keep the driver relaxed and happy on the road. It succeeds on both marks.








Performance



For performance, this car has got a top speed of 155MPH. While it won’t beat many supercars, there also aren’t a lot of typical cars on the road that are going to be able to keep up. And, with an acceleration under five seconds, they’re not even going to have the chance to try. To help you on your journey, the car comes with yet more tech. Including cruise control and optimisation for different weather conditions. If it’s about to rain, the car may well figure it out and start to adopt how it performs on the road.



Cost



So how much are you going to be paying for this technological dream machine? If you’ve got just over sixty thousand, you’ll be pleased to hear you can afford this great car. If not, you can always look at one of the older models. After all, we’re sure you agree any BMW is worth owning.

We love our cool cars and for us, nothing is more exciting than an announcement of a new model from one of our favourite makers. Whether that’s a brand new powerful Land Rover or the next speedy Mclaren, we simply can’t contain our excitement. Truth be told, most of these cars aren’t vehicles that the average person will get a chance to earn. Either they’re out of the price range, or some are even made to be limited edition. At best you can hope to get your hands on one at a car convention or a track day. But that still doesn’t stop us getting excited. It’s like looking at a rocket ship. You know, you’re never going to be in one, flying up into space. But you still gaze at it in awe as it takes off.

With that in mind, here are some of the coolest cars of the future that have already been announced. From style to power, these cars have got it all. Who knows, if you start saving now, you might just be able to afford one by the time of release. We can dream!

2017: Bugatti Chiron

What do you do when you’ve designed the fastest road-legal car in the world? Why, you make another, even faster one of course. Yes, this is the bouncing baby brother of the Veyron, king of the roads, and we can’t wait to see what it’s got under the hood.

The Chiron is expected to reach a top speed of 288 mph. Where you manage to get the car up to that speed is frankly, your problem. After all, if you have 2.5 million to spend on a car, we imagine, you can scrape some money together to buy a runway for it. What you should know is that the Chiron will beat it’s older brother by around thirty mph.

The maker describes the car as a beautiful beast, and we have to agree. With that much power, we could only hope that the car looks as beautiful as it’s predecessor. We think you’ll agree it certainly does. Although it would be hard not to as in style, it’s not so much of evolution as it is an adaption.

Long story short, if you want the fastest car on the road, this is what you’ll need to buy. So we suggest you start saving now. The good news is that if you already have that amount of money lying around, the Bugatti will be here sooner than you think. You can look for it from the exclusive dealers at the end of the year.


2018: Honda Civic Type R
Don’t let that date fool you. It’s highly unlikely that the 2018 Honda Civic will arrive in 2018. In fact, we’d make an educated guess it will be here late 2016, early 2017. Why the late date? Your guess is as good as ours, but we’re still very excited about this car. It’s perhaps one of the only ones on this list that you might just get your hands on. We’d bet the price is going to be somewhere around the thirty thousand mark. That’s more than low enough for most car buyers. For a high powered performance vehicle, it’s an absolute steal.
Honda has had a few attempts at delivering a car built for performance and speed in the past. It hasn’t gone quite as well as we would have hoped. The previous models have been something of a disappointment. We’re hoping this is going to mark the start of a turnaround for the maker.
At the very least, we certainly agree the car looks the part. It’s got the look of a cross between a saloon and a couple. We love the small, yet attractively styled spoiler that seems like part of the car. Rather than other designs, where it looks like it’s been stuck on as an afterthought.
The two litre three hundred horse power engine is sure to pack a wallop. All in all, we can’t wait to get our hands on one of these machines when it’s released.  Let’s just hope they do release it early and don’t wait until 2018.


2018: Land Rover Defender


Of course, if you own a farm, you care very little about how fast a car can go. You’re more interested in buying a car that can pull it’s weight. We bring you then the Land Rover Defender. This is for the buyer who wants their car to have a little bit of meat around the muscle. Land Rovers are always powerful, high-performance cars and the new defender will be no different.

The name is quite apt too. The new model is here to reclaim the place as the king of its current competition. You might think that it’s facing an uphill battle. But the truth is if the Land Rover can match its predecessors in performance, it’s got the wannabes beat.

That’s why it’s a good thing that the new Rover has got the engine of a Jag. That’s right. It’s not very often that you can say an SUV has the same engine as a sports car. But this one sure does. Unfortunately, there has been a degree of controversy with the Land Rover. Essentially, the maker has got to try and please both groups. Those who want a real SUV and those who want a sports car that looks like an SUV. We’ll have to wait and see in 2017 whether the producer succeeds in reinventing the Land Rover name.

You’ll be able to pick one up for around fifty-five thousand. But if you can’t wait until next year Spire Automotive and other car sellers have got used Land Rovers for under thirty.


2019: Lamborghini Asterion


Finally, let’s go far into the future by looking at the Asterion. It’s going to be nothing short of a beautiful hybrid supercar and we can’t wait to see it. Though that wait is going to be a while. On the plus side, it’s going to be nowhere near as expensive as the Bugatti. You can expect this one to hit the market with a price tag of half a million. That’s not too bad considering the amount of power you’ll have.

Lamborghini claims the new model will have 900 horsepower. That’s their way of saying it will go from zero to sixty before you can say holy…

Unfortunately, the earliest we’ll see this car is 2018. But we think you’ll agree it’s going to be absolutely incredible.