WITH summer fast approaching, plenty of us will be planning to head away for a short break, or just get out on the road to enjoy the weather. But before you set off, there are a few simple tips you should take note of to make to ensure your road trip runs smoothly. IAM Roadsmart has pulled together a few simple things every driver should do ahead of a summer drive. First off, clearing out any excess weight including those coats, boots and scarves that took up permanent residence during the winter months will help you to save fuel even before you even set out. With all the summer glare around, you need to make sure you've got a clear view of the road. Your demister can put a film of grime from traffic fumes on the inside of the windscreen combine with the sunlight to block your vision. How to keep your car healthy in the heatBattery: Your car battery is dangerous as it is composed of acid and water. The water within the battery will evaporate faster in soaring temperatures … [Read more...] about Get your car ready for a summer road trip with these simple maintenance tips
Long road trip hacks
SAN FRANCISCO — At a glance, they look like a sleeker version of the traditional California license plate: 6 by 12 inches with a sequence of letters and numbers printed in a blocky font. But the new digital screens that will be appearing on cars throughout the state next month are far removed from the typical metal placards. “Think about it like this: The difference between a flip phone and a smartphone is vast,” said Neville Boston, co-founder and CEO of Reviver Auto, the Foster City company that makes the Rplates. The plates, he says, are the auto industry’s answer to smartphone technology. Smooth and reflective, the tablets display a license plate number when the car is moving and become a customized billboard when it’s parked. The devices could be used to automatically pay for parking and bridge tolls, and track a vehicle if it’s stolen. They could also eliminate the need for registration stickers. In short, they seem perfectly tailored for a … [Read more...] about California’s digital license plates: road to convenience or invasion of privacy?
If we’re going to be talking and thinking about autonomous cars, self-driving cars, robo-cars, drive-o-droids (copyright pending) or whatever the hell we want to call these things, we should get a sense of exactly what they do and how they do it. How do they know what’s around them, and how can they potentially be better than human drivers? Let’s just take a moment to break down what the act of driving actually is: controlling a moving object significantly larger than yourself through a complex environment full of other moving objects, and controlling the rate of motion, including entirely stopping the motion, the direction of that motion, and adjusting the manner by which speed and direction changes are effected based on environmental conditions like road surface friction and weather/visibility. Really, the more you think about it, it’s pretty incredible we can drive at all. For one thing, we’re asking our bodies to act and react at far quicker intervals … [Read more...] about How Autonomous Cars See The World
The Alfa Romeo Giulia QV possesses the best V6 engine in the business, combined with razor-sharp dynamics and amazing ride quality – but it's let down by a mediocre interior. Italy has never made a perfect car. They can be beautiful, they can be fast, they can even prove to be reliable, but they never tick all the boxes.The Italians have also never produced a car – in recent times at least – that we can wholeheartedly recommend as the best in its class. That hasn’t changed with the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV. However, what makes it imperfect also makes it an excellent candidate for those that dread the idea of adding just another BMW M or Mercedes-AMG to the road.From the outside, Alfa’s answer to the BMW M3 or Mercedes-AMG C63 S sedan gives all the right cues to its intent. It sits on gorgeous 19-inch alloys that scream Italian, with a family front design that, while attractive, we feel is completely unmatched to its absolutely stunning rear end that houses a … [Read more...] about 2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia QV review
Register for our free newsletterThe Mercedes G-Wagen has, in one shape or another, been in production for close to 40 years now. In that time, it’s changed very little, growing a little rounder and – in the case of the G63 – extremely powerful. However, ruggedness has always remained at its core, as has an ability to take on the roughest, most difficult conditions. Incidentally, by the time I went on my first fishing trip aged seven, the big Mercedes had already been in production for 20 years. Fast forward to the present day, and though you could say that the G-Class has aged significantly better than myself, I thought that taking one fishing in Scotland could be the perfect opportunity to see whether or not the old off-roader could still hack it away from the beaten track. But where to go to? Some of the best salmon fishing in the UK is in Scotland, and the river we’d be heading to – the Spey – is the football equivalent of getting the chance to … [Read more...] about Rods, reels and 19-inch wheels: A salmon fishing adventure in the Mercedes G-Class
Volvo is clearly on a roll, producing one of the best large SUVs (XC90) and now clinching the European Car of the Year title with the small XC40. We’re trying the mid-size XC60 to see whether its Swedish style is more than skin deep. Our car: Volvo XC60 D5 PowerPulse AWD R-design List price when new: £43,505 Price as tested: £53,580 Official fuel economy: 54.1mpg (EU Combined) Read more long-term tests June 5th, 2018 Fuel consumption this week: 38.7mpg For those who have been watching The Bridge unravel on BBC2, Sweden appears a rather dangerous place. The Nordic Noir police drama has a high body count and is eerily dark – like Midsummer Murders by moonlight. However, having driven across Scandinavia many times, I know it is remarkably safe. People adhere to the speed limits and nobody uses a mobile phone behind the wheel. There’s probably a campaign to fit wandering elks with high visibility vests. We’ve already … [Read more...] about Volvo XC60 – long-term test: the ultimate middle-class car?
Selflessly testing the widely-held theory that you can use Stuttgart’s finest as an everyday car, Kyle Fortune tries family life with a 911 Carrera Coupé Our car: Porsche 911 Carrera Coupé List price when new: £76,412 Price as tested: £84,891 Official fuel economy: 34.0mpg (EU Combined) Read more long-term tests March 13th, 2018 Fuel economy this week: 21.5mpg I’m not expecting any sympathy, but the Porsche 911 Carrera has gone. I’ll admit to being more than a little bit distraught when the man from Porsche came to collect it; still, better to have loved and lost and all that… And love it I did, which isn’t unusual for long-term test cars, but there’s usually a lengthy list of provisos attached to that. With the 911 there really wasn’t. I’d asked to borrow it out of a genuine interest to see if a sports car would work as a daily driver. Not just a car for selfish old me, … [Read more...] about Porsche 911 Carrera – long-term test: is a 911 really the best all-rounder?
Getty Images No two road trips are alike — except that they all involve long distances, rushed meals, and groups of tired, bored, grumpy humans sharing the same cramped quarters for hours on end. To keep everyone happy, peaceful, and safe, we recommend that all road trips be bound by the same set of rules, which we present here, in no particular order. 1. First and foremost, everyone must use the bathroom before the vehicle hits the road. 2. The driver chooses the music: Whoever is at the wheel is also in control of the stereo, unless he decides to hand that power to someone else. However, he reserves the right to take it back at any time. Should a radio station play two or more songs in a row by Styx, Warrant, or Limp Bizkit, an obscure maritime law dictates that the person in control of the radio at the time must ride in the trunk until the next gas stop. 3. At all times, the co-pilot—meaning, whoever's riding shotgun—must remain awake and available to dish out … [Read more...] about 21 Rules of Road Tripping
SEDONA, Arizona — Where are the golf bags? Buick has let its connection to the game of golf age-out and didn’t bother to tell us how many bags you can fit in the 73.5 cubic-foot cargo space of this, er, crossover/utility something-or-other.The 2018 Buick Regal TourX is not a station wagon (that term has also aged out), or so its maker claims, though fellow auto journalists who love that long-forsaken bodystyle are quick to give it such a description. Call it whatever you call the Subaru Outback, Audi Allroad, or Volvo V90 CC, because this is the new model for those who want something a bit nicer and more upscale than the former and can’t afford the latter two. For that reason alone, it earns our respect as a Not Boring Car.Its cargo capacity of 73.5 cubic feet with the rear seat folded tops the Lincoln MKX, Acura RDX, Audi Allroad, and Volvo V60 CC, though it’s capacious more because of the load floor’s length than its width, which is hampered by more … [Read more...] about First Drive: 2018 Buick Regal TourX
FINAL REPORT - scroll down for earlier reports“Do you know what?” my partner asked me as we homed back in on Calais after 1500 miles in a week in the BMW 320d xDrive, adding those to the 15,000 miles racked up in the previous 11 months. “I’m really going to miss this car.” Why did she think that? “I don’t know why...”Ah. But as strange as it sounds, I’m with her on that. Well, I do know why, but I understand what she meant: the 3 Series is one of those cars that gets pretty much every little thing right, in such an unassuming way, that it makes life with it so easy, enjoyable and rewarding almost without you ever really noticing it.Whatever the 3 Series’ status and reputation as a stellar car to drive and a fine all-rounder, though, it still arrived in our possession last summer with a lot to prove. Back then, it had just undergone a facelift and its position as the star pupil of the class it had ruled for so long was under … [Read more...] about BMW 320d long-term test review: all the car you’d ever need?