A motoring round up courtesy of IAN LYNAS, Northern Ireland judge on UK Car of the Year.
What is decided in Detroit eventually comes down the line to drivers in Northern Ireland; once again the focus of motoring was very much in the Motor City for the annual North American International Auto Show, better known to us as simply a motor show.
The traditional virtues of power, speed and handling were very much overshadowed by the talk of apps, connectivity and vehicles which for many may simply take the fun out of driving.
The younger generation may not have the same focus on power, etc as their elders, the young driver of today sees the car not so much as merely a means from getting from A to B, but one which has the ability to keep in touch with the outside world via the internet.
The cars that are coming down the line will feature more and more technology and driving aids that only a few years ago would have been described as science fiction.
Volvo aim to make their vehicles so safe that the Chinese owned company have a target that by the year 2020 no one should be killed or seriously injured in one of their cars.
Recently I had the opportunity to drive a new Toyota blind, what I mean by that, I steered, accelerated and braked not by looking at the road ahead but by watching a screen on the dash. It was a strange sensation; the world was blacked out as I relied on a number of cameras mounted around the vehicle.
The rate of development in the car world is at a hasty pace as one manufacturer aims to out wit another.
Junction manners please
A recent survey revealed that 27 percent of UK drivers would purposely not let out a car at a junction because of the car’s brand and the car most likely to not be let out a junction has been identified as BMW.
The study revealed that drivers were less likely to let out a BMW over any other vehicle. Almost one in four drivers admitted that they would not let out a BMW at a junction.
Surprisingly females were less likely to let out a BMW than males, with over 30 percent of females making the admission.
Other car brands that are not likely to be let out at junctions include Land Rover, Subaru, Mercedes and Audi.
Almost one in five motorists would not let out a Land Rover, one in six would not let out a Subaru, one in eight would not let out a Mercedes and one in twelve would not let out an Audi.
An ideal family vehicle from Toyota
Toyota has a compact Auris Touring Sports ideal for young families; in earlier times people would have simply described this type of vehicle as an estate car; however names such as Touring is more fashionable.
Exterior styling presents a new-look front and rear, giving this Toyota a more prestigious and sophisticated road presence while on board, the sensory quality of the cabin has been significantly raised with a redesigned dashboard, premium quality trims and surface finishes and a new 4.2-inch colour TFT multi-information screen.
On the road the Touring Sports benefits from suspension and steering revisions to improve ride comfort, handling and driver involvement. Numerous measures have also been introduced to reduce NVH transmitted into the cabin.
With compact dimensions, surprisingly interior space is good with a large cargo area and a wide choice of power units including hybrids and my test example featured an automatic transmission for ease of driving.
Free insurance from Toyota
Young drivers are being given the chance to bid bye-bye to bangers and get behind the wheel of a brand new Aygo in a Toyota deal that delivers a year’s free car insurance.
With annual premiums hitting four figures, younger people’s dreams of a new car are being shattered by prohibitive prices, triggered by the poor driving record of some of their peers. It is a reality check that may mean their only option is to settle for the cheapest used cars on the market, which can be unreliable and low on safety features. Toyota’s solution is to offer a new Aygo with one year’s free cover from Toyota Motor Insurance on new cars financed through Access Toyota.
Toyota calculates this could mean significant savings for 18 to 20-year-old motorists. It’s not just young people who can benefit though; the offer is open to drivers 18 and older who have held a full driving licence for more than a year.
For those aged between 18 and 24, the Toyota dealer will fit the car with a “black box” device which will capture data on driving behaviour. This information will help demonstrate that they are responsible drivers, and help them secure lower premiums when the free policy comes to an end.
With its characterful three-cylinder one litre petrol engine, Aygo offers official fuel economy from 68.9mpg and CO2emissions from 95g/km, which means no annual road tax (VED) charge.
Dynamic driving fun from SEAT
SEAT has unveiled its first SUV, the Ateca, a unique combination of distinctive design, dynamic driving fun, urban versatility and compelling utility. First-class connectivity, innovative assistance systems and highly efficient engines are among its technology highlights ensuring Ateca will be one of the most innovative SUVs in the segment.
Outstanding quality, precision production and attractive value-for-money combine to make it a true SEAT. Key to its appeal however, is its agile and precise handling, the Ateca makes every day and every mile that little bit more rewarding. However this newcomer for the younger set is not due in showrooms until September, so be patient if you want to own one.