Brand A-Z of new releases (T-V edition)

TOYOTA

Toyota have launched a powerful version of its Yaris supermini, the potent GRMN hot hatch version. In other news, the Auris range has now been rationalised for an even greater focus on hybrid power. And there’s now a Plug-in version of the company’s popular Prius hybrid. Continuing to attract attention in Toyota showrooms is the brand’s striking C-HR compact Crossover. In addition, the brand has introduced an all-new Proace van in recent times and is offering it in people carrying MPV form as the ‘Proace Verso’.

ONE TO WATCH: The new Prius Plug-in is better to drive and sleeker than before.

VAUXHALL

Vauxhall, now owned by the French PSA Group, has just launched an SUV-orientated ‘Country Tourer’ variant of its Insignia Sports Tourer medium range estate. A hot Insignia GSi model will reach the showrooms later this year. Last Autumn, the brand launched its Grandland X mid-sized SUV, a model then joined by the little VIVA Rocks SUV-style citycar. In other Vauxhall news, the VXR8 super saloon bows out with a potent GTS-R model.

ONE TO WATCH: With its Crossland X and Grandland X SUVs, Vauxhall now has a properly credible crossover line-up.

VOLKSWAGEN

Volkswagen has had a busy year, introducing its new T-Roc mid-sized SUV and its 7-seat Tiguan Allspace. Plus dealers are just getting to grips with the all-new sixth generation version of the company’s Polo supermini. There’s a hot GTI version of the up! citycar too. And in the Summer, we’ll see a new generation version of the company’s Touareg luxury SUV.

ONE TO WATCH: The new Polo is smarter and cleverer, plus offers the option of efficient 1.5 TSI EVO power.

VOLVO

Volvo’s big news is the launch of its new mid-sized SUV, the XC40, aimed directly at rivals like the BMW X1 and the Audi Q3. It’s individually styled and sits on a brand-new platform that we’ll in future see on a whole range of other compact cars from the Swedish brand.

ONE TO WATCH: The new XC40 promises to make Volvo a much bigger player in the mid-sized SUV sector.

The Most Beautiful Cars in the World

Aston Martin V8 Vantage

Aston Martin’s Vantage is a modern high-performance icon of unmistakable character, styled to seduce and engineered to thrill. In its day, it was always the most affordable supercar the British brand made, but many will tell you that it’s arguably also the very best Aston Martin of all. Modern versions may have the Mercedes-AMG-sourced V8 power beneath the bonnet, but the performance is still as sensational. For many people, it’s the best thing the company makes, the best to drive and the best looking. The Vantage is simply overflowing with that special feel you want in a sportscar, the one you’ve been dreaming of owning all your life.

Ferrari California

What can you say about this Italian brand and beautiful cars? After all, it has such a glittering heritage in looks and of course performance that for many, Ferrari are second to none. And with the California, Ferrari have a car that not only appeals to the huge American market, but across the world. The California has a front-mid-mounted engine, a dual-clutch automatic gearbox, a folding hard-top roof and optional rear seats, but is lighter and more powerful than before. Its beauty is not only found in its looks, but also in the feel of the drive.

Porsche 911

Most know the Porsche 911 as the world’s greatest sports car. It certainly has the history and now comes with a great range of choice – there’s the Cabriolet, Carrera, Carrera 4, GT3, Targa 4 and Turbo incarnations to salivate over and even more variations on those. All come with more power, sharper design and even broader everyday usability, as well as that classic 911 look. The model has kept pace with developments in the automotive industry to always be a desirable car. For many, this is still the performance sportscar to have.

Alfa Romeo Spider

If we’re honest, nearly everyone would jump at the chance of blasting through the Tuscan hills or cruising the Amalfi coast road in a red Italian sportscar. With its illustrious history, the Alfa Romeo Spider would fit the bill very nicely. The Italians seem to instinctively know how to design a great-looking sportscar. And, with its 2007 Spider, Alfa Romeo was intent on building a roadster that was truly captivating. It’s a comfortable cruiser with a decent cabin environment, a strong range of engines and a roof arrangement that’s hassle free. It’s also of course, available in red.

Cadillac Coupe de Ville

Cadillac is one of the oldest car brands in the world. It is renowned for producing cars that are synonymous with the world of luxury. The de Ville is a full-sized sedan, with a massively powerful engine that can cruise with the best of them. The company’s primary markets are the United States, Canada, and China, but you’ll find Cadillac-branded vehicles on the roads in many countries, including Europe. The last versions of the de Ville carried sportier looks than its predecessors whilst keeping the luxury inside just as everyone had come to expect.

Jaguar E-Type

 

The Jaguar E-Type was a car of its time that has stayed the course. With an aerodynamically focussed design by Malcolm Sayer, it gave the public a sight to savour that caused a sensation when it was unveiled. Affordable sports driving was what it gave the public back in the 1960s and with a performance that got better and better with each update and those quintessential sweeping bodywork looks that remained so British, many would rank it as the most beautiful car and certainly as the most beautiful British car ever made.

Chevrolet Corvette

The Chevrolet Corvette doesn’t need a great deal of introduction. “America’s Sports Car” has been available in one guise or another since the fifties, but it was not until the launch of the C5 series in 1997 that the Corvette received the respect of European drivers. And, if the concept of crushing power, exotic good looks and robust mechanicals appeal to you, the Corvette is about as good as it gets.

Bentley Continental

Early Bentley models were sports cars. More recent ones have been luxury GTs. The Bentley Continental first made production in 1991 when the Continental R thundered into the pages of an enthusiast press. Constructed from the Turbo R platform, the Conti’s ‘official’ launch was at the 1991 Geneva Show where it wowed the crowds. Its third-generation design shares its lighter, stiffer chassis with the very latest second generation Porsche Panamera. That car also donates a quicker-reacting dual clutch gearbox and there’s a more sophisticated 4WD set-up too. The model seamlessly blends Bentley’s glittering heritage with the latest technology to create a highly desirable package.

Maserati GranTurismo

Stylish, luxurious and a potent performance weapon, the Maserati GranTurismo is on paper, part luxury Grand Tourer and part serious performance sportscar. On the road, it gives you everything you’d want from a historic automotive marque. Over the last few years, there’s been a subtle repositioning of the Maserati brand, with the famous Italian manufacturer coming out of the Ferrari shadow. The marque these days is focusing more acutely on luxury, comfort and the understated elegance that’s always been part of the Maserati package. Performance seekers need not despair, though. They’ll still get their fair share of brutal acceleration and finely-honed handling.

Mercedes-Benz SLK

The SLK was Mercedes’ compact roadster model that was first sold in 1996, where it re-invented the coupe-cabriolet concept for the modern age. Slick detailing, low running costs and distinctive styling are all part of its appeal. But so is the SLK concept of delivering a more affordable, more accessible version of the brand’s SL luxury convertible to the wider sportscar market. It was innovative in its first-generation form with a ‘Vario’ metal folding top that was quickly copied across the industry. For its MK3 mode, it became more finely attuned to its market, offering a level of engine efficiency and technology that makes many rivals from its era seem from a prior generation. A great car – but after all, it is a Mercedes!

MOT changes – what you need to know

New defect categories

Under the new test, defects and faults will be categorises as either Dangerous, Major or Minor.

Minor – faults or defects that aren’t severe enough for the vehicle to fail the test and do not affect the general running or safety of the vehicle but will still be marked on the MOT certificate.

Major – these issues require work and for the vehicle to be retested.

Dangerous – faults and defects that deem the vehicle non-road worthy and make the vehicle illegal to be driven in its current condition. The new categories have been put in place so that drivers are not encouraged to drive away from the garage in an unsafe vehicle and to have any issues dealt with at the time. The DVSA revealed that more that 25% of cars in the UK are overdue their MOT, meaning these cars are potentially unsafe for the roads.

Exhaust emission checks

As part of the new test, rigorous checks will be carried out on diesel cars fitted with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) that produce “visible smoke of any colour”. In the event that smoke is produced, the car will be given an automatic ‘Major’ fault and will fail the test. Testers will also check the DPF and whether it has been removed or tampered with. In these cases, the tester can refuse to test the car altogether, unless the owner provides a legitimate reason for it being removed or replaced.

Cars over 40 years old

In a controversial move which some deemed ‘unsafe’, cars which are older than 40 years old may not be required to undertake an annual road test. Which, by recent statistics, means that 1.5% of cars in the UK will not have a MOT certificate but will still be deemed road legal. In order to defend its decision, The Department of Transport argued that owners of older cars tended to keep their cars in good condition and don’t use the often enough to warrant an annual road test.

Additional components

In addition to the new categories, other components of the vehicle will be checked under the new test. Components such as steering (steering box leaking would be a Minor, but dripping badly would be upgraded to a Major), anti-theft devices, noise suppression systems, fog lamps and daytime running lamps will also be checked during the MOT.

By driving without a valid MOT would mean you could face a hefty £1,000 fine, so make sure you never forget your MOT due date by signing up to the DVSA reminder service.

Highlights from Geneva Motor Show

Volvo XC40 wins “Car of the Year 2018”

It was at the Geneva International Motor Show that the final vote took place to decide the winner of the “Car of the Year” Award. And for 2018, it is the Volvo XC40. The “Car of the Year” trophy is one of the most prestigious awards in the automotive world, where 60 journalists from 23 countries are members of the jury.

 

The Volvo XC40 was voted number one ahead of six other vehicles, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Audi A8, BMW 5 series, Citroën C3 Aircross, Kia Stinger and Seat Ibiza. Hakan Samuelsson, CEO of Volvo received the award from Frank Janssen, motoring journalist from the German magazine STERN and President of the Jury. “The XC40 really deserved this accolade,” he said. “To receive it in Geneva is all the more rewarding as this is my favourite motor show.” Volvo has been a finalist on several occasions, but this is the first time it has won this prestigious award, with 83 points separating it from its competitors. The criteria taken into consideration for the award are, in addition to the innovation and the security, the design and the value for money.

Jaguar’s New I-Pace

The Geneva Motor Show 2018 saw something that may have looked a little familiar – the new Jaguar I-Pace is virtually identical to the concept car the company first showed to the world in 2016, but it’s something that gives us a real glance into Jaguar’s future.

The Jaguar I-Pace is the first all-electric car to come from the British carmaker and it introduces a fresh, new cabin architecture and proportions. From the front, the I-Pace is recognisable as a Jaguar, with the LED headlights incorporating the brand’s distinctive ‘double J’ graphic. And the cut off rear end, which was developed to improve airflow and reduce aero drag, also incorporates Jaguar’s definitive long taillamps with a ‘drop down’ element below the very short decklid and slim backlight. The overall feel from the interior is one of open airiness, generous panoramic roof and open areas, such as the arch-like front of the centre console. Thanks to it being electric there’s no tunnel for the transmission and designers have been able to include a 10-litre stowage compartment in the front, and 890mm of rear legroom. “It’s a very practical car,” says Jaguar Design Director Ian Callum. He said how he “wanted to give the car a certain attitude that a Jaguar should have. A Jaguar should always be elegant,” he says. “It’s got attitude, it’s got stance, and it’s beautiful.”

McLaren Automotive Announces New ‘Hyper-GT’ Supercar

McLaren Automotive were pleased to announce at the Geneva motor show its forthcoming ‘Hyper-GT’, which will be capable of exceeding 243mph. That was the peak speed of their iconic McLaren F1.

The ‘Hyper-GT‘ is codenamed BP23, and as McLaren Automotive CEO Mike Flewitt confirmed at the motor show, there will be a public reveal of the car later this year. Only 106 will be produced and they are already sold at a cool £1.6million, plus taxes. The BP23 is the latest addition to the McLaren Ultimate Series. As well as being the fastest-ever McLaren, its designers have made sure that it will also be the most luxurious ever. It will have a three-seat cockpit design with a central driving position – the same layout as the F1 – and a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain, to deliver the unparalleled blend of extreme performance and sporting luxury that befits its status as the ultimate road-going McLaren. The McLaren Special Operations division or MSO, is the department of McLaren Automotive that will personalise every vehicle to satisfy the taste of each individual owner, giving a real bespoke package. The BP23 will carry an as-yet unannounced name, rather than the alphanumerical nomenclatures used by the McLaren Sports Series and Super Series; this name, together with the maximum possible speed, will be disclosed nearer to the car’s reveal. Production is due to begin at the end of next year.

Hyundai Le Fil Rouge Concept

Hyundai’s Le Fil Rouge concept car is a massive statement of intent from the Korean manufacturer and a very well executed one at that. It is a concept that encapsulates a ‘sensuous and sportiness’ theme that you will find on all future Hyundai vehicles. “Le Fil Rouge is our design vision concept,” says Hyundai VP of Design Sangyup Lee. “Hyundai has always been a practical brand. We make good cars with the best value for our customers. This is not going to cut it in the future. We really want to add emotional value to the car to make Hyundai become beloved by our special customers.”

The exterior of Le Fil Rouge concept is overwhelmed with incredible detailing and unique design elements that blend technology with aesthetic appeal. The interior takes the design vision further with thought given to the different requirements of the driver and their passengers – comfort for passengers, driving experience and optimized ergonomics for the driver. To emphasize Hyundai’s newfound electric vehicle design mission, Lee says the overall design is defined by the harmony between four fundamental elements: proportion, architecture, design and technology. “Technology is very important,” says Lee. “We as designers always ask ourselves how to integrate technology into the design to tell a story to our customers.” Hyundai’s sensitivity to design, material use and technology is perfectly integrated into their concept car. And that’s why Le Fil Rouge was one of the stars of the show.

The New 2019 Audi A6

The luxury four-door Audi A6 that greeted the world at Geneva shares the technology found in its recently revealed sisters, the A8 and A7, along with some very welcomed fuel-saving features.

There are two engines to choose from for the A6. There’s a 3.0-litre turbocharged V-6 rated at 340 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, and a turbodiesel. These will be mated with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic which will be standard in Europe for the new A6. For the first time, the A6 will feature four-wheel steering that can dial in up to 5 degrees of counter-steering at slow speeds for better manoeuvrability, or in concert with the front wheels at high speeds for better handling. Inside, the A6 is larger with more room for passengers and cargo, and interior lighting in up to 30 different shades. It features Audi’s newest MMI infotainment system with a 10.1-inch touchscreen for infotainment and an 8.6-inch touchscreen for climate controls. The A6 includes available safety features such as active lane control and adaptive cruise control, parking assist, vehicle-to-infrastructure hardware, and a raft of sensors and cameras that could help the A6 avoid crashes. Following cues from the A4 and A5, the styling of the A6 is evolutionary for the sedan, sharper than its predecessor with deeper creases and a bulging hood. Pricing information is yet to come, but the A6 is slated to reach showrooms later this year.

Peugeot 508’s Impressive Design

Many agreed that in the new 508, Peugeot has unveiled a design stunner. Whilst the current generation dates back to 2010 and that’s starting to show, this new one puts out a statement for its rivals to ponder. Underpinning the car is the flexible EMP2 platform from Peugeot parent company PSA Group. The interior looks are superbly classy with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 10.0-inch infotainment screen, and leather-trimmed steering wheel. There’s more details to come about the powertrain range that will be on offer and Peugeot will also offer the car with the latest electronic driver aids including a night vision system with object and pedestrian detection.

Preparing for longer car journeys

Stay hydrated

It may seem obvious, but one of the most important things in making long journeys both easier and safer is to ensure that you, and your car, stay hydrated. Recent research has shown that three out of four people on long road trips in Britain are likely to be de-hydrated – a major cause in behaviour changes, like irritability, bad temper and road rage.

It is particularly important for drivers to maintain fluid intakes if they are to face the congestion and arrive at their destination safe and sane. Even an hour’s drive across a city can result in the loss of as much as half a litre of water which needs to be replaced if drivers are to remain calm and comfortable.

Take a break

While caffeine-laden drinks are indispensable in giving drivers temporary relief from fatigue while travelling, the best option during a normal daytime family trip is plenty of stops to give everyone a break and a stretch as well as lots of water for passengers and driver. Soft drinks and tea and coffee can also contain ingredients that act as a diuretic: while they may initially quench the thirst, ultimately, they’ll lead to more toilet stops. De-hydration can also be responsible for lethargy, lack of concentration and alertness as well as headache – none of which makes for safe and happy drivers.

Avoid road rage

Longer journeys are often marked by disputes and ill temper due to the almost inevitable delays and frustration. By making some basic preparations, being mindful of driving style and keeping fluid levels up, then everyone can enjoy their outing.

Checklist for Happy Journeys

  • Ensure driver and car fluid levels are topped up, but while the car should be full of fuel, an overfull driver is likely to suffer from drowsiness. Both should be ready for the journey ahead, the driver refreshed and alert, the car serviced.
  • Begin the holiday as soon as the trip begins. This means wearing comfortable clothes and having plenty of snacks, drinks and treats for all the family in the car.
  • For kids it means making sure that they have got things to keep them entertained. Small, quiet toys are ideal while story CDs for older kids and sing-alongs for younger ones help to pass the time. Many kids these days are happy to play the latest games available on their mobile phones but be wary of travel sickness induced by constant concentration. Old favourites like ‘I Spy’ can also help to fend off travel sickness by encouraging the child to concentrate on items outside of the car.
  • Make sure that the car is well ventilated, if you have air-conditioning use it. A window blind can also help to deflect annoying sunlight.
  • Many children, and adults, find it relaxing to sleep in the car. Pillows and covers are a helpful aid to this although it is obviously vital that all passengers remain restrained by their seat belts.
  • Plan the route, and an alternative, and plan breaks into the schedule. A 20-minute break every two hours is the ideal if travelling with a young family. Think about the timing of your journey. Setting off late at night or in the early hours of the morning may mean avoiding the jams but it is also the peak time for fatigue related accidents.
  • If stuck in heavy traffic, keep plenty of distance between you and the car in front. This will help to keep pressure off the driver.

But most importantly enjoy the journey and your holiday!

Are you thinking of a driving holiday but need a new car? View thousands of cars local to you at Exchange and Mart and s1cars.

Dealing with travel sickness

We all remember the kids who used to sit by the bus windows on school trips, paper bag in hand looking greener by the minute. Back then it may not have been so common but the latest research shows that at least one in three people suffer from motion sickness and in the average family of five you can easily have two members suffering through long journeys.

Why is it that people suffer from travel sickness? Leading motion sickness expert Dr Michael Gresty explains: ‘We experience car sickness because a car’s cornering forces stimulate the balance organs in our inner ears to signal that we are being tilted but visibly, the car and view outside remain upright. Our brain becomes confused by these two apparently contradictory perceptions, and sends a message to the stomach to be sick. Vomiting is a warning that something strange is happening so as well as being sick, the body diverts blood to the muscles, so that the sufferer can move to get out of the situation.’

Tips for dealing with travel sickness

There are things that you can do to help yourself and your family from feeling ill in the car.

Avoid movement

Stay as still as possible, moving around and fidgeting will only make you uptight. Recline your seat if possible and close your eyes. If you need to keep your eyes open to spy on the kids, then make sure that you focus on the horizon, as reading or focussing on objects inside the car will only enhance the sickness.

Fresh air

Make sure that you keep a fresh supply of air flowing by opening a window, it doesn’t have to be all the way, just enough to feel a breeze. Fresh air can also help to reduce the pungent smells from food or air fresheners that create sickly aromas that are sure to make anyone feel travelsick. If you have to eat in the car make sure that the food is light and healthy.

Prepare

The best method to cure travel sickness is to be prepared. If you plan your route in advance you can allow for plenty of breaks. It is important that you allow for rests, especially on long journeys. If you are planning to have a meal during your break make sure that you eat something small and nutritious. Many people become travel sick after eating a large fatty meal consisting of dairy products, a food group that is notoriously difficult to digest.

If you follow all the handy hints then you should be able to ward off the symptoms of motion sickness but the secret of good preparation is to be prepared and have travel sickness tablets and paper bags with you at all times.

Is your car giving you a bumpy ride? Why not browse our thousands of cars, local to you, for a new, smoother ride.

Spring clean your car

But now it’s springtime and the weather is starting to brighten up a bit, so it’s the perfect time to spruce up your car! Not only can neglecting your car’s health compromise your safety but it can also cost you more on repairs and maintenance in the long term.

Now is the time when you should wash your car properly and give it a thorough check over to ensure you enjoy safe, reliable motoring through the warmer months.

Here’s our top 10 spring clean tips for your car:

1. Wash your car thoroughly – paying particular attention to the wheel arches, behind or beneath the bumpers and the sills below the doors. Better still, if you don’t fancy doing it yourself, treat your car to a spring clean at a Car Wash. It may cost you a few pounds but the time saved is well worth it!

2. Check inside the engine bay and remove any soggy leaves.

3. If you’re doing the cleaning yourself, remember to clean the wheels using a specialist cleaning product. (You can do a better job if you remove each wheel in turn, but only if you know how to do it safely – see your owner’s manual!). Also check the overall condition of the tyres for wear and tear and tread depth.

4. Now, vacuum the interior thoroughly – including inside the luggage space. Remove rubber mats and scrub them clean; use a suitable cleaner on upholstery and carpets.

5. Polish the paintwork – one panel at a time, so you can keep track of what you’ve done.

6. Check for chips and scratches in the paintwork and touch these up.

7. Clean all glass thoroughly – inside and out – as well as headlamps and other lights, plus door mirrors.

8. Check the condition of the wiper blades, which will have been used a lot in the winter. Don’t forget the rear wiper. It’s cheap and easy to replace them, so if they are looking a bit worn it’s best to change over now.

9. Inspect the exhaust system for corrosion.

10. Finally, lightly lubricate all hinges and door locks and apply a little petroleum jelly to the battery terminals.

Remember, regular servicing and maintenance of your car can maintain its resale value, save you money and make it safer to drive.

Are you past spring cleaning your car and looking for a totally new one? With thousands of new and used cars available, local to you, you’ll find the perfect car by browsing our selection on site.

Driving with pets – how to keep them safe

If you decide to take your pets in the car with you, it’s important that they are kept safe at all times, even if it is just a short journey. Many pet-owners are unaware of the laws around driving with pets, and that they could face a hefty fine if they are found driving without their pet properly restrained.

Here’s our top tips on driving with pets to make sure you’re both safe:

  • If you’re planning a longer trip, why not test your pets out first with some shorter journeys to get used to the car? Some animals feel agitated in smaller spaces so getting them used to a new environment will prevent any stress on the day.
  • Check your pet’s health before you travel, especially if you’re taking them on holiday or on a longer journey. Ensure they have the relevant pet insurance.
  • Feed your pet a light meal a couple of hours before you plan to leave and pack snacks and water for breaks in the journey.
  • Toilet breaks are essential not just for us humans, but especially for our pets. Make sure everyone has a toilet break before and during any long journeys.
  • It’s also a good idea, if you’re travelling with a dog, to take them for a long walk before the journey which might tire them out and help them relax. You could be fined if your pet is deemed to be a distraction so the calmer they are the better.
  • Make sure you have appropriate restraints for your four-legged friend, like a doggy seatbelt, pet guard or carrier. This is in accordance with Rule 57 of the Highway Code and sticking to this rule can ensure you don’t face those fines.
  • Remember to pack your pet’s favourite toys, blankets and leads. These can bring them comfort during the journey and ensure you’re prepared for when you reach your destination.
  • If you breakdown during your journey, it’s important to only let animals out of the car when it is safe to do so. Remember to always keep them on their lead or in their carrier and let the recovery service know you’re travelling with a pet.

These tips will help ensure that you and your passengers are kept safe on your journey.

Are you looking for a car that’s more pet-friendly? We have thousands of cars from trusted dealers local to you, of all shapes and sizes.

Car tax and MOT rules for 2018

VED (Car Tax) Changes

Vehicle Excise Duty, or VED is generally known as the car tax. In recent years, in a drive to reduce CO2 emissions and thereby lessen the effects of motoring pollution, the government has used the VED system to penalise drivers with less efficient cars. They made changes that came into force in April 2017, but because so many cars were falling into the zero or lower rated bands, they have tweaked the bands from April 2018 onwards. It means that drivers of new vehicles will be paying more, something to bear in mind next time you’re in the car showroom.

As before, you’ll have to pay a tax rate in the first year of ownership that is linked directly to the car’s CO2 emissions. Thereafter, there is a standard rate each year of £140 for cars whose list price is less that £40,000, and a standard rate that includes an additional £310 cost for cars over £40,000. It means that premium models will now cost £450 in total per year to tax.

It does signify for new vehicles, that the days of a VW Golf 2-litre diesel costing only £20 per annum in car tax are over. But the government have promised that the tax raised will go directly to road improvements, so perhaps we will all come out as winners.

MOT Changes

The most notable change is that defects will be categorised differently than before. Now you will be told about Dangerous, Major or Minor faults. Dangerous and Major faults will both result in a fail, while Minor defects will be passed. MOT testers will continue to give advice about items you need to monitor, known as ‘advisories’.

We’ve got a full rundown on the changes here.

The current MOT test certificate will change to a new style that will list the types of defects. And most vehicles over 40 years old will no longer need an MOT as long as they haven’t been substantially changed.

If you ever worry about forgetting the date of your MOT – and remember that there’s a £1,000 fine if you’re found driving without a valid MoT certificate, there is a new reminder service. Drivers can now get a free annual text message or email four weeks before their car’s MOT is due. You just need to sign up online.

Our top tips for driving with kids

We want your driving experience to be enjoyable, but also safe, so here are our top tips for driving with kids.

  • Our first, and most important, tip is safety. If you’re driving with children under the age of 12, or under 135cm in height, you are legally responsible for ensuring that they are seated in a baby or child car seat. There are a range of child car seats available, but whichever one you choose must be suitable for your child’s weight and size. They also must conform to regulations and ideally should be fitted by a trained car seat fitter.
  • Another important safety factor is the health and condition of your vehicle. Ensure your vehicle’s health is up to date with its annual MOT and services. You can also carry out regular checks yourself between these services, especially in winter.
  • If you’re planning a longer journey, the best thing to do is plan ahead. Check your route and opt for the safest route over the fastest. Breaks are important not only for the driver to have a rest, but also for your passengers to stretch their legs and have a toilet break.
  • Pack plenty of snacks and water to keep hydrated during the trip, especially in sunnier climates.
  • It’s safe to say that mobile phones and tablets are a great way to keep kids occupied but keep an eye on the time spent on these devices as they can cause motion sickness over a long period of time. Take the journey as an opportunity to get them away from their phones.
  • Breakdowns are never ideal, especially when you’re travelling with children. Make sure you only leave the vehicle when safe to do so and inform the recovery team that you are travelling with children.
  • Keep kids entertained. Traditional games such as eye-spy and the licence plate game are oldies but goodies. If they get bored easily or need a time out, pack some reading books or puzzle books. As the driver, try and avoid playing along (we know it’s hard) but the priority is to keep them occupied whilst you concentrate on the road.

So, the next time you’re planning a journey with kids, make sure you remember our tops tips for a fun, safe trip.

Are you searching for a new family car? Search thousands, local to you, from our trusted dealers.