Time for something new? – March 2019

AUDI

Audi’s range continues to expand. The latest generation A6 saloon and Avant models claim to take autonomous driving to the next level. Executives looking for an extra dash of style meanwhile, are being targeted by the new second generation A7 Sportback that’s a smarter, more unique option. There’s an all-new A1 Sportback model too, a revised version of the TT sportscar and a new second-generation version of the Q3 compact SUV.

ONE TO WATCH: The new Q3 is now smarter and more efficient, these being attributes it’ll need if it’s to make headway in this increasingly crowded segment.

BMW

The key news for BMW dealers in recent months has been the launch of a second-generation version of the company’s mid-sized X4 SUV Coupe. There’s also a fresh lifestyle-orientated option for Executive segment buyers in the form of the new 6 Series Gran Turismo model. In other news, the company has revised its i3 electric range and added a sporty i3s variant. There’s also a new M5 high performance sports saloon, a ‘Competition’ version of the M2 coupe and a roadster version of the top i8 sportscar.

ONE TO WATCH: The X4 is a far more competitive mid-sized premium-badged SUV-Coupe than its predecessor.

SEAT

SEAT’s most important recent arrival in the brand’s mid-sized 7-seat SUV segment is the Tarraco. You get sharp styling, plenty of interior space and, the Iberian maker hopes, a dash of Spanish flair. In other news, the company has introduced a super-hot hatch model, the Leon Cupra R – now sold out. SEAT also has plans in the future to launch ‘Cupra’ as a separate sub-brand for its high-performance models the first being the Cupra Ateca.

ONE TO WATCH: SEAT’s Tarraco aims to shake up the mid-sized 7-seat SUV market.

SKODA

The big news is the introduction of a heavily revised version of the company’s Fabia supermini, but Skoda now finds SUVs more profitable. Earlier this year, they launched the Qashqai-class mid-sized Karoq to sell just beneath the 7-seat Kodiaq and the launch of the Skoda Kamiq combines the agility and handling of a compact car with the traditional advantages of an SUV.

The rest of Skoda’s line-up has been significantly revised in recent times. The Citigo citycar has undergone a minor update, plus the Rapid models have also been given a facelift and gained a new 1.0 TSI engine. That unit also features in the lightly revised version of the company’s Octavia family hatch, which features a potent vRS 245 flagship variant. The launch of the Skoda Kamiq combines the agility and handling of a compact car with the traditional advantages of an SUV.

ONE TO WATCH: Skoda has a strong contender in the hatchback segments, in the shape of its new Scala hatch.

SMART

The fortwo and forfour citycar models are both now available in full-battery-powered ‘EQ’ form. Power comes from a 60kW (81bhp) electric motor mated to a one-speed auto transmission. In other smart news, the standard fortwo and forfour ranges have a new, more affordable ‘pure’ entry trim level.

ONE TO WATCH: smart fortwo EQ is a good bet for city driving in eco style.

If brand-new isn’t your thing and you’re looking for a great deal on a used or delivery mileage car, then check out our thousands of great deals, from local trusted dealers throughout the UK.

We’ve also got a huge range of new car reviews and used car guides to help with your car research.

Keeping your body(work) beautiful

The first thing to remember is that not all bodyshops are the same. Anyone can patch your car up with a hammer and a touch of filler, but in the long run there’s little doubt that going this route will cost you more than you save.

Today’s cars tend to need more sophisticated equipment to get them back to pristine condition, particularly if the accident damage has been substantial. So, it’s important to find the right bodyshop, which might be a specialist repair centre for your make and model. When it comes to getting a quote for your repair work, ask the workshop what kind of tooling they have and check that their staff are properly trained to deal with your car. Maybe they are associated with trade or motoring organisations?

Secondly, make sure that you get a number of quotes before deciding. Find out if they work regularly for any of the well-known franchised dealerships.

Finally, it’s worth checking out any extra customer service provided. If you don’t have it covered in your insurance policy already, is there any possibility of a loan car while your vehicle is off the road? Will the workshop offer a free collection and delivery service? A little time on the phone could save you a lot of money, plus it could be the deciding factor between two workshops!

Of course, accidents aren’t the only reason for a visit to the bodyshop. Older cars in particular will suffer the effects of weather and show up wear and tear more easily. Without preventive maintenance, your bodywork may well end up in a sorry state. The key to keeping your older vehicle running well for years to come is to keep it well maintained. Look after your car and it’ll look after you. Remember it’s not all about your car looking good, it’s about keeping it safe and roadworthy too.

If possible, keep your car in a garage or under cover. This is important not only during bad weather, but in good weather too as cars with older paint work can fade quicker during prolonged exposure to sunlight. Ask your bodywork centre for any paint treatments that will help keep your car shinier for longer if you don’t have the luxury of a garage to keep it safe in.

Follow these simple steps for keeping your bodywork looking better for longer:

  • Wash beneath the bodywork and around the wheel arches to remove salt.
  • Clean and polish the paintwork with a good quality polish and, for extra protection, add a coat of gloss protectant. Resist the temptation to cut back the paint, however bad it looks modern paints do not need aggressive treatment.
  • Treat all exterior plastics and rubber with a suitable dressing – you may find that some plastic surfaces have faded.
  • Wash regularly with a genuine car shampoo to keep the car in top shape. Don’t use household dish washing liquid, as this is designed to cut through grease and is too aggressive for car paintwork.