Monday, 29 November 2010

Skoda Superb

Skoda SuperbBy Gurg Sumit Kumar

Skoda Superb has been given a rebirth by Volkswagen designers who have named this flagship car of Skoda family in honor of the luxurious Skoda Superb of 1930's. It shares its platform with highly successful WV Passat model. Dubbed as executive car, current models include 1.8L I4 Turbo as standard engine. More powerful petrol and diesel engines include 2.8L V6 30v and 2.5L V6 TDI, respectively.

A recent facelift offers new radiator grille, headlights, side repeater indicators and C-shaped tail lights. As part of refurbishment project, interior panel is fitted with real wood and includes extras that were once hallmark of original Skoda Superb. Utilizing transverse engine layout, the all new B6 comes with fuel stratified injection turbocharged engine which can be upgraded to a powerful 3.6L 191kw FSI VR6 versions, providing reduced fuel consumption. For automobile enthusiasts who prefer even more power, Skoda engineers are now offering an optional direct shift gearbox with 6 or 7 speed transmissions in all trim combination. These trim levels are classified as Comfort, Ambition and Elegance in Europe, however, in UK they are marketed as S, SE, Elegance and Greenline. A Combi 5 door estate model is already introduced in Frankfurt Auto Show. This version of Skoda family cars is made for car owners who prefer luxury and more passenger space.

B6 Models
Produced in Czech Republic and India, Skoda Superb B6 2008, contains 4motion four wheel drive which is fitted with more advanced technology, constituting top of the line petrol engines such as 3.6 L VR6 FSI 4x4. Similarly, powerful diesel variants have also been reintroduced to include 1.9 L I4 TDI PD DPF Greenline and 2.0 L I4 TDI CR DPF. It seems that Skoda Superb designers are bent on providing even more choices. Their motives are expressed in classical 'Laurin and Klement' model which derives its features not only from original Skoda masterpiece but also from Rolls Royce. Like Rolls Royce it includes components such as an umbrella hidden in rear door panel.

As of 2008, the first generation Skoda Superb has stopped production. In its place, B6 is being offered in either 5 door liftback sedan or 5 door estate versions. Based on Volkswagen Group A5 PQ35 platform, the new version is a touch longer and wider than its predecessor. Fortunately, a slight price difference should not limit loyal Skoda buyers to catch onto the latest frenzy in Czech Republic and certain other East European markets.

Gurg Sumit Kumar provides reviews on latest car models, automobiles and all four wheelers. Find more about his latest review on Skoda Superb, its specifications, features and all the available models.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Volvo XC60 Review

Volvo XC60 ReviewBy Michelle Spencer

Sleek, elegant, chic and sporty are not words you might normally associate with a 4x4 - and you'd be extremely unlikely to use them all at once to describe the same 4x4. That is until the advent of Volvo's XC60.

Since bringing the utilitarian off-roader into the family leisure market, car makers have striven to style it and tailor it to offer the broadest appeal, with varying degrees of success. Some try a 4x4/MPV cross, while others go for a more laid-back SUV image. There's even been an attempt by a premium car maker at trying to turn its large SUV into a sleek sports coupe, with notably unsleek, nay, grotesque, results!

Unlike many SUVs, Volvo's XC60 manages to retain, and even enhance, the svelte lines and subtle contours of its more lightweight saloon and estate brethren. In fact, if you lowered an XC60 to make it adopt a road-hugging stance, it would doubtless appear as a rather rakish sports estate. Volvo calls it "emotional" styling.

Cabin Comfort

You wouldn't accuse the XC60's interior of being overdone. It is fresh, modem, stylish and, above all, simple. The all-anthracite lower-half trim of our test example might seem dull and oppressive in some cars, but with little more to lift it than white contrast stitching and tastefully applied bright moldings, the Volvo manages an air of smart practicality. You'd expect nothing less from Swedish design.

The focal point is without doubt Volvo's now well known 'floating' center console, in this instance having a bright metallic finish. It presents an array of logically-arranged and clearly-marked controls - the human-shaped air-distribution graphic being a particular case in point - which become almost intuitive at first glance. Above this and the CD slot resides the clear sat-nav screen, slightly inset to reduce reflections in the window glass, and located on the same plane as the instruments where a quick glance enables immediate visual clarity without refocusing.

Gauges - just the two - convey the necessary details via annular analogue dials and (that word again) 'floating' pointers with digital supplementary information displayed in their centers. They have a chronographic look to them, but Volvo has thankfully resisted the usually Far-Eastern car manufacturers' trend to decorate them with too much bling and fancy illumination.

In true Volvo tradition, the seats are well-shaped, supportive and comfortable with those in the front offering a useful range of adjustment. The rear compartment boasts reasonable if not commodious legroom, and the nicely contoured seat should provide three average-sized adults with cozy but comfortable travel. The 40:20:40 split/fold seat gives a flat load floor when the one-touch release levers are operated.

Zoned climate control gives a degree (actually, quite a few degrees) of heating/cooling versatility and clean cabin air using filtration and Volvo's Clean Zone Interior Package, an innovative air-purging system.

Driving Dynamics

Five-cylinder engines make a deal of sense, being as responsive as a 'four' yet almost as smooth as a 'six', although the smoothness bit is less apparent with an oil burner. Once warmed up, though, the D5 is a pleasant enough diesel, delivering brisk performance in concert with the smooth-shifting six-speed Geartronic transmission, which also has Sport mode and manual override.

Having originally thought the steering over-weighted, a few miles later it seemed to feel quicker and more responsive. Speed-dependent assistance is available as standard or an option, depending on model, with a user-selection facility.

In normal conditions the all-wheel drive system is front-biased, with torque re-apportioned via the computer-controlled hydraulic clutch as available grip alters. Volvo's Instant Traction is designed to assist with standing starts. Ride is quite firm (maybe due to the BMW X3 being an XC60 benchmark) but gives car-like cornering and handling, though well-judged initial compliance takes the sting out of many road imperfections.

The Volvo's City Safety helps avoid low-speed accidents; Collision Warning with Auto Brake and Adaptive Cruise Control with Distance Alert operate at higher speeds; BUS reveals your blind spots; DAC and LDW try to stop you falling asleep or straying out of lane; and IDIS delays phone calls while you deal with complex driving situations. These systems can be had along with Volvo's renowned safety design and engineering assisted by Roll Stability Control, Hill Descent Control, Dynamic Stability and Traction Control, and Trailer Stability Assist. Oh, and there's Park Assist...

Pulling Performance

The Volvo's 90kg nose weight offers a good margin to accommodate most appropriate caravans, and rectangular, straight-edged door mirrors provide a better platform than many for towing mirrors.

The XC60 proved to be brisk, turning in a 0-60mph time of 14.5 seconds despite initial take-off being softened by the automatic gearbox.. Hill starts were equally as trouble-free. The outfit felt quite unruffled in urban conditions, possibly due to the assurance of City Safety, and with a 30-50mph time of 6.1 sec was rarely in danger of holding up other traffic. Normal auto mode coped well, smoothly finding itself in the right gear at the right time.

The steering could occasionally feel a bit weighty in tight, twisty urban conditions but improved at higher speeds to become smooth, responsive and accurate, where the Volvo felt in complete control through strings of minor-road bends. On steep descents manual gear selection could be useful, but the strong brakes with their various driver- assistance systems provided reassurance.

At motorway speeds the XC60 tracked straight and true, though on a very windy test day some buffeting was experienced, as was some enforced deviation offline from large overtaking trucks and coaches.

Ride comfort in all conditions was firm, though rarely uncomfortably so, and the XC60 managed to damp out the caravan's bump reactions very competently over all but the worst ruts.


Think of this SUV as a tall, slinky, blonde Swede that'll never have a blonde moment, yet is very XC.

Check out these automotive reviews from hybrids to the latest forklift truck models, and HGV to forklift training guides.

Top Gear: BBC:Audi R8 Car Review vs Porsche 911 Carrera

Jeremy Clarkson reviews the new Audi R8 supercar and claims it to be one of the best supercars in the world - only to be interrupted by a competitive Richard Hammond in a Porsche 911. Which one is better - the Porsche 911 or the Audi R8? The only way to settle this argument is through a Top Gear special drag race! Who will win? Watch this clip in full to find out.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Mercedes-Benz E500 Cabriolet: All You Want In A C-CLass Packed Stylishly

Mercedes-Benz E500 CabrioletBy Janelle Elizabeth

It is back again and it'll deal with lots of competition from a lot of Euro convertibles. Presenting the Mercedes-Benz E-Class cabriolet! Featuring its E-Class foundations assuring that it is bigger than the CLK cabrio and that it will successfully replace, the E-Class Cabrio appears a lot like its siblings, specifically the coupe. The side profile is good-looking too and even with a top which is fabric, that has been picked to help keep the load down, the load of this vehicle is simply heavier by 120kg compared to equal hard top.

In the winter weather, you can really have a quiet driving with the roof in place similar to cruising a coupe. If the roof is lowered, it is just as awesome. And thanks to climate control, and Airscarf, one will definitely remain cozy. It also makes use of "Aircap" that is a deflector in the frame of the windscreen and a draught stop which is between the back car seats which as outlined by Merc, will minimize the wind flow and noise in the cabin at 160km/h. Nonetheless, this automobile is centered on unperturbed development since it isn't a real sports car but a luxury GT. Just simply look at the large steering wheel if you'd like proof!

With a three-link front, multi linked suspensions in the rear, together with features which make it obvious that a lot of money has been spent on the car, it's really a fantastic drive. There are much more great features like cruise control with automatic following, a rear view camera, park control, drowsiness detector, TV tuner, temperature controlled seats, auto headlights, and a lot more.

Step on the accelerator and you will definitely discover its 51:49-front to rear equilibrium providing an enjoyable agility. This vehicle navigates corners precisely using speed sensitive guiding and also dynamic dampers assist. And although there's a hint where the strong engine may well take control of the rear, the stability control though will gather up.

Nevertheless, in spite of its undoubted capability and minimal flex for a drop-top, this particular car never truly feels light-footed. It's not a big surprise though, since it weighs in at 1840kg. This car isn't as hardcore as the engine indicates nor the reality that this engine is not actually brand new won't make an impression on its buyers. They're going to still adore the muffled gurgle of its 5.4-litre V8 engine as well as the delivered acceleration. On top of it all, who will not enjoy all the extravagance of an E-Class sedan that's packaged more stylishly?

It's back again and will also encounter lots of competition from plenty of Euro convertibles. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class cabriolet! Using its E-Class foundations guaranteeing that it is larger than the CLK cabrio and that it will essentially replace, the E-Class Cabrio appears nearly the same as its siblings, mainly the coupe.

Fiat Punto Car Review

Fiat Punto Car ReviewBy Himanshu Shekhar Jha

Fiat, the well known name in the automobiles market recently came up with a new hatchback called the Grande Punto. Both its exteriors and interiors look powerful and muscular. This mid sized hatchback has quite been liked by the users.

Design and Styling
The design of the Fiat Punto car is quite attractive to look at. The car is available in very varied colours such as: Exotica Red, Hip Hop Black, Bossa Nova White, Minima Grey and Medium grey. The interiors of the car are two toned. The seats have a sporty structure and padded base providing utmost comfort to the people sitting inside. The steering wheel is leather based.

The dashboard is simple and the cabin spacious. There is a lot of room for leg-space perfect for long journeys. The rear seats can be folded. Apart from the back storage area there are few notable areas of storage, advantageous for travelling on outstation tours. The rear view mirror is electronic and can be adjusted without opening the door glass. The air conditioner installed in the car is climate sensitive and adjusts the temperature accordingly.

There are many state-of-art technological features used in the car making it appear truly European. With the help of Blue & Me technology developed by Microsoft, mobile is synchronised with Bluetooth for SMSes and Voice Dialling. Fiat Punto is available in the following models: Active, Dynamic, Emotion and Emotion Pack.

Engine and other specifications
There are a total of three kinds of engine available in all the models of Grande Punto. They are: 1.2 litre petrol engine, 1.4 litre petrol engine and 1.3 litre diesel engine. The maximum power given out by these engines is 68 Bhp@ 6500 rpm and the maximum torque being 96Nm@ 2500 rpm. The fuel efficiency of Punto is seen to be a maximum of 16 kilometres per litre. The engine displacement is 1172cc, FIRE, 8 valve, SOHC. The kerb weight comes to 1140 kilograms.

The front brakes are disk type and the rear drum. The suspension is Independent Mc Pherson Struts, Teles Stabiliser Bar. The size of the tyres is 165/80 R14. The car is provided with 2 trip meters and a tachometer. The bumper resembles the colour of the body of the car.

The door mirrors are manual on both the sides. The driver seat adjustment is manual with power windows and steering. Remote boot and remote fuel filter have been provided with. The top speed of the car zooms up to 182 kilometres per hour.

The quality of the interiors is average and the fuel efficiency given out by the petrol models is low. On speeding the car, the engine produces quite a lot of noise too. The services provided by Fiat are not competent with other hatchback companies.


Fiat has made a satisfactory attempt by launching Grande Punto. This hatchback is not the best but definitely not the worst either.

Besides this Fiat Punto Car Review you can read other car reviews at

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The Importance Of Breakdown Cover

The Importance Of Breakdown CoverBy Adam Leyton

As of 2010, the number of vehicles operating on the roads in the United Kingdom is in excess of 31 million, as reported by the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders). This figure is among the largest in the world and consequently leads to a very large number of breakdown cover calls every year. There are several reasons why breakdown cover is extremely essential to motorists in the United Kingdom. These factors are discussed below.

Personal vehicle travel in the UK forms one of the main backbones of the country. Therefore if a person's car breaks down unexpectedly in the middle of a journey, he or she is left with very few options available. If the breakdown occurs in a remote location, the problem is even worse. He cannot leave the car unattended on the side of the road as it would be a hazard to other motorists. This is where breakdown cover comes in. The person can easily call a roadside assistance company and they will swiftly come to help him or her out. If the vehicle has a minor breakdown such as a flat tyre or lack of radiator fluid, the mechanic can easily and quickly get it running again which is very useful for consumers.

If the problem is more severe and your vehicle cannot be fixed immediately, it is taken away to the nearest local garage while options are provided in order to help you reach the destination of your choice. These options may depend on the cover that you have chosen and may include services such as providing a hire car for you or arranging public transport which is paid for by the company. If a person does not have breakdown cover in an instance of a breakdown, the problems that he or she would face would be acute and it would make the subscription of a roadside assistance package well worth it. As it is impossible to know when and where your car will suddenly break down, it is best to be prepared in advance instead of facing headaches at times when you need to urgently reach your destination.

Breakdown cover sometimes also provides the facility of home call-out. This means that if the vehicle breaks down while parked at your own home and not in the middle of a journey, the crew will still come over and repair your car and if that is not possible it will take the car away for repairs which will save you the hassle that would have been resulted without a breakdown package.

Quote Professor is a new website looking at many general insurance lines an with plenty of hints and tips on getting the right cover.

Audi A6 Saloon Whatcar Review

There's a good range of petrol engines, including a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder unit, a 2.8-litre V6, and a supercharged 3.0-litre. The V10-engined S6 is amazingly fast, but the more popular diesel units include two 2.0-litre units, plus a sweet 2.7 and a potent 3.0 V6. The A6 is a big car, and while you might think it needs a big engine to shift it, in fact our favourite is the more powerful of the two 2.0-litre TDI units. Its smooth, powerful, refined and economical.

Ride & Handling
Although the standard suspension offers a decent blend of comfort and control, it doesnt cope with as wide a range of road conditions as the more sophisticated, more expensive air-suspension. With air added to the reassurance of traction-boosting four-wheel-drive, youre getting close to the ultimate A6. With this set-up, the A6 changes direction sharply, resists roll and clings on well. In the S6, though, the ride is very firm, and the car is not as agile as you might expect.

Sporty the A6 may be, but refinement has not been overlooked; the car is remarkably hushed up to motorway speeds. The 3.0T is the smoothie of the bunch, but all the engines, other than the 2.0-litre diesel, are impressively quiet, although the S6's V10 sounds great when you give it its head. The automatic gearbox changes gear almost imperceptibly, and the manual is much better than the one offered in the BMW 5 series.

Monday, 1 November 2010

5 Tips to Avoid an Autumn Breakdown

5 Tips to Avoid an Autumn BreakdownBy Simon Macsis

Unfortunately, many British motorists head out into the cold and wet without carrying out the maintenance checks that could save them serious hassle in the ice and snow.

Avoid putting yourself at the risk of suffering from a breakdown or accident this winter and get your car ready for winter in autumn. Research from breakdown specialist, Green Flag, has found that over 75 per cent of motorists don't check their battery before winter - and batteries are the most common cause of winter breakdowns!

Not making sure your battery is in tip top shape means you have a 50 percent chance of suffering from a breakdown and finding yourself stranded in the snow.

So what can you do about it? Here are five tips to avoid an autumn breakdown, courtesy of Green Flag.
1. Check your battery regularly at a garage and don't to leave your lights on.
2. Take a few minutes before you drive off and carry out a few maintenance checks.
3. Remove all ice from windows to ensure you have good all-round visibility.
4. Ensure tyres are inflated to the correct pressure and have enough tread.
5. Check the oil and water levels and top up whenever necessary.

It's always a good idea to carry your fully-charged mobile phone in the car and have the number of your breakdown cover organisation at hand, in case of emergencies. Knowing your route is a great help, and Green Flag provides a route planner which works out your route for you and is a great help when planning your trip.

Find more on breakdown cover and European breakdown cover online from Green Flag.

Car Review: Renault Clio

By Glenn Nutsey

One of the best things about my job is that I occasionally get to drive some new car demos and this week I had the chance to get behind the wheel of the infamous Renault Clio.

Since its launch in 1991, the Renault Clio has become one of the most popular superminis on the market, breaking numerous sales records and winning a host of awards including European Car of the Year. The latest Clio is now its third generation, boasting a fresh new style and more space than ever before.

Exterior Style:

The new Renault Clio has a striking exterior design with sleek lines and the familiar 'Renault face' as seen on the Megane, Scenic and Laguna. The latest model is larger than its predecessor, boasting more boot space and rear passenger leg room than ever before. It is available as a 3 or 5-door model, both identical in dimension. My model was the entry-level Extreme model in Mercury silver which came equipped with 15'' alloy wheels, manual air conditioning, front fog lights, CD/MP3 player with fingertip controls.

On first appearance, I was quite impressed with the design of the Renault Clio. Granted, it isn't the sportiest supermini on the market but it isn't the ugliest either. Back in the day, the Clio used to be a predominantly 'female' car but I think the new exterior design has changed that. The striking Volcano red and Extreme Blue paint colours give the car a distinctively masculine appeal and more men are choosing to invest in a Clio than ever before.

Interior Design:

Inside the Clio Extreme, the interior was pretty basic with the dashboard, gear lever and door trims all in plain black. The seats were kitted out in 'Papeete' cloth upholstery in black and grey and the carpet floor was in plain back with fixings for tailored car mats should you wish to invest in a set. The stereo was the standard CD/MP3 which is fitted in the entry model but was easy to navigate and gave reasonable sound quality. The stereo can be controlled via the steering wheel mounted controls, located just behind the indicator. The seats were comfortable and easy to adjust.

Overall, I found the interior of the Clio comfortable and practical. Most of the driver features are within fingertip reach including the handy trip computer which displayed the fuel consumption, fuel tank figures and service information. I was a little disappointed that in today's age, Renault haven't fitted a MP3/Aux input as standard on the vehicle - why not? Other than this, the Clio gave a comfortable ride for both driver and passengers.

Power & Performance:

Behind the wheel, the Clio offers a smooth and comfortable ride with impressive fuel economy. The steering was light and responsive and the handling was sharp. The 1.2 16V petrol engine I was driving offers 75 bhp and CO2 emissions of 139 g/km. Fuel consumption is at a reasonable 47.9mph.

I found the Renault Clio a nice car to drive. It was quick to pull off at traffic lights and was more than suitable for city driving. I will admit that I found the engine a little noisy when reaching higher speeds (i.e. on the motorway) but I'm assuming that a bigger engine would help resolve this issue.

Overall the Renault Clio is a nippy, compact car ideal for city living. On the road prices for the entry-level model start from £11,040.

Glenn Nutsey is a keen motorist and a regular writer for CarPress and Nationwide Vehicle Contracts. Check out Nationwide's site for the best contract hire deals in the UK and to order a wide range of Car Accessories at incredibly low prices.