Audi History

Audi is a German Car manufacturer which can be traced as far back as 1885 when an automobile company known as ‘Wanderer’ was established which would go on to form part of Audi. Audi worked throughout the first 50 years of the 20th century to build their reputation as a successful car manufacturer under the name of Auto Union, despite dealing with the typical problems of any car manufacturer during the 2 world wars. It wasn’t until 1968 until Audi was recognised as its own brand after being under the ownership of Daimler-Benz and Volkswagen in the years before 1968.

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Since then Audi have produced a number of awesome cars from the TT to the Audi R8 which are widely sought after and regarded as competitive cars in their class, giving luxury manufacturers such as Mercedes and BMW a run for their money and keeping them very much in the competition.

Audi Allroad

The Audi Allroad provides off-road capabilities coupled with a refined on-road driving experience. The new Allroad has built on the strengths of its predecessor and has hammered out some of the refinement issues that the car faced in the past.

The new A6 Allroad is in a similar market sector to the original car, Audi has placed it in a segment with few rivals. The Audi Allroad is more competent than many other four-wheel drive estates, and provides a better on road experience than most luxury SUVs. The car’s versatility will meet the needs of many buyers although the company expects sales to be fairly modest.

The new Allroad has received several exterior enhancements such as new front and rear bumpers, a bold front grille, flared wheel arches and extended sills. A steel underbody protects against damage to the mechanicals when travelling over rough terrain. It reminds me of a second hand Audi Q5 I drove last year.

The engines range to offer impressive on-road performance as well as sufficient torque to cope with off-road situations, a choice of six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes through to the quattro four-wheel drive system. Included in this is a self-locking central differential and impressive air suspension.

Inside the Allroad boasts an array of quality Audi materials and technology. This model uses a special monoPur fabric in order to deal with mud and moisture. It also uses the innovative Multi Media Interface to control the wide range of vehicle systems keeping the interior uncluttered.

Practicality

The car comes with a high initial purchase price, but the initial purchase price is offset somewhat by the amount of equipment that is offered as standard. The car’s versatility and wide range of abilities must also be taken into account. Insurance rates will be high, but buyers who opt for the diesel version will enjoy decent fuel economy.

The Allroad offers plenty of cabin space. Front and rear seat passengers enjoy more than adequate head and legroom, while the boot is long and wide. The car also provides under-seat storage areas adding to the car’s practicality and appeal.

The car’s main instruments and displays are clear and easy to use. The controls are stylish, while the supplementary information systems are easy to read. The Multi Media Interface operates many of the vehicle controls via a rotary controller and supplementary buttons. It may take some time to get used to but will be much easier to use once the driver is familiar with its functions.
The car’s cabin is very comfortable. Seats are supportive and adjust for passenger comfort. Engine and road noise are kept to a minimum, and road perfections are effectively dealt with by the car’s air suspension system.

 

The car can be fitted with an air suspension system that allows the car’s height to be raised or lowered as needed. This makes the car even easier to access and eliminates the need for less agile passengers to climb up into the car’s cabin. The car’s doors and boot open widely and provide unhindered access.

The Allroad is a large vehicle, but it is easy to park. The car provides good all-round visibility, and the car’s power steering helps out a lot. Parking sensors are available from the options list, and are probably a good idea.

Life Style

The Audi Allroad provides plenty of driver appeal. It can deliver a refined and comfortable ride while on the road, or it can master more complicated terrain with little effort. This is handy in wintery weather when terrain can become difficult. The car also provides high levels of comfort and practicality.

This would make an excellent family vehicle as it is one of the larger Audi Automobiles. It offers plenty of passenger space, and a boot that is large enough to accommodate family-sized items. The car’s versatility will help to accommodate the various roles a vehicle must master as a family transporter.

This is not a likely first car like a Toyota Verso or something. It is too large and costly. Running costs will be high and the car may be difficult for novice drivers to navigate through crowded city streets or shopping malls.

The car boasts a high level of fit and finish which is consistent with my second hand Audi A8, which many buyers have come to expect from Audi. The car’s cabin has a relaxing atmosphere and the materials all feel like good quality.

Security and Safety

The car’s standard security features include a visible VIN plate and remote central locking, and an anti-theft alarm, which includes tow-away protection.

The car’s standard safety features include three Isofix mounting points, ESP with an off-road mode, twin front and twin side airbags, and roof bags on each side.

The Finishing Touches

The car’s standard audio system includes a 10-speaker CD/tuner with a large screen display. The sound quality is very good, and the steering wheel mounted controls are included as well.
The cabin materials are of high quality and feel excellent to the touch. The car provides red backlighting and the splashes of chrome throughout help to brighten the predominantly grey interior.

Summary

The attractively designed Audi Allroad offers buyers a pleasant blend of flexibility and luxury. The car’s off-road capabilities will increase its over-all appeal while its refined on-road manners will win many buyers over.

Audi Car Reviews

Welcome to Audi Car Reviews: A site devoted to all things Audi! Audi is a well-established car manufacturer which has excelled in modern history to become one of the greatest brands in the motor industry. With a number of prestigious models it is not hard to see why Audi is as popular as it is, they have a car for everyone and they are all made with the same ethic behind them to ensure that only the best ever comes off the Audi production lines. There are more detailed Audi car reviews around; BuyYourCar - click here to go to their Audi reviews page, TopGear - click here and BestCars - click here are some of the more quirky reviews we found, but the other pages on this site offer my thoughts on some of my favourite Audi models.

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Audi A4

 


The Audi A4 is a medium-sized executive vehicle which has been in production since 1994 and is currently in its fourth generation.

There are three models available in the current A4 range, the A4 Saloon, the A4 Avant and the A4 allroad quattro.

a4The 4-door saloon offers a spacious interior and comes complete with an impressive level of interior equipment as standard. It delivers decent performance and is available with a strong selection of engines; however the overall quality of the ride is not quite up to the standards set by some rivals.

The A4 saloon is priced from £23,960 as new, although top-of-the-range models will cost nearly £40,000. All engines are relatively green for the class, which equates to low road tax, while the most frugal of them boasts a combined MPG of 66.

The Audi A4 Avant is a 5-door estate which offers more interior space and a larger loading area for luggage, making it an excellent family car. It is priced similarly to the saloon, starting from just over £25,000, and costs the same to insure and tax. It is slightly less economical than its 4-door brother in terms of fuel consumption.

The A4 allroad quattro features a wider track and permanent four-wheel drive, allowing it to perform better off-road and over more difficult terrain. It is pricier than the other models in the range, starting from £31,810, and not as fuel efficient either.

The full Audi A4 range is available to lease, with deals online at AutoVillage.co.uk.

 


Audi Q3

 


The Audi Q3 is a small crossover 4×4, and the smallest model in the Q range.

It is on offer with a 2.0-litre petrol or a 2.0-litre diesel engine, and is available in either two- or four-wheel drive. Refinement and ride quality are both strong with the Q3, even at higher speeds, while a decent level of space is provided inside the cabin.

The Q3 is on a par with rivals in terms of how much it costs to tax and insure. It can deliver a combined MPG of 54 with its most economical engine.

As new the Audi Q3 is available starting from £25,270, with range-topping derivatives costing in excess of £32,000.

Used models which are just a year old can be purchased for around £20,000 however. You can find listings at CarDealerLocator.co.uk.

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Audi Q5 & Q7

 

The Audi Q5 is a medium sized 4×4, essentially a larger Q3, while the Q7 is a full sized 4×4.

The Q5 starts from £30,980 and the Q7 from £60,875.

Lexus RX Review

Lexus added a hybrid powertrain to its popular SUV, and is focusing on that ever increasing number of eco-conscious buyers.

The company’s hybrid-powered 4×4 has been introduced at the perfect time as ecological issues weigh heavily on the public’s mind. The Lexus brand has always offered high-tech modern features regardless of make or model, so a complex petrol-electric combination that can cope with four-wheel drive is  not a surprise. The company has always introduced innovative and practical ideas leading the way and setting high standards for rival brands. Lexus’ RX model has been on the market since 2001, and has always offered a comfortable ride within the SUV sector. The car’s good looks and excellent performance have kept it competitive and have allowed it to secure a loyal following in this sector. The Lexus RX sports a six-cylinder petrol engine, combined with two electric motors, one to drive each pair of wheels, allowing two and four-wheel drive, offering additional grip. The car can also run in full electric mode, reducing emissions to zero. This gives the RX a clear advantage over competitors.

 Practicality

The Lexus RX is less expensive than the competition. It gets good fuel economy and has a low insurance group. The RX will prove to continue to be inexpensive as it is reliable and servicing costs tend to be low. The cabin is large but only accommodates four passengers. Headroom is plentiful and even the tallest passengers shouldn’t need to worry about legroom. The boot is large and will easily carries luggage and other bulky items around. The gauges live up to the Lexus trademark. They are concise and easy to read. Where there was once a rev. counter, now sits a power gauge that displays information on the electric motor. The cabin is comfortable and quiet. The suspension is well adapted to provide a smooth ride. Front passengers enjoy the luxury of electronic adjusting seats, and although rear passenger’s seats don’t adjust electronically, they are comfortable and supportive. Access to the RX is easy. The seats are high, but not an uncomfortable reach for most. The boot is also high, but easy to load and unload. All doors open wide enough to allow for easy loading of both passengers and cargo. The light steering, generous side mirrors and good visibility make parking the large RX easy. To assist, the SE-L models come with a rear camera. Although useful, these aren’t options on the base model.

 Life Style

 The Lexus RX is not designed for performance. It provides a comfortable and reliable ride in town and on longer trips. It’s at its best when not being pushed too hard. Enthusiastic drivers may not enjoy the ride but passengers will be more than comfortable. This would make an excellent family car. The car provides plenty of space and a high ride height providing good all-round vision for passengers. The DVD player in the rear is ideal for entertaining children on long journeys. This car is probably too expensive for most newly licensed drivers, even a second hand Lexus RX would probably be outside the budget of most first time buyers. The car is an expensive purchase and also has high insurance rates. The driving experience itself would be excellent for most novice drivers. The car is easy to drive and easy to park. Lexus is relatively new to the SUV sector of the market. This hasn’t slowed them down one bit. The Lexus brand is viewed as a quality and classy brand. Lexus is leading the way with new SUV technologies and will continue to have a strong presence and influence in the SUV sector.

 Security and Safety

 The RX comes equipped with an immobilizer, and high quality alarm. The door deadlocks are also a theft deterrent. With nine airbags the RX is sure to do well in the case of an accident. The placement of the placement of the batteries under the back seats keep them out of harms way for most circumstances The VDIM system that comes with the RX is more efficient than the usual ESP system. The electronically controlled brake system also provides much safety in the event that much braking force is needed.

 The Finishing touches

An eight-speaker dash mounted CD auto changer with RDS radio, including steering wheel controls comes standard on the base and SE models. The upgraded SE-L version gives you an 11-speaker system. Some other models have an optional DVD player. Entry models have cloth trim, and SE and SE-L models have leather trim in the color choice of either beige or black. Silver trim inserts are standard, but on the SE-L version a wood pack is available, the wood pack covers the steering wheel and gear lever surround.

 Summary

 The Lexus RX delivers good performance and economy providing the buyer with excellent value for the money. Its 4X4 capabilities are not the strongest in its class, but given the fact that most drivers will never leave the road they are more than adequate.

Smart Fortwo Review

The benefits of the Smart Fortwo are easily guessed by just looking at the car – it can be parked in spaces other drivers wouldn’t even consider, running costs are incredibly low and it’s fun to own and drive.

 Practicality

The main weakness of the Smart Fortwo is the fact that it’s obviously not that practical as it has only two seats and limited luggage room. That said there is space for a couple of large adults in the tall cabin and wide-opening doors make it easy to enter and exit. The Smart Fortwo is also clever at creating the feeling of space thanks to the straight dashboard and minimal furniture around the handbrake. The boot is anything but huge with a capacity of 220 litres – but this isn’t that bad when compared to other city cars. The twin section tailgate forms a platform making loading and unloading easy. As has already been mentioned running costs are low whichever smart fotwo you choose as it is cheap to insure and even the most powerful engine averages an impressive 43.5mpg in town and 54.3 on average. You are likely to pay on or close to the sticker price though as discounts are notoriously thin on the ground at dealerships. Being designed by Germans quality is assured and apart from some cheap looking heater controls the Smart Fortwo’s interior has a durable feel to it. It is well laid out and has large easy-to-use buttons and dials. One quibble though is with the driving position as the seat doesn’t adjust for height and the steering wheel is fixed. Low band vehicle tax and congestion charge exemption – plus low fuel consumption – add up to one of the most economic vehicles to own in the city car market.

Life Style

The Smart Fortwo is one of the most distinctive cars on the road with an iconic design that makes it instantly recognisable wherever it is driven. The original softer shape is now replaced by a more macho and athletic style. Looked at from the front the first thing you notice is the more mature grille, as well as distinctive headlamps with built-in projection technology. The vertical door handles have made a 90 degree turn to the horizontal position on the latest Smart Fortwo. The rear window is less steeply angled so keeping the roof length short and putting the accent firmly on its coupe characteristics. But it is inside where the Smart Fortwo has undergone the most radical changes. The S-shaped dashboard has been replaced by a straight facia which gives an increased sense of space and thus of comfort. External mounted dials and fabric covered areas on doors and instruments still feature but overall the interior has the feel of a more conventional cabin which is an improvement on the original. Power steering is surprisingly only an option as parking without it is more hassle than it should be. The Smart Fortwo offers great green credentials as in addition to excellent carbon dioxide ratings the car uses only water-soluble, solvent-free base coats for the plastic body panels, while the tridion safety cell is powder-coated so no solvents are needed here either. The solid body panels are also recyclable.

Security and Safety

The Smart Fortwo comes with an engine immobiliser which means thieves will struggle to drive it away. There is also remote control central locking. All Smart Fortwo’s are kitted out with a stability control system which helps the driver keep the car on the road especially when conditions are less than ideal. Driver and passenger airbag come as standard and side airbags are optional extras.

 The Finishing Touches

Even the entry-level Smart Fortwo gets a rev counter, electric windows, a panoramic glass roof, alloy wheels and steering wheel-mounted gearshift paddles. The more luxury-orientated cars do without the paddles in favour of a fully automatic programme for the clutchless gearbox and add air conditioning.

 Smart Fortwo Car Review Summary

The latest Smart Fortwo is a city car offering lots of fun with a surprisingly well kitted out interior and upgraded safety equipment. The city slicker is clearly aimed at the youthful, cost conscious, green voter and they seem likely to be beating a path to its doors. The body is now longer and wider and the engine is linked to a much improved 5-speed semi-automatic transmission which nevertheless is still a bit jerky unless you easy your foot off the accelerator. Engine options are a 999cc three-cylinder petrol engine, with 70, 83 or 97bhp outputs or a 54bhp 800cc diesel. The 70bhp petrol model is probably the best option as it’s the cheapest but still offers ample legs and accelerates from 0-62mph in 13.3 seconds. The diesel is glacially slow. All the power units allow you to get to the supermarket and back on a few drops of fuel.

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Saab 9 Review

The Saab convertible has been a huge success for the Swedish firm since the car’s introduction in 1986. The car offered buyers an alternative to the big German brands. Saab’s 9-3 continues to offer buyers a stylish alternative. The car is and reliable and has drawn many buyers to the Saab brand.

Saab doesn’t always do so well in the executive saloon market, but manages to do very well in the premium convertible market. Saab’s performance in this sector has been most impressive. The company’s 9-3 Convertible borrowed some design cues from the 9-3 compact executive saloon. All of the traditional Saab elements have been included to create an understated look. This is exactly what many buyers are looking for. This 9-3 offers a good driving experience with finely tuned suspension, and serious horsepower. The car has much to offer, but is often out performed by rival brands. The 9-3 does have the competition beat in several areas however, such as Saab’s ability to score well in usability tests. The car’s cabin is also excellent and very ergonomic. The 9-3′s seats also provide impressive support and are very comfortable.

 Practicality

Saab’s 9-3 is one of the better value options available among the premium convertibles. The car comes with high levels of standard equipment and residual values are good. The petrol engine tends to be thirsty, especially when fitted with an auto gearbox. The car should prove be reliable helping to keep costs down. Front seat passengers enjoy a good deal of space, but rear seat passengers are more limited with modest amounts of room. Boot space is also limited when the top is down. Front seat passengers shouldn’t have any problems getting comfortable though. Saab has a reputation for providing good ergonomics, and the 9-3 is no different. The main instruments are clear and easy to read. The audio and ventilation units boast big buttons and clear displays. The car’s instruments are practical and well designed. This car was designed with comfort in mind. The car handles road imperfections well and delivers a smooth ride. The Swedish firm is famous for making comfortable seats, and the seats in the 9-3 are testimony to the company’s ability. The car is comfortable but the cabin does not suppress wind noise very well. Access to the car’s front seats is very good. Front seat passengers will have no trouble accessing or egressing the car’s cabin. The doors open wide allowing easy access. Rear seat passengers don’t fair so well; climbing over the folded front seats into very limited space. Access to the car’s boot is unhindered and straightforward. With the roof up, rearward visibility is limited, but roof down visibility is good all-round. Parking is straightforward, and the car’s steering assists greatly making parking even easier. Side mirrors are a decent size and assist even further.

 Life Style

Despite the car’s sporty look the 9-3 Convertible doesn’t offer much in the way of providing driver appeal. The car can be fast and is an accomplished motorway cruiser, but it isn’t a performance vehicle. The car’s primary focus is on comfort. The 9-3 Convertible wasn’t really designed to be a family car. The car provides seating for four, but rear space is extremely limited. The rear wind deflector takes up most of the rear space, and the already small boot gets smaller with the top down. There are much more suitable family cars available. Saab’s convertible is probably not a good first car. It will be costly for a newly licensed driver to buy and run. Insurance will be high or impossible to get, and limited rearward visibility with the top up could pose problems for new drivers. The 9-3 Convertible has a very positive image and has had no problems competing with bigger brands such as Audi and Mercedes. The Although often perceived by critics to be one step below the Germans, the drop-top Swede has done well for itself – helped in no small part by the success of its predecessor, the 900. Saab also scores highly in the quality department, as the car feels sturdy and durable.

 Security and Safety

 The 9-3 Convertible is a very desirable vehicle and will be high on the list of many car thieves. The fabric roof poses a security risk as with all soft top convertibles. The car comes with an engine immobiliser and a security alarm system boasting motion and tilt sensors. Remote central locking is also included, but, an aftermarket tracking device would be a wise investment as well. Saab does not skimp on safety, and the car comes with twin front and side airbags. Rollover protection is also standard in the form of pop-up roll bars. All of the familiar active safety systems are present as well as ABS and electronic stability programmes.

 The Finishing Touches

The standard audio unit includes a radio and CD player. The unit is conveniently located and boasts large controls and a clear display. When you Buy Your Saab you will be presented with a bunch of optional upgrades include a CD changer, a sat-nav system, and a Bluetooth connection. The 9-3 looks good in most exterior colours. Silver is one of the most popular choices. The metallic hue will help to increase resale values. The interior is comprised of mostly dark colours with splashes of lighter trim.

 Summary

 There are sportier convertibles on the market, but Saab’s 9-3 is stylish and easy to drive. The 9-3′s is ideal for anyone who doesn’t need to have a more prestigious badge.

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5 stars for Kia Carens

Euro NCAP has awarded the Kia Carens a maximum 5-star safety rating in its crash tests.

The compact MPV was helped on its way to the coveted rating with the aid of a comprehensive level of safety equipment. As standard it comes with six airbags (front, side and curtain), seatbelt reminders for all occupants, electronic stability control, hill-start assist and emergency stop signalling, which flashes the brake lights to alert other motorists when the car is making an emergency stop.

Individually, the model scored 94 per cent for adult occupant safety, 76 per cent for child occupant safety, 64 per cent for pedestrian safety and 81 per cent for its safety assist equipment.

Benny Oeyen, vice president of marketing and product planning at Kia Motors Europe, commented on the achievement: “In the last five years, Euro NCAP testing criteria has become tougher, making it harder for manufacturers’ products to be awarded top marks.

“It is a testament to Kia’s ongoing commitment to improving vehicle safety that we are able to once again achieve the highest rating with new Carens.”

The Carens is priced between £17,895 and £23,895. Previous generation models are available for a fraction of this however. Perhaps the improved safety features will boost residual values of the new model.

Peugeot 208 Gti getting closer

The Peugeot 208 is getting the GTi treatment and we are pleased to announce that the order books are opening not too far from now in March before being introduced to the showrooms in June. There are a few exterior changes, including a rear spoiler, twin chrome exhaust tailpipes,LED Daytime Running Lights and some nice big red brake calipers front and rear.

It features a THP engine (as does the standard 208) but it has been tweaked to produce 200bhp and provide astonishing performance levels with 0-62mph taking only 6.8 seconds. It will be interesting to see how the 208 GTi fares against its highly anticipated hot hatch rivals; the Ford Fiesta ST and the Renaultsport Clio 200. It will also be interesting to compare the depreciation values of these cars to see is a used Peugeot 208 can hold its ground against the Fiesta and Renault Sport.

If it is anything like the other Peugeot GTi models, servicing the 208 GTi should be relatively straight forward, and reasonably priced (though it will be more costly than the standard 208). As we said, this car will be the type t0 attract those who like the Cliosport models, Fiesta ST models and the high spec VW Golf models.

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Small service and MOT advice

Maybe you own a used Mini, maybe you prefer the Fiat 500, whatever your preference, you will at some point share the same hassle that plagues all British motorists, a plague which descends in the form of an annual MOT check.

Furthermore, servicing your small car won’t exactly be a pleasure, but at some point, a change of certain car parts will be necessary, and your expertise probably won’t be sufficient. But there is one area where you can be an expert, and that is price!

Until now the prices for servicing and MOT available have been pretty hard to research, but a new system designed by automotive site BuyYourCar has helped put an end to that. You can now compare servicing and MOT costs online, similar to how you can with insurance etc. This will obviously be rewarding in terms of saving money and finding the best deal. Also, it locates pricing information from garages nearby the postcode you supplied, so you won’t be sat in London looking at prices from Scotland.

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