Archives for November 2012

The five cheapest cars to insure

Posted on Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It’s fair to say that for many people the cost of running a car has gone up in the past few years, and this isn’t just due to rising fuel costs. Insurance too is getting more expensive for drivers in countries around Europe, and that’s not just limited to those who have just passed their tests. Some cars are much cheaper to insure than others, and whether you’re an Irish citizen looking to get car insurance from or you live elsewhere in Europe, there are cars that just cost less to get covered.

1. Fiat Panda

The motor on the Fiat Panda means that the car falls into insurance category one, so it’s pretty cheap to run as well as cheap to insure. It’s not a bad little vehicle either – WhatCar? said it’s “…fun and easy to drive.”

2. Fiat Qubo

The second Fiat on the list, the Qubo is another odd looking car. It’s like a TARDIS though – much bigger inside than it looks. According to WhatCar? it’s “comfortable, easy to drive and decently refined.”

3. Volkswagen Fox

Like you’d expect from a Volkswagen, the Fox is extremely well built, and does a pretty good job of holding its value, which means that if you ever do come to sell it you’ll get a reasonable price. Again, it’s not the best looking car on the market, but it’s one of the better priced models.

4. Toyota Aygo

The Toyota Aygo has been one of the best little cars on the market since it was launched a few years ago, and its insurance category one engine means that it’s also one of the best value cars available too. Nearly 63 mpg means that it’s going to be top of many people’s shopping lists when it comes to cars that can save cash.

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Scrutinizing the New Toyota Prado

Posted on Monday, November 26, 2012

Toyota are globally renowned for their 4WD vehicles, a byword for ruggedness and practicality. Now they are continuing this tradition with their latest offroader, the Prado.


Offering a 3-door range (the SX and ZR) and a 5-door alternative (the GX, GXL, VX and the Kakadu), with flexible provision for up to 7 seats, the Prado range sports a stylish choice of eight colours (Crystal Pearl, Silver Pearl, Graphite, Metal Storm, Blue Storm, Ebony, Sandstone, Dark Furnace). So the Toyota Prado is impressive technologically and aesthetically. 


The SX, ZR and GX are powered by a belt-driven 4-cylinder in-line Turbo diesel engine, with a fuel consumption of 8.3 litres per 100km. Features include climate control, power windows, vanity mirrors and digitally controlled ventilation, all fitted as standard. Hydraulic power steering and cruise control are standard across the entire Prado range (the Kakadu and ZR have radar cruise control). Both models are automatic transmission only.

The GXL, VX and Kakadu are available in diesel and petrol versions. The specifications for the diesel engine are as for the 3-door models, but with slightly higher fuel consumption, and the diesel GXL and VX are available as manual or automatic. The Kakadu is automatic transmission only, however. The petrol engine is a big 6-cylinder 4-valve V6 with a fuel consumption of 8.8 litres per 100km, controlled by Toyota's Dual Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence. This is a system for providing optimum valve timing, improving fuel consumption and delivering an enjoyable driving-experience while reducing emissions. 


What makes the Toyota Prado really new is its advanced Driver Assisted Technology. The system has been updated with innovative additions to make driving both on and off road much easier and safer. 


Safety is paramount, and the Active Braking with Intelligence (AB-i) ensures sudden stopping in emergencies, thanks to sensors inside the wheels sending feedback to the braking system. Traction Control (TRC), operated by brake or throttle, makes acceleration on slippery or mixed surfaces much safer by locking any wheel that slides. Vehicle Stability Control works in conjunction with AB-i and TRC to control oversteer and understeer, thereby reducing the potential for hazard. 


As regards manoeuvrability the Prado is highly adaptable to all-terrain driving while handling well on roads too. Hill Start Assist (provided on automatic models only) ensures that uphill starts do not slip downhill and is invaluable on low-traction terrain. Downhill driving, parking and reversing are also governed by Toyota's Intelligence system. Multi-Terrain Select, working with the Advanced Braking System, selects different rates of traction for mogul, loose rock, mud-and-sand, rock, from the steering wheel. 


Powerful, practical, safe, great to drive, with luxurious interiors, the Toyota Prado is a first-rate option for the driver seeking a new 4WD car.


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Mud tires are perfect for those treacherous terrains. Learning about the different tire brands and sizes is important for any and all drivers.