Title: Best Cars for Young Drivers

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Summary: Low initial purchase, fuel efficiency, and insurance costs are the key priorities for young drivers looking into the car market. But, with so many different cars to choose from - along with fuel types, insurance groups, and tax bands – picking the right one for you might not always seem easy.

Meta Title: Best Cars for Young Drivers

Meta Description: Looking for some of the best cars for young drivers? Take a look at our selection of low cost, affordable to run cars here.

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Young Driver

Low initial purchase, fuel efficiency, and insurance costs are the key priorities for young drivers looking into the car market. But, with so many different cars to choose from – along with fuel types, insurance groups, and tax bands – picking the right one for you might not always seem easy.

So, we’ve put together a handy guide for young drivers. If you’re unsure of what you should be looking out for to guarantee you a great deal on a new car, take a look below.

Insurance groups

A car’s insurance group is an important consideration for young drivers. It can often be the case that young drivers set their heart on a specific car, only to find that their car insurance quote is above and beyond what they can realistically afford. To save yourself any hassle, you should look for cars that are in a low insurance group, to keep costs as low as possible.

Car insurance groups are rated from 1 – 50 with 1 being the cheapest and 50 the most expensive. In general, a car’s insurance group is determined by the price of the vehicle, engine size, fuel type, age, and desirability. For example, cars that sit in insurance group 1 include the Seat Mii S 1.0, Skoda Citigo SE 1.0 GreenTech, and Hyundai i10 1.0 S, three city cars with small engines, a low spec, and low cost.

At the other end of the scale are cars that sit in insurance group 50, such as the Jaguar F-Type, with larger engines and a “performance” focus. Though attractive, these will be difficult to insure within your first few years on the road. Don’t worry about insurance groups cramping your style though – there are plenty of fantastic cars for young drivers in low insurance groups.

Car tax

Car tax is another important consideration when looking for the best car for young drivers. Vehicles registered after the 1st March 2001 are taxed based on their CO2 emissions, whilst vehicles registered prior to the 21st March 2001 are taxed based on engine size only. Unless you want an older car, it is recommended that you pursue the purchase of a car which was registered after the 1st March if you’re a young driver, because it was at this stage in time when efficiency started to play a pivotal role in car manufacturing. In other words, you can expect a like-for-like car registered after the 1st March 2001 to be more fuel efficient.

Cars with CO2 emissions lower than 100 g/km are exempt from annual car tax in tax band A. Cars in tax band B cost £20 annually whilst cars in tax band C cost £30 annually.

Fuel type

It’s also important to consider fuel type in your search for a new car. Modern petrol engines and modern diesel engines are both super efficient and offer a smooth drive, but each fuel type is better suited to different needs.

Diesel-powered cars are the better choice for high mileage drivers. If you commute or work away from home and spend considerable time on the motorway, then a diesel car is going to be better suited to your needs, as diesel cars are more fuel efficient on longer journeys. Petrol engines, meanwhile, are fine for any young driver who is going to cover less than 15,000 miles per year.

Best cars for young drivers

Here’s a list of the best cars for young drivers. We’ve attempted to include a good mix of vehicles here, so chances are there will be a car that stands out for your needs.

SEAT Mii 1.0 i Tech 3dr

The Seat Mii 1.0 i Tech 3dr sits in insurance group 3E and emits 105 g/km of CO2, which translates to annual road tax of £20. Sportier to drive than the S and SE model, the Seat Mii Tech looks great and has plenty of equipment as standard, including air conditioning, electric heated mirrors, alloy wheels, front fog lights, and satellite navigation.

The potential economy of 62.8 miles per gallon combined further sweetens the deal.

Ford Fiesta 1.0 Zetec S 125

If you want a bit of performance to go with your economy, then the Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost Zetec S 125 might be the ideal car for you. This car will return 65.7 miles per gallon on a combined cycle with start/stop technology with a 99 g/km CO2 rating, which translates to £0 annual car tax. Zetec trim includes air con, electric heated mirrors, Bluetooth, and alloy wheels as standard.

Because it’s turbocharged, this Fiesta is spritely to drive and it also has great handling.

Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 Sting 3dr

When it comes to cars for young drivers, the Vauxhall Corsa is a time tested favourite. It’s not hard to see why either, as with the 1.2 Sting model you’ll get an annual road tax of just £110. Alongside a decent fuel economy of 53.3 mpg, a 2E insurance group rating, and low Co2 emissions, the Corsa has pretty much all the features that young drivers should be looking for in a vehicle.

The Corsa 1.2 Sting doesn’t just excel when it comes to figures too, as the sleek looks and sporty colorways mean that it stands out on the aesthetic front too.

Renault Clio 1.5 Dci 90 Expression + Energy

This Clio is amongst the best diesel superminis you can buy, with the potential to return 83.1 miles per gallon with a super-low CO2 rating of 90 g/km, which means £0 annual car tax. It sits in insurance group 12E, which puts it just within the reach of young drivers, but you get a lot of equipment including cruise control, air conditioning, heated electric mirrors, and Bluetooth.

This car is recommend for young drivers who spend lots of time on the motorway.

Whether you’re looking for your first car, or just a great car that is affordable to purchase and run, we hope this guide has given you an idea of what to look for. If you’d like more information on the best cars for young drivers, feel free to get in touch with a Bristol Street Motors dealership in your area.

*Disclaimer: MPG figures are obtained from laboratory testing, in accordance with 2004/3/EC and intended for comparisons between vehicles and may not reflect real driving results.

Author: Tom

Title: Should I Buy or Lease a Car?

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Summary: New car sales and registrations are as high as they’ve ever been. According to new car registration figures collected by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, by January 2015, 164,856 new cars were registered compared to 154,562 new car registrations in January 2013.

Meta Title: Should i Buy or Lease a Car?

Meta Description: Not sure whether you should buy a new car or look into car leasing? Take a look at Bristol Street Motors' helpful guide.

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Buy or Lease

New car sales and registrations are as high as they’ve ever been. According to new car registration figures collected by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, by January 2015, 164,856 new cars were registered compared to 154,562 new car registrations in January 2013. That’s a relatively large increase of 6.66%, which is to say that the UK car market is currently booming.

If you’re considering a new car, then you’re obviously not alone. It’s important to note however that while buying your next car will help the wider economy, this isn’t the only way to get a new car. With personal contract hire, business contract hire, and of course purchasing, there are several ways to access, register, and drive away in the car you want.

If you’re unsure of whether to buy or lease a car, then take a look at the key advantages and differences of the two below.

Leasing

When you lease a car through personal contract or business contract hire, you buy into a long-term agreement similar to rental. The agreement offers you exclusive use of the vehicle for a set period of time for a non-refundable deposit and fixed monthly price. That price factors in the cost of the vehicle, depreciation, and lease profit. It may also factor in maintenance costs, servicing, and MOTs, meaning you won’t have to worry about shelling out for these.

Just as buying can work out cheaper than leasing, leasing can work out cheaper than buying. For many people, leasing can provide the opportunity to access a vehicle that they may not have had the budget to purchase. This is because rather than paying out for the full cost of a vehicle in one lump sum, or repaying the entirety of the cost of a car over many years, leasing a vehicle can allow you to spread out the cost of a luxury vehicle over a limited period of time.

Most lease contracts run for around 3 years, after which the car is free to be handed. For many, the option to get a brand new car every few years, and the flexibility this brings, is the most attractive prospect of contract hire.

Buying

The simplest way of purchasing a car is to pay the entire cost of the vehicle in one sum. However, many people now choose to take out a vehicle finance option like personal contract payment, allowing them to repay the cost of the vehicle over a set amount of time. The initial high purchase price of a vehicle can lead some people to choose this way of purchasing, as for many paying in regular monthly payments is a more manageable. The monthly repayment costs are usually more expensive than a regular lease payment, and will be spread out over a longer period.

Buying a car outright can work out cheaper over a three year period than leasing. This is because over a three year period, a car will naturally depreciate, but you will be able to get back a high percentage of the initial purchase price when you resell.

Buying vs. Leasing

When it comes down to deciding on whether to buy or lease a car, you’re going to have to do some sums to work out which is going to be cheaper. Whatever the case, the cost of leasing versus buying varies massively depending on the car you choose.

The greatest cost of buying a car is depreciation. Many cars lose half their value after the first three years of ownership, and some can lose 5 percent or more simply by driving off the forecourt. Because of this, when working out whether it is cheaper to buy or lease, you must get a predicted resale value after three years/ 36,000 miles on the vehicle. A predicted resale value of 55% or more after three years is considered good.

If you’re thinking of purchasing a car, you can work out the cost over three years by the taking the price you’d pay for the car and taking away the predicted resale value – this is the total cost of the car over three years/ 36,000 miles.

When you lease a car, it’s a little tougher to work out the cost over three years, but not impossible. The best way to do it is to take your deposit and take the leasing cost per month, and multiply this by 36. Coupled with personal factors like flexibility of choosing a vehicle and willingness to invest in capital, if you work out both the cost of leasing and purchasing over 3 years, you can work out the best route to take when looking for a new car.

Important things to consider:

  • Depreciation is the greatest cost when buying or leasing a car
  • The predicted resale value and the price you pay for a car are the two most important figures when working out the cost over three years
  • Fuel, servicing, car tax, and insurance costs will be the same whether you lease or buy a car.

If you’d like more information on whether buying or leasing is best for your situation, why not compare the contract hire deals and new cars for sale on our site. Or, just get in touch with a dealership near you, and talk to a member of the team about the options that are best for you.

Author: Tom

Title: Cars to Look Forward to in 2016

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Summary: Despite the fact that we’ve always got a great range of cars on show at Bristol Street Motors, like any petrol-head, we can’t help but get excited about what the future has in store.

Meta Title: Cars to Look Forward to in 2016

Meta Description: Take a look at some of the most anticipated new cars for 2016 on the Bristol Street Motors blog.

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Ford Focus RS

Despite the fact that we always have a great range of cars on show at Bristol Street Motors, like any petrol-head, we can’t help but get excited about what the future has in store. From upgraded versions of our current favourites to completely new designs from the world’s biggest manufacturers, 2016 looks set to be an incredibly interesting and intriguing year for cars.

But what should you keep your eyes peeled for next year? We’ve come up with the following list of new cars for 2016 that are bound to cause a stir in automotive circles.

Ford Focus RS

For 2016, Ford hopes its third generation Focus RS (pictured above) will be able to rival the likes of the VW Golf R, Audi S3, and even the Mercedes A45 AMG. It probably has a fighting chance too, as the turbocharged 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine will produce as much as 330bhp.

As opposed to previous models however, all that power will be kept in check by a variable all-wheel-drive system, which should give the Focus RS “class-leading corner speed, limit handling and a unique drift capability,” according to Ford.

Would-be owners will be greeted with numerous interior upgrades too, such as Recaro sports seats, an 8-inch colour touchscreen and Ford’s Sync2 connectivity system, which can currently be found on the standard high-spec Focus.

Range Rover Evoque Convertible
Range Rover Evoque Convertible

No, your eyes are not deceiving you, Range Rover do have plans to release a convertible version of its Evoque in 2016. The much-loved manufacturer says this will be “the world’s first premium compact SUV convertible,” which is bound to divide opinion among fans of the Evoque.

Technical details are thin on the ground right now, but with extra torsional rigidity required for the chassis and an electric roof system, fuel economy and handling may well suffer from the additional weight.

However, Jaguar Land Rover’s new Ingenium engine family manages to return 68mpg with the recent updated fixed-roof Evoque, so a convertible version could still be well within your budget.

Alfa Romeo Giulia

The first word that will spring to mind when you see the Alfa Romeo Giulia is – wow. Although this is the Italian marque’s long awaited and much-anticipated replacement for the 159 saloon, the Giulia has received a serious styling upgrade from its predecessor with an aggressive front-end and sweeping lines.

Featuring rear-wheel drive as well as a carbon and aluminium construction, the Giulia isn’t just a pretty face. You can rest assured that this sleek saloon will handle like a dream but also offer up commendable performance and efficiency figures.

Expected to go on sale in early next year, the new Alfa Romeo Giulia will also herald the debut of a new logo for the brand, which retains key design elements but looks much sharper. With all this in mind, the new Giulia is sure to be one of the key cars of 2016.

Seat SUV

SEAT SUV

Again, not much is known about Seat’s first-ever foray into the SUV market, but it will go up against models like the Nissan Qashqai and Mazda CX-5 in terms of size and performance.

Seeing as it will be based on the Seat Leon, you can expect similar specifications but with a raised driving position, more spacious interior and bigger boot. The standard engine will be Seat’s 1.4 TSI, but a 1.6 TDI diesel should also be available.

Seat boss Jurgen Stackmann says the company has been “looking for agility and precision from the dynamics, utility inside and great design that expresses our values. We have done a lot of research in to why people buy these kinds of vehicles and what our competitors already offer, and these characteristics should help us stand out.”

So, there you have it; just a fraction of the cars to keep a look out for in 2016. Whilst revelations like driverless cars might not be in our sights just yet, it’s still early days yet, and you should expect there to be a few major announcements before the end of 2015. Until then, stay on point with all the new releases here at Bristol Street Motors.

Author: Tom

Title: Taxis through Time

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Summary: We might take them for granted nowadays, but taxis have a long and illustrious history. However, if you’re looking for a quick way to get home on a Friday night, you might struggle a bit with some of the vehicles, fares, and drivers common in previous years.

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Meta Description: Take a taxi journey back in time and view great deals on new taxis for sale at The Taxi Centre.

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Taxi-topTaxi-bottom

We might take them for granted nowadays, but taxis have a long and illustrious history. However, if you’re looking for a quick way to get home on a Friday night, you might struggle a bit with some of the vehicles, fares, and drivers common in previous years.

The first stop on our taxi journey back in time is ancient Rome, and a little vehicle called the lectica. When we say vehicle, we mean this in the loosest possible sense; the lectica is essentially a glorified chair, and roughly translates to “portable couch”. “How am I going to get home on a couch?”, we hear you ask. By manpower, that’s how! Yes, whilst the lectica does seem like a slow way to get around, the kind of people who used them most definitely had the time and money to take the leisurely route. For a select few of the elite – or patrician – class, the lectica was a stylish and ostentatious way to travel. For most though, especially the downtrodden subjects and slaves who were unfortunate enough to be tasked with carrying the thing, travelling like this was simply not an option.

For our next stop, we’ll fast forward a few hundred years, and head over to Norman Britain. The taxi industry was still a long way away, and if you wanted to get from A to B in a hurry you’d have to find a willing squire to hire a Hacquenée from. A Hacquenée was essentially an unremarkable horse, specifically used for hiring out to budding travellers – for a fee, of course. Whilst this is surely faster (and more humane) than a couch with handles, the price of hiring a horse was still far too expensive for anyone but the elite.

And so we travel forward to the time of Queen Elizabeth, where we see the first real signs of the foundation of the taxi industry. Here we see the introduction of the cart – or Hackney Carriage – and with it, the first taxi drivers. These carriages were usually the property of the ludicrously wealthy aristocracy, hired out to the less ludicrously wealthy aristocracy to maintain the costs of upkeep (horses don’t run for free, you know). However, taxi travel was still out of reach for most people. If not for the cost, this will have been due to the negative connotations associated with carriages, which were viewed as effeminate in comparison to actually riding a horse.

Over the next few hundred years, the horse and carriage was king of the emerging taxi trade. Hackney carriages went from being an effeminate luxury to a day to day way to get around. Soon, budding entrepreneurs started to purchase carriages second hand from the wealthy, and hire them out at taverns and shops; the first taxi ranks. However, as the carriages were second hand, a ride from one of these ranks wasn’t the cushy experience it is today. Instead, you might have to contend with splinters, maggot infested wood, or even the prospect of the floor dropping out beneath you.

However, that didn’t stop the popularity of the hackney. By the 1700’s, there were over 1000 carriages plying their trade across the streets of London. This would have been all very well, if it wasn’t for the lax and often unenforced regulations of the time. Whilst this period saw the introduction of standard fares, this didn’t stop crafty drivers from massively overcharging unaware (or too drunk) punters. Coupled with the overcrowded roads, and a lack of speed limit, this earned carriages of the time the name “Hackney hell carts”.

Whilst the industry was doing better than ever,  stark reforms and stricter regulations needed to be introduced if a real move forward into respectability was to be made. So what did the Georgians do? Go back a good 2000 years, of course. Yes, the mid 1750’s saw a rise in popularity of the sedan chair, reminiscent of the lectica used in Roman times. Georgian fashionistas and socialites shunned the horse and carriage, and moved back to the apparent “luxury” of human power. However, unlike Roman times, a real viable industry was built around the Sedan Chair, with chair carriers being paid a fairly decent wage. Chair carriers had their own uniform, operated from ranks, and due to the overcrowding of the roads, were often even faster than a trip in a hackney carriage.

After the extravagant step back the Georgians took to tackle to problems of congestion, it took the industrious Victorians to put forward a real solution. In 1834, the Hackney Carriage received an overhaul, and the Hansom Cab took to the streets of London. Although quaint seeming now, the Hansom Cab was revolutionary at the time, with the vastly smaller carriage allowing drivers to manoeuvre the vehicle with a much higher degree of control. The Victorian era also saw the introduction of the meter, vastly reducing fares and restoring public faith in the taxi industry.

As we go forward in time to the turn of the 20th century, we start the long process of saying goodbye to horses as a regular mode of travel. With the introduction of the Hummingbird in 1898, the new and exciting power of electricity was harnessed as a way to provide efficient and cheap travel round London. Well, we say efficient and cheap. The novelty factor meant that the cabs were run at a premium, and the relatively new and untested electric motors were prone to malfunctioning. In fact, the Hummingbirds were so unreliable – and at times, dangerous – that they were totally withdrawn from the streets after just 2 years of service.

However, with the introduction of the Prunel in 1903, the Hummingbird wouldn’t have stood a chance anyway. The Prunel was just one of a whole new range of petrol powered models active on the streets of London in the early 1900’s, providing travellers with a faster way to travel than ever before. The rise of petrol power would prove to be the final nail in the coffin for industrialised equine travel, although this took longer than you might have expected. In many places, you might have been still been able to hitch a ride on a horse and carriage well into the 1930’s. This was especially true during the Second World War, where entire fleets of taxis were commandeered by the Auxiliary Fire Service as a valuable source of transportation for fire crews and equipment alike.

From here on out, the motor car ruled the taxi industry, with a range of new models, manufacturers, and vehicles hitting the streets of not just London, but the world. However, one manufacturer and model sped out in front – within the speed limit, of course – and became not just the most popular taxi vehicle in London, but also a cultural icon. With its unique shape and all black body, the Austin FX4 is instantly recognisable as the black cab. Since its introduction in 1958, the FX4 has been imitated and reproduced around the world, with countries as far flung as China, Lithuania and Singapore having vehicles reminiscent of Austin’s finest.

Whilst the look of taxis today is still largely rooted in the models of a good half century ago, innovation in the industry hasn’t halted. With the introduction of “green” models like the HyTEC Black Cab, trialled for a limited period during the 2012 Olympics, we’re perhaps seeing the first signs of another big change for taxicabs. With rideshare and app services, we’re also seeing disruption to the entire structure of the taxi and private hire industry, something that has been met with protests around the world.

It’s difficult to predict what the future might hold for taxis, but whatever happens, you can be assured that The Taxi Centre will be there right at the heart of it.

Author: Tom

Title: A Guide to Tyre Maintenance

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Summary: Tyre maintenance isn't just important for safety, but also for the general well-being of your car. If you’re driving on worn out tyres, there’s a good chance you’re causing damage to your vehicle, not to mention your drive quality.

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Meta Description: Discover how to change a tyre and everything you need to know about tyre maintenance at Bristol Street Motors. Find out more here.

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Tyre Maintenance

We might not give much thought to them when driving down the road, but our car tyres are constantly working hard to keep us safe. Even if your vehicle has traction control, skid prevention and anti-lock brakes, nothing can compensate for badly damaged, worn-out or incorrect car tyres.

However, tyre maintenance isn’t just important for safety, but also for the general well-being of your car. If you’re driving on worn out tyres, there’s a good chance you’re causing damage to your vehicle, not to mention your drive quality.

But how can you check your tyre pressure, and how do you know when it’s time to inflate? Again, how do you change a tyre and prevent punctures from occurring? To help out, we’ve put together a handy and simple guide to tyre maintenance. Take a look below.

Checking tyre pressure

In addition to carrying out visual inspections for signs of wear and tear, an essential part of tyre maintenance is keeping a close eye on air pressure. Under-inflated tyres can be the cause of blow-outs due to the increased heat and fiction they encounter. However, overinflated tyres aren’t good either, as they can be susceptible to damage from potholes and bumpy roads.

Therefore, you should check your tyres’ air pressure at least once a month. The correct PSI (pounds per square inch) should be listed in your owner’s manual, on the driver side door panel or inside your fuel flap.

Most petrol stations will have a high-quality air-pressure gauge to measure your tyre’s PSI. Simply unscrew your dust caps, place the gauge over the valve ensuring there is a tight seal between both, and measure the pressure. You can then add or release air as necessary.

How to change a flat tyre

First of all, the following equipment is essential or highly recommended:

  • A jack
  • A wheel wrench
  • A spare wheel
  • A warning triangle
  • A cloth
  1. Make sure your car is in a safe location away from any traffic. Turn on your hazard lights and place your warning triangle at least 45 metres behind the vehicle.
  2. Remove any cover or cap to gain access to the wheel nuts and give them a slight turn to the left with your wrench. Then, place your jack under the jacking point (the location of which can be found in your owner’s manual) nearest the wheel. You must ensure this is correct to avoid damage or an unstable lift. Turn the jack handle to raise the wheel completely off the ground. You can then remove the wheel nuts and the tyre.
  3. Lift the spare onto the mounting surface and tighten the wheel nuts by hand. After the first nut, tighten the one opposite and keep going round to ensure an even alignment is achieved.
  4. Turn the jack handle to lower the car until the wheel hits the ground then remove the jack from underneath. Use your wrench to tighten up the wheel nuts and ensure everything is secure. Drive with caution at first and if using a space saver spare wheel, don’t exceed its recommended speed limit.

How to avoid flat tyres

Even though flat tyres are somewhat inevitable for most motorists, you can reduce the risk of punctures and blow-outs through good maintenance and sensible driving. The main preventative measures are:

  • Avoiding roads with rough surfaces
  • Looking for hazards while driving
  • Checking your tyre pressures regularly
  • Checking for uneven wear and good tread regularly
  • Not overloading your vehicle

We hope that this guide has given you a good introduction to tyre maintenance. If you’re still unsure about changing a tyre or checking your air pressure, don’t worry. Just get in touch with your local Bristol Street Motors dealership, and we’ll be happy to help you out with whatever you need to know.

Author: Tom