Clean Cars: Smart

The new Smart car has two seats and is only 2 ½ m long. Despite the car’s small size the doors open wide for good accessibility. The car is only designed to hold two people and is a great commuter car.


The car’s top can be electronically removed even when on the go. This is a very convenient feature and will be very attractive to potential buyers. Current models feature left-hand drive only. This isn’t a problem once you become accustomed to doing everything on the opposite side.

The Smart provides limited visibility but that shouldn’t pose a problem given the car’s small size. Buyers will have their choice between 3-cylinder engines and can expect adequate acceleration and power regardless of the engine that is selected.

The Smart is a practical car for commuting but it does have limitations. The car is not designed for comfort and the ride can be a little choppy at times. Its small size limits it to commuting. It isn’t practical for long journeys or for shopping or load lugging.

The Smart is appealing in many ways though. It’s fun, inexpensive and draws a lot of attention. It is an excellent commuter car for someone who can afford to have it on hand for short distance trips and another vehicle for longer trips that provides better load carrying capabilities.


The Smart will prove to be very economical to run. The car’s price will run somewhere between budget and premium depending on the level of specification that is selected. Insurance rates should be low as well.

The car provides adequate space for two passengers and a couple of shopping bags. That would about max-out the space and practicality of the Smart.

The car’s controls and instrumentation are of a decent quality. They are all logically located and functional. There isn’t anything too complicated or complex about the car’s controls.

The Smart does not score well as far as comfort is concerned. The car was designed to be an inexpensive mode of travel, and it was not designed for comfort. It delivers tolerable levels of comfort.


The car provides good access. Its doors open wide to provide a large aperture for passengers to slide into the car’s seats. The boot is also easily accessible and doesn’t pose any problems.

Parking could be a little tricky due to limited rear visibility, but due to the car’s small size and light steering the task is made a lot easier. The car’s side mirrors and ability to fit into even the smallest parking space make parking a breeze.

Life Style

The Smart is a six-speed, rear-wheel drive, two-seater. It is powered by a 3-cylinder engine and boasts a maximum speed of approximately 85mph. The car reaches 0-60mph in a little over 17 seconds.

This is definitely not a family car. With only two seats available the only practical use it could have is as a limited second vehicle to a family or as a commuter car.

This would be an excellent first car for buyers who could afford it. Running costs and insurance would be low and fuel economy would be excellent, not to mention that the Smart is easy to park.

There are some quality issues with the Smart. The car’s interior quality is cheap and feels cheap. Honda will need to improve some of these problems if the Smart is to be seriously considered by a vast number of buyers.

Security and safety

The car’s standard security features include remote central locking and an engine immoboliser. The Smart is not likely to fall victim to car thieves and this should be an adequate amount security.

The car’s safety features include stability control, ABS, EBD, fog lamps and side airbags.

The Finishing Touches

The car’s standard audio unit features a radio and cassette system. The unit provides adequate sound quality and can still be heard with the top down.

The Smart’s exterior design looks the most flattering in red. Red seems to suit the car’s quirky personality and draws plenty of attention to the unique, little two- seater.


The Smart provides fun, practical and economical city motoring. The Smart can fit into even the smallest of parking spaces or zip down even the most crowded city streets with ease. The space limitations may prove to be a big turn-off for many buyers, but for those who can afford it, the Smart is an excellent commuter car.

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Clean Cars: Hyundai i800

The Hyundai i800 will easily cater for the family with a larger brood and it’s long enough to put some distance between the driver and even the noisiest offspring.


It isn’t exclusively aimed at families however as the i800 will actually seat eight adults in comfort and has space for luggage too.

It’s not a bad looking motor either. Admittedly style was probably the last thing on the mind of Hyundai’s designers when it came to the i800, but they still managed to give it an attractive face with large headlamps and a prominent grille. The interior is a pleasant place to be as well.

There i800 comes with a raft of standard equipment. Mood lighting is available in the middle and rear rows with a choice of colours and the dark tinted rear windows provide both privacy and a cooler cabin.

The i800 is mechanically surprisingly refined. Despite its size it feels more car like than you might imagine – but with the added benefit of being quite high up.

The only drawback is the inevitable lack of rigidity in a van-based bodyshell with no internal bulkheads. So humps and hollows bring quite a lot of squeaks and creaks from the rear – although pack the i800 out with kids and this will not be noticeable.

The price-tag makes up for any deficiencies though as for this type of vehicle it’s exceptionally friendly to the bank balance.


Durable is the rule of thumb here. The dash is covered in hard plastics, the seat coverings are more plain than plush and the carpets should stand the rigours of the kids’ football team. The i800 can be expected to last the assault course of family living without too many dramas.

Even with eight on board there’s plenty of room for shopping and luggage and the large sliding doors make life much easier in tight parking spaces.

One word of warning though – the i800 is so big that for the less confident driver its sheer size could prove a bit daunting around town. Added to that it is too tall to fit in most standard public car parks – but with the amount of space on offer, hunting around for a parking space may be worth the hassle.

As well as offering a tremendous amount of motor for the money, running costs are reasonable too as the i800 is surprisingly easy on the juice – even with full load of passengers – while a five-year unlimited mileage warranty provides peace of mind.


Both rear benches feature a 60:40 split fold and recline facility.

All the controls are simple for the driver to use as they are conveniently placed.

Life Style

The i800’s driving position is fantastic with a superb view of the road ahead. The driver can look down on most 4x4s and vans, so get behind the wheel and it is a real ‘king of the road’ moment.

The enormous windscreen offers a great view of the road ahead and the large mirrors and standard parking sensors take the stress out of tight manoeuvres as does the light steering. There’s separate airflow and lighting controls for passengers in the back.

The i800 is powered by a lively 2.5-litre diesel engine which produces massive pulling power. It is coupled to a six-speed manual gearbox which is easy to use.

The ride quality can get a bit lumpy on uneven surfaces but it is fine on smooth roads and motorways. Handling is okay while the brakes are very powerful and up to the task even when the i800 is fully loaded.

The i800 is a tempting value-for-money option for anyone who has a large family or a business need to carry a lot of passengers and luggage.

As far as the environment is concerned, if the i800 is used to carry eight people, its per-seat emissions look pretty good.

Security and Safety

The i800 is not the best when it comes to airbags, making do with just two up front with no side or curtain ‘bags fitted – but at least stability control is included as standard and all of the passengers get a three-point seatbelt. Remote central locking is included.

The Finishing Touches

As you would expect from Hyundai the i800 is extensively equipped. There’s air conditioning, alloys, remote locking, CD player and a heated seat for the driver. The stereo comes with auxiliary input plus six speakers. Satellite navigation is an optional extra.

Review Summary

The Hyundai i800 is one of the best value eight-seater people carriers around as it’s huge in every possible way – except for its price.

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Cars that don’t kill the planet

Cars that don’t kill the planet

In this day and age we are constantly exposed to different facts and figures regarding the current climate of the planet that we live on. Cars are often implicated as one of the main antagonists in the battle for a healthier planet, but in this article we are going to take a look at some of the more eco-friendly options, and we shall include electric cars, electric hybrids as well as some efficient alternatives, for whilst we are ‘Electric Current’ we wouldn’t want to be bias now would we!

Toyota Prius

One of the most well-known cars at the forefront of cars which have a greener foot print is the Toyota Prius. The Prius was the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle to ever hit the market when it was introduced in 1997. A hybrid is basically a car which combines a conventional internal combustion engine propulsion system with an electric propulsion system. As a result a Hybrid car can boast better fuel economy as well as lower CO2 emissions. The Prius has received good reviews and is heralded as the best ‘real world’ answer to the green car phenomenon. Prius’ hold onto their value, so you might struggle in finding a second hand Toyota Prius bargain unless you get a model from the early 2000s.


Mitsubishi i-MiEV

The MiEV in Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV stands for Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle, so you know it means business. It was first launched in 2009 but wasn’t really marketed to the worldwide until late 2013 so as of now you may not have seen many on your roads. The MiEV is entirely electric and therefore there are no CO2 emissions. The battery can be fully charged by £2s worth of electricity and a fully charged battery can take you 93 miles. There are also further perks to owning the MiEV as it is Road Tax exempt and you can park it for free in certain places. Whilst the i-MiEV is incredibly cheap to run it is also very expensive to buy, currently around £28,554. You can of course get a second hand Mitsubishi i-MiEV to take the edge off a bit as you can get a used one for around a third of the price if you are lucky.


Volkswagen Up

The Up is a city car produced by Volkswagen that was introduced at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show based on some previous concept models.  Depending on which model you buy the Up can do up to 62.8mpg and only give off 105g/km of CO2 emissions. Obviously if you are looking to buy a second hand Volkswagen Up you will need to check which model you are buying to get an accurate figure with regards to running costs and emissions. The Up has some of the best residual values in its class and whilst it might not be quite as green as the likes of the MiEV, it is a lot more practical and it looks a lot better.


Peugeot 308

The Peugeot 308 is another compromise for anyone who wants a car that is better for the environment but is still practical and a good choice if you need to be able to do long drives regularly. If you opt for the 1.6 – litre BlueHDi 120 Active model you will get a staggering fuel economy of 91.1mpg and your CO2 emissions will sit at a nice 82g/km. Often, when a car is this good in terms of fuel economy you might expect the driving experience to suffer, but with the Peugeot 308 it doesn’t. The 308 is pretty expensive and can cost you the best part of £20,000 so it might be worth having a look at contract hire Peugeot 308 deals to see if paying monthly can take the edge off a little bit.



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Good Green Cars

The world is screaming out for cars which are a little more ‘green’ in nature and fortunately some manufacturers are taking that on board. So without further ado let us introduce you to some of our favourite green cars on the market. As you might imagine we will focus on electric cars, but we will also offer a good green alternative.

Renault Twizy

The Renault Twizy is for people who are very serious about being green. It produces absolutely nothing in the way of CO2 emissions for it is entirely powered by electricity. This places the Twizy in Tax Band A which is obviously desirable. On the downside it can only really fit the driver, there is space for a passenger but it is very limited. The Twizy will definitely turn heads but it isn’t for everybody, it also isn’t really suited for long commutes, it is very much a car for the city. The Twizy will set you back £7,000 if you buy new, whilst a second hand Renault Twizy would be closer to the £5,000 mark. Interested? Why not head over to and enquire some more.


Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf is another car for the devoted electric head. Again it doesn’t produce anything in the way of CO2 emissions! It is a little more practical in terms of being a car than the Twizy. Firstly it has proper windows, but it also has enough passenger space to fit a family in it. Nissan claim the Twizy can do 124 miles per charge (each charge takes around 8 hours) though this is dependent on many variable so you would be very lucky to get that kind of range from it. As is the case with most electric cars the Leaf is targeted at people who don’t do many miles in one go.  It is a pretty expensive car to buy, but it will cost you next to nothing to run; buying a second hand Nissan Leaf could reduce the price to as little as £12,000 which is pretty considerable the new buying price sits around £22,495.


Reva G Wiz

The Reva G-Wiz is another electric car that you may not have heard of, so may be surprised to hear that it has been the bestselling electric car in the UK for the last 10 years. Again you benefit from no road tax thanks to the G-Wiz not producing any CO2 emissions. The G-Wiz has a range of up to 48 miles per charge and is said to be capable of 50mph, making it perfectly suitable for city life. A second hand Reva G Wiz can cost between £1,000 and £4,000.


Vauxhall Agila

Obviously going electric isn’t the answer for everybody, especially if you have to commute many miles to work. However there are cars like the Vauxhall Agila which use the more classic ways of fuelling, which aren’t too bad either. The Agila was first introduced in 2008 and its CO2 emission fall below the 120g/km mark. The Agila also has pretty good fuel efficiency and is capable of doing 62.8 MPG. Our Favourite Agila model is the 1.0 12V [68] ecoFLEX S 5dr as its CO2 emissions are at 109 g/km.


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Cars you don’t see everyday

Today’s roads are pretty boring places to be, every car looks the same, if it’s not a fiesta it’s a Corsa, If it’s not a Corsa it’s and Astra, and if it’s not any of those, it’s another hatchback that more or less looks the same apart from the badge. However with the introduction of more economical electric cars, things stand to look a little more interesting. So in this article, to make a change we are going to feature 3 cars that we don’t expect you see every day, 2 of which are electric.

Renault Wind

I saw a Renault Wind the other day and I had to do a double take, I literally had never seen one before in my life, which made for a nice change. You probably don’t remember much about the Renault Wind so let me give it a small introduction. The Renault Wind was a concept car, introduced in 2004 at the Paris Motor Show. Six years later in 2010 Renault announced that they were going to put the Wind in production and unveiled it at the Geneva Motor Show as a 2 seater roadster and it looked awesome. Unfortunately there wasn’t a great deal of demand for the Wind and it was discontinued in 2012.



Aixam Ecity

Fortunately I have never seen an Aixam Ecity in person, it looks like a toy car and it hasn’t really had much in the way of positive feedback, though it is a pretty intriguing little car. It is 100% electric and features a 13kW engine but it can only manage a range of 65 km. To be honest, it’s pretty obvious why you don’t see many on the road, and that is because they just aren’t desirable, at all.


BMW i3

The BMW i3 is another electric car and it is actually related to the Aixam as its predecessor was the Aixam Mega City.  In terms of the relation the Aixam, the BMW i3 is the perfect cousin, that has come on the scene and made the Aixam look pretty inferior. Straight away the BMW i3 looks much better, but it isn’t just much better looking. The i3 also has a much better range of 130-160 km. The i3 as well as the rest of the BMW i range is perhaps a glimpse into the future of cars. I had a chance to have a contract hire BMW i3 through work, but I am as boring as everyone else when it comes to cars and went for the BMW 1 Series instead.



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Self-Driving Nissan Cars Only 7 Years Away

Japanese automobile manufacturer Nissan has revealed that a mass produced, self-driving car could be just seven years away from entering production.

Nissan automotive has said that it will accelerate the development of the autonomous, hands-free vehicles, which will use a 360-degree camera system (dubbed ‘Around View’) as well as laser scanners in order to drive themselves. The scanners will be linked to a computer system to constantly monitor the surrounding area.

The company claims that the vehicles are on track to be marketed by 2020, with CEO Carlos Ghosn referring any doubters to the fact that Nissan made bold promises about emission free cars several years ago and delivered.

He said: “Nissan Motor Company’s willingness to question conventional thinking and to drive progress is what sets us apart.

“In 2007 I pledged that – by 2010 – Nissan would mass market a zero-emission vehicle. Today, the Nissan LEAF is the best-selling electric vehicle in history.

“Now I am committing to be ready to introduce a new ground-breaking technology, Autonomous Drive, by 2020, and we are on track to realise it.”

The firm has tough competition from Google however, who have tested autonomous Toyota Prius cars for over 300,000 miles without accident. The internet giant has said that these cars could be on the road as early as 2017. has more information about the current Toyota Prius range.

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The future of electric cars in question


Articles are surfacing that would suggest that electric cars are on their way out, or at least, they won’t be as big as many have expected. To be quite honest this would hardly be surprising. Whilst there are obvious benefits to owning an EV (such as reduced running and servicing costs), there are also many down sides, and these have kept EVs from becoming as mainstream as its gasoline rivals.

There is much to suggest that electric vehicles are on a downward trend; the Obama administration withdrew from their goal to put 1 million EVs on the roads by 2015, Nissan’s chief exec, Carlos Ghosn has announced a shift form electric cars to gasoline-electric hybrids and Uchiyamada of Toyota is also voicing concerns that the battery powered electric cars just aren’t a viable replacement for conventional cars and gasoline engines.

On the other hand the popularity of hybrid models, is sky rocketing. Sales of electric and hybrid models combined have rose to account for 3.3% of all vehicles sold in the US in 2012, after accounting for only 1% in 2004. The Toyota Prius is a huge player in the hybrid market, and it accounted for a massive portion of all hybrids sold.

Whilst our name is primarily concerned with electric cars, we are interested in the future technology of cars, especially if that technology comes under the bracket of ‘environmentally friendly’. So we are all for the use of hydrogen and developments in that area, whilst we also support hybrid vehicles. One thing is clear, should electric vehicles fall of the map, the future is still promising and manufacturers are still interested in building more economically friendly vehicles.


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5 Electric cars to look out for this year

Join us as we take a look at some of the most anticipated electric cars of today and tomorrow.


The Mitsubishi i-MiEV has been on sale in the UK since January 2011, and it is the all-electric version of the Mitsubishi i and it is also sold across Europe as the Peugeot iOn or the Citroën C-Zero.

The placing of the wheels on the i-MiEV don’t exactly lend themselves to ‘good looks’ but they fact that they are found in the far corners of the car, help improve interior space and comfort. It offers decent performance and can go for a good 100 miles off one charge.



The Nissan Leaf is one of the original electric cars and it continues to be one of the best. The Leaf is powered by a 110 hp electric and 24-kWh lithium-ion battery pack which can propel the car to a top speed of 90 mph which is more than fast enough for the British roads. It offers a range of 79 miles, which is still one of the best of all electric vehicles.

It isn’t a bad looking model by any means, and the interior is very pleasant, but the car will set you back a good £30,000.



The RAV4 EV is the result of a partnership between Tesla and Toyota, two revolutionary automotive manufacturers. The project has been evolving since 2010 with Tesla in charge of the electric powertrain and Toyota taking care of the platform and body.

The electric motor offers 154 hp which allows the Toyota RAV4 EV to reach top speeds of 85mph or 100mph if your opt for sport mode, and it has a range of 103 miles with a full charge taking around 6 hours. The RAV4 EV has only been sold in America thus far, costing $50,000. What sets this model apart, is that it is the only SUV electric vehicle, and demonstrates how versatile electric powered cars can be.


Active e

The BMW Active E concept is another offering from BMW which makes the statement that they very much want to be a part of the electric car movement. It has been made to be rear-wheel drive, unlike their first electric project, the ‘Mini E’.

The electric engine offers 170 horsepower which can make the Active E hit 100 km/h in 9 seconds. Its range is a pretty impressive 160 kilometres. It is based on the 1 Series coupe, so there is no surprise that it is a very good looking vehicle. It wont be long until we see these cars available on used BMW forecourts.

bmw e

model s

It is not on the UK roads yet, but the Tesla Model S looks like the electric vehicle which could change everything as far as the motor industry is concerned. The car comes from South-African entrepreneur, Elon Musk (founder of pay-pal) and Tesla have claimed that there creation was not driven by profit, but they ‘really are trying to change the world’.

The performance on offer from this electric car is mind blowing. It can produce 414bhp and it can accelerate to 60mph in only 4.4 seconds. To fully charge the engine will take around 5 hours and from that, you can expect to travel up to 265 miles!

It is an incredibly handsome vehicle and the dashboard is extremely hi-tech, featuring what looks like a built in ipad on the dashboard, which can do a lot of cool things. They will not be sold through the usual franchised dealers, and thanks to how easy it is to service, you can have it done at your own home. There will also be online updates that you can, in effect download to the car, helping it improve all the time. Prices are expected to range from £50,000 to £80,000, and whilst this may seem expensive, hopefully it will prove to be money well spent.

Tesla Model S

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