I find cruise control takes away the temptation to speed.
Sky-high petrol prices and environmental concerns are leading to a revolution inside the average car. Across the board, we are seeing increases in power and reductions in emissions and consumption that even a decade ago would have been called fanciful. And let’s not forget the electric car. No matter where you stand on the …
I also use cruise control, and I find nothing more frustrating than drivers that can't maintain speed. Fly past you then slow down, so you end up catching them up then cruising past them, only for them to either start to floor it as you're going past (I guess they think their manhood is in question) or wait til your past and floor it past you, pull in and start the whole thing again.
Wish I had adaptive cruise control... The one that slows you down when you get near to the car in front.
Its been shown time and again that cruise control drops your economy significantly.
I tend to drive my Zafira around 50-55mph and find its very economical. I used to have a Manta that was better than the Zafira's 50mph economy when it was doing 80, at 70 it was lots better.
Many of the modern cars are designed with a blunt back end, this creates a mass of turbulance therefore drag that significantly slows and reduces fuel economy.
What is needed is a properly aerodynamic car (not just one with a pointy front end) with a decent modern engine. This would make things a lot better.
I would be very curious to see these studies that show 'time and time again' - its not that I automatically do not believe it, and intuitively if you are in a position to keep trimming your speed to match both traffic and gradient/conditions it would seem reasonable, but the ANECDOTAL evidence of self, wiff and a couple of colleagues, backed up by a little record keeping shows that we all improve fuel economy - by different amounts to be sure.
Oh, and blunt backends can be a problem with maintaining smooth(ish) flow, but they are practical for load carrying.
Unfortunately the best fuel economy is had by driving in a more reckless manner when there's traffic around, continually weaving in and out of traffic in an attempt to keep optimal engine RPM with that causing changes in speed on all but straight, flat roadway.
Optimal RPM is key, keeping the motor in it's peak efficiency band. If you drive with this in mind your fuel economy can (done with practice, will) exceed that of cruise control which ignores engine RPM to keep a constant speed instead.
If your driving does not consider peak engine efficiency, rather keeping in an even flow with traffic, then yes cruise control will probably help your fuel economy by undermining your attempt to keep an even flow since the traffic around isn't doing that, but to whatever extent it overrides the intention it would help.
Bottom line, the test conditions determine whether your focus is best spent on fuel economy or sacrificing that to retain a certain level of safety (risk reduction even without an accident).
Cruise control worsens economy ? It is difficult to imagine how that might be so. My annecdotal experience is the opposite. The biggest fuel hogs are accelleration and braking (because it wastes momentum and demands subsequent accelleration).
Re pointy front ends - these are now disallowed by European pedestrian safety regulations. Bummer.
In many cases it is extremely deliberate. I have had it when driving a classic car - they are happy doing 50mph until they see a classic overtaking then suddenly they have to do 80, let them do it and they slow back down to 50 and you again catch up... the only answer is to show that some little old cars aren't that slow after all... get to up to their front wing, pop your indicator on and start to pull back over....
Having a car with 'sri' or similar on the back is also inclinded to have morons come round you, pull in and then stop... several times, again a clean pair of heels or a demonstration of how annoying their behaviour is are the only effective retorts.
I only take action against repeat offenders - it is possible that a car might suddenly have a mechanical / overheating or other problem that causes them to slow down after they've come past you (once) so thats allowable, and with an underpowered/overloaded car they might well struggle on some up hills so allowance is made for that.
Generally though the standard of driving in the UK is terrible, people are rude and arrogant - especially those 'middle lane' and 'outside lane' hogs - you know the people, mile after mile after mile without pulling in, often without even overtaking, at whatever the speed they think is appropriate - for these the only answer is inside lane overtaking, illegal but not as bad as sitting behind them. Amazingly one of these hogs - who had done 2 miles with me behind, 1.5 of them with nothing at all on his inside - decided to speed up on me when I pulled in a lane and started coming up his inside - cost me dear in petrol having to boot the hell out of my car.
Why do little shopping cars and old Jap Diesel people vans try to overtake cars & caravans on hills?
Just because there is a caravan on the back doesn't mean it will be slow. Light van and big engine.
I have had this a few times, people van overtakes me at 75, slows down to 50 I pass, repeat until they keep at 75 up to a traffic jam. What did I do - overtake them on Telegraph Hill while towing a caravan.
The little cars running out of elastic band is so funny, engine screaming - then gets lower as they cannot match power to weight.
I find cruise control almost useless unless passing through average speed cameras or on an empty motorway.
Other motorists speeding up, slowing down and cutting you up means you can hardly ever cruise at a steady speed.
Unless you're one of those cretins that sits at 60mph in the middle lane of the motorway?
Nothing pisses me off more than waste money on fines, so cruise control is a good approach to avoid accidental drifting over the limit.
As for those who state cruise control is less economic: depends on you. Used long distance that isn't the case - unless you forget to change gear, of course..
Given that the global supply of conventional crude oil peaked permanently in 2006 and is beginning to go into rapid decline, it is a fair bet that the only two of these cars on the road 20 years from now will be the leaf and the Mclaren, because the only the super-rich will be able to afford petrol.
Because all fag lighter sockets do this, pretty much.
It's an awfully designed general purpose socket. So unstable, easy to short out. I wish someone would come up with a new general purpose 12v socket in cars that is compact, has seperately insulated pins and connector, and is nice and stable. It would be a trivial task.
You could then buy an adapter from your old socket to the new one in the transition period.
10 years: Probably all of them.
20 years: Probably all but the Nissan; I expect advances in battery technology to make it obsolete, but it may be possible to refit it with newer battery technology in which case it may still be around.
30 years: Only the McLaren. How many Peugeot 305s, Mk1 Ford Fiestas or Datsun Sunnys do you see on the roads? Those are all 30 year old vehicles now.
Ultimately, the Leaf is probably the most awkward one; it's hands-down the best for someone on a restricted budget who only uses their car for short journeys (shopping trips, school runs, etc.). Unfortunately, those particular people are probably unable to even afford a £10k car, never mind a £26/31k one.
That means it's most likely to be bought by people who don't really need it, but can afford it. And a few of those (cough, Robert LLewellyn, cough) may even have large enough properties to put up sufficient solar panels to charge the car - effectively making it free to run from both a financial perspective and a carbon perspective. It's going to get an even bigger "smugmobile" reputation than the Prius.
Petrolheadonism - hardly. No one who enjoys driving would go near the Nissan Leaf - it is a soggy pudding. The 500 TwinAir is sprightly but CO2 is proportional to the fuel consumption and this thing struggles to do 35mpg if you cane it - which is worse than my Mondeo 2.0TDCi with 130bhp hauling nearly two tons around. Peugeot's 1.6HDi struggles to move a 307 so the 508 must be about as fast as a Morris Minor. The new Focus looks good and has some great tech but it doesn't handle like the previous model which was its USP. At least the MP4-12C is worthwhile and I have to say looks better than the 458. The Italia looks a bit gawky IMHO whilst the McLaren is exactly what I used to draw in my school books
Design for large cities? Not so much. The infrastructure can't support the majority of them driving or parking and it's also more feasible to take mass transit when it passes quite near your begin and end destinations.
Sure we could say a smaller car is more suited for city transport but the parking spots have to accommodate the larger ones as well. Regarding range it's well and good to have a few dozen KM range for everyday commutes but then if you have to rent, borrow, steal or buy another car to make your longer trips, then you've paid a premium for a little thing you don't even enjoy the fuel economy on much because your most frequent city trips aren't very far, most of what you need is nearby.
"Then you'd just use the tube."
You can get the same effect in your car.
1) Piss on the seats, let 'em dry and then stick some chewing gum in strategic places.
2) Liberally distribute socks nicked out of some soap-dodging fat bastard's laundry basket around the thing, stuff a fresh mackrel in the cabin air intake and pour half a pint of double cream in after it.
3) Scratch all the windows, then paint over them, then scrape the paint off badly.
4) When driving from A to B, make sure you go via F, Q, Z, G, R and D, stopping at each.
5) Stick some crap rap music in the CD player, wind the volume up to 11, turn the bass down to zero and stick a screwdriver through all the speaker cones.
6) Do not maintain the car at all. Treat any failure as it going on strike.
7) Put all the money you'll use for petrol over the year in a jar at the start of the year. If you haven't got the spare cash to do this then, every time you fill up, take an amount of money equal to that paid and set fire to it.
8) Find eight soap-dodging fat bastards to sit in your five seat car with you while you commute. Ideally, at least one should have a teething baby in their lap.
9) Banjax the climate control so the airco only comes on in winter and the heater only works at the height of summer. Glue the windows closed.
10) Park your car a couple of miles away from your house at one end of your commute and a couple of miles away from your office at the other.
What the fuck does anyone on Top Gear really know about cars or driving? Relying on that as a source of automotive expertise or insight is about as wise as studying paleantology and prehistoric civilisation by watching The Flintstones.
Hint: anyone who quotes 0-60 or standing quarter mile times is actually telling you they have no clue about anything to do with cars.
Given they almost exclusively review expensive sports cars I'd say the seemingly meaningless to everyday driving metrics that they cycle through are likely highly relevant to the cars under review and their potential future owners. I'd venture to add that "The Stig" knows a touch more about driving than you so anything relayed of their experience in the cars about handling and performance are also highly relevant.
Five cars, one electric, one hybrid and one piddly petrol...
It's a bit of a shame you didn't put in an affordable fun car, and not something sold on green credentials.
Also I hate that new Ford Focus for it's stupid grill drag system, and that they seem to think it's good enough to sell the car.
Where is the new bmw 1 series beats the focus hands as all the gizmo items listed are optional for The BMW beats the focus hands down on kit, MPG power CO2 emmisions and handling.
And dont forget the beemer will be worth 60 % plus in 3 yrs the focus will be 5k at a push. and base price is not much more than the focus for the 116D SE
that rather than buy either a BMW or a Focus, you should buy a 3 year old Focus for 5k.
A base spec 116d 5dr will cost you 20k list. Your BMW is going to be way down on toys compared to the focus, as you'll get a 1.6 Titanium X (so toy-tastic) Focus for less than that base spec model BMW by the time you've haggled with both dealers.
At £31,000, the Nissan Leaf shows all that's wrong with electric cars, or rather our current "worse than a bar of dairy milk" battery tech. A car like the Leaf shouldn't cost more than £10k tops (probably a couple of thousand less), so effectively the punter is being asked to pay over £20,000 for the batteries to power the thing. (And that's before you consider the cost of the engine, fuel tank etc that a petrol/diesel equivalent would have).
Electric is pointless until battery tech improves by an order of magnitude, or we all get industrial power rated plug sockets at home.
Not being a treehugging female, there is no interest in driving the Leaf, and I don't like supercars like the Maclaren as they are usually (a) too unreliable, (b) have rubbish visibility to any point past the B-pillar, (c) are too wide to fling down country roads, which is where fast cars should be fast, and (d) too effing expensive to risk enjoying. I prefer a sportscar that doesn't cost the same as the average Islington mortgage, and can be serviced at more than one place in the country.
This list was obviously put together by someone with no interest in cars, who chucked in the Maclaren because they thought it would get them "cool" points. Monumental fail, both by the author and by nemo20000.
Yes you can get 138 miles - if you can bear cruising along at 38mph - given that lorries are routinely doing more than 55mph this puts you pretty much in the category of a small farm tractor with no protection or flashing orange light - basically a barely mobile coffin.
At 55 mph you are flat at around 70 miles - that wouldn't cover my commute for certain - at least not both ways - to use this I would have to get my company to install a charger for me... and I'm not sure they'll want to do that or pay the leccy bill.
When travelling the 300 each way to see my family I would need to charge 4 times - ok, maybe be generous and do 50mph and make it 3 times. Thats 6 hours driving (up from the just over 4 hours in my petrol guzzler - and would be less if I lived in Germany) but to add to the 6 hours are 24 hours of recharging time. So thats 300 miles in 30 hours, or 10 miles an hour, at that my pushbike is quicker!
And frankly you may not buy petrol but the batteries don't last long - a handful of years if you are really careful. The price for this is 'just' 26k - a Zafira is half that price, 13k is one hell of a lot of petrol even at todays prices!
Only until someone gets sensible.
Go steam - yes steam - fireless steam....
Its easy and quick to fill a steam tank
Its safe (the tank can be made not to burst - batteries can short pretty much regardless - and lithium will explode when that happens, petrol and diesel are dangerous)
The current petrol station infrastructure could provide steam fills
The range is acceptable - you could get around 200-300 miles from a reasonable steam car between fills, and fills in 2 mins.
The technology is known and proven (we had fireless locos for munitions factories and they worked well)
There is no reliance on the heavy metals China now owns
There is no dirt
Power and acceleration is not limited
Lifetime is not limited (see the victorian steam vehicles still running!)
So there you have it, if you think this is sensible then why don't we create the fireless steam carriage company and get on with building some?
You might not want an electric car if it is cold out there - the battery range suffers as it gets colder. Your 100 mile/kilometer range may be closer to 45 miles/kilometers at freezing.
Adaptive cruise control - WANT. Night vision HUD display - WANT. Self parking - WANT. 200 mile all electric range - WANT. Pay for that huge L-ion battery - No want, NO WANT !!!!
Sorry, but nil points. Firstly, steam requires really heavy, insulated containers because you need to pressurise the steam to store the energy.
"....petrol and diesel are dangerous...." Steam will scald you to death. And steam under pressure can cause explosive failures of the container - bad for fleshies. And then you still need to generate the steam by burning something usually equally nasty, so there is still risk to someone somewhere in the process.
"......The current petrol station infrastructure could provide steam fills...." WHich would mean the current petrol stations would need massive BURNERS to produce the steam, and then waste mroe fule keeping it hot until Mr Customer pops in to buy it. Very wasteful.
In short, you rsteam idea is nothing but an expensive pipe dream.
Yes steam can scold - if there is a huge failure of the container - but there have been steam containers for many years and we know how to deal with building them tough - and you can always ensure a bulkhead between the steam and the fleshies. Fossil fuels can (and occasionally do - see the M5) ignite - this causes serious burns.
The containers for steam do not need to be huge and heavy if built in the correct shape with the right materials. Old fashioned steam boilers were but thats because they were built out of imperfect materials with a shape that had to include the furnace, smoke tubes and flat tube plates. Just a container doesn't need the same things at all and can be lighter (and stronger).
Steam can be produced without fossil fuels in the same way as the electric for your 'Leaf' doesn't need to use fossil fuels. Right now it probably will use fossil fuels but we could even arrange for it to use sewer gas and reduce methane (worse greenhouse gas) while producing the steam.
"Yes steam can scold - if there is a huge failure of the container...." Ignoring the fact that steam "spillage" would scald, meaning you would need a new connector to ensure no leakage to fry the customer, you'd also need insulated delivery gear to stop conduction heating the gear to the point where a user would be cooked by contact. You're also forgetting the problem of crashes - petrol and diesel are dangerous enough, but a diesel or petrol spill at a crash can be no more trouble than needing some sand to soak it up - a holed steam container could violently rupture (big bang), or just shoot out a jet of pressurised, superheated steam (picture a jet that removes flesh from your bones in seconds).
"....The containers for steam do not need to be huge and heavy...." They need to be bigger as steam does not carry as much energy per cubic measure as petrol, so you need to carry more for the same journey, or just heavily pressurise it (which means even heavier steam tanks). They are much heavier containers as containing steam means dealing with pressure, whereas petrol tanks do not. You also have added weight from the insulating lagging required to stop heat conduction out of your steam tank from cooking the people in your steam car. Therefore a steam car will always have a significant weight penalty.
".....Steam can be produced without fossil fuels....." Not without massive investment in alternative power generation, and if you're going down that route you might as well just cut out the steam and go to electric cars. You also forget that steam needs water, and the masses of cars on the roads means LOTS of water, which would simply not be an option in areas such as Spain or Nevada (serious water shortages), or many African or Middle Eastern countries.
There is no "best" car. It's all horses for courses.
An affordable fun car would be the mx-5, probably. Not too fast, but fast enough, and a lot of fun even when not going fast. Reasonable fuel economy for a sports car.
On the other hand, I'm not too keen on battery powered cars. I would think fuel cell equipped cars would be more versatile and more environmentally friendly (by not having disposal hazard (and heavy) batteries). And also wouldn't need hours to fill-up.
Just made an account, simply to comment on this article.
Lets go in reverse order....
5) I have one HUGE problem with this car (other than having far too much technology in it) and that is the buttons on the dash, they are tiny. Go look at the interior of a Range Rover Vogue. The button's are massive and very clearly labelled. They as designed so that they are easy to operate whilst wearing gloves. The sat-nav system is designed to be easy to operate with large, clearly marked buttons. Cars like the new Focus are terribly distracting to drive, not just because of too much tech, but because the buttons are too small. In my 2005 Mk2 Focus, all the button's are big and easy to use whilst driving. I should point out that I am 23, in good health and have good eyesight, so that's not why I'm saying this.
4) Can't argue with. A fantastic car
3) Love the 500 and think the Twinair is a brilliant engine, good choice!
2) I personally don't like Peugeot's (think they are horrid cars), but leaving my dislike for Peugeot aside, it's a good car. Don't like the interior (buttons are too small), but otherwise fine.
1) Nissan Leaf...... My biggest gripe with this is that it doesn't fit into my lifestyle. I believe that a car should fit into my lifestyle, and not me having to adjust myself to suit the car. If I was wealthy and could have a multitude of cars (starting with a Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead), then this point is irrelevant, but for the vast majority of people, a Leaf is not a practical car and is very much on the expensive side to purchase, even with the government grant. This means that, economically, the Leaf won't work for a lot of people. Also, ask yourselves this - when more people start to purchase electric cars, and more people start to charge them at night, what will happen to the price of off peak electricity? It WILL go up, unless a revolution in mass generation of electricity happens pretty quickly (like the UK building 50 molten salt nuclear power stations in the next ten years).
I would argue that the car that should be top of the list is not actually a new car at all, but a revised model. The 2012 Range Rover Vogue SE. I got the chance to spend a few hours driving one recently and was amazed. The engine is brilliant - capable of making a 3 ton car move very rapidly, but also capable of returning more than 35mpg at a smidge over 75mph. The button's on the interior are perfectly sized and easy to use whilst driving, the off road abilities of the car are simply astonishing and it is nearly as luxurious as a Rolls Royce Phantom at less than a third the cost.
I understand that there is an environmental concern (depending on your view's about the batteries in use on a Leaf) with saying Range Rover instead of Leaf (and that the Rangie is considerably more expensive) - but as a car to drive and live with in the modern world (despite fuel prices), there are few cars that are better than a Rangie.
But after all that, I'm quite happy with my 6 year old Ford Focus, which I might add drives a damn sight better than the new version.
Needs more 1M. Or Corsa VXR Nurburgring. Or Toyota GT 86. Etc.
I miss the days when computing folk were notorious for owning TVRs. (inb4 reliability jokes - I'd still take a Cerb 4.5 Speed Eight over that Pug any day). We need to be conspicuous consumers again, with an exhaust note to die for.
Before anyone says it - I know, I know, we need to focus on tech cars in The Register - but using the subheading "Petrolheadonism" set you up for a fall.
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