Editor, Free Car Mag and Author, Bangernomics
Car finance. If you're looking for a new car, you're probably looking at finance. What car finance is best for you? Where should you get your car finance from? Is car finance a good idea? All these questions are answered in our comprehensive guide.Read more
Been asking yourself what new cars are coming to the UK? Well look no further, the UK will get a Lexus that has never officially been seen before and limited edition, high specification Sports Utility Vehicles from Mitsubishi. Meanwhile, Kia is doing all the old fashioned things that work to sell cars, with offers right across their range. So far it looks as though 2019 is full of cars from the Far East.
First of all, say hello to the Lexus ES, coming to a showroom this year, but you can order now with prices starting at £35,150. This is the middle size luxury model making its debut and the ES 300h is equipped with a new, fourth generation self-charging Lexus Hybrid Drive system.
It connects an ultra-efficient 2.5-litre petrol engine with a lighter, more compact and more power-dense electric motor. The combined cycle fuel economy is from 48.49 to 53.55mpg.
There's the entry-level ES, the F Sport and the top-of-the range Takumi, a new grade that takes its name from Japanese master craftsmanship, it translates as 'artisan'. In my experience, Lexus are well made, reliable and the only question mark could be the cost of repairing a Hybrid system in the far future.
Those after a hard working SUV with a high specification twist should consider a Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Black Edition - such a long name costs £21,660. Available as a two-wheel drive manual or 4WD automatic. It features black 18-inch alloy wheels along with a black front grille, black front skid plate and black door mirror covers. The door rubbing strip inserts are also finished in black along with the rear skid plate.
Other standard equipment includes a panoramic sunroof, 360 degree parking camera, head-up display, leather upholstery, a full suite of active safety equipment and Mitsubishi’s touchscreen SDA audio system with smartphone connectivity and a Rockford Fosgate speaker system.
Only 500 are available, so hurry while stocks last. We like Mitsubishi, they make cars that are good value and mechanically tough. If you buy one out of manufacturer’s warranty in a few years time, it will be fine, but make sure you get a MotorEasy Car Warranty to be sure.
Fancy a Kia? Well, at the moment there are a ton of offers. For instance, there's 2.9% APR available on the New Sportage and all-New Ceed. The rest of the Kia range is available with 5.9% APR paired with low monthly payments alongside generous deposit contributions on PCP contracts available for most models including the Kia Stinger.
The Kia scrappage scheme is continuing with the self-charging hybrid Niro available with a £3,000 saving. The Picanto is available with a £2,000 saving and the Stonic is available with a saving of £2,500. The Scrappage Scheme is also available with 5.9% APR finance but is in lieu of all other offers.
There's plenty more, just contact your local dealer. But, bear in mind that if lots of deals are being offered on new cars, it won’t be worth as much at resale time. The great news is that a few years down the line I predict a used Kia is going to be even better value.
It may be because of lack of use, or a faulty cell. It can also be because of age as most batteries are unlikely to last longer than five to seven years (there are exceptions). Aside from age and lack of use, cold weather affects the performance of a car battery, especially as it's now required to power so many functions from wipers to lights.
Certainly, starting can be sluggish. Also, if the headlights dim or go out when starting there is a problem as the car battery may be nearing the end of its life and not holding its charge.
Ideally, don’t attempt to start your car with lots of gadgets switched on. Also, any erratic electrical behaviour points to a possible problem with the car battery; so if the electric windows, radio and, of course the lights play up there may be car battery issues. About 20% of roadside breakdowns are due to car batteries so make sure you spot a failing one before it's too late.
Although you can go to a garage to get a car battery checked, you can use a test meter, or a battery charger with a display to see what the condition is. Usually, the reading should be above 12 volts; at 12 or below your car battery may be flat.
Check the terminal connections for tightness and clean away any corrosion either with a brush, or just warm water. A layer of Vaseline around the terminal posts will keep the white corrosion deposits away. Do not forget to check the security of your car battery which may be secured in position with a strap. If it falls over, it could start a fire and cause considerable damage to the surrounding area from spilt acid.
If you only do short journeys this is not good for a car battery, so you should buy a trickle charger which will maintain its condition.
Especially during the winter periods, looking after your car battery should be a high priority. In addition, if you will be going on a long journey, a quick check of your car's vitals, including the battery, is always a great idea.
There is never a good time for a flat car battery, and finding someone to jump your battery can be a chore. That's why a portable car jump starter can be a lifesaver to keep in the boot or glovebox - they have already saved some of our staff from a roadside callout!
Take That in a Suzuki, what more can you ask? They're in Free Car Mag, you got it! There's also an exclusive interview with the Car S.O.S boys. Plus, speaking of boy-bands, could I be about to join a new one with Ross Kemp - read on to find out.Read more
The results of the UK's fastest selling used car of 2018 are in, some you might have half expected and others which coming as a surprise.
These figures come from Indicata, the used vehicle management portal from Autorola UK, and take into account 1.1 million cars sold by dealers during 2018 that were between six and 36 months’ old.
One of the least shocking results is that the Ford Ka was the UK's fastest-selling used car in 2018, taking on average 32 days to leave forecourts. So if you're selling a car don't panic after the first week of advertising and there are no calls, it's likely to take a little bit longer to sell. It's reassuring to know that, provided it's clean, tidy, legal and priced in line with similar models, you’ll be fine.
Then again, if you own a less popular model, be prepared for a longer wait. If you are trying to sell Subaru’s Outback, Forester and XV, they took a massive 103, 105 and 107 days respectively to sell. Yes it could take over three months to shift a Subaru, worth remembering if you're looking to buy one.
After the Ka, comes the Hyundai ix35 at 34 days, here's the evidence that goes some way to proving that Korean cars are becoming the bread and butter of family cars.
However, Ford still makes up the bulk of used car sales with a very solid performance in these stats. They had six models in the top 10, so as well as the chart topping Ka, there's the Galaxy the UK’s best selling people carrier, in at third, then the fashionable sport utility vehicle known as the Kuga, which is fifth. It didn’t stop there as the even the bulky seven seat, van related Tourneo Connect was equal sixth, along with our favourite shopping hatch the Fiesta and more SUV goodness in the shape of the EcoSport.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of these fast sellers is that the pure electric Renault Zoe, which made the top 10 in joint fourth place, is on average selling in just 38 days. Used car buyers really are starting to turn to electric vehicles or EVs as they start to come down in price.
What can we take away from all this? We recommend buying a Ford if you want to sell it quickly, or a sensible Hyundai and that yes small, good value EVs like the Zoe are growing in popularity.
When buying a used car it's important that you understand the pros and cons of the different used car sellers. It also pays to undertake these 11 used cars checks you can do without getting your hands dirty.