On the eve of its launch in Britain and Europe, the Mazda2 has been named Car of the Year in its native Japan.
Mazda promises great performance, economy, safety and driving fun when the supermini reaches Britain early next year, priced from around £13,000.
The five-door hatchback will be ‘clever, comfortable and confident’ with ‘convention-challenging capabilities’, the firm says. It features the first head-up display in its class, allowing the driver to see key information on the windscreen as he or she looks at the road ahead.
The five-door hatchback will be ‘clever, comfortable and confident’ with ‘convention-challenging capabilities’, the firm says
The new Skyactiv-D 1.5-litre engine promises low CO2 emissions of 89g/km. There will be five and six-speed manual verions, plus a six-speed automatic transmission option. Safety features include a blind-spot monitoring system.
The 50th anniversary of the Government’s first drink-drive campaign this week shows how far attitudes have changed in five decades — with nine in ten drivers now agreeing that driving after drinking alcohol is wrong. To illustrate this, the Government released some vintage campaign adverts spanning the decades.
But when I viewed that first black-and-white film from 1964 — showing a lively Christmas party and warning how downing four whiskies will double your risk of an accident — it wasn’t the drinkdrive message that hit home. Nor how much fashions have changed.
No. It was the voiceover message: ‘If he’s been drinking, don’t let him drive,’ followed by the printed strapline: ‘Don’t ask a man to drink and drive.’ With women now accounting for nearly half the motorists on the road, that smacks today like the sort of off-key refrain you’d hear from comedian Al Murray as the Pub Landlord: ‘And will that be a Snowball or Babycham for the lady?’ Times really have changed.
Bad news for cyclists as the latest official road casualty figures show an alarming rise in the number of road users killed or seriously injured.
Officials blamed ‘warmer weather’ for bringing out more ‘vulnerable’ road users such as cyclists on to the nation’s highways.
From April to June this year 18 per cent more cyclists were killed or seriously injured than in the same period last year.
And for 12 months to June there was a 10 per cent rise in these figures. As it happens, driving the correct way down a one-way crescent in Earl’s Court, London, recently, I encountered a middleaged cyclist coming straight towards me.
Bravely, for you never know what reaction you might get, I wound down my window and, as he passed, gently pointed out that as he was ‘a vulnerable road user’ and I was a motorist concerned for his safety, did he realise he was heading the wrong way down a one-way street? ‘Oh yes, he replied cheerily, but I don’t think that applies to bicycles.’ A couple of days later, I took avoiding action to give a wide berth to a female cyclist wobbling down the road with a mobile phone clamped to her ear, clearly oblivious to other road users.
Go figure, as the Americans say.
A new £1 billion centre for research into the cars of the future has been opened by Business Secretary Vince Cable at one of Britain’s top universities.
The Government and the car industry are investing £500 million each over the next decade into the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) at Warwick University.
Mr Cable announced a further £32 million for two new projects to research manufacturing technology for electric motors and to develop cleaner internal combustion engines, saying: ‘Green technology will drive the cars of the future and UK designers and manufacturers must continue to be leading innovators in this field.’ He said the new centre will be ‘the hub for projects as diverse as using motorsport braking systems in buses, and streamlining the production of electric motors’.
With Ford’s best-selling Fiesta leading the way, new car sales accelerated ahead last month
With Ford’s best-selling Fiesta leading the way, new car sales accelerated ahead last month with the total for 2014 now well on course to reach a ten-year high.
There were 179,714 new registrations last month — 14.2 per cent up on October last year, says industry body the SMMT. Year-to-date sales are up 9.5 per cent over the first ten months of 2013.
It’s the first time the two million mark has been reached in October since the pre-recession days of 2007, and year-end sales could exceed 2.4 million.
Other cars in the top ten for October were the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Corsa, VW Golf, Nissan Juke, Nissan Qashqai, VW Polo, Audi A3, Mini and Vauxhall Astra.
Rolls-Royce is to stage a series of free live exhibitions called Inside Rolls-Royce. The first opens on Thursday at the Saatchi Gallery on King’s Road, London, and will run for four days before touring major cities around the world next year. Interactive exhibits will be brought to life on visitors’ smartphones and tablets. For more details, visit insiderolls-royce.com