/ Motoring

What do you want to see from the motoring industry in 2014?

We’ve made our New Year’s resolutions and rounded up the motoring issues the Cars Team would like to see resolved over the coming year. Do you have any car developments you’d like to see implemented?

We’re lucky enough in the Cars Team to drive a wide variety of new cars across an even wider range of roads. And we deal with car companies on a daily basis so we’re used to the quirks of the industry. All of this means that while we get to drive both good and bad cars, there are some motoring issues that quickly start to drive us mad!

My wish for 2014 is that vehicle recall agency VOSA finds its teeth. Having heard about the dangerous situations some VW Passat owners have been left in – vehicles stranded across carriageways or rolling into roads – when electronic parking brakes suddenly failed, I think it’s high time VOSA forced carmakers to cough up for safety related defects.

My colleagues have a few ideas too:

avatarTim Pitt – I’d like to see some joined-up thinking when it comes to electric cars. When I drove a Renault Zoe recently, I had terrible problems finding a charging point – even in central London. The reason? The Zoe uses a seven-pin ‘Mennekes’ connector, rather than a conventional three-pin plug. It’s already hard enough finding somewhere to charge your electric car. Reducing your options still further with different charging systems seems bonkers.

rob5-avatarRob Hull – I’d like to see manufacturers stop using claimed mpg figures in their car adverts. We believe these fuel efficiency figures aren’t achievable, and it appears they agree too when you look at the small print on the official websites stating that these claims are for comparative purposes only.

avatar

Christofer Lloyd – Having been marooned at 2am on New Year’s Eve with a flat tyre and no spare, I want to see standard-fit spares on all cars again. I’m not concerned whether car companies fit full-size or skinny space-saver spares – having a tyre means you can get home should you have a puncture.

avatarDavid Holes – I want to see DAB radio fitted as standard to all new cars. With the switchover from FM to DAB radio looking certain to happen within the next six years, I find it incredible that only around 40% of new cars sold in the UK currently come with a DAB tuner fitted. There are going to be an awful lot of motorists who will have to install expensive retro-fit tuners to their cars at the end of this decade, if they want to continue to listen to the radio while they drive.

avatarJonathan Richardson – I don’t own a car and wish there were more hire options. Car clubs like Zipcar are fine for short distances, and traditional car rental (with all the paperwork that entails) for long breaks, but for weekends or a day out to the coast there isn’t really a decently priced and convenient way to do so.

What would you like to see (or not see as the case may be) in your car this year? Is safety, driving experience or features top of your list?

Comments
Member

I agree with Rob about the unrealistic fuel economy figures. I accept that these have to be measured under standard conditions to allow for comparison, but there is no reason why the figures provided by the manufacturers should not be adjusted to reflect what a typical driver is likely to achieve.

Christofer and Rob have both told us about their unfortunate experiences with punctures. Though none of my many punctures has caused me much problem (I’ve generally gone to the car and found a flat tyre) I can really empathise on this one. Having used a space-saver wheel several times, I really don’t think they are a sensible solution and I would like to see the return of full-size spare wheels.

Like Dave, I was looking forward to having a DAB radio and mine has exceeded my expectations. I like the way it switches to the same station on FM if the signal is weak.

I think Jonathan will have to tell us more about car rental options because I am out of touch. It seems to be so expensive to hire a car in the UK.

My wish is for car manufacturers to display details of faults in plain English rather than using error codes and coloured lights.

Member
Phil says:
10 January 2014

“I was looking forward to having a DAB radio and mine has exceeded my expectations. I like the way it switches to the same station on FM if the signal is weak. ”

Do I detect a degree of sarcasm there?

Member
NukeThemAll says:
10 January 2014

No sarcasm – it’s a feature of most DAB radios. In my experience, DAB coverage is excellent: for example driving from London to Cornwall, the signal was never lost. In a few places DAB coverage isn’t quite so good and you get cut-outs and glitches, whereas a weak FM signal will be obviously noisy but (just) usable.

Member

Hi wavechange, it certainly can be pricey to hire a car, though I have found some good deals for week-long hires or short term (2-3 hours). This usually means putting in a fair amount of research to do so.

If you are hiring for a week or more you can get good hire deals, or Zipcar do rentals by the hour that are handy, but you are limited on the distance you can travel with it, you get charged per mile after a certain amount.

Still, living in London it is cheaper for me than owning a car. I sold my last car a few years ago as it cost too much to have it sitting outside when I only used it a couple of times a month. I guess car hire research and travelling to pick it up is the price of saving on not owning a car.

Member

Thanks Jonathan. This makes sense for anyone living in London, where a car is a bit of a liability. The Zipcar rates look not bad considering that insurance is included, but there is a large excess fee. Perhaps other companies offer cheaper rates to those with an excellent driving record. I have a car, but I am very interested in affordable van hire.

When I was working, one of the few perks of the job was to be able to hire vehicles at the excellent rates negotiated by my employers, though the insurance was not cheap.

Member

There are problems for many with the concept of owning an electric car for short journeys and hiring a normal car for longer ones. Firstly, the need for a longer journey can arise quite rapidly for, say, family emergencies. It can be difficult to sort out a hire arrangement quickly. Secondly, those of us of advanced years are not welcomed by most car hire companies, especially the ones offering the most attractive rates.

Member
Storm says:
20 March 2015

While DAB radio is probably great for the car (lots of choice etc) it’s a shame that the digital bit rate is set so low. It’s a sad fact that a good stereo FM receiver, with a good antenna still has better hi-fi quality than any current digital radio in the UK.

I wish it was not like this, so we could all look forward to the digital switchover, but until we get “proper” digital radio in the UK we will be stuck with this archaic rubbish. The wool has been pulled over too many peoples eyes and they have been slowly groomed to accept the “less than perfect”.

Member

I’d like to see all cars with sensible warranties – at least 5 years / 100 000 miles. Subject to accredited dealer servicing and annual checks to be fair to the manufacturer. I’d also like the price of spares investigated – £250 for one Bosch injector was recently quoted to me – just the part. Many companies use spares as a cash cow.

Member
Adam Rose (Carsuppliers) says:
9 January 2014

we have had many customer’s complain about not achieving the stated MPG, we took it up with one manufacturer, who to be fair, sent us a detailed explanation of how their tests are conducted. It was pretty clear that the simulated environments used for testing are not at all realistic enough to take into account contributing factors like tyre pressures, luggage, passengers, hills, start / stop, air conditioning usage etc etc