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With Liam Bird

New Volvo XC40 T5 plug-in hybrid


Volvo’s aim is to maximise the fuel and emissions-saving potential of its hybrid technology by encouraging people to plug in their car and keep the hybrid system’s high-voltage battery charged. This will ensure their car can make full use of electric power, reducing tailpipe emissions and fuel consumption on any journey.

The offer is automatically available to any customer purchasing a new Volvo plug-in hybrid, from now until 30 June 2020. The electricity costs for charging their car will be calculated from May 2020 and repaid to them at the end of the 12-month period, based on a third-party-provided average cost of electricity in the UK.

Just how much energy each customer uses will be monitored via the Volvo On Call app. This logs how much power the car consumes, and also allows the owner to monitor the charge status of their car’s battery via their mobile device.

The offer is open to both private and business customers. Because Volvo’s intention is to encourage drivers to get into the habit of keeping their car’s hybrid battery charged, it’s the company car driver who will receive the refund at the end of the year rather than their employer.

The new offer applies to the entire line-up, including the recently launched XC40 T5 plug-in hybrid premium compact SUV. With a 180hp petrol engine and an 82hp electric motor, it is the most efficient version of the multi-award-winning XC40, offering official fuel economy of up to 141.1mpg (WLTP Combined cycle) and CO2 emissions from just 38g/km.


Jaguar Classic is reintroducing the original Jaguar E-type toolkit, making it available for the first time in nearly 50 years.

The owner’s toolkit was originally offered with Series 1 and Series 2 E-types and hasn’t been available since the final Series 2 was produced in 1971. Complete original toolkits are highly collectible rarities, fetching as much as £5,000.

Now, thanks to their unique access to engineering records, Jaguar Classic’s Genuine Parts experts have reproduced the toolkit to authentic specifications.

The Jaguar branded tools come in a period-correct leatherette-covered canvas roll, and feature all items needed to carry out routine maintenance on the iconic sports car. The reproduction toolkit is priced from £732 in the UK.

The E-type toolkit can be purchased directly from the recently-launched Jaguar Land Rover Classic online parts shop:


Learner drivers struggling to pass their driving test can still put pedal to the metal in some of the fastest supercars on the planet.

And with more-and-more people struggling to pass their driving test, leading driving experience provider is reporting a 14 per cent year on year increase in bookings for its no licence required experiences.

In fact, figures from the Department for Transport and the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency show that the pass rate for the practical driving test dropped to its lowest in a decade in 2018/19 to 45.8 per cent.

Imran Malek, operations manager at said: “We have plenty of supercars available to have a blast in, no matter how many times you’ve failed your driving test.

“Of course, safety is paramount at all times, and all drivers are accompanied by a professional instructor to ensure they get the most out of their driving experience in a controlled manner.

“More importantly, while having a supercar experience is great fun, it can also help improve driver control, which might be useful when it’s time for the driving test.”

To further help learner drivers pass their driving test has some handy pointers:

Practice makes perfect. You cannot practice enough before the test. Concentrate on the manoeuvres you find the hardest and ideally do them in the same car you’ll be doing the test in.

Energy levels. Take time to have something to eat and drink to keep energy levels up. Do not skip breakfast.

Lesson learnt. Have one last lesson just before the test to calm the nerves and address any last-minute issues.

It could be useful to find out the most common reasons learners fail so you can try to avoid them.

Local knowledge. Get to know the area and driving conditions near the test centre, so you can at least prepare for what might come.

Imran added: “Many of our fleet of Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Aston Martins, and other equally impressive supercars, can be enjoyed by everyone, whether they’ve passed their driving test first time or are on their tenth attempt!”

To discover more about and it’s no licence required experiences in a supercar, visit


ROAD SAFETY organisation GEM Motoring Assist is offering simple tips for drivers to ensure trouble-free journeys this winter. Giving some attention now to batteries, tyres, antifreeze, wipers, lights and other vehicle essentials is the best way of ensuring reliability in the months to come, says GEM.

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth comments: “After long periods of heavy rain, forecasters are warning of an early Arctic plunge, with freezing temperatures and the risk of icy roads as the season progresses.

“Our message is clear: don’t let the weather catch you by surprise. Take a few simple preventative maintenance steps to give yourself the best chance of ensuring you won’t be stranded out in the cold.

“And if you’re not sure what to do or what you should be looking for, take a look at our recently-launched ‘How to…’ video guides which cover checks of tyre tread, tyre pressure and screen-wash.”

Here are GEM’s five simple steps for reducing the chance of a breakdown or malfunction this winter:

  1. Make sure all the lights on your car, inside and out, are working properly. Clean them regularly to ensure they are free of dirt, so that you can see, and others can see you.
  2. Check tyre tread depth and pressure weekly throughout the winter. Good tyres will ensure the safety systems on your car are as effective as possible. GEM recommends a minimum tread depth of 3mm (the legal minimum is 1.6mm), as this will disperse much more water from the road and will minimise your risk of skidding and losing control.
  3. Get the battery and charging system checked to ensure best performance. A large number of winter calls to GEM’s breakdown control centre relate to flat batteries. Cold weather puts a lot of strain on tired batteries, so consider changing it now to avoid the inconvenience of a breakdown.
  4. Ensure your car’s cooling system has the correct levels of anti-freeze, which is vital to prevent the water in your engine’s cooling system from freezing. GEM recommends you consult your local dealer or a qualified mechanic to ensure this is done correctly.
  5. Do you need new windscreen wipers at front and rear? Check for efficient working and use cold weather washer fluid. Do not use the windscreen wipers to clear ice, as this will very quickly lead to damage.

For GEM’s ‘How to’ guides, visit


Suzuki’s winter wonder campaigns will see £1,000 knocked off the RRP of a number of models in the Japanese manufacturer’s range, while some also benefit from added low-rate finance incentives.

£1000 off
From 1 November until 31 January 2020, Suzuki will reduce the cost of both the V-Strom 1000 and V-Strom 650 – including the XT models – the GSX-R1000 and GSX-R1000R, GSX-S1000, GSX-S1000F, GSX-S750, and KATANA by £1000.

As a result the V-Strom 650 is available for just £79 per month over three years with a deposit of £1,227.03. Meanwhile the new KATANA can be enjoyed for as little as £99 per month over the same period with a £1,973.06 deposit.

1.9% APR finance
Also running from 1 November until the end of January next year is a special low-rate finance offer of just 1.9% APR, available on the GSX-R1000 and GSX-R1000R, applicable over 36 months with a minimum deposit of £1,000 on either a hire purchase (HP) agreement or PCP deal.

The same low-rate finance also applies to the Address scooter when purchased over 36 months on a conventional hire purchase deal with a minimum deposit of £300.

It means the GSX-R1000R – with its full suite of electronics including 10-level traction control, bidirectional quickshifter, launch control, rider modes, and cornering ABS plus MotoGP-derived variable valve timing – can be had for only £149 per month over three years with a £2,801.60  deposit.

The congestion-beating Address, capable of 135mpg, can be ridden away for £55 per month, with a £350.22 deposit and no final balloon payment.

Save £500
Suzuki’s winter offers don’t stop there, with the entry-level GSX-S125 available with £500 off the RRP for a limited time only, reducing it to £3,599 until the end of January.

This offer is available to cash and finance customers, with those purchasing via the PCP option able to ride the naked street bike for £5 per month after putting down a £591 deposit.


As part of our campaign to raise awareness of the issues surrounding older drivers in the UK and to offer support and guidance to those driving in later life, IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman, shares his tips on ways to stay alert and avoid tiredness.

Older people can be more susceptible to fatigue so tiredness can prove a real problem. Extreme tiredness can lead to micro-sleeps, whatever your age. This is a short episode of drowsiness or sleep that could last a fraction of a second or up to 30 seconds. A car driving at 70 mph will travel 31 meters per second, giving plenty of time to cause a serious crash during a micro-sleep.

The effects of losing one or two hours of sleep a night regularly can lead to chronic sleepiness over time. So, ensure you are well rested and feeling fit and healthy before you set off.

Make sure you take regular rest breaks to split up the journey when driving on a long, boring stretch of motorway. It’s good practise to stop at least every two hours and it’s essential to take a break before the drowsiness sets in.

If necessary, plan an overnight stop. If you feel too fatigued to carry on driving, then book yourself into a hotel at the next service area and sleep it off. Wake up fresh with a good breakfast and carry on your journey. It’s good to note that a caffeine high may be a quick fix, but it’s not a long-term solution and certainly no substitute for proper sleep.

Older people can get tired quickly, even when they haven’t been physically exerting themselves for long periods of time. So, avoid setting out on a long drive near the end of the day. It’s best to start your journey earlier, when you’re more alert.

If possible, avoid driving between the two peak times for sleepiness. These are between 3am and 5am and between 2pm and 4pm.

If you’ve taken prescribed medication, then seek advice from your GP as to whether you should be driving or not. If bought over the counter, then read the instructions on the pack or speak to a pharmacist.

For further tips and advice on driving in later life go to IAM RoadSmart’s website at








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