Eco Friendly Car Washing

An eco friendly attitude can be incorporated into just about any aspect of your life. It doesn't just involve eating organic foods or recycling your trash. You can go as far as making sure that you are being eco friendly while washing and maintaining your car. Read the following tips on how you can ensure that you are being cautious of the environment when washing your car so you ensure you are keeping your car in good condition with minimal impact to the environment.

· Wash weekly, but no more

Washing your car often will help it maintain its value. However, there is such a thing as washing your car too much. If you are making an effort to be eco friendly, choose to wash your car one time weekly. Washing it anymore will serve only to waste water and use too many products such as car cleaning shampoo. Conserve water and other products by not washing your car too often.

· Wash as quickly as you can

When it comes time for your weekly wash, do it as quickly as you can. This can help you conserve water. You may also consider getting a water spout for your water hose that can help you conserve water. Find creative ways to use rain water or drainage in an effort to conserve water. Discover your own ideas for ways that you can keep your car washes eco friendly.

· Use the least amount of chemicals as possible

Part of being environmentally friendly is caring about the chemicals that are put into the earth. Because the chemicals that will be used to wash your car will eventually make its way into the earth, be cautious of the products that you are using. Are they eco friendly? What impact will they have on the environment over time? Search for enviro friendly car washing products and materials.

Pass Your Parking Test

Driving is a skill, but parking is a skill too, that one learns under expert supervision in a driving school of repute. It is an important part of a driving lesson. Parking properly in Australia is extremely crucial; else you may land up getting a ticket. You can park at car parks and parking station by paying an hourly rate. This will ensure that your vehicle is parked safe.

    Reverse Parking Task: Many people are good drivers, but with parking skills as good they can become perfect. Reverse parking is an important task; it tests your skills as to how well you can manage and control the roads and your car. Reverse parking involves demonstrating to the driver that you know what you are doing. When giving a reverse parking test you need to show that you are equipped to look for potential hazards while reversing the car, so that vulnerable objects or people are not harmed. How you complete the parking task is also significant. This task is completed safely when you stop the car near the kerb and also have maintained a safe distance from the vehicle in front. Getting out of the parking space smoothly is important too. You should be able to ideally do that with minimal forward and backward movements. Remember to use the mirrors and the head checks correctly before you zoom out of the parking space.

    Three-point turn: When a safe location to reverse park the car is not found, in your driving test you may be expected to do a three-point turn. In this case you are allowed to stop the car on the left of the road before making the turn. You can to your advantage use the driveway on the right side of the road while taking your turn. It is important to correctly and effectively use the indicators during the three-point turn so that other drivers are aware of what you are doing. If you are required to stop on the left side of the road, ensure you use the left indicator. Here also positioning the car correctly is important. If you stop first, then do make sure you stop close to the left kerb. When you complete the three-point turn, make ensure you are on the correct side of the road.

Why Choose a Professional Driving Instructor?

Why should you choose a professional driving instructor?

It is very tempting, especially in the current financial climate, to ask a family member or friend to give you driving lessons. However it is very rare that anyone other than an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) will posses the relevant training and experience to train you to a sufficient level to pass your driving test. Professional Approved Driving Instructors are trained to a very high standard and know exactly how you must drive to pass the current practical driving test.

How do I know that my driving instructor is any good?

Fully qualified ADI's in the United Kingdom have to take regular check tests to ensure they are providing the correct level of tuition to students. A Senior Driving Examiner employed by the DSA (Driving Standards Agency) will observe an instructor to ensure they are maintaining the required quality of tuition. Obviously if you have chosen to take lessons from a friend or relative they are not bound by the same levels of quality. Once a driving instructor has been observed they will be graded according to their ability, these are:

    Grade 4 - Competent
    Grade 5 - Good
    Grade 6 - Very high standard

Less than 5% of all Approved Driving Instructors registered in the UK have achieved a Grade 6 and there are an estimated 35,000 registered ADI's.

If a driving instructor is graded less than a 4 they will be subject to further checks by the Driving Standards Agency and if their level of tuition does not improve over that time they risk having their licence revoked. If you would like to know what grade your driving instructor was given in their last assessment you can ask to see their latest grade report.

You should always be aware of whether your instructor is a fully qualified Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) or Licensed Instructor Under Training. An ADI will have a green licence to display in their windscreen whereas an Instructor Under Training will have a pink licence and whenever you are paying for tuition your instructor is bound by law to display their licence.

Cheap Cars Looked At In Context

"Cheap cars" is a relative term. What is cheap to my neighbour, an Arabian oil prince, may be unaffordable to me. So, cheap cars need to be put into perspective to make any real sense. To the average South African household, a cheap car could mean any car substantially less expensive than a new luxury German sedan with a star on its bonnet. That means the term "cheap car" means an affordable car for the purpose and financial means of the person looking at such car. Cheap cars could thus be seen as either a second-hand car considerably less expensive than its new derivative, or alternatively a new car of a smallish design without any stars adorning its bonnet.

In the context of Africa, particularly sub Saharan Africa, cheap cars would mean something different to a great many people than it would to their wealthier counter parts elsewhere in the world, who may accept the above definition. To such people who would mostly be rural dwellers and often be subsistence farmers, a cheap car would mean an affordable vehicle with great reliability and which would run on the smell of an oil rag. The vehicle would also need to be multi-purpose and drivers friendly. So, what would these cheap cars look like and would be their purpose? To answer this question one would need to look at the environment the vehicle would be used in as well as the application areas of such a vehicle. Let's consider a subsistence farmer in the Transkei area, who for a number of years worked on the mines and saved some money to go "farming". Although he might have a bit of capital to buy seed etc. and have a few oxen he could in span to plough with, he has no means to transport production goods, nor any transport to sell his produce at any reasonable market. He further has no means to reach his local clinic 80 kilometres away on a dirt road or visit his kids in Umtata.

All About The Hatchback

There are a lot of different styles of car being driven around the streets of our cities. There are four by fours, pickups, sedans, sports cars, two and four door versions and, of course, the hatchback. Here is some information on the hatchback.

You know you are looking at a hatchback if the car looks like a sedan with the boot cut off. This does mean that the average hatchback is a lot shorter and has less boot space than the average sedan, but it makes up for it in other ways.

The one way that a hatchback makes up for its lack of boot space is by having a shorter wheel base than a sedan or any other kind of car. This means that a hatchback can turn around in a much smaller space than any other kind of car, except maybe the South African taxi minibus. This means that it is a lot easier to get out of tight spots and to get out of parking bays when other cars would have been parked in.

The lack of a boot also makes the hatchback a great deal lighter than most sedans. This means that it has a tendency to use less fuel. This is because the engine has to push or pull along less weight so it does not need as much fuel to produce the power required to move the car which leads to lowered fuel consumption.

You do not need to be concerned that you will not be able to put your month's shopping into the back of your hatchback though. There is still plenty of room for that kind of thing. The boot has only been shortened, not done away with altogether. You might have some trouble going on holiday for long periods of time though. You can easily install a tow bar on most hatchback vehicles though so you can make up for that problem with a trailer.

The hatchback's lack of a boot also makes it great for in traffic driving. You will be able to get through smaller gaps in traffic safely which means that you should be able to get to work faster than you would if you were in a four by four and will sue less petrol to do it.

Teens and Driving

There are some things that a teenager looks forward to in their life and getting their license and a car is one of the top contenders. Teens can't wait for the freedom of being able to take themselves places and it is the first major step to them being more independent. Unfortunately, their road dreams are their parent's worst nightmare. It has been proven that teenagers are not the best drivers and laws continuously try to regulate the amount of time that teens can spend on the roads. This article will look at why teenage driving is such a major issue and discuss some of the ways our country is trying to correct the problem. If you have a teenager thinking about driving, you might need to know this information.

For teenage drivers, the statistics do not lie. When compared to any other age group they have the worst driving record. Every year teenagers are involved in more crashes compared to other age groups and these accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers. That statistic alone proves how dangerous it is for children on the roads. The National Safety Council estimates that by enforcing the GDL laws more than 2,000 lives will be save annually and there would be a financial savings in the billions of dollars.

What are the GDL laws? These laws were introduced in the early 2000s. The aim was to make the period of a teenager getting their license a more gradual experience. Instead of a teenager being set free on the roads at the age of 16 there is now a waiting time. The learning permit still exists for teenagers but instead of being 15 they now have to be 16. After they turn 16 they enter a learner stage. During this stage the driver still has to be supervised even though they have a license. After this stage the driver then enters the intermediate phase. During this phase teenagers are no longer required to have supervision, but there are still restrictions to when they are allowed to drive and with whom. The final stage is the next step. During this the teenager will have an unrestricted license and be able to drive with the same laws as all other drivers.

Ways on How to Maintain Your Car's Paint Job

Without a doubt, taking care of a car's external surface is a necessity that every car owner should become accustomed to, irrespective of the car's age and type. Concerning the car's exterior finish, the paint job is one of the evident features that exemplify the way on how you maintain your vehicle. It is essential that you regularly clean and inspect your car, principally for the reason that its exterior typically requires a large sum of money whenever there is a need for any repair or replacement.

If you want to ensure that your car stays at its best, you need to allocate a part of your time in cleaning and maintaining its parts. Primarily, you need to wash your car with the appropriate tools, which may include a paint-safe microfiber-washing mitt, a bucket of water, and cleaning solutions designed for automotive purposes. Some of the most reputable and effective products since these produces offer a balanced pH level, and its non-detergent properties are efficient in the precluding the deterioration of your car's paint job.

In addition, you should always bear in mind that you need to dry your vehicle after washing in order to prevent the formation of water spots. Several auto professional recommend using a cotton fabric in drying your car. Conversely, you may also use paint-safe drying towels, which are highly porous and scratch-free. Nevertheless, if a thorough wash is not adequate to remove all the dirt and grime in your car's exterior, it is advisable that you use an auto clay bar. This type of material is efficient in getting the dirt and residue off your car's surface without leaving any trace of scratch.

What's the Best Car to Buy for a New Driver?

There are many factors to take into account when buying a car for the first time driver. Although there are cases of newly-licensed drivers who are well into their middle years, today's majority of new drivers are in their teenage years or just past it. More often than not, these people still live with their parents, can't afford to buy a new car on their own and yet are excited at the prospect of being able to go places that they couldn't go to before. Worryingly, this age bracket is also statistically the most high-risk, because of the tendency of teenagers to drive recklessly, many times drunk, and thus get into serious accidents.

To get into a car, newly-licensed teenage drivers must often ask for help from their parents to buy even a used car. For first-time drivers, it makes sense to buy a car that has modest performance, is not a fuel guzzler and is cheap to maintain. It's also a fact that insurance companies automatically put young drivers in a high premium bracket. Combine this with a high performance car and insurance companies may charge you a premium that will make your hair stand on end. With these in mind, it makes sense to buy a Japanese car, online being a good option. Japanese cars are generally miserly on fuel, are cheap to maintain and repair and normally don't get charged high insurance premiums, unless you're looking to buy a Japanese car online that is a Nissan Skyline or a Toyota Supra.

New Car Features Worth Having

How is your search going for your new car? Have you narrowed down the type of car loan that is best for you and found one that will help you get your dream car? Speaking of your dream car, are there any particular features that you are looking for? It can be hard to really pin point the new features that are right for you. Since manufactures are always adding new things and taking away the one that aren't popular, it can be hard for a consumer to keep up on the things that they actually need in their car. This article will look at some of the new features that have been improved or that are brand new. It is our hope that with our list you will be able to figure out what you actually need and want in your car. Once you figure that out, you will be able to find a car loan and get your dream car.

Let's be straight, it is a crazy world out there, and you never know what can happen. That is why it is essential to have key less entry. Yes I know that this feature has been around for a while, but you would be amazed to know that you can still get a new car without it. Most key less entries now only unlock your driver door with the first click. If there is a need for you to unlock the other doors, you will have to hit the button again. This makes it safer so that nobody jumps in your car once you unlock it. Some even now have a heartbeat detector on them. As you get closer to your car you will be able to tell if your car can detect a heartbeat from within.

Do you get lost easily? If you say yes then you need to stop delaying and finally get a car that has GPS. This will help navigate you through and are that you might not know. If you don't want a screen GPS some models offer you ONSTAR. This service is found in certain models. With the touch of a button you can be connected to an agent that can give you directions, they can unlock your car if you left your keys and they can detect if you have gotten in an accident and call for help. Not too shabby right?

Transportation of Heavy Machinery Equipments

Heavy machinery equipments are some of the most versatile heavy duty products available in the industry. These equipments need to be used in certain ways in order for it to remain in top condition and put to the most effective tasks.

There are various kinds of heavy machinery equipments that are used in the infrastructure industry. Depending on the location of the sites, these equipments have to be transported from one place to another. Some of the specially designed machinery necessary for transportation of heavy equipments like drill jigs, pneumatic conveyers, milling machines, etc. that are used on docks, farms and construction sites, have to be dealt with in a highly efficient manner. They are quite difficult to be transported which is why powerful machines like tractors, heavy duty trucks and trailers or bulldozers are used.

Not all heavy equipments require the same form of transportation or the medium of transit. It largely depends upon the size of the equipment to be transported and the location of the destination. Heavy duty trucks and tractors are used to move materials and equipments around factories, construction sites and warehouses. Forklifts are kinds of industrial equipments used for moving large and heavy objects. Heavy machinery transportation can also be done using haulers available to pull trucks and other material.

Loading and unloading of equipments is done innumerable number of times at docks. All kinds of materials are used to load and offload stuff from ships Conveyers and hoists prove to be the best equipments and are used here to in order to transport stuff through seas and water bodies. Such conveyers and mine cars are also used heavily in mines. Working in mines is a big challenge and poses lots of danger and other underground environment related issues that must be kept in mind. Here, the equipments need to be of the highest caliber to sustain all such challenges.

Most Affordable Cars Available Today - The Nano Car

The most affordable cars available today begin with the Nano car. This car was developed in India and holds an interesting story.

It began with a thought to offer a "peoples car" to the India population, most of which are fortunate enough to make $1,000 American dollars per year. In India, most transportation is provided by scooters and quad-bikes. Ratan Tata wanted to offer the people of his country more than this standard transportation.

The chairman of Tata Motors, Mr. Tata challenged a 32 year old engineer, Girish Wagh to develop a car with three requirements: must comply with regulatory stipulations, must be low-cost, and yield performance goals of acceleration capacity and fuel efficiency.

The proto-type was 4 wheels supporting bars with plastic flaps instead of doors to protect the driver from the rain. This looks more like a quadra-cycle than a car but this mistake led to the design team to build an actual car design.

Mr. Tata decided he needed the help of suppliers that could bring him the materials to build a proper car. Most suppliers he approached were skeptical to say the least. Let's face it, Tata wanted to build the cheapest car in the world and keep the price tag at $2,500.00 American dollars.

Imagine the faces of these suppliers when he presented this "crazy" idea to them.

Tata appealed to them that they would make world history as well as develop their own businesses and slowly some of the suppliers jumped aboard with the idea. The rack and pinion steering was produced by Rane Group. The major goal was to reduce the weight and a steering rod replaced the typical steel tube that makes up the steering mechanism.

GKN Driveline India provided the technology for the drive shaft. This attempt failed 32 times before they got it right! And, the balance of the suppliers who were challenged with providing quality parts at low prices can tell similar stories.

Eventually, Wagh's team included over 500 engineers working on the Nano car. The designing of this car was a feat unmatched, but has paid off. The Nano provides a status symbol to the country-men of India.

In-Car Driving Distractions

Distracted driving isn't just unsafe, it's also life threatening. There are many ways in which a driver can become distracted; whether it's by your kiddiewinks calling your name repeatedly and kicking up a fuss or even your friends in the back who are completely inebriated from their wild night out. Whatever your in-car surroundings, it's crucial to keep alert and stay safe on those busy roads, which can only get busier on the run-up to Christmas. So, how can we prevent such distractions?

Travelling with children

When little ones are faced with a long journey, it often results in them becoming restless, fidgety and irritable. Lengthy journeys with children in the car really can become a big distraction even when their intentions are completely harmless. If you turn your attention from the wheel for even a split second, the result can be truly devastating.

So, what can you do to prevent the kids from becoming dissatisfied during your travels? Before you set off, make sure they've gone "for a try." This way, you're less likely to frantically search for the nearest toilet stop. You should also:

    Pack some snacks - one reason your child may be feeling a little irritable could be because they're hungry. Keep some food and juice at hand if they get peckish. Keep some sweets in the front for them too if you're feeling generous.
    Take a break - remember that you child may need to stretch their legs so stop off at the nearest service station if you can so they can get a little fresh air.
    Grab the must-haves - does your child have a favourite toy? A favourite blanket perhaps or maybe a game? Something so little may help your child feel at ease throughout the longest of journeys.

There are also a number of safety precautions in order to keep your beloved little one safe and secure while on those journeys regardless of how big or small those journeys may be. Make sure they're securely fastened in with a seatbelt and the child locks are on. Make sure your child has the correct child seat too and it's securely fastened.

Bad Credit Car Loans And Possible Problems

There are bad credit car loans available nationwide but some may be fraudulent. If you are one of the many Americans who have experienced a glitch in your finances recently and are looking into bad credit car loans, you will want to heed warning when researching these types of loans.

I don't like to talk about negative things in my articles but I felt I would be doing my readers and clients a disservice if I didn't address this. I hear way to many horror stories of innocent people getting ripped off...and it really makes me mad!

Due to the recent trouble with our economy, there are many people who are experiencing less than perfect credit. And, because cars are pretty much an absolute necessity to help get yourself back on your feet, there are predators preying on those that may be looking for bad credit car loans.

Buyer beware...

Whenever there is an increased demand for services such as special financing, scams will pop up like the dreaded dandelions that show up every summer in your lawn.

It's unfortunate that there are people who would take advantage of others like this.

But it's true!

So it's worth knowing this information to avoid being a victim of unethical practices when looking for bad credit auto loans.

Here are a few things that you should watch for to be sure that you do not get ripped off or have your identity stolen:

First, with online sites that offer special loans for those with poor credit often there is no one-on-one contact with an actual person. Therefore, be sure that before you go through the pre-approval stage, you see both a phone number and a physical mailing address. Call the number to be sure it is a legitimate business, ask the person that you speak with if you can talk to their manager so that you know there are employees available within the lender's establishment.

There are scams that will ask for all your personal information on the pre-approval application, just to get your social security number as well as other personal info from you. You risk having your identity stolen and this is the last thing that someone needs if they are already experiencing financial troubles.

Next, avoid an online source that offers "guaranteed approval". In the lending world, this can stand for, "We will do anything, including possible unethical means to get you to borrow money. So, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be sure and dig deeper before giving your personal information to anyone.

Also beware of those asking for up-front pre-approval fees. With this you risk the chance that once you send in your money, you will never hear from them again.

It is a good idea to know your credit score ahead of time before looking for an online auto loan. Sometimes the lender will tell you your credit score is simply too low to be approved for a lesser interest rate. They will then charge you higher interest putting less money in your pocket and more in theirs.

And, finally beware of the scams that tell you that you must have a co-signer. If this is true, it is simple to protect yourself here because both names should be on the final loan paperwork. Look closely at the paperwork to be sure your name is on the loan to avoid causing possible troubles with your insurance company. Just as important, without your name on the loan you could lose the chance to rebuild your credit through the bad credit car loan.

There are bad credit car loans available that are legitimate and thank goodness for this. Do your homework before moving forward with any of these companies.

Best Car For The Money

The best car for the money is the one that not only tops the charts with the auto reviewers but also pleases the consumer through lower ownership costs. To have the best of both worlds, a vehicle you can rely on for performance and safety as well as is cheaper to drive and maintain creates a win-win situation.

As with most industries, the automotive world is ever-changing and the following examples are proof of this fact. As long as technology creates changes, the consumer is going to see on-going changes as well.

As an example of this, according to US News, where Ford used to predominate in the larger SUV and truck categories, the best car for the money in the small compact division is the Ford Fiesta. And, now the GMC Silverado 1500 corners the market for best truck for the money today.

Following you will see the complete list of US News Best Cars for the Money List:

Right behind the GMC Silverado 1500 comes the Suzuki Equator for the best compact pickup truck. The Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma are close runner-ups in this same category.

The Lexus RX 350 takes the cake for the best luxury midsize crossover. Cousins in this category would be the Acura MDX and the Audi Q5.

Infinity EX will give you complete value if you are in the market for the best luxury compact crossover. Volvo XC60 takes a close second in this category of best cars for the money.

Best full size SUV for the money is the Chevrolet Tahoe, according to US News. This SUV offers the feel of a full sized truck but seats 9 passengers comfortably and has plenty of cargo to carry all the necessary essentials.

The Tahoe's sister SUV, the Chevrolet Traverse wraps up the category for best mid-sized crossover.

The best car for the money in the best compact crossover is the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. Although Mitsubishi is a less popular vehicle here in U.S., this crossover proudly wears this crown.

The Hyundai Elantra Touring ranks best in its class. This wagon will prove to be the best vehicle for the money, according to MS News.

And now, in the minivan corner, we have Kia Sedona. Kia is happy to take away the honors for best minivan from well-known brands such as Toyota and Honda.

If it is value as well as a sporty car you would like, the Mazda MX5 Miata will run circles around its competition when it comes to the best sports car for the money.

The best hybrid car for the money is hands down the Toyota Prius. With the latest ingenuity as well as safety features, this hybrid is first in its field.

Now, if you are looking for a little more luxury added to your long-term value, you will want to check out the sedan proudly named the Buick Regal.

And, if luxury is your preference, but you would like a little smaller vehicle, the Volkswagen GTI steals the award for best upscale compact car for the money.

The best family sedan would go to the Ford Taurus. The Taurus offers the most value for the cost of the vehicle as well as high performance.

Next, the best mid-size for the money is the Chevrolet Malibu.

The Honda Fit takes home the blue ribbon for the best Hatchback in its class. The best compact car for the money is the ever-popular Honda Civic.

And for the smallest car that offers the best value for the money is the...Ford Fiesta.

This list of the best car for the money was compiled from the information gathered by US News. If you are looking for long-term value providing less money to run and less money to maintain, this list will give you a great head-start.

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Mazda Dealer - Helping You Find the Right Car for Your Money

A Mazda dealer is excellent at helping consumers find the right car for the right price. If you are thinking about buying a new car, truck or van, make an appointment to check out the Mazdas at your local dealership. You won't be disappointed at the quality vehicles you will see on the lot. Known for detail and craftsmanship, these vehicles are also priced to please.

It sounds a little too obvious that a car dealership would be willing to make a deal with you on the lot. We all know that car salesmen and women are known for being wheeler-dealers. Yet, with Mazdas, the deals just sort of make themselves. Ask a driver of one of this car manufacturers models. You will be hard-pressed to find someone that is the least bit dissatisfied.

If you are looking for a specific style of car, mention this information when you make an appointment to stop by the lot. They can have a few specific cars lined up and ready to go. You will want to drive a few different models before you settle on one particular style. When possible, make sure to test drive both a manual and automatic. This will really give you a feel for the engine quality. If you think you only want a coupe, go ahead and drive one of their larger sedans. Again, you may not have a real feel for the vehicle of your choice until you drive a few different styles.

There is nothing wrong with asking a Mazda Dealer for their opinion on each of the cars. They will give you an honest insight into each model and tell you what you can expect when driving them. These dealers are the experts on this particular manufacturer, so grill them for information regarding MPG, handling, maintenance and other interests that you might have. The more information you know about a particular vehicle, the more likely you will be to become a satisfied owner.

The dealership will be happy to show you around the lot and answer any questions that you might have. You can be sure that they will give you a positive spin on the cars because they are trying to sell you one. However, these dealers understand the pressures you are under to buy a car that will continue to perform over a long period of time. They know that you have to be careful with your money, so they would hesitate before selling you something that wasn't a good value.

If you aren't sure about the Mazda Dealer in your community, go onto the national website and learn more information about their different vehicles. Through the website you can do fun things like build cars to your liking and get serious and detailed answers to questions you might have about the manufacturer.

A Mazda Dealer can help you find the right car for your money.

Five Concept Cars That Made It To Production

Motor industry followers know the routine all too well. Chasing headlines and brand publicity, car manufacturers gather at periodic motor shows to whip the covers off their latest concepts.

Sometimes these are impractical and highly styled 'design studies', hoping to shock and provoke reaction while not being remotely suited to mass production. Only small design elements of these concepts tend to find their way onto a company's future cars.

Other times these concepts are proposals for actual models, accurate in size and general shape but typically with exaggerated styling features like larger wheels or front grille, bulging wheel arches and narrower lights or a slimmer window glass area.

The dramatized looks impress and often cause great excitement among potential buyers, but when the real model comes along disappointment can follow at the toned-down showroom version.

However, every now and then, a company surprises industry commentators and its customers by revealing a stunning concept car that survives the journey from drawing board to showroom almost unchanged.

Just take a look at these five recent examples.

Range Rover Evoque - This new baby model in the Land Rover range first broke cover as the LRX 'cross-coupe' concept at the Detroit motor show back in January 2008. It aimed to offer buyers "a desirable, premium and coupe-like SUV" and was designed as a more compact and environmentally conscious alternative to the brand's large 4x4 models. The production version was revealed at the Paris motor show in September 2010 ahead of first deliveries to customers earlier this year and stunned commentators by retaining near identical bodywork to the striking LRX concept. Now industry pundits are wondering whether Land Rover is about to pull the same trick with this year's DC100 concept, so far touted only as a "modern reinterpretation" of the company's classic original Defender model. Will it also make it to production largely unchanged? Only time will tell.

Jaguar XF - The XF made its debut back in 2007 as the C-XF concept, a proposed replacement for the company's retro-styled S-Type model. The design startled commentators with its marked departure from Jaguar's long-held style language, in particular its recessed grille, sleek lights and far less curvaceous bodywork than the company's previous models. Thought to have only been a study previewing elements of a new design direction, Jaguar truly shocked the motoring world later the same year by revealing a production XF that was largely unchanged from the concept. Few could believe that the company was planning to smash its classic design mould so completely. This year's facelift has brought the XF even closer to its C-XF concept by adding the slimmer headlamps seen on the original motor show star. The XF has ushered in a new era in Jaguar styling that has been carried forward to the company's latest new model, the XJ, much to the classic British company's sales success.

Volkswagen Scirocco - VW's Iroc concept broke cover at the 2006 Paris motor show with a name that clearly evoked memories of the company's sporty Scirocco model made between the mid 1970s and early 1990s. Always expected to reach production, the Golf-based showroom version inherited the Scirocco badge and hit the road in 2008, but did surprise by retaining styling as aggressive as the original concept. The only major change to the car's shape was to the Iroc's bold front grille, which was toned down into a slim version complete with wraparound bumper to both make the car suitable for road use and match the corporate 'face' of the company's other models. The Scirocco's sporty styling and spacious, four seat interior have made it a popular addition to the VW line-up.

Nissan Juke - When Nissan's Qazana concept first appeared at the Geneva motor show in 2009, its unusual dimensions and quirky styling led few to believe it could be anything other than a design study. Yet when the company's Juke 'mini-crossover' model was unveiled in 2010, it wasn't just the broad shape of the Qazana concept such as the prominent wheel arches, high waistline and coupe-like appearance that were carried over without dramatic change. So too were some the concept's most striking styling features, particularly the unusual arrangement of front lights. Seemingly a popular choice with people looking for a distinctive alternative in the small family car market, Nissan seems to have repeated the previous success of its larger Qashqai family crossover since potential Juke buyers now face a long waiting list.

Peugeot RCZ - debuting in 2007 at the Frankfurt motor show as the 308 RCZ, this sporty concept aimed at rivalling the popular Audi TT was a design departure for Peugeot and achieved critical acclaim for its attractive styling. Surprised by the public response, Peugeot took the decision to put the RCZ into production and, to avoid disappointing enthusiasts for the original concept, ensured that its show car looks such as the prominent wheel arches and sleek roofline with 'double bubble' rear window were carried over. The road-going RCZ went on sale in 2009 and so far over 30,000 examples have found homes.

Thankfully breaking the mould is a trend that seems to be growing for car makers, often in a quest for distinctiveness or 'halo' models that draw attention to the rest of a brand's range. Manufacturers will also have noted that recent examples, like those above, have proved popular and resulted in sales success. Let's hope that this trend continues, because who wouldn't rather drive around in a head-turning, every day show car for the road?

How RAM Tracking Can Aid Companies During The Festive Period

The holidays can be one of the most stressful times for everybody, but for business, the holidays give way to a wealth of customer orders. If you own a business that uses deliveries, RAM vehicle trackers might be something worth looking into. RAM tracking is a way for a business to have knowledge of where their fleet is at any point. Tracking your vehicles can also keep a log of speeds driven, stops made and fuel efficiency.

One of the best advantages of using RAM vehicle trackers is the ability to plan out your deliveries. When the holiday orders start to come in, you want to be as efficient as possible with your vehicles. Being able to plan out deliveries based on the shortest routes available is essential in getting your customer's orders delivered on time. RAM vehicle trackers are equipped with GPS receivers that allow you to completely plan out all of your deliveries with the shortest distances between your order addresses.

The customers are the most important aspect of your business. When you use RAM tracking, you will have the ability to keep your customers informed. One of the biggest issues with delivery services is keeping your customers aware of when the products will be delivered. Having the ability to give your customer a time-frame within thirty minutes of delivery can set you apart from the competition.

Every business that has a fleet must deal with the possibility of car wrecks or breakdowns. Whether your driver makes an error or simply runs over a nail, vehicle tracking allows you to get the exact location of your vehicle in the time of a crisis. What would you do if one of your vehicles was stolen? Would you be able to get it back? With RAM trackers you can simply pull up the location of the vehicle and alert the authorities.

Vehicle tracking is an asset to delivery companies. The advantages of planning out the most fuel-efficient routes for delivering to your customers can save you time and money. Being able to give your customers a short time frame in which they can expect their products to be delivered is a great advantage to your business. Add to these benefits the ability to get the exact location of your vehicle in the time of a crisis or in the event of a stolen vehicle, and you can cut insurance costs for your entire fleet. Invest in RAM tracking and implement these key features for your company.

Jamie Simpson is a UK blogger who writes on a variety of topics, including on behalf of RAM tracking, the vehicle tracking specialists. Find out more about RAM Tracking

Tata Merlin - The Better Has Become The Best

For the past couple of years the native company had the team burning the mid night oil for the conception and development of the new Safari under the code name of 'Safari 18'. Built on the 4x2 Aria platform the new model is expected to unveil by the end of the year 2011 lauding the name Tata Merlin. Speculations are around that the Merlin would be priced in the bracket of 10 lakhs to challenge Mahindra's new launch XUV 500 priced at 10.88 lakhs (ex- showroom Delhi). The Tata Merlin, they say is not here to replace the old Safari but would mark a presence with a smarter personality and revamped specifications offering an option between the Safari and the Aria.

From the spy pictures the Tata Merlin promises to be a very suave and stylish SUV. The face showcases a completely refurbished look with the hood lower than before and the contours replaced with bold boxy look. New front and rear body colored bumpers with chic fog lights, L shaped sharp looking projector head lamps, body colored door handles are the new add on features making the Tata Merlin an entirely revived car. 5 spoke alloy wheel complete the aggressive persona with the fifth wheel hidden way under the boot showcasing a neat tail gate like the Aria. Borrowing style cues from the Land Rover the crisply crafted rear houses new square tail lamps.

Carrying the Tata legacy of luxury and style the cabin is expected to be at par with the Aria. We can expect the car to boast of all the opulent features like exotic looking leather upholstery, power windows, remote fuel filler etc. Being a spacious seven seater the car would promise to make your drive comfortable with functional amenities like steering mounted controls, adjustable drivers seat, dash integrated music system, upgraded AC with power controls with two vents etc. fully redesigned electric door mirrors, panoramic sun roofs, rear wiper and defogger are some other features making the SUV an ultimate in comfort and opulence.

The car will possess well appointed safety features like Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), Anti Lock Braking System (ABS), traction control mechanism, parking sensors, 4 air bags, Electronic Stability Program (ESP), fog lamps to bring the safety quotient at par with the luxuries.

Sources suggest that the company tested the model with two engine options and later settled for the 2.2 litre DiCOR doing the duty for the ongoing model of the Aria. The diesel engine would deliver maximum power of 140 bhp at 4000 rpm and maximum torque of 320 nm at 1700 rpm. The Aria boasts of the same engine as of Safari but with fine-tuning and refinement in vibration. The Tata Merlin though a 140 bhp churner is expected to be very sensitive to control. Mated with a five speed manual gear box and low friction bearings the car is expected to be a real power performer. Speculations hint the Tata Merlin to deliver a mileage of 11 kmpl in city and about 15 kmpl on highway.

Better appointed than the previous model the car is also expected to be priced higher, somewhere between 10-12 lakhs.

As the Safari itself is a very popular model, its refurbished and technologically advanced model is already creating waves in anticipation. Being an affordable SUV the Tata Merlin is indeed promising to deliver its value content yet it will have to prove its mettle in the market loaded with sharp competition like the Mahindra XUV 500.

Winter Driving: A Mixture of Myth and Reality Backed by Preparation

This has been one weird start to the winter season in the United States. In areas where you normally expect there to be snow and ice, the days have been warmer than normal and in areas where you expect balmy breezes - or at least mild temperatures - there have been snow and ice storms.
No Experience a Problem
This has led, unfortunately, to drivers, who have never expected or experienced winter snow and ice to face conditions that have them befuddled as they are totally unprepared and it has meant accidents and some deaths.
Indeed, moving outside the US, there was a reported ice storm in China that left millions in damage as a high-speed parade of ultra-expensive autos smashed into each other like ping-pong balls as 25 high-performance vehicles bounced off each other and the Armco guardrail, leaving serious injuries and wrecks all over the highway. The drivers were clearly unprepared for "black ice driving" - driving on road the merely looks wet but is actually coated with ice. It is very common in the norther tier of states in the US and in countries where snow or ice are regular visitors.
(If you find yourself in this situation, the best advice is pullover and wait until it either warms up enough to drive again or until a truck with an ice-melt drives by and the condition is resolved.)
Driver's Education Not Enough
Unfortunately, winter driving is not part of the standard curriculum in most Driver Education programs anywhere in the world. In the US, for example, the aim is to get the driver behind the wheel as quickly as possible so the driving school can focus on getting another class started and moved behind the steering wheel as driving schools focus not on real training but on the business of driving and in their case it is training as many students as possible.
When it comes to learning how to drive anywhere in the world, unless you pay for some highly specialized and expensive one-on-one training, learning to drive at any time of the year is urban legend involving swimming. That legend has it that many kids were simple taken out in a boat to a distance offshore and thrown in the water with the single instruction, "If you want to keep from drowning you'd better learn to swim." And the kid, at least, learns to dog-paddle his way to to shore.
If that were really the case, then, it would be a great way to teach swimming, but the last time we heard from any reliable sources at the Y or the Red Cross, their swimming and life-saving classes are going as strong as ever, so the "sink or swim" story is just an urban legend.
That may be the case for swimming, but it certainly isn't the case for driving in the fall or winter, especially above 35-degrees North latitude, what you might call the worldwide "Snow Belt" where you have a whole range of things you have to watch out for. In no particular order, they include:
Black ice: It looks just like wet road until you hit the brakes and the ABS just keeps pumping as your front-drive car keeps skidding in the direction you were traveling (and you thought front-drive was good, didn't you? It's only good for packaging as you can shrink a car's size but keep the interior spacious so five can still ride in comfort. All it really does is make your car front-heavy so it acts like an arrow with an extra-heavy arrowhead and it flies straight and true without deviating from its path. That's the situation with front-drive where 69 percent of the weight is over the driving wheels. Believe it or not, at one time this was advertised as a safety feature.
Leaves: At this time of year, leaves at intersections look pretty harmless, but they are not. As the leaves lay there, they actually freeze in layers with the top layers thawing during the day, but the most sodden at the remain frozen or partially frozen all day long, despite sunlight. Approaching an intersection, if you hit your brakes hard, your car cab skid as if it were on black ice. The ABS tries, and actually does grab, the top layers of leaves, but the nasty wet and frozen ones at the bottom set up a situation where the top layers just slide along the bottom layers. It is a situation that can be just as deadly as black ice with your anti-lock braking (ABS) vainly trying to stop your car.
ABS: Just when you thought you had a tool that would save your neck in an accident comes the realization that all your ABS system is doing is pumping the brakes madly as you try to steer your car out of a potential skid. If you are lucky, your car will stop; if not, well there's always that wall or tree to stop you. All ABS does is pump the brakes, it doesn't negate physics and the physics of front-wheel-drive say your car is going to skid straight ahead, no matter what you do. In truth, ABS is meant to work in dry conditions when your tires have full contact with the road.
All-Wheel-Drive: This is another one of those wonderful myths. All-wheel-drive, the myth says, gives you ultimate control, but that is not exactly the case. Most "all-wheel-drive" systems, are not really full-time. Some may say "real-time" but the truth of the matter is that there are force sensors at each wheel and on the transmission that watch the traction available to each wheel. Most of the time, the vehicle will remain in front-wheel-drive - that's the truth of it - until the sensor system believes one of the rear wheels is losing traction and then the whole system activates and splits the power between the front wheels and the rear wheels 50-50 so that you have all four wheels now trying to handle a situation that it is really not built to handle. So, if your vehicle is in a skid you have all four wheels working helping to drive you into that skid. There are some systems, such as BMW's X-Drive and Mercedes-Benz that do attempt to compensate but those are much more expensive systems than say Honda's or Toyota's all-wheel-drive.
Four-Wheel-Drive: This is a real story in winter driving. If you have a vehicle with a true four-wheel-drive system, such as the ones found in real four-by-fours such as the GMC Tahoe or Chevy Suburban then you have a an automatic system that combines Electronic Stabilization and Traction Control so that just all four wheels are in play but the amount of force at each wheel does back off when traction is poor on one wheel, while another wheel receives a bit more power and a third wheel may have an automatic touch of braking. You won't know it is happening because all of this is electronically controlled. It's a wonder of microelectronics, but it is usually reserved for true SUVs and some Crossovers like the Caddy and the Lexus series. Infiniti also has a reasonable four-wheel-drive system. And, believe it or not Nissan's Murano and Rogue also have better than average four-wheel-systems. The Mercedes M-Series is also a cut above, so you do have a wide range of choices.
With all of this said, what is the solution to winter driving? It's really very simple, just follow the old rules driving that you've likely heard 100 times before. They include:
*Stay home, if you are facing a winter storm, and work from home, if you can.
*If you must drive, leave plenty of time to get to your location and make sure you have at least half-a-tank of gas (full is better as the extra weight does help stabilize things a bit).
*Also, slow down because your visibility will likely be limited by ice, snow, interior frost (it does help to run the air conditioning, believe it or not to help keep our windows clear), along with splash from other vehicle.
*Make sure all of your car's systems are working properly. In fact, if you have waited until now to have services performed you're too late as they should have been completed last month.
You have to make sure your car is well tuned and the brakes work properly. Yes, even the ABS, although it really makes little difference in a skid on ice. And, you have to ensure that your car's coolant and heating systems are working correctly. Also, a fresh set of rubber all around might not be a bad idea and you may be able to find the proper winter tire (M/S or mud and snow tires just don't cut it in a blizzard) for your vehicle and, even if you run a front-drive model, mount snows on all four wheels and be sure to have a set of chains ready in case you need it.
Keep flares in your trunk along with a blanket and folding shovel. It's also a good idea to keep some high-energy food in your trunk, even if you have to buy a set military MREs (meals ready to eat). Also a good jumper box or set of cables is a good idea as well, as a spare set of windshield wiper blades.
The list can go on but it's now also a good idea to make sure you have a charged cellphone and spare battery with you just in case and a GPS system might not be a bad idea, as well.
These are just a few ideas of what you'll need for winter driving. But the most obvious advice is still the best slow down and anticipate and finally drive as if your foot is on eggs. In other words, in the snow and ice less is more all movements should be very deliberate and carefully executed.
Never take a turn quickly and always anticipate that out of every side street or lane someone will be coming who isn't looking so you have to watch out for both of you. In other words, drive defensively at all times.
Having spent more than 30 years as the dean of Boston's newspaper auto columnists, I have more than a fair to middling knowledge of cars and their problems plus how to drive; how to buy; and how to use the system. Interestingly, I not only spent many years as an automotive writer, but I also spent nearly seven years selling retail either as the Internet Sales Manager for a major Boston area Honda preowned store, as well as serving as a retail salesman on the floor of a couple of domestic dealerships. I can write authoritatively about this topic because I have lived it since my Mom ran a brake rebuilding/relining shop in Boston in the 1950s when I was a kid and I had to go into the office on Saturdays as that was how she brought us up. I have worked on engines and I did the obligatory gas-pump jockey bit as a teen. In other words, I've been around cars and the industry for a long time.