28 January 2016

Motoring news from the blur that was January

Incredibly, the first month of 2016 is almost over and fortunately wintry weather didn’t show its face throughout the bulk of the UK, although Mother Nature made up for that by giving us loads and loads of rain, and then some. With the usual focus on safe driving, more affordable cars and young drivers, here’s our January news roundup.

Honda Jazz named safest supermini

EURO NCAP, the crash test dummy people who rate the safety of new cars, revealed which cars they tested during the last year came out the safest. In the supermini category, the safety crown goes to the new Honda Jazz, which won 5 stars. The extremely practical little Japanese car scored 93% for adult occupant safety and 85% for children. Pedestrians are 73% safe by Honda Jazz standards, whilst it scored 71% for its safety assist systems. Every trim level of Jazz is fitted with City-Brake Active System as standard, and optional safety features include lane departure warning, forward collision warning, traffic sign recognition and an intelligent speed limiter.

Honda Jazz safest supermini


Green envy

For our telematics insurance policyholders who like to do their bit for the environment plus keep up with technology news, the government announced £40million funding for ultra-low emissions vehicles (ULEV). London, Nottingham, Milton Keynes (home to a number of car firms’ UK headquarters) and Bristol will benefit the most, the rollout will see streetlights double up as car charging points in some places, and drivers of plugin hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and electric vehicles (EV) will be able to drive in bus lanes and enjoy free parking, which is pretty cool.

Go Ultra Low UK cities


How’s your parking?

Young Driver, an organisation that provides driving lessons for 10-17 year olds, carried out a survey amongst 1,000 drivers who have now been driving for a while. Twenty-eight percent of the males and thirty-six percent of the females who responded admitted to finding parallel parking difficult, whilst similar percentages lack confidence at reversing into a parking space. One in six of the drivers surveyed said they often resort to several-point turns instead of the recommended three, and over a quarter prefer parking farther away than having to perform a manoeuvre which to them should be straightforward but that they find daunting.

Young Driver survey


New Fiat 500 ‘Eco’ version

Carrot Insurance teamed up with Fiat a while ago for our joint I-DEAL promotion, so we thought we’d share our partner’s latest news relating to their cute and ever-popular 500. The best-selling 1.2 version is now available in ‘Eco’ spec’, bumping its combined fuel economy from 60.1mpg to 65.7mpg, whilst lowering its CO2 emissions from 110g/km to 99g/km, meaning that the usual £20 annual road tax becomes zilch, nada. As well as tweaks to the engine, the green improvements are also down to enhanced aerodynamics, start-stop, low resistance tyres and a clever alternator (the part that charges the battery and provides electrical power).

Fiat 500 1.2 Eco


Learners on motorways

In a bid to further increase safety on our roads, the Department for Transport is considering letting learner drivers take to the motorways during lessons if they so wish, as long as an instructor is with them and the car is fitted with dual controls. If the rules are changed soon, motorway driving won’t be made a mandatory part of driving practical tests, but with 86% of learner drivers surveyed by the RAC expressing keen interest in gaining motorway experience so it doesn’t come as a shock, it’s likely to be a popular move. As one of our telematics car insurance customers commented on Facebook, though, it remains unclear how young learner drivers who live in rural areas will be able to obtain the same motorway tuition experience.



Silverstone success

Talking of safety, Carrot Insurance held a really exciting event at Silverstone this month and we’ll tell you all about it very soon on The Root, so stay tuned.

Perhaps you got a new (to you) car in January, drove somewhere really interesting or unfortunately had a prang but Carrot came to your rescue. Whatever your own January car-related news was, share it with us on Twitter or Facebook

Oliver Hammond

Written by Oliver Hammond

Oliver is an established freelance motoring writer, published journalist and automotive copywriter based in Manchester. He regularly reviews cars and covers events and launches as editor of petroleumvitae.com and his articles appear in various magazines each month. No relation to Richard from Top Gear, he’s got a weakness for luxo-barges, proper 4x4s and oddball cars.