Monday, 22 April 2013
This is a short post to inform Honda drivers that Honda UK has a product recall on a selection of cars due to faulty passenger airbags. This recall mainly affects CR-V's between 2002-3 and a small number of Stream and Jazz models between 2001-02.
Owners will be notified by post and asked to make an appointment to visit their local Honda dealership. Work to carry out these essential repairs will be free of charge and are strongly recommended.
If you have any queries, please visit the Honda UK Product Recall website or contact your local Honda UK dealership.
This post was brought to you in association with Honda UK.
Tuesday, 16 April 2013
The Toyota Verso, launched in 2009, designed to be a compact MPV, was a replacement for the Corolla Verso. The Verson carries on the long tradition of safety and reliability that run through the Toyota range, with Euro NCAP declaring it to be the safest MPV on the market in 2010.
A standard Verso is comfortable, spacious and reliable, but when alterations are needed for the disabled, things can go slightly wrong. The following review was written by one of our readers, Mandy Sellars, who explains some of the difficulties that she has experienced with some of the alterations needed for her condition.
"My car is a Toyota Corolla Verso, its a 7 seater one.
I have had this for 4 years and its been adapted for me to use: it has an extended steering wheel so I can reach it as due to my condition I need extra leg space.
There are extra runners on the drivers seat so that it touches the back seats, this gives me the room I need to sit in the drivers seat.
"It's a 58 plate thats makes it 4 years old i think? sorry hopeless with these things.
well its difficult for me to give a clear definition as to whether its comfortable as i get pain from driving, but i think essentially for most people it could be.
Yes it's easy to park i dont have problems at all. Of course for me i always need to park in a disabled space as you will know thats not always easy.
"The extra seats in the boot have been removed and fitted with a hoist to lift my electric wheelchair in to the back of the car. The wheelchair is a sunrise quickie F55 so it is taken apart to fit in the boot, the arms, footplates, back and seat are removed. it fits snuggle in the boot but doesn't leave much room for anything else to fit in the boot.
"I have hand controls to drive my car and have found that Toyotas new gear control, which is known as a multi mode gear box, which they say is in-between a manual and automatic gear box. However, I would definitely say that for anyone who has to use hand controls not to go for a car that has a multi mode gear box. The reason being is that with a standard automatic you can stay static on a hill without putting the hand break on, however, with a multi mode gear box you need to use the hand break when stationary on a hill. This is where the problems start, having to find the biting point in the acceleration with one hand whilst taking the hand break off with the other and no hand to steer with!! so this in my opinion is very dangerous and such gear modes shouldn't be offered to someone using hand controls.
"I know the way to start cars has changed a lot over the years and now there is a button on the dash board, this for me personally is pretty difficult to reach, it was so much easier when you put a key in on the steering wheel to start the car."
Mandy's experiences go to show that if you have a mobility issue that requires you to alter a cars specifications, then much thought is needed as to whether some alterations will actually make you life more easier, or not.
Hybrid cars these days are becoming more and more common place on our streets. The attraction of saving and money, as well as saving the environment, is making people turn to hybrid technology. There are several manufacturers these days who produce hybrid cars, none more so than Honda. You can find out more about the range of hybrid cars from Honda UK here. But are these cars really fit for purpose when it comes to meeting the needs of the disabled?
In short answer, yes. Hybrid cars are designed to be just like a normal car. All of the controls are the same, all basic functions are the same. In fact, apart from a few additional buttons in the cabin, such as "Eco" and "EV", there is nothing significantly different. I have personally reviewed a selection of hybrid cars, and with disabilities, I can honestly say that they are just as easy to drive, and live with, as my normal car.
A lot of people worry about lack of space in the cabin due to batteries, but this simply isn't the case. In most hybrid cars, the batteries are either under the boot on under the centre arm-rest, so space is not compromised. I have yet to find a hybrid where I cannot fit my wheelchair in the boot and often there is still room to spare.
Another concern I have come across is people worrying that the batteries will die and will cost a veritable fortune to replace. The truth is that these battery cells last a very long time and most manufacturers a warranty on the batteries, Honda offers a 5 year warranty, though personally, I have known hybrids still using the original batteries more than a decade later.
Hybrid cars are the future of motoring, cutting down on carbon dioxide production and reducing fossil fuel consumption and Honda are already paving the way for the next generation of hybrid vehicles.
This post was brought to you in association with Honda UK.
Monday, 11 March 2013
The Toyota Yaris has been with us for quite a while now, since 1999 in fact, and in that time it has seen several face-lifts, but none of those are as striking or as pleasant to look at, than the new model. The Yaris is classed as a Subcompact hatchback, which basically means it's smaller than the size of a usual hatchback. But don't let the size fool you, there is plenty of potential in this little run-about.
With a small car such as the Yaris, suitability really depends on your mobility needs. Because this car is small, it is rather low down, so if you struggle getting in and out of cars, but are keen on a Toyota being your next car, i would suggest you look more at a Prius Plus or the Auris. However, if entering and exiting a car is not so much a problem, they the Yaris could very well be the car for you.
Toyota has really pulled out all of the stops lately when it comes to the looks of their cars, and the Yaris is no exception. The bold lines and ridges, the large front grill and LED daytime running lights, to name but a few, make this car a real head-turner.
As for space? Well let's not forget that this is a small car, but there is still plenty of space in the cabin for 5 people and the boot is big enough of house a folded wheelchair. In general, the inside is a pleasant place to be. Everything is where you expect them to be, and if you buy the T4 or the T Spirit model, you have the option of Toyota's Touch and Go system. A 6.1 inch touch screen multimedia system with SatNav and mobile device connectivity, make it a very worthwhile option to have.The only item that i found to be missing, and really could do with, is a centre arm-rest.
The Yaris is a small, fun car to drive. With light steering, excellent lumbar support and a good suspension, this is a car that is easy to drive, easy to park and easy to live with. Running costs are low too. For the Diesel version, you pay only £20 a year in tax and zero if you choose the Hybrid. Both the Diesel and the Hybrid have very good Miles Per Gallon (MPG) figures and insurance is low too. The T2 1.0 petrol 5 door is in insurance group 4 and Hybrid in insurance groups 8-9. Prices starting at £9,995 for the Yaris and £15,195 for the Yaris Hybrid, make it a very tempting car. For true value for money though, i do recommend the Hybrid. It might be slightly more expensive to buy, but the money you will save while running it, make it a very sensible choice, especially for town and city driving.
If you are looking for a small town car, that is cheap to run, good to look at and excellent to drive, then i suggest you look no further than the Toyota Yaris. Your only problem now, is choosing which variant to buy. For further in-depth details about this car, please click here to navigate to the Toyota page for all specifications on the Yaris.
The Toyota Yaris was provided to us for review by Vantage Toyota Preston.
Friday, 22 February 2013
The Toyota Prius has been around for some 15 years now, and it has had a colourful history. Those of you who know a bit about automotive history will be aware of the past troubles the Prius has had. Now though, it seems those days are more than gone. The third generation Prius is by far the most technologically advanced of the range and well worth a good look at.
Like its big brother, the Prius Plus, the Prius is loaded with gadgets and gizmos to make normal use of a car even more easier. For those of you who struggle with parallel parking for instance, do not need to worry with the Prius, as with the touch of a button, the car will steer itself into the parking space, all you have to do, is control the speed. If you struggle to apply brakes firmly enough in an emergency, the Prius has this covered too with its Pre-Crash Safety (PCS) system which detects possible collisions using radar, tightens your seat belts, activates the Brake Assist (BA) and, if needed, applies the brakes for you to reduce the risk of crashing, or at least reduce damage if a collision is inevitable.
Just like the Prius Plus, there are many other safety features on the Prius, such as seven airbags and special seats that are designed to limit the effect of whiplash during a low speed rear impact. You really do feel a sense a safety about this car, and this is true throughout the latest range of Toyota models.
Inside the cabin there are plenty of features that are designed to help you. A Head Up Display (HUD) projects information such as speed, hybrid mode and fuel efficiency, means you don't need to take your eyes off the road to get basic but necessary information.
The cabin itself is spacious and very well let, especially on the T Spirit model with the optional sunroof which also has built in solar panels which power the air conditioning system, allowing to the car to stay cool on hot summer days. The boot is spacious enough to easily allow a wheelchair or scooter to be placed in it, and rear seats that fold flat, there is plenty of room for shopping as well.
The question you have to ask yourself, is which Prius should you chose? Do you go for the normal Prius which starts from £21,845, or do you get the Prius Plug-In which starts from £28,245, slightly more expensive but does nearly twice the MPG and has half the CO2 emissions. Clearly, choosing between these two is not going to be easy and depends purely on how you use your car. If you spend most of your traveling time in a town or city, then the Plug-In is probably the best option for you, allowing you to travel for over 15 on Electric Vehicle (EV) mode, which basically means free travel around town or to and from work, before automatically switching back to the Hybrid system when the batteries have been used up. This would depend on you being able to plug the car in overnight though. So if you have on-street parking at your home, that could be a problem. However, if you spend most of your time zipping up and down motorways, then i would suggest you get the normal Prius. Yes, you don't get as much MPG, but it is cheaper, and if you don't spend most of you commute at lower speeds, i would suggest you go for the normal Prius.
Whichever car you pick, i can guarantee you will not be disappointed. The ride is smooth, the steering is light, the car is full of gadgets and gizmos to help you travel where ever you need to go. When choosing your next car for your mobility needs, i would consider the Prius. Which specification though, is something i will leave for you to decide.
The Toyota Prius was provided to us for review by Vantage Toyota Preston.
Friday, 25 January 2013
The all new Toyota Prius+. I know what you're thinking "oh it's just a Prius", but let me stop you right there. The Prius+ is not only a fuel efficient, quiet and very cheap car to run, but it's also a 7 seater. Interested? Allow me to continue, and i guarantee, you will be even more interested. The Plus comes with all the benefits of a Hybrid, and a part from a top speed of 103mph, which unless you're planning on going to Germany any time soon won't really bother anyone, there are no drawbacks!
Looking at the car, you really wouldn't think it was called a Prius. When was the last time you looked at one and thought "wow, nice!"? Well, on a recent school run in one, i had several people staring at it. This car isn't a sports car by any means, but it's as much a head turner. It really fits in with Toyota's latest image, with lines, sharp angles, bright daytime running lights and general good looks.
Lets move on to the interior shall we? Well, simply put, the Plus is a nice place to be. The space inside is almost something Dr. Who would be jealous of, and more so if you have the 6th and 7th seats folded flat, but even with 7 people in the car, the boot is ample big enough for any wheelchair or scooter to fit in, plus there is a large under floor compartment for any shopping you might have and if you need space for large objects, simply fold all 5 rear seats down and a height adjustable drivers seat makes getting in and out of the car that much easier.
Both specifications of Prius+ come with Toyota's Touch system, a 6.1 inch touch screen display which multimedia centre, reversing camera and phone, when connected to you handset, on the T4, with Sat Nav, text messages and local internet searches such as weather forecasts available on the Touch and Go Plus available on the T Spirit.
The Plus comes with a large display screen in the centre of the dashboard, displaying speed, fuel levels, battery levels and so on, but if you don't want to take your eyes off the road to see how fast you are going, no problem, it also comes with a Head UP Display (HUD) which projects this information on the windscreen, which can be turned on or off at your choosing.
As for safety? Well the Plus comes with a variety of seven airbags around the car as well as Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) Brake Assist (BA) and Traction Control (TRC) to name but a few. This car really does have a safety feeling to it and even though you might never need them, it's comforting to know that they are there, just in case.
With prices starting at £26,495 for the T4 and £29,795 for the T Spirit, they are very reasonably priced considering the high quality of this car. Added to this is the money that you will save with zero road tax, often free driving when running on electric and because all of the batteries are situated under the arm rest, there is room for a bigger fuel tank, so you won't need to stop as often.
This is one car i would insist you seriously think about buying, whatever your mobility needs are. Go for a test drive, i won't list everything that is there is available here, i want to leave a few surprises for you, but you will be pleasantly happy with this car. This isn't just a Hybrid. This isn't just a Prius. This, is a Prius+.
This Prius+ was kindly provided to us by Vantage Toyota Preston
Monday, 21 January 2013
When thinking of buying a car for disability purposes, a Hybrid may not be your first thought, but don't write them off so quickly. There are plenty of benefits with having a Hybrid, high MPG, low CO2 emissions, zero road tax and they are congestion charge exempt.
Leading the way in Hybrid technology is Toyota. So lets take a look at the new Auris Hybrid. Well, this car begins to impress from first glance, just by the way the thing looks. With its angles and curves, run by day lights and the long sloping windscreen, designed to reduce drag, all add the somewhat sporty look of this car.
So, do sporty looks come with practicality? In this car, at least, they do. The new Auris is longer than its predecessor by 30mm, giving more space in the cabin. The boot is more than large enough to fit a wheelchair and with the ability for the rear split seats to fold flat, there really isn't much you won't be able to fit in and with a height adjustable drivers seat, getting in and out of this car shouldn't be any problem at all.
What about safety? The Auris is equipped with a range of safety features such as Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) Traction Control (TRC) and Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) plus seven airbags driver and driver's knee, passenger, front side airbags and curtain airbags for the front and back seats. You really do have a feeling a safety in this car, just knowing that all these features are there to protect you and your passengers.
As for gadgets? Well that depends on which spec you choose. With the Auris Hybrid, there are two specs to chose from; Icon and Excel. Choosing between these two depends entirely on how much technology you want, or need, in your car. The Excel is equipped with from and rear parking sensors, though these are available as an optional extra on the Icon. Both specs have a 6" touch screen called Toyota Touch not only displays a rear parking camera as standard but which also allows you to not only use the cars multimedia technology, but also to view what power is coming from the battery and which is coming from the 1.8 litre Petrol engine, something i was looking it far too much i might add! Sat-Nav called Touch & Go is available as an optional extra on both specs.
A handy gadget available on all of Toyota's Hybrids is the keyless entry and start. This is basically a system where, you can open the car and start it, without having to take you keys out of your pocket. A handy thought if you've ever stood by your car in the pouring rain, searching for your keys. I think we have all been there?
Both of these cars have many more features, too many to list here. So choosing between the two might be a difficult decision. The Excel does have more gadgets than the Icon and it has the option to have a Skyview panoramic roof, not available on the Icon. So with prices starting at £19,995 for the Icon and £21,745 for the Excel, there really is not much to chose between the two in terms of price.
There are also two other specs to choose from; the Active, which is the basic model and comes with either a 1.33 Petrol engine or a 1.4 Diesel engine, has plenty of gadgets although it does not come with the 6" screen or parking sensors but a starting price of £13,995 for the Petrol and £15,345 for the Diesel more than makes up for that;
Then there is the Sport which comes with everything that the Icon comes but with the addition on 17" alloy wheels and sport seats, depending on your condition, this may not be the spec for you.
So which car should you choose? Well that's a choice you will have to make, though personally, if i was buying an Auris, with the combination of the money you save on high MPG, zero road tax and the amount of technology available coupled with a very reasonable price, i would have to buy the Hybrid Excel. Wouldn't you agree?
The Toyota Auris was kindly supplied to us for review by Vantage Toyota Preston