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August News Round Up 2015

Tesla Model S on the Tesla Test Track

Tesla Model S P85D Breaks Consumer Reports’ Rating System

Last month we told you about Tesla's two latest creations, the Model X and the Model S P85D, and the new 'Ludicrous Mode' that Tesla are offering in both. Well, now the Model S P85D is making headlines again, this time for becoming the highest-rated vehicle ever tested by Consumer Reports. For European audiences, Consumer Reports is a US-based product comparison group; think Which? with an American accent. And it's not just that the P85D earned the best rating ever - it scored so highly that the electric sedan actually broke their rating system. The Model S managed to rack up 103 points out of a possible 100. Maths be damned. It's 3.5 second 0-60mph and 87mpge make it the fastest and most efficient electric vehicle Consumer Reports has reviewed - they were so impressed by it they published their report online to be viewed for free. After revamping their scoring criteria, CR awarded the P85D a perfect 100, and hailed it as “a glimpse into the future of the auto industry." Tesla must be pleased with themselves, especially when the last car Consumer Reports heaped with this much praise was their standard type Model S (which scored 99) in 2013. According to CR, the P85D provides exactly the right upgrades to an already exemplary vehicle. With all this praise came a few criticisms; for a price tag of $128,000, the Model S offers an underwhelming selection of the little luxuries and small touches. Ventilated seats in particular were noticeably absent. That, and would you believe the car even locked the reviewer out at one point?

For Consumer Reports' full review click here.

British Drivers Beware: 15% of MoT results are incorrect

Statistics gathered from last year's DVSA MoT Compliance Survery indicate 15 percent of the results of MoTs nationwide were incorrect. An Auto Express investigation into the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency's annual MoT Compliance Survey discovered that one in seven are simply wrong. Most shocking, though, is that almost 20 percent of these passed should have failed. In nearly a third of all vehicles tested, the DVSA invigilator spotted faults missed by the garage, prompting a flood of disciplinary action. It's a worrying state of affairs, especially when the problem seems to be getting worse. The results show a two percent increase in inaccurate MoT verdicts on the prior year. A DVSA spokesperson insisted the issue was being dealt with, “The DVSA continues to take the quality of MoT testing seriously. Garages who fail to meet the required standards risk having their licence to carry out MoT testing withdrawn.” If you're concerned by an MoT result you've been handed by a garage, there's a .gov site you can visit.

But Auto Express didn't stop there. With Chancellor George Osborne proposing to relax the rules around new cars' MoTs, Auto Express looked at the data they had gathered and did some number crunching. Of all the new cars undergoing their three year MoT in 2014, nine percent failed. Under the Chancellor's proposals, a new car's MoT would last four years, meaning this nine percent of unroadworthy vehicles would continue unchecked for another 12 months. According to Auto Express, the number of faulty cars on the road for an extra year would total more than 222,500. The intended “cost-cutting” change to the law has already raised criticism from industry bodies about the consequences on the UK's road safety. “The worry is that within the 12-month extension, motorists will be driving around with defects that are more costly to repair, and significantly more dangerous as a result,” said Managing Director of Bridgestone, Robin Shaw. You can read the full Auto Express investigation here.

The new Smart ForTwo Cabrio

Smart unveil new ForTwo Cabrio

Chic city car designers Smart have revealed the second model in their ForTwo line. The soft-topped Cabrio is due to début at the Frankfurt Motor Show later this month, with the order books opening in November. The new Cabrio is much the same animal as its predecessor, and is essentially an upgrade of a car already well-loved. Though apparently more comfortable, it still manages to be only 2.69m long. The innovative 'tri-top' fabric roof is marginally larger and now incorporates a heated window. The track is also ever so slightly wider (though this does more than you'd think to increase the car's stability and passenger space). The Cabrio's cabin is unaltered from the standard hard top. It features the same stylish layout, vibrant interior, and MirrorLinked seven-inch infotainment system (but that's optional). Again, Smart have been reluctant to experiment with a formula they know will sell. Inside the shell, however, Smart suggest quite a lot of work has been done. Specially designed high strength steel bodywork makes the new Cabrio the most structurally robust car the company has ever produced. As in the standard ForTwo, buyers will get to pick between a 70bhp 1.0litre petrol engine and an 89bhp 0.9litre turbocharged one. For the first time, though, Smart are offering the option of a five-speed manual transmission, instead of their usual dual-clutch. No official price has been announced yet (and won't be until after Frankfurt), but educated estimates expect somewhere in the region of £13,000.

And finally...

In the UK, a new government taskforce has been assembled to battle a terrifying blight: unnecessary road signs. The Department for Transport have released data showing the number of road signs has doubled in the UK in the last ten years. With this surge in signage, government authorities are concerned that motorists might be distracted by the amount of unnecessary information given to them in the road side. Championed by Minister Sir Alan Duncan, the new taskforce is already working on a plan to ensure that all signs would require a 'best-before' date. Sir Alan Duncan said, “I am delighted to lead this initiative. I have been campaigning on this issue for twenty years.” Who says it's not possible for one man to make a difference?