Is Driving a Van as Fun as a Car?

No. At least, if you’re a car driver, that’s what your initial response will more than likely be.
Yet ask anyone who drives a van on a daily basis and they may answer differently. The two do differ in many ways, but a lot of enjoyment can be found driving a van. In most cases it simply depends on the type of van you’re in, a new Peugeot Bipper from Robins and Day is always going to provide a more enjoyable ride than a clapped out old banger.

The Basics

Parking a van is a lot harder and more stressful. This is partly because few have a rear view mirror and also due to the fact that most vans are a lot larger than regular cars. Once you’ve adjusted to the bigger size and only using wing mirrors it soon becomes a lot simpler, with the more challenging element even making it a bit more fun.

Speed

The speed limits differ for some vans, with them being limited to 50mph on single and 60mph on dual carriageways. Due to their larger size and weight this is for safety reasons, and can put off boy racers wanting to feel the speed. However, lighter and smaller vans can be just as nippy as their car equivalents and also modified for use off-road.

Handling

Vans are a lot heavier which makes them trickier to control in many ways. There are a lot of similarities when it comes to the controls of cars and vans so it’s easy to pick up, though best to do a little practice away from main roads first. Technology in vans has advanced a lot in recent years too, improving their handling when going straight, cornering and more.

Power

Given the bigger size and weight, the average van is also significantly more powerful than a car. The feeling of controlling such a powerful vehicle can make it more fun to drive compared to more lightweight cars. Petrol heads who love the sound of a powerful motor will feel at home behind the wheel of a van.

Style

Vans have evolved a lot in recent years, and there are now many options that look slick and stylish. You won’t feel just like another white van man cruising around in some of the more lightweight options or tearing up the road in a powerful machine. So, consider a van for your next vehicle as they can rival cars for fun in many ways.


 

Volkswagen Golf

The Best Volkswagen Golf’s for Extracting More Power

For anybody that is in the market for a powerful and fuel efficient diesel car, they may

want to consider looking at Volkswagens. The German manufacturer is one of the

most recognisable and famous of all manufacturers, and this is for good reason as they

have a long history of designing and making attractive cars which perform very well

and are also fuel efficient. Not just this, but those looking to modify their car to

extract more power and improve the overall performance can do so with

Volkswagen’s and particularly their famed Golf range.

The Volkswagen Golf

Produced since 1974, the Volkswagen Golf has undertaken various body

configurations but it has always remained as one of the most popular cars on the

market. For speed freaks looking to extract more power and unleash their diesel car’s

full potential, the best generation of Golf cars is the Mk5 (although all generations can

easily be modified to be improved).

Remapping the Mk5

Unveiled in 2003, the Mk5 has a number of models and three performance models:

the Mk5 GT, Mk5 GTI and the Mk5 R32, all of which are ideal for remapping and

you will be amazed at the difference this will make. As with most cars, the engine and

performance of Golf’s is limited by the software in the engine control unit (ECU).

Through remapping, you can alter or replace the software to change how it performs.

 

This enables you to unleash your car’s full potential and the boost in bhp and torque

can be staggering and feel like a completely different car when you drive away.

The Mk5 generation is one which can particularly benefit from remapping, with the

GTI potentially increasing 50 bph. Additionally, remapping diesel engines can

increase economy by 7 to 10% as there is added torque lower down the rev range.

ECU remaps are also known to improve throttle response and provide enhanced and

smoother power delivery in diesel cars.

Finding an Mk5 and Modifying the Engine

Whilst all Volkswagen Golf’s (and, in fact, all Volkswagen’s) can benefit from

remapping, it is the Mk5 which you should look out for if you are looking to extract

more power as the change can be significant in both power and economy. There are

many excellent places to find new and used diesel Golf’s online, such as Motorpoint

and similar dealers. Once you have found the ideal car, it is then essential that you

take it to established ECU remap specialists who will be able to extract more power

and improve the overall performance of the vehicle.


 

The Hidden Costs of the Most Well-Known Breakdown Providers

When shopping for breakdown cover it’s really important to shop around the find the best possible

policies. Many of the big breakdown providers don’t always offer customers the best and most

comprehensive cover when it comes down to it. The type of cover you need depends on lots of

different factors from your age and the age of your car to the annual mileage and whether you need

any additional extras like European cover. Here’s a few of the most common hidden costs you need to

look out for:

Breakdown with your insurance company

Some insurance providers offer breakdown cover with their insurance policy. Often a policy that’s

offered with an insurance company tends to be much less comprehensive than going directly through

a breakdown provider who will give you more options to tailor the breakdown cover to exactly what

you need, The limited cover that comes with your insurance might only cover your for basic roadside

assistance and very little else.

Different levels of cover

Most of the key breakdown providers offer 4 different levels of cover. These tend to start with the

standard roadside assistance, then a recovery level which will escort you home from the road, a home

start option which means they will come to your home to help you get your car started and onward

travel, where you’ll be provided with a courtesy car or accommodation if necessary. The type of

lifestyle you have impacts hugely on the type of cover you need. Most of the top providers offer deals

on their standard roadside assistance but do not include any extras so it can be problematic for drivers

who come into difficulty far away from home.

Buy Online

Most companies offer much cheaper deals if you buy your policy with them online rather than on the

high-street. With some companies even offering deals for families with one than one car, it’s easy to

get caught out and pay more if you buy a policy without shopping around first. Checking comparison

charts of the different cover offered by different companies can be really beneficial and ensure that

you get the right breakdown cover for you.

Shopping around for breakdown cover is very similar to shopping for car insurance; shopping around

really does guarantee you the best deals. By looking at the different policies provided and costs you’ll

be able to find the best possible breakdown cover for you.


 

Why Diesel continues to offer more bang for your buck

The battle between petrol and diesel as a fuel source has raged for years, with both offering alternative benefits in terms of cost, economy and overall performance. Despite this, there has been an undoubted shift towards diesel in recent times, especially as the rise of hybrid and electrical vehicles has raised awareness concerning the environment.

In this respect, there is no doubt that diesel is a preferable choice to petrol, and the prioritisation of environmental issues has helped to promote the accessibility and cost advantages of the fuel source.

Make no mistake; diesel definitely offers more bang for your buck in the modern age and will continue to do so in the long-term.

Why Diesel offers better savings to Drivers

So why exactly is diesel a superior choice for drivers?

Firstly, these vehicles are decidedly more fuel-efficient, making it cheaper to run over an initial

period of one or two years. It is estimated that petrol-fuelled cars currently deliver up to 30% less

fuel economy than diesel alternatives, and while some may argue that the initially higher cost of diesel makes petrol cars more cost-effective over a longer period of time, this has little weight when you consider the direction in which the market is heading.

More specifically, the diesel-powered cars will continue to increase the fuel efficiency gap on petrol vehicles in the future, making an disparity between price points irrelevant.

The biggest argument against diesel cars (from history, at least) is that there were more expensive to buy and service than their petrol counterparts. There are two main debunkers of this is in the modern age, however, with the first being that larger, premium vehicles are actually cheaper to procure than similar petrol models. Additionally, dealerships such as Shelbourne Motors offer a growing range of used diesel cars, enabling you to access high-quality but competitively priced models that are more environmentally-friendly.

 

The Last Word

On a final note, it is also worth noting that diesels are generally cheaper to tax and insure than petrol cars, making it possible to add to your annual savings as a motorist. This is a particularly important consideration for young motorists or recently qualified drivers, where higher premiums and taxation can trigger inflated operating costs.

When you consider these savings alongside superior (and constantly improving) fuel-efficiency metrics, there is no doubt that diesel cars offer more bang or your buck over the course of a financial year. As the market continues to move towards environmentally-friendly fuels, this trend is only likely to continue and gather further momentum in the future.


 

Guide to buying a second-hand diesel car

 

Buying a second-hand diesel car is different to buying a petrol car, as they are initially more

expensive and their complex engines come with a different array of problems that, if not spotted,

could cost you a lot of money later on. This guide looks at the challenges of buying a second-hand

diesel car, and gives you the basic tools to spot any potential problems.

Saving money with a diesel engine

Most people are aware that diesel cars run with much better fuel economy than petrol cars. But

diesel is more expensive, so the savings aren’t as straightforward as they first seem. Diesel also

produces less carbon emissions than petrol, so the car tax is cheaper. However, it may take a while

to notice these savings, as diesel cars, used or brand-new, are more expensive than equivalent

petrol models.

Unless you’re driving more than 20,000 miles, it’s unlikely that you’ll feel the financial benefit of

driving a diesel car in the first year — or even the second year. If you’d like to find out more about

the economics, this Confused.com article goes into a lot of detail about the differences in costs over

the first few years of owning a petrol and diesel car.

Prices are a little different with second-hand cars, as petrol cars tend to depreciate in value faster

than diesel cars. So what does this mean? It means that a diesel car, new or second hand, is going to

be more expensive initially, and drivers will only save money if they drive their second-hand diesel

car for a few years. This means that choosing your car is a big decision, as you’re going to be driving

it for quite a while.

What to look out for when buying a second-hand diesel car

Diesel engines are complex, sturdy and reliable. However, should something go wrong with a diesel

engine, it is much more expensive to repair than a petrol engine. For this reason, you should be very

particular when selecting your second-hand car. Take it for a test drive, or at least start it up and

listen to its engine. If the engine doesn’t sound right, ask the seller about it. Here are some more

things to look out for with a diesel engine:

Rough running: If the engine sounds gravelly and very loud it could just mean that there’s very little

fuel in the tank. But an engine running rough can also be an indication of bigger problems, such as a

blocked fuel supply or a faulty fuel injector.

Misfiring: If the engine sounds like it is misfiring, then there may be a problem with the fuel injector.

Poor starting: Watch out for an engine that is hard to start, as this can indicate a whole host of

problems, such as faulty glow plugs, faulty fuel injectors and larger internal engine problems.

Excessive exhaust smoke: Diesel exhaust smoke can be white, black or blue, and the different types

of smoke can indicate different problems with the engine.

Check the battery condition in the engine bay, does the car turn over and start quickly? Does it struggle? On a cold morning the car will be harder to start and put more strain on the battery, in which case you may need to purchase a new car battery, although they are not expensive.

This diesel troubleshooting resource from United Diesel outlines the differences between the various smokes and it covers other problems as well.

You should be sceptical if someone tells you that any faults will be cheap to fix. This is never the case

with diesel cars. Some problems with diesel engines can also be really tricky to diagnose, so you may

not notice a problem until you’ve already made your purchase, and the seller might not even know

there is a problem in the first place. It’s for this reason that it’s always preferable to buy a second-

hand diesel car from an established used-car vender. Companies like We Buys Car For More have

mechanics that check all of the cars they buy and sell. This makes it an easier, risk-free way for

customers to buy second-hand diesel cars.

Whichever car you’re look for, staying informed throughout the buying process is absolutely key to

ensuring you get value for money. Ask a lot of questions and refer to this guide whenever you need

to.