Fuel duty stays frozenAhead of the budget, it was revealed that fuel duty will remain frozen for an unprecedented ninth year. To put that into monetary perspective the fuel duty freeze has saved the typical driver around £160 per year.
While it has remained at the same level since March 2011, it still stands at a hefty 57.95p per litre, which is the highest fuel duty in the European Union, so motorists are certainly feeling the pinch.
Autonomous Emergency Braking (ABS with Brake Assist)
AEB technology is fundamental to us enjoying a self-driving future. By using a combination of cameras and radar, it can detect if an object is in the way of the car and poses a threat. It then takes over and brings the car to a halt, either preventing or limiting the effects of a crash.
Change the car according to your mood. This was once tech reserved for high-end sports cars. Now you can get it on models such as Seat’s Leon family car. Called Seat Drive Profile, it gives you different options for throttle response, steering reactions and the speed of gear changes.
Adaptive LED headlights
LEDs offer improved visibility in the dark over traditional halogen bulbs which makes driving more relaxed and safer. At lower speeds they illuminate the sides of the road, at higher speeds the beam travels further. And when they detect cars approaching, sections of the LEDs are turned off to prevent glare to oncoming traffic.
Night vision function uses an infra-red camera that detects pedestrians and animals in the road ahead. These are then displayed on the instrument panel in front of the driver, highlighted initially in yellow, turning to red the closer they get.
Adaptive cruise control (ACC)
Using the latest forward sensor technology, ACC enables you to maintain a constant distance from the car in front, up to your chosen maximum speed. If the leading car slows, your car automatically follows suit. And when it speeds up, you do likewise. Now a common feature, you will find it on vehicles made by most mainstream manufacturers, including SEAT, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen.
It has been commonplace for some time in premium cars to have a system that alerts you when you drift out of your motorway lane, maybe with a buzzer or a vibrating seat. But lane assist, fitted to cars including Volvo’s range of SUVs (XC40, XC60 and XC90) and many new Toyotas, goes one better: it gently nudges the steering wheel if you wander, ensuring you stay on the straight and narrow.
Blind spot detection
Blind spot detection sensors, are available on new Volvos, Audis and Hyundais among others. These monitor the road on either side of your car and flash a visual warning if there is a vehicle in your blind spot while you are indicating to change lanes.
Rear cross-traffic assist
It is nigh on impossible to reverse out of a blind driveway when you simply do not know if there is traffic approaching at right angles behind you. But rear cross-traffic assist, available from manufacturers including Fiat, Infiniti and VW, uses sensors to monitor the road on either side, giving a visual and audible warning if there is something coming.
Reverse park assist
Reverse park assist technology, widely deployed by carmakers such as Volvo, Vauxhall and Ford, you simply hit a button, gently squeeze the throttle and the car steers itself into position – making parking collisions a thing of the past.
Electronic stability control (ESC)The clever thing about ESC is not so much that it can control the car’s engine and brakes to mitigate the effects of a skid. It is that it can detect when a skid is likely to happen, and put in the hard work to pre-empt it. A popular feature, you will find it on many new cars from the likes of Mercedes-Benz, Kia and Peugeot.
* All vehicle images and car descriptions on this site are for illustration and reference purposes only and are not necessarily an accurate representation of the vehicle on offer.
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