All year long, our staff of consultants journey to the far off corners of the world to convey you the motoring tales behind the headlines. Whether or not it’s in-depth evaluation of an enormous difficulty of the day, perception right into a subsequent technology know-how breakthrough or a glance again into the wonderful historical past of the motor automotive, our options got down to inform and entertain in equal measure.
From naming the perfect British vehicles and celebrating 20 years of Euro NCAP checks, to analyzing flying vehicles and futuristic roads which may cost EVs, there isn’t any doubt 2017 has launched some unimaginable characteristic content material.
Learn on for a whistle cease tour of Auto Categorical’ finest options of 2017, and do you have to want to be taught extra, click on the hyperlinks to go and browse every article in full…
Autonomous tech stars in Vegas
Autonomous automotive tech was massive information on the Shopper Electronics Present in Las Vegas in January, with Panasonic main the way in which. The model displayed a placing cabin idea that gave a glimpse at the way forward for self-driving vehicles.
Panasonic’s idea boasted augmented-reality home windows that might overlay information on to passing landmarks, however its standout characteristic was a pair of 4K interactive tables. Joined collectively, these created an enormous digital board recreation, which execs demonstrated on the stand.
New breed of vehicles in Cuba
In Challenge 1,455, we assessed Cuba’s distinctive ‘hybrid’ automotive tradition. With the 1958 US commerce embargo now enjoyable, its time-capsule vehicles are altering.
Traditional Fords and Chevrolets nonetheless make up a major proportion of site visitors and are maintained with a ‘make do and mend’ mentality, however loosening native legal guidelines are beginning to convey a brand new breed of vehicles. Peugeot and Citroen have arrange store there, whereas an Infiniti Q60 turned the primary US-built automotive to be registered in Cuba in over half a century.
We go to Audi manufacturing unit of future
Audi’s imaginative and prescient of the long run doesn’t solely contain self-driving vehicles – it’s additionally investing closely in autonomous factories, as our go to to its Ingolstadt plant in Germany revealed.
With self-driving forklift vans, modular meeting traces transporting bodyshells and an autonomous robotic named Paula, the Audi web site is on the forefront of digital manufacturing – a course of hailed by some because the “fourth industrial revolution”.
How straightforward is it to drive for Uber?
Trip sharing service Uber has soared in reputation lately, providing folks the prospect to make some additional money. To see how straightforward it’s to develop into a driver, we went via coaching, safety checks and a medical, collected our non-public rent licence and logged on to the Uber Associate app.
After working 46 hours, ferrying 101 passengers and protecting 329 miles, we made £858.55 earlier than gas and different prices.
20 years of Euro NCAP crash checks
Celebrating automotive crashes may appear to be a curious factor to do, however the 629 fashions intentionally despatched to the wall by Euro NCAP because it was based in 1997 introduced us to Thatcham Analysis’s labs in Berkshire.
Right here, we realized how, over the previous twenty years, Thatcham – along with different testers throughout the continent – has helped to develop safer vehicles and forestall an estimated 182,000 deaths on the roads because of its crash analysis and assessments.
To point out simply how far fashionable security know-how has come since 1997, Thatcham crash examined a 1997 Rover 100 and a contemporary Honda Jazz, with the occupants of the Honda in a lot safer palms than these within the 20-year-old Rover.
We additionally found that the price of the most recent crash-test dummy runs to a cool £500,000, and that autonomous emergency braking (AEB) is predicted to avoid wasting 54,000 lives over the subsequent twenty years.
Used offers with Half-price Heroes
Patrons usually maintain off for a brand new automotive within the build-up to a registration change, however forward of March’s 17-plate our cut-price options saved Auto Categorical readers chilly, laborious money.
We scoured the classifieds to convey you 102 half-price heroes – used vehicles that may be picked up for 50 per cent of their new worth or much less. We lined all the things from metropolis vehicles to SUVs, and spanned the size and breadth of
the market, with 11 worth factors ranging from £1,000.
In addition to choosing the right second-hand motors for each funds, we added a cut price left-field various, or Joker, in every worth bracket, plus named the vehicles to keep away from.
On restrict in Arctic 4WD take a look at
Everybody from Fiat to Land Rover trials their vehicles on the -40 levels Celsius Colmis Proving Floor in Arjeplog, Sweden – 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Auto Categorical joined GKN Driveline for just a few days of winter testing.
We discovered GKN’s Twinster 4WD is fitted to each the Ford Focus RS and Vary Rover Evoque. We additionally tried a BMW i8 that options GKN’s two-speed eAxle electrical drive system.
Mini stars in Better of Brits
Our Better of British characteristic celebrated the 50 finest British-built vehicles of all-time. Taking in all the things from the Rolls-Royce Daybreak to the Triumph Stag, we highlighted the distinctive and various function the UK occupies within the automotive business.
The Land Rover Defender took third place with the Jaguar E-Kind scooping silver – however the iconic Mini of 1959 was the winner because of the massive success and innovation it represented on the time.
A decade of the Qashqai
The primary-ever crossover, Nissan’s Qashqai, was initially meant primarily for the European market, but it surely’s develop into such successful it’s now present in all corners of the world. To see what’s made it so successful within the 10 years since its launch, and the way Nissan has tailored it to swimsuit even probably the most distant areas, we visited Siberia to strive Russia’s model.
The most effective bit? Driving the Sunderland-built Qashqai on prime of a frozen Lake Baikal – the world’s oldest and deepest lake, means out within the Siberian tundra.
Tech take a look at for April Fools’ day
For April Fools’ day, we requested a number of tech manufacturers to provide you with 10 improvements that had been both actual or made up. We requested our readers to guess which was which.
Our difficult compilation included tyres comprised of dandelions, an in-car kitchen assistant, a 360-degree pedestrian airbag and a robo de-icer (actual, actual, imagined and imagined respectively), and highlighted at this time’s business advances.
Flying future vehicles
We let our imaginations soar as we took inventory of eight flying vehicles, from far-off ideas to fashions on sale at this time. Whereas the Airbus Pop.Up with its removable cover should still be on the drafting board, different fashions promised to reach in a extra well timed style.
Deliveries of the Terrafugia Transition are on account of begin in 2020, whereas the Skyrunner is out there now. Though not licensed for street use, the Skyrunner’s dune buggy-cum-microlight design is nice for “land administration and journey.”
Street that may cost EVs
As EV numbers enhance, the problem of charging turns into more and more thorny. It’s no downside for those who’ve the luxurious of a storage and charging level at residence, however what about all these vehicles that spend their lives outdoors, usually in random avenue areas?
The reply lies beneath the tarmac. We visited Qualcomm in France and took a spin on the world’s first street that may cost EVs on the transfer. The induction-charging prototype energises batteries through pads underneath the tarmac; consultants count on to see roads develop into ‘electrical avenues’ a while quickly.
Dacia’s eco automotive plant
Renault-owned Dacia has a repute for funds pricing, not superior tech. But it surely does have the world’s solely zero CO2 and 0 effluent automotive plant.
We reported from Dacia’s Tangier manufacturing unit in Morocco, described as Renault’s try at “exploring what’s attainable” ecologically. It makes use of greater than 90 per cent renewable vitality from wind generators and biomass boilers, and its closed- loop water cycle is essential in a area with restricted provides. However return on funding limitations imply it isn’t more likely to be rolled out globally simply but.
Mazda’s rotary half century
Mazda’s well-known rotary engine turned 50 this yr, and in August we celebrated by driving the model’s current RX-Eight and basic RX-7 and RX-Three sports activities vehicles.
We didn’t discover out whether or not there was a brand new rotary Mazda within the offing, however a visit to Augsburg in Germany to go to the Mazda Traditional Vehicle Museum reminded us of the rotary’s heritage – which extends to the enduring 1991 Le Mans-winning 787B.
How does new L-test have an effect on drivers?
Forward of the introduction of a brand new sensible driving take a look at on four December, we needed to see what three lately certified drivers would make of it.
The brand new take a look at replaces the necessity to reverse round a nook with parallel parking. You’ll additionally must be ready
to comply with sat-nav directions, and there’s extra unbiased driving for the examiner to watch. Solely two of our drivers handed the brand new take a look at, however all agreed it was far more applicable than the outdated one.
Our man in Munich
Our in-depth interview with BMW supremo Ian Robertson make clear his near-four-decade-long profession within the motor business.
From packing gas hoses in his baggage and flying again from Finland to maintain Austin Montego manufacturing on monitor, to heading up Rolls-Royce, Robertson will need to have one of many richest and most various CVs going. His retirement from BMW senior administration could also be approaching, however his presence within the sector will likely be felt for some years to come back.
Overview of the yr 2017
• Overview of the yr 2017: index
• Greatest new vehicles 2017: the street checks of the yr
• The BIG automotive information highlights of 2017
• Massive automotive quiz of the yr 2017
• Face to face: finest automotive group checks of 2017
• The lengthy haul: Our best long-term take a look at fleet vehicles of 2017
• Contained in the world of vehicles: the perfect motoring options of 2017
• Greatest automotive movies 2017
• Wonderful moments: our yr in vehicles 2017
• Motorsport evaluate of the yr: from F1 to WRC and BTCC