Wednesday 7 December 2016

Your roof rack could be robbing you; trouble on tow; MINI sedan idea gets the 'boot'; new S90

Published 04/05/2016 | 02:30

Volvo's new large saloon.
Volvo's new large saloon.

Technically summer is here and so, regardless of the weather, lots of people do, optimistically, start planning and plotting little trips here and there at home or abroad.

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They might just pay a little bit of attention to the damage to their pocket that an innocent looking roof rack can cost.

A recent study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the US fairly comprehensively claims roof racks can increase your fuel consumption by up to 25pc, with the high figure being down to how much of a load you have on board.

I've no idea how they calculated the figure but they estimated the humble roof rack cost motorists around 100 million gallons of fuel in the US (0.8pc of light-duty fuel consumption in the country).

The Berkeley Lab folk claim the study is the first to extensively look at the impact of roof racks.

The bottom line, no matter what way you look at it, is: your roof rack could be costing you a lot of money.

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I've had a lot - and I mean a lot - of responses to last week's piece on trailer and towing laws. And a lot of it has been indignant, in the sense that people feel the law is being inadvertently broken on a massive scale.

Lots of people say that if the law was strictly applied, and if there were the resources to do that, a high percentage of drivers would find themselves in trouble. Bit of a frightener that.

So I'll repeat my appeal. Go check out all you need to know at www.rsa.ie - type in trailers in the search slot and be prepared to learn a lot.

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It was mooted earlier this year but now it is gaining wider credence, that BMW's i8 supercar will get more power, longer range and some tweaks to the chassis.

But don't expect to see it until quite late next year.

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Lots of excitement around the unveiling of Volvo's new large saloon (pictured) here this day week, Wednesday, May 11.

Prices start at €48,400 for the D4 Momentum Geartronic diesel (116g/km, €200) as we have already revealed.

Among the standard spec are Pilot Assist, a semi-autonomous drive capability which maintains a set speed or distance from the vehicle in front.

It will brake or accelerate with the flow of traffic.

Volvo say it also gives 'gentle steering inputs' to keep your car in lane at speeds up to 130kmh.

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All the talk a couple of weeks ago was that there was a good chance of a MINI saloon. I'd say you could forget it now.

Interesting interview in Automotive News Europe with Peter Schwarzenbauer, BMW Group's board member for MINI.

He says compact saloons are globally 'most interesting' but he doesn't see a MINI with a boot.

"From a brand perspective, I just don't see a fit," he says, adding: "I can't envision a sedan that could come close to something that is authentically MINI."

Indo Motoring

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