The new BMW 5 Series Touring 2.0D M SPORT Auto

Recently I was lucky enough for BMW to lend me the new 5 Series for a long weekend, so with that I swiftly booked a trip to the Lake District with 4 close friends to give it a ‘proper’ test drive.

When the car arrived my first thoughts were, a lovely looking estate car with a beautiful interior. In my personal opinion I find the BMW interiors out dated, the dash never really changes and it’s usually fairly basic looking compared to it’s competitors, however this car had a different look and feel to it, it felt spacious with the perfect amount of technology on display, not too complicated either, and even though the typical dash concept was still present the large screen and centre controls transformed it.

The seats were large and comfortable and there was plenty of storage areas, which is fantastic if like me you’re always carrying around your mobile phone, wallet, big bunches of keys, sunglasses etc!

The boot space was ample as expected in the touring model, we managed to fit a large bag each into the boot along with shopping bags and a few boxes of beers for once we reached our destination!

Admittedly I’m 33 years old and I’ve always been a petrol head! When I first drove this car I felt no excitement, it was the standard feeling I get when driving a diesel. Driving it around my home town where there is a lot of traffic was very easy though to say the least, I felt a little ashamed that I was enjoying an automatic so much, it was perfect for sitting in traffic after a long days hard work, however once the traffic cleared I got to enjoy the semi auto paddle shifts along the country lanes for the final part of my journey.

The next day my friends arrived. Coming on this trip didn’t take much persuasion as I was driving there and back and all they had to do was sit back, relax and provide the music. Surprisingly relax they did, and I say surprisingly as they average 6 foot between them. The rear seats and leg room were deceptively big and they quickly settled in ready to start our 300 mile each way journey from Essex to the Lake district which took around 6 hours with just 1 stop, and to my amazement there were little complaints coming from the back besides the choice in music.

This particular vehicle had the M Sport Plus pack fitted which included the Harman Kardon sound system so even if the song choice’s weren’t to everyone’s liking there was no denying the quality provided by the sound system.

Majority of the journey was on the motorway so I opted for comfort mode, this softened the suspension and even though the car was fully loaded it still eat up the bumps with no problems.
The roads were clear that morning so I got a chance to open it up a little, this was the moment my opinion started to change, the car wasn’t feeling boring, it felt like an endless source of power, it always seemed to have more power even with a full car, more than I could legally use, but eventually I hit the typically British motorway traffic and slowly moved in a start stop motion…. Thank goodness for automatics!!

Throughout the journey I was happily surprised by the fuel consumption, even with my heavy foot and a full car I was still getting an average of 46 mpg which I found very impressive. That may not sound amazing but if you looked at the Mercedes or Audi equivalents they would be very similar.

Once I had reached the back roads of the Lake district I decided to switch it to sports mode giving me a higher rev count and a later gear change as well as tightening up the suspension, this turned it into a ‘drivers’ car, providing me with a large smile and my passengers with a concerned quietness!

Unfortunately what came next was the ultimate test, the navigation system had taken me a ‘short cut’ across the hillside! If you’re familiar with the Lake District then you probably would have heard of this road, mainly from people advising that you avoid it at all costs! This road is called Hardknott Pass and it was very testing, the roads were barely wide enough for 1 car, yet I always seemed to meet cars coming the opposite way (thankfully I had a reversing camera!) If there weren’t cars coming towards me then it was sheep or steep cliff edges.

The roads were steep but the BMW overcame them with no problems. The parts I had to really be careful on were the tight bends, this car has a 190bhp diesel engine and is rear wheel drive which is fun but requires your full attention when accelerating out of corners.

The BMW conquered the Hardknott Pass and we had arrived in the village where we were staying, all I had to do now was park it on the narrow drive way…. Easy. This car had the sensors and parking camera, musts on a vehicle of this size. Parking it was easy.

Summary:

whether you’re young, middle aged or retired this car is suitable for all. It was practical and reliable whilst providing excitement at times and comfort throughout.

The diesel engine makes a great company car due to it’s low co2’s and reasonable price tag.
Would I choose it as my company car, yes. Would I want to own it, No. I’d want the 4L petrol!

Am I now a typical BMW driver?… no because I used my indicators…. But I am now definitely a fan of this car.

Vehicle Specification:

  • M Sport Plus Pack
  • Sophisto Grey Xirallic Paint
  • Ivory White Dakota Leather
  • Visibility Pack
  • Comfort Pack
  • Mpg Combined: 62.7
  • Co2 Emissions: 119G

For our best deal BMW 5 Series leasing deal please click on the link below:
www.planyourcar.com/car-leasing/lease-a-bmw/5_series/520d-m-sport-4dr-auto/77482

By George Barker
Plan Car Leasing
www.planyourcar.com

Celebration time at Plan as 100 positive reviews reached on TRUSTPILOT!

100 positive reviews on TRUSTPILOT! | Plan Your Car

We have reached 100 Positive Reviews

See all of our TRUSTPILOT Plan Car Reviews

At Plan, we strive to provide outstanding customer service.

Our aim is to offer each and every customer the very best service and our full attention at all times.

With this in mind, Plan are delighted and humbled to have reached the milestone of 100 positive reviews on leading review site for online businesses, TRUSTPILOT.

Since we started using the service, Plan have gained a rating of 9.5, and an amazing 93% of people have given Plan ‘5’ stars and rated us as ‘Excellent’.

Customer service and customer satisfaction are extremely important to our company and it’s great to see the whole team rewarded in such a pleasing and positive way.

TRUSTPILOT

Plan’s company mission statement is: “To provide genuine impartial advice, to create bespoke solutions for both individuals and fleets that are driven by Honesty, Integrity, Good Value and Service.” – it’s fantastic to know that our reviewers on TRUSTPILOT think we are living up to these words.

We would like to say a great big ‘thank you’ to all our customers who took the time to rate our services and write such wonderful reviews, including Claire Burden who wrote the following..

“Highly Recommended! Fantastic service from start to finish, thank you once again for your patience throughout the car search; we now have our perfect family car.”

or Kevin who had this to say about us..

“Great service from start to finish, always on hand to answer any questions and very friendly staff.”

These are just two of the now 105 (as of September 12) positive reviews that our customers have generously shared with others on TRUSTPILOT; the whole team here at Plan have enjoyed reading each and every one so much.

Excellent customer service will continue to be our top priority here at Plan, so here’s to the next 100 positive reviews – well done team!

TRUSTPILOT Plancar Reviews

‘Naughty’ car 67′ registrations banned by the DVLA ahead of the new plates

Naughty 67' registrations | Plan Your Car

It’s September, which means the new ‘67′ registrations plate comes into circulation in the UK, however some number and letter combinations won’t be seeing the light of day as they are banned from being used by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) as they could be deemed as offensive for political, racial or religious reasons, or too rude for public consumption.

Twice a year, the DVLA, who are based in Swansea, sit down and work out the combinations that could be deemed as inappropriate for use on new vehicles and each time they manage to come up with a surprisingly large amount of registrations that could be classed as rude or offensive and the ’67’ reg is no exception.

According to the DVLA, they’ve had to ban around 300 new ‘naughty/rude’  number plate combinations before the new ’67’ registrations hit the streets so as to avoid causing offence to anyone.

Any number plates ending in BNP, ARS or DAM have been withheld, as well as those which are specific to the year.

New ’67’ registrations

A few of the 300 or so registrations that won’t be released when the new ’67s’ take to the road are NO67 END, NO67 FUN, DO67 GER, BA67 ARD, MU67 DER and OR67 ASM.

DVLA admit that some ‘naughty’ number plates do manage to slip through the net occasionally and in June this year they were alerted to the registration plate ‘JH11 HAD’ which was seen on a car in Newport, South Wales.

If a number plate is deemed as rude or offensive and brought to the DVLA’s attention, they do have the right to take the registration plate off the owner and remove it from use, even those splashing out on a private number plate can have their chosen letter/number combination withdrawn if the DVLA thinks it’s unsuitable for use.

Need a new car to accompany your new 67′ registration? Why not lease with PlanYourCar

SEAT car sales increase by over 14 per cent in the first half of 2017

Seat

Sales of SEAT vehicles has steadily been increasing throughout the first half of 2017. Between January and April this year, the Spanish automobile manufacturer has produced and dispatched 158,700 SEAT models worldwide – a 14.5% increase compared to the same time period last year.

The month of April may have had less working days than usual, but despite this, the company had a fantastic run during the Easter month, with deliveries increasing by 16% compared to last April. Total car sales for the month were 41,400, a healthy increase of 5,700 compared to last year .

Vice-President for Sales and Marketing, Wayne Griffiths, said: “SEAT’s April sales are fully in line with the sharp increase of the first quarter of the year.”

According to Mr Griffiths, the SEAT Ateca is responsible for boosting the firm’s success worldwide, whilst the new look Leon is playing its part in increasing sales, with both personal and business customers opting for the sleek SEAT hatchback rather than the usually dominant VW Golf.

Plan are currently leasing both the enviable SEAT Leon and Ateca at an extra-special rate which will not be beaten elsewhere on the market.

The Spanish manufacturer is also enjoying increased popularity in Turkey, with the West Asian country recently taking delivery of one of the largest fleet sales ever in the history of SEAT.

SEAT’s three biggest markets are Germany, Spain and the UK, all of which continue to contribute massively to the increased sales of the marque’s stylish models, with Spain unsurprisingly remaining the company’s main market, with sales in manufacturer’s country of origin totalling 33,000 in the first four months of 2017; up by 22.9%.

Sales in Germany were second highest during the same period at 29,700 – an increase of 10%. Meanwhile, in the UK, sales rose by 23.7%, with a total of 20,800 SEAT models being purchased by Brits.

Sales were also on the up by 20.2% in France, where 8,000 new cars were delivered to happy SEAT customers. The pattern was also repeated in Austria and Switzerland, with 6,300 sales (+29%) and 3,400 (+69.6%) respectively – SEAT is one of the top 10 brands sold in both of these countries.

The Spanish carmaker finished the first four months of 2017 with all-time record sales recorded in Austria, Israel, Mexico, Switzerland, Turkey and the UK.

April was also the month in which SEAT began taking pre-sale orders of their new Ibiza, available from showrooms in June this year, while the new Ateca FR, a sportier version of the brand’s first SUV, was presented to the world back in May at the Barcelona International Motor Show.

Financially, the increased sales have helped the company’s turnover to grow by an astonishing 20.2%, with a record figure of €2,487 million reached during the first quarter of 2017.

SEAT ended 2016 with its highest running profit in the company’s history and so far this year, it’s managed to reach €56 million – a staggering rise of 4.1% compared to the same period in 2016.

We currently have some unbeatable, exclusive, deals on the Seat Leon, visit https://www.planyourcar.com/car-leasing/lease-a-seat/leon/hatchback for more details.

Are we becoming a nation of motorists who don’t know how to look after our vehicles?

Flat tyre

A recent survey carried out last month, found that more than one third (38 per cent) of middle-aged drivers (aged between 45 and 55) in the UK have no idea how to change a car tyre and would have no confidence in doing so if the need arose.

It’s been suggested that the millennial generation have no idea how to keep their vehicle in good order, relying on the so-called skills of the older generation, who supposedly know more when it comes to looking after a vehicle. However, the new figures tell us is that a considerable number of the millennials’ parents also lack the confidence to change a tyre on their vehicle and the know-how to carry out other simple maintenance checks!

Around 1,500 drivers were surveyed by an automotive company, with the help of Arlington Research, and found that 62 per cent of 18-24 year-olds were clueless when it came to changing a tyre, whilst more than a third had no idea how to check the tyre pressure or the thread depth on their tyres.

The survey also discovered that around a quarter (23 per cent) of middle-aged drivers don’t know how to change the oil in their vehicle, whilst 12 per cent of drivers aged between 45 and 55 had no idea how to change the windscreen washer fluid.

Regional research found that drivers in the South West and in Yorkshire struggled the most when it came to changing a tyre, with nearly half of those questioned owning up to not having a clue how to change one.

Changing the oil was also something drivers in these regions struggled with. In Yorkshire, 40 per cent of those surveyed admitted that they had no idea how to change the oil in their vehicle, while 41 per cent in the South West confessed to the same failing.

According to those who carried out the research, the results show that it’s not simply just the millennial generation struggling to look after their vehicles and, as a society overall, we are relying more and more on the services of experts to help with the upkeep of our cars.

The findings don’t necessarily mean that as a nation we’re becoming lazier, rather the affordability of breakdown and maintenance services, and the advances in technology, are making it much easier for motorists to rely on others when it comes to general vehicle maintenance.

Whilst this makes sense in our busy daily lives, it’s also slightly worrying that, on the whole, most drivers don’t know the basics when it comes to looking after their cars.

More than a quarter (27 per cent) of those questioned admitted to never checking their vehicle’s oil level until they were alerted to it by a warning light or beeping sound, whilst 26 per cent owned up to only refuelling when they were warned to do so on the dashboard.

Drivers of all ages should make the effort to become more knowledgable when it comes to vehicle maintenance, such as being able to check oil and water levels, as well as tyre pressure and tread depth. By simply learning these few vehicle checks yourself, you could avoid a breakdown and help keep yourself safe whilst on the road.

Survey finds almost 25% of motorists choose a new car based on advertisements

Car magazine

The automotive dispute resolution body, The Motor Ombudsman, has once again carried out its annual New Car Code of Practice survey and has discovered that almost 24 per cent of new car buyers are influenced by an advertisement when it comes to purchasing a new model.

Whether the advert is watched online or on TV, or seen in a magazine/newspaper, consumers are often swayed towards a particular model after watching or reading an advertisement, according to the findings.

As part of the annual study, the automotive body analysed the new car consumer experience and customer satisfaction amongst motorists who have frequented one of the franchise dealerships belonging to any of the 38 automotive manufacturers accredited to The Motor Ombudsman’s Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)-approved New Car Code of Practice.

In the UK, more than 99 per cent of all new car purchases are covered by the Motor Industry Code.

The annual survey involved questioning around 2,400 people and showed that male purchasers and those in the 17 – 25 age bracket are most likely to buy a car after seeing or reading an advertisement, whereas those approaching their thirties and drivers aged between 40 – 55 are the groups less likely to act on an advertisement.

The survey discovered that 93 per cent of cars purchased by the participants lived up to the advertisement’s content. Customer satisfaction proved positive amongst the respondents, with an average 4.8 out of 5 for vehicle satisfaction. It also showed the those in the over 65 age group were the happiest with their car purchase.

Manufacturers scored well when it came to further assistance as well, with customers giving them a grand total of 4.7 points.

Those taking part in the survey were asked to answer in specific detail about their purchase and it was the condition of the vehicle when collected or delivered which scored highest with 4.8 out of 5, whilst customer assistance and staff knowledge scored 4.7, the same score as last year.

The warranty terms and conditions and how they are explained to consumers scored the lowest of all with 4.5, the same result as 2015.

Chief Ombudsman and Managing Director of The Motor Ombudsman, Bill Fennell, says that consumers today are surrounded by advertisements in some form or another, encouraging them to buy a specific product, but he warns that despite the fact that these advertisements can help to influence our choice of car, motorists should also check that the retailer is fully accredited to a known CTSI-approved Code of Practice before purchasing.

What the study has shown once again with its high scores, is how valuable it is that franchise dealers and car manufacturers conform to a Motor Code – a positive result for both the consumer and the automotive industry.

New stricter speeding penalties introduced in England and Wales

New stricter speeding penalties

Driving at 51mph in a 30mph zone will result in a fine equivalent to ’10 days of pay’

As of 24 April 2017, drivers caught speeding in England and Wales will face tougher punishments and heftier fines, as the government looks to crackdown on speeding motorists and reduce road accident fatalities.

Any driver caught travelling well over the limit, will be hit with an unenviable fine which could even leave some people struggling to pay that month’s household bills.

The new rules were introduced by the Sentencing Council and will see drivers fined 150 per cent of their weekly income if caught doing 41mph or more in a 20mph limit zone, 51mph or more in 30mph zone, or over 101mph on the motorway.

Fines are capped at £2,500 for motorway offences and £1,000 for all other roads.

The previous rules saw speeders fined 100 per cent of their weekly income and this percentage still applies for ‘Band B’ offences, while ‘Band A’ offenders will be fined 50 per cent of their weekly income. It is ‘Band C’ offenders who will suffer the most from the new legislation.

See the following table for a complete overview of the new rules:

Speed Limit (MPH) Actual Speed (MPH) Actual Speed (MPH) Actual Speed (MPH)
20 41 (+) 31 – 40 21-30
30 51 (+) 41-50 31-40
40 66 (+) 56-65 41-55
50 76 (+) 66-75 51-65
60 91 (+) 81-90 61-80
70 101 (+) 91-100 71-90
BAND Band C – 150% of weekly income Band B – 100% of weekly income Band A – 50% of weekly income
Points/disqualification 6 points OR 7 – 56 days disqualification

 

4-6 points OR  7 – 28 days disqualification

 

3 points

The AA is just one of the road safety groups to have welcomed the changes, with president Edmund King commenting: “Responsible drivers will welcome the changes coming into force today… It is only those who deliberately drive dangerously who will end up in court.”

In a recent survey carried out by consumer website Honest John, up to 84 per cent of the motorists who took part claimed to have no knowledge of the new speeding penalties, so we at PlanYourCar.com thought it important our customers were made aware of such a significant change to the rules of the road.

In 2015, a total of 244 people were killed on British roads as a direct result of speeding vehicles. The new tougher penalties will hopefully contribute to slashing this figure and saving lives.

New child car seat rules: what drivers should be aware of

Baby car seat

Since the UK government introduced new child car seat legislation on 1 March 2017 there has been some confusion regarding what is now allowed.

Here we discuss the changes, so parents can familiarise themselves with the new rules and keep within the law whilst protecting the safety of their young family.

Which changes have been made?

From 1 March 2017, the manufacturing and distribution of backless booster seats for children under the age of 12, weighing under 22kg, and under 125cm in height is forbidden.

This rule is now in force in all EU member states and was introduced to coincide with modern vehicle safety tests. These show that children travelling in backless, cushioned seats do not receive sufficient side and back support and are therefore at greater risk in the event of an impact.

To make it easier for parents, child car seats that are approved and lawful will now always carry a sticker featuring an ‘E’ and headed with the code ‘ECE R44.’ Child seats based on height (i-Size’ seats) will feature a sticker with ‘E’ in a circle and ‘R129’.

The table below (taken from www.gov.uk) specifies exactly what is required in relation to a child’s weight:

Child’s weight Group Seats
0kg to 10kg 0 Lie-flat or ‘lateral’ baby carrier, rear-facing baby carrier, or rear-facing baby seat using a harness
0kg to 13kg 0+ Rear-facing baby carrier or rear-facing baby seat using a harness
9kg to 18kg 1 Rear- or forward-facing baby seat using a harness or safety shield
15kg to 25kg 2 Rear- or forward-facing child car seat (high-backed booster seat) using a seat belt, harness or safety shield
22kg to 36kg 3 Rear- or forward-facing child car seat (high-backed booster seat or booster cushion) using a seat belt, harness or safety shield

Which rules remain in place?

All children up to 12 years old or under 135cm in height (depending on which comes first) must use a child car seat while travelling in a passenger vehicle. The driver of a vehicle will receive a £500 fine if a child under these limits is travelling without an approved child car seat.

Do I need to rush to buy a new seat?

Those who continue to use a backless booster seat purchased before March 2017 will not be punished or fined. However, for safety reasons we recommend purchasing a high-backed seat as soon as possible if your child is under 22kg or 125cm in height.

Are there any exemptions to the rules?

In certain circumstances, a child car seat is not a legal requirement, however the exemptions are few and specific:

  • Unexpected journeys that are urgent, only cover a short distance, and the child is over three years old. A seat belt must then be worn.
  • In taxis, minicabs, minibuses, and coaches (but NOT vans), however, a seat belt must be then worn by children over three years old.

Advice for fitting a child car seat

Unless a child car seat is fitted using ISOFIX anchor points or specifically manufactured to be used with a lap seat belt, then it should always be placed in a vehicle seat that is fitted with a diagonal seat belt.

Other factors to be aware of:

  • When using a rear-facing baby seat in the front of a car/van then the airbags for that specific seat must be deactivated.
  • Never place a child car seat on a side-facing car seat.
  • Always replace a child car seat if it was fitted in a vehicle when it was involved in an accident, regardless of a lack of visible damage.
  • Visit http://www.childcarseats.org.uk for more information.

We discuss the impressive SEAT range: the Leon, Ibiza & Ateca

SEAT is rooted in Spain but has been a subsidiary of the king of the automotive world, the German-owned Volkswagen Group, since the 1980s. SEAT’s parent company is the power behind an enviable selection of auto brands, including Audi, Bugatti, Porsche, and, it goes without saying, Volkswagen.

For this reason, one can reasonably expect a first-rate range of cars from a manufacturer who shares relations with the above-mentioned marques. The SEAT range offers something for everyone, from the sporty Ibiza to the Leon hatchback, which is proving to be a serious rival to the Volkswagen Golf.

Plan customers can currently benefit from a selection of exclusive SEAT leasing deals that will not be found elsewhere. The SEAT Ibiza, Leon and Ateca are available under this special offer for a limited time only.

Check out our reviews below to read more about the popular SEAT range.

SEAT Leon

Seat Leon

The updated SEAT Leon is a firm favourite for families looking for a stylish and affordable hatchback. The Leon is modelled on the timeless Volkswagen Golf but has been designed with a sportier look whilst also incorporating the latest technology from the Volkswagen Group developers.

Available with a range of economical petrol or diesel engines, the Leon variants include a standard five-door hatchback, three-door Sports Coupe, and five-door Sports Touring estate.

You can drive away the stylish SEAT Leon for as little as £119.97 per month as part of our unique SEAT range discount, however, we recommend minimal deliberation as the deal is available for a limited time only.

SEAT Ibiza

Seat Ibiza

As the name might suggest, the SEAT Ibiza has been designed with fun in mind; it’s lightweight, sporty, and packed with hi-tech extras, including auto braking, sensor detection, cruise control, wireless phone charging, and Apple CarPlay, not to mention the interior LED lights.

While the Leon is more suitable for families, the five-door Ibiza still offers a spacious and comfortable interior with decent luggage space.

Available with a range of efficient petrol and diesel engines, Plan are currently offering the SEAT Ibiza for an unbeatable £117.93 per month as part of our exclusive SEAT offer.

SEAT Ateca

Seat Ateca

The Ateca is SEAT’s first foray into the SUV market, and we take out hats off to the Spanish firm; the Ateca is an impressive vehicle, offering a mixture of style, design, comfort and space, while also delivering a car that is extremely drivable.

The SEAT Ateca has a imposing presence on the road, with its raised roof and generous dimensions. Inside, the Ateca is equipped with hi-tech gadgets, including a touchscreen infotainment screen and USB connection.

For those interested in petrol engines, the Ateca is available with a standard 1.0 TSI engine or with the 1.4 EcoTSI engine, which features a fuel-saving mode. The diesel ranges include the 1.6 TDI or 2.0 TDI.

Check out Plan’s exclusive SEAT Ateca leasing deals, which start at just £196.16 per month: a special discounted price that will not be beaten elsewhere.

New car dealerships mis-selling finance and insurance add-ons

New car dealerships mis-selling finance and insurance add-ons

Research carried out by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has found that new car consumers often feel pressured into purchasing finance and insurance add-ons when buying a new car from a dealership.

IMI, the professional association for the automotive industry, found that 60% of new car sales processed in the UK also included an additional finance and insurance (F&I) product as an add-on.

Of those who were surveyed as part of IMI’s research, an overwhelming 45% claimed to have been pressured into buying an F&I add-on by a car salesman the last time they purchased a vehicle from a dealership.

While 42% of those involved in the research said they avoid new car dealerships altogether, due to a lack of trust in car salesmen, who often adopt a hard-sell method in their negotiations with consumers.

According to the IMI study, dealership salesmen were voted the third most untrustworthy professionals, with 75% claiming to have no faith in their sales pitch.

Despite The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) introducing changes to the Consumer Credit Act, to protect the interests of consumers purchasing finance and insurance products, 33% still claim to have been overcharged by a dealership.

A total of 37% involved in the research said they would feel more comfortable purchasing a new car, finance and insurance products from a dealership accredited by an industry body, such as the IMI F&I Accreditation, which ensures members operate according to an ethical code of conduct.

Steve Nash, Chief Executive at IMI, said: “Sadly our research highlighted that nearly two thirds (63%) of car buyers find the process stressful”.

Mr Nash believes the auto sales industry needs to do more to reassure British consumers who are disillusioned by the outdated and pushy tactics used by many car salesmen at dealerships.