Foxy moneysaving tips we like

saving woman

Here are some moneysaving tips we liked, to save fuel and negotiate a fair price for your next car.

These and a distinctly male sense of humour come from Jim Meldrum at Concierge Vehicle Solutions.


Step 1: Never fill your fuel tank more than half way (unless you’re going on a long journey) because you’ll use more fuel driving around with the extra weight of unused / unneeded fuel.

Step 2: Go to the petrol station first thing in the morning and you’ll get a little bit more fuel for your money because it compresses when it’s cold.

Step 3: Don’t let your wife borrow your car because it’ll come back empty. Especially true when she’s left you with her own car which hasn’t seen a petrol station since the last time you took it!!


Step 1: Find the car you want to own (and then check with the kids that it’s a “cool” car because if you don’t you’ll regret it for an awfully long time).

Step 2: Arrange a test drive at a local motor dealer (remember not to take the kids because they’ll see other cool cars that they want; they won’t understand why you only want to buy one and the journey home will feel like hell).

Step 3: Haggle over every detail of the purchase to save hundreds (if not thousands) of pounds on the 1st; 2nd and 3rd prices being offered by the dealer (definitely don’t tell the kids because their Christmas list will double in size – better to keep the savings to yourself and spend the money on something sensible like a great family holiday in the sun).

Jim adds…

If you need a hand haggling because you dread talking to car salespeople then drop me a line. I’m happy to help and the advice is FREE (see website link above).

FOXY adds…

For every mention of kids in the car buying scenario add ‘wife/partner’ because it’s increasingly her decision what car to buy. Chances are you’ll find she’s already asked the kids’ opinion.

FOXY Steph

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Vauxhall New Corsa impresses

newcorsa1I was invited to test drive Vauxhall’s New Corsa recently, starting in Liverpool and then into north Wales.

As it had been a few years since I’d driven the ‘old’ Corsa I wanted to see whether I was still as impressed as I had been then – knowing just how competitive this small car sector is and how reliant Vauxhall is on the retail and therefore female market.

What interested me most was the promise of a complete makeover involving a new chassis, choice of engines and personalised interiors. Would I recognise the car I wondered?

Why buy a Vauxhall?

Vauxhall is one of the two best known car brands in the UK. A franchised dealership will be near you which is reassuring when it comes to car servicing and any warranty claims. Despite being launched c20 years ago the Corsa brand name still sounds modern and the New Corsa competes well in today’s market on looks and style.

Sadly Vauxhall’s leading lifetime (100,000 mile) warranty ends this year which is a big disappointment. This gave Vauxhall a clear advantage over others with 5 and 7 year warranties. Come 2015 New Corsas will come with a 3 year 60,000 mile warranty instead.


corsa_walesThere’s a choice of three and five door models. The three door (yellow model- see stylish door curves) is aimed at the 25 to 35 budget conscious age group, without children one assumes.

The five door model (see below in grey) can be expected to sell well with older motorists, depending on family size and the practicality of accommodating more than two passengers at any stage.

These cars are best described as sporty (3 door) and spacious (5 door) to distinguish them from each other although you can also add stylish to both.

Note the LED daytime running lights and the glass sunroof option…

Inside, the cabin feels spacious, even in the three door sporty model and there’s plenty of customisation in terms of fabrics and interior colour to please all tastes.


If you like gadgets, there are plenty to keep you happy, designed to make driving easier, safer, more comfortable and more fun.

A City Mode button notably lightens the steering so it’s easy to manouevre in tight spots.

Heated options include the steering wheel, seats, door mirrors and windscreen.

There’s an infotainment system called Intellilink with digital radio, USB and Bluetooth with voice control.

I didn’t need the SatNav because we were using special timed route maps to keep our navigators on their toes.

If you need help with clutch control, there’s a Hill Start Assist.

An Advanced Park Assist will self-steer you into the tightest parking space (and impress any onlookers).

There’s a front camera system that records what’s happening as you drive and clever headlamps that corner to help with better night vision when you need it most.

Most of these are optional extras of course.

The Drive

My test-drive companion was Alasdair Campbell who is taking his Automotive Journalism MA at Coventry University. We each took turns driving and navigating through the busy city streets in Liverpool then along winding scenic roads in North Wales. This was an excellent and most enjoyable route that took the best part of a day and meant we could each test the car in a range of typical everyday driving conditions.

I was particularly impressed by the 1.0i 90PS Turbo Limited Edition three door Corsa we drove. It’s the yellow one in the photo. The drive was smooth, energetic and very quiet.

To begin with I thought the engine had switched off as we waited at traffic lights but the moment you touch the accelerator the power is instantly there, making it eco-friendly and economic.

The brakes were impressive (compared to the ones I’m used to) and cornering and overtaking was smooth, efficient and reliable.

We then switched to the new version of Vauxhall’s 1.4 turbo engine and five door model. That’s the SRi in Shiny Rock ie charcoal metallic, parked outside the Titanic Hotel in Liverpool.

This gave me the opportunity to compare the onboard space and whilst the five door didn’t seem much roomier inside it will be the preferred model choice for Mums who need to fit child car seats in the back.

Price and economy

corsa 5 dr New Corsa prices for the three door model start from £8995 (the Sting 1.2i 70PS) and the five door from £9600. The entry price is lower than the current Corsa remember.

There are too many engine and trim combinations to list here so it’s best to go the the Vauxhall website and configure your ideal New Corsa there.

The combined fuel figure ranges from 52.3 mpg for a 1.2i 70PS Manual to an impressive 88.3 mpg for the 1.3 CDTi 95PS S/S eco-FLEX 3 door.

CO2 emissions g/km start at 85 g/km for the 1.3 CDTi 95PS S/S eco-FLEX 3 door – this means zero Vehicle Excise Duty. In fact all manual and Easytronic gearbox models qualify for zero car tax in year one.

Benefit in kind company car taxation rates range from 13% to 18% across the range.

Insurance groups are lower than before, mostly in 2 and 3 which makes this critical cost more affordable for younger drivers in future.

The verdict

This will be a big seller for Vauxhall. The New Corsa has involved changing every car panel even though the end size/dimensions are virtually the same.

We’re talking about a cheaper car (with better residual value anticipated), more efficient engines, new steering/suspension, less CO2 and better onboard equipment.

How can they fail when you spell it out like that?

Yes I’d happily own and drive the five door version with the 1.0i 90PS Turbo engine although I’m disappointed that the lifetime warranty is no more.

To find out more

You can browse the range, check out colours and see typical interiors and trim at

If you’re planning to buy a car in 2015 I’d also recommend reserving a test drive via so you’re one of the first to try it.

I was very impressed and hope you will be too.

FOXY Steph

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Jolly George praises female friendly employer Toyota

george_toyota2The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, praised Toyota’s provisions for childcare in the workplace this week during his visit to Toyota’s Burnaston car plant in Derbyshire.

Mr Osborne, joined by Exchequer Secretary Priti Patel, toured the on-site Bumpers Nursery and spoke to some of the women engineers who use it..

By making a nursery facility available to local employees in Derbyshire Toyota is setting out its stall to attract young women to consider a career in UK manufacturing.

nurseryThe nursery is called Bumpers and looks after 70+ youngsters aged from three months to school age. Toyota provides the building and the nursery is operated by Kidsunlimited.

In its most recent Ofsted inspection (2013), Bumpers was rated “outstanding”.

Mr Osborne said:

“It is brilliant to see an iconic company like Toyota actively supporting working parents by providing on-site childcare for staff. One of the key barriers to work for parents is finding convenient and affordable childcare. That is why we are introducing tax free childcare but there is still more we can do which is why I will be looking at this issue at this year’s Autumn Statement.”

Tony Walker, Deputy Managing Director, Toyota Manufacturing UK said:

“Toyota UK is delighted to welcome the Chancellor to Derby to meet mothers who use our on-site nursery, Bumpers. We are extremely proud of Bumpers and its outstanding rating awarded by Ofsted.

“We want our staff to feel welcomed back to work and that their children are well looked after. Toyota UK is committed to an inclusive, family friendly place of work and the provision of an on-site nursery is just one example of the opportunities open to our employees.”

FOXY Steph says:

This isn’t a new facility but it is a clever source of competitive advantage from a manufacturer employer that is clearly more aware of gender change than many and has made this a strategic business case.

Yes this is a family friendly initiative but the real beneficiaries are hard working Mums who can concentrate on their career knowing their children are safe and close to hand. And who knows, some may even follow Mum into a Toyota career in due course. Providing they work hard at their STEM exams of course!

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A female first for Robert J Barnes in Cambridge

scarlett_apprenticeSixteen year old Scarlett Petty is the first apprentice to be employed by FOXY Lady Approved female friendly Robert J Barnes Vehicle Repairer in Great Wilbraham, Cambridge.

Scarlett attends Bedford College one day a week to study for her NVQ Level 2 Panel qualifications and enjoys playing hockey and football. Running out of spare time, she has had to give up her hobby racing stock cars in favour of a supporting role in the stands!

Scarlett admits to loving cars which she associates with her family who work in the automotive business.

“I have grown up with cars and they are now a part of my life. This job is something I have always wanted to do. My ultimate aim is to focus on body repairs but at the moment I am enjoying being involved in all aspects of the vehicle repair process. I want to gain as much knowledge as possible of every aspect.”

Her supervisor (who is in the photo) is Senior Technician Chris Thexton, himself a former apprentice. He finds Scarlett enthusiastic and very willing to learn and looks forward to helping her complete the three year course.

Operations Director, Matthew Cooper added that helping people fulfil their ambitions is part of Robert J Barnes’ commitment as an employer.

“We are confident that Scarlett will be a growing asset within our business to complement our existing team of eleven experienced and highly professional staff.”

About Robert J Barnes

Robert J Barnes is a highly successful and growing independent vehicle repair business based in Cambridge. As well as providing a complete accident repair service it also operates as a servicing and repair garage offering specialist tyre services including four wheel vehicle alignment, tyre fitting services and wheel balancing. This makes it a fully comprehensive vehicle repair service covering all motoring eventualities and with customer service and safety always at the top of their agenda.

As a member of the FOXY Lady Approved female friendly garage and repairer network we are delighted to see that Robert J Barnes’ choice of apprentice is a female who will clearly be encouraged to reach her career goals in good company.

Find out more about Robert J Barnes’ female friendly garage services.

Find out more about Robert J Barnes’ female friendly repairer services.

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Best young drivers include 13 year old Hannah


A 13 year old girl and a 16 year old boy beat hundreds of other hopefuls in the 2014 Young Driver Challenge and were crowned the UK’s Best Young Drivers; before they are even old enough to officially drive.

Troy Hickling, aged 16, from Leicester finished first in the 14-16 age group, and Hannah Tripp, aged 13, from Cheddar in Somerset won the 11-13 age group, at the Birmingham NEC final of the 2014 Young Driver Challenge.

Their prize included Young Driver lessons of 20 ‘on the road’ post-17 driving lessons courtesy of Goodyear, a ‘Young Driver at School’ session to include their classmates and £500 off a car insurance premium courtesy of Young Driver insurance sponsor Admiral Insurance.

More than 350 young people entered the competition, organised by Young Driver, a provider of driving tuition for under-17s, and Troy and Hannah were among the 40 who made it to the final of the contest – which was open to those aged between 11 and 16.

As well as being marked on their practical driving skills behind the wheel of a dual-control car at one of Young Driver’s venues, the entrants were also judged on their performance in the Goodyear Driving Academy, an online driving simulator which tests a youngsters’ knowledge of the Highway Code.

Hannah and Troy were crowned the overall national champions after judges from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) praised their control of the vehicle, precise manoeuvres and quick thinking behind the wheel.

Hannah said: “It was an amazing feeling even to be in the final. To then learn I’d won my age category was just incredible. It was quite a challenging test and we knew the judges were marking our ability based on a lot of different driving skills and manoeuvres.

Troy added: “It was a great day and I was stunned to win. It’s reassuring to know I’m doing so well and all this experience will obviously be a huge help when I come to learn on the road aged 17. I’m looking forward to all my classmates being able to try out the Young Driver experience as part of my prize.”

One of the judges, IAM director of standards Mark Lewis, added: “Young people are often labelled as risky drivers but Hannah, Troy and all the entrants have shown that they can achieve the highest standards of driving safety.”

Mark had also noticed a surprising consequence of this:

“I heard two parents discussing how their own driving habits had been altered by their children. One mum said that her son was now pointing out her bad driving habits and particularly encouraging her to drive within the speed limits. Here we see a reversal of the trend where children learn their driving behaviour at a very early age from watching their parents. We are now seeing that parents are being corrected by their children who have undertaken the Young Driver programme. This could have a massive impact on road safety.”

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