Category Archives: motoring

women enjoy motoring as much as men but we have different needs

Exploring FOXY Lady Blog

FOXY Lady blog is all about motoring and (by and large) written by and for women. Our new blog has moved to the domain but you can still search our blog archive (2006-2017) via the lefthand search bar here.

Here’s how to find your way about our new FOXY Lady Blog which is filed into the following sections.

FOXY Car Reviews

This is a popular section comprising car reviews written by and for women.

If you’d like to write a review for us, we’ll thank you with a gift membership of FOXY Lady Drivers Club. Just email to request headings.

FOXY Information

These blogs have been written or edited by women for women. Some readers might find them a bit light on jargon? That’s because few females are petrol heads or mechanically-minded, although we welcome information from those who are.

FOXY Lady Opinion

Steph testing new runflat tyres

This is where FOXY Steph Savill adds her thoughts about the motor industry and women drivers in general.

If the motor industry spent more time regulating minimum quality standards it wouldn’t need so many complaints handling solutions. That sort of thing.


This is where you’ll find the latest FOXY blog posts, across all sections.

Women in the Motor Industry

ack: The Society of the Irish Motor Industry’s conference for women (June 2017).
Whilst the industry remains male heavy at the top of most automotive businesses we’re encouraged by the wealth of female talent in the wings and en route to boardrooms everywhere. So we work hard to promote as many careers to women as we can.

To appear in this section, email to request interview headings.

Women in Motor Sports

Why should the majority of the motor racing sponsorship money still go to male racers? Here we put the spotlight on the many fast women racers out there.

If you’d like to appear in this section email to request interview headings.

FOXY Top Tips

In a busy world where none of us seem to have any spare time for our cars, easy to read and clearly bulleted tips come into their own when we don’t know what we don’t know…

Again we try to make these tips as female friendly as possible without patronising our own.

Spectacular Holiday Road Trips

If you fancy a motoring holiday that takes in the best sights, you’d be hard pressed to do better than consider this selection.

And whilst the image of the perfect road trip might suggest the USA as a destination, due to its sheer size and the choice of vast highways, you don’t have to travel that far to see equally spectacular scenery that might even be on your British doorstep!

When you know where to look.

Luckily for us Your Parking Space has done most of the heavy lifting here (by driving their favourite European Road Trip routes (what a tough job guys) so we’re happy to mention them and feature the detail they supplied to help FOXY Lady blog readers plan their perfect road trip next summer.

Here are our favourite five for your consideration.

Stelvio Pass, Italy

The Stelvio Pass is one of the highest and most dramatic mountain passes in Europe.

This mountain pass shot to fame in 2008 when it was voted one of the best driving roads by Top Gear and provides stunning views of the Italian and Swiss Alps.

Approaching the Stelvio Pass from the North West side you get to drive up the Stelvio Pass’s renowned wall of 48 switchback turns. Not to be attempted by cumbersome cars and you’ll need power steering of course. Each of the turns is numbered with stones so you can count your way to the top (in case you’ve nothing better to concentrate on that is). Heading back down the pass towards Bormio provides several vantage points for photographs to mark this motoring achievement.

NB: The Stelvio Pass can become very busy during peak times, so it is advised that you drive it early in the morning and outside of the peak months of July and August.

Distance: 30.3 miles

Estimated time: 1h 17min

Points of Interest: Forte Venini di Oga, WWI Fort; Albergo Tibet Hotel, Passo dello Stelvio; Stelvio National Park, Trafoi

Old Military Road A93 & A939, Scotland

A93 at Glenshee. Copyright
We’re told this is oft regarded as the best driving road in the UK – the Old Military Road A93 and A939 right through the heart of the Cairngorms National Park in Scottish Highlands.

You can enjoy endless stunning views on a road filled with twisting hair pins, rollercoaster-like ups and downs and steep gradients.

The route starts at Bridge of Cally, following the A93 into the Cairngorms National Park, driving through Braemar and past the Queen’s private residence Balmoral Castle. From there head onto the A939 for some more stunning highland views all the way to Grantown-on-Spey.

There is a wide variety of different wildlife in the Highlands so keep your eyes peeled for deer, haggis, snow rabbits and grouse.

Distance: 73.3 miles

Estimated time: 1h 53min

Points of Interest: Cairngorms National Park; Balmoral Castle; Lecht Ski School

Susten Pass, Switzerland

I’ve been driven over this myself and I can describe it as one of the most spectacular roads for drivers in the world. The Susten Pass is commonly referred to as one of the ‘Big 3’ passes which also includes Grimsel and Furka. Although not as well-known as the other two, you’ll enjoy sweeping valley roads, stunning forward views and its challenging switchbacks which take you to the summit at 2,224 meters.

The route starts in Wassen and finishes in Innertkirchen, and provides multiple places to stop and take in the spectacular mountain views. The road down to Innertkirchen takes you through forests and across fabulous stone bridges.

Due to its altitude, the Susten Pass is open seasonally usually at the start of June and closes at the end of October. The pass can get extremely busy during this time and is a favourite with bikers, so we recommend you choose to drive it mid-week to avoid the heaviest traffic flow.

Distance: 28.5 miles

Estimated time: 1 hour

Points of Interest: Gelmerbahn Funicular Railway; Sherlock Holmes Museum, Meiringen; Titlis Mountain

Black Mountain Pass, Wales

Heading back home again – the Black Mountain Pass (A4069) connects Llandovery with Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen and is regarded as one of the best roads in Wales, if not the UK. This A road twists and turns over the Black Mountain in the Brecon Beacons National Park and features sharp corners, hairpins and switchbacks.

The route begins at Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen and joins the A4069 at Brynamman. The road then winds across and over the Black Mountain range and comes out near Llangadog before continuing onto Llandovery.

The Black Mountain Pass is extremely popular with drivers after it was featured on Top Gear, but you can still expect little traffic on the road apart from on the sunniest weekends. One word of warning though, watch out for livestock (especially sheep) that have strayed onto the road particularly after blind corners.

Distance: 19.9 miles

Estimated time: 40 mins

Points of Interest: Carreg Cennen Castle; Brecon Beacons National Park; National Showcaves Centre

Route 500, the Black Forest Germany

The Black Forest region of Germany is famous for its winding roads and is a popular choice for road trips amongst the biker community.

One of the best and most accessible is the Schwarzwald Hochstrasse (route 500). This elevated road starts just outside Freudenstadt and travels north to Baden-Baden, it combines smooth and sweeping fast sections with dense forest trails and tight switchback turns.

Near its highest point, around the Hornisgrinde Mountain there are some great elevated views with plenty of place to park up, take in the scenery and take pictures.

The only downside is that Route 500 is a major road in the region so can become busy at certain times, we suggest that you plan your journey in the early morning to take advantage of the reduced traffic.

Distance: 31.1 miles

Estimated time: 53 mins

Points of Interest: Hornisgrinde Mountain; Geroldsau Waterfalls; Lichtenthal Abbey

Well those are our clear favourites but what about yours? By all means add ones you know in an email to me via or use our Twitter @FOXYTweets or the FOXYLadyDriversClub Facebook Page.

Get that book of European road maps out over the Christmas break perhaps. Plenty to keep you busy planning next year’s touring holiday and road trip highlights. Happy motoring!


Making a motor complaint – what you need to know

A recent press release confirms that The Motor Ombudsman has dealt with some 9700 contacts, presumably enquiring about making a complaint between April and June 2017.

Just imagine dealing with this sort of angry volume!

That’s presumably including many who are considering complaining about businesses that are signed up to a Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) Code Of Practice scheme covering new cars, used car sales, service and repair garage work and car warranties.

Whilst this Ombudsman has quite a lot of dealers, garages and warranty providers signed up to their scheme I wondered where motorists with problems at non member dealers or garages go? So I googled and found the Consumer Ombudsman website but again, if the business you want to complain about isn’t part of either of these schemes you’re on your own it seems.

And never was this as evidently dysfunctional a process as illustrated by comments made below the AutoTrader article that introduced me to the Consumer Ombudsman. I imagine these may well be from individuals who bought a car from an AutoTrader advertiser? Too many for AutoTrader to handle one presumes from the absence of any acknowledgements.

So, keeping this blog short and to the point, if you didn’t know that car sales, servicing and repairs are largely unregulated areas within the motor industry and you accidentally chose a garage, a dealer or a warranty product that isn’t part of a Chartered Trading Standards Institute Code of Practice scheme you might be interested to read what happens when things go wrong?

Well, by and large, the answer is ‘not a lot’. You’re mostly on your own and because of this too few motorists take matters further, fobbed off by inadequate warranties or not realising their rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Which is a great shame and probably why the industry maintains its lacklustre image tarnishing the many good car dealers in the process.

Coping With a Motor Complaint

So, what should you do if you have a complaint about a car, a dealer or a garage? Here’s some advice.

1) Stay calm. Nice people stand a much better chance of getting a solution than difficult ones. Know who you speak to and when. Document your conversations. If you’re a member of FOXY Lady Drivers Club make sure we know… and that they know we’re watching the outcome with interest.

2) If you’re dealing with a manufacturer approved or franchised dealer or garage you ultimately have the car manufacturer to escalate your complaint to but you’ll still need to demonstrate that you gave their annointed garage or dealer the chance to rectify this before they failed.

3) Don’t imagine that you can simply go to another garage to get things put right or that garage number one will pay your bills if you do. They don’t have to. You should give garage number one the chance to put it right – even if you’re simply going through the motions.

4) Even if you’re unhappy with a business bill, you are usually required to pay it but you should write on the invoice ‘Paid Under Duress’ to show you didn’t want to, it wasn’t good value and/or the problem wasn’t rectified.

5) Remember that under the Consumer Rights Act 2015

i) Goods shouldn’t be faulty or damaged when you get them, subject to a price reality check of course ie the greater the discount the lower the standard of expectation.

ii) Goods should be fit for the purpose they are supplied for, as well as any specific purpose you made known to the retailer before you agreed to buy the goods.

iii) Goods supplied must match any description given to you*, or any models or samples shown to you at the time of purchase.

* _as in any privately sold vehicle advertisement_

How to Resolve a Faulty Product

Here’s how to get a faulty motor product replaced or repaired within The Consumer Rights Act 2015.

a) If the vehicle in question is of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described you can claim/get a full refund within 30 days. Don’t hang about.

b) If you are outside the 30-day ‘right to reject’ you have to give the dealer or garage one opportunity to repair or replace any goods which are of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described.

You can state your preference, but the retailer can normally choose whichever would be cheapest or easier for it to do. If the attempt at a repair or replacement is unsuccessful, you can then claim a refund or a price reduction if you wish to keep the product.

c) Check if the business concerned is part of a Trading Standards Institute scheme as in

New cars The Motor Ombudsman
Car Sales The Motor Ombudsman
RAC Used Vehicle*
Car Servicing & Repairs The Motor Ombudsman
Car Servicing & Repairs Trust My Garage*
Car Servicing & Repairs Bosch Car Service*

*they handle any complaints about their members.

And take your complaint to them once you’ve had a final/unacceptable offer from the offending business.

Don’t forget that you might have recourse from a credit card company if you used one to pay here.

Flaws Within Motor Industry Complaint Processes

I don’t know how many motorists contact the general Consumer Ombudsman or The Motor Ombudsman with a complaint about a motor business that isn’t one of their subscribers. I’d imagine quite a few are then bitterly disappointed to discover that their rogue dealer or garage isn’t covered here.

I don’t know another industry that makes such a selling point out of their complaints processes! I’d much rather the whole industry was subject to Government regulation to ‘out’ the bad guys.

If I knew nothing about the motor and automotive industry I’d not realise that both these Ombudsmen services are closed shops because they are only handling complaints concerning THEIR subscribers.

Stating the fairly obvious, bad car dealers and garages are the ones least likely to join a quality scheme yet this is where most of the complaints will come from. Regardless of the feedback they all somehow manage to produce for Google.

As things stand, motorists who make the ‘wrong’ garage or car dealer choice are stranded all too often and it costs them too much to further their cause, deterring many from using the courts or identifying offenders this way.

As I see it, the best idea is to have ONE Motor Ombudsman to cover the whole of the motor industry – regardless of whether a business subscribes to a CTSI scheme or not.

Of course ONE Motor Ombudsman scheme covering all car dealers and garages would be the equivalent of regulation (like MOTs are regulated by the DVSA) – this would be my preference.

We’d then be able to ‘out’ the (too many) bad guys and help the (too many) mediocre ones do a better job to benefit motorists and their business alike.

Sadly this would starve the Chartered Trading Standards Institute from earning out of as many competitive schemes as they can sell to, per Code Of Practice scheme. And whilst I can see a significant business case for one scheme rather than many, our current Government is no fan of regulation they tell us.

Even when the detriment is as great as it is in this area and the implications are as far reaching re car safety.

Finally it just might be significant that The Motor Ombudsman is part of The SMMT (Society Of Motor Manufacturers And Traders) and that Trust My Garage is part of the Retail Motor Industry’s Independent Garage Association. Of course they both try to be 100% impartial when it comes to customer complaints and the CTSI Code dictates how the process is managed, but I can’t help thinking about turkeys and Christmas. Like it or not, both organisations have a vested interest in shareholders and stakeholders ahead of Joanna Public.


The purpose of this blog is to alert women drivers that, if all else fails, FOXY will have a look at their complaint and possibly share their experience within The Club to benefit other female motorists. We’ll consider naming and shaming evident cowboys in our Red Card rogue gallery. By all means email and better still join The Club to support our hard work here.

Win VIP lunch at Silverstone

If you’re a grown up and perhaps it’s been quite a while since you had a driving refresher course, we always recommend members look at IAM Roadsmart options.

And here’s a fab offer to encourage you to find out more…

To celebrate the launch of their Mature Driver Review, IAM Roadsmart is offering two competition prizes (each for two people) to win a three-course lunch with legendary rally driver Paddy Hopkirk at the (BRDC) British Racing Drivers Club Clubhouse at Silverstone Circuit on Thursday 15 June 2017.

The BRDC Clubhouse is not normally open to the public so this is an added venue bonus where prize winners will meet the great man himself and hear some of the amazing stories that have made Paddy such a legend in the world rallying scene.

Motorsports legend – Paddy Hopkirk MBE

Most famous for winning the 1964 Monte Carlo and 1967 Acropolis Rallies, Paddy also raced at the fearsome Le Mans 24 Hour race as well as many other circuits around the world. He was also greatly admired for giving up a sure win in the 1968 London-Sydney Marathon to rescue a fellow competitor from his burning car.

But the photo we’ve chosen to illustrate is Paddy re-taking his Advanced Driver test which is testament to his commitment to being as good and conscientious a driver as possible on today’s roads.

Just imagine trying to tell him where he was going wrong! As if…

How to enter this competition

For a chance of winning this unique prize, just email your answers to the following three questions to by noon on 1 June.

1. What car did Paddy Hopkirk drive when he won the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally?

2. Who was Paddy’s co-driver in the 1964 Monte Carlo rally?

3. What was that car’s registration number?

Paddy Hopkirk MBE is IAM Roadsmart’s Mature Business Ambassador.

Thank you Motoring Mums

A floral tribute by Katherine Stayt in Chichester
This post is for Motoring Mums everywhere on Mothering Sunday.

I’m talking about the many Mums and Grans across the UK who use their cars to ferry multiple children to school and then to their respective ballet classes, Scout groups, language lessons and lots of other places during the week.

Children with better social lives than their own, let’s also remember…

I’m talking about Mumpreneurs who turn their home into a business to supplement the family income for starters.

Their kitchen table becomes a business desk, their bedroom an office and their sitting room a call centre; heading off to weekly networking meetings to sell their products and feed the UK economy. To then return home and collect school children or just be there to welcome returning family, cooking meals and all that entails.

I’m talking about community-minded Mums that use their cars to take care of relatives and neighbours who need their help. To ferry them to hospital appointments, dentists, opticians, hairdressers and to do their shopping for them.

I’m talking about the many noble Mums who pretend that Lime and Soda is really their favourite drink at parties or restaurants because they know someone has to drive home sober and they have to be up early the next morning…

Thank_youIn summary, motoring Mums are the unpaid everyday chauffeurs for the family but without the bill at the end of the journey. They keep the family wheels turning and Mothering Sunday is our opportunity to say THANK YOU MUM.

We think you’re wonderful and our family life is the richer because of what you do.

Whereas if your Mum is no longer with you, as is the case for me, Mothering Sunday is a sad day as well as an occasion to remember all she did. And to wish I’d done a lot more to thank her when I had the chance…