Tag Archives: Honest John

The demise and deceit of diesel cars

We’re told that by 2040 there won’t be diesel (or petrol) cars on UK (or French) roads.

But with progress running at the pace it does, perhaps this will happen sooner.

So what’s the problem now, you might ask?

The problem is to do with pollution, when we buy diesel cars with high levels of NOx.

This matters most where pollution levels are high, in cities in particular, because our health and that of pedestrians can be affected.

I am always surprised that so many motorists turn a blind eye to this sort of thing when CO2 emission details are available in the public domain. Maybe it shows the power of a trusted brand. Or a more Clarkson-esque attitude in favour of a car’s driving performance and looks? But were so many of us wise to trust car manufacturers to take care of this for us?


An added concern is the Dieselgate scandal that is unfolding in the UK as I write this.

Amazingly motorists are still buying cars from manufacturers that have defrauded others here. Were VW a bank or a politician, for example, we’d be spitting abuse at them using social media. And yet we seem to buy VW Group cars with abandon – letting fleet sales shore up stakeholder profits…

As I see it, VW should be held to account for
+ fraudulent behaviour
+ addressing car performance problems after the dieselgate ‘fix’ – UK law firm Harcus Sinclair reports that out of 9,500 VW Group owners, 5,052 have reported problems with their car after their emissions fix.

We’ll have to wait for the Government’s Transport Select Committee to report on this matter to know what our options are in the light of the US lawsuit and partial settlement of $15.3 billion (£12.3 billion) for affected US motorists.

Car Models with Diesel Concerns

So, which are the stated ‘best cars’ with unacceptably high emissions and which are the models involved in the Dieselgate scandal?

I have been reading the Which? Car Guide 2017/18. They’ve clearly struggled with the ethical debate of listing offenders as ‘Best Buys’ (the Audi A3 Saloon is a good example here with emissions so high they wouldn’t pass the ancient Euro 1 standard) so instead they’ve listed their ‘best’ car choices by category and flagged them up with either Emissions Warning (EW) or Dieselgate (DG) so we know what we are buying, in future.

The following manufacturers and models are listed by Which? as a best car in their category despite an ‘Emissions Warning (EW)’ or Dieselgate (DG) flag.

Audi A1 (2010-) DG
Audi A3 (2012-) DG
Audi A3 Cabriolet (2014-) DG
Audi A3 Saloon (2013-) DG & EW

BMW 2 Series convertible (2015-) EW
BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe (2014-) EW
BMW 6 Series Coupe (2011-) EW
BMW X3 (2010-) EW

Citroen Berlingo Multispace (2008-) EW

Ford Focus (2011-) EW
Ford Galaxy (2015-) EW
Ford S-Max (2015-) EW

Honda Civic (2012-2017) EW

Hyundai i10 (2014-) EW
Hyundai i40 (2012-) EW
Hyundai IX35 (2010-2015) EW

Kia Sportage (2016-) EW

Lexus IS (2013-) EW

Mercedes-Benz SL (2012-) EW

Mini (2014-) EW

Nissan Pulsar (2014-) EW

Porsche 911 Carrera (2012-) EW
Porsche Cayenne (2010-) EW

Seat Alhambra (2010-) DG
Seat Ateca (2016-) EW

Skoda Octavia Estate (2013-) DG & EW
Skoda Superb Estate (2010-2015) DG

Toyota Aygo (2014) EW
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid (2016-) EW

Subaru Outback (2015-) EW

Toyota Yaris (2011-) EW

Volkswagen Polo (2009-) DG
Volkswagen Sharan (2010-) DG
Volkswagen Tiguan (2016-) EW
Volkswagen Up (2012-) EW

What Should You Do?

1) If you have a choice, don’t buy a car with an emissions warning. Not just because you will likely struggle to sell it afterwards but because it is harming the planet and another human being could suffer by your action. If that doesn’t matter to you, you won’t be reading my blog.

2) If you own a car with an emissions warning you might want to sell it/trade it in for a newer car sooner rather than later. It doesn’t solve anything but it becomes someone else’s problem when values drop.

3) If you own a Dieselgate (DG) car that’s either been fixed or awaiting its fix – be sure to document the outcome*. You will likely have to have this ‘fix’ done because VW is threatening to de-register any car that isn’t fixed within a given period. Please see Honest John’s comment in the above image – we read of many cars suffering this ‘limp mode’ experience which could be scary on the likes of motorways, for example.

*Despite VW’s efforts to be (seen as) squeaky clean here, there may come a time when motorists are required to prove any detriment to claim fair compensation.

4) Finally if you are considering buying a car with either warning, I suggest you think again. There are other cars in your category that are as good and that don’t come with a health or fraud warning. Unless of course you’re considering buying a car that isn’t in the latest Which? Car Guide? In which case PLEASE do your homework thoroughly to find out why it isn’t a best buy and whether you’d do better buying one that is.

Club members can ask us for advice of course. Here’s where to join us.


Five used car buying mistakes to avoid

Sophie MumIn the rush to buy a great new set of wheels, it’s sometimes easy to move too quickly and make basic (and often costly) mistakes. Buying second hand can save you lots of money – maybe up to 40% off a new car, so here are five simple things to avoid when buying your next pre-loved car.

1/ Rushing in

We know what it’s like – the car looks great, the price is good, but you’re not sure and the salesman is giving a good pitch, ‘there’s someone else interested’; ‘I’ll offer you a special price’ and so on.

Everyone likes a deal, but don’t forego the basic checks – registration details, service history etc. If the car is right for you, it’ll still be there when you’ve checked it out properly. Websites such as www.honestjohn.co.uk can help you check out your potential car’s history.

2/ Not being selective about your choice of seller

Of course, using a dealer that offers official Ford warranties and checks, as well as RAC inspections, such as JenningsFordDirect, provides more reassurance than most, but there are lots of ways to buy a used car and making sure you use the right option for you is essential.

If you know a lot about cars, private sales may not daunt you. But if you’re less of an expert, a high quality dealer is likely to take away some of the stress.

3/ Failing to ask enough questions

Before you close the deal find out what the price includes. Does it come with an ‘approved’ vehicle check, a verification check like HPI and a reassuring warranty that’s better than the typical 3 months?

Be sure to check other things out too; ask to see documents such as the V5C registration documents, MOT certificates and service history details. Ask how the new DVLA car taxation rules will affect you ie when can you tax the car, remembering that you can no longer drive away a ‘new’ car you’ve just bought when it’s still taxed by the previous owner.

Turn detective and worry if the seller seems less than keen to answer your questions or provide the information you’re asking for.

4/ Paying the list price!

Admittedly it’s not terribly British and few females know how far to go here, but don’t assume you have to pay the asking price – especially if you’re paying cash.

Remember you’re the one in a strong position – there are thousands of cars for sale and you, as a buyer, are a very valuable asset. Thisismoney.co.uk has valuable tips about haggling, as well as advice on assessing potential repair costs and hidden money traps.

5/ Not trying it out for size

There’s a reason that test drives exist. Rather like the motoring equivalent of the changing room, the test drive lets you try out your prospective car for size. From the very practical ‘can I reach the pedals comfortably?’ and ‘is my vision good enough in this car?’ to the rather more subjective ‘do I feel good in this?’ test driving gives you the opportunity to sample how owning the car will feel day-to-day.

And if it doesn’t feel totally right, don’t be afraid to walk away because there will be another better car that’s right for you, given shopping time.

guestblog This is a Guest Blog from Jennings Ford Direct, part of Jennings Motor Group, the North East’s largest independent car dealer group. All used Ford cars come with a package of reassuring benefits including comprehensive HPI and RAC checks as well as an impressive 2 year warranty.

NB: Jennings has won Ford’s prestigious ‘Chairman’s Award’ on 17 separate occasions over the last 20 years.