Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Guest post: The tech smart way to better and more affordable chauffeur insurance

June 4th, 2014 No comments

Chauffeur Insurance. Picture courtesy of

Striving hard to take over the established players in our regional chauffeur service marketplace? Well, it is going to be a battle of operational efficiency and strong cost control for you as you go about trying to edge past your competitors.  A chauffeur business can be a tough one to control, as much because of the fact that the revenue generation activity takes place away from your office and on the road as is because of the very nature of all the cost heads that make up the scary section of the profit and loss account. Right from accounting for the on-road efficiency of all the Mercedes and the Audis to ensuring that chauffeur insurance doesn’t leave lasting stains on the expense sheets, the job of a chauffeur insurance business manager is tough. Here, we intend to offer some actionable suggestions that can go a long way in ensuring that the premiums of chauffeur insurance for such businesses remain affordable.

Get those smart vehicles empowered with smart security gadgets

Vehicle security gadgets have been proven effective in reducing chances of thefts and vandalism, and have also been regarded highly for their effectiveness in enabling drivers to remain more alert while they are behind the steering wheel. Whether it’s a GPS based tracker that makes the vehicle’s location known at any time, or a strong anti-theft installation such as a camera or a siren, you can expect a multitude of benefits from your decision to go for security related gadget installations for your fleet of vehicles. Firstly, such installations lend you peace of mind about the safety your vehicles, and if you have a large fleet, chances are that they would come to the fore with visible results at least once every year. What’s more, the effect these devices have on the premiums that chauffeur insurance companies charge is amazing, and is to your benefit. Insurance companies consider such vehicles less risky, and are hence willing to offer you lesser premiums of chauffeur insurance. Also, the savings in terms of lesser insurance premiums will accumulate on a per year business for the operating time period of your vehicles, which will certainly pay off the devices in due course of time.

Leverage the reach of web to find the best prices

Does the idea of using the Internet to find the best price for your insurance sound laughable to you? Well, you’d not be laughing when your competitors save more than 20% every year on chauffeur insurance by smartly opting to do an online price comparison among different chauffeur insurance policy products. A couple of hours is all you need to ensure that you guard yourself against chauffeur insurance deals that pack unnecessary covers into the mix in order to inflate the premium rates. You will be easily able to invite free quotes for chauffeur insurance based upon the kind of your business and the fleet you have.

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Guest post: Pick-up trucks, utes or bakkies?

May 27th, 2014 No comments

The Ford F-Series became America’s best-selling vehicle in 1982 and never looked back…

Are they commercial vehicles, recreational vehicles or passenger cars? The frontier is becoming more and more blurry for this category of vehicles. But did you know they held different names depending on where they are sold? In the United Stated they are described as pick-ups and a categorised as ‘light trucks’ along with SUVs. Pick-ups have been extremely popular in the US for decades now, with the Ford F-Series being the overall best-seller in the country every single year since 1982 when it jumped into pole position for the first time. That’s 32 consecutive years on top! For now its highest annual sales were reached in 2004 when it peaked at 939,511 units.

Toyota Hilux Australia 20012001 Toyota Hilux

In Australia these vehicles are called ‘utes’, short for utilities. Over the years, their status has changed drastically from mere workhorses to gradually become the true family car: work during the week and fun at the weekend. This status change has been accompanied by a significant increase in size of the most successful utes in the country, now mainly manufactured in the one tonne pick-up factory of the world: Thailand. Embodying the increasing success of utes in Australia, the Toyota Hilux has enjoyed an almost uninterrupted climb on the local sales charts and almost snapped up the year-to-date top spot overall in 2012 as I described in my article Australia: The rise and rise of the Toyota Hilux where you can find annual sales of the Hilux in Australia since its original launch there in 1971.

Ford Ranger South Africa April 2014Ford Ranger

In South Africa, another country enamoured with this type of vehicles, pick-ups are called bakkies, from the Afrikaans bak ‘container’ and the diminutive suffix -ie. The Toyota Hilux here too has been a contender to the overall models sales charts pole position for the past 10 years, fighting it out with the VW Polo and Polo Vivo. The Ford Ranger has also stepped up its game with the last generation, ranking among the 5 most popular vehicles in the country for the past 5 consecutive months.

This post is brought to you by Gumtree. Launched in 2000, Gumtree is the largest classified site in South Africa and the 6th most popular website overall in South Africa. Gumtree’s largest vertical is cars- with bakkies for sale being one of its largest inventory drivers. Automobiles comprise one third of the overall site’s inventory, totalling over 700,000 ads per month. Gumtree is also #1 in South Africa for Rentals, Pets, Jobs, and Services.

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Guest post: Tips for Long-term Car Storage

May 27th, 2014 No comments

If for whatever reason you won’t be using your car for months and months on end – perhaps you are travelling overseas, or you’ve undergone major surgery and won’t be able to drive safely for a while – car storage is the way to go. Here are some essential planning tips on how to store your car long-term.

Deciding on a Storage Destination

Obviously, the location in which you decide you store your car all depends on how long you plan to leave it unused. If you’re only going to be away a few days, storing your car in a securely locked garage such as your own wouldn’t be a concept too difficult to grasp, however in most cases where your absence exceeds a month or so, a storage facility would be ideal. Self-storage companies such as Fort Knox specialise in any storage scenario conceivable to an average human mind, one being the placement of vehicles in storage units. Storing your car in something like this would be ideal, as it would be safeguarded from the possibility of sun damage, or potential rodents that might be lurking around your garage.

Conditioning Your Car For the Big Move

Take your car in for servicing to make sure everything is running smoothly and will continue to do so when you are ready to reclaim it. But before you go as far as that even, you’ll want to clean the car inside and out. This means oiling all the hinges, waxing the outside, washing it down and dusting it from top to bottom. If you’re stretching these chores out over the course of days, or even weeks, make sure you dust right before covering the car, as a way of prevent additional dust particles from finding their way in. You might also want to open the windows ever so slightly, particularly if your car is being stored outside for the sun to grill, or in a tight and stuffy space.

Consider charging your car battery and topping it up with fuel before sending it off to be stored; if it’s been a while since you’ve sped down the highway with the radio turned up for the entire hemisphere to hear and love, you’ll want to be able to use it as soon as possible. It’s also important that you are fully covered by your current insurance policy, and that you renew your registration if you need to during that time. Unlike a bike, which can be positioned on its side, a car has no option other than to remain on its feet, day and night. With this in mind, it might be worth slightly deflating your car tires to avoid the risk of them failing on you when you return.

The overall motivation for going to all this effort is to feel that you are leaving your car in the best condition possible and in the safest of hands. This way you are not only ridding your mind of angst during your leave, you will being returning to your car as if you never left it, or as if your car was stolen and returned several months later in better condition than before it was stolen.

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Guest post: Cummins Engines Researching Near Emissions for Diesel Engines

May 21st, 2014 No comments

Diesel Cummins Engine. Picture courtesy of

Tier 4 standards for off-road engines and equipment have put a great emphasis on near zero emission diesel engines. With regulatory goals set for a fast-approaching 2015, Cummins Engines has risen to the challenge with their next generation of diesel engine.

What is Tier 4?

Since 1996, government agencies like the United States’ EPA have been raising the bar on clean burning engines. Tier 4 is the latest standard put in place. Among other things, it requires that particulate (PM) and mono-nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions are reduced by another 90% from the previous Tier 3 standard. As older, less efficient engines are eventually replaced by Tier 4 compliant diesel engines, it is projected that the annual emissions reduction will be 780,000 tons of NOx and nearly 130,000 tons of PM. That’s in addition to the cost savings of diesel fuel with engines that burn more efficiently. These changes target agricultural and industrial business the most. Diesel road and highway engines have already gone through their rounds of emission reductions (2007-2010). Now Engine manufacturers must focus on creating improvements that can produce the same amount of high-level industrial performance and reliability with far less polluting exhaust.

Near Emission Breakthroughs

Cummins Engines has recently showcased a diesel engine that does just that at major tradeshows around the world. They’ve been able to achieve all of the Tier 4 Final standards by adding a series of new Cummins engine parts. These innovations really focus on two things. The first is fuel efficiency. The second is air quality.

  • Common rail high pressure fuel system
  • Exhaust gas recirculation
  • Variable-geometry turbocharger
  • Particulate filter
  • Selective Catalytic Reduction

These refinements have greatly decreased the particulate and NOx exhaust while still having all the power and utility expected from a diesel workhorse. The buzz at these tradeshows around the Cummins display is actually electric. OEMs are already starting to build these new engines into exciting new designs and packages.

The Next Generation

Perhaps the best news is that these new engines aren’t much more expensive than the old ones. Estimates place the price as only 1 to 3% more on average than the Tier 3 or Tier 4 Interim engines. The best way to stay up to speed on the availability and models of the Tier 4 Cummins Engines and their genuine Cummins diesel parts is with diesel engine suppliers.

Maintaining Low Emissions

Working towards clean burning engines does not stop and start with the engine manufacturer or your local diesel mechanic. You can ensure that your engine is running smooth by ensuring that your exhaust and fuel systems are properly maintained. Tip: Frequently checking and replacing wear parts, such as diesel injectors in your fuel system or diesel water pumps in your cooling system, will keep your engine in tip top shape. It will save you money in repairs and prolong the life of your engine, as well.

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Media post: How to minimise the chance & impact of a breakdown

May 21st, 2014 No comments

Car breakdown. Picture courtesy of

1. Choose the right car

Although BestSellingCarsBlog does not review cars, the best-selling data published on the site can help you make a decision on your next new or used car based on how well it sell in your country. This is not a fool-proof way of choosing a car, but coupled with some solid online research about your target car’s capacity to breakdown and a thorough look into your trusted friends and family’s advice, it can help you avoid lemons.

2. Check your car every couple of weeks

You now have purchased your dream car. How to minimize the chance of a breakdown? Rain or shine, it pays to give the car a good check over every couple of weeks. This way you could prevent a breakdown and perhaps a large and unwelcome bill.

Fuel: Top up when you pass a filling station rather than delay looking for one until the fuel light comes on – particularly if you’re driving in an unfamiliar area. 

Lights: Clean all exterior lights regularly and check for blown bulbs and cracks in the lens.

Oil: Cars can consume as much as a litre of oil every 1,000 miles. Check the oil level regularly (your handbook will show you how). Don’t wait for the red oil pressure warning light to come on – engine damage may already have occurred by then.

Water: Overheating is a common cause of breakdowns, especially in hotter weather. Check the coolant level regularly (the handbook will show you how) and if the level always seems low, check for leakages. Top up the windscreen washer fluid too.

Electrics: Battery problems are the number one cause of breakdowns at any time of year. Renew an old, tired battery before it lets you down. Also make sure that your electric radiator cooling fan starts running when the engine gets hot – you can check this by running the engine with the car stationary.

Rubber: Incorrectly inflated tyres are not only unsafe, they wear out faster and can increase fuel consumption by around 5%. If you’re driving with extra passengers or luggage, remember to increase your tyre pressure accordingly (see your handbook).

3. Get the right Breakdown Cover

The AA is Britain’s most trusted brand, having more dedicated patrols than any other UK breakdown service, and a unique Breakdown & Traffic app giving you live updates on traffic and road works and enabling you to call out and track your AA patrol. 8 out of 10 cars are fixed at the roadside with the AA, and you can use a virtual membership card if you don’t have your real one handy. People who have used the AA have rated them 4.8 out of 5 with 1285 out of 1323 (97%) reviewers recommending this service.

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Guest post: We get our first look at the 50th anniversary Ford Mustang

May 21st, 2014 1 comment

Bill Ford and the All-New Ford Mustang

With pictures having been leaked from an American magazine and the Mustang’s debut at the Detroit motor show, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding the new Ford Mustang. One of the biggest surprises is that it will be made available in the UK in a right hand drive version for the first time in over four decades. This is part of Ford’s new initiative known as the ‘One Ford’ plan, where it seeks to create cars which are marketed across the globe.  Ford claims this does not mean that the character of the Mustang gets diluted for the international market and they are not making a global Mustang, more that they are taking the Mustang concept onto a global platform.  The current model Mustang is highly successful and is the base concept of the new Mustang so this should be an interesting new car to watch.

How similar is this new car from the previous model though?  While the wheelbase remains the same, there have been some radical changes made to this new Mustang. The biggest change is that Ford has finally got rid of the live rear axle which most car manufacturers stopped using 3 decades ago. In place of this live rear axle there is now a completely independent rear suspension, while the front has been adjusted to fit with this, with a new lighter front sub frame. While the breaks have also been enlarged and a new limited slip diff & torque vectoring system are also new features. All of these features promise to improve ride and steering greatly.

Another interesting new feature is the completely new 305 BHP 2.3 litre, four-cylinder Eco boost engine. While no figures about fuel economy have been released, it is expected to better the old Mustang’s 3.7 Litre V6 by about 10%. This will not be the only engine, with a 5 Litre V8 with 420 BHP also available, although it will be replaced to a 500 BHP engine within 18 months.

The technical aspects are not the only things that have changed about the new Mustang, aesthetically it is different too, it has gained a more dynamic look, being made both wider and lower, with the drawn in middle of the car expanding to accommodate the heavily prominent wheel arches. They have not refined the look of the car too much though and Moray Calum, Ford’s design director has stated the understanding that to keep the signature look of the Mustang ‘there needs to be a lack of subtlety to the front end- like a fist flying through the air’, something which the new Mustang clearly reflects, keeping with its character of the classic American sports car.

Not to be forgotten is that there also is a convertible version, which looks reminiscent of the classic 1964 Notchback mustang. The convertible comes with a stylish fabric roof which takes just 7 seconds to be put down, due in part to the updated electric mechanism replacing the old hydraulic system.  It will be launched at the same time as the coupe, although the coupe is expected to have the majority of sales. Soon to be sold …. This new Ford Mustang (click here) looks like a great new introduction and finally being able to drive a right hand drive version looks like an exciting prospect for a great many British car enthusiasts.

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Media post: What to do when you are involved in a car accident

May 21st, 2014 No comments

Car accident. Picture courtesy of Wikipedia

The metallic crunch of a bumper crashing into the back-end of another vehicle is a sound-bite we all try to avoid. In 2013, 17.2 million vehicles were registered to Australian motorists; while accident figures are skewed and the death toll is on the decline, statistics aren’t useful in the event of the unexpected. Despite the saturation of data out there, knowing what to do when you’re involved in a car accident isn’t covered in news reports or front page spreads.

So, what do you do when your day is shattered by an unfortunate car accident?

Keep Calm, Don’t Carry On

You may feel compelled to speed away and never look back – panic makes people do weird things. Instead, turn off the vehicle, check everyone is okay (if you’re not traveling alone) and get out to assess the extent of the damage and help anyone in distress. If serious injuries are present, call an ambulance? Wait, what about the cops? The authorities should be alerted if damage exceeds $2,500.

Down to the Details

If everyone is okay, collect the details of the other drivers involved. Occasionally, someone may reject your request for their name, address and registration – take down their licence plate number and contact the police. It is your right to claim against them if they have damaged your property. If you are responsible for part or all of the accident, do not acknowledge your charge at the scene. Instead, do what you can to make sure everyone is safe, and contact a reliable firm like Sinnamon Lawyers to ensure any matters are handled with proficiency and professionalism.

Do I Get Out of the Way?

Expect a range of reactions from surrounding traffic – rubber necking, glares, concerned looks, even anger and annoyance. Unfortunately, you’ll have to weather these expressions, unless the accident is impeding traffic, until the police arrive. If vehicles are in the way, move them to side of the road after marking where the impact took place.

Towing the Line

Tow-truck drivers can be very opportunistic. You may notice a truck or two turning up without being asked to do so; you may feel a bit confused and overwhelmed at this point, but do not let these drivers take your vehicle without a tow authority. From time to time, police will permit tow truck drivers to remove your vehicle if it is blocking traffic and causing a further hazard.

Anything Else?

Never lose your temper. Nobody wants to be in your shoes, including the other motorists waiting on the side of the road with you, heads in their hands and smart phones at the ready. While you’re waiting for the police, note down every possible detail – what the other cars look like, any existing damage you see that wasn’t caused by the collision, markings and paint-work, time of crash and a chronological list of events. Try not to discuss the accident, even if you feel bad; stick to the facts and don’t mention blame either way.

Remembering every factor when it comes to the crunch can be difficult; you’ve just lived through a potentially traumatic experience and there are a lot of unknowns. Be kind to yourself, keep calm, capture every detail you

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Important Steps to Take After a Car Accident

May 21st, 2014 No comments

Car accident. Picture courtesy of

Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic experience, and almost everyone will at some time in their life experience one, so it is vitally important that you know what to do if it happens to you. In this article we will outline the key steps you should take after a car accident in order to ensure your physical and financial wellbeing.

Safety first

The first thing you should do after a car accident is to stay calm and assess if you or other people involved in the crash have any injuries, if anyone is injured call an ambulance immediately. Next, if it is safe to do so, move your vehicle out of the traffic to a safe area and put on your hazard lights if possible.

Call the police

Even if it is a minor accident, it is important to call the police and get them to file an accident report, this is essential for any insurance claims you may need to make. Talk only with the police and your insurance agent and do not get into discussions with the other driver about who was at fault.

Get all the details

Make sure you get all the relevant details such as the name, address and contact details of everyone involved in the accident. It is also useful to get their insurance company’s name, a description of the car and the licence plate number.

Get witnesses

Get the contact details of any witnesses to the crash, they might be able to give a better description of the crash and help determine who was at fault. Also take the name and badge number of the police officers who attend the scene.

Take photos

Use your mobile phone to take plenty of photos of all the cars involved in the accident. This can be crucial information for later insurance claims or court cases arising from the accident.

Make a sketch of the accident

Draw a rough sketch of the accident which has all the roads and objects as well as the placement of all the vehicles involved. This can be very useful when filing your insurance claim.

Contact your insurance agent

Call your insurance agent as soon as possible and get their advice on what other steps to take, you may not be thinking clearly after an accident and they can help remind you of the things you need to do.

Contact your lawyer

If you or someone else was injured in the accident, it is essential to contact a lawyer such as Turner Freeman as soon as possible after the crash to get advice on whether you are eligible to file a claim for compensation. There are strict time limits around how much time can pass before you file a claim for damages compensation and if you do not pursue it immediately, you may lose your right to make a claim entirely. So, while nobody wants to be involved in an accident, it is essential that you follow these tips to ensure the best possible outcome and ensure the safety of yourself and others.

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Media post: rebrand for a bigger piece of the used car market

May 9th, 2014 No comments

Used cars that are dependable. Picture courtesy

Anyone who works in the used car industry will probably be familiar with Manheim Inc., the renowned autos auction company. They have a huge stake in Auto Trader, they own, and in an intriguing new development, they’re set to rebrand You’re probably least familiar with Carmony, which was established in 2008. The rebranding will see the site attempt to break into the ‘dealer approved’ luxury car market, where cars are offered from franchised dealers nationwide.

The online used car market is fairly saturated. Brands like eBay, Gumtree, Auto Trader and Motors seem to rule the roost in terms of second hand sales. Even the luxury used market has precedents with ventures like Southport’s, seeming to offer a decent range, but the USP of Carmony is that it’s nationwide, it has huge scale, and everything is dealer approved.

If you’re going to shell out £20,000+ on a new Mercedes, you don’t want the insecurities associated with private sales.

Let’s face it the advantages of second hand luxury sales are huge, with massive markdowns immediately after these cars have left the forecourt. It’s natural to want a Mercedes E-Class, an S-Class, or a Porshce 911, and it’s even more natural to want to buy from an approved franchised dealer due to the big sums involved.

Manheim probably see the Carmony site as a worthy ‘vertical shift’ from the site.  Motors deal with a mass market – you can get luxury marks on that site, but it’s not necessarily a focused niche the way that Carmony would be.

Look at Zoopla and as examples of businesses making this so-called vertical shift. Zoopla is now a tried and tested brand in the housing market, so – owned by Zoopla and DMGT – uses a bit of Zoopla’s leverage to break into the ‘Luxury Sales’ market. This kind of product diversity seems both clever and necessary.

Carmony could become a huge brand name in months to come, and Manheim are probably keen for their site to be first on the ‘nationwide luxury car market’ scene.

The site already has a big stock of luxury cars and with the right branding it could serve as a business model for any venture looking to diverge successfully into related markets. It’s all about getting the right marketing angles and giving the necessary reassurance to prospective buyers – the ‘approved dealers’ angle is a strong USP.

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Guest post: 2014 Jeep Cherokee prepares to dominate UK SUV market

May 7th, 2014 1 comment

2014 Jeep Cherokee

Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) have traditionally been more popular on the other side of the Atlantic, but in recent years they have begun to take the UK market by storm. As the vehicle type becomes more advanced and is able to incorporate a wider variety of features into its check list, it’s no surprise that more people in the UK are looking to SUVs when they shop for a new vehicle. While the UK’s SUV market is growing at a considerable pace, there remains one manufacturer who dominates it in every respect. Jeep has been known as the master of the SUV in the UK for quite some time and as the demand for SUVs in the UK increases, questions are being asked of Jeep by a number of other manufacturers who are releasing mid-level SUVs of their own.  The 2014 Jeep Cherokee has not only maintained the high standard promised by the manufacturer over previous years, but it has proved their ability to adapt and grow within a changing market. Here, we take a look at how the Cherokee has been able to maintain its grip on the growing SUV market in the UK.

Demand for versatility 

A decade ago, the SUV was something of a niche vehicle, popular with a specific audience. Families looking for extra space were enamoured still with people-carriers such as the iconic Chrysler Grand Voyager, while off-road enthusiasts were content with purpose specific vehicles and were happy to accept an almost complete lack of comfort in exchange for great 4×4 capability. Today, the story is different. Technology in the car world has moved quickly over the last decade and it’s no longer necessary for manufacturers to make their vehicles so application specific. The SUV is perfectly placed to demonstrate these changes and to appeal to a wider demographic than ever before. Today’s SUV – and the Jeep Cherokee in particular – is able to offer comfort and practicality at the same time. The 4×4 capabilities are astonishing, but they are no longer limiting. In the same vehicle, drivers can now travel across urban and rural landscapes in equal comfort while benefiting from a range of features and design surprises.

Urban comfort

The 2014 Jeep Cherokee is a comfortable car, designed with luxury in mind. The interior is packed with useful gadgets, from the wireless charging pad to the touchscreen navigation computer. Where larger, off-road vehicles were once clunky and stripped down, the Cherokee offers drivers the kind of comfort once reserved for mid-sized, executive saloon cars. Parking assistance tools make it the ideal companion for city driving.

Family values 

The Jeep Cherokee sits between its larger brother, the Grand Cherokee, and its smaller family members, the Wrangler, Renegade and Compass to offer good family values. A vehicle of this size wouldn’t be complete without offering a whole host of features designed to suit family life, and the Cherokee does exactly this. Inside the high strength steel interior, which offers as secure a shell as you’ll find on the market, the Cherokee is packed with useful features. The sliding second row of seats is a feature which stands out in terms of practicality. Whether you’re hauling a hefty load of cargo, or are looking to transport all of your kids’ friends around town, you can adjust the ratio of space in the back, getting the most from the already ample interior. The wide range of interior configurations embodies a nod to the revolutionary people carriers of the 1990s, building on the successes of the car industry’s last great shift.

Off-road dedication 

Some years ago, the inclusion of features like those we’ve already mentioned could have meant only one thing for the off-road performance – that it had been neglected. Thankfully, with the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, this is simply not true. The Cherokee’s competitors – we’re talking now about the BMW X3, Nissan’s Qashqai and the Audi Q5, among others – all perform incredibly well in rural environments and the Cherokee is no different. In fact, with three separate four wheel drive options for drivers to choose from in the Cherokee, it is one of the best off-road performers in its class.

All-round success

The successful combination of off-road factors with fuel economy and comfort represent the significance of the SUV in 2014. For the first time, consumers are being offered affordable family vehicles which don’t come with the caveat of compromise. The Cherokee is the perfect example of a modern SUV which is able to marry a variety of desirable features without any conflict or neglect, and for that reason it is sure to take the UK’s SUV market by storm in 2014. Jeep’s new Cherokee leads a pack which is increasing with size each season, because it’s onto something new. As advances in fuel economy travel further than the hatchback market, the market for larger vehicles looks set only to grow in coming years.

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