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Automatic or manual gearbox for my next automobile?

by Neil Briscoe on 07 Dec 2017

changagoidem Features | Automatic or manual gearbox for my next automobile?

The answer to this question, frustratingly, often starts with 'it depends...' Like so much in motoring, an awful lot hangs on personal preference - a factor that can often outweigh financial concerns. Certainly, the old rule of thumb that a automobile with an automatic gearbox was going to be more expensive to run no longer, entirely, holds water and there's a great deal of 'it depends...' when it comes to running cost comparison for a manual versus an automatic now.

Let's travel back in time, a little, to the days when automatic gearboxes were big, heavy, power-sapping and you were…

Learning to drive, F1-style

by Shane O' Donoghue on 05 Dec 2017

changagoidem Features | Learning to drive, F1-style

A little scene setting is needed here. I get a call from Vauxhall's PR department in the UK asking if I'd like to do some driver training with Rob Wilson. Now Rob, as it turns out, has already trained more than half of the current grid of Formula One drivers and countless more besides. Many big (race-winning) names go back and see him a few times a year and several race teams have booked him out for weeks at a time to learn his techniques and educate their drivers and engineers. That hints at Rob's frankly unorthodox methods and theories…

Petrol, diesel, hybrid, electric: which is best for you?

by Neil Briscoe on 27 Nov 2017

changagoidem Features | Petrol, diesel, hybrid, electric: which is best for you?

So, you're thinking of buying a automobile. What's it going to be - petrol, diesel, or hybrid? Or electric? Or plugin hybrid?

That's a question (or a series of them) that has been fraught with difficulty for the past two years, ever since word of Volkswagen's diesel cheating emerged. Damaging as it was for the German automobile maker itself, it was also damaging for the wider automobile market, as confidence in diesel technology slumped, and buyers started to turn away from the black pump.

Here in Ireland, diesel sales have fallen from a one-time peak of almost 80 per cent…

Hydrogen to breathe new life into internal combustion?

by Neil Briscoe on 24 Nov 2017

changagoidem Features | Hydrogen to breathe new life into internal combustion?

Stroll into any motor accessories shop and you'll find a wall of brightly coloured bottles, the contents of which can be tipped into your fuel tank. They claim to make your automobile travel further, drive smoother, emit less and, probably put the colour back in your hair while they're at it. Those of them that aren't snake-oil are usually just a form of detergent that washes out your fuel injectors, and this business of adding additives to your fuel has thusly become largely derided, often ignored.

CGON, a British start-up, reckons that it has developed a system that was once…

Video break: 10,000rpm battle

by Maurice Malone on 24 Nov 2017

changagoidem Features | Video break: 10,000rpm battle

No-one can obsess over automobiles like the Japanese. Their culture has reached legendary status among Irish enthusiasts, as is evidenced by the huge amounts of performance imports on our roads. This video features lots of VTEC and even an Altezza, so JDM fans will be all over it.

Best Motoring was a Japanese institution, its reviews thorough and nerdy enough to sate the appetite of even the most hardcore Wangan wannabe. This particular video features a load of professional racing drivers thrashing some highly-tuned naturally-aspirated motors in an aptly-titled '10,000rpm battle'. Not surprisingly, Hondas feature prominently, though maybe not the…

What is eCall? The emergency-call system explained

by Neil Briscoe on 17 Nov 2017

changagoidem Features | What is eCall? The emergency-call system explained

Europe's eCall service will be made mandatory equipment on all automobiles sold within the EU from next April.

Previous legislation for vehicle safety has focused on the stuff that helps keep you out of an accident in the first place, such as electronic stability control and ABS braking, but eCall is designed to get the emergency services to you more quickly if you've had an accident.

The system, which is already offered by some automobile makers as an option, connects to your mobile phone. In the event of the automobile's airbags being deployed, and if it detects that you're not…