Weekly Wheelspin: Missing Christmas presents explained, FCA woes, gift ideas for all ages, Wrangler reviewed and more

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Author: | Updated: 07 Dec 2018 15:05

As 2018 draws to a close, and we attempt to make ourselves look pretty for the ContractHireAndLeasing Christmas party, it’s easy to feel a little underprepared for the festive period.


With that said, we’ve got a few ideas up our sleeves as you’ll see below. We just hope you’ve got your Christmas tree up and weren’t planning on tow-ho-ho-ing one…

In the news

One company that perhaps won’t be filled with festive cheer is Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, thanks to Euro NCAP.

The 2018 facelifted Fiat Panda was given a zero-star safety rating having failed to achieve more than 50% in any of the car safety organisation’s four key testing categories.

This follows the Fiat Punto becoming the first car ever to be downgraded to a zero-star rating last year, having been on continuous sale since 2005. So much for Italian craftmanship…

The bad news didn’t stop there though, with the brand’s Jeep Wrangler only just achieving one star thanks to the fact it includes a seatbelt reminder and a simple driver-set speed limiter. With no other form of driver-assistance system, it joins the above models as the three lowest rated vehicles to go through the programme since launch.

November 2018 and YTD cars

Going hand in hand with Euro NCAP results, the latest SMMT figure were released this week too, showing a 3% fall in the new car market as the repercussions of WLTP continued to be felt.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom though, with the figures also revealing a record one in 12 people choosing from the growing range of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric cars.

Reflecting recent trends, demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) rose 24.6% as buyers continued to take advantage of the outgoing plug-in car grant and electric grant before they were cut and reduced respectively.

That means Kia is choosing the perfect time launch their next EV in April 2019, with the Kia e-Niro priced from £32,995 (after the government’s EV grant is taken into account) and offering up to 282 miles of range and a battery that can be recharged to 80% in as little as 54 minutes.

Kia e-Niro front

Design-wise, the e-Niro gets essentially the same look as the current car – that’s already available as a plug-in and pure-hybrid.

On social

A giant Christmas tree being transported on top of a van on a dual carriageway left police lost fir words this week.

PC Jayne Binkley spotted the vehicle on the A38 doing some dangerously heavy haulage and we can only assume the driver was put on Santa’s naughty list. As much as you might feel the need to get the biggest and best Christmas tree for your home, I wood-n’t try this if I was you.

And spare a thought for this Fed-Ex driver in America who had his load of parcels wiped out by a high-speed train. If your Pandora bracelet or copy of Red Dead Redemption 2 isn’t delivered in time for Christmas, this is probably why.

Your package is out for delivery from r/Unexpected

Speaking of Christmas gifts, one minute you’re saying it’s too early for Christmas shopping, the next it’s Christmas Eve and you’re rushing from shop to shop in a cold sweat. So let us make your life a little easier…

Christmas motoring gifts 2018 (1)

Those with a love of all things fast and four-wheeled can be notoriously tough to buy for. So whether it’s for him, her, or a child, we’ve got gift ideas for everyone.

Latest reviews

While it may have been slated by Euro NCAP, our recent time in the Jeep Wrangler was a blast.

Jeep Wrangler off-road

Safety concerns aside, we found it to be so-so on-road and unstoppable off it. Despite the bad press this week, the fact is there's nothing like the Wrangler on sale anywhere else in the current car market. If you want one, then nothing else will do. Check out the full review here…

And finally…

This time 12 years ago, the first Kia cee’d ran off the production line in Zilina, Slovakia.

Kia cee'd 2006

Kia's first European-designed and built car, the cee’d quickly became Kia's best selling European model in the first few years following its launch and in 2010 it was made revealed as the new reasonably priced car for the popular segment on Top Gear.

Since then, the cee’d has had a slight rebrand and become the Ceed – a subtle acronym of Community of Europe, with European Design. You can find lease rates for the new car for less than £225 per month by clicking here or alternatively, read our first drive review here.

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