Looking over the Estate

Skoda's Octavia has grabbed the impressive Tow Car of the Year award
Skoda's Octavia has grabbed the impressive Tow Car of the Year award

THE Skoda Superb Estate has been crowned Tow Car of the Year by the Caravan Club, beating off competition from 40 other entrants including Range Rover and Jaguar.

Commenting on the Superb’s ability, judges remarked: “With a loading limit of 100kg on the roof, 80kg on the towball and a boot that scored maximum marks, it’s a very tough act to follow. You wouldn’t know you were towing a caravan.”

The top-spec Kia Carens 3 now has sat-nav as standard

The top-spec Kia Carens 3 now has sat-nav as standard

Skoda also won the £16,000-£20,000 category with the new Octavia 1.2 TSI, which was praised for its pulling power with such a small engine.

Announcing the award winners, Grenville Chamberlain, Caravan Club chairman, added: “The Club extends its congratulations to all the winners in this competition. Special acclaim goes to the terrific Skoda Superb, which demonstrated that it was just about as good as it gets.”

The Range-Topping Kia Carens has been upgraded with satellite navigation and a better stereo following customer demand.

The Carens 3 is the basis for the new technology to create the Carens 3 Sat Nav, which uses a seven-inch touch-screen on the centre console. There will now be seven higher-quality speakers spread throughout the cabin, too.

Kia can add the specification upgrades to the pre-existing leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, a full-length panoramic glass roof panel and a raft of safety features that have recently helped the Carens to achieve a five-star Euro NCAP rating.

The navigation software includes European mapping and Traffic Management Channel, which monitors traffic on the planned route and adjusts it if necessary to avoid jams.

The uprated eight-channel hi-fi includes a subwoofer for more powerful bass notes. As with the ordinary Carens 3, USB, aux and dedicated iPod connectivity is standard.

Prices for the new model will start at £24,845, with metallic paint a £495 extra. Orders can already be placed at any Kia dealership.

It’s easy to let your head rule your heart when buying a used car, but a leading industry expert’s warning buyers not to part with their cash if the vehicle’s missing its logbook.

Used vehicle data specialists HPI say they’ve seen a rising number of customers fall prey to sellers passing on vehicles without a logbook, otherwise known as the V5C, leaving them vulnerable to a number of scams.

Commenting on the issue, Phil Peace, operations director for HPI, said: “We’ve seen a number of buyers going ahead with a vehicle purchase without having seen the logbook for the vehicle. This is an enormous risk. Buyers who don’t see the logbook are missing vital information about the car, such as confirmation of the seller’s name and address.

“Logbooks are an integral part of verifying a car’s identity and ownership. If a seller claims to be waiting for one in the post, the buyer should wait until the seller has it before continuing... If it turns out to be stolen then they will lose the car and the money, so it pays to be patient.”

HPI offers its own vehicle status check, capable of verifying not just mileage details but also outstanding finance, or even if the vehicle’s been stolen or written-off. That said, the bottom line is always ensure a car’s logbook is present before striking a deal.