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Vauxhall Zafira

Vauxhall Zafira

 The Zafira provides seating for seven on a compact platform with good passenger space. The second generation is very similar to the first generation Zafira, but the second generation has been enhanced in every area. It’s exterior design has been enhanced, it drives better, and represents better value for money.

The new Zafira is just as practical as its predecessor, and may be the best compact seven seat MPV available on the market today. The excellent Flex7 seating system has been retained, and still remains one of the best systems available. The Zafira has been given the same attractive nose as the Astra. The car has also received larger headlights for an overall more attractive look. The Zafira has a very distinguished look and won’t be mistaken for any other car on the street. The car’s rear-end has been enhanced as well, it boasts a large rear window, broad tailgate and neatly arranged taillights. Vauxhall’s designs are both unique and classy and the company has no problem getting the attention of buyers.

 Practicality

The Zafira will be inexpensive to buy and run. Low insurance, good fuel economy, and low service charges off set the slightly higher asking price. The diesel engine will further improve fuel economy. The cabin is spacious and will provide sufficient space to all occupants, though the front passengers will enjoy the most head and legroom. The boot is large and will accommodate the needs of a family easily. The gauges are clear and concise. They seem to be of higher quality than what the price may suggest. The buttons and knobs are of high quality too with a weighted feel. The fascia is uncluttered and the controls are both functional and practical. The cabin is quite and serene. The rear seat passengers all have enough room to be comfortable, but the front seat occupants will be by far the most comfortable. The seats are firm and shouldn’t sag as the old seats did. Although the rear passengers will climb through swinging doors rather than sliding ones, access is simple, even in crowded parking lots. The hatch is light and opens wide to offer unrestricted access to the enormous boot. Parking the Zafira is easy, though due to its seven-seating nature reverse parking can be a bit difficult. When pulling into a parking space forwards, the bonnet can be slightly difficult to judge until you get used to the size of the vehicle. Light power steering and smooth acceleration aid in slow maneuvers.

 Life Style

The Zafira shares the same chassis with the Astra. The Zafira provides a very enjoyable ride. The powerful VXR version is most impressive, and needs to have  strong, responsive underpinnings. Vauxhall’s optional IDS-Plus system includes electronic Continuous Damping Control (CDC) and an optional sport chassis, but the Zafira functions very well without it. The Zafira is a very family-friendly car. The car can seat seven easily and will accommodate a growing family and all of the items associated with family life. Cabin space is more than adequate, and the cabin provides excellent levels of comfort. This is not a good first car. There aren’t many new drivers who have the need for a seven seater. There are many more appropriate first cars available. The Zafira feels like a much classier and more refined car than its predecessor. The Zafira is not seen as the upmarket vehicle that it is, it is mostly held in a much lower regard.

 Security and Safety

The car comes standard with remote central deadlocking. A security alarm system is included with SRi and VXR trim levels. There are other optional extras available.The car’s safety features include twin front, side and head curtain airbags. Active Head Restraints are not provided in all models. The Zafira has been designed to meet all European safety guidelines.

 The Finishing Touches

The car’s standard audio system includes a single-slot CD radio. Upgrades are available but are likely to be very expensive. Buyers may want to consider the CDC 40 stereo radio with DAB and integral six-disc changer, or the Twin Audio system, that allows passengers in the back to listen to a different station or CD. The Zafira comes with less kit, but prices are also lower fairly reflecting what is on offer. Options are available such as the Panoramic sunroof and towing pack.

 Summary

 The Zafira is probably the best all-round family vehicle on the market. The car’s flexibility and practicality can’t be beat. Buyers will have no problem recognizing the value for money the car represents.

Toyota Avensis

Recently Toyota has developed an interest in manufacturing more exciting cars.  The Avensis is one such car. Available in saloon form, hatch form and estate form, the car is designed for comfort but has also paid close attention to the choice of materials used in the cabin by using premium quality materials.

Toyota’s Avensis suspension was honed at famous racetracks, and the car’s engines were perfected on proven race-prepared units. Despite this, the Avensis is based more on luxury than for sporty appeal. This Avensis boasts an excellent exterior style that will turn heads. To cut the car some slack, while its unusual nose is its most challenging feature from most other angles it looks refined and measured. And that’s the image Toyota would like you to identify with when looking at its mid-size contender. The Avensis certainly carries itself with more dignity than some of its closest rivals, as the emphasis is clearly on cosseting occupants and isolating them from the outside world, although driver involvement has been sacrificed. This won’t be a cause for complaint for many, though. Toyota knows its core customers have always preferred refinement to a racy personality.

 Practicality

The Avensis is a cheap car both to but and run. With low insurance rates, good fuel economy, and a decent asking price, the Avensis will continue to be an inexpensive invetment. The diesel engine improves fuel economy dramatically.The cabin is spacious and will easily accommodate four adults. The rear passengers will have a bit less legroom. In the front, occupants of the Avensis will be comfortable with plenty of head and legroom. The boot is a respectable size, able to swallow a day’s worth of shopping. The gauges are all easy to read and are logically placed. The audio controls are of quailty construction. The Sat-nav ststem sits atop the fascia, making it easier to watch the road. The seats are a bit soft but are extremely supportive. The Avensis is able to make even long trips bearable. The rear seat will sit two adults or three children. Taller occupants will fare far better if they sit in the front of the cabin. Getting into the front is easy as the wide door apertures allow for unrestriced access. Climbing into the rear things are a bit different however.  With smaller rear door apertures, it’s a bit more difficult to access the rear seats. The boot is easy to gain access to once the hatch is open, though it does require a little work. Parking the Avensis is easy thanks to the light, precise power-steering. Though judging distances can be a bit difficult due to the wide rear pillars and shape of the bonnet.

 Life Style

 The Avensis is not a sports car, even with alloy wheels the car’s geared more toward comfort and refinement. Wind and road noise is successsfully kept to a minimum, and the car’s seats are soft but supportive. The main controls are well lit and easy to use. The car cruises along effortlessly  and effectively eliminates  road imperfections. All engines on offer deliver above average levels of refinement, with the diesel variants delivering impressive fuel economy and performance. The Avensis will easily accommodate a family. The hatch and estate variants are the most versatile, and will hold large loads with little effort. The rear seats are fitted with Isofix child seat mounting points. The Avensis is an easy car to drive and is a perfect first car for new drivers. The car’s steering and gearshift are light, but parking can be a little tricky. Toyota customers are usually very satisfied with the company’s quality and image. Many buyers are attracted to the Toyota brand  thanks to its reputation for building reliable, long lasting cars. The company enjoys a large loyal following of customers.

 Safety and security

 The Avensis, although not the most atractive car is well protected with, remote central locking, an imobilizer, and an alarm feature acrross the range. Other options for the Avensis are security sketching and visible VIN which are both cost efficient. The Avensis comes with a first-class safety kit. Twin front, side and curtain airbags come as standard, along with an airbag under the steering column for the driver. Rear Isofix mounting points are also thrown in across the range. On the active front, ABS plus electronic traction and stability controls are present.

 The Finishing Touches

 The cars standard adio system includes, a unique-fit radio with a legible LCD display, RDS plus a single CD slot and cassette player.  The systems controls are easy to use  and the basic ones are copied on to the steering wheel. The unit provides good sound quality. The contols, dials, and knobs can be small and hard to use depending on the model you get. However the optional full-color DVD system is fast but can be costly.The Avensis is not the most atttractive car but it’s image can be improved if the buyer goes for a lighter exterior color. The cars inside is more casual with all the dark plastics which dominate, however the center console does brighten it up a bit.

 Summary

 The Avensis delivers a comfortable cabin, a supple ride and good  road manners. The Avensis can definitely hold its own with rival brands. The car does lack a little something when it comes to driver involvement though. The car does deliver  high levels of standard comfort and safety kit that is coupled with an impressive range of engines.

Mazda 5

The Japanese company has finally established a people carrier that offers a little flair and a whole lot of practicality. The Mazda 5 combines the compact size of its five seater with the functionality of its seven seater.

The Mazda 5, is a vehicle that looks sharp while incorporating Mazda’s acclaimed ‘Karakuri’ seating system. The car reflects some similarities with Vauxhall’s groundbreaking Flex7 arrangement, but also introduces some new concepts as well. The car introduces a seat that can transform into an armrest or storage unit and an attempt to create communal space between all rear passengers. The Mazda5 is also the first car in its class to offer sliding doors, that add a touch of common sense and practicality to a car of this type. The Mazda provides one of the most enjoyable on-road driving experiences among in its class. The Mazda 5 shares the same chassis as some of the more popular and enjoyable brands. The car’s cabin design is far from spectacular rather dull. A few of Mazda’s attempts at uniqueness may actually backfire, and many buyers are skeptical of the car’s new log book system. The company assures buyers that maintenance performed by others will be documented as well.

 Practicality

 The car offers buyers good value for their money. The car is practical as a people carrier and a load lugger. The car’s six seating system plus one will come in very handy and add additionalk versatility to the vehicle. The car’s digital log system may lower resale values. The 5 is a six seater that offers an additional seventh seat when needed. The car offers very adequate cabin space and many versatile storage compartments. The car has over forty storage compartments total. The controls and dials are functional and easy to find. They are somewhat oudated looking and the backlighting is a yellow/green color and is less than impressive. The Mazda 5 offers much in the way of comfort. The driver’s seat is completely adjustable and can be reclined. The seat even offers lumbar support adjustment. The steering wheel is adjustable for reach and rake, and the 2+3+2 seating arrangement works well and provides good headroom though the central seat in the second row will be uncomfortable on long journeys. The Mazda 5 is the only car in its segment in Europe to have sliding doors. This has done wonders for the car’s accessibility. They open easily and widely providing easy entry and exit from the car’s cabin.The car offers a dual-stage tailgate, designed so that shorter people can easily close the car’s boot. The car can be difficult to park. Judging distance in the car can be difficult and rear visibility isn’t great. The car does not come standard with parking sensors but may be a good idea as a cost option to buyers.

 Life Style

 The Mazda 5 delivers a smooth and comfortable ride. The car provides good acceleration, excellent braking, and direct steering. The Mazda 5 is at the top of its class in drivability. The Mazda 5 is a terrific family vehicle. It offers buyers a lot in terms of space, practicality, and versatility. Families will enjoy the choice of seating arrangements being offered and the amount of practical storage space that is included. This is not likely to be a good first car for many newly licensed drivers. Its size will be more than most new drivers require, and the car poses significant parking issues for new and inexperienced drivers. The car’s exterior finish is excellent, but the car’s interior finish lacks something to be desired. The car provides excellent value for the money but image conscious buyers will most likely opt for a bigger name brand.

 Security and Safety

Security has not been overlooked in the Mazda 5. The car comes equipped standard with an engine immobiliser system, and a Thatcham Category-1 security alarm system. This system has an intrusion sensor that detects break-ins through the windows or other openings. The car comes standard with three-point seat belts and adjustable headrests on all seats. There are front and side airbags for the driver and front passenger, and large curtain airbags come standard on all three rows.

 The Finishing Touches

The car’s stereo system includes a standard audio system with an AM/FM radio and a CD player with six speakers. Sport models get an autochanger and two additional speakers. Sound quality is good but not great. A 20 gigabyte Hard Disk Drive sound system can be ordered as a rear entertainment system that includes a seven-inch LCD and DVD player. There are two interior trim and material packages, the first offers a light beige colour, and the second package offers a basic black. The beige package creates a spacious feeling but will get dirty faster. Dark exterior colours can make the car look heavy and metallic colours look more flattering but cost extra.

 Summary

The Mazda 5 offers more in the way of stylish practicality. It’s dependable nature and fair pricing will be attractive to buyers, however competition is very high in this segment and buyers will be tempted to shop around for the best deal or the most exclusive badge name for some.

Top 5 Formula 1 Drivers

Over the years there have been some truly inspirational drivers in the world of motor sport, and in particular Formula 1. Here at SORN we have compiled a list of who we believe are the greatest five drivers of all time. Enjoy…

 

No.5 – Jim Clark
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Jim Clark was a versatile driver who competed in several different forms of motor racing. He won 25 of the 73 races he started and became world champion on two occasions – in 1963 and 1965. He began racing in 1960 with team Lotus and continued up until his untimely death in 1968 when he was killed in a Formula Two accident in Germany. One of his greatest performances came at the 1963 Belgian Grand Prix where he optimised tyre performance and won in extremely wet and foggy conditions, and he is well worthy of his place in Formula One’s top five.

 

No.4 – Sebastian Vettel
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At just 25 years of age, there is no doubting that Sebastian Vettel has to make the top five for his achievements in Formula One. Since 2009 he has been a part of Austria’s Red Bull Racing team, and in just his first season he became the youngest ever runner-up in the World Drivers’ Championship. The following year he went one better and became the youngest ever World Champion.  He retained this title in 2011 and again in 2012, becoming the youngest double, consecutive and triple World Champion in the history of the sport. There’s a good chance we may have to revise this list in a few years if the young German keeps it up.

 

No.3 – Juan Manuel Fangio
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The famous Argentinian, Juan Manuel Fangio, was one of the pioneers of Formula One who dominated the first decade of the sport. He began racing in 1934 in Argentina and entered Formula One from 1950; he went on to win 24 of the 51 races he started, with his first World Championship coming in 1951. He drove for Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Mercedes and Ferrari, winning further World Championships in 1954, 1955, 1956 and 1957. His record of five World Drivers’ Championships stood for 46 years, and a statue to commemorate him stands in Buenos Aires.

 

No.2 – Ayrton Senna
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A top five in Formula One wouldn’t be a top five without the great Ayrton Senna. The Brazilian began racing in 1984 and won 41 of the 161 races he started. He became known as a prolific front runner and also received critical acclaim for his performances in wet weather, most notably at the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix, the 1985 Portuguese Grand Prix and the 1993 European Grand Prix. World Drivers’ Championship victories came in 1988, 1990 and 1991. There may well have been more to follow, had it not been for the tragic accident at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix which saw him killed. Senna is a true legend and a Formula One icon.

 

No.1 – Michael Schumacher
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It was a difficult task at first to decide which drivers would make our top 5, when there are so many great ones to choose from, and it was harder still to rank them. However, after much deliberation down at the SORN headquarters, we decided that there was only one man we could put at number 1. He began his career with Jordan but it was at Benetton where he made his name, winning back to back World Championships in 1994 and 1995. The following year he moved to Ferrari and went on to win five consecutive World Championships between 2000 and 2004. He holds numerous Formula One records including most race wins at 91, and most World Championships at 7. These achievements alone mean that, in our opinion, there can be no one else at the top of the tree.  Watch some of Michael ‘s exploits in this video.

Top 5 Racing Games

Join us at SORN as we journey back through the past and deliver an official count down of the best five racing games to ever grace our consoles.

No.5 – Sonic & All Stars Racing
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We couldn’t possibly deliberate over the best ever racing games without slipping Sonic and his pals in somewhere, and this one comes in at number 5. However young or old, this game will undoubtedly provide you with endless hours of fun through its many tracks and playable characters. Race against your friends online and use the array of weapons at your disposal to throw their cars off course. Practice your favourite tracks on time trial and cross the finish line first in career mode. The sheer driveability puts Sonic & All Stars Racing right up there with the best of them.

 

No.4 – Burnout Paradise
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Burnout Paradise makes the number 4 spot on our list down to originality and the quality of the game play. The beauty of it is the level of freedom you get as a player – unlike most other racing games it is set in an open world environment which allows you to progress at your own pace.  Moreover, it isn’t just about crossing the finish line first – modes like “Showtime” (which can be initiated at any time and place in the game) give you the opportunity to score points for the biggest possible traffic accident that you can create. You’re gonna need that BMW 3 Series serviced!

 

No.3 – Mario Kart
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Mario Kart is undeniably, unquestionably one of the true great racing games and it would be a travesty had it not been included in our top 5. Ever since it graced our Nintendo N64s all those years ago, Mario and co. have had us on the edge of our seats battling to spin, whiz and crash our way over the finish line first. Anyone old enough to operate a controller could have fun playing it – the driveability has been a constant in all versions over the years – and there are few better options for sheer fun with your friends. It’s more enjoyable than driving a Ferrari 599 across an ice lake! Ok, maybe not.

 

No.2 – Crash Team Racing
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At SORN we’re huge fans of the legend that is Crash Bandicoot – a game that was light years ahead of its time and one of the most enthralling experiences you could have on a PlayStation One. Consequently Crash Team Racing had a lot to live up to, and thankfully it doesn’t disappoint. It brings the superb playability from the original and adds a superb multiplayer dimension to the mix up. Grab yourself 3 friends and play four way on one screen for a hilarious battle to the black and white line, while hitting speed boosters and dodging missiles from other racers.

 

No.1 – Need For Speed
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There was no arguing in the SORN headquarters over which game was going to top the list. Need for Speed has everything – a killer soundtrack, all different kinds of race format, open world freedom, police chases and endless customisation options. Buy car parts and paint jobs for your motor. No other game can touch it when you’re scoring points on a drift race in a souped up Nissan Skyline whilst listening to Snoop Dogg and The Doors. It can be a load of fun to play with friends but the single player mode is where you’ll get most enjoyment. Race through the streets and unlock new areas as well as customisation options until you become king of the road.