Wheels and deals

The 2013 Suzuki SX4 S-Cross cruise control and speed limiter, as in car gadgets are becoming confusing for some drivers.
The 2013 Suzuki SX4 S-Cross cruise control and speed limiter, as in car gadgets are becoming confusing for some drivers.

Modern cars are outsmarting their owners, according to new research that flies in the face of studies suggesting car buyers want plenty of advanced technology.

A survey of 1,000 car owners, carried out by BookMyGarage.com, found that 73% of people don’t understand how to use all the high-tech gadgets in their car.

Rinspeed's Etos, which is a wild interpretation of the autonomous car.

Rinspeed's Etos, which is a wild interpretation of the autonomous car.

That comes despite 54% saying they bought their car on the strength of all the technology it featured.

Tyre pressure monitoring systems, cruise control, stability control and parking sensors are among the facilities that have put drivers’ heads in a spin.

Of the many technologies available to them, 45% of the drivers questioned said they regularly use between three and four. Almost one in five people only use one or two of the driver aids their car boasts.

According to the survey, cruise control was the gadget most likely to cause confusion — and therefore gets left alone the most. Special eco-settings were a solid second, with Bluetooth connections also thought bewildering, and 48% of people said simply not understanding them was the main reason for not using their cars to their full potential.

The 2014 Caterham Seven 160, as Caterham are planning to build one of its cars in just six hours.

The 2014 Caterham Seven 160, as Caterham are planning to build one of its cars in just six hours.

Karen Rotberg, director at BookMyGarage.com, said: “With advanced vehicle technology on the rise, it’s important that people are aware of the features their car offers, as they can make the difference both financially and in terms of safety.

“What is particularly interesting from the findings is that so many car owners claim they specifically chose the car they did because of its features, yet lots haven’t got to grips with them or don’t use them — which is a shame considering a car is one of the biggest investments an adult will make.”

:: Think you and your friends could beat this effort? A team of four mechanics from Caterham Cars intends to build a complete car from a kit of parts in just six hours.

The build will take place in front of the public at the Regent Street Motor Show, which takes place on October 31.

The 1973 Range Rover convertible, which is going to auction.

The 1973 Range Rover convertible, which is going to auction.

Using the same kit that customers can order for the Caterham 160, the four mechanics will follow the same instructions as home builders to complete the car.

The entry-level Caterham Seven 160 is powered by a tiny turbocharged 660cc Suzuki motorcycle engine with only 80bhp at its disposal, but it can sprint from 0-60mph in a hot hatch-rivalling 6.9 seconds.

Ian Rea, marketing and communications manager at Caterham Cars, said: “The idea behind building a car at the Show is to demonstrate how uncomplicated it is to build a Caterham — although we don’t expect every customer to complete the job in a mere six hours.”

We don’t expect that to stop someone trying...

:: An incredibly rare early Range Rover convertible conversion is set to be sold at auction and is expected to make £40,000. The 1973 Range Rover is one of the very earliest “Suffix B” models, highly sought after now by collectors.

This Range Rover was turned into a convertible by Special Vehicle Conversions in the late 1980s. It’s only covered 62,500 miles from new and has been the subject of a sensitive restoration.

After being converted into a soft-top, the two-door Range Rover led an eventful life and was won by one of its owners in a game of cards. However, this owner didn’t have sufficient space in his garage and put the car into storage where it lay until the current owner heard about it and managed to buy the car in 2014. When it was unearthed from storage, it was found to be in excellent condition, but the car has required considerable recommissioning.

Arwel Richards, classic car consignor at Silverstone Auctions, said: “This classic Range Rover convertible conversion is a car worthy of the modern-day James Bond, but has a story akin to that of 007 too.

“Not only does this convertible conversion have unique provenance, but it’s based on a truly superb early right-hand drive Range Rover ‘Suffix B’ and has covered a mere 62,500 miles - I doubt you’ll find one like this in the near future.

“With the recently launched Range Rover Evoque Convertible, it has become in vogue even more. It’s a real privilege to be entrusted with re-homing this very important car at the NEC Classic Motor Show Sale, and I’m sure its new owner will love and cherish it, especially after its superb restoration.”