Short cuts

Renault is to launch a new version of the Clio in a move which could revolutionise city driving.

The semi-auto transmission enables the driver to change gear without using the clutch, making city driving easier and less strenuous than with a manual car. From start, you simply select first (or reverse), and then push the accelerator. Compared with full automatic transmission, the semi-auto gives better performance and fuel consumption. The new Clio, on sale at the end of the year, will cost about pounds 300 - pounds 400 more than the equivalent manual version.

ENGLISH and Welsh motorists have more chance of getting their cars stolen than anyone else in the world. A new survey by the RAC reveals that one car in 30 is stolen here. In the US, the risk is one car in 40. In Germany it is one car in 200. The good news is that English and Welsh motorists are more likely to get their cars back than drivers of other nationalities.

THE M25 has more hold-ups and jams than any other British motorway, according to new Transport Department figures. On average, the M25 is hit by two major traffic hold-ups a day. The longest tail-back, in the past year, was a 19-mile jam after an accident near the M40 intersection.

IN A major about-face, Peugeot has decided to replace the 205 after all. The French car maker had decided jointly to replace the big-selling 205 with the 106 (which is slightly smaller) and the 306 (which is slightly bigger). However the 106 has not sold as well as expected, and the company desperately needs another 205-sized success story. The 205's successor, the 206, will be aimed directly at the likes of the Renault Clio, and should hit the streets in 1997.

FORD will unveil a new V6 version of the Mondeo this summer. Powered by a 2.5 litre motor, the latest Mondeo will compete with recently launched V6 versions of the Cavalier and Renault Laguna. It will be the top line version of Ford's Car of the Year.

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