Top 10: Products of 2017
We tried and tested a whole load of products this year, from dash cams to dog guards. But which were our favourites?
Navdy head-up display
While head-up displays are nothing new, they tend to be an expensive option available on newer cars. So Navdy has come up with its own. Sitting on your dash, it enables you to navigate, make and receive calls, stream music and access information from your phone while on the move.
You can also reply to messages via voice, plus you can dismiss or open notifications by swiping your hand across the front of Navdy to accept or dismiss. It retails at a not inconsiderable £599 but is available on Amazon for much less.
AUKEY DR01 dash camera
Spending a little bit of money on a dashcam can save you a lot of stress and hassle if you're in an accident. That's why this little Aukey dash cam is great. It may not be big or expensive, but it does the job without breaking the bank.
It retails at £60, but we've seen it on sale for as low as £34 recently. The DR01 can’t offer quite the same detail as many of the higher quality dash cams, but it's simple to set-up and straightforward to use.
Iceplane ice scraper
You wouldn't think that the humble ice scraper would be something that needed reinventing, but Iceplane is here to change all that. It may look like a simple bit of plastic, but it's surprisingly effective.
True, it costs a little more than the old school ones you find at petrol stations, but at £5 it's a worthwhile investment that you'll be glad of on those icy mornings when you're late for the school run...
Travall dog guard
Any day that you get to spend 'working' with a dog is a great day. We tested the Travall guard with a very cute chocolate Labrador named Hershey (he's mine so I have to say that). But, like many dogs, he's a pain when he's in the car.
At £110, the price is a bit steep. But the Travall dog guard is very sturdy and custom fits your vehicle. It's very easy to install, doesn't rattle and kept my dog from leaping over into the backseats. Plus, it comes with a lifetime guarantee.
Pure Highway 600 DAB radio
Have you got an older car without DAB radio? Well, the Pure Highway 600 is for you. Aside from giving the gift of Smooth Extra and Jazz FM, if you pair it up to a phone you can also use it for music streaming, or as a hands-free system for making and receiving calls.
At £150 it isn't cheap, but it packs lots of features and it’s definitely easier than installing a whole new audio system.
Anker SoundSync Bluetooth adaptor
The Anker SoundSync adds Bluetooth connectivity to any car with an aux audio input and a 12V accessory socket or USB port. It can also be used at home to pair a Bluetooth device up to speakers and stereos.
The SoundSync does support handsfree calling, although call quality isn’t particularly impressive. But it’s perfectly acceptable and means you can legally take calls without risking penalty points.
There’s probably no vehicle better suited to electrification than the motorcycle. With no gearbox, there’s no need for a clutch lever or gear selector, so it’s incredibly easy to ride. Acceleration is also ferocious from a standing start.
Recharging from empty via a three-pin socket takes about nine hours and costs roughly £1.10. If you spent that on petrol you’d get about 13 miles on a bike that averages 60mpg. The downside? The £10,000 pricetag...
Campingaz Powerbox Plus 28L electric cooler
It might look and feel like any other plastic cool box, but the Campingaz unit is an impressive bit of kit. Admittedly, it takes up a considerable chunk of boot space in a family hatchback, but once up and running it acts like a mini fridge, keeping food and drink cool for hours, even after you've disconnected the power.
Online prices vary from £60 to £80 but for active families who spend their summers out and about, the Campingaz Powerbox Plus will be a useful addition to their weekend kit.
The Sphero Mini is a great Christmas gift for tech-curious kids. The Mini is a ping pong-sized, app-controlled robotic ball that's packed with technology and even offers a basic introduction to coding, which is a wonderful extra that will help kids learn while having fun.
You can play a multitude of games with the Sphero itself, as well as control it with your facial expressions (in theory) and your voice. At £50 it's not especially cheap, but it's much more affordable than other Sphero products.
Peugeot Django 125
It’s got all of the charisma and style of a Vespa, only it costs less. Admittedly the Vespa feels plusher - but if you want that level of style and you don’t want to fork out a fortune to get it, then the Django is the next best thing.
It's incredibly easy to ride, yet it has a surprising turn of pace, with 60mph easily within reach. However - as with all scooters - it's a machine made for towns rather than motorways.