What is a QR code I hear you ask: Well, ‘Quick Response Codes’ are a type of two-dimensional barcode that can be read using Smartphone’s and dedicated QR reading devices, that link directly to text, emails, websites, phone numbers and more.
QR codes are huge in Japan and across the East, and are slowly beginning to become a commonplace. Very soon I am sure you will see QR codes on product packaging, shop displays, billboard advertisements as well as in emails and on websites. The scope of use for QR codes really is huge, particularly for the marketing and advertising of products, brands, services and anything else you can think of.
Going back the Mercedes - they have said that they will probably paste the Quick Response (QR) code stickers on to its Mercedes-Benz cars.
The black-and-white square barcodes are designed to help firefighters and paramedics get critical information needed to save car crash victims, and the QR code will direct Smartphone’s to a webpage showing how to cut into each type of vehicle to free its passengers.
Mercedes-Benz said if a vehicle was damaged beyond recognition, emergency workers might have to call in its registration plate to obtain the necessary details.
This new QR system will inform about the location of the airbags, the battery, the petrol tanks, electric cables, high-pressure cylinders and other components - in the case of hybrid models the location of the additional batteries and high-voltage cables.
Mercedes said it would stick one QR code onto the inside surface of each vehicle's petrol tank flap and another on to the pillar built between the two doors on the car's other side, since it is rare that both areas are badly damaged in an accident.
While the scheme will be rolled out across Germany, Mercedes hasn’t confirmed whether it will be used in cars coming to the UK as yet, but either way, this information is great, and I think Mercedes are doing a great thing here with this new technology, because in an emergency every second is precious.
This brings me neatly onto this month’s road test of the new Seat Leon.
Many people say that Seat is nothing more than an Audi, Skoda or VW in disguise and that the Seat is nothing more than a cheaper version of a VW. I of course disagree with this, because Seat maybe part of the whole group, but they are as I would say ‘on their own’
Seat have come a long way into proving that they are capable of standing on their own two feet in the big wide world of car production - and I for one look at Seat as an individual company, even if they do have ties with VW. To be honest, you wouldn’t turn down a date with Kylie Minogue just because she was wearing a dress from Primark would you? That’s what it’s like with a Seat – yes it’s not a VW - but you know what’s underneath is pure brilliance.
The new Leon looks fantastic - with its bold grille, and its swooping roofline. I also like the use of LED lighting on the Leon. This really is a very good looking car indeed.
Inside, it’s all good news. Gone are the days of dull plastics that you expect from the Seat designers. On the Leon the designers seem to have listened to all us motoring journalists and public alike - and have paid a lot more attention to the detail inside the cabin of the new Leon.
The overall quality and feel inside the S and SE trim levels are refreshing, and there is plenty of standard kit - like Air-con, duel zone climate control, automatic wipers, Bluetooth handsfree, and a leather steering wheel, while Seat’s FR-trim gets sports suspension plus lots of other toys.
On the road, the Leon is very good indeed, and it feels very nimble and taught. I love the 1.6 TDi engine, because it’s very refined for an oil burner. It’s actually quite strange how one second you are being good by sticking to the speed limit, to then be suddenly nailing the throttle trying to see how much torque this diesel can generate to push you into next timewarp. Now, I don’t condone speeding, but this car really does make you want to push to the limit in the corners – because It feels poised and tight and deals with all the pot holes and bumps with ease.
Space inside the Leon is very good, easily managing to fit in a family of four. The boot space alone is huge - and you would have no trouble at all fitting in the weekly shop, including the buggy and all other bits and bobs we seem to carry around in our cars. Space in the rear seats was also a god send, especially as most people that have children like me, will understand that keeping them apart on a long journey is one of life’s little comforts.
As I said before, the 1.6-litre diesel engine is fantastic, it pulls very well in all rev ranges - and has bags of torque. The 0-62 time is a very respectable 10.7 sec, and it has a top speed of 119mph. The 250Nm of torque @ 1500 – 2750 rpm is also really handy for overtaking.
Fuel consumption is good, giving a combined figure of 74.3mpg. Safety also seems paramount for Seat, because the Leon is fitted with; front side airbags, curtain airbags, front active head restraints and ISOFIX (with top tether). It also comes with ABS, ESP + EBA as standard.
Five engines are offered, ranging upwards from a 105ps, 1.2-litre TSI turbocharged petrol, via 140ps and 180ps four-cylinder turbo petrol’s, to a pair of four-cylinder diesels consisting of a 105ps, 1.6-litre unit and a 150ps 2.0. All drive the front wheels, via a choice of five or six-speed manual, or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearboxes.
To sum up:
I like Seat, because they have a lot to offer. The Leon is practical - fun to drive - and it has bags of torque and space inside. Also, because Seat is owned by the VW Group, it will last for years, and its residuals will hold strong for some time to come.
Engine: 1.6 TDi 105 PS
Power: 105PS @ 3000 - 4000 rpm
Torque 280Nm @ 1500 – 2750 rpm
Gearbox: 5 speed
0-62: 10.7 sec
Economy: 74.3 mpg (combined)
CO2 Emissions: 99 g/km
Price: from £18,490 By Anthony Yates