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Six great motoring apps for your phone or tablet

Carlton Boyce / 12 April 2016 ( 18 June 2018 )

From maps and sat navs, to apps that monitor fuel consumption, we look at six great apps that every motoring enthusiast should try.

Motoring app
Make sure you use a suitable holder and do not use your phone or tablet while driving

Your phone is one of the most flexible motoring accessories you’ll ever own. 

With a built-in GPS, camera, accelerometer, and more computing power than it took to put man on the moon, its versatility is limited only by the imagination of the programmers who develop the software to run on it.

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Here are six of the best apps to help you maximise its potential.

1. CoPilot

CoPilot is my default navigation app, getting me home on more occasions than I care to remember. 

Despite the occasional wobble when it displays the wrong speed limit, it’s been a constant companion for years. 

It doesn’t just give me three different routes; it will do so while prioritizing speed or distance and stream my music via Bluetooth.

The ActiveTraffic™ function is an optional extra, but at under a tenner a year it does a better job than most factory-fit systems of re-routing me when congestion develops along the proposed route.

Cost: from £11.99 depending on mapping.

Available for: iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows phones.

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2. Waze

Waze is a sat-nav app that uses crowd-sourced data to construct the most accurate congestion map in the UK by measuring the speed of all of its users. 

If it detects several users all traveling very slowly in the same place it assumes that congestion is forming, so diverts other users away from your location. 

This is very clever, as is the ability to report mobile traffic cameras and police cars, which is essentially the 21st century version of an AA patrol not saluting you...

It’s not as intuitive to use as CoPilot but is free, so you expect to have to make some compromises. 

Waze relies on being turned on all the time, so it isn’t the sat-nav of choice for anyone who is concerned about their privacy or keeping their location a secret and it does drain the battery.

Cost: free.

Available for: iPhone and Android phones.

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3. Harry’s Lap Timer

Harry’s Lap Timer bills itself as the world’s most feature-rich lap timer, which is a claim that is hard to refute with when you explore what it can do. For a start, the basic model is pre-loaded with 750 race circuits, enabling it to give you accurate lap times without having to touch your phone.

Upgrades are available that enable you to add video recording, lap comparisons, and external data and camera inputs, and even greater data analytics. If you take your car on a track, even for fun, you need HLT.

Cost: from £6.99 with optional upgrades available

Available for: iPhone and Android phones.

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4. Carcorder

Carcorder is a nifty little app that runs your iPhone’s video camera as an improvised dashcam. It is highly customisable and while I’m not convinced it’s a serious alternative to a dedicated video camera, it’s cheap enough to be downloaded and used on the rare occasion that it’s all you have to hand.

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Cost: from £1.99 with optional upgrades available

Available for: iPhones.

If you enjoy Carlton's inimitable style of writing, you'll love his book How to Become a Motoring Journalist - available on the Saga Bookshop.

5. JustPark

JustPark is a deceptively simple app that does way more than simply find you a decent parking space. You can search for a space based either on your current location or the name of a town you’re going to be visiting.


It will also direct you to the car park of your choice, list all the general information you’re ever going to need, and gives you a hotline to a customer service representative in case you have a problem. However, I think that JustPark’s best feature is its ability to reserve and pay for parking online.

Cost: free

Available for: iPhone and Android phones.

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6. Road Trip

For the geeky motorist who obsesses about fuel consumption and running costs, Road Trip is a must-have app. It keeps a log of all of your car’s running costs, and can even download them to your computer so you can keep them forever.

I bought it years ago and religiously logged my fuel consumption every time I filled up, so I can tell you that the 16.4mpg my old Range Rover gave on average was sufficiently low to draw a gasp from my wife. (I’m assuming it was the fuel consumption that drew the gasp and not the realisation that she’d married such a profligate nerd.)

Cost: £6.99

Available for: iPhone and iPad.

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Mounting your phone in the car

My iPhone 6 is mounted via a Quad Lock case and Brodit holder in my own car, and a Quad Lock suction cup in almost every press car I drive.

The Quad Lock system is rock-steady and has never let me down, whether it’s being hurled around a race track or being bumped across a muddy field when I feed the pigs. It’s also slim enough that the beautiful lines of the iPhone aren’t too disrupted, something that shouldn’t matter, but does.

For more tips and useful information, browse our motoring articles.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.