new citroen c3

Opinion: Will The New C3 Be The Right Car For Citroen?

new citroen c3
The new Citroen C3

Citroen has revealed the first images of the next C3 supermini and they’re billing it as “a fresh, bold and colourful B-segment, 5-door supermini that delivers new levels of advanced comfort and personality to the sector".

And just look at it: something of a radical new direction for the Citroen C3, with styling cues from the quirky C4 Cactus crossover.

Speaking about the new C3, Linda Jackson, Citroen CEO, said: “The New C3 has all the Citroën values and all the qualities to give the brand new impetus, which is especially important as the previous model accounted for almost one in five sales in Europe. A comfortable car with real personality, it is set to appeal to new customers looking for a modern car with character.”

With the DS brand now a separate entity and covering the premium end of the market, Citroen must find its place in the world again and bold design will be a part of that.

The pictures of the new C3 show a bold new compact car with plastic cladding around the wheel arches and Citroen’s innovative ‘Airbump’ technology on the sides. Customisation seems to feature highly in this new recipe for Citroen, and the launch photos show a bright, colourful two-tone finish for new C3.

Let’s state the obvious here: the new C3 looks nothing like anything else in the class (Fiesta, Corsa, Yaris, Fabia, Ibiza, Polo, 208, Mazda2 etc.).

So is this the right direction for Citroen? Will the new C3 be divisive, just too remote from what we’re used to seeing in this class to be a sales hit?

The new C3 weighs in heavy on the popular crossover look but is likely to be as easy to drive and efficient as any other small car, and critically competively priced too.

This is a bold move from Citroen but I think it just might be the right one. You see it’s pretty much widely accepted now that if you sling some plastic cladding on a car, it will sell because the world’s gone mad for SUVs, crossover and the ‘off-road-lite’ look. Expect more to follow.

new citroen c3
A brave new look for the Citroen C3

Caroline Kidd

jaguar f type lana del rey

7 Celebrity Car Endorsements From Music Stars

jaguar f type lana del rey
Lana Del Rey teamed up with which carmaker for the launch of a very special sports car?

Carmakers use famous singers and musicians to garner a bit more interest in their cars and reach new audiences. Some of these collaborations can seem a bit bizarre but there is usually some parallel between the musician, car and brand values that makes the two sing from the same hymn sheet (!). Cue colourful marketing spiel and superlatives. Try not to be too cynical.

1. and Lexus

The two formed a ‘creative partnership’ around the release of the Lexus NX, which saw design a special edition of the premium mid-size SUV and star in a television ad to promote the car. And what did these two have in common?  A spokesperson for Lexus Europe said: “His passion for design and innovation, coupled with his incredible creativity, makes him the perfect partner for our Lexus NX ‘Striking Angles’ campaign.” The NX by featured a maelstrom of tech, including four 180° external cameras that could take panoramic pictures and videos and stream them to a smartphone, and of course the obligatory banging ten speaker sound system.

music car endorsements lexus and the Lexus NX

2. Pixie Lott and Citroen

Citroen scored a perfect product placement opportunity with Pixie Lott in 2010 soon after the release of the Citroen DS3, the first in the new line of DS cars. The DS3 featured in Pixie’s video for ‘Broken Arrow’ and was a golden opportunity to market the car to a young, female demographic that would appreciate the DS3’s stylish good looks. The two paired up again in 2011 for a special edition DS3 Racing cameo in her music video for ‘What Do You Take Me For’ and again in 2014 in the music video for ‘Break Up Song’. A spokesperson for Citroen said: “Citroën’s association with Pixie is a great way to introduce DS3 to a younger generation of music lovers.”

celebrity car endorsement pixie lott citroen
Pixie Lott and the Citroen DS3

3. Shakira and SEAT

SEAT sponsored the European leg of Shakira’s 2010 tour and also released a special edition of the Ibiza in her honour – the SEAT Ibiza ‘Good Stuff’. The car’s name was taken from one of the tracks on Shakira’s album, ‘She Wolf’. As part of the promotional package, the Spanish brand developed the ‘Good Stuff’ campaign starring the SEAT Ibiza and Shakira.  Sportiness, youth and design were the values SEAT hoped to embody with the collaboration and used Shakira’s music and performances as a way to connect with their target audience.

celebrity car endorsements shakira SEAT
Shakira and SEAT Ibiza Good Stuff

4. Avicii and Volvo

The Swedish artist and producer Avicii joined Volvo in a ‘creative cooperation’ to launch the Volvo XC90 in 2015. Avicii was part of the brand campaign ‘A New Beginning’ for the XC90 and the song chosen for the collaboration was ‘Feeling Good’.  A spokesperson for Volvo said, “The Volvo Cars brand is on the ascendant, just as Avicii is, with a growing global audience. We thought there would be no better way to celebrate our heritage and passion for life than to work together to produce something special that reflects who we are and what matters to us.”

celebrity car endorsements volvo and avicii
Avicii and the Volvo XC90

5. Lana Del Rey and Jaguar

Jaguar teamed up with Lana Del Rey to create some buzz around the launch of the F-Type sports coupé. She performed her song ‘Burning Design’ at the global reveal of the car in Paris in 2012. The song was written by Lana Del Rey and featured as the title track to a special film called ‘Desire’ commissioned by Jaguar and starring Damian Lewis. The video for the song features the singer performing the song, with cameos by the Jaguar F-Type looking very fast and very sexy. Job done.

celebrity car endorsements jaguar and lana del rey
Lana Del Rey and the Jaguar F-Type

6. Kylie Minogue and Lexus

Kylie Minogue led a ‘Quiet Revolution’ to launch the Lexus CT 200h, fronting a major advertising campaign for the launch of the new hybrid hatchback. The ads focused on Kylie enjoying the hush of the CT 200h’s with the near-silent running of the hybrid compact car when moving around town on electric power. A spokesperson for Lexus said: “Kylie is an ideal brand ambassador for Lexus as not only does she have immense appeal, she is also innovative and has a great personality which will reach out and connect with new customers that the CT 200h will bring to Lexus.”

celebrity car endorsements kylie Minogue Lexus
Kylie and the Lexus CT 200h

7. Lykke Li and Peugeot

Peugeot teamed up with Lykke Li for the launch of the Peugeot 108 city car. She appeared driving the new 108 in an advertising campaign to the soundtrack of her song ‘Gunshot’. Lykke Li was chosen because her young, female fans were the target market for the 108 and she uses social media to encourage her fans to be themselves, in the same way the Peugeot 108’s customisation options encourage owners to exert their personality on the car. Get it?

celebrity car endorsements lykke li peugeot 108
Lykke Li and the Peugeot 108

Caroline Kidd

opel insignia ford mondeo comparison test ireland

Opel Insignia vs. Ford Mondeo

opel insignia ford mondeo comparison test ireland
Opel Insignia or Ford Mondeo?

Big cars like the Opel Insignia and Ford Mondeo make great motorway companions for daily commutes, and also work well as family cars – big boots, spacious, comfortable interiors and lots of convenience features and equipment to make a journey on board a pleasant one.


The Insignia is available to buy in Ireland as a saloon, hatchback or estate (‘Sports Tourer’).  The Mondeo is available as a hatchback or estate. The Opel Insignia currently on sale was launched back in 2009, but was updated in 2013. The Ford Mondeo currently on sale here is a new model that arrived in late 2014. The Ford Mondeo is the current holder of the title of Continental Irish Car Of The Year 2016.

Trims and Pricing

The Opel Insignia comes in five trim levels: S (from €24,995), SC (from €26,895), SE (from €28,850), SRi (from €30,350) and Elite (from €33,550).

The Ford Mondeo is available in Zetec (from €28,845) and Titanium (from €31,445) trim.

Opel Insignia Ireland comparison test
The Opel Insignia


Two diesel engines are available for the Opel Insignia: a 1.6-litre CDTi (136PS) and a 2.0-litre CDTi (170PS). Diesels start at €27,295. The diesels for the Mondeo are similar in their size: there’s a 2.0-litre TDCi diesel (150PS or 180PS), a 1.6-litre TDCi (115PS) and 1.5-litre TDCi (120PS). The 1.5-litre is a newer engine and the 1.6-litre is being phased out. Diesel models start at €28,845.

Traditionally diesel dominates in this segment but both the Mondeo and the Insignia have a petrol option. For the Insignia, that’s a 1.4-litre turbo unit (140PS) with pricing from €24,995. The Mondeo has a 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol unit (160PS) from €32,420.

Options: The Mondeo is available with a six speed manual gearbox or a six speed ‘Powershift’ double clutch automatic gearbox. The Mondeo has always been a front wheel drive car but new for 2016 is the option of all-wheel drive (AWD).  The Insignia is front wheel drive only with no four wheel drive option.


Both cars have an impressive presence. The entry Mondeo has 16” alloys as standard and chrome finished grille, but Titanium models look a bit more premium with a chrome belt line finisher and 17” alloys. The Insignia comes as standard with LED daytime running lights and 17” alloys, but SC and above add a chrome belt line finisher for a more premium look. SE adds 18” alloys. SRi is the one to go for if you love a sporty look because it has a body kit and special 18” alloys.

There are 10 exterior colours to choose from for the Mondeo including the vibrant Ruby Red and Deep Impact Blue, and more subtle hues like Magnetic grey, Moondust Silver and Shadow Black. There are a total of 12 colours available for the Insignia from sporty Power Red and Summit White, to classy shades like Macademia brown, Carbon Flash black and Sovereign Silver.

opel insignia irish review
Opel Insignia Interior


Standard spec on the Insignia includes air con, cruise control, leather covered steering wheel, electric parking brake, AM/FM radio, CD player, USB, aux in audio connection, 4.2” colour screen, LED daytime running lights, 17” alloys, electric front windows and mirrors, tyre inflation kit and hill start assist. Standard spec on the Mondeo includes front fog lamps, dual zone climate control, cruise control, leather covered steering wheel, electric parking brake, AM/FM/DAB (digital) radio, CD player, USB, aux in audio connection, 4.2” colour screen, Bluetooth, halogen daytime running lights, 16” alloys, four electric windows and electric mirrors, space saver spare wheel, quickclear heated windscreen and hill start assist.

The SC trim for the Insignia adds climate control and the Intellilink infotainment system that includes an 8” colour touchscreen, navigation, Bluetooth connection, digital radio. SE adds Opel OnStar (automatic crash response, Wi-Fi hotspot, destination download to sat nav, smartphone app, stolen vehicle assistance, and remote vehicle diagnostics).

Titanium trim for the Mondeo adds keyless start and entry, lane keeping aid, traffic sign recognition, Ford Sync 3 with voice control and 8” touchscreen, front and rear parking sensors, auto lights and wipers, ambient lighting and auto dimming mirror.

Ford Mondeo Ireland comparison test
Ford Mondeo Interior


The Insignia is the nicer of the two, just feeling that little bit classier and better designed. The Mondeo’s interior is easy enough to navigate around and the Sync infotainment touchscreen looks well in the centre of the dash, though it’s not standard on the Zetec model. Opel’s version is called Intellilink and it’s standard from SC grade. Both cabins are comfortable and come with good levels of standard equipment for convenience, with the option of adding even more comfort features such as heated seats, driving aids and parking aids.

Space and Practicality

Both cars have seating for five and feel large and spacious inside, with good legroom in the rear. The Insignia’s stylish sloping rear roofline impedes a bit on rear headroom but that’s only an issue for tall passengers. The Insignia in hatchback form has 530 litres of boot space, the saloon has 500 litres and the estate ‘Sports Tourer’ has 540 litres. The Mondeo hatchback has 541 litres of boot space, while the estate had just 500 litres.

Running Costs

For the Insignia, CO2 emissions vary across the range from just 99g to 147g. The 1.6-litre diesel (136PS) is the most efficient in the range returning up to 74.3mpg. CO2 emissions across the Mondeo range vary from 104g to 137g. The 1.5-litre diesel (120PS) is the most efficient, returning up to 71mpg.

Ford Mondeo ireland comparison test
The Ford Mondeo

On The Road

These cars are both ideal for long journeys with comfortable, compliant suspensions that smooth out the road ahead. The Mondeo is a sharper and more exciting car to drive when you get off the motorway. It feels more agile than the Insignia and the steering gives the driver more feedback for a fun and sporty drive. Sound insulation is very good in both, and only on larger wheels does the Insignia feel like the less refined of the two due to more road noise.

Read the individual reviews to find out more about how these cars perform on the road:

Opel Insignia 2.0-litre CDTi 170PS (hatchback)

Ford Mondeo 1.6-litre TDCi 115PS (hatchback)

Ford Mondeo 2.0-litre TDCi 150PS (estate)

Caroline Kidd

renault megane ireland

All-New Renault Mégane Arrives In Ireland

renault megane ireland
The new Renault Mégane has made its debut in Ireland

The fourth generation of the Renault Mégane hatchback goes on sale in Ireland priced from €19,490, and will be available from Irish Renault dealers this July.

The Mégane has been transformed with dramatic new styling, a lower stance, longer wheelbase, and the new car has the widest front and rear track in its class for a more dynamic look. The new Mégane’s distinctive front and rear lighting signatures are permanently lit when the engine is switched on.

There will be five trim lines for the Irish market: Expression (from €19,490), Dynamique Nav (from €23,990), Dynamique S Nav (from €25,290), GT Line Nav (from €25,990) and GT (from €30,690). Petrol models are available from €19,490, while diesels are available from €21,490.

Power will come from a 1.2-litre (130hp) TCe turbocharged petrol unit, and 1.5-litre (110hp) and 1.6-litre (130hp) dCi diesel engines. A manual gearbox will come as standard, with the option of an automatic on the 1.5-litre dCi diesel. The 1.5-litre dCi diesel will be the most efficient of the range with emissions of just 96g CO2 and fuel consumption as low as 3.7l/km (76.4mpg).

A range topping ‘Mégane GT’ will house a 1.6-litre TCe (205hp) turbo petrol engine developed by Renaultsport and mated to a seven speed automatic EDC gearbox. This sporty model will also include a class first: 4Control four-wheel steering for extra agility.

renault megane ireland
Renault Mégane: Debuts new tech including the R-Link 2 infotainment system

Standard equipment on Expression trim includes hill start assist, cruise control, electric front windows, air con and Bluetooth. Stepping up to Dynamique Nav looks worthwhile for 16” alloys, electronic parking brake, auto lights and wipers, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, automatic high/low beam, front fog lights, rear parking sensors, electric, folding door mirrors, electric rear windows, digital speedometer, keycard entry and go, dual zone climate control, Multisense system (ambient lighting and driving modes selector), leather steering wheel, and R-Link 2 multimedia system with 7'' touchscreen.

In 2017, a more economical diesel-electric ‘Hybrid  Assist’ model will join the Renault Mégane range as well as a sporty 165hp 1.6-litre dCi diesel for GT models.

Caroline Kidd

renault megane ireland
Renault Mégane: Available from dealers this July

seat ateca ireland

SEAT Ateca Pricing And Specs For Ireland

seat ateca ireland
The new SEAT Ateca

The SEAT Ateca will reach Ireland in August, with pricing starting at €24,750. The Ateca will be SEAT’s first ever SUV, and in keeping with SEAT tradition, the Ateca gets its name from a Spanish village.

The new car promises a spacious, practical and versatile interior with seating for five and a large 510 litre boot in front wheel drive models (485 litres in all-wheel drive versions).

The Ateca will be available with a range of petrol and diesel engines, all of them turbocharged, including a 1.6-litre TDI diesel (115hp), 2.0-litre TDI diesel (150hp or 190hp), three cylinder 1.0-litre TSI petrol (115hp) and a 1.4-litre TSI petrol (150hp) with cylinder deactivation under partial load to save fuel. There will be manual or DSG automatic transmissions available, and front wheel drive and all-wheel drive variants.

There will be three equipment lines for the Irish market at launch: S, SE and XCELLENCE.

The entry-level S trim (from €24,750) includes 16” alloy wheels, air conditioning, Media System touch with a 5-inch screen, electric parking brake, as well as safety systems like seven airbags, drowsiness detection, tyre pressure monitoring and Front Assist.

The SE trim (from €27,290) adds 17” alloy wheels, LED rear lights, climate control and rear parking sensors.

The top of the range XCELLENCE model (from €31,120) has leather upholstery, multi-colour ambient lighting, roof rails and window frames in chrome, a high-gloss black grille, dark tinted windows, 18” alloy wheels, full LED headlamps with welcome light, SEAT Drive Profile, rear parking sensors with rear view camera, and keyless entry and start.

The new SEAT Ateca will be in Irish SEAT dealers this August.

Caroline Kidd

Ford C-MAX review ireland

Ford C-MAX MPV Review

Ford C-MAX review ireland
The new Ford C-MAX

Ford is one of the leaders in the MPV segment and if you’re looking for a more practical car to carry your family around, chances are Ford will have something in their line-up for you.

The Ford C-MAX is based on the popular Ford Focus hatchback. In its basic guise, the C-MAX is a five seat MPV, but Ford also sell a ‘Grand C-MAX’ that houses two extra seats in the very back along with sliding rear doors for extra practicality.

The C-MAX currently on sale has been recently revised and the styling has been updated in line with the rest of the Ford range. The C-MAX looks more defined all round and now wears Ford’s new trapezoidal grille. The C-MAX has a neat, compact presence and is one of the prettier MPVs out there.

The cabin has also been given a makeover with a new dash design that looks more modern and also sees a step up in quality. Everything falls easy to hand and Ford’s Sync 2 infotainment system with touchscreen can be added as a cost option for €500. The older Sync 1 infotainment system comes as standard.

Ford C-MAX review ireland
Ford C-MAX: Interior has been revised and looks more modern and high tech when specced with the Sync 2 infotainment system (pictured)

So why choose a C-MAX over a Focus? Driver and passengers will enjoy the slightly elevated driving position and plenty of glazing gives everyone a good view out. The car feels  more spacious because of the extra headroom - there is seating for three in the rear, though the middle seat will be most comfortable for a child. The elevated height of the vehicle is more practical for parents getting children in and out of the car and the two outer most rear seats have Isofix child seat fixures.

There’s also a much bigger boot – 471 litres in fact. It’s got a wide opening and you can spec an electric tailgate for €450, which is actually very useful. It opens by a button on the key or by waving your foot underneath the rear bumper. The loading sill is also quite low so it’s altogether a practical space for carrying cargo. The rear seats can fold and tumble down or can be completely removed to create more cargo space.

Power for the C-MAX comes from a range of petrol and diesel engines: the 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol (100PS or 125PS), and 1.5-litre (95PS or 120PS) and 2.0-litre diesels (150PS). The 1.5-litre diesel is new and replaces the old 1.6-litre diesel. It’s a more refined and efficient unit, and the 120PS version tested here works really well: it never feels under pressure and there's always power when you need it, an equally capable unit whether in town or on the motorway.  It goes about its business with little noise intrusion into the cabin and Ford has bolstered the sound insulation to make the C-MAX a more refined and relaxing drive.

Ford C-MAX review ireland
Ford C-MAX: New 1.5-litre engine with 120PS works very well here

The Focus DNA is evident in the way the C-MAX drives: there’s loads of grip at the front, and the steering is quick and accurate. The C-MAX does of course feel less sharp and driver focused than the Focus. There’s lean in the corners but because the car grips hard and the steering communicates it so well you can hustle the C-MAX along and quite enjoy it too.  It’s a refined and comfortable car for long journeys, smoothing out rough road surfaces to keep things pleasant for those on board.

The C-MAX range starts at €25,855 for the 1.0-litre EcoBoost 100PS petrol model, while the Grand C-MAX starts at €28,455. Diesels start at €26,600 for the C-MAX, and €29,200 for the Grand C-MAX.

There are two trims for Ireland: Zetec and Titanium. Standard equipment includes 16” alloys, front fog lights, quickclear windscreen, Sync 1, air conditioning, rear privacy glass, leather steering wheel, driver seat lumbar adjust and front electric windows. Titanium models add more equipment including climate control, cruise control, chrome door-line finisher, auto lights and wipers, LED daytime running lights, keyless start, driver and passenger seat lumbar adjust, ambient lighting, four electric windows, and hill start assist.

Ford C-MAX review ireland
Ford C-MAX: 5-seat MPV based on the Focus, and that's very evident in the way it drives

As a five seat MPV, the C-MAX’s spacious cabin and large boot are its biggest assets, with the Grand C-MAX covering the seven seat option for Ford in this compact MPV segment. If this is your first time to switch to an MPV, the C-MAX’s neat styling, compact size, great engines and good driving character will make this an easy transition. Though the shine has come off MPVs in recent years with the rise of the SUV and crossover, MPVs are still a great option for families for their pure family friendly features, and the C-MAX has all the qualities of a great family car.

Caroline Kidd

Model Tested: Ford C-MAX 1.5 TDCi Titanium
€30,100 (Range starts at €25,855)
1.5-litre turbo diesel
11.3 seconds
CO2 Emissions: 
Motor Tax: 
A3 (€190 per year)

peugeot 2008 ireland

Revamped Peugeot 2008 Arrives In Ireland

peugeot 2008 ireland
The popular Peugeot 2008 has been revamped for 2016

The Peugeot 208 hatchback received a revamp last year and now it’s the turn of its crossover sibling, the Peugeot 2008.

The Peugeot 2008 compact SUV has been a hit for Peugeot in Ireland, with the combination of chunky SUV looks, practical interior and affordable pricing winning over buyers since its launch in 2013.

A new model has just gone on sale here with updated styling, new equipment, new colours and a new top of the range GT Line trim.

The most obvious exterior change is a new vertical grille with Peugeot lion badge at the centre and chrome grille surround. Two new colours have been added, Ultimate Red and Emerald Crystal.

Access, Active and Allure trim levels are joined by a sporty GT Line, which comes as standard with the Grip Control advanced traction system,  17” alloys, satellite navigation, dark-tinted side windows/rear screen, aluminium sports pedals, gloss black roof bars, a body coloured spoiler with gloss black trim, and black door mirror shells.

Elsewhere in the range, equipment levels remain high with entry level Access models including 6 airbags, air conditioning, Bluetooth, 2 x 12V sockets, LED daytime running lights, LED 3D claw rear lights, aviation style handbrake, front electric windows, cruise control + speed limiter, spare wheel, roof bars, tyre under-inflation detection and height adjustable driver’s seat.

peugeot 2008 ireland
Updated interior for Peugeot 2008

Active trim includes automatic dual zone air conditioning, a 7” touch screen, automatic headlights, automatic windscreen wipers, electrochrome rear view mirror, front fog lights, 16” alloy wheels, front and rear electric windows, leather steering wheel, rear parking sensors and electrically folding door mirrors. The new model introduces rear privacy glass on Active models.

The Allure trim adds a cielo panoramic roof with ambient lighting, chrome door mirrors, one-touch electric front and rear windows, chrome side window weatherstrips, height adjustable passenger seat, cornering assist fog lights and Mistral Oxford Black premium half leatherette trim. The new 2008 model adds a rear view parking camera, front and rear scuff plates, wheel arch and body sill extensions, special 16” Aquila alloy wheels, MirrorLink and Apple Car Play as standard to Allure trim.

Active City Brake and Park Assist are also now available as options.

In terms of engines, the new 2008 is available with the 1.2 litre PureTech petrol in three different power outputs (82bhp, 110bhp, 130bhp) and the 1.6 litre BlueHDi diesel (75bhp, 100bhp, 120bhp). Manual and automatic transmissions are available including a new 6-speed automatic gearbox. CO2 emissions range from just 90g to 114g/km, and all power trains keep fuel consumption under 4.9 litres/100km.

Petrol models start at €19,400 (1.2-litre 82bhp in Access trim), while diesels start at €20,785 for the 1.6-litre diesel with 75bhp in Access trim. Active models are available from €20,445, Allure models from €22,400 and GT Line from €24,835.

The new Peugeot 2008 is available from Peugeot’s Irish dealer network now.

Caroline Kidd

dacia duster ireland

Updated Dacia Duster Range Goes On Sale In Ireland

dacia duster ireland
New Dacia Duster has arrived in Ireland

The popular Dacia Duster has been updated just in time for the new 162 registration period.  The Duster has already made quite an impact on the Irish market since launch in 2012, selling 5,786 models in Ireland to date.

‘Duster Phase 2’ gets a refreshed look inside and out, and there is now more equipment available from standard.  The value pricing remains with an entry price for the range of €16,690 – a price increase of €300, but all cars now come with digital radio.

Inside there is a new dashboard design with a dark carbon effect finish.  There is also a new satin chrome centre console surround, and the lower steering wheel insert changes from piano black to satin chrome finish, to improve the perceived quality in the cabin. Alternative and Signature trim have new seat upholstery.

A new metallic paint finish has also been added to the range, Altai Green.

Available with two wheel drive or four wheel drive, the Duster range is powered by a well proven 1.5-litre dCi diesel with 110bhp, with two wheel drive models falling into tax band B (motor tax of €200 per year).

Alternative and Signature trim will be joined by a new top of the range Prestige trim. The new trim will be available in both two wheel drive and four wheel drive models. In addition to the Signature trim equipment, Prestige will feature 16” TYROL diamond-cut alloy wheels, MediaNav Evolution multimedia system, parking sensors and rear parking camera.

dacia duster ireland
Updated interior for new Dacia Duster

The MediaNav Evolution has been re-designed with a full-colour menu screen and is now compatible with Apple’s SIRI voice recognition function and TMC live traffic information. There have been hardware improvements, and the system allows access to the AHA cloud platform via a free smartphone app.

Through a 7” multi-media touchscreen users have access to navigation, infotainment and hands-free telephone services, can stream music via Bluetooth or a USB or AUX connection, and can connect to social networks via a smartphone.

New options available across the Duster range include 16” TYROL diamond-cut alloy wheels (available on Signature), rear parking sensors (available from Alterative trim upwards) and rear parking camera (available on Signature trim), as well as new ‘Aspira’ part-leather upholstery.

Pricing for the new Duster in Signature trim starts at €18,690, and at €19,890 for Prestige models. Four wheel drive models start at €20,690.

An EDC automatic gearbox will arrive later this year for two wheel drive models. Pricing will be announced in late 2016.

The new Duster is now available from Dacia’s 26 Irish dealerships.

Caroline Kidd

opel adam S review ireland

Opel Adam S 1.4-Litre Turbo 150hp Review

opel adam S review ireland
The new Opel Adam S

Scroll down to read a review or watch my video review here:

The Opel Adam was a car full of possibility when it was launched back in 2013. Adam was naturally good-looking, cute, infinitely customisable, and as it would turn out, can wear a body kit very well too.

Yet in terms of engines, the 1.4-litre, naturally aspirated petrol unit Adam was launched with didn’t do the car much justice, lacking the character to match the superstar looks.

But the later arrival of the 115hp 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine heralded good times for Adam, as did the arrival of Adam Rocks, which also happened to feel like a more sophisticated car on the road, with meatier steering and a more comfortable ride.

Opel has taken Adam a step further and keen to get away from the cutesy market, has launched something a bit more masculine. Say hello to the Opel Adam S, the hot hatch Adam you’ve been waiting for. Under the bonnet, there’s a 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine pushing out 150hp. Adam S is a little guy so this should be a bit of a riot, right?

opel adam S review ireland
Opel Adam S comes as standard with the Red Your Engine interior pack!

Adam now looks like a bit of a lad, beefed up with a body kit, 18” alloys with red brake callipers and quite a lairy looking spoiler to create some downforce (!). Adam S is just as customisable as any other member of the Adam family and my test car (pictured) sported RednRoll roof and Forget About Grey body work.

Inside it’s all familiar Adam with a few sporty additions. Adam S comes as standard with the Red Your Engine interior pack, and some gorgeous Recaro buckets seats are available as a €2000 option. It all feels quite upmarket, and the quality and fit is very good.

Adam S has a satisfying little growl as it idles and you can really feel the pull of the engine as you move off. The new powerplant has 220Nm of torque and will propel the Adam S to 100kmh from a standstill in 8.5 seconds and go on to a top speed of 210kmh. The performance figures are quite modest, but Adam S always feels lively and engaging.

opel adam S review ireland
Opel Adam S: Turns out Adam wears a body kit very well...

As well as the extra power, the car has a stiffer sports suspension and uprated brakes. There’s loads of grip from those big wheels and the steering has a weighty, sporty feel to it so you can really push Adam S through corners and the back follows the front with very little in the way of body roll.

There is compromise in terms of ride quality - it’s firm and there is quite a bit of a bouncing sensation as the suspension reacts to the surface of the road. The other compromise I see with this car is the road noise, which drones at high speeds on the motorway. Running costs for this sporty Adam will also be higher than your average city car - the Adam S qualifies for motor tax of €280 per year and will return up to 48mpg.

Adam S has a hefty price tag of €20,750 considering the car’s size. The whole Adam range is aimed at the style conscious buyer and space has never been a strong point. There’s just 170 litres of boot space. It will take your weekly shop just don’t try moving house with the car. Rear seating space is also limited.

opel adam S review ireland
Opel Adam S: 1.4-litre Turbo engine with 150hp provides the power

Yet the blow is softened by the fact that this is a well-built little car and comes as standard with Opel OnStar, air con, electric windows and mirrors, trip computer, Bluetooth, cruise control, LED daytime running lights, LED rear lights and the aforementioned big wheels and other visual updates. Opel’s Intellilink infotainment system is available as an option as part of the Technical Pack with parking sensors for €750.

Adam S is relevant and fills the gap for a small hot hatch in the Adam range. The car is quick, fun, handles well and there is a lot of power on offer here for just under €21,000. The problem is that you are compromised here on space and comfort, which means the car doesn’t appear as the best value, especially when you have the likes of the SEAT Ibiza Cupra lurking for just about €2000 extra, with more space and more power.

But like the rest of the Adam family, you buy these cars for their unique looks and image, and there are few that can match Adam S for that! So if you love the look of little Adam but fancy him a bit more with a body kit and extra potency under the bonnet, well it’s easy. Adam S is your man.

opel adam S review ireland
Opel Adam S: The fastest Adam yet

Caroline Kidd

Model Tested: Opel Adam S
€20,750 (Adam range starts at €15,795)
1.4-litre turbo petrol
8.5 seconds
CO2 Emissions: 
Motor Tax: 
B2 (€280 per year)

skoda octavia ireland

New 1.0-litre Turbo Petrol Engine For ŠKODA Octavia

skoda octavia ireland
The ŠKODA Octavia is one of Ireland's bestselling cars and has a new engine option for the 162 registration period

The ŠKODA Octavia is one of Ireland’s bestselling cars and looks set to get a further boost with the arrival of a new engine option in July.

ŠKODA is following the trend for small, turbocharged petrol engines with the introduction of the new three cylinder 1.0-litre TSI with 115bhp, which will replace the old 1.2-litre TSI 110hp in the Octavia range.

Despite the smaller engine capacity, the new engine offers more power and torque. It’s also more efficient and will return up to 63mpg compared to 58mpg in the 1.2-litre TSI. C02 emissions are down from 114g to 103g. Motor tax for 1.0-litre TSI Octavias will be €190 per year.

Reducing engine capacity in favour of turbo charging has become a popular trend in petrol technology. ŠKODA will be the first brand within the Volkswagen Group to use the new 1.0-litre TSI unit in cars built on the MQB platform.

The new Octavia 1.0-litre TSI petrol is available to order now, with Ambition trim cars starting at €22,880.

Caroline Kidd