2017 Opel Zafira Tourer Review Ireland

Opel Zafira Tourer Review

The Opel Zafira has been a common fixture of Irish roads since its launch in 1999. The latest generation of the popular MPV got an update at the end of 2016, with a refresh to interior design, exterior styling, infotainment and equipment.

At the moment Opel is getting ready for a major SUV offensive that will see the launch of the Crossland X this summer and the larger Grandland X in the autumn.

But there will always be demand for seven seaters like the Opel Zafira Tourer because they are very practical for large families.

Pricing starts at €29,995 for the Opel Zafira Tourer, and seven seats come as standard. In styling terms, the Zafira Toruer has been given a refresh around the nose area to keep it in line with the rest of the Opel range. The small changes actually make a big difference and the Zafira Tourer is easily one of the best looking large seven seat MPVs on the market.

2017 Opel Zafira Tourer Review Ireland
The interior of the Opel Zafira Tourer

There have also been some welcome changes inside. The new dashboard design is built around the Intellilink infotainment system, now compatible with Android Auto and Apple Car Play. It’s stylish, well-built and easy to navigate. As you would expect from a family car, there are lots of storage spaces.

This is a very spacious family car and occupants in row 2 are well accomodated for. It should be no problem to seat three back here. There are three individual seats and they can be slid backwards and forwards. This is good because it means that when the two seats in row 3 are in use, more legroom can be made available. Row 3 is tight and will only suit children, but that’s common in this segment.

In five seat mode, the boot will accommodate a very generous 710 litres, but in two seat mode there is only 152 litres.

There are three trim levels for the Opel Zafira Tourer in Ireland: SC (from €29,995), SE (from €32,510) and Elite (from €37,050).

Opel Zafira Tourer Review Ireland
The Opel Zafira Tourer has flexible seating for seven

Standard equipment includes Opel OnStar, 7” touchscreen, air con, cruise control, four electric windows, 17” alloys and parking sensors. SE adds electric parking brake, climate control, navigation, front fog lights, auto lights and wipers, and a choice of 18” or 19” alloy. Top of the range Elite models have 18” alloys, leather seat trim, driver’s electric lumbar support, heated front seats, panoramic windscreen and sunroof.

Engines for the Opel Zafira Tourer include a 1.4-litre turbo petrol (140hp), and 1.6-litre (134hp) and 2.0-litre (170hp) diesels. My test car had the 2.0-litre diesel and it’s really excellent. The 400Nm of torque means that it pulls hard from low revs so will be well capable of carrying all the family on board and it’s refined too.

Behind the wheel, for a large MPV the Zafira Tourer is easy to drive with light controls. It feels agile around town and the steering is well weighted with lots of grip from the front end when you are pushing on. It feels firmer set than some other MPVs, which seems to be where the tight handling comes from, but it’s still the large, comfortable vehicle you would expect.

MPVs are not fashionable anymore and suffer a bit of an image problem but for families they still make a lot of sense and the Opel Zafira Tourer is a good example of the genre. Aside from the cavernous cabin and flexible seating, the Zafira Tourer is nice to drive with a pleasant cabin ambience. You wouldn’t really expect any more from a seven seat MPV.

Opel Zafira Tourer Review Ireland
MPVs are not fashionable anymore but the Opel Zafira Tourer is a good example of the genre

Model tested: Opel Zafira Tourer Elite 2.0CDTi 170hp
Price: 
€37,050 (Range starts at €29,995)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
170hp
Torque: 400Nm
0-100km/h:  
9.8 seconds
Top speed: 208km/h
Economy: 
54mpg
CO2 emissions:  
137g/km
Motor tax:
€280 per year

Caroline Kidd

If you are looking for a seven seat MPV you might also like this review of the Ford S-MAX.


Opel Crossland X

New Opel Crossland X Arrives In Ireland

The all-new Opel Crossland X compact crossover has arrived in Ireland, priced from €21,995.

This new Opel 'urban' crossover model is the second member of the Opel X family, sitting alongside the Mokka X in the B-SUV segment. The third member, the larger Grandland X, will be launched in the compact class (C-segment) later this year.

The Crossland X will be available with choice of 1.6-litre turbo diesel (99 or 120hp) and 1.2-litre turbo petrol (81 or 110hp).

There will be two trim levels in Ireland: SC and SE.

Equipment on SC (from €21,995) includes Opel OnStar, Intellilink with 7" touchscreen, dual zone climate control, cruise control, 16" alloys, front fog lights, lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition.

SE models (from €23,495) add a contrast colour roof as standard, 17" alloys, ambient lighting, rear parking sensors and some updated styling features.

Diesels start from €23,995.

The new Opel Crossland X will be available at Irish Opel dealers this weekend.

Caroline Kidd


2017 Suzuki Ignis Review Ireland

Suzuki Ignis Review

Suzuki is happy as a brand to market themselves as the ‘small car experts’ and in early 2017 they added yet another small car to their range in the shape of the new Suzuki Ignis. Ignis joins Celerio, Swift and Baleno in Suzuki’s small car range. That’s quite a portfolio.

But Ignis is a little different. In fact you could almost say Ignis sits in a class of its own. Is it a city car or is it a 4x4?

Well it’s a bit of both. Suzuki class Ignis as a compact crossover, and the cute but chunky, boxy looks are bound to divide opinion.

Pricing starts at a budget friendly €12,995 for a 2WD model, rising to €17,995 for a top spec model equipped with 4WD.

2017 Suzuki Ignis Review Ireland
The Suzuki Ignis has the tough look of a mini off-roader

Inside, the cabin is constructed from a mix of hard plastics that’s common in this segment, but the two tone colour scheme with orange accents provides light relief. In short, it’s a bright and pleasant cabin that is modern and easy to navigate. Infotainment is provided via a seven inch touchscreen on all but the base model, which is compatible with Apple Car Play and Android Auto.

In terms of interior space, the boxy design bodes particularly well. There is ample room up front and in the rear: headroom and legroom is very generous. Only the base model has five seat capacity: the other trims are four seaters with two individually sliding rear seats. The boot is 260 litres, which is good for this size of car too.

The Ignis has a slightly elevated ride height and driving position so you do feel as if you are driving a mini off-roader. There is just one engine available, a 1.2-litre with 90hp, but it’s more than up for the job as the Ignis is very light weighing as low as 855kg. It always feels lively and is robust enough for motorway driving. The engine is paired to a five speed manual gearbox, while there is also an automatic option. My 4WD test car returned close to 50mpg.

2017 Suzuki Ignis Review Ireland
The interior of the Suzuki Ignis

The Ignis is good fun to drive with quick, accurate steering and an agile chassis, but there is some lean in corners. It’s best in the city and gets noisy at high speeds, while rough, uneven surfaces will cause some discomfort in the cabin too.

Three trim levels are offered for Ignis in Ireland: SZ3, SZ-T and SZ5. SZ3 is available from €12,995 and equipment includes air con, front electric windows, digital radio and Bluetooth.

SZ-T (from €14,495) adds satellite navigation, rear view camera, wheel arch extensions, side mouldings, roof rails and 16-inch alloy wheels.

SZ5 (from €16,495) adds auto air conditioning, LED headlights with LED DRLs, front fog lights, rear electric windows, keyless entry and start, Dual Camera Brake Support and cruise control.

2017 Suzuki Ignis Review Ireland
The Suzuki Ignis comes with a 1.2-litre petrol engine

Suzuki’s Allgrip 4WD system is an option on SZ5 trim. Automatic gearboxes are available on each model for €1500 on top of the list price.

The Suzuki Ignis is certainly not like any other city car and brings a lot of rugged charm to the city car class. This is a spacious small car and offers good value for money, while the 1.2-litre engine is efficient and makes the Ignis good fun to drive. It feels a bit more basic when it comes to comfort and refinement, but at this pricing you can forgive it some of those ills.

Model tested: Suzuki Ignis 1.2 Dualjet SHVS SZ5 ALLGRIP
Price: 
€17,995 (Range starts at €12,995)
Engine: 1.2-litre petrol
Power: 
90hp
Torque: 120Nm
0-100km/h:  
11.1 seconds
Top speed: 166km/h
Economy: 
60.1mpg
CO2 emissions:  
106g/km
Motor tax:
€190 per year

2017 Suzuki Ignis Review Ireland
The Suzuki Ignis has plenty of rugged charm

Caroline Kidd

If you are looking for a city car, you might also like this review of the Volkswagen Up.


Opel Insignia Grand Sport

New Opel Insignia Arrives In Ireland

The all-new Opel Insignia will make it's debut in Opel's Irish dealer network this weekend.

The hatchback is badged the Insignia Grand Sport (from €27,350) and the estate is badged the Insignia Sports Tourer (from €28,550).

Power will come from a new 1.5-litre (140hp) turbo petrol unit, the 1.6-litre diesel (110 or 136hp) and the 2.0-litre diesel (170hp). Both the 1.6-litre (136hp) and 2.0-litre (170hp) units are available with both manual and automatic transmission.

There will be four trim levels available for new Opel Insignia in Ireland: SC (from €27,350), SRi (from €29,350), SE (from €29,350) and Elite (from €31,595).

Standard equipment includes Opel OnStar, air con, cruise control, 7" touchscreen with Apple Car Play and Android Auto projection, 17" alloys and keyless entry and start. SRi includes navigation, front sports seats, climate control, 8" touchscreen, rear spoiler and traffic sign recognition. SE includes a 4.2" colour information display, front and rear parking sensors and driver's lumbar support. Elite models include leather trim and Intellilux LED matrix headlights.

Diesels are available from €29,350.

Opel Insignia Grand Sport
The Opel Insignia Grand Sport has arrived in Ireland, priced from €27,350

Caroline Kidd


one-millionth Porsche 911

One-Millionth Porsche 911 Rolls Off Production Line In "Irish Green"

The one-millionth Porsche 911 has rolled off the production line in the Porsche factory at Zuffenhausen, Germany.

The car to hold this special recognition is a Carrera S model in the special colour “Irish Green”.

According to Porsche, the 911 is the most strategically important model in their product range and makes a huge contribution to maintaining Porsche’s position as one of the most profitable car manufacturers in the world.

The one-millionth 911 will move to the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart. But before it will embark on a world tour, with road trips in the Scottish Highlands and around the Nürburgring, and in the USA, China and beyond.

one-millionth Porsche 911

one-millionth Porsche 911

one-millionth Porsche 911

one-millionth Porsche 911

one-millionth Porsche 911

one-millionth Porsche 911


2017 SEAT Ibiza

SEAT Ibiza First Drive Review

The SEAT Ibiza is a stalwart of the SEAT brand and has been around since 1984. This summer, the fifth generation of the Ibiza supermini will arrive in Ireland. This all-new model sits on a new small car platform from the Volkswagen Group and debuts with new styling, more tech and improved driving dynamics and comfort. I travelled to Barcelona with SEAT Ireland to drive the new car.

Styling

The design of the new SEAT Ibiza is more evolutionary than revolutionary, but the Ibiza has matured with more lines and contours for an edgier and sportier look. The car has not grown in length (it’s actually 2mm shorter and 1mm lower) but it looks more elongated and elegant in the metal when compared to the previous model. There is a choice of seven body colours including Desire Red, Mystery Blue and Mystic Magenta.

Interior

Inside there is a new cabin design that is a big improvement over the outgoing model. The material quality has improved and the large expanse of grey dashboard has been broken up with a new decorative moulding that stretches the width of the cabin. A large touchscreen with glossy black surround is the focal point in the centre of the dash.

2017 SEAT Ibiza
Interior of the new SEAT Ibiza

Practicality

The SEAT Ibiza is sold now as five door only. The new Ibiza is a significant 87mm wider than the car it replaces and that is immediately apparent when you sit into the driver’s seat because there is more shoulder room between you and your passenger. The rear seating space in the previous generation always felt a little on the small side but there is now 35mm more leg room for rear seat passengers and 17mm more headroom. Boot space has increased by 63 litres to 355 litres, which is excellent for this class of vehicle.

Engines

In Ireland, the new SEAT Ibiza will be available at launch with a non-turbo 1.0-litre (75hp) petrol engine and a new 1.0-litre TSI turbo petrol with 95 or 115hp. Joining later will be a new 1.5-litre TSI 150hp four cylinder turbo petrol and 1.6-litre diesels (80 and 95hp). A DSG automatic gearbox is available paired with the new 1.0-litre 115hp engine. At the launch, I drove the new 1.0-litre 115hp turbo petrol engine with both a 6-speed manual and a DSG automatic gearbox. This engine is fast and nippy with 0-100kmh achieved in 9.3 seconds, and robust enough to be taken out of the city. This unit has an average consumption of 4.7l/100km and CO2 emissions are 108g/km.

On the road

The new SEAT Ibiza is the first car from the Volkswagen Group to use the new MQB A0 platform. There is now a better balance between handling and comfort, and the steering has also been improved. On the tight, twisty mountain roads of our test route around Barcelona, the new Ibiza was brilliant to drive with excellent grip and precise steering that tightens perfectly going into turns for good feel and easy positioning on the road. At motorway speeds, the Ibiza is stable, quiet and refined.

Equipment

The all-new SEAT Ibiza is available in four trim levels in Ireland: S, SE, Xcellence and FR. Entry level equipment includes Front Assist, remote central locking and touchscreen. SE cars add 15“ alloys, front fog lights, LED DRLs, rear LED lights, air con and Bluetooth. Xcellence adds a leather pack, cruise control, rear parking sensors, keyless entry and start, and folding electric mirrors. FR is the sporty one and features 17“ alloys, dark tinted rear windows, SEAT Drive Profile, and updated styling.

2017 SEAT Ibiza
The new SEAT Ibiza will arrive in Ireland in June

Pricing

Pricing for the new SEAT Ibiza starts at €14,995 for the S range, €17,335 for the SE range, €18,745 for XCELLENCE and €19,465 for the FR range. The new 1.0-litre TSI is available from €18,065. Diesel pricing is yet to be confirmed. SEAT has announced a special 3-2-1 offer on new Ibiza which provides customers with a 3 years‘ free service plan, 2% PCP and one years‘ free road tax.

Rivals

The SEAT Ibiza will be up against it this year with plenty of new competition coming from new or refreshed models like the Toyota Yaris, Renault Clio, Nissan Micra, Ford Fiesta and Kia Rio.

Verdict

The SEAT Ibiza has grown-up. The new Ibiza’s confident stance and style on the outside is matched to a new found maturity on the road. There have been welcome improvements in space, comfort and refinement, and the new interior and infotainment means the Ibiza is well equipped to take the fight to the competition. While the new 1.0-litre turbo petrol tested at launch is excellent, the higher list price means it likely won’t be the default option for Irish buyers. It’s a shame, but new Ibiza looks to have the basics covered.

The new SEAT Ibiza will be in Irish dealers from late June.

Caroline Kidd


Ford Ka+ Review Ireland

Ford Ka+ Review

Small car buyers are really spoilt for choice because there are just so many options currently available on the Irish market.

Yet if value for money is the key consideration, then the field narrows considerably.

Enter the new Ford Ka+. Slotting in below the popular Ford Fiesta supermini and replacing the cute but outdated Ka, the new Ka+ is a five door city car that promises a lot of bang for your buck.

Sex appeal and desirability have not been key considerations in the design of the Ka+ and Ford has no intentions of joining the customisation crew with their new budget offering.

With prices starting from €13,050 the Ka+ is a sensible small car. It’s slightly shorter than the Fiesta but just under three centimetres taller and sports a miniature version of Ford’s new characteristic trapezoidal grille. Style icon it is not, but the Ka+ has a neat and compact appearance.

Ford Ka+ review ireland
The interior of the new Ford Ka+

There is a distinct Ford family feel to the interior and the perceived quality of the materials is good for this class of car. The cabin is not particularly stylish but it won’t cause any headaches.

The interior space is excellent for a car of this size, making this a practical small car. The doors open wide and there is a slight elevation to the seating position. Rear legroom is good and it should be comfortable enough to transport one or two adults in the back from time to time.

The 270 litre boot is also generous, being on the larger side of what we expect from a city car. There are 60/40 split-folding rear seats and a good few storage spaces throughout the cabin.

The Ka+ comes in two trim levels, Studio and Zetec. Studio models (from €13,050) include 15” steel wheels, front fogs and daytime running lights, speed limiter, trip computer and remote central locking. Zetec models (from €14,650) add manual air-conditioning, 15” alloy wheels, Ford SYNC, leather steering wheel and cruise control.

Ford Ka+ review ireland
The Ford Ka+ is a five seat budget city car

Power for the new Ford Ka+ comes from a naturally aspirated 1.2-litre petrol engine with two power outputs. A 70hp version is exclusive to the Studio trim and an 85hp version is exclusive to the Zetec. A five speed manual gearbox comes as standard. Both 70 and 85hp versions of the 1.2-litre engine qualify for motor tax of €200 per year, with claimed fuel economy of up to 56.5 mpg.

My Zetec test car had the 85hp version. It’s no performance star but it purrs along nicely. It’s perfect for town driving but it takes a bit more patience out on bigger roads as 0 to 100kmh is a leisurely 13.9 seconds. Once cruising speed is reached, the Ford Ka+ is remarkably refined and comfortable for a small car. The steering is light but with an elastic feel that makes it a fun little car to drive. There is body roll when you push the car hard into corners, but it grips the road well.

The Ford Ka+ won’t set hearts racing but it is very accomplished for a sub-€15,000 car. The space, handling, comfort and refinement make it an easy car to get along with. The engine is probably the weakest link as it’s not very robust out of the confines of the city, but Ka+ makes up for it by being a sensible but fun small car.

Ford Ka+ review ireland
The Ford Ka+ is powered by a naturally aspirated 1.2-litre engine

Model tested: Ford Ka+ Zetec
Price: 
€14,650 (Range starts at €13,050)
Engine: 1.2-litre petrol
Power: 
85hp
Torque: 112Nm
0-100km/h:  
13.9 seconds
Top speed: 168km/h
Economy: 
59mpg
CO2 emissions:  
110g/km
Motor tax:
€190 per year

Caroline Kidd

If you are looking for a budget city car you might also like this review of the Opel Karl.


2017 Mazda CX-5

Mazda CX-5 First Drive Review

The Mazda CX-5 SUV first appeared in 2012 and quickly established itself as one of the core models of Mazda’s range, accounting for 25% of the company’s global annual sales. Now in 2017, Mazda is launching a new generation of CX-5 that sees significant changes under the skin and in styling, interior design and technology. I travelled to Barcelona, Spain to drive the new CX-5.

Styling

The new Mazda CX-5 has been significantly redesigned for a sharper and sleeker appearance. The front-end now has a more confident stance borne from a large grille and slim headlamps. The roof line has been lowered and the C-pillar tapers beautifully to the rear, which has also been redesigned for a more modern and dynamic appearance.  The new Mazda CX-5 comes with 17” or 19” alloys depending on specification and there is a choice of nine body colours including Soul Red Crystal and Machine Grey Metallic, both new for 2017.

Interior

The interior of the new Mazda CX-5 is comfortable, spacious and very stylish. The horizontal design is elegant and the materials used are of excellent quality. The two tone interiors look very premium. There are plenty of soft touch materials and newly developed decorative panels in the dashboard. Infotainment is provided via a new 7” centre display on the top of the dash that is controlled via a rotary controller on the centre console. This screen is designed to suppress reflections and present a clearer image. The front and rear seats have also been revised to provide better comfort. New equipment includes a power tailgate, heated steering wheel and a head-up display.

2017 Mazda CX-5
The interior of the new Mazda CX-5

Practicality

The Mazda CX-5 will seat five in comfort. The new car is 10mm longer than the car it replaces and 35mm lower. The wheelbase remains the same and the interior still feels spacious for this class of vehicle. Boot space has been boosted to 506 litres.

Engines

In Ireland, the new CX-5 will be available with the 2.0-litre petrol with 165hp and the 2.2-litre diesel with 150 or 175hp. The petrol model is front wheel drive only and comes with a six speed manual gearbox. The 2.2-litre diesel is available in front and all wheel drive form, and with a manual or automatic gearbox. The 2.2-litre 150hp diesel FWD model is the best for economy returning up to 56mpg with a manual gearbox. Motor tax for this model is €280 per year. At the launch, I drove the 2.0-litre petrol and the 2.2-litre 175hp diesel. The petrol engine is smooth and quiet, though its 210Nm of torque is no match for the torquier diesels. The 2.2-litre 175hp diesel is a strong and flexible operator, and very refined.

On the road

Key to Mazda’s engineering philosophy is ‘Jinba-Ittai’, which is a Japanese word describing the synergy between horse and rider. The body rigidity has been stiffened by 15%  and the steering, suspension and brakes have been revised.  Mazda has also introduced G-Vectoring Control to the CX-5 for the first time, as seen on the Mazda 3 and 6, which adds more stability in cornering. The new Mazda CX-5 is an agile and engaging drive, with plenty of grip and well-weighted steering. Refinement has been notably improved and the cabin is now a very serene place to travel in.

Equipment

There are three trim levels for new Mazda CX-5 in Ireland – Executive, Executive SE and Platinum. The Executive model comes with LED headlamps, 7” colour screen display, Smart City Brake Support, 17” alloys, keyless entry, cruise control, electric windows, air con and electronic parking brake. The Executive SE model adds dual zone climate control, lumbar support, digital radio, parking sensors, auto lights and wipers, LED rear lights and front fog lights. Top of the range Platinum models add rear view camera, heated steering wheel and front seats, leather upholstery, Bose stereo, heads-up display, 19” alloys and an electric tailgate.

2017 Mazda CX-5
The new Mazda CX-5 sees improvements in refinement, styling and tech

Pricing

The new Mazda CX-5 range starts at €28,995 including delivery charges for the 2.0-litre 150hp 2WD model. Executive SE models start from €30,495 and Platinum models from €34,295. Diesels start from €31,495. All wheel drive models start from €35,995.

Rivals

Competition for the new Mazda CX-5 includes the Ford Kuga, Peugeot 3008, Volkswagen Tiguan, Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson.

Verdict

Mazda has treated this new generation of the CX-5 as more of a refining exercise than one of dramatic change or new direction. But it’s worked and they’ve taken a good SUV and made it more desirable. Though the compact SUV segment is huge, the Mazda CX-5 stands out for its engaging driving dynamics, premium-feeling interior and stand-out exterior styling.

The new Mazda CX-5 SUV will arrive in Ireland in early June 2017.

Caroline Kidd


Volkswagen Beetle Ireland Review

Volkswagen Beetle 2.0-litre TDI Review

The Volkswagen Beetle is an icon of a car, and since 1997, Volkswagen has been reinventing the classic Beetle, bottling its charm and retro design with more modern underpinnings.

In 2012, Volkswagen launched the second generation of the new Beetle, with a leaner and sportier look. Now the Beetle range has had some updates for the 2017 model year – some very subtle styling updates including new lights and new bumpers, and a refresh of the trim and equipment lines.  Three new colours have been introduced including the one pictured, Sandstorm Yellow.

The Volkswagen Beetle range kicks off with the Design model at €25,075. Sport trim has been replaced by R-Line and these sportier looking models start at €30,135. Design models are offered with choice of 1.2-litre TSI turbo petrol (105hp) or 2.0-litre TDI diesel (110hp). R-Line models are offered with a 150hp 1.4-litre TSI turbo petrol or the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 150hp. DSG automatic gearboxes are available on all trims and engines.

Volkswagen Beetle Ireland Review
The interior of the Volkswagen Beetle

My test car was the range-topping 2.0-litre TDI 150hp R-Line DSG coming in at a hefty €34,575. Standard equipment on Design models includes 16” alloys, front fog lights, cruise control, air con and 6.5” touchscreen with Apple Car Play and Android Auto. R-Line models add 17” alloys, dual zone climate control, aluminium pedals, parking sensors, and some chrome and gloss black exterior detailing.

Inside, the body-coloured dash panels and round instrument binnacle nod to the original Beetle, but otherwise this is classic Volkswagen – the layout is logical and easy to interact with. Material quality is poorer in places when compared to what we’ve come to expect from the current generation of models like new Passat, Golf and Polo, but it’s still better than many competitors.

The Beetle is a four-seater. Space up front is good but it’s a bit tighter in the rear, though two adults will be reasonably comfortable back there. The boot is about average at 310 litres, but that’s better than some other equally stylish 3-door rivals like the MINI Hatch and the DS3.

Volkswagen Beetle Ireland Review
Volkswagen Ireland offers the Beetle with 1.2- and 1.4-litre turbo petrol engines and a 2.0-litre diesel

My test car had the 2.0-litre TDI with 150hp and it’s a strong and flexible engine with 0 to 100km/h achieved in just 8.9 seconds. Refinement of the engine is good and it returns a claimed 59mpg, with real world economy not too far off that.

On the road, the Volkswagen Beetle is good to drive. There is loads of grip in corners and the steering has a direct feel to it. The Beetle is built on an older Golf platform and unfortunately lacks the excellence of the current Golf in terms of comfort, refinement and steering feel. The Beetle is a good drive and has a strong image, but the Golf Mark 7 is a better product in many ways.

The Volkswagen Beetle is an icon and like many of its competitors, it’s more about style than value for money or practicality. The Beetle delivers image and kerb appeal in bucket loads and this car makes people smile. It is an expensive style statement, but this is the best Beetle yet.

Volkswagen Beetle Ireland Review
The Volkswagen Beetle can get very expensive but its image precedes it and it's the best one yet

Model tested: Volkswagen Beetle 2.0TDI R-Line DSG
Price: 
€34,575 (Range starts at €25,075)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
150hp
Torque: 340Nm
0-100km/h:  
8.9 seconds
Top speed: 202km/h
Economy: 
59mpg
CO2 emissions:  
126g/km
Motor tax:
€270 per year

Caroline Kidd

If you are looking for a stylish 3-door car you might also like this review of the Alfa Romeo Mito.


Toyota C-HR review ireland

Toyota C-HR Review

Toyota is hardly a brand that’s been known for avant-garde design in recent years. But with their new crossover, the Toyota C-HR, the rule book has been thrown out and replaced with a little of that edgy style that makes the cars from sister brand Lexus so distinct.

The Toyota C-HR (Coupe High Rider) is the most adventurous-looking Toyota we’ve seen in years and the car’s coupe-like features are testament to the designers’ desire to create a stand-out style for Toyota among mid-sized crossovers.

Inside, Toyota has created a cool, contemporary interior with swathes of piano black, plenty of soft touch materials and diamond-shaped detail dotted throughout. It is one of the most stylish Toyota interiors to date. The large 8” touchscreen in the centre is particularly impressive.

Toyota C-HR review ireland
The interior of the Toyota C-HR

With pricing starting at €26,895, the Toyota C-HR is priced in Peugeot 3008 and Nissan Qashqai territory. Remember Toyota also has the larger RAV4 family SUV in their range, but C-HR is the cooler sibling. It will fit three in the back and the middle seat is comfortable enough. Headroom is also good. The only issue is that it's a bit dark back there because of the high, tapered-off window line. The boot is 370 litres, so about as big as your average family hatchback, and practical for everyday use.

There are three trim levels for new C-HR offered in Ireland – Luna, Luna Sport and Sol – and the car is well equipped from base with 17” alloy wheels, leather steering wheel, front fog lamps, Toyota Touch 2 with rear view monitor, Pre-Collision System (including Pedestrian Recognition), Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with steering control, Automatic High Beam and Road Sign Assist.

Luna Sport adds 18” alloys, bi-tone roof, rear privacy glass, heated seats and a smart entry system. Top of the range Sol models add part leather upholstery, satellite navigation and park assist.

Buyers can choose from a 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine with a manual gearbox or the 1.8-litre petrol hybrid model that incorporates an automatic transmission. There is no four wheel drive option or diesel. Prices start at €26,895 for the 1.2 petrol in Luna trim, €29,950 for Luna Sport and €30,950 for Sol. Hybrids start from €29,350.

Toyota C-HR review ireland
The Toyota C-HR is available with a 1.2-litre turbo petrol or as a hybrid

The 1.2-litre turbo petrol produces 116hp with CO2 emissions from 135g/km. The C-HR hybrid has the latest-generation hybrid power plant of a 1.8-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, producing 120hp with CO2 emissions as low as 86g/km and a claimed fuel consumption of 74mpg.

My test car had the 1.2-litre petrol engine and the engine gives good performance with 0 to 100kmh achieved in 10.9 seconds. The car returned close to 40mpg for me over a week of driving. The turbo provides good flexibility but there is still a little working of the gearbox needed in the higher gears to make decent progress.

The C-HR is smooth and agile to drive with light controls. There is good grip and the car holds the road well. There is not much feedback to the steering, but there is enough resistance to get around corners with confidence and overall, the C-HR is a fun and agile crossover to drive. Comfort and refinement are excellent with just a little road noise on the motorway.

With the new C-HR, Toyota has done a great job to create a stylish product with real emotional appeal, and the quality and design of the interior makes this new crossover feel more than just a mass-produced, mid-priced compact SUV. That cool design has a few compromises however so it won’t be the most family-friendly crossover out there, but it’s a smooth and agile drive, and relishes urban life.

Toyota C-HR review ireland
The Toyota C-HR is available from €26,895

Model tested: Toyota C-HR 1.2T Sol
Price: 
€30,950 (Range starts at €26,895)
Engine: 1.2-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
114bhp
Torque: 185Nm
0-100km/h:  
10.9 seconds
Top speed: 190km/h
Economy: 
47.3mpg
CO2 emissions:  
135g/km
Motor tax:
€280 per year

Caroline Kidd

If you are looking for a quirky crossover you might also like this review of the Suzuki Vitara.