The new Honda CR-V

2018 Honda CR-V Arrives In Ireland!

The new Honda CR-V
The new Honda CR-V has just arrived in Ireland

The new Honda CR-V has arrived in Ireland, priced from €33,500.

Benchmarked against premium-brand products, Honda says that the new CR-V delivers improved ride quality, steering response, body control and refinement.

The new CR-V is built on the same platform as the new Honda Civic and the slightly larger exterior proportions, longer wheelbase and wider stance give it a significantly larger interior over its predecessor. There's also a wider, deeper boot with a longer load bay.

At launch the Honda CR-V comes to Ireland with a 1.5-litre VTEC turbo petrol engine with 173hp (manual) or 193hp (automatic). In February 2019, a hybrid version will arrive.

Honda's large SUV is available with 5 or 7 seats for the first time, on petrol AWD models.

Four wheel drive models are available from €39,000.

The interior of the new Honda CR-V
The interior of the new Honda CR-V

The new CR-V is available in four trims in Ireland: Comfort, Lifestyle, Elegance and Executive.

Standard equipment includes 17" alloys, climate control, auto lights, 5" monitor audio with DAB digital radio and Bluetooth, and automatic high beam. The Lifestyle model adds Honda Connect with 7" touchscreen and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, 18" alloys, parking sensors and a rear view camera.

The new Honda CR-V is in dealers now.

Honda Ireland also markets a smaller SUV here, the Honda HR-V.


Irish Car of the Year 2019 launched

Irish Car of the Year 2019 Officially Launched

Irish Car of the Year 2019 launched
Who will win this year's Irish Car of the Year 2019 award?

Irish Car of the Year 2019, in association with Continental Tyres, will take place on November 8th at a gala event in The Gibson Hotel, Dublin.

50 cars will compete in this year’s competition, in individual categories and for the overall title of Irish Car of the Year 2019. The aim of the Irish Car of the Year awards is to highlight for Irish motorists the best cars that have been launched in the country in the previous 12 calendar months, taking into account the particular requirements of the Irish market.

The jury for Irish Car of the Year is made up of 37 of Ireland’s most experienced motoring journalists, from across online, broadcast and print media, including this writer.

In October, jurors will have the opportunity to drive all eligible cars again at a number of Refresher Days before voting begins.

New for this year, the Irish Car of the Year Committee is launching a new dedicated website where Irish consumers and those interested in buying a new car will be able to get all of the detail on the range of new cars that have been launched in Ireland this year. The website can be viewed here.

The website will also feature details of the vehicles that have been successful in the 2019 awards following the Irish Car of the Year event on November 8th.

The Peugeot 3008 is the current title holder of Irish Car of the Year 2018.

Irish Car of the Year 2019 launched
Pictured at the launch of this year's awards are Mark Gallivan (left) and Bob Flavin (right) of the Irish Car of the Year Committee, with Tom Dennigan of awards sponsor, Continental Tyres (centre).

Here are the candidates for the Irish Car of the Year 2019 awards:

Audi A1 Honda Civic Type R Nissan Leaf
Audi A6 Hyundai Electric Kona Opel Grandland
Audi A8 Hyundai i30N Porsche Cayenne
Audi Q5 Hyundai Kona Renault Alpine 110
Audi RS3 Hyundai Santa Fe SEAT Arona
Audi RS4 Jaguar E-Pace Skoda Karoq
BMW X2 Jaguar I-Pace Subaru Impreza
BMW X3 Jeep Compass Subaru XV
BMW X4 Jeep Wrangler Suzuki Swift Sport
BMW M5 Kia Ceed Toyota Yaris GRMN
BMW 6 Series GT Kia Niro PHEV Volkswagen Polo
Citroen C3 Aircross Kia Stinger Volkswagen Polo GTi
Dacia Duster Kia Stonic Volkswagen Touareg
Ford EcoSport Lexus LS 500h Volkswagen T-Roc
Ford Fiesta ST Mercedes A Class Volvo V60
Ford Focus Mercedes CLS Volvo XC40
Ford Mondeo HEV Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

 


The 2018 Mazda CX-3

2018 Mazda CX-3 First Drive Review

The 2018 Mazda CX-3
The 2018 Mazda CX-3

The Mazda CX-3 was launched in Ireland back in 2015 as Mazda’s new challenger in the ever-growing compact crossover/SUV class. Now in 2018, Mazda is launching an updated version of the CX-3 citing increased quality, refinement and elegance. There’s also a new 1.8-litre diesel engine introduced for the Mazda CX-3. Priced from €21,295, the updated Mazda CX-3 goes on sale in Ireland from 1st October. I travelled with Mazda Ireland to Malaga, Spain, to find out more about this new model ahead of its Irish arrival.

Styling

The CX-3 has a neat, compact presence. Exterior updates are minimal for the new Mazda CX-3, though if you look closely the grille now has fins comprising two lines of differing thickness! The fog lamp bezels, pillar garnishes and side garnish mouldings are now finished in gloss black. The rear combination lamps now have a ring shape combined with horizontal lines. There are also new alloy wheel designs and two new colours - Soul Red Crystal and Machine Grey.

Interior

The interior of the Mazda CX-3  has an upmarket feel with good quality materials used for the segment and an attractive horizontal design punctuated with circular air vents that now have a red surround. The centre console has been redesigned a little around a new electronic parking brake and the Mazda Multimedia Commander has been moved forward for improved usability. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now available and can be retrofitted. The front seats now have high-damping urethane foam cushions that improve comfort and support, while the rear seats now feature a central armrest with built-in cup holders.

Practicality

The dimensions have not changed during this update. The Mazda CX-3 has seating for five, though the rear legroom is on the small side. Boot space is about average for the class at 350 litres and there was no problem fitting two small suitcases.

The interior of the 2018 Mazda CX-3
The interior of the 2018 Mazda CX-3

Engines

In Ireland, the updated Mazda CX-3 will be available with a new 1.8-litre diesel engine with 115hp and the 2.0-litre petrol with 121hp. Both of the 2018 CX-3’s engines are homologated according to the requirements of the new WLTP/RDE test cycle and meet Euro 6d temp emissions standards. A manual transmission comes as standard though an automatic gearbox is offered with the 2.0-litre petrol. Front wheel drive models are available in Ireland; there is no all wheel drive option.

At the launch, I sampled both engines. The petrol engine is smooth and quiet, with adequate power for the CX-3. The 1.8-litre diesel is more economical, with plenty of power though it gets noisier under hard acceleration.

On the road

For this update, Mazda engineers have focused on enhanced handling and improved ride comfort. There are new coil springs and dampers, while the front anti-roll bar has also been changed. The electric power steering has also been recalibrated for more consistent weight transfer and improved shock absorption.

On the road, the Mazda CX-3 is an agile and composed drive. There is some audible wind noise reaching the cabin from around the wing mirrors, but comfort and refinement is generally good for this segment. The steering is light but precise, and it is one of the most engaging cars in its class with a sporty, hunkered down feel on the road.

Equipment

There will be four trim levels for the updated Mazda CX-3 in Ireland: SE, Executive, Executive SE and GT. Standard equipment includes Emergency Brake Assist, keyless entry, electric windows and air con. Executive adds 16” alloys, cruise control, 7” touchscreen, Bluetooth and push button start. Executive SE adds LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED front fog lights, Lane Departure Warning, rain sensing wipers, automatic air con, Advanced Smart City Brake Support, heated front seats, rear parking sensors and automatic headlights. GT adds 18” alloys, heated steering wheel, half leatherette upholstery, rear view camera, front parking sensors, BOSE sound system and chrome effect front bumper and side trim garnishes.

Pricing

The updated Mazda CX-3 range starts at €21,295 in Ireland for the 2.0-litre petrol SE. Executive models start from €22,770, Executive SE models from €24,770 and GT models from €26,570. Diesels start from €24,770 in Executive trim.

The updated Mazda CX-3 will go on sale in Ireland in October
The updated Mazda CX-3 will go on sale in Ireland in October

Rivals

Competition for the updated Mazda CX-3 includes the Peugeot 2008, Volkswagen T-ROC, SEAT Arona and Hyundai Kona.

Verdict

The Mazda CX-3 remains a very stylish compact crossover. Refinements to the interior and driving character are subtle, but enhance what is already an upmarket choice in this segment. The CX-3 is not the most spacious among its competitors but it offers a mature driving character and a stylish cabin that makes it very desirable!

Caroline Kidd


The new Kia Ceed SW estate has arrived in Ireland

2018 Kia Ceed SW Arrives In Ireland

The new Kia Ceed SW estate has arrived in Ireland
The new Kia Ceed SW estate has arrived in Ireland

The new Kia Ceed SW (Sportswagon) goes on sale in Ireland this week, priced from €25,295.

The Kia Ceed SW will join the Kia Ceed hatchback, which arrived in Ireland earlier in 2018.

The Kia Ceed SW will go on sale here with the choice of a 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine or a 1.6-litre diesel. The diesel is priced from €27,595.

The Kia Ceed SW will be available in just one trim level at launch - 'K3'. Standard equipment includes 16" alloys, electric windows, rear privacy glass, auto lights, 7" touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, parking camera, air con, wireless phone charger, cruise control, keyless entry, lane keeping assist, high beam assistant and forward collision avoidance system.

The third-generation model has more cabin and cargo space (600 litres) than its predecessor.

James Brooks, Managing Director of Kia Motors Ireland, says,“The Kia Ceed Sportswagon is a welcome addition to the new Ceed range. Wagon sales in Ireland have softened in recent years but a model like this with luggage space greater than most D segment tourers is an attractive proposition for both private and fleet buyers in Ireland.

In January 2019, an all-new Kia ProCeed 'shooting brake' will go on sale, completing the Ceed line-up.


The 2018 Kia Sportage has just arrived in Ireland

2018 Kia Sportage Launched In Ireland

The 2018 Kia Sportage has just arrived in Ireland
The 2018 Kia Sportage has just arrived in Ireland

An updated 2018 Kia Sportage has just arrived in Ireland, priced from €29,495.

Styling has been lightly revised, with the new Kia Sportage 'sporting' (!) a redesigned front bumper, grille and fog lamp housing.

There are new full-LED headlamps with four-point LED daytime running lights, and at the back there's a new C-shaped LED light signature. The reversing lamp and reflectors are now integrated into the new rear bumper, which is finished with a flash of chrome across its base.

There are a total of 5 new body colours and the GT Line model also receives special cosmetic upgrades and 19" alloys.

Inside the general layout of the cabin is retained but there's a new steering wheel, revised driver instrument cluster, and the option of a new black-and-grey, two-tone upholstery. The ventilation and air conditioning controls have also been revised. Depending on trim level, the 2018 Kia Sportage comes equipped with a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system or a new ‘frameless’ 8.0-inch system.

The 1.7-litre diesel has been replaced by a 1.6-litre diesel with either 115 or 136 ps, with emissions rated from 126 g/km for 115 ps models, and 123 g/km for higher-powered models (combined, WLTP, converted back to NEDC).

A six-speed manual transmission comes as standard. The higher powered diesel is also available with all-wheel drive and a seven-speed double-clutch transmission.

The 2018 Kia Sportage goes on sale in Ireland in K2, K3, K4 and GT Line trim levels. Standard equipment includes 16" alloys, roof rails, electric windows, 7" touchscreen, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, rear parking sensors, air con and cruise control.

James Brooks, Managing Director of Kia Motors Ireland, says: “The Sportage has been a major contributor to the development of the Kia brand here in Ireland. The C-SUV segment is one that particularly attracts Irish motorists and the Sportage is a model that is consistently on those consumers' consideration list."

He continued: “As our flagship SUV in Europe, the Sportage represents the best of Kia’s brand values – great design, innovative technologies, and high quality. The upgraded model remains as compelling as ever, with enhanced and cleaner engine technology , a refreshed design, and a series of new technologies to boost safety, comfort and convenience.”


The Ford Mondeo Hybrid (HEV)

Ford Mondeo Hybrid (HEV) Vignale Review

The Ford Mondeo Hybrid (HEV)
The Ford Mondeo Hybrid (HEV)

Caroline drives the new Ford Mondeo Hybrid (HEV).

Find yourself on an Irish motorway and it won’t be long until you spot a Ford Mondeo. The Ford Mondeo is a firm Irish favourite, but in recent years diesel has been the Mondeo’s drink of choice.

Yet the motor industry is changing and diesel is gradually releasing its stronghold on the Irish market, with sales of petrol cars and petrol electric hybrids showing significant gains in 2018.

Ford Ireland has responded by bringing a Ford Mondeo Hybrid to Ireland for the first time. So while the Mondeo is still available with Ford’s 2.0-litre diesel, you will find a '2.0 HEV' on the price list too.

Available in two trims, Titanium and Vignale, the Mondeo Hybrid (HEV) is sold exclusively in Ireland as a four door saloon. Ford Ireland quotes a 'transaction price' of €32,745 for the Titanium Hybrid and €35,280 for the Vignale Hybrid, figures calculated after VRT rebate and dealer/manufacturer discounts.

The Ford Mondeo Vignale on test has quite a regal appearance but it’s the most inconspicuous hybrid ever! It looks just like a regular Mondeo four door, except for a hybrid badge on the back. The Vignale trim adds 18" alloys, adaptive LED daytime running lights, metallic paint and a special styling kit, including lashings of upmarket chrome.

The interior of the Ford Mondeo Hybrid (HEV)
The interior of the Ford Mondeo Hybrid (HEV)

What's it like inside the Ford Mondeo Hybrid (HEV)?

Standard equipment includes SYNC 3 with 8” touchscreen, keyless start and entry, rain sensing windscreen wipers, traffic sign recognition, ambient lighting, a special instrument cluster display and parking sensors front and rear. The Vignale model adds heated seats, quilted faux leather and a rear view camera.

In terms of dashboard layout and design, the Mondeo Hybrid is really starting to show its age but the ability to use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto does add modernity. The cabin lacks the premium feel of rivals like the Volkswagen Passat GTE or even the futuristic fun of the Toyota Prius. But the build quality was impressive for this model and appears rock solid. The instrument panel is digital with unique information on the hybrid system. You can also view the power flow between the electric motor and the engine from the touchscreen.

On a practical note, the Ford Mondeo Hybrid (HEV) will still seat five with two reasonably large footwells in the rear. Unfortunately boot space is down to about 380 litres in the hybrid because of the battery on board. There’s also an awkward ‘step’ in the boot and the saloon opening is naturally not the most practical. But we are reliably informed that a set of golf clubs will fit in there!

The boot of the Ford Mondeo Hybrid (HEV)
The boot of the Ford Mondeo Hybrid (HEV)

How efficient is the Ford Mondeo Hybrid?

The Ford Mondeo Hybrid (HEV) combines a 2.0-litre petrol engine and an electric motor to produce 187hp. Power is put to the road via a CVT automatic gearbox. Emissions of 99g/km mean that motor tax is just €180 per year. Over a week of driving, my fuel consumption averaged at 5.6l/100km, which is good for a large car with a petrol engine, but still a fair bit off the manufacturer's quoted 4.2l/100km. I did find the car more efficient around town at low speeds as there is less effort required from the petrol engine - the electric motor can do more of the work.

On the road the Ford Mondeo Hybrid is a smooth and quiet drive, offering good comfort and reasonable refinement from the hybrid system. CVT gearboxes respond better to gentle commands and if you put your foot down hard, the Mondeo Hybrid does get noisy. At a gentler pace it's more refined. 0 to 100kmh is a respectable 9.2 seconds, though the Mondeo Hybrid never feels exceptionally sporty or fast. The Mondeo Hybrid isn't quite as sharp or agile as a diesel model with more neutral handling.

The Ford Mondeo Hybrid (HEV) is still a solid buy for its big car space, comfort and refinement - though like a lot of hybrids, boot space suffers and the driving experience is a little more muted. There are savings to be made with the Mondeo Hybrid and for a car with a large petrol engine, it does offer good economy figures. Ford Ireland has really made the new Mondeo Hybrid a good value proposition, and this new model will give fleet buyers and lovers of large saloons something to think about because it is well-specced and priced.

The Ford Mondeo Hybrid range offers good value and equipment
The Ford Mondeo Hybrid range offers good value and equipment

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Ford Mondeo Hybrid Vignale
Price: 
€35,280 (Hybrid range starts at €32,745)
Engine: 2.0-litre petrol + electric motor
Power: 
187hp
Torque: 173Nm
0-100km/h:  9.2 seconds
Top speed: 187km/h
Economy: 
4.2l/100km
CO2 emissions:  
99g/km
Motor tax: 
€180 per year


Francesca McDonagh, CEO of Bank of Ireland, Geraldine Herbert, Motoring Journalist and Editor, Gerry Hussey, Performance Psychology Consultant & Motivational speaker and Anne Cassin, Master of Ceremonies.

5th Annual Women@SIMI Held In Dublin

Francesca McDonagh, CEO of Bank of Ireland, Geraldine Herbert, Motoring Journalist and Editor, Gerry Hussey, Performance Psychology Consultant & Motivational speaker and Anne Cassin, Master of Ceremonies.
Francesca McDonagh, CEO of Bank of Ireland, Geraldine Herbert, Motoring Journalist and Editor, Gerry Hussey, Performance Psychology Consultant & Motivational speaker and Anne Cassin, Master of Ceremonies.

The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) hosted its 5thannual Women@SIMI event recently in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin.

The Women@SIMI event is an opportunity for women working in the Irish motor industry to connect and network with other women working in the industry.

This year's event was the largest to date with over 160 women attending, representing a variety of different sectors within the motor industry in Ireland.

Each year a number of speakers are invited to attend. This year's Women@SIMI speakers were Francesca McDonagh, CEO of Bank of Ireland, Geraldine Herbert, motoring journalist and editor, and Gerry Hussey, psychologist and motivational speaker. Topics such as female representation in male-dominated careers, women, advertising and the global motoring industry, and personal well-being were discussed at this year's event.

Anne Cassin was the Master of Ceremonies for this year's Women@SIMI and the event was again sponsored by Bank of Ireland.

In his first official engagement as SIMI President, Gerard O'Farrell opened the event and acknowledged the importance of recruiting top talent and encouraging both female and male executives to become more actively involved in helping to change the perception of careers within the Industry. Despite the challenges facing the Motor Industry in terms of Brexit and WLTP, Mr O’Farrell also highlighted the advances in technology, innovation in autonomous driving, enhanced connectivity, and the increasing complexity of cars. He believes there are emerging opportunities for Ireland to position itself as a centre of excellence for software engineering within the automotive Industry and to become a world leader in this field.

Showing their support for Project EDWARD: European Day Without A Road Death
Women@SIMI attendees showing their support for Project EDWARD: European Day Without A Road Death

Francesca McDonagh spoke about her first year in her role as CEO of Bank of Ireland CEO, uncertainty around Brexit for those in business and the topic of gender balance. Francesca spoke about the need for more senior female leaders in all sectors and industries, and discussed the Bank of Ireland gender target announced earlier this year. Under this target, Bank of Ireland, made a commitment for all appointments to senior management and leadership to follow a 50:50 gender ratio by 2021.

Geraldine Herbert spoke about women and the global motor industry from her perspective as a Motoring Journalist and Editor. Geraldine founded WheelsForWomen.ie in 2012 due to a lack of engagement with women from the automotive world editorially and on the marketing side. Geraldine explained that “advertising needs to reflect women, images need to show women, but the industry needs to employ more women. Role models and females must be visible in the industry.”

She went on to discuss the talent crisis across the automotive industry, stating that electric cars, vehicle connectivity, self-driving cars, shifting consumer preferences, and increasing regulatory pressures are creating a complex environment, but that there are compelling reasons for women to be a part of that. She believes that women represent a critical yet underrepresented resource capable of helping automotive companies to take a competitive advantage.

"Women have great intuition and can handle big changes extremely well. Right now big changes are what the car industry is facing. What is so important is for young women to see female role models working within the Industry. We need to communicate that the automotive world is not just for men, creating flexible work practices and highlighting women role models would be beneficial but really what is needed is a culture change, a new way of thinking outside of traditional gender roles. That way a greater number of women can be recruited into all aspects of the Industry and this in turn will filter through to the advertising, images and marketing efforts.”

Gerry Hussey, Performance Psychology Consultant and Motivational Speaker, spoke about the importance of becoming more present in our daily life, and not being afraid to ask about the why in what we do. He emphasised the importance of our emotional wellness and being more attentive to what matters, while also looking after our mental and physical health.


The new Kia ProCeed in Barcelona

All-New Kia ProCeed Makes Its Debut In Barcelona

The new Kia ProCeed in Barcelona
The new Kia ProCeed in Barcelona

Caroline travels to Barcelona for the European premiere of the new Kia Proceed!

The 3 door hatchback is finished. That was the message Peter Schreyer, President of Design and Chief Design Officer at Kia, and Gregory Guillaume, Kia’s European Head of Design, received from the product team when it came to creating the next generation of the Kia ProCeed.

So what did they do? They began to create a new vision for a C-segment niche vehicle. Customer profiling revealed that there were buyers who wanted a stylish and sporty vehicle - but they wanted rear doors and other practical features too.

And so began the process of developing this new generation of the Kia ProCeed. At an event in Barcelona to unveil this new model, Emilio Herrera, Chief Operating Officer for Kia Motors Europe, spoke about the uniqueness of the ProCeed in the mid-size family car segment. Based on the 2017 Kia ProCeed Concept, the new ProCeed is casually referred to by its designers as a ‘shooting brake’ within the Kia Ceed family.

Really it’s still a hatchback, but with the evocative shape of a coupé and the practicality of an estate model. The ProCeed is lower and longer than the Ceed five-door hatchback and Sportswagon (estate). It shares only its bonnet and front wings with the Ceed five-door and at 594 litres, the ProCeed’s boot is 50% bigger.

The Kia ProCeed combines the style of a coupé with the space of an estate
The Kia ProCeed combines the style of a coupé with the space of an estate

Niche models within segments are typically more common with premium brands but the ProCeed is yet another embodiment of the ethos of Kia – it’s the brand with ‘the Power to Surprise’! So as such the ProCeed doesn’t have any direct rivals. It’s fair to say that it’s a brave and aspirational move from Kia but hardly surprising judging from their recent form in the shape of the stunning new Stinger GT and a slew of stylish models like the Optima and Ceed.

Sitting alongside the recently launched Ceed hatchback and SW (estate), the new ProCeed will be positioned as a more high-end, prestigious vehicle. To that end, it will be exclusively available in more salubrious GT-line and GT trims.

The cabin is similar to the Ceed with soft touch materials, stylish metallic trim and Kia’s 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system sits at the centre of the dashboard. But there are a few changes designed to introduce a sportier ambience to the cabin, including a black headliner and D-shaped steering wheel.

Engines for this new model include a 1.0-litre T-GDi (120 ps), 1.4-litre T-GDi (140 ps) and a 1.6-litre CRDi diesel engine, though we don’t know what will make it to Ireland yet when the car goes on sale here in early 2019.

The interior of the new Kia ProCeed
The interior of the new Kia ProCeed

The ProCeed has been designed and developed exclusively for Europe. According to Kia, it has been engineered to be engaging to drive. Though built on the same ‘K2’ platform as other Ceed models, Kia says that they have fine tuned the suspension geometry to give the ProCeed its own unique agile and responsive character within the Ceed range, along with the comfort that owners would expect of the 'grand touring' shooting brake body.

There will also be a ProCeed GT, a more high performance model powered by a 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine producing 204 ps and 265 Nm and uniquely tuned to be the sportiest variant in the range.

The new Kia ProCeed will make its public premiere at the 2018 Paris Motor Show. Kia Ireland expects the car to go on sale here in early 2019. Further information and detail on pricing and specifications will be available closer to launch.

Caroline Kidd

The new Kia ProCeed is expected in Ireland early in 2019
The new Kia ProCeed is expected in Ireland early in 2019

The revised Skoda Fabia

Updated ŠKODA Fabia Goes On Sale

The revised Skoda Fabia
The revised ŠKODA Fabia arrives in Ireland this month

An updated ŠKODA Fabia arrives in dealers this September, priced from €16,200.

Based on the third generation of the supermini, the facelifted Fabia includes a redesigned radiator grille, alterations to the front and rear bumpers, new headlights and tail lights with optional LED technology.

There are also new alloy wheel designs and the ColourConcept option allows customers to personalise the roof with A-pillars, wing mirrors and alloy wheels in a contrasting colour to the exterior colour of the car with the option of black or white.

Inside there is a newly designed instrument cluster and seat upholstery.

For Ireland there is an updated petrol engine portfolio including a 1.0 MPI unit offering 75hp and a 1.0 TSI unit with 95hp or 110hp. The 110 hp engine is also available with the option of DSG transmission.

The ŠKODA Fabia Combi is available for an extra €745 across the range.

There are four trim levels for Ireland: Active, Ambition, Monte Carlo and Style. Standard equipment includes 14” steel wheels, a Blues radio unit with Aux-In, USB port and SD slot, electric front windows, height adjustable driver's seat, and electrically adjustable and heated exterior mirrors.

The mid-level Ambition (from €17,140) adds 15” alloy wheels, a Swing 6.5” colour touchscreen infotainment unit, Smartlink including Apple Car Play and Android Auto, leather multi-function steering wheel and front fog lights.

The sporty Monte Carlo version (from €19,275) adds 16” black alloys, sunset tinted glass, black rear spoiler, black front grille surround and black exterior mirrors, a flat bottom sports leather steering wheel, chrome pedals and Monte Carlo specific upholstery.

The top Style trim (from €18,665) adds air conditioning, rear electric windows, front arm rest, keyless entry and keyless start, rear parking sensors, automatic headlights and also a height adjustable passenger seat.

Cathal Kealey, PR Manager at ŠKODA Ireland, says: “The Fabia is a hugely important vehicle for us, it’s our third best-selling vehicle only after Octavia and Superb and that popularity is echoed throughout Europe. This youthful new Fabia will land in showrooms early next week and is available from launch with 0% PCP finance so I would urge customer to make a trip to their local dealer for a test-drive.”


The Volkswagen Arteon 2.0TSI R-Line

Volkswagen Arteon 2.0TSI Review

The Volkswagen Arteon 2.0TSI R-Line
The Volkswagen Arteon 2.0TSI R-Line

When Volkswagen was ready to launch the successor to the Passat CC, they also had a new name to bestow upon their flagship – Arteon. A suitably grand name for the Volkswagen Arteon also signalled that the brand wanted to distance the car from the Passat and lose any connotations of 'posh Passat' that were lingering about the CC.

With pricing starting from €37,495 for the very entry model, and €45k a relatively easy spend on an Arteon, it’s only right that buyers should be getting a little more than just a posh Passat! But on image and looks alone, the Volkswagen Arteon is in a class of its own. This is one of Volkswagen's most avant garde designs to date, being both an adventurous and evocative deviation for the brand.

What's special about the Volkswagen Arteon?

The Volkswagen Arteon is essentially a large coupé that’s good at carrying people and luggage too. This blueprint is something that premium manufacturers like Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have been proffering with success in recent years. The Arteon feels every inch the grand cruiser from the driver's seat and the two rear footwells are huge. Despite the coupé roofline, the rear headroom is not bad also. There is a large transmission tunnel in the middle, so the rear feels like more of a place for two VIPs than three. The boot opens hatchback style to reveal a large 563 litres.

Interior ambient lighting, full-width air vents and a fine mix of good quality materials enhance the plush feel of the cabin. However the design is not that much of a deviation from the Passat. Still with so much equipment and comfort features like predictive cruise control, parking sensors, tri zone climate control, dynamic road sign recognition, lane assist, rear traffic alert and excellent infotainment, there's hardly much to complain about. The Active Info Display digital instrument cluster and 8" touchscreen with clear glass surround are nice to look at and use, with seamless integration with smartphones through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The Volkswagen Arteon is styled like a coupé but inside there is plenty of passenger space
The Volkswagen Arteon is styled like a coupé but inside there is plenty of passenger space

Arteon Elegance models (from €42,350) add leather/Alcantara upholstery, ambient lighting, voice control, Active Info Display and rear view camera. R-Line models (from €44,695) add 19” alloys, R-Line styling kit, sporty ‘R-Line‘ steering wheel and seats, black headliner, keyless entry, locking and start, dynamic headlight range control with dynamic cornering function, and adaptive chassis control on the 240 hp model.

Engine options for the Volkswagen Arteon

So the Arteon looks great and it's big and comfortable inside. But is it powerful and fast? Well, there's quite a range of engines available including 1.5 and 2.0-litre petrols and a 2.0-litre diesel with 150 hp, 190 hp or 240 hp. The entry diesels certainly err on the side of economy. The Arteon is front wheel drive as standard but 4MOTION all wheel drive is available on the top of the range 240hp diesel, giving that model a more performance edge. 6 speed manual and 7 speed DSG gearboxes are available.

But there's one engine that does look promising for buyers looking for a more soulful heart to their Arteon. That's the 2.0TSI turbo petrol with 190hp. It's rare to test drive a large car like the Arteon with a petrol engine, but these are strange times we live in.

The interior of the Volkswagen Arteon R-Line
The interior of the Volkswagen Arteon R-Line

Is the Arteon nice to drive?

Immediately clear is the silence in the cabin - no diesel gurgle! Then there is that pleasant, smooth, linear power delivery through the 7 speed automatic gearbox. 0 to 100 kmh is a swift 7.7 seconds with a hint of a roarty soundtrack under a heavy right foot. Motor tax for this model is €280 per year while my fuel consumption over a week of driving was 7.7l/100km. The Arteon 2.0TSI R-Line DSG on test had a list price of €46,695.

The thing is, the Volkswagen Arteon is just not a sporty car, no matter how you dress it up. While there is plenty of power on tap, the Arteon never feels like it wants to play in your hands. It's a big front wheel drive car so while it can move well through corners, there's no rear wheel drive agility or engagement here - just stoic, reliable handling and pretty dry palms.

Is that a problem? Not really if you just want a classy, large car to cruise in, which the Arteon generally does very well. However, the ride comfort was disappointing on the 20" wheels added as an option to the test car, though the Arteon does give a more luxury ride on smaller wheels.

The Volkswagen Arteon is a classy, big car!
The Volkswagen Arteon is a classy, big car!

Should I buy the big Volkswagen?

The new Volkswagen Arteon certainly comes with prestige and an air of exclusivity that is mandatory for a flagship like this one: there's no doubt that the Arteon is a step up from the Passat in terms of size, design and prestige. There is good value to be had in the Arteon range with plenty of equipment and technology, along with engines that offer swift performance and decent economy. The Arteon is not a sports car and delivers quite a neutral driving experience despite the evocative looks. But it does a good job of behaving like a large, luxury car, and that's enough to keep it highly desirable.

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Volkswagen Arteon R-Line 2.0TSI DSG
Price: 
€46,695 (Range starts at €37,495)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
190hp
Torque: 320Nm
0-100km/h:  
7.7 seconds
Top speed: 239km/h
Economy: 
6.0l/100km
CO2 emissions:  
135g/km
Motor tax: 
€280 per year