The new TESLA Model 3

TESLA Model 3 Preview In Dublin

The new TESLA Model 3
The new TESLA Model 3 will be available to configure from May

TESLA welcomed us into their showroom in Sandyford, Dublin, to preview the new TESLA Model 3.

The Model 3 is TESLA’s smaller, simpler, and more affordable car and will slot in below the infamous TESLA Model S and the Model X SUV.

Irish pricing is yet to be confirmed, but a source told us that it is expected to start in the region of €50,000.

The TESLA Model 3 configurator for the Irish market will go live in May, with first customer deliveries expected in August.

There will be three variants: Standard Range Plus with an estimated 415 km range, Model 3 Performance (530 km WLTP) and Long Range AWD (560 km WLTP). The Model 3 Performance is the quickest car in its class, capable of achieving 0-100 kmh in 3.4 seconds.

Autopilot is included as standard which, under active driver supervision, enables the car to steer, accelerate and brake automatically for other vehicles and pedestrians within its lane. 

Every Model 3 also comes with active safety features standard, including Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Warning and Side Collision Warning. Model 3, as with other Teslas, will continue to receive updates which add new features and enhance functionality over time. Premium connectivity is included as standard for one year which contains satellite maps with live traffic visualisation, Spotify and over-the-air updates via Wi-Fi & cellular.  

The interior of the TESLA Model 3
The interior of the TESLA Model 3

The Model 3 is available in five colour options including Midnight Silver, Deep Blue, Multi Coat Red and Pearl White, with solid black included as standard. 18” Aero wheels come as standard and 19” Sport wheels as an option. 20” Performance Wheels come as standard with the Model 3 Performance.

The Model 3 comes with a black or white premium interior package. This includes premium heated seating with 12-way, power adjustable front seats and centre console with covered storage, 4 USB ports for all your devices and docking for two smartphones. The premium audio system includes 14 surround speakers. Model 3 also comes with auto dimming, power folding, heated side mirrors. 

Model 3 Performance has an increased top speed of 261 kmh along with a carbon fiber spoiler, 20” performance wheels, and aluminum alloy pedals for maximum handling and improved stability. Model 3 Performance also includes red performance brake calipers and the exclusive feature, Track Mode.  

All Model 3 customers have pay-per-use access to the global TESLA Supercharger network. There are more than 440 Supercharger locations with over 3600 Superchargers in Europe and growing. In Europe, the Model 3 also comes with a built-in CCS Charge Port for compatibility with third party fast charging networks.

The TESLA Model 3 has a range of up to 560 km on WLTP
The TESLA Model 3 has a range of up to 560 km on WLTP


The 2019 Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo

2019 Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo Review

The 2019 Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo
The 2019 Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo

Caroline drives the 2019 Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo!

The Skoda Fabia has gained popularity over the years because it packages the simple and straightforward ethos of the Skoda brand with good value pricing and a raft of engines derived from the Volkswagen Group. Now Skoda has revisited the Fabia in their line-up, and refreshed the model with a number of updates.

What's new for the Skoda Fabia in 2019?

The Fabia range is available in Ireland from €15,600 and features a new line-up of all petrol engines, including a 1.0 MPI unit offering 75hp and a 1.0 TSI unit with 95hp or 110hp. The 110hp engine is also available with the option of DSG automatic transmission.

Styling has been tweaked also and the facelifted Fabia includes a redesigned radiator grille, alterations to the front and rear bumpers, new headlights and tail lights with optional LED technology. But Fabia’s quite quirky squared off profile remains. The Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo as tested (from €19,425) gives the Fabia a more individual look, with a black roof (optional) and door mirrors, 16” black alloys, tinted glass, black rear spoiler and black front grille surround.

The Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo is the sportiest variant in the Fabia line-up!
The Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo is the sportiest variant in the Fabia line-up!

The interior of the 2019 Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo

Inside, Skoda has refreshed the cabin of the Fabia with a newly designed instrument cluster and seat upholstery. The Skoda Fabia has a straightforward cabin that’s easy to find your way around. The cabin quality is good though there are some cheaper plastics used. The thing I did notice is that it’s starting to look a little dated in comparison to newer competition, but there is a 6.5” colour touchscreen infotainment unit standard from the middle of the range with Apple Car Play and Android Auto.

I do like the sporty ambience of the Monte Carlo models with their special seat upholstery, a flat bottom sports leather steering wheel, chrome pedals and red stitching.

The interior of the Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo
The interior of the Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo

Does it come well-equipped?

There are four trim levels for the Fabia in 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 €16,725) 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 Style trim (from €18,815) adds air conditioning, rear electric windows, front arm rest, keyless entry and keyless start, rear parking sensors, automatic headlights and a height adjustable passenger seat.

The sporty Monte Carlo version is available from €19,425 with the equipment highlights listed above.

The Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo is available from €19,425
The Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo is available from €19,425

Is it practical?

The Fabia will seat four reasonably comfortably, five at a push. The two footwells in the rear do seem quite large for a supermini and headroom is good too because of that squared off roofline. The boot is also excellent for this class of vehicle at 330 litres.

The Fabia Combi is available for an extra €745 across the range and comes with even more boot volume.

Rear legroom in the Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo
Rear legroom in the Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo

Driving the Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo

I was test driving the 2019 Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo with the 1.0-litre TSI turbo petrol engine with 110hp. The Fabia is fun to drive with light steering and an agile driving character. The engine provides peppy performance in the low gears, only running out of puff in the top gears. The Fabia is comfortable on the move and stable on the motorway, with just a hint of road noise at high speeds. Over a week of driving my fuel consumption averaged at 6.3l/100km, while motor tax is just €190 per year.

While this updated Skoda Fabia is not a new, new model – it’s merely a facelift with some cosmetic changes - the Fabia is still a very enjoyable small car. It’s practical for its size and nice to drive. Though it’s starting to feel a little old inside, this is not a huge frustration really since it’s still a nice cabin to spend time in. For me the Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo is the pick of the range, because it really makes a statement!

The Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo is a really fun small car with a very individual look!
The Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo is a really fun small car with a very individual look!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo 1.0 TSI
Price:
€21,435 (Range from €15,600)
Engine: 1.0-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
110 hp
Torque: 200 Nm
0-100km/h:  
9.6 seconds
Top speed: 195 km/h
Fuel economy:
4.6l/100km

Motor tax: €190 per year


The 2019 Renault ZOE Z.E. 40

2019 Renault ZOE Z.E. 40 Review

The 2019 Renault ZOE Z.E. 40
The 2019 Renault ZOE Z.E. 40

Caroline drives the Renault ZOE Z.E. 40 kWh!

The electric vehicle (EV) space is heating up with a host of new entrants to the market, as well as Government commitment in recent weeks of €20 million in the public charge point infrastructure.

But some brands like Renault are already quite established players in the EV market and keep improving their current product. Take for example the Renault ZOE I was driving recently. The Renault ZOE debuted in Ireland in 2014, but since then it has already been updated with a more powerful 40 kWh battery to give owners a real world range in excess of 200km.

What's new for the Renault ZOE in 2019?

Now in 2019, Renault Ireland has made a few more changes to the line-up to offer customers an even better EV experience. The Z.E. 40 battery is now standard across the ZOE range. They’ve also added a R110 version with more power and greater acceleration, with no detriment to range.

The improved range Z.E. 40 kWh battery is now standard across the ZOE range
The improved range Z.E. 40 kWh battery is now standard across the ZOE range

What are my options?

Let’s recap a little on pricing and specs. The Renault ZOE is an all-electric supermini with pricing starting from €24,990 in Ireland now for the Expression R90, after VRT relief and SEAI grant. The ZOE Expression R90 includes the 22kW Chameleon charger, heat pump climate control and R-Link navigation with 7” touch screen as standard.

A new, more powerful R110 motor is available
on both Dynamique Nav (from €27,790) and Signature Nav (from €30,290) versions
of the Renault ZOE, putting out 110hp. The Dynamique Nav version also offers
rear parking sensors, hands-free key card entry as well as automatic lights and
wipers, while Signature Nav trim includes leather seats, parking camera and
BOSE audio as standard.

The Renault ZOE is a cute and futuristic looking small car. It has seating for five but that might be wishful thinking. Two people will fit more comfortably across the narrow rear bench, though tall passengers will find it tight! The ZOE makes an absolutely epic car for a singleton or couple however, and the 338 litre boot is not bad either.

The Renault ZOE is available from €24,990 in Ireland
The Renault ZOE is available from €24,990 in Ireland

Inside the 2019 Renault ZOE

The interior of the ZOE is basic and
comfortable. There are quite a lot of hard plastics but the digital screen with
driver information looks really cool. Infotainment is controlled via the Renault
R-Link multimedia system and operated using a 7” touchscreen that includes
Bluetooth and navigation. The driver instrument display shows information
regarding speed, battery power and an econometer that shows you how efficient
your driving is - all useful when you are trying to get the most out of your
range!

On the road, the 2019 Renault ZOE feels agile and reasonably energetic, with light steering that’s great for a city car. It’s not the sharpest in terms of driving dynamics but it’s still fun to drive in its own little way. Out on bigger roads it offers decent refinement, comfort and stability for a small car.

The interior of the Renault ZOE Z.E. 40
The interior of the Renault ZOE Z.E. 40

How far will the Renault ZOE Z.E. 40 get me?

When I got into the car on a full battery, the available EV driving range was at 238km and I was getting the guts of 200km out of the car in real world driving. Renault say that in the summer months you can get up to 300km out of a single charge.

The wonderful thing about the ZOE – and what saved me a lot of stress – is the Chameleon charger. It means that you can get the best out of whatever charge point is available, even the more plentiful Type 2 chargers, because it’s always available to charge at maximum power. You can get a full charge in as little as 2 hours and 40 minutes from a 22kW charger or in 1 hour and 40 minutes from a 43kW.

The beauty of the ZOE is the Chameleon charger that means you can make the most out of whatever charger you encounter
The beauty of the ZOE is the Chameleon charger that means you can make the most out of whatever charger you encounter on your journey

So what's the verdict?

The ZOE is a stylish and quirky electric vehicle. The threat of range anxiety may still put off buyers with frequent long commutes, but in reality the Chameleon charger makes a difference when you are out and about trying to grab some extra range whenever you can on the public charging network.

The Renault ZOE is clearly expensive for what is still a small car. However, it makes a surprisingly pleasant companion and entry into electric motoring.

The ZOE is a stylish and surprisingly desirable small electric vehicle!
The ZOE is a stylish and surprisingly desirable small electric vehicle!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Renault ZOE Signature Nav R110 Z.E. 40 kWh
Price:
€30,290 (Range from €24,990)
Battery: 40 KW
Power: 
110 hp
Torque: 225 Nm
0-100km/h:  
11.4 seconds
Top speed: 135 km/h
Range: 
(WLTP) 300km summer, 200km winter
CO2 emissions: 
0g/km
Motor tax: 
€120 per year


The 2019 Volkswagen e-Golf. Photo by Paddy McGrath

Volkswagen e-Golf Now Available With 0% PCP Finance

Volkswagen Ireland has announced that the Volkswagen e-Golf is now available, for a limited period only, with 0% PCP Finance.

According to the brand, customers wishing to move into the new Volkswagen ID. range of cars will be able to do so easily now thanks to a special new 2-year PCP solution.

The Volkswagen e-Golf is available in two specifications, the e-Golf and the e-Golf Executive Edition, and the range starts from €35,995 after Government incentives. Now with 0% PCP, the e-Golf starts from as little as €349 per month.

The e-Golf Executive Edition offers the ‘ultimate e-Golf’ and costs from €39,495, or with 0% PCP from as little as €379 per month.

Mindful that potential e-Golf owners might want to transition into the new ID. range when this product begins to land in Ireland, Volkswagen is now offering a special 2-year PCP solution on the e-Golf. This costs from €399 per month on the e-Golf and €489 per month on the e-Golf Executive Edition.

“Customers of the e-Golf can save around €50* per month by driving this model compared to a 1.6-litre diesel Golf of similar specification,” says Volkswagen Ireland Head of Marketing, Mark McGrath.

“And with this new 2-year PCP product customers can get into the e-Golf now and then readily move into the new ID. products.”

The ID. range will include hatchback, SUV and MPV models, with the first of these models, for now named ID. Neo, set to be revealed later this year.


The updated Audi TT range is now available in Ireland

New Audi TT Available In Ireland

The updated Audi TT range is now available in Ireland
The updated Audi TT range is now available in Ireland

The Audi TT has been updated with a tauter exterior design, more powerful engines, and a wider range of standard equipment. It's now available in Ireland.

Pricing for the Audi TT Coupé starts from €49,850 on the road, while the Audi TT Roadster is available from €61,100 on the road.

The updated TT will now offers two more powerful direct-injection petrol engines: the entry 197 hp badged the 40 TFSI and 245 hp badged the 45 TFSI.

The engines also have a gasoline particulate filter. With the new seven-gear S tronic, the lower gears now have a shorter ratio for better driving dynamics. With the 40 TFSI the TT Coupé sprints from 0 to 100 km in 6.6 seconds, while the 45 TFSI does it in just 5.9 seconds.

For the more powerful engine, Audi offers the option of either manual front wheel drive, or quattro all-wheel drive with a 7 speed S tronic gearbox, for even better traction and driving dynamics.

The new Audi TT comes with LED headlights as standard, with Matrix LED technology including dynamic turn signals available as an option.

Pricing for the Audi TT Coupé starts from €49,850 on the road
Pricing for the Audi TT Coupé starts from €49,850 on the road

The standard S line exterior package highlights the sporty character of the TT with striking details on the front, side sills and rear. It is complemented by the standard S line interior package with S sport seats. Two new colours have been added to the range: Pulse Orange and Turbo Blue.

The new TT is equipped with the Audi drive select driving dynamics system. The driver can control all infotainment and voice control functions via the multifunction steering wheel. The displays appear in the Audi virtual cockpit, where the driver can choose between two different views.

In all versions, devices such as smartphones can be connected via an illuminated USB socket and by Bluetooth.

The updated Audi TT is available to order today.


The 2019 Audi Q3

2019 Audi Q3 1.5 TFSI Review

The 2019 Audi Q3
The 2019 Audi Q3

Caroline drives the 2019 Audi Q3!

Audi’s Q
range of SUVs have never been so relevant as they are now. Naturally, Audi has
invested considerably in their Q range of SUVs in recent years, with new models
like the Q2 and Q8, as well as this all new generation of the Audi Q3 that recently
landed in Ireland.

The arrival of the more compact Q2 in 2017, means that the 2019 Audi Q3 is no longer the smallest SUV in the Audi range. In fact, for this generation, Audi has considerably reinvented the Q3 so that it can function better as a family SUV.

In Ireland, the 2019 Audi Q3 range kicks off at €38,600. There are a range of petrol and diesel engines on offer, as well as two trim lines, SE and S line. Manual and automatic gearboxes are available as is quattro four wheel drive, though standard models are front wheel drive.

The Audi Q3 range kicks off at €38,600 in Ireland
The Audi Q3 range kicks off at €38,600 in Ireland

What's new for the 2019 Audi Q3?

The Audi Q3 is a very smart looking SUV in the metal. Audi has given the new Q3 more definition and stance. Yet it’s still a relatively compact vehicle in the metal, but achingly stylish and desirable in that cool, understated Audi way. The new Singleframe grille has an octagonal design and eight ‘don’t mess with me’ vertical bars. The new wedge shape lights use LED technology in all versions and are paired with LED daytime running lights.

Slip inside the cabin of the 2019 Audi Q3, and it’s hard not to be instantly beguiled by the quality and technology at your fingertips. The cabin experience in the Q3 is one of the best in class. That’s down to how the digital instrument panel (Audi Virtual Cockpit, a 10.25 inch screen within the binnacle), and the new 10.1 inch MMI touch display, fit so comfortably into the cabin with seamless controls.

The interior of the new Audi Q3
The interior of the new Audi Q3

Interior and Equipment

The Q3's dashboard design is modern and cool with lashings of stylish high gloss black, while the material quality is good in just about all the places that matter. There’s also an optional ambient lighting package with 30 colour options for more wow.

The new Q3 comes with a number of active safety systems including pre-sense basic, pre-sense front, side assist, active lane assist and automatic emergency braking. Standard equipment on SE models includes 18” alloys, Audi drive select, Audi Virtual Cockpit and 10.1” MMI touch display, light/rain sensor, LED headlights, cruise control and manual air con.

S line models (from €42,550) add 19” alloys, S line body kit, S line interior including front sport seats and stainless steel pedals, LED interior pack and full LED headlamps with dynamic rear indicators.

Rear legroom in the new Audi Q3
Rear legroom in the new Audi Q3

Does the new Audi Q3 make a good family SUV?

The new
Audi Q3 is built upon the Volkswagen Group’s modular transverse matrix, which
means that the new Q3 has grown in size. It’s longer and wider than its
predecessor with a longer wheelbase also meaning that it is now more spacious
inside for five people and their gear. In the rear it feels noticeably bigger
with a welcome boost in knee room, headroom and elbow room that makes it more
competitive in its segment than ever before.

For extra practicality an electrically powered tailgate comes as standard. The new Q3 also has a bigger boot at 530 litres or 675 litres depending on the position of the rear seats and backrests.

The Audi Q3 35 TFSI features a 1.5 litre turbo petrol engine with efficiency boosting cylinder deactivation technology!
The Audi Q3 35 TFSI features a 1.5 litre turbo petrol engine with efficiency boosting cylinder deactivation technology!

Driving the 2019 Audi Q3

According to Audi, the suspension in the new Q3 has been tuned to be more comfortable, assured and responsive, helped by the latest car’s longer wheelbase. S line models have a sport suspension for an even more tightly controlled feel. Progressive steering comes as standard across the range, which gradually becomes more direct as the steering angle increases.

On the road, the new Audi Q3 is remarkably good. The most striking and pleasant feature is the silence and seclusion of the cabin while driving. The refinement of this car is just beautiful. The handling and steering are more than adequate, making progress pleasant and brisk in the new Q3.

The Audi drive select dynamic handling system comes as standard and includes six modes - auto, comfort, dynamic, offroad, efficiency and individual. These settings influence the throttle response, the steering, the shift characteristics of the S tronic and the damper control where this is fitted.

The new Audi Q3 is a stylish and fun family SUV
The new Audi Q3 is a stylish and fun family SUV

Diesel and petrol engines for the Audi Q3

In Ireland
the new Audi Q3 is available with three petrol options (150hp, 190hp and 230hp)
and two diesel options (150hp and 190hp). The entry-level engine is the
1.5-litre TFSI turbo petrol engine with 150hp and 250 Nm of torque, badged 35
TFSI. It uses the cylinder on demand technology to improve efficiency, which
temporarily switches off two cylinders at low load. This engine is really smooth
and powerful on the road. Over a week of driving my fuel consumption averaged
at 7.5l/100km.

The new Audi Q3 sashays into a very competitive market but this modern interpretation of ‘Audiness’ that now pervades the brand’s newer models like the Audi A6, makes the Q3 instantly desirable. The Q3 has grown up and is now more practical than ever with more space and more presence. The real jewel in the crown however, is the latest generation Audi interior that sits so comfortably in the Q3, striking a perfect balance between comfort, quality and wow-worthy tech.  

The new Audi Q3 is astoundingly good!


Caroline Kidd

Model
tested: 
Audi Q3 1.5TSI S line S-Tronic
Price:
€44,950 (Range from €38,600)
Engine: 1.5-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
150 hp
Torque: 250 Nm
0-100km/h:  
9.6 seconds
Top speed: 211 km/h
Fuel economy:
7.4-7.7l/100km
CO2 emissions: 
169-176g/km
Motor tax: 
€280 per year


The Toyota Land Cruiser Business

Toyota Land Cruiser Business Model Relaunched

The Toyota Land Cruiser Business five seat model is now available to order in Ireland.

After leaving the market in 2018 due to taxation changes, Toyota Ireland has reintroduced the model to the market.

The Land Cruiser Business is available from €56,907 excluding VAT and is classified in the N1 segment.

The Land Cruiser Business will be arriving in Ireland in July for first customer deliveries.

Toyota Ireland expect demand to be high. Initial supply will be limited so customers are encouraged to place their orders early.

Commenting on the return of the Land Cruiser Business  model, Steve Tormey, Chief Executive of Toyota Ireland said:

“The Toyota Land Cruiser is a legendary car in the Toyota line-up, known for its powerful performance and ability to tackle any terrain. It’s been a firm favourite of our Irish customers and we’re delighted to reintroduce the Business model at a competitive price point. As the only five-seater model in the N1 segment it’s a fantastic offering for customers.”


The 2019 Renault Mégane Coupé

2019 Renault Mégane Grand Coupé Review

The 2019 Renault Mégane Coupé
The 2019 Renault Mégane Coupé

Caroline drives the new Renault Mégane Grand Coupé.

A Renault Mégane saloon has always done well in Ireland, with us being a nation of ‘big boot out the back’ lovers. Saloon sales are on a squeeze from SUVs, but Renault Ireland still believes in the value of the compact saloon in the Irish market. In 2017, the new Renault Mégane Grand Coupé (fancy name too!) arrived in Ireland to join the Mégane hatchback and Sport Tourer (estate).

Renault was right to defy market trends. The Renault Mégane Grand Coupé is now the bestselling model in the Mégane range in Ireland, outselling the hatchback and Sport Tourer.

The Renault Mégane Grand Coupé brings considerable style and space to the range
The Renault Mégane Grand Coupé brings considerable style and space to the range

What’s new for the Renault Mégane Grand Coupé in 2019?

Now in 2019, Renault Ireland has refreshed the Grand Coupé line-up. There are now three trim levels as opposed to four - Play, Iconic and Signature. And a petrol engine has joined the range for the first time. The new 1.3 TCe 140 engine is available in the Grand Coupé with a 6-speed manual or new 7-speed EDC automatic gearbox.

Renault’s 1.5 dCi engine has also been enhanced in 2019 with increased power at 115hp and is also available with 6-speed manual and 7-speed EDC gearboxes.

The Mégane Grand Coupé is available from €23,940 in Ireland
The Mégane Grand Coupé is available from €23,940 in Ireland

Style and space in the Mégane Grand Coupé

Renault has strapped the Grand Coupé moniker onto the Mégane saloon, which implies that this car has ‘notions’. But it’s not difficult to understand the popularity of the Mégane Grand Coupé. It’s a good looking car with design flair and elegant proportions giving it the presence of a larger and more expensive car.

The Renault Mégane Grand Coupé range starts from €23,940 in Ireland, which is an €1800 premium over the Mégane hatchback. But Grand Coupé buyers actually get a more spacious car because the wheelbase is longer than that of the hatchback. The rear legroom is more accommodating. The boot has a capacity of 503 litres, bigger than the hatchback, with reasonably good access for a saloon. Also since I last tested the car there is now a release button on the boot lid, which is great.

Rear legroom in the Renault Mégane Grand Coupé
Rear legroom in the Renault Mégane Grand Coupé

Equipment

The Play trim level (from €23,940)
replaces both the Expression and Dynamique Nav trims. Equipment includes Apple
CarPlay® and Android Auto®, 7” touch screen, climate control and parking
sensors.

The Iconic (from €26,140) replaces
the Dynamique S Nav and has built-in navigation (7” screen), Multi-sense
driving modes and the Visio Active safety system.

The sporty GT Line is preserved for the hatch, while the Grand Coupé gets the ‘grander’ Signature trim (from €28,440). This model has leather interior, 18” diamond cut wheels, 8.7” navigation screen and full LED lights.

The interior of the Renault Mégane Grand Coupé
The interior of the Renault Mégane Grand Coupé

The interior of the Renault Mégane Grand Coupé

The Renault Mégane Grand Coupé has a
lot of rasmatazz on the outside but it’s a bit plainer on the inside. The most
striking feature is probably the portrait style touchscreen which is quite
unique in the segment. The interior is hardly the last word in sophistication with
quite a few hard, scratchy plastics, but it’s perfectly acceptable.

The new petrol engine is a great addition to the Mégane Grand Coupé range. It’s a 1.3-litre turbo petrol unit that’s popping up in other Renault models too like the Kadjar. It’s got lots of power at 140hp and over a week of driving my fuel consumption averaged at 6.3 l/100km, with motor tax of €270 per year. There is also a 1.5-litre diesel engine with 110hp, which is the best for economy.

Boot space in the Renault Mégane Grand Coupé
Boot space in the Renault Mégane Grand Coupé

Driving the Renault Mégane Grand Coupé

On the road the Renault Mégane Grand Coupé 1.3 TCe is nippy and refined. The car moves well through corners with precision and good cruising ability on the motorway too. The gear change feels a bit slack but other than that I really enjoyed my time with this car. The ride comfort seemed more cosseting this time round too.

The Renault Mégane Grand Coupé is very impressive with this new petrol engine. This is a stylish saloon and while competition is fierce in the compact segment, the Grand Coupé has really hit its stride in terms of spec, comfort and refinement. The figures don’t lie. It’s Ireland’s favourite iteration of the Mégane and the addition of this smart little petrol engine should enhance its prospects even more.

The Renault Mégane Grand Coupé is available for the first time in Ireland with a petrol engine in 2019
The Renault Mégane Grand Coupé is available for the first time in Ireland with a petrol engine in 2019

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Renault Megane Grand Coupé Signature
TCe 140 GPF
Price:
€28,440 (Range from €23,940)
Engine: 1.3-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
140 hp
Torque: 240 Nm
0-100km/h:  
9.7 seconds
Top speed: 203 km/h
Fuel Economy: 
5.7l/100km
CO2 emissions: 
130g/km
Motor tax: 
€270 per year


Niall Conneely and his SEAT Ibiza

Me And My Car: Niall Conneely's SEAT Ibiza

Niall Conneely and his SEAT Ibiza
Niall Conneely and his SEAT Ibiza

We recently spoke to Niall Conneely about his SEAT Ibiza. Niall is a driving instructor and his Ibiza is also used by his driving school, TNC School of Motoring.

1.Tell us about your car.

I have the SEAT Ibiza SE with the 1.6 TDI engine making a surprisingly adequate 80 bhp. It’s a nice shade of grey and is specced quite well. The tech in this car is very impressive with economy aids, collision sensors, Bluetooth connectivity and a little nagging symbol that tells me if I stray too close to the car in front on the motorway.

2. Why did you choose this car?

I think Volkswagen Group make some great cars and I specifically wanted their 1.6 TDI as it is well proven as a good little powerplant. I needed my new car to be well built, comfortable, economical, easy on the eye and easy to see out of. I considered the Volkswagen Polo and the Skoda Fabia as well, but for me the Ibiza outshines both. It helps that it is awfully pretty. It’s as if someone on the design team had a heap of ideas for angles and nice creases and stylish lines and rather than choose one, instead threw the whole lot at it. It works though, particularly the rear three quarters. To my eye at least, it is aesthetically pleasing.

3. What do you like about this car?

It’s a good all-rounder. Spacious but not too big. Enough power to make progress while also being light on fuel. The ride comfort is impressive for a supermini. The infotainment system is pretty good. I’m a relatively recent convert to Spotify so the wireless connectivity is a nice boost. The ergonomics are spot on, the controls are exactly where you’d expect them to be and everything falls to hand easily.

I’m super fussy about having high quality items. For me things like a good leather belt or a decent wristwatch are important. I prefer to get one quality product that will last for a long time rather than something cheaper that I’ll have to replace multiple times, and I have to say cabin materials in the Ibiza feel like they are built to last.

4. Is there anything you would change about this car?

I’m very much up for a greener future and saving the polar bears but sometimes I’d like to have stop/start as a setting to be sought out, rather than foisted upon you every time you start the car. And I know I’ve been singing the praises of the Ibiza’s styling but it is an ordeal to clean it. I tackled it with the bucket and sponge last week and to be honest you would need 4 hours and a variety of brushes and utensils to really clean those alloys.

Niall uses the Ibiza in his driving school
Niall uses the Ibiza in his driving school, TNC School of Motoring

5. What is in the glovebox?

Well between the glovebox and my box of useful stuff in the boot I am equipped for a zombie apocalypse. Pens, chewing gum, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, socket set, a Mars Bar, receipts, a rather fetching high vis vest and enough spare bulbs to light up the Three Arena.

6. Favourite memory of the car?

I have had it for just over 4 weeks so we’re still in the honeymoon phase, but now that the Ibiza has had dual controls and the driving school graphics fitted, it is in for some hard work. I reckon the memorable moments are yet to come for this car. I have no doubt it will perform brilliantly.

7. Three words to describe your car.

Ready for road.

If you would like your car featured on Changing Lanes, email caroline@changinglanes.ie!


The new Mercedes-Benz GLE

2019 Mercedes-Benz GLE First Drive

The new Mercedes-Benz GLE
The new Mercedes-Benz GLE

The new Mercedes-Benz GLE has just arrived in Ireland,
priced from €78,395. This is a new generation of Mercedes-Benz large family
SUV, and there is a seven seat option for the first time. Caroline went to the
Irish press launch in Dublin to check out the new Mercedes-Benz GLE.

Styling

The GLE has been spruced up in
line with the brand’s current line-up of cars. The wheelbase is 80mm longer and
the new SUV has a more rounded and elegant presence, with distinctive LED
headlights and rear lights. 18” alloys come as standard, while AMG Line models
add AMG bodystyling and 20” alloys. The new styling has helped the GLE to
achieve the best aerodynamics in its segment, with a Cd figure
from 0.29.

Interior

The new Mercedes-Benz GLE features a widescreen cockpit as standard with two 12.3 inch screens – one for the driver information display and the second for the infotainment. The material quality is excellent throughout with the addition of some slightly more rugged looking features than a traditional Mercedes-Benz saloon - check out those rectangular shaped air vents. There is a prominent raised centre console between the driver and passenger housing cupholders, storage and the controls for the MBUX infotainment system. Hey Mercedes!

The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz GLE
The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz GLE

Practicality

The GLE is now available as a five or seven seat SUV. The cabin is very spacious with lots of legroom in row 2. There is electrical assistance to move the seats in row 2 forward and back with adjustable recline. Space is tight in row 3 but is adequate for the extra versatility that these seats offer. When not in use they can be stowed into the floor. The luggage capacity is up to 825 litres behind the rear seats, and up to 2,055 litres when the second row is folded down. There has also been a 72 mm increase in loading width.

Engines

In Ireland the new GLE will be available with petrol and diesel engines in the 1950cc to 2999cc capacity range. A diesel plug-in hybrid will arrive before the end of the year with a pure electric range of up to 100 km. The big seller in Ireland will be the 300d with a 2.0-litre diesel putting out 245hp. Other diesels include the GLE 350d, GLE 400d and GLE 450d. There is a GLE 450 petrol available powered by a six-cylinder engine with 48-volt mild hybrid technology. Motor tax ranges from €570 to €1200. 4MATIC four wheel drive is standard on all models.

The new Mercedes-Benz GLE range starts from €78,395
The new Mercedes-Benz GLE range starts from €78,395

On the road

The Mercedes-Benz GLE has a newly developed steel suspension, while there is also the option of a new AIRMATIC air suspension and E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL for engine variants with six and more cylinders. This is the only system in the market where the spring and damping forces can be individually controlled at each wheel to counteract body roll, pitching and squat, and take the GLE out of difficult off-road situations.

On a short drive on standard suspension, the Mercedes-Benz GLE 300d 4MATIC was a comfortable and refined companion, and easy to manoeuvre for its size. I look forward to bringing you more detailed driving impressions after a longer test drive later in the year.

Equipment

Standard equipment includes cruise control, 18” alloys,
widescreen cockpit with two displays, dual zone climate control, MBUX
multimedia system, Mercedes me connect, parking package with rear camera, Dynamic
Select, leather upholstery, blind spot assist, attention assist, lane keeping
assist and traffic sign assist.

The AMG Line exterior pack adds sport braking system, 20” alloys, diamond grille with chrome pins and AMG bodystyling.

The GLE now comes with the option of seven seats
The GLE now comes with the option of seven seats

AMG Line cars include interior equipment such as AMG floor
mats in black velour, AMG sports pedals in brushed stainless steel with black
rubber studs, ARTICO man-made leather/DINAMICA microfibre upholstery, Nappa
leather dashboard, door panelling plus armrests in black ARTICO man-made
leather, multifunction sports steering wheel in Nappa leather and sports seats
for driver and front passenger.

The 7-seat package for €2,944 adds the two extra seats, 20”
5-spoke light-alloy wheels and electrically-adjustable rear seats.

Pricing

The range starts with the GLE 300d 4MATIC at €78,395. With an AMG Line exterior package, this model is available from €84,202. The AMG Line is available from €84,762.

The GLE 450 4MATIC petrol is available from €95,995.

Rivals

Rivals for the new GLE include the Audi Q7 and the BMW X5.

The Mercedes-Benz GLE brings the latest Mercedes style and technology to the large family SUV class
The Mercedes-Benz GLE brings the latest Mercedes style and technology to the large family SUV class

Summary

The new generation of the Mercedes-Benz GLE ups its game in terms of styling, interior finish, technology and connectivity, bringing modern Mercedes-Benz features to the large family SUV class. The seven seat option is new for the GLE and makes the whole package even more competitive than before.

Mercedes-Benz Ireland is offering generously equipped GLEs undercutting their BMW and Audi rivals on pricing with the popular GLE 300d 4MATIC, though rivals do offer a bit more power like for like. I look forward to putting the GLE to the test at a later date to see how it stacks up against rivals!

Caroline Kidd