The new Citroën C4 is expected in Ireland in early 2021

Electrified Citroën C4 Coming To Ireland In 2021

The new Citroën C4 is expected in Ireland in early 2021
The new Citroën C4 is expected in Ireland in early 2021

Citroën Ireland has announced details of the new Citroën C4, which is expected in Ireland in early 2021. The quirky French hatchback has evolved into a sporty looking SUV-coupé/hatchback and will be an exciting new entrant to the market. The 10th generation will also debut a new all electric version, the Citroën ë-C4. This will be sold alongside petrol and diesel versions.

The new Citroën C4 is a dramatic evolution of the brand's mid size model., with highly individual and assertive styling for the French brand. The C4 will feature a bold grille and lighting signature at the front, while the unique roof line, combined with the sloping rear window and rear spoiler will be cause for a distinctive road presence. Customisation will be a feature with 31 colour combinations thanks to 7 exterior colours options and 5 exterior colour packs.

There are also 6 different interior choices. There is a clean, contemporary dashboard with plenty of soft touch materials promised. There will be seating for five and a competitive boot volume of 380 litres.

The new Citroën C4 will incorporate the Citroën Advanced Comfort® programme featuring suspension with Progressive Hydraulic Cushions and Advanced Comfort Seats to ensure the renowned Citroën driving comfort. The new C4 will be paired with a wide variety of engine options including three petrol variants: a PureTech 100 S&S 6-speed manual gearbox and a PureTech 130 S&S with a choice of 6-speed manual or EAT8 automatic gearbox. There will also be two diesel engines, the BlueHDi 110 S&S 6-speed manual and BlueHDi 130 S&S EAT8.

The interior of the new C4
The interior of the new C4

The new Citroën ë-C4 will offer a 100 kW (136 hp) engine with a WLTP range expected of 350 km. There will be 260 Nm of torque instantly available for clean, linear acceleration of 0-100 km/h in 9.7 seconds and a top speed of 150 km/h. The 50-kWh electric motor is high-voltage 400V Li-Ion battery and comes with an 8 year 160,000km warranty. The ë-C4 will also feature regenerative breaking and a mode selector on the centre console for Eco, Normal or Sport modes.

Pat Ryan, Managing Director of Citroën Ireland, said:

“The new C4 finally squares the circle in terms of finding a comfortable family hatchback that offers everyday practicality without compromising on style. The New C4 is compact on the outside but spacious on the inside. It’s also an elegant and sturdy vehicle that I believe will do extremely well here in Ireland. First models will arrive in January 2021 and we will be announcing our prices and specifications for this fantastic new compact hatch in September."

The Citroën C4 concept first launched in 1928 as the French brand's first compact vehicle. However, it is best known for the 2004 model, which sold 3 million units globally and was a great exhibit of the French brand's bold design and technology.  According to Citroën, the new C4 will build on this legacy and offer the "elegance, fluidity and dynamism of a compact hatchback coupled with the strength, character and robustness of an SUV".

In Ireland the brand currently offers a wide range, including passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Top models include the fun, colourful C3 supermini, C3 Aircross and the C5 Aircross family SUV. The brand's first electrified model, the Citroën C5 Aircross PHEV (plug-in hybrid) is expected in Ireland before the end of the year.

The new C4 will be available for the first time as an electric vehicle
The new C4 will be available for the first time as an electric vehicle

The new Land Rover Defender Commercial Hard Top

2020 Land Rover Defender Commercial

The new Land Rover Defender Commercial Hard Top
The new Land Rover Defender Commercial Hard Top

Land Rover Defender Commercial is expected in Ireland before the end of 2020 and the brand has now released some more interesting details about this classic icon!

Land Rover says that the new commercial Defender 90 and 110 models will restore the Hard Top name to its rugged 4x4 family. The new Defender Hard Top is designed to give professionals a unique combination of cargo space, practicality and premium comfort.

The Hard Top name dates back to 1950, when the introduction of demountable Hard Tops gave early Series Land Rovers added security and protection from the elements. New Defender Hard Top continues this ethos, sharing its fixed metal roof and silhouette with the iconic original.

Land Rover has experienced unprecedented global demand for the new Defender 90 and 110 since the world premiere last September and the new Hard Top models will be the next additions to the legendary bloodline.

The brand says that the Defender’s aluminium-intensive D7x body architecture is three times stiffer than the best body-on-frame designs. Sharing its strong body structure and next-generation Electrical Vehicle Architecture (EVA 2.0) with passenger models, the Defender Hard Top is being developed by Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations to deliver unrivalled durability, practicality and toughness.

Michael van der Sande, Managing Director, Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations, said:

“We will maximise the functionality and usability of New Defender’s cargo area, with tough materials and clever storage solutions to ensure it surpasses the capability of any previous Defender Hard Top.”

The 90 and 110 Hard Tops will both feature independent coil-sprung suspension, with advanced electronic air suspension also available on the 110. Both set-ups promise outstanding off-road geometry, with ground clearance of 291 mm, while the 110 Hard Top will have approach, breakover and departure angles of up to 38, 28 and 40 degrees respectively (in Off-Road height). Full technical details will be confirmed later this year.

Nick Collins, Land Rover Vehicle Line Director, said: 

“New Defender 90 and 110 Hard Top will be the toughest, most capable and most connected commercial 4x4s we have ever produced. They have been engineered to meet global safety standards and deliver impressive long-haul comfort, giving businesses and professionals the best of all worlds.”

The Defender Hard Top is expected in Ireland before the end of 2020
The Defender Hard Top is expected in Ireland before the end of 2020

The flexible cabin has no second or third-row seats, but the optional front-row jump seat means it will still accommodate up to three people. Land Rover’s ClearSight Rear View mirror system preserves rearward visibility when the jump seat is occupied, or when the load space is full. It uses a live video feed from a rear-facing camera to give drivers an unobstructed view at all times.

The towing capacity of the new Land Rover Commercial will be up to 3,500 kg and has many technologies to help hitch, drive and reverse safely while pulling a trailer. Land Rover’s intelligent Advanced Tow Assist system takes the stress out of difficult reversing manoeuvres by letting drivers steer trailers with their fingertips using a rotary controller on the centre console.

The maximum wading depth of 900 mm is also supported by a new Wade programme in the Terrain Response 2 system.

Inside there is a Pivi Pro touchscreen infotainment for intuitive control of all the major vehicle functions, including smartphone integration using Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Twin eSIM technology underpins Pivi Pro and supports Software-Over-The-Air (SOTA) capability, allowing customers to download updates for a variety of vehicle systems. For professionals using the Defender Hard Top for business, this will minimise time spent off the road as SOTA updates can be completed without the need to visit a Land Rover retailer.

New Defender Hard Top models will also feature a suite of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. Land Rover’s 3D Surround Camera system provides an all-round visualisation of the vehicle on the central touchscreen, helping drivers manoeuvre in tight spaces or position the vehicle close to items ready for loading.

Convenience will be enhanced with the Remote smartphone app, which will allow businesses to keep track of the location, fuel level and journey history of their vehicle remotely.

The first passenger models of Defender 110 are now being delivered to customers in Ireland. Read more about the newly launched passenger versions of the 2020 Land Rover Defender here.

Toyota cars are selling well in 2020, it's the number 1 brand in Ireland

New Car Registrations In Ireland In June 2020

Toyota cars are selling well in 2020, it's the number 1 brand in Ireland
Toyota cars are selling well in 2020, it's the number 1 brand in Ireland

The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) has released their official new vehicle statistics for June 2020. After a difficult few months in light of recent Coronavirus restrictions and dealership closures, new car registrations for the month of June declined 28.2% (1,011) when compared to June 2019 (1,408).

New car registrations year to date are down 34.5% (52,891) on the same period last year (80,758).

The top 5 bestselling brands in Ireland so far in 2020 are 1. Toyota, 2. Volkswagen, 3. Hyundai, 4. Skoda and 5. Ford.

The top 5 bestselling models so far this year are 1. Toyota Corolla, 2. Hyundai Tucson, 3. Volkswagen Tiguan, 4. Ford Focus and 5. Hyundai Kona. (Read more about Ireland's bestselling cars in 2020 in this special article.)

Diesel accounts for 44.13% of the new car market with Petrol following at 37.59%, Hybrid at 12.21%, and Electric (3.58%) and Plug-In Hybrid (2.2%).

Light Commercials vehicles (LCV) were down 24.1% (568) compared to June last year (748) and year to date are down 30.9% (10,579). HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) registrations are down 67.9% (101) in comparison to June 2019 (315). Year to date HGV's are down 32% (1,224).

Used car imports for June (4,264) seen a decrease of 47.1% on June 2019 (8,060). While year to date imports are down 57.1% (22,789) on 2019 (53,126).

Brian Cooke, SIMI Director General, said:

Clearly 2020 has been a very difficult year to date, with new car registrations down 34.5% year on year. The new 202-registration period commences today (1st July), which brings some hope for the Industry by providing an opportunity to increase sales. Consumers can see already the hugely varied and attractive new car offers. While pre-orders and enquiries are showing some positive signs, the lack of car hire and the ongoing concerns surrounding COVID-19 will see continuing downward pressure on new car demand.  

Going forward, recovery for the sector will be extremely challenging with both new car and commercial vehicle registrations at recession levels. Extension of Government supports beyond the current expiry dates will play an important role across all sectors, while for the Motor Industry changes in VRT that encourage motorists to trade up to a lower emitting car have the potential not only to protect local employment, but can also encourage renewal of the national vehicle fleet, which will play an important role in reducing emissions from transport. VRT reductions could help kick-start the Industry, increase demand and increase the overall tax take.”

Breda drives a 6th generation BMW 5 Series like this one

Breda Grumley Lalor's BMW 5 Series

Breda drives a 6th generation BMW 5 Series like this one
Breda drives a 6th generation BMW 5 Series like this one

In this week's Me and My Car feature we are meeting Breda Grumley Lalor and her BMW 5 Series! Breda is a wedding dress consultant and co-owner of the Bridal Hall, an award-winning bridal salon in Ballybrittas, County Laois. At the Bridal Hall, Breda and her sister Caroline stock a wide range of wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses in a cosy setting. They are experts in their field and offer a full service, including in-house alterations. Breda knows style and has been immersed in the bridal fashion industry for over 20 years. So it's no surprise that she drives a white BMW 5 Series, a seriously glam car to match a very stylish and accomplished woman!

Breda drives the 6th generation of the BMW 5 Series, or in BMW speak, the 'F10', produced between 2010 and 2016. The 5 Series has long been a popular large saloon in Ireland and continues to impress buyers with its comfort, refinement, quality and sporty driving character. As Breda so aptly puts it, the 5 Series 'loves the road'. With every new generation of the car, BMW adds more technology and tweaks the styling but never strays too far from a successful formula.

I asked Breda a few questions about her choice of car.

1. Can you introduce yourself in a few sentences?

Hi, my name is Breda Grumley Lalor and I'm married to John with three kids. I've been working in the Bridal Hall every day for the last 20 years, helping brides select their perfect dress from our selection.

2. What car do you drive? 

I drive a white BMW 520d diesel.

3. What do you like about it?

I just love BMW and this is my third one. It loves the road and I love driving it! I really like that it's an automatic. It's really comfortable and the heated seats are great for cold mornings. Long journeys are a delight because it's so smooth on the road. And it’s white.

4. Is there anything you would change about it? 

The only thing I will say is that it could be a bit bigger for when I have the whole family with me.

5. What's in the glovebox?

Sunglasses, recipes and lipstick.

6. And one piece of advice for brides to be when it comes to choosing a car for their big day?

"If you are wearing a ball gown make sure your car is big enough for it to sit comfortably," says Breda.

Sounds like pretty sound practical advice!

Check out the Bridal Hall on Facebook and Bridesmaids by Breda.

We spent a few days driving a beautiful white BMW 5 Series M Sport back in 2017. Check out our review to find out more about the 5 Series and its best features!

The 2020 Toyota Corolla

Ireland's Bestselling Cars So Far In 2020

Today marks the first day of the 202 registration plate in Ireland. It has been an unexpected difficult start to the year for the motor industry in Ireland with the impact of the Coronavirus on the Irish economy now well documented. However, cars are still being sold and dealerships have been open since the middle of May for sales, repairs and service with new hygiene measures in place.

We have already looked at the new models on sale Ireland in 2020 from every car manufacturer in this article. But what about Ireland's bestselling cars? Now that we are halfway through the year it feels like a good idea to recap on the most popular models on sale in 2020. Check out our list below of the top 10 bestselling cars so far in 2020!

10. Volkswagen Golf

The new 2020 Volkswagen Golf now on sale in Ireland
The new 2020 Volkswagen Golf now on sale in Ireland

Available from €23,950

2020 units sold: 1,160

The perennial Volkswagen Golf has long been a bestseller in Ireland but has slipped down the rankings so far this year.  It still finds itself in the top 10 and a new generation of the Golf should boost the car's fortunes once again. Generation 8 of the classic German hatchback has just arrived in dealers and boasts some impressive new digital technology in the interior and mild hybrid engines for the first time.

9. Nissan Qashqai

The Nissan Qashqai is still a popular buy on the new and used car market
The Nissan Qashqai is still a popular buy on the new and used car market

Available from €27,700

2020 units sold: 1,214

The Qashqai is a former number one bestseller in Ireland. This is the car that started the crossover revolution and is a hugely popular family car in Ireland, both on the new and used market. The second generation of the car continued the brand's success and is available with petrol and diesel engines.

8. Toyota Yaris

The popular Toyota Yaris is also available as a hybrid
The popular Toyota Yaris is also available as a hybrid

Available from €15,950

2020 units sold: 1,251

The popular supermini is a consistent top 10 bestseller in Ireland for the Japanese brand, known for straight forward motoring and reliability. The Yaris is available with small efficient petrol and hybrid powertrains.

7. Toyota C-HR

The 2020 Toyota C-HR
The 2020 Toyota C-HR

Available from €30,620

2020 units sold: 1,268

The C-HR turned out to be an immediate success in Ireland when it launched here in 2017. A revamped version arrived in Ireland at the end of 2019 with tweaked styling and a new more powerful 2.0-litre hybrid powertrain joining the frugal 1.8-litre hybrid in the range. Avant garde looks make it one of the best looking mid size crossovers on Irish roads.

6. Skoda Octavia

The Skoda Octavia blends affordability with practical features
The Skoda Octavia blends affordability with practical features

Available from €24,340

2020 units sold: 1,420

The Octavia's popularity shows no signs of abating. Even with the imminent arrival of a new model, the Octavia has retained strong sales. The Octavia's blend of good value pricing and practical features have really struck a chord with Irish buyers.

5. Hyundai Kona

The new Hyundai Kona Hybrid
The new Hyundai Kona Hybrid, one of the smallest hybrid crossovers on sale in Ireland

Available from €21,495

2020 units sold: 1,444

Another bestseller for Hyundai, the Kona's popularity just keeps growing. Ireland's favourite compact crossover is now available with petrol and diesel engines, hybrid and electric meaning there really is something for everyone in the Kona range. Throw in striking looks and a fun to drive quality and you have one of the most desirable small crossovers on Irish roads.

4. Ford Focus

The new Ford Focus
The Ford Focus continues to sell well in Ireland

Available from €23,539

2020 units sold: 1,594

A new generation of the Focus debuted in Ireland in summer 2018 with improved interior, equipment and technology. The Focus is a great value family hatchback that's comfortable and fun to drive. It retains a strong position within Ireland's top 5 bestselling cars.

3. Volkswagen Tiguan

The Volkswagen Tiguan is now more popular in Ireland than the iconic Golf hatchback!
The Volkswagen Tiguan is now more popular in Ireland than the iconic Golf hatchback!

Available from €31,750

2020 units sold: 1,793

The latest generation of the Volkswagen Tiguan has been a huge success in Ireland since it was launched in 2016 and now outsells the Golf. The mid size family SUV boasts a high quality practical interior and a range of well proven petrol and diesel engines.

2. Hyundai Tucson

The new Hyundai Tucson N Line
The new Hyundai Tucson N Line

Available from €27,495

2020 units sold: 1,997

Ireland's most popular SUV. The blend of affordability along with cool chunky SUV looks has been a winner for the Hyundai brand in Ireland. Mild hybrid technology is new to the range for 2020 and there is also a new sporty N Line.

1. Toyota Corolla

The 2020 Toyota Corolla
The 2020 Toyota Corolla

Available from €26,390

2020 units sold: 2,497

Toyota scored a hat trick in 2019 with the arrival of three exciting new Corolla models -  a hatchback, estate and saloon. The new Corolla quickly became Ireland's bestselling car and continues that trend in 2020. This new generation of the Corolla impresses for its much improved interior and dynamic ability, while fuel sipping hybrid powertrains strike the right note too. In 2020 there is a new GR Sport trim level and a more powerful 2.0-litre hybrid powertrain available. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also available for the first time.

Check out the latest 202 offers from all the brands to get the best deal on your next car.

To read reviews of all the latest models check out our extensive Car Reviews, divided up into categories for your convenience!

Elizabeta is a technology journalist in Slovakia. Here she is with the Tesla Model S

10 Questions With Elizabeta Harry Gavendova, Tech Journalist

Elizabeta is a technology journalist in Slovakia. Here she is with the Tesla Model S
Elizabeta is a technology journalist based in Slovakia. Here she is with the Tesla Model S

This week in the Changing Lanes interview series, we meet Elizabeta Harry Gavendova, a technology journalist from Slovakia. Imagine reviewing the latest smartphone and then finding a Tesla in your test schedule? This is Elizabeta's life as a tech journalist with a media company in Slovakia! I think Elizabeta has an interesting and unique perspective on motoring. And the smartphone and technology industry is hardly that different to the car world. Every new product is ‘better’ than the one that went before - more power, new features, sleeker, lighter, 'the best we ever made'!

In this interview Elizabeta gives us some insight into her world, with some nice cars dotted along her journey. No surprises her favourite feature in the car is good smartphone connectivity!

1. Can you introduce yourself to our readers in a few sentences?

Hi guys, I'm a Slovak technology journalist for more than 7 years. I work for a well-known Slovak newspaper and website Hospodarske noviny. It focuses on economics and politics, but there is also a Technology section that I am responsible for. I write articles, and shoot and edit videos for our own internet television too. Testing smartphones or other smart stuff is my daily routine, as were press conferences and travelling (before the corona times).

2. What attracted you to a career in journalism? Why technology?

I guess, it was destiny... but this destiny was called Johnny, haha. Well, I studied, travelled and worked abroad for a few years. Once I settled again back in Slovakia, my school friend Johnny told me I should audition for a technology TV show casting. I studied screenwriting and directing at film school and already had some experiences from local TV, so I tried it. I went through the casting and got the job at "World of Technologies". Suddenly I became a screenwriter and reporter, and I had to study all tech and nerdie stuff - from smartphones, to smart homes and cars. A new era began for me and I fell in love with this. But learning about technologies is never-ending, "work in progress"…

Elizabeta and the BMW i8
Elizabeta and the BMW i8

3. What do you like most about your job?

I am grateful for the trust of my superiors (in my current and previous roles) and the opportunities they gave me. I love to talk about new products, try new technologies, take part in world events, where new things are launched. Be it new smartphones or any other technologies. I love the excitement of writing an article quickly to a deadline or shooting video at an event, express editing on the laptop in the hotel room, or just in the corridor backstage at the show. It is an honour to get early access to some cool stuff.

4. What's your approach to reviewing products, be it a new smartphone or the latest new car?

Hmmm, my smartphones testing may not look like testing at all...I just use them like my daily driver, usually for two weeks. So, I have all my data, apps that I use, simply everything. I do not use any other smartphone at that time, so I really depend on this device. Whether it cost €150 or €1500. I notice how it behaves, if it is slow, fast, how is the gaming experience, I take pictures, videos and I compare with previous smartphones.

With cars - I do not test so much, maybe once a month. I started with electric cars, but now I try all kinds of power! During the week I drive just in the city, testing consumption over short distances. At the weekends, I go on longer journeys to get to know the car better. I also find a nice place to shoot them - and wash them before shooting. I’m not a real motor journalist (yet), I write more about technology than cars.

5. What can you tell us about the motor industry in Slovakia? What kind of trends do you see in the new car market? 

Fun fact, Slovakia is number one in car production “per capita” (car units made a year multiplied by the number of people). Jaguar Land Rover, Kia Motors, Volkswagen and PSA Group all have manufacturing facilities here.

I am not sure if Slovaks have any special preferences or trends but SUVs and crossovers are popular for families. We also feel familiar with Czech cars like Skoda, thanks to the former Czechoslovakia countries connection. Drag racing is popular too with competitions held to sprint up a hill called Pezinska Baba.

Elizabeta reporting on the latest technology products
Elizabeta reporting on the latest technology products

6. What has been the most interesting car to test and why?

Honestly, I try to be curious and excited about any car. But yeah, some experiences do leave a lasting experience. I was really amazed by the Rolls Royce Phantom. I promise, it was not just because of the luxury! But I liked that I could literally talk about that car for hours to introduce all of its interesting technology - great noise cancelling cabin, flying carpet approach, rear doors opening on the opposite side to what you are used to, star ceiling above your head, art gallery at the front passenger side, screens on the back seats. And of course, the V12 engine with more than 560 hp. I felt like I was behind the steering wheel of a huge ship. I also loved the BMW i8 and Tesla Model S90 D.

7. What's your favourite technology feature in the car?

I am obsessed with good smartphone connectivity. As I change smartphones and cars all the time, I love to see at least something familiar on the main display - Android Car or Apple CarPlay. I joke that I always get lost using the original navigation systems from carmakers. So, I like Google Maps in the car with actual traffic information, voice messages, Siri assistant, my favourite music on Spotify... Modern infotainment systems give me my personal comfort in any car.

8. What have you learnt from your role about consumers and the way we interact with technology?

Lol, I learnt that sometimes you could try to give the best advice to consumers - but they still choose the other product, which doesn't make sense at all! You advise them to choose one model because for example it has a great camera, but they still choose the worst model just because it has, let’s say, cooler design. I mean sometimes you can be sure you have a good product, but people may think differently to you. This is strange and exciting at the same time.

9. Favourite place in Slovakia for a road trip?

We have many castles and mountains so you can take a trip to places like Orava Castle, Bojnce Castle, Spis Castle, Hight Tatras. We have our own small “Route 66”, which goes across Slovakia from north to south. On this road you will find nice scenes and places of interest. One of the most beautiful roads is the route from Brezno through Telgart to Domasa. You can admire a cool looking viaduct in Telgart, Domasa dam, nice mountain at Kralova hola and more attractions.

10. What advice would you have for anyone who would like a career like yours?

If you really want to do that, study, observe, and be patient with tests and products. Also, watch older colleagues, experts, try to learn and absorb as much from them as you can. You do not have to agree with all of their opinions, but at least think about it. Do not think you are cleverer than others. Technology is such a great and huge field, you could miss some details. And then - just do it with passion.

Elizabeta shooting the Peugeot 208
Elizabeta shooting the Peugeot 208

Thanks to Elizabeta for taking part in this interview!

Stay up to date with Elizabeta's adventures over on Instagram.

By Caroline Kidd

The 2021 Opel Mokka

Opel Mokka To Make Bold Comeback To Ireland In 2021

The 2021 Opel Mokka
The 2021 Opel Mokka

Opel has revealed the first official images of the new Mokka, due in Ireland in early 2021. The new generation of Opel Mokka debuts a new design direction for the German brand that is sure to garner it a few new fans in the hotly contested compact crossover segment.

What's more the new Mokka will continue the brand's move to electrification and be available from launch with an all-electric powertrain ('Mokka-e'), alongside variants with petrol and diesel engines.

The 2021 Opel Mokka will also debut a new digital interior cockpit, dubbed the Opel Pure Panel.

Michael Lohscheller, Opel CEO said:

"The new Mokka is a head-turner, destined to change the perception of our brand! With the Mokka, we are reinventing Opel and introducing our design of the next decade. It shows everything the brand stands for today and in the future: the Mokka is fun, efficient and innovative in all respects. In addition, it perfectly embodies the Opel brand values - exciting, approachable, German - in the most progressive way. It is the first Opel that is electric right from its market start; a real proof that Opel goes electric."

Bold, crossover style for 2021 Opel Mokka

Invented by design chief Mark Adams and his team, the Opel Vizor front face will feature on all of the brand's models throughout the 2020s. The 'Vizor' is punctuated by the Opel Blitz logo in the centre. At the rear, the strong, new visual brand identity continues, with thin, LED-rear lights.

The new Mokka will have a slightly longer wheelbase (+2 mm) than its predecessor, short overhangs and wide stance. Opel promises plenty of cabin room for five passengers and a similar 350 litres of boot space.

Mark Adams, Opel Design Vice President, said:

"Bold and pure, this is what the Opel design of the future will look like. The new Mokka shows athletic proportions combined with precisely structured, flowing surfaces. We have developed this philosophy aligned to characteristic German design, combining progressive bold design with purity."

Inside the new Mokka debuts an exciting new interior concept for the Opel brand
Inside the new Mokka debuts an exciting new interior concept for the Opel brand

Inside the new Mokka

The new Mokka will be built on Opel's Common Modular Platform, which allows the installation of an electric powertrain or an internal combustion engine without impacting the cabin space of the vehicle. The engineering team in Rüsselsheim, Germany, has saved up to 120 kg versus the previous generation of the car. Yet body stiffness has been enhanced, gaining up to 30% torsional stiffness in the case of the electric version, with its low-sitting integrated battery structure. Opel says this means new Mokka consumes substantially less energy, while being much more responsive, agile and fun to drive.

Inside the vehicle, the Mokka debuts an extraordinary new interior concept for the Opel brand. The new Opel Pure Panel will be available with two wide screens of up to 10 and 12 inches in size. The central display is tilted to the driver and will store the latest technologies and most important driver information. There will still be control buttons for essential functions. The design of the centre console too has been cleaned up, thanks to an electric parking brake and the new electric gear lever.

Opel says that standard equipment will include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, LED lamps at the front and rear, an electric parking brake and traffic sign recognition. Dependant on trim, equipment includes six-way ergonomic seats, heated leather seats, massage function, a 180-degree panorama rear-view camera, navigation, Advanced Cruise Control, Active Lane Positioning, wireless smartphone charging, and glare-free, IntelliLux LED® matrix lights.

What about the Opel Mokka-e?

The Opel Mokka-e electric crossover will arrive at the same time as the rest of the new Mokka range. The new Mokka-e's electric motor will deliver 100 kW (136 hp) and 260 Nm of torque. Drivers will also be available to choose between three drive modes: Normal, Eco and Sport. The electronically limited top speed is 150 kmh to preserve energy stored in the 50 kWh battery and the range. 100 kW DC fast charging will be available, able to replenish 80% of the battery in just 30 minutes. The Opel Mokka-e has a purely battery-electric range of up to 322 kilometres according to WLTP in Normal mode. The battery will be covered by an eight-year warranty.

Opel Ireland has confirmed that the new Opel Mokka will be on sale here from late summer 2020, with the first cars arriving in dealer showrooms in early 2021.

2020 has already seen the launch of two new electrified cars from the brand, the Opel Corsa-e and the Opel Grandland X hybrids.

The new Mokka will be available wil electric, petrol and diesel engines
The new Mokka will be available with electric, petrol and diesel engines

The new Renault ZOE Z.E. 50 on test for Changing Lanes

Renault ZOE Z.E.50 (2020) Review

The new Renault ZOE Z.E. 50 on test for Changing Lanes
The new Renault ZOE Z.E. 50 on test for Changing Lanes

Caroline drives the new Renault ZOE Z.E. 50!

The Renault ZOE debuted in Europe back at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, making the ZOE one of the veterans in this modern era of electric mobility. Now in 2020, Renault is back with a new generation of the car – the Z.E. 50, a name which reflects the car’s new battery size. In fact, this is a car that has been consistently tweaked and improved over the years since its launch. And unlike the sales curve of a traditional car, ZOE has increased sales gradually year after year.

In the last six years of Changing Lanes I’ve also seen a gradual shift that means that modern electric cars like ZOE now find themselves in the most receptive market in their history. The number of electrified models in my test schedule has accelerated since 2018. In late 2019 we saw an electric car take the title of Irish Car of the Year for the first time. Media coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the fact that when you press pause on the economy, the environment benefits and air quality in cities improves. The idea of zero tailpipe emissions has never been more appealing. Just like smoking, cars with combustion engines could now become very unfashionable very quickly.

The Renault ZOE is already the bestselling electric car in Europe. With this car’s compact size and affordability, it’s easy to see why. Yet ZOE no longer has a monopoly on the compact electric vehicle space. New entrants like the Opel Corsa-e, Peugeot e-208, MINI Electric and forthcoming Honda e, mean that the ZOE will find itself coming under ever more scrutiny.

The 2020 Renault ZOE has a number of new features
The 2020 Renault ZOE has a number of new features

What’s new for the 2020 Renault ZOE?

In Ireland the Renault is the cheapest way into an electric vehicle with this new ZOE coming in a whisker below the starting price of its closest rivals with a sticker price of €26,990 after Government grants and VRT relief. That’s still considerably more than a 1.0-litre petrol Renault Clio for example, but let’s not forget the incentives, zero tailpipe emissions and savings you can make on running costs with an electric car. The new 52 kWh battery replaces the 41 kWh of the previous generation of the car, yet doesn’t take up any more space. It offers 25% more range than the Renault ZOE Z.E. 40, and is officially rated at 395 km (WLTP).

New safety technology has been incorporated into the ZOE’s platform along with a new regenerative braking ‘B Mode’. A 100 kW engine joins the range with 135 hp, giving the ZOE more maturity when it comes to motorway driving.

The ZOE’s versatile standard 22 kW AC Chameleon charger remains but there is 50 kW DC fast charging for the first time in the form of a new CCS adaptor, available as an option.

New paint colours include Celadon Blue (pictured), Flame Red and Quartz White. There’s also a brand-new interior that takes many cues from the new Clio, which improves the quality and technology of the vehicle considerably. We also welcome a new electronic “e-shifter” gear lever and automatic parking brake with auto-hold function.

Inside the new Renault ZOE
Inside the new Renault ZOE

What are my options?

Let’s take a closer look at the Renault ZOE Z.E. 50 range in Ireland to find out what’s available. There are three trim lines – Play, Iconic and GT Line. Two motors are available which give a different power output - the R110 motor (108 hp) and the new R135 motor with greater performance (135 hp).

The entry model into the range with that appealing sticker price (€26,990) has the R110 motor and in built 22 kW Chameleon charger. Equipment on this vehicle includes an impressive new 10-inch TFT instrument cluster, 7” touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, LED headlamps, automatic lights and wipers, air conditioning, electric door mirrors, and cruise control.

The Iconic model is available from €28,990 with the R110 motor or from €30,990 with the R135 motor and opens up the option of the CCS adaptor.

The GT Line is the top of the range model and comes as standard with the R135 motor, available from €31,990. Visually this model gets more bling with tinted rear windows, 16” diamond cut alloy wheels, chrome stamped grille. While inside there is special part recycled, part synthetic leather seat upholstery. Equipment updates include rear parking camera, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot warning, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, automatic high beam, traffic sign recognition,  9.3 inch portrait touchscreen, climate control and a wireless phone charger.

CCS fast charging is available for the first time in the 2020 Renault ZOE range
CCS fast charging is available for the first time in the 2020 Renault ZOE range

How practical is new ZOE?

The ZOE was designed from the start as an all-electric vehicle. Over the years, the brand has improved battery capacity without taking up more space inside the vehicle. In fact for a five door electric supermini, the ZOE does a good job. The boot is deep and has a capacity of 338 litres with a practical hatchback opening style. Up front the ZOE is roomy for two adults with lots of headroom and elbow room. It’s smaller in the back, feeling more suitable for two across the rear bench. However, Isofix child seat fixtures on outer rear seats and the front passenger seat boost practicality for young families or grandparents.

What’s it like inside?

The 2020 Renault ZOE debuts a brand-new interior. Quality has improved a lot making it feel like a more mature car in line with the Clio. The digital display for the driver is new and much more modern than what has come before. It displays information about things like your speed, range, power and efficiency. The new ZOE also benefits from Renault’s latest infotainment system that syncs easily to Apple and Android smartphones. There is no height adjustment lever on the driver’s seat but the steering wheel does adjust for reach and rake. There is also a more sophisticated gear selector to your left than what has come before.

Rear seating in the new Renault ZOE
Rear seating in the new Renault ZOE

Charging the Renault ZOE

For the first time, the ZOE will now be able to use Ireland’s fast charge network. A CCS adaptor is available from the Iconic level trim. It facilitates ZOE to charge at 50 kW at a fast charger on the ESB public charging network for example. After 30 minutes you could be on your way with an extra 145 km of range.

But don’t overlook the standard 22 kW AC Chameleon charger, which is actually a little bit of genius in its own regard. You can use any of the ESB’s more plentiful Type 2 chargers, often in town, and charge at 22 kW AC, and get a full charge in 2 hours and 40 minutes. I’ve seen this in action and in about an hour you can get 40% extra charge. A 7 kW wallbox unit at home for example charges the new ZOE in 9 hours and 25 minutes.

Driving the 2020 Renault ZOE Z.E. 50

The ZOE’s compact dimensions and electric powertrain work well together, particularly in the urban environment. You will be nipping around in no time and it’s here you really feel the benefit of ZOE's cool, linear acceleration. My test car had the R135 motor with 135 hp and you notice that extra zip. The electric motor gives instant response from a press of the throttle. The new B mode is a more aggressive regenerative braking system that allows near one pedal driving. This is because when you lift off the accelerator the car brakes itself quite rapidly so you can modulate the car's responses with just the accelerator pedal very easily.

I’ve tested the ZOE a few times in the last few years but this model seems to adapt to high speed motorway driving much better than before. This is down to improved refinement in the cabin and the higher powered motor.

You sit quite high in the ZOE, great for visibility but this car is not a sports car. The steering and handling does pass as feeling natural most of the time so there’s still all of the fun of driving a small car.

The new ZOE is available from €26,990 in Ireland
The new ZOE is available from €26,990 in Ireland

Did you like it?

The Renault ZOE has grown up again. The relative affordability of this car is important at a time when buyers will still find themselves paying a premium for a more environmentally friendly electric car. The ZOE now has a more mature feeling interior, while new technology features like the digital instrument display for the driver make for a much more modern and appealing driving experience.

CCS fast charging is a timely addition to the range, but it's not included as standard. Though there are benefits to upgrading to a higher spec ZOE with CCS, the appeal of the 22 kW on board charger should not be overlooked. It really does make charging quicker from the more plentiful Type 2 ESB chargers that you are more likely to encounter in Irish towns.

More range is always an advantage as it adds more flexibility and versatility to the routines of an EV owner, less time charging and more anxiety-free driving. Over 300 km is definitely feasible from new ZOE, especially if you stick to low speed city driving. What’s more, the higher capacity battery doesn’t drop kilometres from your range rapidly the minute you arrive on the motorway and squeeze the accelerator hard.

Like many manufacturers, Renault is moving fast now into electrifying popular models in their range. New hybrid versions of the Clio and Captur are expected this year. For buyers committed to full electric motoring, ZOE remains a charming tried and tested, tweaked and honed formula that balances affordability with practical charging and comfortable range.

Now watch my video for a closer look at the new ZOE's best features!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Renault ZOE Z.E. 50 R135 GT Line
€31,990 (Range from €26,990)
Engine: 100 kW
135 hp
Torque: 245 Nm
9.5 seconds
Top speed: 140 km/h
Motor Tax: €120 per year

Vicki Butler-Henderson and the Ferrari 458 Spider

EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Vicki Butler-Henderson

Vicki Butler-Henderson and the Ferrari 458 Spider
Vicki Butler-Henderson and the Ferrari 458 Spider

This week I'm delighted to share my interview with the legendary Vicki Butler-Henderson! A motoring journalist, racing driver and broadcaster for over 20 years, Vicki continues to be a reliable and entertaining face of motoring on TV with credits including hit shows like Top Gear and Fifth Gear. She has also been a road tester for Auto Express and What Car? magazines, and written for more titles including The Sunday Times and The Daily Telegraph.

When I was growing up, there weren't many women writing about cars in the magazines or reviewing them on TV. But there was Vicki Butler-Henderson. Vicki was my childhood hero. I remember seeing her on the cover of Top Gear magazine behind the wheel of the then very new Honda S2000. I think it was 1999. That image was very powerful for me. Role models do matter.

So when Vicki accepted my invitation request, it really made my day! In this interview, Vicki shares a special moment on set in Italy with the Ferrari 458 Spider. I watched the clip and I can see why. I've included the YouTube clip of this segment from Fifth Gear. Watch it. I think it really shows why Vicki is a star.

Vicki, for many fans in the UK and Ireland you have been the First Lady of automotive in print and TV for over 20 years. How does it feel to look back on this career?

VBH: I feel incredibly lucky to have a career I love. Racing karts from the age of 12, and my love of writing, enabled me to become a motoring journalist - and that was something that was never an option at a University when I left school! I have learned everything I know by being ‘on the job’ and I am so grateful to my father who opened the motorsport door to me when I was young. It also helps to be blessed with a little bit of driving talent, too. I am so happy to do what I do!

Vicki and the Honda S2000
Vicki and the Honda S2000

You bring energy to the screen that's very authentic and inspiring. What's the secret to communicating cars on screen?

VBH: Passion! Driving cars is what I totally love, and I have tested thousands of cars over the years so it is relatively easy for me to have the knowledge to rate a new car against its rivals. When I drive a car on TV, I tune in to the car’s characteristics and abilities and just put that into words. It also helps if I’m sliding around a race track because that always makes me smile!

We know you also like to race cars. What are your top driving tips?

VBH: I have three simple things that you can start doing as soon as you next get into your car.

  1. Keep your hands in the ‘quarter to three’ position on the steering wheel almost all of the time. Glue them there! It will mean that you always know which way the wheels are pointing (useful on black ice if you skid, for example), and in time this will also help you to be better connected to the tyres and understand what the tyres are telling you through your hands - the road’s surface, its undulations, camber etc.
  2. Lift your eyes! Look much further down the road than you are doing now to get more information about any upcoming hazards. This will give you a bit more time to react and to keep yourself safe - which is very important!
  3. Coming up to roundabouts, or country bends, do all your braking in as straight a line as possible. Change down the gears whilst you are braking, as well. This will then leave your hands free to turn the wheel to get round the roundabout/corner, and your feet free to start accelerating as you reach your exit point.

Just keep practising these 3 things as they are the foundations to becoming a better driver!

You became the owner of one of the last limited edition Ford Focus RS Heritage Edition models. The Focus RS is one of my personal favourites too! Can you explain why you chose it?

VBH: You have great taste! I adore any Ford with a RS badge because it represents the sportiest version of its type. The Focus is a great car for me because its handling is so much fun, and also it is a great family car with its rear doors and decent cabin space. The Heritage is rare, so its exclusivity is an added bonus, but the best thing about it is the noise - it pops and bangs! Perfect for the school run...

Ford Focus RS Heritage Edition
Vicki owns one of these limited edition Ford Focus RS Heritage Edition models

You must have had many great experiences behind the wheel, testing cars. Which cars and experiences really stand out for you?

VBH: Two highlights were when I was a presenter for Top Gear.

One was when I was testing a Formula One car for Top Gear - albeit a F1 car that was a few years old by the time I got behind the wheel.

The other is going skywards in a Jaguar jet fighter plane - a tenuous link to a car (Jaguar!) when we needed something to test against Aston Martin’s latest car.

I have had many more wonderful adventures as well with Fifth Gear, particularly when I was almost brought to tears (of joy!) testing a Ferrari 458 Spider on the roads above Ferrari’s HQ in Italy (on You Tube if you fancy a watch).

How do you feel about electric cars?

VBH: They are coming! The absolutely best thing about them is their instant torque - put your foot on the throttle and they pull away from a standstill with gusto! I just wish that the recharging infrastructure in the UK was brilliant. Charging stations need to be as frequent as petrol stations, or more so, and we need to be able to charge batteries as quickly as it currently takes to fill a tank of petrol, at the very least. Waiting at a petrol pump is a pretty dull experience as it is.

What advice would you give to anyone trying to start and progress in a career in motoring journalism?

VBH: Start by writing about cars - motorsport, classic cars, anything that you are passionate about - for your local parish paper or newspaper. Anything to get printed on paper or online! Then offer yourself as a work experience bod for a car magazine and make yourself indispensable!

When can we next see you on TV?

VBH: All the time on catch-up! ITV4 is also often running ’The Car Years’ which is a lovely 6-part show about the best two cars from six different years. Also, a new Fifth Gear should be on air in its annual autumn slot on Quest/Discovery.

Vicki and the Maserati Quattroporte
Vicki and the Maserati Quattroporte

Thanks to Vicki for taking part in this interview!

By Caroline Kidd

The first examples of the Volkswagen ID.3 all electric car will arrive in Ireland in September

Volkswagen ID.3 1st Pricing For Ireland

The first examples of the Volkswagen ID.3 all electric car will arrive in Ireland in September
The first examples of the Volkswagen ID.3 all electric car will arrive in Ireland in September

The first examples of the new Volkswagen ID.3 all electric car will arrive in Ireland in September.

Pricing will start from €33,625 after Government grants and VRT relief for the 1st Edition models that are scheduled to arrive here for customer deliveries, with more models to be added to the range later.

The 1st Edition of the ID.3 comes with a 58 kWh battery, which is driven by an electric motor at the rear axle. It generates 150 kW and delivers a maximum torque of 310 Nm, enabling the ID.3 to accelerate to 60 km/h in 3.4 seconds with a single gear.

This battery also allows WLTP-expected ranges of 410km – 424km on a single charge, depending on the ID.3 1st model selected - 1st, the 1st Plus and the 1st Max.

Volkswagen will be offering these special edition models to pre-bookers who placed a €1,000 reservation fee over the last few months.

More information on pricing and equipment for ID.3 in Ireland

The entry-level ID.3 1st costs €33,625 and includes a navigation system, a DAB+ digital radio, ‘Air Care Climatronic’ air conditioning system with 2-zone climate control, seat heating and steering wheel heating, armrest at the front, fast charging with 100 kW direct current (DC) or 11 kW alternating current (AC) and 18-inch alloy wheels. Standard features include ‘Light Assist’, natural voice control and ‘ID.light’ in the interior. Volkswagen says the WLTP-rated range will be 424 km on a single charge.

The ID.3 1st Plus costs €40,595 and features a rear-view camera and keyless access locking and starting system. The vehicle interior of the ID.3 1st Plus also includes a centre console with two additional USB-C connections in the rear. Forming part of the exterior equipment are tinted windows, the exterior ‘Style’ package in silver, LED rear taillights with dynamic turn signal and 19-inch alloy wheels. It has a WLTP-expected range of 419km on a single charge.

The top-of-the-range version, the ID.3 1st Max costs €47,545. It has two additional loudspeakers, a large panorama roof as well as 20-inch wheels. There's also a ‘Travel Assist’ driver assistant including the ‘Side Assist’ lane change assistant and ‘Emergency Assist’ as well as the ‘Comfort’ telephony function with inductive charging. Electrically adjustable front seats with massage function round off the equipment for the ID.3 1st Max. It has a WLTP-expected range of 410km on a single charge. A promised augmented reality head-up display (AR) will be rolled out to customers as part of a dealer upgrade at a later date as well as other software updates.

Model Description VRT Band Battery Size Range km (WLTP) RRP RRP After SEAI Grant and Rebate
Private Buyers          
ID.3 1st 204hp A1 58 kWh 424 €43,625 €33,625
ID.3 1st Plus 204hp A1 58 kWh 419 €50,595 €40,595
ID.3 1st Max 204hp A1 58 kWh 410 €57,545 €47,545
Business / Commercial Buyers          
ID.3 1st 204hp A1 58 kWh 424 €43,625 €39,425
ID.3 1st Plus 204hp A1 58 kWh 419 €50,595 €46,395
ID.3 1st Max 204hp A1 58 kWh 410 €57,545 €53,345

The Volkswagen ID.3 is also being manufactured with a 45 kWh battery with an estimated range of 230 - 330 km, and a 77 kWh battery with estimated range of between 390 and 550 km.