The new Audi A1

2019 Audi A1 1.0 TFSI Review

The new Audi A1
The new Audi A1 30 TFSI S Line

Caroline drives the 2019 Audi A1!

Priced from €24,650, Audi Ireland has just introduced the second generation of the Audi A1. With a stylish design, the latest technology and a sophisticated cabin, the A1 may be the entry into the Audi range but the essence of Audi desirability is compressed within that compact frame.

In fact, the Audi A1 has grown up considerably. It’s larger than before with a more angular and cooler design than before. According to Audi, the A1’s dynamic new styling has been inspired by the brand-defining Ur quattros of the Eighties. The more chiselled and serious appearance broadens the car’s appeal even more in my opinion. Matched to an eye-popping colour like Turbo Blue, and you have a car that makes a serious style statement. The S Line models add sportier styling including larger air inlets, additional sill trims, an elongated slit centrally below the bonnet with two fins and a larger rear wing.

The new Audi A1 is now sold solely as a practical five door hatchback and there’s more interior space than before, particularly noticeable in the rear. The boot is respectable for any small hatchback at 335 litres.

The Audi A1 range starts from €24,650 in Ireland
The Audi A1 range starts from €24,650 in Ireland

Inside the 2019 Audi A1

The 2019 Audi A1 has an all new interior and it really is a joy to behold! The cabin has a lovely snug and sophisticated feel with the latest infotainment and assistance features. There is a fully digital instrument cluster with a high-resolution, 10.25-inch display as standard. The Audi smartphone interface also comes as standard and integrates iOS and Android smartphones using Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. For the full effect, you will want to spec MMI Navigation plus with a 10.1-inch MMI touch screen and the Audi Virtual Cockpit. Together it truly is one of the best small car interiors on the market right now.

It is pricey however, though that goes with the territory of a premium small car. In Ireland the A1 range is sold in Attraction (from €24,650), SE (from €26,550) and S Line (from €28,900). Standard equipment includes lane departure warning, air con, electric windows, 8.8” MMI display, 15” wheels and automatic lights and wipers. SE adds features such as 16” wheels, leather trim, cruise control and rear parking sensors. The S Line adds 17” wheels, LED headlights and rear lights with dynamic indicators, aluminium look interior (switches and buttons), S-Line exterior styling, sport seats and sports suspension.

The interior of the new Audi A1
The interior of the new Audi A1

Driving the new Audi A1

The 2019 Audi A1 range kicks off with the 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine with 116hp – the ’30 TFSI’. There’s a 6-speed manual gearbox and seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission available. Other engine options include a 1.5 and 2.0-litre TFSI. My test car was an Audi A1 30 TFSI with the 1.0-litre 116hp engine. It suits the A1 perfectly. It is so much fun on the road with plenty of power and always feels lively. It’s also reasonably efficient – over a week of driving my fuel consumption averaged at 6.4l/100km.

As an alternative to the standard suspension on Attraction and SE, tauter sport suspension is fitted as standard to S line models. On the road the Audi A1 is a blast to drive. There is minimal body roll through corners and the steering is nicely weighted for a sporty drive. There are a number of driving modes to choose from, including a dynamic mode which is great for twisty roads! Generally the refinement and comfort is good for a small car, however on poor surfaces the firmer suspension and bigger wheels of the S Line model pick up more surface defects and road noise.

The Audi A1 may be the most compact Audi you can buy but there’s no doubt to this small car’s pedigree. It is obviously not cheap for what is still a compact car, but it is extremely stylish and desirable. There’s personality to it and this new generation interior is a treat also. You do have to pay a bit to get the full digital experience, but when you do, this car is streets ahead of the competition.

The new Audi A1 is a master stroke in small cars.

The Audi A1 is one of the most advanced small cars around!
The Audi A1 is one of the most advanced small cars around!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Audi A1 30 TFSI 116hp S Line
Price:
€28,900 (range from €24,650)
Engine: 1.0-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
116 hp
Torque: 200 Nm
0-100km/h: 
9.5 seconds
Top speed: 203 km/h
Fuel economy:
5.7-5.8 l/100km
CO2 emissions: 
128-131 g/km
Motor tax: 
€270-280 per year


SEAT has launched the new eXS KickScooter

SEAT eXS KickScooter In Partnership With Segway

SEAT has launched the new eXS KickScooter
SEAT has launched the new eXS KickScooter

SEAT has announced the arrival of the new eXS Kickscooter powered by Segway to the Irish market. The new scooter will be available to order from participating SEAT retailers across the country and features Segway’s leading electric technology.

The SEAT eXS KickScooter has a travel range of 25 kilometres on one charge and its maximum recharging time is three and a half hours. The electric scooters top speed is 25 km/hour and weighs 12.5 kilos. Its 8 inch (diameter) solid rubber wheels help prevent punctures and its front and rear suspensions give it smooth handling.

The eXS Kickscooter is also equipped with a password protected app that allows the user to control the front and rear LED lights, customisable ambient light, an LCD screen, cruise control setting and an anti-theft deterrent.

This partnership between SEAT and Segway is in response to the growing demand for electric urban transport among commuters. In major cities like Paris, Berlin, Barcelona and London electric scooters are already a common form of transport and it is estimated that in Spain alone there are more than 26,000 electric scooters on the streets of its cities.

As part of its 192 sales campaign, SEAT Ireland will run a special Open Week from June 17th to 22nd with savings available across the SEAT range as well as a free electric scooter for those who place an order on a SEAT model during this period.

Commenting on the product launch, Niall Phillips, Brand Director at SEAT Ireland said,

“While selling high value four-wheel vehicles will remain the core offering of SEAT Ireland, we have to be cognisant of changing consumer demand and the need to adapt our product range to meet this demand.

At SEAT Ireland, innovation is at the heart of what we do and with recent years witnessing a shift in the mobility needs of the Irish public, particularly in urban areas, we are both delighted and excited to be the first car manufacturer to introduce a new form of mobility to the market.”

The SEAT eXS KickScooter is available at SEAT retailers nationwide now and RRP is €599.


The new Subaru XV and Forester e-BOXER Hybrids

Subaru XV Crossover And Forester e-BOXER Hybrids

The new Subaru XV and Forester e-BOXER Hybrids
The new Subaru XV and Forester e-BOXER Hybrids

Subaru Ireland has released details of the new Subaru XV Crossover and the all-new Forester e-BOXER hybrids, which will arrive in Ireland before the end of 2019.

Both cars will use a 2.0-litre petrol-electric powertrain.  From standstill, or at low speed, the electric motor alone powers the vehicle. Depending on the vehicle and battery condition, it can drive on EV-Mode for distances ranging up to about 1.6km, and reach speeds up to 40km/h.

At medium speeds, power from both the motor and the engine combine to give a responsive, linear and fuel-efficient acceleration, while at high-speed the 2.0-litre direct-injection BOXER engine powers the vehicle while recharging the battery.

The new generation of the Subaru Forester is the most technologically advanced Subaru yet, equipped with a host of new Advanced Safety technologies including EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, Driver Monitoring System and Reverse Automatic Braking.

The new Forester features a spacious passenger cabin and a versatile cargo compartment thanks to the compact battery that minimizes spatial impact. The width is increased by 20mm over the previous model providing more front seat comfort. The wheelbase was stretched 30 mm, as a result, the distance between the front and the rear seat passenger was extended by 33mm for improved rear seat comfort. There are 220 millimeters of ground clearance and wide approach and departure angles for off-road driving. The X-Mode is now available with dual functions, suited for a variety of weather and road conditions and the new Forester has a towing capacity of 1870kg.

The new Subaru Forester is priced at €44,495 for the SE model and comes with LED Headlights, Keyless access, electrically adjustable driver seat, Driver monitoring system, EyeSight and X-Mode 2. The SE Premium edition is priced at €48,195 and includes 18” alloys, Sunroof, Leather seats, Satellite Navigation, Power tailgate, heated rear seats and heated steering wheel.

The new Subaru XV Crossover is built on the all-new Subaru Global Platform and just like the Forester, the XV Crossover is powered by a direct-injection 2.0-litre horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine and paired with an electric motor within the customized lineartronic transmission. The Subaru XV Crossover e-BOXER comes as standard with a suite of driver-assist and safety features, such as EyeSight driver assist and Rear Vehicle Detection. It has a compact body with 220mm ground clearance, underpinned by Subaru’s original Symmetrical AWD System, Active Torque Vectoring, and an improved X-Mode system for off road.

The Subaru XV Crossover is priced at €38,495 for the SE model which includes LED headlights, 17” alloys, electrically adjustable and heated driver seat, EyeSight, Keyless access and Dual zone air-conditioning. For €41,495 the SE Premium version offers upgrades such as a Sunroof, Satellite Navigation and Driver seat electrical adjustments.

This e-BOXER announcement follows news that Toyota and Subaru will jointly develop a BEV-dedicated platform as early as next year, marking the next stage of the Subaru electrification strategy. The two companies will apply Subaru’s all-wheel drive and Toyota’s vehicle electrification technologies to jointly develop a C-segment SUV.

Order books are now open for both models with first vehicles set to arrive in Ireland this November.


The new Kia e-Soul

Kia e-Soul Arrives In Ireland!

The new Kia e-Soul
The new Kia e-Soul

The all-new Kia e-Soul has arrived in Ireland. This is the third generation of the Kia Soul, which will now be exclusively sold as an all-electric vehicle.

Kia Motors Ireland is offering the e-Soul in two trims, K2 and K3, and both come with a 64 kWh battery that gives a real world range of up to 452km and 204hp.

With the powertrain’s maximum 395 Nm torque available from a standstill, the long-range 64 kWh e-Soul will accelerate from 0-to-100 kph in just 7.9 seconds.

A Combined Charging System (CCS) DC fast charger is fitted as standard. There are also a range of energy-recuperation technologies to maximise driving range including an energy efficient heat pump system and a regenerative braking system operated by paddle shifters behind the steering wheel.

Standard equipment includes a 10.25” touchscreen AV/Nav display, 7” supervision cluster, Lane Keep Assist, Smart Cruise Control, Front Collison Avoidance, full leather trim, Harmon Kardon Sound System, Heads Up Display and Blind Spot Detection.

The Kia e-Soul K2 is priced from €35,995, while the K3 is priced from €37,495, including VRT relief and government grants.

“Kia Motors Ireland are delighted to launch both the e-Niro and e-Soul into the Irish market. There is built up demand in the country for a wider range of EV vehicles to choose from and public reaction for these new cars has been tremendous. Already demand for 192 cars has exceeded supply and we are now seeking interest for 2020,“ commented James Brooks, Managing Director, Kia Motors Ireland.

Kia has also just launched the Kia e-Niro, while the new XCeed PHEV crossover is expected by the end of the year.


The new Kia e-Niro

Kia e-Niro Joins Niro PHEV In Ireland

The new Kia e-Niro
The new Kia e-Niro

The new Kia e-Niro, the first fully electric crossover utility vehicle produced by Kia, has arrived in Ireland. It will join the Kia Niro PHEV in the Niro range.

Kia Motors Ireland is marketing one well-equipped trim level for the new e-Niro with a choice of either mid range or long range variants depending on battery. The mid range (35 kw battery) offers a range of up to 289 km, while the long range (64 kw battery) offers a range of up to 455 km on the WLTP combined cycle.

Models equipped with the long-distance 64 kw battery pack are paired with a 150 kw (204 ps) motor, producing 395 Nm torque, enabling the e-Niro to accelerate from 0-to-100 kph in 7.8 seconds.

The standard 35 kw battery pack is matched to a 100 kW (136 ps) motor, also producing 395 Nm torque, and accelerating to 100 kph from a standstill in 9.8 seconds.

The Kia e-Niro 35 kw is available from €33,495, with the e-Niro 64 kw available from €37,495 including VRT relief and government grants.

Standard features include 17” alloys, leather upholstery, heated front seats and steering wheel, 7” inch screen featuring Android Auto/Apple Car Play and Tom Tom Navigation, Lane Keep Assist, Smart Cruise Control, Forward collision-avoidance assist and Autonomous emergency braking.

“Kia Motors Ireland are delighted to launch both the e-Niro and e-Soul into the Irish market. There is built up demand in the country for a wider range of EV vehicles to choose from and public reaction for these new cars has been tremendous. Already demand for 192 cars has exceeded supply and we are now seeking interest for 2020,“ commented James Brooks, Managing Director, Kia Motors Ireland.


The new Peugeot 508 SW

Peugeot 508 SW Pricing And Specifications

The new Peugeot 508 SW
The new Peugeot 508 SW

The new Peugeot 508 SW estate model will go on sale in Ireland from €34,110 plus delivery related charges for the Active 1.5 BlueHDi diesel 130bhp 6-speed manual version. Order books are now open and deliveries to the first customers in Ireland will begin from 1st July onwards.

The new 508 SW has the same front design as the Peugeot 508 fastback, and adds a low-slung, estate bodyline. It has a large, easy-access boot, offering a total load space from 530 litres with the luggage cover closed, and up to 1780 litres thanks to Magic Flat rear seats.

In Ireland the new Peugeot 508 SW is available in Active, Allure, GT Line and GT trims.

Fitted with aluminium roof rails and boot luggage rails with safety net, the 508 SW also features the latest generation of Peugeot’s innovative i-Cockpit® with a configurable 12.3-inch head-up digital instrument panel, either a ten-inch or eight-inch capacitive touchscreen dependent on trim, and a compact multi-function steering wheel as standard for maximum driver control.

A host of safety features also come as standard, including Emergency Brake Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assistance with edge detection. MirrorLink® with Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto® is also included as standard in every model.

Two new petrol options and four diesel options, based on the 1.6-litre PureTech, 1.5-litre BlueHDi and 2.0-litre BlueHDi engines, are on offer.

A 225bhp plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version, providing power to the front wheels using a 1.6-litre PureTech petrol 180bhp engine and a 110bhp electric motor, is due in Ireland at the end of 2019. With a ZEV range of 50km (WLTP), the batteries will be located under the row 2 seats to preserve the roomy boot.


Everything you need to know about PCP finance

Five Things To Consider Before Signing A PCP Contract

Everything you need to know about PCP finance
Everything you need to know about PCP finance

With the 192 registration period fast approaching on the 1st July, many of you will be exploring your options when it comes to financing a new car. We've teamed up with the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) to find out more about PCP finance and what to consider before signing a PCP contract.

PCP finance has become one of the most popular forms of car finance with approximately one-third of new cars bought using this type of finance. PCP finance is also increasingly used to finance second hand cars. PCPs usually involve low monthly repayments and a relatively quick approval process on the garage forecourt.

Research published in the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission’s (CCPC) PCP report, showed that these products are complex and consumers can find it difficult to understand how they work, particularly at the end of an agreement. In the run up to the sale of new ‘192’ registered cars, the CCPC is running an information campaign to help consumers understand PCPs so that they can make informed decisions on what is best for their circumstances.

Áine Carroll, Director of Communications and Policy in the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission said: “PCPs are significant long-term financial commitments. The complexity of PCP products, coupled with the value of these agreements, means that it is extremely important that consumers understand what they are signing up to. This can only happen when consumers understand how the product works.”

Five things to think about before signing a PCP contract

1. PCP finance is not like other types of car finance

A large part of the cost is deferred until the end of the agreement. This means that monthly repayments are lower than they would be using a traditional loan or hire purchase. If you are considering PCP finance, it is important that you do not focus entirely on the affordability of the monthly repayments but consider the full price of the car (including running costs) and what you intend to do at the end of your agreement.

2. Consider at the start what you want to do at the end

The complicating feature of PCPs is that, at the end of the agreement, you have three options: to pay the Guaranteed Minimum Future Value (the lump sum at the end), hand back the keys or start a new PCP agreement for another car. Your intention at the end of the contract is extremely important. For example, if you intend on buying the car outright at the end, you may need to save up the lump sum. Or if you intend on trading in the car, you will need to keep within certain mileage limits and ensure the car is maintained to agreed standards – and adhering to these requirements is also important if you plan on starting another PCP at the end of the agreement. It is important to know that you may not be able to end your contract early should your circumstances change.

3. Remember you do not own the car until the last payment

Unlike paying for a car with a loan from a bank or a credit union where you own the car straight away, with PCPs you do not own the car unless you pay the lump sum at the end of the agreement. This has practical implications such as, you cannot sell the car without the permission of the finance company.

4. If you want to roll your contract into a new one

At the end of a PCP, if you intend in trading in your car for a newer model you will need to pay a deposit for your new car. There may be equity in your current car, if at the end of the term the Guaranteed Minimum Future Value is lower than the market value of the car. This equity can be used as a deposit for the new car. Factors such as the condition of the car or changes in the second-hand car market can impact on the market value and so you should not take equity in the car as guaranteed to cover the deposit for a new car.

5. A PCP can affect your credit rating

Like any loan, your PCP finance will appear on your credit history. This means that if you apply for a mortgage or any other type of credit, the value of the full PCP will be taken into account when lenders are assessing a credit application. And like any credit agreement, if you miss payments on your PCP, that will be recorded on your credit history which may impact on your ability to borrow in the future.

Thanks to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) for providing the content of this article. For more information before signing up for a PCP contract, click here.


The new Skoda Kodiaq RS!

2019 Skoda Kodiaq RS Review

The new Skoda Kodiaq RS!
The new Skoda Kodiaq RS!

Caroline drives the new Skoda Kodiaq RS!

Skoda has recently expanded their ‘Rally Sport’ family of performance models with the launch of the new Skoda Kodiaq RS. While Skoda’s Octavia RS already has a loyal following in Ireland, the trend for SUVs means that the Skoda Kodiaq RS is an obvious and potentially lucrative opportunity for the brand.

What's new?

Skoda has taken their already popular, flagship Kodiaq SUV and given it a high-performance makeover. The Kodiaq RS sits at the very top of the Kodiaq range with a list price of €62,295. Under the bonnet there’s a 2.0-litre, bi-turbo diesel putting out 240 hp and 500 Nm of torque. All Kodiaq RS models come with 4x4 and a DSG automatic gearbox.

The Kodiaq RS has been given the ‘speedy’ makeover in more ways than just one! On the outside there are 20” alloy wheels with red brake calipers, front and rear RS bumpers, and the new RS logo with red detailing. The Kodiaq RS is an attractive SUV with ‘street cred’!

The Skoda Kodiaq RS combines the space of a seven seat SUV with extra performance
The Skoda Kodiaq RS combines the space of a seven seat SUV with extra performance

The interior of the Skoda Kodiaq RS

Inside there are special sports seats with Alcantara upholstery, carbon inserts on the instrument panel, black roof lining and stainless steel pedals. Equipment includes dual zone air con, Skoda’s virtual cockpit display with five different display settings including a new Sports View, interior ambient lighting, parking sensors, rear parking camera and the 9.2” Colombus colour touch screen infotainment and navigation system.

The Kodiaq has a really spacious, comfortable and well-appointed cabin. With five seats or seven for an extra €1000, the Kodiaq RS offers families a lot of space. The rear bench will seat three with large footwells and plenty of head room. Things are tighter in row 3 but for children or occasional use, these extra seats are a bonus. In five seat mode, the Kodiaq RS has a huge 715 litre boot. It’s just a brilliant family car!

The Skoda Kodiaq RS has a sporty and well-appointed cabin
The Skoda Kodiaq RS has a sporty and well-appointed cabin

On the road in the Skoda Kodiaq RS

But is it the performance SUV of your dreams? Certainly, Skoda has given the Kodiaq RS a flagship engine for the occasion. It’s the first time a biturbo diesel has appeared in a Skoda and it’s the fastest diesel production Skoda ever! 0-100kmh is just 7 seconds with a top speed of 220kmh.

However the Kodiaq is a big lump and while acceleration feels brisk it will never take your breath away. Still, the RS handles with considerable finesse in the corners and something called ‘Dynamic Sound Boost’ heightens the excitement on board. Some artificial enhanced engine noise is produced in the cabin and outside of the vehicle and it’s no exaggeration to say that is has a distinct V8 vibe! A little incongruous from a diesel Kodiaq RS but it is fun!

Motor tax for this vehicle is €570 while over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 7.9 litre per 100km.

The Skoda Kodiaq RS is a natural progression for the Skoda RS brand merging the trend for large SUVs with the sporty image of the RS badge. On the road the Kodiaq RS is far from the rip-roaring performance of a hot hatchback but it is fun with a great image bestowed upon it by the RS branding. The Kodiaq RS retains everything we love about the Kodiaq in that it's spacious, practical and comfortable. It is pricey but the range topping diesel engine, high spec and novelties like Dynamic Sound Boost make it great fun for day to day driving!

The Skoda Kodiaq RS is available from €62,295
The Skoda Kodiaq RS is available from €62,295

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Skoda Kodiaq RS 4x4 DSG
Price:
€62,295
Engine: 2.0-litre bi turbo diesel
Power: 
240 hp
Torque: 500 Nm
0-100km/h: 
7 seconds
Top speed: 220 km/h
Fuel economy:
6.4 l/100km
CO2 emissions: 
167g/km
Motor tax: 
€570 per year


The new Skoda Scala has just arrived in Ireland priced from €23,650

Skoda Scala First Drive Review

The new Skoda Scala has just arrived in Ireland priced from €23,650
The new Skoda Scala has just arrived in Ireland priced from €23,650

The all-new Skoda Scala has just arrived in Ireland. It’s Skoda’s new five door family hatchback that slots in between the Fabia and the Octavia. It effectively replaces the Rapid. Caroline went to the Irish press launch to test drive the new Scala. It’s on sale in Ireland now priced from €23,650.

Styling

The Skoda Scala is a straightforward, five door hatchback. It’s actually one of the largest cars in its segment measuring 4.4 metres in length, but the wide and low stance hides the length. There’s little extravagant flourish to the styling of the Scala but it is the first Skoda to have S K O D A spelt out in individual letters across the rear! Mid-range cars get 16” alloys and LED taillights with dynamic indicators, while top of the range Style models have 17” wheels and full LED headlights.

Interior

The Skoda Scala has a new generation interior for a compact Skoda. That means that there has been a step up in quality and design. The Scala is the first car in the Volkswagen Group family to receive the third and most advanced generation of infotainment systems known internally as MIB3. The benefits of the new MIB3 units include a much cleaner cockpit as former infotainment, and air-conditioning buttons move to controls operating from very sophisticated looking 6.5”, 8.0” or 9.2” colour touch screens. There’s also wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and wireless phone charging available. The cabin is a mixture of soft and hard plastics with the Style model getting a particularly stylish pearl-effect dash panel insert.

Practicality

It’s one of the longest cars in the class, so it’s also generously sized inside for a five door family hatchback, particularly for rear seat passengers. The rear footwells are impressively large. Boot capacity is 467 litres so it’s one of the best in class.

Engines

Engine options for new Scala include a 1.0 TSI 115bhp and 1.5 TSI 150bhp petrols, and a 1.6 TDI 115bhp diesel is also available with both manual and DSG automatic transmissions.  A lower powered 1.0 TSI 95bhp petrol unit will be offered at a later date.

The interior of the new Skoda Scala
The interior of the new Skoda Scala

On the road

We took a Skoda Scala 1.0-litre TSI for a drive around Kildare. It’s smooth with light controls for an easy, affable driving nature. The 1.0-litre petrol does the job here without feeling under pressure on our test route across motorway and rural roads. My first impressions were that the Scala doesn’t feel as sporty on the road as a Ford Focus for example and there was some audible road noise coming into the cabin, but it certainly feels up to class standards.

Equipment

At launch the Scala will be available in Ambition and Style specifications with an Active entry version to be added by the end of 2019. The Ambition equipment includes 16” alloy wheels, dynamic rear LED indicators, air-conditioning, cruise control, electric windows, rear parking sensors and a 6.5” colour touch screen unit. The Image Package, which consists of the glass tailgate, will be provided as standard from Ambition. The Style model gets 17” alloy wheels, full LED headlights, dual zone climate control, rear view camera, keyless entry, auto lights, rain sensor and 8” infotainment unit.

Pricing

The Scala range starts from €23,650 for the 1.0 TSI 115bhp. Diesels start from €26,475. When the Active model arrives, it will undercut these.

Rivals

Skoda points to the Ford Focus, Renault Megane, Hyundai i30 and Kia Ceed as key rivals for the new Scala.

Verdict

The Skoda Scala replaces the Rapid and goes more upmarket in the process. The Scala is aimed at a younger buyer looking for a more stylish vehicle and it certainly offers a very smart new generation interior with the latest in infotainment and connectivity. The Scala carries the Skoda value proposition of being generously sized for carrying passengers and their things. I look forward to bringing you a full road test report later in the year!

The Skoda Scala is available with petrol and diesel engines
The Skoda Scala is available with petrol and diesel engines

Caroline Kidd

 


The new Toyota Corolla Hatchback Hybrid

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback Hybrid Review

The new Toyota Corolla Hatchback Hybrid
The new Toyota Corolla Hatchback Hybrid

Caroline drives the new Toyota Corolla Hatchback!

Late last year, Toyota Ireland promised a ‘hybrid invasion’ in 2019. It’s not surprising they were feeling confident – this year new cars from the Toyota brand have been arriving thick and fast, including the new generation of the RAV4 Hybrid and the return of the Camry.

But 2019 has also seen the arrival of a new generation of the Toyota Corolla, one of Ireland’s best-loved cars. The Corolla family – hatchback, saloon and estate – are all available now as hybrids. It was time I took this new Toyota Corolla Hybrid for a test drive!

Ever since Toyota Global President, Akio Toyoda, declared "no more boring cars!" from the brand, there has been something of a renaissance underway at Toyota. That’s thanks to Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) that is underpinning this new generation of models.

Available from €24,380 with a 1.2-litre petrol engine or from €26,370 as a petrol electric, self-charging hybrid, the new Toyota Corolla Hatchback is pitched as the compact, sporty one within the new Corolla family. Certainly, the new Corolla Hatchback has undergone a terrific makeover. The new Corolla Hatchback is longer and lower than the Auris Hatchback it replaces, with a snug, sporty stance on the road. Exclusive to the segment, there are also four optional bi-tone colour schemes available from launch. They combine the body colour with a metallic black finish to the roof, roof front and rear pillars, and the door mirrors.

The Toyota Corolla Hatchback range goes on sale from €24,,380 in Ireland
The Toyota Corolla Hatchback range goes on sale from €24,,380 in Ireland

Equipment and interior

The new Toyota Corolla Hatchback is offered in Ireland in three grades: Aura, Luna (from €26,995), Luna Sport (from €29,620) and Sol (from €30,115). Standard equipment includes 16″ alloys, Toyota Safety Sense including adaptive cruise control and lane trace assist, LED headlights/fog lights and 8″ Toyota Touch. My Corolla 1.8 Hybrid Luna Sport model had a list price of €29,620 and features included rear view camera, Toyota Touch® 2 multimedia system, bi beam LED headlamps, LED front fog lamps, 17” black machined alloys, black contrasting roof, black roof spoiler, rear privacy glass, red dashboard trim and blue ambient lighting.

The design and quality of the interior of the new Toyota Corolla has improved almost as dramatically as the exterior styling of the car. There are plenty of soft touch materials and a number of technology features including the digital instrument panel and central touchscreen for the infotainment. However, technology buffs may be disappointed with the lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The Corolla Hatchback will seat five with reasonable accommodation for the compact class. The Hatchback sits on a slightly shorter wheelbase to the Saloon and Touring Sports, so if rear space is a priority, buyers will appreciate the more spacious feeling in the back of those models. The boot is about average for the segment at 361 litres.

The interior of the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback
The interior of the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

On the road in the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

Toyota has made much of the newly adopted Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) GA-C platform and rightly so. Key concerns for engineers were to make this Corolla safer and more engaging to drive than anything that has come before. The GA-C platform guarantees a more rewarding driving experience thanks to a centre of gravity that is lowered by 10 mm, a multi-link rear suspension fitted as standard across the model range, and a 60% more rigid body shell through the use of high strength steel as reinforcement in key areas. According to Toyota, these contribute to better handling and stability without compromising ride and comfort, as well as reducing high frequency vibration for an increased feeling of quality.

This new generation of the Corolla uses a revised 1.8-litre hybrid powertrain putting out 122hp. However, the hatchback is also available with a more high performance 2.0-litre hybrid powertrain with 178hp. It retails from €32,915.

I was immediately impressed by the smoothness and refinement of the new Toyota Corolla 1.8-litre Hybrid on the road. The hybrid powertrain means that the car uses a CVT automatic gearbox, but Toyota has considerably improved the refinement of the transmission and also invested in better cabin insulation.

Rear legroom in the new Corolla Hatchback
Rear legroom in the new Corolla Hatchback

How efficient is it?

The Hatchback feels agile and dynamic on the road with fluid and direct steering responses and good body control through corners. Over a week of driving the hybrid delivered fuel consumption of 4.5/100km, while low emissions mean that motor tax is €180 per year. Around town the hybrid frequently dips into EV mode, which makes this hybrid a very efficient solution for drivers who do short commutes and plenty of town and city driving. On the motorway at high speeds, the Corolla will become less efficient but again it has been markedly improved in these circumstances, as seen in my overall average fuel consumption that was rated with about 300 km of motorway driving.

The Toyota Corolla has been one of the most anticipated new cars of 2019. It’s now a stylish and desirable hatchback on par with rivals in terms of interior finish, technology and its ability to engage the driver. Rear legroom is a little tighter compared to the Saloon and Touring Sports, but the Corolla is dubbed as the sporty one and the shorter wheelbase does make it feel more dynamic on the road. Toyota has also improved the hybrid powertrain and from my time driving the car, there are certainly savings to be made in terms of efficiency, particularly for urban drivers. There is a lot riding on this new generation of one of Ireland’s best loved cars, but the new Corolla Hatchback has been transformed.

The Toyota Corolla Hatchback Hybrid is a stylish and efficient compact car
The Toyota Corolla Hatchback Hybrid is a stylish and efficient compact car

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Toyota Corolla Hatchback Luna Sport
Price:
€29,610 (from €24,380)
Engine: 1.8-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 
122 hp
Torque: 142 Nm
0-100km/h: 
10.9 seconds
Top speed: 180 km/h
Claimed fuel economy:
3.3 l/100km
CO2 emissions: 
83g/km
Motor tax: 
€180 per year