Hydrogen fuel cell cars like the Toyota Mirai could be on Irish roads by 2023

First Hydrogen Cars Could Be On Irish Roads By 2023

Hydrogen fuel cell cars like the Toyota Mirai could be on Irish roads by 2023
Hydrogen fuel cell cars like the Toyota Mirai could be on Irish roads by 2023

A new report investigating the potential of hydrogen to help solve Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions from transport has found that hydrogen cars, buses and trucks can become a reality by 2023. 35,000 hydrogen vehicles could be on our roads within a decade, which would remove 300,000 tonnes of CO2 from our atmosphere every year.

The report from Hydrogen Mobility Ireland provides Government with a potential roadmap to assist the decarbonisation of Irish transport.

Transport accounts for approximately 20% of Ireland’s total greenhouse gases and is the largest source of energy-related CO2 emissions in Ireland. In 2017 it was responsible for 39%, and it is also the sector where CO2 emissions are growing the fastest.

Hydrogen is a very low carbon fuel and will be produced locally in Ireland. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles consume hydrogen as a fuel to produce electrical power for the vehicle, with water vapour the only by-product. They can complement battery electric vehicles as they offer greater range and faster refuelling, can be used at short notice, and are particularly suitable for heavy passenger and goods vehicles.

At the launch of the report, Minister Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, said, “The Climate Action Plan, launched earlier this year, commits to over 180 actions across every sector of society to step up our response to the climate challenge. These actions were chosen based on an assessment of the least cost, least burden options currently available. The plan is a rolling plan, designed to integrate best practice as it emerges and adapt to emerging new technologies. I welcome this research as a valuable insight into a potential pathway for the introduction of hydrogen vehicles in Ireland between now and 2030.”

The report also suggests that Ireland should follow the lead of countries like China, US and Japan who have committed to each having in the region of one million hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by 2030 and the Government should apply similar incentives to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as they do to battery electric vehicles. Clusters of refuelling stations should be built to give early adopters confidence.

Dr. James Carton, DCU, Catherine O’ Kelly, Bord Gais Energy, Minister Richard Bruton, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Mark Teevan, Chairman of Hydrogen Mobility Ireland and Ben Madden, Element Energy at the recent Hydrogen Mobility Ireland report launch
Dr. James Carton, DCU, Catherine O’ Kelly, Bord Gais Energy, Minister Richard Bruton, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Mark Teevan, Chairman of Hydrogen Mobility Ireland and Ben Madden, Element Energy at the recent Hydrogen Mobility Ireland report launch

By 2030, a network of 76 stations would ensure that 50% of the population of the island would live in a town with a Hydrogen Refuelling Station as well as providing adequate coverage of major roads, while a network of 27 electrolysers with renewable generators (mostly wind farms) would supply the hydrogen fuel.

According to the report, hydrogen vehicles will be cost-competitive with conventional fuel vehicles by mid next decade. Buses, vans and taxis could be deployed as the catalyst for market establishment.

In a positive adoption scenario this will lead to a national fuel call fleet of 2,000 HGVs, 880 bus/coaches, 6,800 vans and 29,000 cars by 2030.

Some hydrogen mobility Ireland members are already planning on initiating hydrogen production in Ireland, including Indaver at its waste to energy plant in Co Meath.

Chairman of Hydrogen Mobility Ireland and Corporate Affairs Director at Toyota Ireland, Mark Teevan, said: “At Toyota we see hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as having a very big role to play in a full decarbonisation of transport. The challenge is to get started since not only is a new infrastructure needed but also the production of a new fuel. With Hydrogen Mobility Ireland, we have started the process of coordinating industry’s response to this challenge whilst also planning to align with academic and policy thinking. This report is the first output of HMI and leads us to the next part of the challenge which is to implement our findings.”

The new Toyota Corolla is selling well in Ireland

Toyota Corolla Will Be Hybrid Only From 2020

The new Toyota Corolla is selling well in Ireland
The Toyota Corolla will be exclusively available as a hybrid from 2020

Toyota Ireland has announced that the Toyota Corolla and C-HR will be sold as hybrids only from 2020.

The 1.2-litre petrol engine will be dropped from the C-HR range and the 1.2-litre and 1.6-litre petrol will be dropped from the new Corolla range.

The new Toyota Corolla arrived in Ireland earlier in 2019 and has already proven itself as a bestseller, with 4,283 units already sold year to date.  According to Toyota, the majority of new customers have favoured the hybrid over the petrol model, effectively removing the need for the petrol model.

Steve Tormey, Toyota Ireland CEO, said, “As evidenced by the massive swing in preference towards self-charging hybrid over pure petrol-powered cars that we have seen with Corolla, I am confident that if all other motoring manufacturers offered a full range of hybrids, Ireland’s environmental outlook would immediately be a lot rosier than it currently looks. Our self-charging hybrids, which are exclusively automatic, have many advantages including excellent fuel efficiency, low NOX and drive in zero emissions mode more than 60% of the time, making them the ideal next step towards electrification for environmentally and cost-conscious drivers.

Some might say this is a brave move given the perceived market dependency on pure fossil fuel powered cars, but for us the decision to double down on self-charging hybrid over petrol makes absolute sense. The numbers don’t lie, and we now know that if you offer highly desirable looking and high-performing self-charging hybrids, they will win out over petrol every time. Next year, we predict that 92% of our passenger car sales will be self-charging hybrid across all models.”

Toyota says its intention is to lead Irish drivers into electrification without the requirement to plug-in, which may not be feasible for many motorist’s lifestyle and driving habits.

The new generation Toyota RAV4 and Camry are already exclusively available in hybrid since launching in early 2019.

To date, over 85% of Toyota Corolla sales, and 90% of C-HR sales in 2019, have been hybrid.

From 2020, the only petrol variants to remain in the Toyota line-up will be the Yaris 1.0-litre petrol and the Aygo.

Available in hatchback, saloon and touring sport variants, pricing for the Corolla Hybrid starts from €26,370.

The new TESLA Model 3 has arrived in Ireland!

TESLA Model 3 Deliveries Begin In Ireland

The new TESLA Model 3 has arrived in Ireland!
The new TESLA Model 3 has arrived in Ireland!

The first TESLA Model 3 models have arrived in Ireland and been delivered to Irish customers.

The new Model 3 is Tesla’s smaller, simpler and more affordable car. It goes on sale in Ireland priced from €47,840 on the road and is available in three variants: Standard Range Plus, Long Range AWD and Performance.

The entry model has a range of 409 km (WLTP), while the Long Range AWD model has a range up to 560 km.

The Model 3 Performance is available from €63,061 and is capable of achieving 0-100 kmh in 3.4s. Standard equipment includes Track Mode, a carbon fibre spoiler, 20” performance wheels with red brake calipers and aluminium alloy pedals.

Two of the first Irish customers are John Burke, a self-confessed petrol head and motor racing enthusiast, and Peter Harte, an original TESLA Roadster owner.

The Model 3 comes with a 4 year/80,000 km vehicle warranty and an 8 year/160,000 km battery/drive unit warranty.

The TESLA Model S and Model X SUV first came to Ireland in 2017 when Tesla opened its store and service centre in Sandyford, Dublin. There are three Supercharger locations in Ireland with further sites planned and a network of over 40 Destination Charging locations.

Tesla has recently added a mobile service offering in Ireland, which saves customers the time of travelling to and from a service centre and helps remove 80% of volume from service centres.

Tesla has delivered over 500,000 cars worldwide since the brand's inception. With nearly 140,000 units sold, the TESLA Model 3 was the bestselling premium vehicle in the US for 2018.

The Ford Kuga sold well in Ireland in September

New Car Registrations In Ireland In September 2019

The Ford Kuga sold well in Ireland in September
The Ford Kuga sold well in Ireland in September

The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) has released the latest official new vehicle registration statistics, which show that total new car registrations for September 2019 were up 7.4% (3,428) when compared with September 2018 (3,192).

New car registrations year to date are down 7.5% (113,958) on the same period last year (123,195).

The top five bestselling brands year to date are 1. Volkswagen, 2. Toyota, 3. Hyundai, 4. Ford and 5. Skoda.

The top five bestselling models year to date are 1. Toyota Corolla, 2. Hyundai Tucson, 3. Nissan Qashqai, 4. Skoda Octavia and 5. Volkswagen Tiguan.

The bestselling car in the month of September was the Ford Kuga.

New electric vehicle registrations continue to grow month on month with a total of 2,976 electric cars registered so far this year.

Used car imports year to date are at 82,432 compared to 77,278 for the same period in 2018, an increase of 6.7%.

New Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) registrations are up 6.2% (1,346) on September 2018 (1,268), yet registrations year to date are down 1.7% (23,258). While New Heavy Commercial Vehicles (HGV) decreased 22.9% (145) in comparison to September 2018 (188) and year to date are up 0.9% (2,350)

Imported Used Cars for September saw an increase of 20.3% (10,220) on the same month last year (8,494) and year to date imports are up 6.7% (82,432) ahead of 2018 (77,278).

Commenting on the registration’s figures Brian Cooke, SIMI Director General said: “With the announcement of Budget 2020 only a week away, we in SIMI continue to underline to Government not to increase taxation on new cars. New car sales have fallen in each of the last 3 years, and with Brexit now only weeks away, business risk in our sector is at its highest level in almost a decade. In this uncertain business and consumer environment, any taxation increase would only further undermine an already fragile new car market. This in turn will endanger both Exchequer Revenues and employment, while at the same time act as a barrier to the renewal of Ireland’s car fleet which is key to reducing emissions from transport. Our Industry can’t afford for the Government to get Budget 2020 wrong, as the impact would have far reaching consequences that could extend for many years well beyond 2020.”

New era for Opel in Ireland under leadership of new MD James Brooks

James Brooks Is New Managing Director Of Opel Ireland

New era for Opel in Ireland under leadership of new MD James Brooks
New era for Opel in Ireland under leadership of new MD James Brooks

The Gowan Group has formally completed the acquisition of Opel Ireland and has appointed James Brooks as Managing Director of Opel operations in Ireland. 

James will succeed Gillian Whittall who is leaving the Company following the successful completion of the acquisition. A qualified accountant, Mr Brooks is joining Opel Ireland from Kia Motors Ireland where he was Managing Director. He is former Treasurer and President of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry.

Speaking about the appointment, Michael Dwan, Gowan Group Managing Director said: “We are delighted to announce that James will be joining Opel Ireland as MD. He has huge experience in the Irish motor industry forged initially as Finance Director, Fleet Director and Business Development Manager at Opel Ireland for 9 years and latterly as MD of Kia for 14 years. He is a highly regarded leader and I am confident that he will lead the Opel brand back to the market position it can justifiably achieve.”

“I would like to play tribute to Gillian who has been very professional and supportive as we transitioned ownership of the Opel brand in Ireland. She leaves with our thanks and very best wishes.”

James Brooks said: “I am genuinely excited by this opportunity and look forward to getting on board with Opel Ireland and meeting all the people associated with the business. The commitment made by Gowan Group in acquiring Opel Ireland represents a serious statement of intent. This is a great brand with an exciting product pipeline, a strong dealer network and customer base. We are ambitious to develop and significantly grow the brand in the months and years to come.”

Jalopy is an Irish company that simplifies car servicing for car owners by allowing users to compare and book garages close to them using a free app.

Everything You Need To Know About The Jalopy Car Servicing App

Jalopy is an Irish company that simplifies car servicing for car owners by allowing users to compare and book garages close to them using a free app.
Jalopy is a free app that allows car owners to get quotes for car servicing and car repairs from multiple garages near them

Jalopy is an Irish company that simplifies car servicing for car owners by allowing users to compare and book garages close to them using a free app. I recently spoke to Jalopy co-founder Vincent McElwain about the benefits of the app and the attitude of Irish consumers towards using technology for traditional services like car servicing.

1) What is Jalopy?

Jalopy is the GoCompare of car servicing and repairs in Ireland. Our platform allows car owners to compare prices, location, qualifications and the availability of garages across Ireland. For every car service you book through our platform, we offset a tonne of carbon emissions on your behalf helping us all to do our bit for our environment. We can typically save customers between 20%/30% on car servicing and our platform is free to use. Jalopy also helps garages provide a superior digital experience for their customers, helping them with a new source of revenue.

2) What inspired Jalopy?

We have all been in a situation where we have struggled to compare the prices and quality of garages available. As technology people, we love to solve technology problems and we felt the garage after market is globally under served by the technology giants. We also felt that the car industry in general has a poor reputation when it comes to environmental issues so we felt there was an opportunity to build something that would help a lot of people and genuinely help the earth at the same time.

3) What problem does Jalopy solve?

Jalopy helps car owners to shop around for the best deal for car repairs and service. We all have busy lives now and people don't have the time to phone around to get a bargain.

We have also found that some of our partner garages really want to connect with the smartphone user base and we make that possible. One of the really positive findings for garages here was that most of the time the customer does not go for the cheapest price - they usually pick a price point in the middle. Customers really like the garage profile on Jalopy where they can read through the garage's bio, certifications and look at images of the premises.

Location information is also an important deciding factor for customers and Jalopy allows you to compare transit options so you can figure out how to get there and back. The garage can offer up to 21 days of availability to customers, which allows customers to choose a time slot that suits them. There are loads of other cool features built into Jalopy: the Jargon Buster helps customers that don't know the difference between a carburettor and a carbonara; a chat feature; and an online service history. We even allow you to manage multiple vehicles under one profile so you can organise a car service for your son, mother or grandparent.

The Jalopy app is simple and easy to use for car owners and garages
The Jalopy app is simple and easy to use for car owners and garages

4) How does Jalopy work?

Simply visit www.jalopy.io and sign in. Enter your car registration and you're off. We will automatically send your job request to garages near you and you can even look for a mobile garage to come to you if you prefer. Multiple garages will send you an estimate and you select your preferred option. Visit your chosen garage as per your booking and pay them as you would normally. The garage then sends you a notification through the app of your service record or receipt and we offset a tonne of carbon on your behalf. All done at no extra cost to the customer.

5) What sort of feedback have you received from users of the app?

The feedback has been very good. We worked very closely with garages and car owners to design something that would be useful and easy to use. We all have a responsibility to our environment and customers love that they can help reduce their carbon footprint without having to do a thing other than book their service through Jalopy.

One of our customers recently failed her NCT. She heard our ad on the radio and signed up immediately. She had estimates back in minutes and booked her car through the app straight away. She was back on the road the very next day. We have had a lot of repeat business also, which is a great sign that we are doing something right with our platform.

6) From your experience how ready are Irish consumers to use technology for traditional services like booking a car service?

This is a great question. At Jalopy we are offering a unique service to car owners in Ireland, so some time will be required for people to become comfortable with this model. But more and more people want to engage with businesses through their smartphone and spend less time talking to someone like a mechanic. People also want to potentially look for a garage on a Sunday or late at night. Jalopy.io makes this possible.

There are a lot more people moving into Ireland and around Ireland so there are many people out there who don't have a garage they would regularly go to. From some of our research, there is a significant growth in the number of people searching for car services online and people really do like to get a bargain, especially if they can do this with little effort. Our customer base is growing fast and we are also growing our garage partner network across the country. We have had really positive feedback and adoption.

7) How responsive is the car service industry to embracing technology to improve the customer experience?

Jalopy has some wonderful garages on our platform really interested in offering a great customer experience and treating people well. Garages are busy places with a lot going on but they realise technology is beginning to over take their traditional business models. People book everything these days through their phone whether it's tickets or taxis and why would the garage industry be any different? Jalopy is really pleased with the take up from garages but largely this is because we listen to them and have honed our product to serve them well. We have built in some accelerators and some other "Jalopy Secret Sauce" items to minimise how long they need to spend replaying to customers. We have already signed up over 50 garages and that grows almost daily.

8) Future plans?

We have more really good new features to be rolled out that will further assist both garages and customers. Ideally we would like to bring Jalopy to other countries. We are solving a global problem so we are currently looking at possible export markets. We are growing fast and have loads of ideas about how we can expand. We are always looking for additional partner garages to join us. Please visit www.jalopy.io to sign up!

The new Kia XCeed has arrived in Ireland

New Kia XCeed Arrives In Ireland

The new Kia XCeed has arrived in Ireland
The new Kia XCeed has arrived in Ireland

The Kia XCeed is has just arrived in Ireland priced from €26,245. The new XCeed will join the Ceed family as a new urban crossover utility vehicle (CUV) combining compact SUV practicality with the sporty packaging and engaging handling of a hatchback.

At the launch of the new car Aidan Doyle, Head of Marketing at Kia Motors Ireland said: “The Kia XCeed addresses the growing desire for cars which offer more emotion and dynamism than an SUV, both in terms of the way a car looks and drives. Yet these customers don’t want to lose the practicality that a larger car offers them. Our new CUV meets these needs, with a distinctive and modern design wrapped around a spacious, versatile body. Merging the strengths of both hatchback and SUV, the Kia XCeed offers a refreshing and different alternative for Irish motorists.”

Kia Motors Ireland will initially offer xCeed in three trim levels (K2,K3 and K4). At launch the XCeed will be available with a 1.0-litre petrol engine and a 1.6-litre diesel engine. Other power units may follow based on customer demand. A plug -in hybrid (PHEV) is expected to arrive in Ireland in late January 2020.

The entry level 1.0-litre T-GDi K2 model is priced from €26,245. Standard equipment includes 16“ alloys, LED lights front and rear, rear privacy glass, 8 inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple Car Play, and a host of safety features including Lane Keep Assist, Forward Collision Avoidance, High Beam Assist and Speed Limit Assist.

The K3 (1.0-litre available from €28,145 ) adds 18” alloys,10.25 inch touchscreen with Sat Nav /Tom Tom and rear view camera, half leather upholstery, electronic parking brake and a wireless phone charger. The K3 will also be available with a diesel engine and is expected to cost in the region of €31,000 (TBC).

The K4 1.0-litre (from €30,045) completes the range for now with added features such as heated front seats ,12.3 inch supervision instrument cluster, smart key with push button start, climate control and Blind Spot Detection.

Pricing and specifications for the new Kia xCeed PHEV will be announced closer to launch.

The new Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Review

The new Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
The new Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrid SUV slipped quietly into the Irish new car market back in 2014 as an off-beat alternative that some people might buy instead of a diesel. The Outlander PHEV was ahead of its time, diesel was still king, and Ireland just wasn’t ready for a hybrid revolution. The plug-in hybrid Outlander was also significantly more expensive to buy than the diesel model.

But public interest in electrified powertrains and hybrids has increased dramatically in the intervening years, with much of the change happening in the last 12 to 18 months. Now we are in a situation where more people will buy the Outlander PHEV because governments and car manufacturers are starting to put an expiry date on diesel.

It’s good news that this corresponds with a major technical update for the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. The main aim of the 2019 update has been performance and efficiency, with a few cosmetic changes also.

In Ireland the new Outlander PHEV range starts from €39,900. With SEAI grants and VRT relief of €7,500 included, the PHEV range is now priced in the region of the diesel Outlander range. Though the caveat here is that the PHEV is five seat only to accommodate a 13.8 kWh battery under the boot floor, while the diesel model gets an extra two seats in the rear.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is available from €39,900
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is available from €39,900

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a relatively unique car in the market at its price point. 2019 has seen the arrival of what are probably the closest competitors: the new Honda CR-V Hybrid and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. These cars straddle the same price range and are low emission SUVs. However, as a plug-in hybrid the Outlander PHEV can be driven on electric power alone for up to 45 km. This means that for buyers who regularly do short journeys and can charge on either end of that journey, there is potential to run the Outlander very cheaply indeed.

What’s new for 2019?

The 2.0-litre petrol engine has been replaced by a new 2.4-litre petrol engine that has more power (135 hp vs 121 hp), across a wider rev range. The electric powertrain has also been improved, with the rear electric motor now producing 95 hp and a battery capacity increased to 13.8 kWh.

Under the skin, the shock absorbers of the suspension have been revised to improve the low speed ride. The steering rack has been quickened and the power steering ECU re-mapped to offer more responsiveness and feel. There are also larger front brake discs for improved stopping power. A new ‘Sport’ mode gives more throttle response and grip from the all wheel drive system. With an electric motor on each axle, the Outlander PHEV can operate in 4x4 even in the electric mode. The all wheel drive system has a new ‘Snow’ mode to improve low grip launching and cornering.

Visually, the Mitsubishi has a strong road presence with a characteristic front end and redesigned grille with chrome elements and LED light signature. At the back, there is a redesigned rear bumper and a roof spoiler. The Outlander PHEV has quite a boxy and utilitarian shape, which means it’s a very spacious vehicle inside. Head and legroom are very good in the rear. The middle seat is quite narrow, but there is a flat floor. Despite housing a battery, the boot is still large and practical at 463 litres, with underfloor storage for charging cables.

The interior of the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
The interior of the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

The mid-range Instyle model I had on test (from €43,900) came very well equipped with 18” alloys, LED headlamps, adaptive cruise control, dual zone climate control, heated steering wheel, heated front seats, rear parking camera, high beam assist, lane departure warning and forward collision mitigation.

A touchscreen comes as standard and supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for seamless integration with smartphones. There are a number of menus that can be accessed from the touchscreen and the instrument panel to inform the driver of such things as power flow, energy consumption and range.

The cabin quality is generally good but it’s not the most modern or distinct cabin among this class of vehicle, with some old-fashioned switchgear and graphics.

Driving the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

On the road, the Outlander’s hybrid powertrain is pleasantly smooth and refined. It’s not sporty but it is agile for its size and comfortable for long journeys. Performance is lively enough with a 0 to 100 kmh sprinting taking 10.5 seconds. The Sport mode offers a sharper throttle but it’s not really necessary for the most part, really just giving the driver more confidence in overtaking manoeuvres.

The Outlander PHEV has a new engine and improvements to hybrid powertrain
The Outlander PHEV has a new engine and improvements to the hybrid powertrain

CO2 emissions of just 46g/km mean that motor tax is just €170 per year. The Outlander PHEV offers a number of different driving modes including a pure EV mode, a normal hybrid mode and a battery save mode where you can save your electric range until you reach a low speed, urban environment, for example. You can charge the Outlander PHEV from a domestic mains supply using a three point plug (about 5 hours) or using the public charging system, where 80% battery power can be achieved in just 25 minutes.

I managed to travel 40 km on electric power only and I got into the habit of plugging in and keeping the battery charged up. In some scenarios where the car was working mostly on electric power, I saw consumption as low as 2 l/100km! However, on longer journeys working in hybrid mode, economy plummeted once the battery power was gone. In these scenarios, I saw fuel consumption as high as 7 l/100km.

Rear seating in the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Rear seating in the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Would you buy it?

For the right owner, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a large SUV full of potential to run cheaply. The ability to plug in the Outlander and drive it on pure electric power gives it an edge over other hybrid SUVs and makes this car a unique proposition in its price range. However, the Outlander PHEV becomes less efficient in motorway and long distance driving. So in these scenarios, there’s no real advantage to owning an Outlander PHEV.

Yet for drivers with regular commutes within that 40 km range who can charge on both ends of the journey, this is one large 4x4 SUV that can absolutely be run very cheaply. Mitsubishi has packaged the battery extremely well to provide a spacious five seat vehicle with a boot that’s still practical and competitive for this class of vehicle.

The hybrid powertrain is smooth and refined, while the interface to control the different driving modes is user-friendly. Mitsubishi has reputation as the manufacturer of off-road vehicles and the Outlander PHEV is not compromised in that regard. The Outlander PHEV has the surprising ability to blend 4x4 off-road ability with a silent EV stealth mode! Packaged within the fashionable exterior of an SUV, the Outlander PHEV is impossible to ignore for the technology it offers in its price range. For urban dwellers who desire the image of an SUV and need the space and practicality it offers, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV makes particular good sense.

The Outlander PHEV is a large family SUV with potential for very low running costs
The Outlander PHEV combines 4x4 off-road ability with EV motoring!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Instyle
€43,900 (Range from €39,900)
Engine: 2.4-litre petrol electric hybrid
135hp (engine), 82hp (front electric motor), 95hp (rear electric motor)
Torque: 211 Nm (engine only)
10.5 seconds
Top speed: 170 km/h
Fuel economy (WLTP):
2.0 l/100km
CO2 emissions (WLTP): 
46 g/km
Motor tax: 
€170 per year


The new Audi RS Q3 Sportback in Kyalami green

The New Audi RS Q3 Sportback

The new Audi RS Q3 Sportback in Kyalami green
The new Audi RS Q3 Sportback in Kyalami green

Audi has released details of an all-new performance derivative of the Q3 Sportback. The Audi RS Q3 Sportback will be powered by the five cylinder, 400hp, 2.5-litre TFSI petrol engine and will be arriving in Ireland before the end of 2019.

The Q3 Sportback has 480 Nm of torque, quattro all-wheel drive, a seven-speed S tronic gearbox and sprints from zero to 100 km/h in just 4.5 seconds. The standard RS sport suspension lowers the body by 10 millimetres compared with the Q3 Sportback.

The Audi drive select dynamic handling system has two new modes, RS1 and RS2. The driver can adjust and save the two RS modes individually through the MMI system. The new “RS MODE” steering wheel button provides rapid access to the two new modes and allows the driver to switch between modes.

The Singleframe gloss black grille has a 3D honeycomb effect and there is no colour contrast to the grille surround. Other performance details include RS bumpers with larger side air inlets. Wheel arches have been flared by 10 millimetres. At the rear there's an RS-specific spoiler lip in gloss black.

The RS Q3 Sportback comes as standard with matrix LED headlights with dynamic indicators and RS-specific darkened trims are available as an option. The rear lights also feature LED technology.

Eight paint colours are available for the RS Q3 Sportback, including the RS-specific colours Kyalami green and Nardo gray. Customised paint finishes are available from Audi exclusive.

The new Audi RS Q3 Sportback will go on sale at Audi dealerships in Ireland by the end of 2019.

The RS Q3 Sportback will arrive in Ireland by the end of 2019
The RS Q3 Sportback will arrive in Ireland by the end of 2019

The new DS 7 Crossback

2019 DS 7 Crossback 2.0 Diesel Review

The new DS 7 Crossback
The new DS 7 Crossback

2019 marks something of a new era for the DS brand in Ireland. DS is not 100% new to Ireland, since Citroen did market a number of DS models here since 2010.  But at parent group PSA, DS has now been spun off into its own standalone, premium French brand. And that means that the 2019 DS 7 Crossback is the first DS to be developed ‘from the ground up’ as a contemporary French premium vehicle.

DS has chosen to make this grand entrance in the form of a very on trend, large SUV. Priced from €36,000, the DS 7 Crossback has presence, making it a suitable flagship for the brand. The new SUV gets the latest engines and technology from the PSA Group, yet the design is distinctly new and different also. The DS motto is 'the spirit of avant garde', and a lot of detail has gone into the design of the car. The signature diamond motif features from the grille to the rear lights and the theme continues inside. Some might call it busy, but there's no doubt that the DS 7 will not be mistaken for any other SUV.

Available as a five seat SUV only, the DS 7 Crossback is still very, very rare in Ireland - the DS brand will not be immediately recognised! The  Performance Line model I had on test is the sportiest of the trims and is distinguished by 19" 'Black Onyx', diamond-cut alloy wheels, tinted rear windows, and a large gloss black front grille. The striking LED light signature adds menace to this car, and the Black Perla finish gives the car just the right attitude!

The interior of the new DS 7 Crossback
The interior of the new DS 7 Crossback

Inside the new DS 7 Crossback

The interior of the 2019 DS 7 Crossback is a real treat in that you probably have never seen anything like it. The diamond motif synonymous with the new generation DS features heavily in the switchgear and textiles. Performance Line models get swathes of expensive-looking Alcantara, probably the most Alcantara you will find this side of €50,000! The DS 7 Crossback is a step up in quality and design on what has come previously from DS.

There are four interior ‘themes’, with different materials and finishing: Bastille, Performance Line, Rivoli and Opera. This is a highly detailed interior that might take you some time to find your way around. For example, while the metal buttons either side of the centre console look cool, it takes some fiddling to find out what they all do! The cabin is well kitted out in terms of digital technology with a full digital instrument panel and an 8” touchscreen display.

In Ireland the new DS 7 Crossback is offered in four trim levels: Elegance, Performance Line, Prestige and Ultra Prestige. Standard features include 18" 'Black Onyx' diamond-cut alloy wheels, LED rear lights, gloss black exterior door mirrors, 8” touchscreen display, electric parking brake, lane departure warning, driver attention warning, rear parking sensors, LED front foglights with cornering light function, 'Follow me Home' lighting, Active Safety Brake, Android Auto / Apple CarPlay, Bronze Harmony cloth, dashboard and door panels, and a leather steering wheel.

The Performance Line model on test added high beam assist, 12.3 inch digital instrument cluster, the DS Active Scan Suspension (2.0-litre diesel only), front parking sensors, reversing camera, Alcantara® dashboard and door panels with stitching, and an AGR–certified ergonomic driver’s seat.

The DS 7 Crossback is a new French premium SUV priced from €36,000
The DS 7 Crossback is a new French premium SUV priced from €36,000

How practical is the DS 7?

In terms of size, the new DS 7 Crossback straddles the C and D segment. It has a longer wheelbase than competitors so rear seating space feels much more generous. There's loads of headroom and large footwells. The boot is also very large and practical considering the price of the vehicle with 555 litres available.

DS is a sister brand to Peugeot and Citroen, which means that the brand has access to some popular and well proven engines. The DS 7 Crossback is available with a 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine with 130hp, a 1.6-litre turbo petrol with 180hp, 1.5-litre diesel with 130hp or a 2.0-litre diesel with 180hp. There is a 6-speed manual gearbox or 8-speed automatic.  A DS 7 Crossback plug-in hybrid with 300hp and four wheel drive is on the way in 2020. Motor tax for the DS 7 ranges from €190 to €280 depending on engine and transmission choice.

My test car was a DS 7 Crossback Performance Line BlueHDi180 Automatic with a list price of €49,745. This model is powered by a 2.0-litre diesel and uses an 8-speed automatic.

Rear legroom in the DS 7 Crossback
Rear legroom in the DS 7 Crossback

Driving the 2019 DS 7 Crossback

The DS 7 Crossback is built on the EMP2 (Efficient Modular Platform), which is used by other PSA Group models. However, DS has made some changes for their new DS 7. The flexible rear beam was replaced by a multi-arm rear suspension for a smoother ride and less noise. The wheelbase was also extended by 5.5cm and the front track is wider. High-end insulation is laid between the engine compartment and the cabin, in the wheel wells, beneath the bonnet, in the door panels, in the roof lining and underneath the carpeting. Some models also feature DS Active Scan Suspension as standard. This system improves ride comfort using a camera to anticipate defects in the road ahead and adjusting the four shock absorbers to make them firmer or softer in response.

On the road the DS 7 is agile for its size and holds the road well, though it could not be described as a sporty vehicle. The diesel engine has plenty of power with 180 hp, though the automatic gearbox is not the silkiest of transmissions. Over a week of driving my fuel consumption averaged at 6.2l/100km. My test car had the Active Scan Suspension. The ride on the suspension is mostly good and the car reacts well in bends and changes in direction.

The DS 7 Crossback is the best product DS has produced to date with a significant enhancements in design and quality. The premium billing of the car raises standards considerably. In that regard, the DS 7 still has some way to go in terms of refining the driving character. Yet the DS 7 makes all the right moves in terms of a charismatic road presence - it is something distinctly different in the large SUV segment. DS 7 offers value in terms of space and specification, with some great petrol and diesel engines on offer. The DS 7 Crossback for now will be a more off-beat choice compared to traditional premium SUV rivals, but early adopters will find a stylish, bespoke SUV.

DS cars are exclusively sold from DS Airside in Swords, County Dublin, with two more stores planned.

Pricing for the 2019 DS 7 Crossback ranges from €36,000 to €60,245.

The DS 7 Crossback is a stylish new option in the family SUV market
The DS 7 Crossback is a stylish new option in the family SUV market

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: DS 7 Crossback Performance Line BlueHDi180 Automatic
€49,745 (Range from €36,000)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
180 hp
Torque: 400 Nm
9.9 seconds
Top speed: 216 km/h
Fuel economy:
6.5 l/100km
CO2 emissions: 
173 g/km
Motor tax: 
€270 per year