The Peugeot e-208 on test for Changing Lanes!

Peugeot e-208 Review

Read Caroline's Peugeot e-208 review for everything you need to know about Peugeot's electric supermini on sale in Ireland.

Peugeot is fast pursuing the electric dream with a slew of new hybrid and pure electric models. Many of the French brand's key models now offer some sort of electrified option - from the smallest 208 to the popular 3008 SUV and new Peugeot 308 hatchback and estate.

The Peugeot e-208 offers a pure electric drive in Peugeot's compact and stylish small hatchback. It goes up against other small EVs such as the Opel Corsa-e, Renault Zoe and Mini Electric.

But is it any good? In this review we're going to take a closer look to find out.

The Peugeot e-208 on test for Changing Lanes!
The Peugeot e-208 on test for Changing Lanes!

What's so special about the Peugeot e-208?

The e-208 looks good from all the angles. Peugeot's latest models are some of the most stylish out there. The e-208 has a gorgeous design, making it one of the most desirable small electric cars.

There's sporty elegance to the e-208 with a compact stance and distinctive light signature front and rear. If you want a car with 'fangs' this is the one for you - check out those striking daytime running lights at the front. While Peugeot's trademark 'tri-claw' taillights complete the feline theme at the rear.

There are three trim levels available in Ireland - Active, Allure Pack and GT. The GT model on test is surely the sportiest of them all with 17" diamond cut alloy wheels, gloss black around the wheel arches, black roof and a chequered flag effect grille.

Electric badging is subtle - just a small 'e' on the C-pillar and tailgate, and a blue finish to the Peugeot lion on the front grille.

With pricing starting from €28,730 including all relevant grants and VRT relief, the Peugeot e-208 is also keenly priced among small electric cars. Granted it will cost more to buy than petrol and diesel versions of the 208.  And the glorious e-208 GT on test looks great and is packed full of equipment but will set you back €33,285.

The Peugeot e-208 is also one of the most fun to drive small electric cars, with a range of up to 362km measured by industry standards. Though in real world driving, 280km seems more realistic once factors such as the time of year and your driving style are taken into account. For example, certainly at low speeds around town you'll get farther on your battery charge.

The interior of the e-208
The interior of the e-208

Inside the e-208

The cabin of the Peugeot e-208 stands out for its quality, with an upmarket feel that can be hard to find in the very smallest electric cars. There's lots of gloss black accentuating the cabin's stylish design and the beautiful Peugeot i-Cockpit.

In the centre of the dash there is a 7" touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, though Allure Pack and GT models get a more impressive 10" touchscreen. The ventilation controls are in the screen, but the elegant piano key underneath offer a shortcut to switch between menus quickly. Standard equipment includes automatic air conditioning, push button start and cruise control.

The e-208 is a small car so rear legroom is limited, though it's not impossible to carry adults. With the position of the battery in the e-208, Peugeot has managed to keep interior space and boot space the same as petrol and diesel 208s. The boot is compact too at 311 litres, but you can let the rear seats down for carrying larger items.

Driving the e-208

The e-208 is good fun to drive with agile handling and light steering. The 136hp motor in the e-208 provides enough power and the car moves effortlessly from town to rural roads to motorways.

On short journeys and in town driving the e-208 really shines, with the range of the car offering plenty of comfort between charging. The range diminishes more rapidly in high-speed motorway driving, but with a stop planned for charging, it's still a decent enough performance for the e-208.

And when it comes to charging, the e-208's 50kWh battery is pretty swift at adding the kilometres. With a 7kW wallbox installed at home it will take about 7.5 hours to charge the e-208 to full. Rapid DC charging is also possible using the standard CCS adaptor. Charging at the maximum 100kW, the e-208 can be 80% charged in 30 minutes.

The Peugeot e-208 is one of the best small electric cars
The Peugeot e-208 is one of the best small electric cars

Did you like it?

Electric suits the 208 very well. The Peugeot e-208 is super stylish, with a beautiful interior that feels more upmarket than much of the competition.

The e-208's 50kWh battery offers decent performance, particularly in the town and city environs where these small cars really feel at home. You couldn't find a better companion for city life.

I still think the Peugeot e-208 makes a great introduction to electric motoring. Like competitors, it is more expensive than an equivalent petrol or diesel car but there are many benefits to switching to electric at this time.  The e-208 is a very likeable small car that just happens to be electric too.

Model tested: Peugeot e-208 GT
Price: 
€33,285
Battery:
50 kWh
Range: 362km (WLTP)
Power: 136 hp
Torque:  260 Nm
Top speed:  150 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 8.1 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€120 per year

The Peugeot e-208 is on sale now from €28,730
The Peugeot e-208 is on sale now from €28,730

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes


The Mazda CX-5 Homura on test for Changing Lanes

Mazda CX-5 Homura Review

Read Caroline's Mazda CX-5 review for everything you need to know about buying Mazda's popular mid-size SUV.

The Mazda CX-5 has been a great success for the Mazda brand since it was first launched. Now in its second generation, the CX-5 is still Mazda's bestselling model in Ireland, ahead of the CX-30 and Mazda3.

Something about the Mazda CX-5's stylish SUV looks and spacious cabin keep it in the sweet spot of the market. Mazda also has a knack of treating the CX-5 to regular updates, which keep our attention on this vehicle.

In 2022, the Mazda CX-5 received an update and in this review we're going to take a closer look at what's new. And more importantly, is the CX-5 still a good buy as a five-seat, mid-size SUV?

Pricing starts from €36,745, with a range of trim levels and engines available.

The Mazda CX-5 Homura on test for Changing Lanes
The Mazda CX-5 Homura on test for Changing Lanes

What's new for the 2022 Mazda CX-5?

The Mazda CX-5 is one of the best-looking SUVs of its kind. It looks just as modern and stylish as it did when we first saw it at the European press launch in Barcelona in 2017.

Now in 2022, Mazda has added a little more distinct style to the CX-5. There are six trim levels available but some of the most notable in the latest series are the Newground, Homura and GT Lux.

However across the board all new CX-5s get a new grille and signature wing design, and new lights and bumpers. There’s also a new colour called Zircon Sand, but Soul Red Crystal and Polymetal Grey Metallic remain good options.

The Mazda CX-5 Newground starts from €38,745 and offers a more rugged 'outdoors' look to the CX-5's elegant lines. It gets silver underguard-style treatment to the front and rear bumpers and door garnishes, black door mirrors, lime green accents to the front grille and 19-inch black machine-cut alloy wheels.

The CX-5 Homura has also returned (from €43,895) and it's my pick of the range. It's a sporty look for the CX-5 with gloss black finish to the front grille, signature wing, lower bumper sections, wheel arches, door garnishes and door mirrors.There are also 19-inch alloy wheels finished in black metallic paint, and the front grille incorporates red accents.

The GT Lux (from €44,640) has a unified, one-colour exterior, matched with silver 19-inch alloy wheels for a high-end finish.

The interior of the Mazda CX-5 Homura
The interior of the Mazda CX-5 Homura

Inside the CX-5

The interior of the CX-5 is one of the most upmarket of the family SUV class. While the design has clearly aged, there's something timelessly classy about the Mazda's cabin. Sure newer rivals have more impressive digital displays and touchscreens at this stage but everything works in the Mazda just fine.

Infotainment is provided via a 10.25-inch centre display, which supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A heads-up display is available too. The seats have also been revised for more comfort. New equipment includes a four camera, 360 degree monitor and wireless phone charging.

Homura models get black leather seats with red stitching, which also features on the steering wheel, gear shift lever and door panels.

The CX-5 will seat five with good sized footwells in the second row. It might be tight for three back there, but children will be fine. There is over 500 litres of boot space, which is competitive for the segment and a powered tailgate comes as standard on some versions. Split folding rear seats boost practicality, with switches in the boot to let the seats down automatically The two-piece, reversible load-space floorboard and the tailgate sill are on the same level to help with loading.

The CX-5 has been updated for 2022
The CX-5 has been updated for 2022

Driving the Mazda CX-5

The Mazda CX-5 engine line-up in Ireland is exclusively petrol and diesel. There's no hybrid like what you will find in some of the rivals. The entry into the range is a naturally aspirated, 2.0-litre petrol engine with 165hp (‘Skyactiv-G’). Petrols are smooth and quiet but the performance can feel a bit uninspiring.

The 2.2-litre diesel with 150 hp in front wheel drive versions - and 184 hp in all wheel drive versions (‘Skyactiv-D’) - is more satisfying to drive because it has more torque and it offers the best economy of the range. Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 5.7 litres per 100 km.

It has plenty of power so it never gets too noisy under acceleration. The diesel CX-5 is certainly one of the best diesel SUVs in the segment for its refinement. Diesels start from €40,625.

6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic gearboxes are available depending on model. Even manuals are a breeze to drive, with the CX-5's agile handling and well-weighted steering contributing to what is still one of the best SUVs to drive. There have now been further enhancements to the CX-5's suspension and NVH (noise vibration harshness) performance.

Boot space in the Mazda CX-5
Boot space in the CX-5

Did you like it?

Equipment levels are high across the 2022 Mazda CX-5 range. Even the GS-L entry into the range gets 17-inch alloys, 10.25-inch colour screen display, keyless entry, cruise control, automatic air con, automatic lights and wipers, and parking sensors.

The GT adds black leather upholstery to the spec with power control and memory function, as well as 19-inch wheels, heated front seats and heated steering wheel. A powered tailgate and rear parking camera are available from GT Sport and above.

The Mazda CX-5 has definitely matured but it still stands out for its stunning good looks and upmarket interior. The cabin experience is no longer the most modern in the segment, but still feels ‘a cut above’ many competitors from the driver’s seat.

It’s subtle things like the way you are positioned in relation to the steering wheel and the controls, and the slick action of the manual gearbox, the refinement of the transmission. Things that last the test of time and make every drive a pleasure.

The CX-5 range now has more options than ever with some very distinct new offerings including the CX-5 Newground and the CX-5 Homura.

It’s easy to spend a lot of money on a CX-5 (looking at you Homura), which would be my pick of the range for a truly premium finish.

The Mazda CX-5 proposes a simple line-up of petrol and diesel engines. Hybrid has become a bit of a trend in this segment but it's absent here. Diesel seems like the best buy in the CX-5 range, which might be against market trends but there is still something to be said for the efficiency and satisfying drive behind the wheel.

Of course, later this year Mazda will launch their first ever plug-in hybrid SUV, the new Mazda CX-60. But it will be larger than the CX-5 so this car remains very much a key part of Mazda's line-up.

The Mazda CX-5 still has a lot to offer SUV buyers
The Mazda CX-5 has a lot to offer SUV buyers

Model tested: Mazda CX-5 Homura 2.2 Skyactiv-D
Price: 
€47,775
Engine: 
2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 150 hp
Torque: 380 Nm
Top speed:  204 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 9.9 seconds
CO2 emissions:
147 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€270 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes


The Nissan Juke Hybrid will arrive in Ireland later in 2022

Nissan Juke Hybrid First Drive Review

The Nissan Juke Hybrid will join the Nissan range in Ireland later this year.

The Juke is one of the brand's most successful models to date with over 11,000 finding homes in Ireland since it first went on sale in 2010. The second generation Juke launched in 2020. Now Juke goes hybrid for the very first time.

Caroline travelled to Milton Keynes with Nissan Ireland to drive the new Nissan Juke Hybrid.

The Nissan Juke Hybrid will arrive in Ireland later in 2022
The Nissan Juke Hybrid will arrive in Ireland later in 2022

Styling

The Nissan Juke Hybrid shares the same sporty crossover design as the rest of the Juke range. The Juke still looks modern and fresh with distinctive styling features including hidden rear door handles for a coupé style and a trendy contrast roof. Hybrid badges now feature on the front doors and the bootlid. The front grille of the Juke Hybrid displays the new Nissan brand logo and also features a strip of black gloss material where it meets the bonnet, a new feature of all electrified Nissan models including the upcoming electric Nissan Ariya. New two-tone 17" alloy wheels and 19" aero wheels will be available.

The Hybrid also gets a few design tweaks to improve aerodynamic efficiency including a new mesh grille with smaller holes. Modifications have also been made to the bodywork below the bumper to improve airflow. A radiator grille shutter has been added, allowing airflow to be automatically adjusted according to cooling needs. The rear spoiler has been restyled for cleaner airflow behind the car. And in front of the front wheels, the air deflectors have been reshaped and repositioned to clean the airflow. The rear axle has gained a cover to smooth the airflow under the car. Magic!

Interior

Inside the cabin, the Nissan Juke Hybrid has a sporty vibe with charismatic circular air vents and plenty of soft touch materials in our test vehicle. Hybrid models have an updated driver display including a power gauge and one for the battery's state of charge. A visual representation of the flow of power can be displayed on the 7" combimeter screen between the two dials. Infotainment is provided via an 8" touchscreen on top of the dash with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There's also a new button to activate e-Pedal one pedal driving on the centre console, as well as driving modes and an EV mode. It's a cool and modern cabin for this Juke.

The interior of the new Juke Hybrid
The interior of the new Juke Hybrid

Practicality

The Nissan Juke Hybrid is smaller inside than a Nissan Qashqai for example but it does offer similar space inside to many other compact crossovers on the market. It's possible for two adults to get comfortable in the rear. Headroom could be tight for taller adults but children will be fine. While the standard Juke petrol has an excellent boot volume of 422 litres, the hybrid loses some of that volume to accommodate the battery. It's down to 354 litres but that's still comparable to many hatchbacks.

Engine

The new Nissan Juke Hybrid uses a 1.6-litre four cylinder petrol engine, 1.2kWh battery and a 36kW electric motor. Power is up to 143hp, 25% more than what the 1.0-litre petrol Juke offers. According to Nissan, fuel consumption is reduced by 20% to between 5.0-5.2 litres per 100 km.

On the road

The Juke Hybrid starts in electric mode, moving off silently. Over our mixed test route across town, rural roads and motorway, we saw consumption as low as 5.6 litres per 100 km. It's a standard hybrid so no need to plug it in to get that sort of return on fuel consumption either.

On the road the extra power of the hybrid is apparent compared to the Juke 1.0-litre, offering pleasant acceleration and lively performance. The Juke's automatic gearbox seems to hold onto gears a bit longer than what you expect, no doubt to improve efficiency. There are no paddles or manual mode to override this. Though in Sport mode, the gear changes seem marginally quicker.

Elsewhere, the Nissan Juke Hybrid is a sporty and composed drive, offering lots of grip in cornering, and stability and refinement at high speeds on the motorway. It's compact and agile around town, though the ride seems firm over bumps.

Boot space in the Juke Hybrid
Boot space in the Juke Hybrid

Pricing & Equipment

Full pricing and equipment for the Nissan Juke Hybrid will be released later in the summer. The Nissan Juke 1.0-litre petrol currently starts from €25,745, so expect the hybrid version to carry a premium. Though Nissan Ireland say pricing will be competitive against hybrid rivals like the Toyota Yaris Cross and Renault Captur Hybrid.

Summary

The Nissan brand is gaining momentum again with the arrival of new electric and hybrid models like the electric Ariya and the Qashqai hybrid.

Now hybrid joins the Juke range, giving more options to buyers on the look out for a stylish and fuel-efficient compact crossover.

At Changing Lanes, we were already fans of the latest generation Juke. It's fun to drive and has a cool cabin and quirky coupé-inspired styling.

Thankfully these qualities have been retained in the new Juke Hybrid. It no doubt will be more expensive to buy, but the combination of more power and the ease of the automatic gearbox make it a more sophisticated offering.

The Nissan Juke Hybrid is a stylish and efficient compact crossover
The Nissan Juke Hybrid is a stylish and efficient compact crossover

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes


The Tesla Model Y on test for Changing Lanes!

Tesla Model Y Review

Read Caroline's Tesla Model Y review for everything you need to know about Tesla's new mid-size electric SUV in Ireland!

Tesla has expanded their range in Ireland this year with the arrival of the new Tesla Model Y. Following the successful launch of the Model 3, the Model Y will join the range as the brand's new electric mid-size SUV.

The Tesla Model 3 is already the brand's bestselling model in Ireland. The Model Y shares a lot of similarities with the Model 3, but is even more spacious with that oh-so fashionable look of an SUV, Tesla-style.

The new Model Y goes on sale in Ireland priced from €66,990. It's available in two 'flavours': Long Range All Wheel Drive (AWD) or Performance (from €72,990).

The Tesla Model Y on test for Changing Lanes!
The Tesla Model Y on test for Changing Lanes!

What's so special about the Tesla Model Y?

Built from the ground up as an electric vehicle, the Model Y’s aerodynamic design and battery technology make it one of the most efficient EVs on the market. The Long Range version offers 533 km (WLTP) driving between charges, and the battery performance is incredibly strong.

And it does look stunning. It shares lots of styling cues with the Model 3 but gains distinction as an SUV with more height, width and length, and even more utility styled alloy wheels. I love it!

And when you do hit the road cross country (or even cross continent), Tesla's Supercharger network is a reliable companion for quick and efficient charging. In Ireland it's also still exclusively provided for Tesla cars. A 10-80% charge takes a little over half an hour and the car starts to prepare the battery for optimum charging before you arrive there. The CCS charging connection means you can also use other public charge points.

Inside the Model Y follows Tesla's now trademark minimalist cabin. The dashboard has a simple horizontal layout with the 15" landscape style touchscreen taking centre stage. It is both the most innovative part of the cabin and potentially the most challenging in its brilliance too.

Inside the Tesla Model Y
The interior of the Tesla Model Y

Inside the Model Y

That's because you control pretty much everything from the screen. For example, even to activate the windscreen wipers requires a trip into the screen with a few scans and swipes. It's simply not the conventional way, leaving the driver with a steering wheel and not much else in their direct line of vision - one has to take a little glance to the left to see the speed of the vehicle on the screen.

But the screen's response, resolution, shortcuts and music/maps integration is simply brilliant. There's also a plethora of entertainment options, toybox, games and even a crackling fire effect, among many other wild and brilliant functions to discover in that screen. A folly or another digital wonder of the world - I'll let you decide.

The Tesla Model Y comes with synthetic leather upholstery and a simple palette of body colours. Quality follows that of the Model 3. These duo are now the most upmarket of the Tesla set with lots of soft touch materials, though the steering wheel does seem a bit basic looking for a premium priced car like this. On closer inspection, some of the fittings could be finished with a bit more elegance too.

All Model Y's have a high specification including 13 speaker premium sound system, power adjustable front seats, heated front and rear seats, and tinted panoramic glass roof. Generally the good stuff about this car outweighs any niggles about the finish.

The Model Y is the brand's new mid-size SUV
The Model Y is the brand's new mid-size SUV

Is it practical?

The Tesla Model Y offers more space than a Model 3 inside. The enlarged dimensions translate to an incredibly spacious living room in the Y. In the rear, three can sit comfortably with lots of headroom and legroom.

The boot opens in a practical hatchback style, with a powered tailgate as standard. It offers up to 854 litres with a large square opening, with good height and depth. You can also fold down the rear seats individually from switches in the boot and they fold flat neatly. There's also a frunk under the front bonnet for storing charging cables for example.

The loading sill is also low and flat making it easy to move things in and out of the boot.

The centre console has a large storage unit, while there are four USB ports and docking for two smartphones below the touchscreen. Modern minimalist with a sense of purpose.

Rear seating in the Model Y
Rear seating in the Model Y

Driving the Tesla Model Y

The Tesla Model Y Long Range (from €66,990) offers sprightly performance with 0-100 km/h in just 5 seconds, and one pump of the accelerator is enough to throw you back in your seat.

The Model Y Performance (from €72,990) ups the ante somewhat with 0-100 km/h in 3.7 seconds and a minimal drop in range to 514 km (WLTP) and top speed extended from 217 km/h to 250 km/h. It also gets 21’’ 'Überturbine' wheels, performance brakes, lowered suspension and aluminium alloy pedals.

Model Y's rapid straight line performance is enhanced by all wheel drive offering superb grip in corners. Tesla All-Wheel Drive has two ultra-responsive, independent electric motors that digitally control torque to the front and rear wheels—for far better handling, traction and stability control.

There's more lean in corners than a Model 3 for example but the Y is happy to hustle and is still fun to drive.

Cruising performance is excellent but the ride is very firm for a family SUV. At this price range, the Tesla Model Y should coast over bumps in the road with a bit more sophistication.

Did you like it?

Last year the Model 3 was the smartest car I've ever met. This year the Model Y follows suit, but as a trendy SUV.

It's only after spending time with these cars that you realise how revolutionary they are, how clever they are and how they do everything that little bit differently than every other car on the market.

But in the rapid electrification of the motor industry, it's the battery technology and reliable charging where the Tesla Model Y really shines. Everything seems to be have been taken care of in a way that makes the Tesla more compatible with modern life than any other EV I've driven.

The Model Y looks great but the ride comfort is disappointing in what is a sublime offering in many other areas. Still there's quite like a Tesla and the aforementioned fast charging, long range, badge kudos and behind the wheel experience mean the Y shall win many hearts regardless.

The Model Y is on sale priced from €66,990
The Model Y is on sale priced from €66,990

Model tested: Tesla Model Y
Price: 
€66,990
Battery: 75 kWh
Power:
434 hp
Torque: 493 Nm
0-100km/h: 
5 seconds
Top speed:  217 km/h
Motor tax: 
€120 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes


The Jaguar I-PACE on test for Changing Lanes

Jaguar I-PACE Review (2022)

Read Caroline's Jaguar I-PACE review for everything you need to know about buying Jaguar's electric car in Ireland.

Jaguar has long been the purveyor of exotic sports cars and luxurious saloons. Staying relevant in today's market brought Jaguar into the realm of SUVs with the launch of the F-PACE and E-PACE.

So when talk in the motor industry went electric, it was only right that Jaguar should follow suit. The brand's racing division joined the Formula E motorsport championship for electric cars. And gave the world the first Jaguar electric car - the I-PACE.

The Jaguar I-PACE first went on sale in Ireland in 2018, which is ages ago in EV terms. A lot has happened in the interim. There are many new premium electric cars and SUVs vying for a growing market.

So what does the Jaguar I-PACE have to offer and is it still relevant in an industry that is moving so fast?

The Jaguar I-PACE on test for Changing Lanes
The Jaguar I-PACE on test for Changing Lanes

What's so special about the Jaguar I-PACE?

2019 World Car of the Year. European Car of the Year in the same year. The I-PACE was a much-anticipated car, the first electric vehicle from a brand that has committed to producing just electric cars from 2025. But things move so fast in the automotive world that prestigious accolades will only get you so far...

Yet there's just something about a Jaguar. A brand that is still so clearly inspired by their sports car roots. Meeting the I-PACE for the first time is quite an experience. Jaguar would probably like you to think of the I-PACE as an SUV, since the market loves SUVs.

But it's much more car-like than that. And all the more stunning for it. The I-PACE is a beautiful piece of design, and looks sporty, elegant and dynamic from every angle - exactly how a Jaguar should be.

Powering the I-PACE is a 90 kWh battery, which is key to the car's ability to stay relevant in the market today - it has a WLTP range of 470 km, yet in real world driving the I-PACE easily passes the 300 km benchmark that makes life with an EV more comfortable between charges.

Gorgeous from every angle - the Jaguar I-PACE
Gorgeous from every angle - the Jaguar I-PACE

Jaguar I-PACE Black - what's new?

On test for Changing Lanes was the new Jaguar I-PACE Black finished in eye-catching Caesium Blue. While the I-PACE range starts in Ireland from €76,890, we think the I-PACE Black is considerable 'good value' at €78,400 with more equipment and smart black detailing.

The Black enhances the exclusivity of the I-PACE with gloss black door mirror caps as well as gloss black finish to the grille, side window surrounds and rear badges. It also enhances the I-PACE's already generous standard specification with a full panoramic roof, rear privacy glass and 20-inch black alloy wheels.

Inside the I-PACE welcomes passengers with a full leather interior. The cabin is slick and high quality - reassuringly premium in a classic Jaguar way. It's great to see that there has been no compromise to quality in the quest to bring this car to market and it's stayed modern, even after four years.

Much of that is down to the integration of Jaguar's 'Pivi Pro' infotainment system with 10" screen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. It works seamlessly, while there is also a digital display for the driver. A Meridian™ Sound System adds premium sound to the cabin of the I-PACE.

The interior of the Jaguar I-PACE
The interior of the Jaguar I-PACE

Is it practical?

The I-PACE is spacious up front and the platform yields generous interior space for passengers too. There are two large footwells in the rear and enough headroom for adults too despite those sports car looks.

The boot opens via a powered tailgate in a practical hatchback style. The I-PACE can stow away an impressive 656 litres.

There's also a small 'frunk' under the front bonnet for charging cables for example.

The I-PACE was future proofed with a 11kW onboard charger, which allows for faster AC charging. A full charge of the 90 kWh battery can be got in 8 hours or in just under 13 hours with a 7kW wallbox at home.

The Jaguar can also avail of up to 104 kW DC rapid charging. Some rivals do offer faster DC charging these days, though of course that's only possible with the right infrastructure. So the Jaguar can still make the most of more plentiful 50 kW and 100 kW chargers on the public charge network.

Rear space in the I-PACE
Rear space in the I-PACE

Driving the I-PACE

The I-PACE uses a 90 kWh battery with a healthy 400 hp from two electric motors and whopping 696 Nm of torque. Bespoke EV aluminium architecture delivers Jaguar’s most torsionally rigid body structure, with 50:50 weight distribution and all wheel drive performance.

This is an elegant electric car that gives a sports car feel behind the wheel. The I-PACE is a delight to drive, swift and agile with lots of grip and emotion that really helps it to stand out. Optional electronic air suspension (€1,765) gives this car an exquisite ride quality no matter the road surface. The car is easy to control and guide over the tarmac.

All wheel drive allows for a tidy put down of power with little drama or fuss. The I-PACE feels comparably light and agile on the road to some electric premium SUV rivals. Like it will dance a bit for you and play like a classic Jaguar. The accelerator pedal also appears well modulated with a feeling of acceleration and going through gears making the car more interesting than many.

Then pop it into dynamic mode and all those thrills are accompanied by a more aggressive 'engine note'. More a growl then than a purr from this cat!

The Jaguar I-PACE offers stunning on the road performance
The Jaguar I-PACE offers stunning on the road performance

Did you like it?

The Jaguar I-PACE is a gorgeous thing. It feels wrong to call it an SUV or even a crossover, though everything seems to sell faster these days with that tag.

If you spent years looking at a Jaguar saloon, the I-PACE is a refreshing and modern design.

Inside the Jaguar still feels modern and current, with a suitably luxurious feel and impressive digital technology.

Where the I-PACE really shines is from behind the wheel where Jaguar has made a really engaging and emotive drive worthy of the legendary badge.

Some EVs are more efficient and have more range for less money. But this one still outpaces many rivals with its design, class and sports car feel. For that reason the I-PACE is one of my favourite premium electric cars.

Model tested: Jaguar I-PACE Black
Price: 
€78,400
Battery: 90 kWh
Power:
400 hp
Torque:  696 Nm
0-100km/h:  
4.8 seconds
Top speed:  200 km/h
Motor tax: 
€120 per year

The Jaguar I-PACE Black is on sale now
The Jaguar I-PACE Black is on sale now

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes


The new Toyota Highlander on test for Changing Lanes

Toyota Highlander Review

Read Caroline's Toyota Highlander review for everything you need to know about buying Toyota's flagship hybrid SUV in Ireland!

The Toyota Highlander is now on sale in Ireland for the very first time. The brand's new large, seven seat SUV slots above the RAV4 in the Toyota range. It's hybrid only and all wheel drive, with a more friendly, road-going image and presence than the perennial Land Cruiser for example. It should be more efficient too, all going well.

SUVs are hot right now and so is hybrid. So is the new Highlander any good? It was time for Changing Lanes to take it for a drive to find out.

The new Toyota Highlander on test for Changing Lanes
The new Toyota Highlander on test for Changing Lanes

What's so special about the Toyota Highlander?

With seven seats as standard, a huge amount of passenger space and lots of luxury features on board, the Highlander is new territory for Toyota in Ireland.

Priced from €71,305, it's expensive for sure and a significant step up from the popular Toyota RAV4. All wheel drive comes as standard as does a 2 tonne towing capacity.

The Highlander epitomises the term 'big car'. This car has presence and takes up quite a lot of space for a modern SUV at nearly 5 metres in length!

It's built on Toyota's TNGA-K platform architecture, which also underpins the new Camry, and uses the Japanese brand's fourth generation hybrid technology on board.

The Highlander shares a familiar solid and rugged look with other Toyota SUVs like the Toyota RAV4. It's an impressive vehicle from any angle. LED headlamps and 18" alloy wheels come as standard.

The new Highlander has seven seats as standard
The new Highlander has seven seats as standard

Inside the new Highlander

Inside, the Highlander gives you something of an armchair experience, with a comfortable and high driving position. It's properly lofty from behind the wheel.

The design is hardly cutting edge but the cabin of the Highlander does feel high-end for this brand. Satin and wood grain trim finishes add some prestige, as does a full leather interior and plenty of soft touch materials.

There's also every interior feature imaginable including an 8” multimedia touchscreen featuring navigation and smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™,  wireless phone charging, 3-zone air-conditioning, keyless entry and a Blind Spot Monitor (BSM).

Still competition is stiff among seven seat family SUVs, with the likes of the Volvo XC90 and even the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento bringing excellent quality and design to the segment, and arguably more impressive digitisation on board.

The Highlander comes well equipped from standard. But step up to a Sol (from €77,900) and enjoy extra features such as 20" alloy wheels (five spoke), JBL premium sound system, and heated front seats.

The top of the range Platinum (from €83,330) adds head-up display, 20" dark grey machined finish alloys (10 spoke), panoramic roof and pre-collision system with pedestrian and cyclist detection.

Inside the new Toyota Highlander
Inside the new Toyota Highlander

Is it practical?

The Toyota Highlander is huge inside! It's a very on-trend way of carrying multiple people and their things.

With a generous 2850 mm wheelbase, the Highlander feels like a genuine 7 seater. It offers more space and better access than many to passengers in the third row. The second row seating can slide forward by 180 mm to make third row accommodation more spacious and accessible. While with all seven seats in place, there's still 332 litres of boot space, comparable to a small hatchback.

In row 2, it's lounge-like, with big square windows, comfy seating and a flat floor. In five seat mode there is 631 litres of boot space in the Highlander, with a small bit of underfloor storage and a kick-sensor operated power tailgate.

Hybrid in the Highlander

The Highlander uses the same 2.5-litre hybrid powertrain as the RAV4, but here it puts out 248 hp. Driving modes are also included: Eco, Normal, Sport and Trail.

This is a standard hybrid; it's not like a plug-in hybrid that can be charged and driven electric for a limited range. Granted the Highlander's small capacity battery does mean that in low speed stop start town driving for example the SUV can run off its battery power when certain conditions are met, boosting efficiency.

Boot space in the Toyota Highlander
Boot space in the Toyota Highlander

This is a considerably sized car so I was very curious to see how well the Highlander would perform over motorway and town driving. But there were no ugly surprises, with my fuel consumption averaging at 6.9 litres per 100 km over a week of driving. Hybrid technology has come a long way and the Highlander feels acceptable in terms of efficiency.

Of course, steps have been taken to improve the car's aerodynamic performance. The front bumper bottom edge, front bumper sides and roof spoiler have all been shaped to smooth the flow of air passing over and leaving the vehicle.

A radiator air guide ensures that airflow is efficiently directed to the radiator with minimum resistance. When the radiator does not require additional air flow cooling, grille shutters close to both reduce airflow resistance and assist with engine warm-up.

A first for a Toyota vehicle, new aero-ventilating aluminium wheels combine both brake cooling and aerodynamic performance. The underbody features an extensive, flat undercover to smooth the passage of air beneath the vehicle.

Airflow exhaust mechanisms have also been fitted on the insides of the front and rear wheel arches. Reducing air pressure inside the wheel arches increases the contact load of the tyres, enhancing both grip and vehicle stability.

Rear legroom in the Highlander
Rear legroom in the Highlander

Driving the Toyota Highlander

On the road, power is delivered smoothly with not too much interruption from the CVT gearbox. To meet its more premium billing, the new Toyota Highlander uses an acoustic windscreen and front glazing. There's also roof, dash and floor silencers, and wheel arch and boot space liners.

The Toyota Highlander is clearly a car designed for gentle driving, and it excels at transporting those on board in comfort. Yet it's still agile for its size, with good grip and body control for a large SUV.

Ride character is made more comfortable through a system that controls drive torque to the front wheels to both reduce the vehicle pitch motion caused by road surface fluctuations and reduce bonnet lifting behaviour under hard acceleration.

Did you like it?

The Toyota Highlander builds on Toyota's recent success in hybrid cars and SUVs. The brand can now offer buyers an on-trend, large family SUV with seven seats that packages much of what has made the smaller RAV4 a success for example.

Chunky SUV styling meets the brand's best hybrid powertrain yet. The Highlander is quite unique in the segment as a standard hybrid, so it will suit those buyers where plug-in hybrid is less attractive, but who still require an economical petrol-driven SUV.

The interior of the Highlander gives a feeling of prestige but it is hardly the most high-tech cabin in the segment. Still it's old school Toyota quality that feels great from behind the wheel.

This car is truly huge inside with a generous blend of seating and cargo space. The Toyota Highlander is a step up for sure but it's one Toyota fans will love.

The Toyota Highlander is on sale now
The Toyota Highlander is on sale now

Model tested: Toyota Highlander Platinum
Price: 
€83,330
Engine: 2.5-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power:
248 hp
0-100km/h:  
8.3 seconds
Top speed:  180 km/h
CO2 emissions:  
160 g/km
Motor tax: 
€280 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes


The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class on test for Changing Lanes!

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Review (2022)

Read Caroline's Mercedes-Benz C-Class review for everything you need to know about the latest generation of the brand's classic executive saloon.

Mercedes-Benz has returned with a new generation of the perennial C-Class. This car is undoubtedly a pillar of the Mercedes-Benz brand, with a strong lineage that comes from a time when saloon was king.

These days saloons are under pressure from SUVs - but the timeless quality of the C-Class means it's a car that still has plenty of relevance in today's market. In the last decade, the C-Class was the highest-volume Mercedes-Benz model, with over 11 million sold worldwide.

The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class on test for Changing Lanes!

What's new for the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

There are two themes the motor industry loves right now - digitisation and electrification. Naturally, the new C-Class touches both. It's electrified thanks to plug-in hybrid and mild hybrids to improve efficiency. Inside there is also a significant improvement to digitisation with a new display and operating concept adopted from the latest S-Class.

The new C-Class goes on sale in Ireland priced from €57,580 for a C 200 d (diesel), from €59,385 for a C 180 (petrol), and from €68,430 for the C 300 e (plug-in hybrid). It's available as a Saloon or Estate.

Mercedes-Benz has smartened up the C-Class considerably. For this new generation, the C-Class has a new look inspired by the S-Class, but with more sporty and dynamic proportions befitting of a junior executive saloon.

At the front, a charismatic Mercedes-Benz grille takes centre stage, suitably modernised for this latest version. At the rear, the lights now have a two-piece design for the very first time, just like the larger Mercedes-Benz E-Class and S-Class saloons.

The C-Class undoubtedly has kerb appeal, especially with the larger alloys and sportier stance of the AMG Line models, with further sporty enhancements to the interior.

The new C-Class goes on sale priced from €57,580
The new C-Class goes on sale priced from €57,580

Inside the new C-Class

Inside, the C-Class manages to feel even more luxurious than before. Cool ambient lighting sets the tone, while the new aviation style air vents give a sporty feel to the interior. The dashboard and central display are also now slightly tilted towards the driver.

Leather upholstery comes as standard. Other highlights include latest generation MBUX infotainment and ‘Hey Mercedes’ multimedia systems with voice-activation and touch screen functions, alongside a 12.3 inch digital instrument cluster.

Mercedes-Benz has raised their game with all models now getting a stunning portrait style, 11.9 inch media display in the centre of the dash. Ventilation controls are now accessed through the screen, but it’s quite simple to use. Overall it's one of the most modern and stylish cabins of the class.

Driver comfort and safety features include distance assist, steering assist, lane keeping assist, improved surround sensors, emergency braking functions, and a feature that can detect and raise the body height in anticipation of a collision.

Slightly longer and wider than the car it replaces, the new C-Class has improved headroom, elbowroom and kneeroom for passengers. A large transmission tunnel in the rear means it’s a car most comfortable for two adults in the back. There’s 455 litres of boot space in the Saloon, rising to 490 litres in the C-Class Estate for even more practicality.

Inside the new Mercedes C-Class
Inside the new Mercedes C-Class

What are you driving?

The engine range for the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class at launch includes four cylinder petrol and diesel models, which all come with mild hybrid technology and an excellent 9-speed automatic transmission.

There's also a new plug-in hybrid that offers over 100 km in electric only driving range and 313 hp from a petrol engine and electric motor.

On test for Changing Lanes was the C 200 d AMG Line. It uses a 2.0-litre diesel engine to produce 163 hp and 380 Nm. It offers healthy if not stunning performance in the new C-Class. There’s also the more powerful C 220 d available with 200 hp for example.

Efficiency is good with my average fuel consumption over a week of driving working out at 5.5 litres per 100 km. The insulation of the car gives you a nice buffer from the sound of the diesel engine.

On the road the Mercedes-Benz C-Class shows where your money goes with a beautiful ride comfort balanced with an athletic turn through corners and precise steering. The 3 Series would still have the edge on overall driver involvement. But the C-Class is a tidy performer with a lush cabin experience and smooth ride that makes you forgive it anything it might lack!

The C-Class makes an elegant return in 2022
The C-Class makes an elegant return in 2022

Did you like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

This latest C-Class is an elegant return for the popular compact Mercedes saloon.

Clever styling and packaging means that it many ways, it's a junior S-Class. It certainly has presence on the road, a handsome and stylish car that looks good everywhere.

The C-Class now really stands out for its new interior. Quality is excellent and there is a glam side to this car that certainly gives it an edge on rivals. But with Mercedes latest infotainment and digital dashboard, the C-Class has the technology on board to back it up.

Driving the C-Class and you'll quickly find it's every inch the elegant cruiser, offering a comfortable and refined drive that never goes out of fashion - keeping the market alive for premium compact saloons.

Model tested: Mercedes-Benz C 200 d Saloon AMG Line
Price: 
€61,196
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
163 hp
Torque:  380 Nm
0-100km/h:
 7.7 seconds
Top speed: 230 km/h
CO2 emissions:  
120 g/km
Motor tax: 
€190 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes


The new Toyota Yaris Cross on test for Changing Lanes!

Toyota Yaris Cross Review

Read Caroline's Toyota Yaris Cross review for everything you need to know about Toyota's new small SUV in Ireland.

Toyota is a brand that has been slowly and steadily taking over the Irish new car market. The brand's punt on hybrid technology has really paid off, with new models like the RAV4, C-HR, Yaris and mighty Corolla featuring in the top five bestselling cars here so far in 2022.

The new Toyota Yaris Cross on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Toyota Yaris Cross on test for Changing Lanes!

Introducing the Toyota Yaris Cross!

Now the brand looks set to expand their reach into the small SUV segment with the launch of the new Toyota Yaris Cross. Based on the Yaris, it's the brand's first B-SUV and exclusively hybrid-engined.

It goes on sale priced from €28,050, which is in the region of the new Corolla. It also carries a significant premium over the Yaris Hybrid (from €24,470). But it is a more substantial car and it's the trendy crossover type that customers are happy to pay more for.

In Ireland it's sold in four grades: Luna, Luna Sport, Sol and Adventure. Most models are front wheel drive, but Toyota will sell you a Yaris Cross with all wheel drive in the Adventure trim.

In the metal, the Yaris Cross has a good stance. It is easily distinguishable from the Yaris it is based upon, carrying the body of a small SUV quite convincingly. In fact the rugged design makes it more of a junior RAV4 from many angles, which is sure to please buyers in the market for a compact car like this. Plastic cladding and squared off wheel arches reinforce the SUV look. Wheel sizes up to 18" are available.

The Yaris Cross uses a hybrid engine
The Yaris Cross uses a hybrid engine

Inside the Yaris Cross

Inside, the Yaris Cross is also unique enough to distinguish itself in the Toyota range. You sit a little bit higher than in a Yaris and the dashboard design feels a little more mature. It's not the most youthful or trendy design Toyota has ever come up with - the C-HR would be a more fashionable choice - but it is solidly made and good quality with a mix of different materials and colours.

Sol (from €34,390) and above get a new 9" infotainment system with much more modern graphics. Other models get the older 8" touchscreen, though Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mean you can bypass the system most of the time.

Standard equipment includes 16" alloys, electric windows, climate control, push button start, and reversing camera.

Going up the trim levels adds more gear, larger alloy wheels, some cosmetic updates and opens up the option of a trendy bi-colour roof.

All cars also come with a suite of standard safety equipment including road sign assist, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane departure alert and a new centre airbag. This makes it one of the safest small SUVs on the road.

Yaris Cross has the same 2,560 mm wheelbase as the new Yaris hatchback, but is 240 mm longer overall, with 60 mm added to the front overhang and 180 mm to the rear for more interior space. The ground clearance is 30 mm higher. The vehicle is taller by 90 mm and wider by 20 mm.

So inside it feels bigger than the Yaris and is spacious enough for a compact vehicle in the front. But in the rear the Yaris Cross still fails to impress when it comes to legroom, with some rivals doing it better. Yet a 397 litre boot is generous and adds a more practical touch to this car. An adjustable deck height gives the flexibility of either a secure underfloor compartment or increased boot space for larger loads.

The interior of the Toyota Yaris Cross
The interior of the Toyota Yaris Cross

Driving the Yaris Cross Hybrid

The new Toyota Yaris Cross is the latest model to be built on Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA). Designed and engineered in Europe, the Yaris Cross is manufactured in France.

It uses Toyota’s latest 1.5-litre petrol electric hybrid system, the same as in the new Toyota Yaris Hybrid. It works exceptionally well with a smooth and refined drive from a three-cylinder Atkinson-cycle petrol engine, engineered to reduce friction and mechanical losses and optimise combustion speed.

There is 116 hp available, which feels about right for a small SUV. The bias is towards efficiency and rightly so. There the Yaris Cross performs like a true hybrid star. My average fuel consumption over a week of driving finished at 4.7 litres per 100 km. In a market now flooded with small turbo petrol engines, this stands out for its genuine efficiency while feeling lively enough behind the wheel too.

Elsewhere the Yaris Cross performs with few tricks other than a pleasant and predictable drive that's comfortable for its size.

The Yaris Cross goes on sale in Ireland priced from €27,260
The Yaris Cross goes on sale in Ireland priced from €27,260

Did you like it?

The new Toyota Yaris Cross has only just arrived in Ireland in the past few months and already it's landed a place in the top 10 bestselling cars. Combining popular small SUV looks with a hybrid powertrain, the Yaris Cross hits the market just right.

The Yaris Cross offers a smooth hybrid drive that is truly efficient and refined making this the latest sophisticated hybrid machine to wear the Toyota badge.

It comes at a cost for sure, though it does look and feel like a more substantial car than the Yaris for example and it's automatic behind the wheel for extra convenience.

Inside the Yaris Cross is not the liveliest in design but it does have a mature and solid feel that will go the distance. While the boot is a great size for the class, rear legroom is on the tight side. Some rivals do it better at this price point. Even within the Toyota range itself, like the excellent Corolla Touring Sports.

But everyone loves crossovers right now. The Yaris Cross has all the trendy design cues and compact dimensions that are bound to cement Toyota's name in the market for small SUVs.

Model tested: Toyota Yaris Cross Sol
Price: 
€34,390
Engine: 1.5-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 
116 hp
Torque:  120 Nm
0-100km/h: 
11.2 seconds
Top speed:  170 km/h
CO2 emissions:  
113 g/km
Motor tax: 
€190 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes

The Yaris Cross is an efficient and capable small SUV
The Yaris Cross is an efficient and capable small SUV

The new Kia Sportage on test for Changing Lanes

Kia Sportage Review (2022)

Read Caroline's Kia Sportage review for everything you need to know about buying the new Sportage in Ireland in 2022.

The Kia Sportage is a bit of an icon, one of Ireland's favourite family cars and the bestselling Kia here for over ten years.

Now the 2022 model looks set to continue this success with a new look and refreshed engine line-up. There's a new hybrid on sale now, to be followed by the first ever Sportage plug-in hybrid before the end of the year.

The fifth-generation Kia Sportage has been specifically designed and developed for Europe, sitting upon the new ‘N3’ architecture.

It goes on sale priced from €34,300 for an entry level diesel, rising to €43,000 for a top of the range GT Line diesel mild hybrid.

The new Sportage Hybrid is available at €43,150.

The new Kia Sportage on test for Changing Lanes
The new Kia Sportage on test for Changing Lanes

What's so special about the Kia Sportage?

The Kia Sportage has always been a bit of a looker. Stylish and sporty, this new model has a great stance on the road. It plays the part of a mid-size SUV exceptionally well.

Kia's new design language has transformed this car at the front, with a modern 'tiger nose' grille and characteristic new boomerang shaped LED daytime running lights helping it to stand out from the crowd. Standard equipment includes 17" alloys, LED headlights and roof rails.

The sporty GT Line is back for this new generation of the Sportage. It sits at the top of the range with 19" alloys as standard, bespoke glossy black trim elements and a chrome coated front and rear skid plate.

Inside there is an all-new interior design, which really moves the game on for the Sportage. It's a latest generation Kia interior, with some of the brand's best digital technology on show.

All but the very entry model get an impressive 12.3" curved touchscreen with navigation. The K4 and GT Line complete the look with a full digital instrument panel for the driver.

It's a suitably plush and modern cabin for the new Sportage that balances style with functionality and comfort.

Inside the new Kia Sportage
Inside the new Kia Sportage

Is it practical?

The Sportage is a mid-size SUV with a five seat layout and good interior accommodation for this class of vehicle. It slots into the range below Kia's larger, seven seat Sorento.

The new platform improves boot space, headroom and legroom compared to the outgoing model. There's plenty of space up front and in the rear for a family SUV. The rear bench has reasonable width and large footwells too. The rear seats split fold 40:20:40 and the outer rear seats have ISOFIX child seat fixtures.

There's plenty of room in the boot too with all models getting over 500 litres: the hybrid offers 587 litres, the diesel offers 571 litres, while the diesel mild hybrid offers 526 litres. For an SUV, it also has a useful low loading sill.

A powered tailgate is available and comes as standard on GT Line models.

The new Sportage is available from €34,300
The new Sportage is available from €34,300

Driving the 2022 Kia Sportage

On the road the new N3 platform influences new Sportage’s driving characteristics though it doesn't feel like a massive step forward. The Kia Sportage offers a stable and comfortable drive with agile handling. It's not the most engaging of the SUVs to drive - a Mazda CX-5 or Ford Kuga would have the edge on it there.

There's a new-generation Electronic Control Suspension (ECS) for more comfort and safety thanks to its continuous damping control. It works by reacting quickly to the Sportage’s body movements and steering inputs, making rapid damper adjustments to counteract heave, pitch and body roll through corners. It also adapts the damping force of the suspension to comfortably accommodate obstacles and reduce wheel impact from aftershocks.

Boot space in the Kia Sportage
Boot space in the Kia Sportage

For now the 1.6-litre diesel is prominent in the Sportage range in Ireland, with 115 hp or 136 hp. Gearboxes include a 6-speed manual and 7-speed dual clutch automatic. Both the Sportage Hybrid and Sportage Plug-in Hybrid models are equipped with the latest-generation six-speed automatic transmission.

On test was the flagship GT Line sold exclusively as a diesel mild hybrid with a 6-speed manual gearbox. With 136 hp, it has plenty of power and is responsive to the throttle. You will know you are driving a diesel but it is efficient and user-friendly. Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 5.2 litres per 100 km.

When it arrives, the plug-in hybrid will be the most powerful of the range with 265hp and the ability to drive electric for a limited range. The Sportage Hybrid is already on sale with 230hp. It uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine, electric motor and small capacity battery.

The Kia Sportage is a stylish and sound buy
The Kia Sportage is a stylish and sound buy

Did you like it?

The Kia Sportage is back for a new generation and gets a welcome boost in its design and interior.

Kia does modern, intuitive interiors very well, with a stunning digital display, particularly in the higher trim levels of the new Sportage. It matches the Sportage's trendy urban image, and this car's dramatic styling is sure to turn heads quickly.

While new hybrid options keep the Sportage in tune with market trends, it's the diesel that is the most accessible in the range at the moment. It's not the most refined offering on the market, but it does deliver in terms of efficiency.

Like all competitors, the Sportage has gone up in price, but all models come well equipped with a full suite of safety equipment.

It also offers great practicality for this class of vehicle with plenty of clever features and space inside. For this reason it remains a stylish and sound buy in the Irish new car market in 2022.

Model tested: Kia Sportage GT Line 1.6 diesel MHEV
Price:
€43,000
Engine: 1.6-litre diesel
Power: 
136 hp
Torque: 320 Nm
0-100km/h: 
11.4 seconds
Top speed: 180 km/h
CO2 emissions (WLTP): 
132 g/km
Motor tax: 
€210 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes

The new Kia Sportage on sale in Ireland now
The new Kia Sportage on sale in Ireland now

The new Dacia Duster on test for Changing Lanes!

Dacia Duster Review (2022)

Read Caroline's Dacia Duster review for everything you need to know about buying Dacia's popular compact SUV in Ireland in 2022.

The Dacia Duster has been a huge success in Ireland since it was first launched back in 2013. Over 14,000 Dusters have found homes in Ireland since it first went on sale.

Now in its second generation, Dacia has updated the Duster again for 2022.  Duster gets more modern features to keep it competitive in the compact SUV segment.

Dacia is truly carving out an identity for itself beyond the brand's budget beginnings. 2021 saw the launch of the new Sandero and Sandero Stepway, with this model securing the title of Continental Tyres Irish Compact Car of the Year.

2022 will also see the launch of the brand's first seven seat model, the Dacia Jogger.

The new Dacia Duster on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Dacia Duster on test for Changing Lanes!

What's so special about the Dacia Duster?

But the Duster is a brand-defining car for Dacia, the one that really put the brand on the map here. It's perfectly placed to make the most of a market in love with the SUV.

It's available with petrol, petrol/LPG or diesel engines, with 4WD available as an option too.

Priced from €21,190, the Dacia Duster remains one of Ireland's truly affordable new cars.

The Duster is now very recognisable on Irish roads for its chunky, rugged design. You don't mess with an icon! So the Duster facelift has been minor. New light units include Y-shaped daytime running lights, which look more contemporary and seem to fit better, especially at the rear. This new shape also inspired the new 3D chromed radiator grille. Front LED direction indicators debut here for the first time in the Dacia range.

There’s also a new colour – Arizona Orange – that really makes the Duster pop.

Dacia says Duster’s aerodynamic performance has been improved with the simple design of the new rear spoiler and 16/17-inch alloy rims.

The Duster goes on sale in Ireland priced from €21,190
The Duster goes on sale in Ireland priced from €21,190

Inside the 2022 Dacia Duster

Inside, the cabin of the Duster is lifted by the addition of a new 8″ touchscreen with more modern graphics and a glossier finish. It replaces the old 7″ unit.

The USB ports have also moved to a neater location further down in the centre console so the cable no longer dangles across the touchscreen.

The cabin is composed almost entirely of hard plastic in line with the car's budget positioning in the market. But Duster somehow gets away with it. It's reassuringly basic. The new infotainment system certainly helps improve the cabin feel.

The cruise control buttons have been moved to a stalk on the multifunction steering wheel. There’s also new upholstery and new slimmer headrests.

Dimensions have not changed but the Dacia Duster’s boxy shape still makes it very practical and great value for the money. Duster will seat five, with the rear footwells offering more space than many more salubrious rivals in the B-SUV segment. The high roofline gives loads of headroom, adding to that feeling of space.

The boot is also a good size with up to 478 litres available in two wheel drive models, and 467 in four wheel drive Dusters. Isofix child-seat mounting points are fitted to the outer rear seats.

The interior of the Dacia Duster
The interior of the Dacia Duster

What are my options?

The new Duster is available in Ireland with petrol and diesel engines in 2022, as well as a petrol/LPG 'bifuel option' by special order. All wheel drive is available on diesel models.

The range kicks off with the 1.0-litre TCe petrol engine with 90 hp and a manual gearbox at €21,190. There's also a new petrol/LPG option priced the same, with 100 hp and a 6-speed manual gearbox.

It can run on petrol alone, but benefits from having an LPG tank fitted beneath the floor of the boot, in place of the spare wheel. LPG (liquid petroleum gas) is sold cheaper at the pump than petrol from some fuel stations around Ireland.

The diesel option in the Duster range is the familiar 1.5-litre dCi with 115 hp available in either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, combined with a six-speed manual gearbox. Four wheel drive Dusters are available from €26,140. They are extremely capable off-road for a small SUV, as I found out driving the Duster 4x4 in France.

With a bit more power, Duster is offered with a 1.3-litre TCe 150 hp petrol engine. It's sold as two wheel drive. It is the only engine in the range offered with an automatic gearbox.

Rear seating in the Duster
Rear seating in the Duster

Driving the Dacia Duster

The latest Duster features a new type of tyre, no matter which version a customer opts for. The two-wheel drive version is fitted with ‘green’ CO2-optimised tyres as standard. It's said to give a 10 per cent reduction in rolling resistance.

The Dacia Duster 1.5 dCi is a reliable companion for the Duster with a good return on economy. My average fuel consumption over a week of driving was 5.3 litres per 100 km. Performance is adequate for this class of vehicle, with the diesel offering a healthy amount of torque to keep the Duster moving competently from town to motorway.

Behind the wheel, the high driving position gives the Duster the surprising feeling of an authentic off-roader. The diesel can get noisy under acceleration but it's simple to drive, with light controls and good agility.

Duster’s all-electric power steering has been recalibrated on medium and high speed driving. So from 70 km/h, the steering becomes slightly heavier but the Duster is not the sharpest performer in its class with more body roll than some competitors. Yet it’s comfortable where it matters over long distances and copes with rougher surfaces on rural roads and in town reasonably well too.

The Dacia Duster is a great value small SUV
The Dacia Duster is a great value small SUV

Anything else?

In Ireland the Duster is available in three trim levels: Essential, Comfort and Prestige. There's also a limited edition Extreme model.

The Duster Essential (from €21,190) has steel wheels, automatic headlights, and black roof bars. Inside there’s a height and reach-adjustable steering column, cruise control with speed limiter, on-board computer, DAB Radio and manual air conditioning.

The Comfort (from €23,390) is more desirable for 16-inch alloy wheels, black-painted heated and electrically adjustable door mirrors, body-coloured door handles, front fog lights, and hill descent control. The interior has upgraded upholstery, height-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment, leather steering wheel, electric rear windows, rear parking sensors with rear camera, and the 8-inch infotainment system with Android Auto® and Apple CarPlay®.

The Prestige trim (from €25,290) adds 17-inch alloy wheels, grey door mirrors and roof bars, dark-tinted rear windows, and an acoustic windscreen. Inside there’s automatic air conditioning, keyless entry, multiview camera, front parking sensors, blind spot warning system, heated seats, on-board navigation system and wireless smartphone connectivity for Android Auto® and Apple CarPlay®.

The Duster Extreme (from €25,590) has 17" black alloy wheels, orange inserts on the front grille, side-mirror housing, roof rails, and tailboard, and inside on the air-vents, door panels, and centre console. There’s also special fabric/TEP upholstery with orange stitching. There's an exclusive colour too - Urban Grey.

The Duster holds a 3-star Euro NCAP safety rating with some safety equipment like lane departure warning and autonomous emergency braking still absent.

The new Dacia Duster Extreme limited edition
The new Dacia Duster Extreme limited edition

Did you like it?

The latest edition of the Duster gets a smartening up all round with a timely upgrade to the infotainment. This goes a long way to lift the cabin, though it is still on the more austere side compared to more expensive models.

Duster is the lovable rogue of the B-SUV class. It looks great with a tough utilitarian look. Even basic models have a simple rugged charm to them.

Clearly the Duster is not the one to get for cutting edge technology. Power still comes exclusively from combustion engines, keeping the price accessible in the Irish market. Though the Duster Bi-Fuel that can run on LPG is an intriguing option at a time when fuel prices are at their highest.

The Dacia Duster offers a lot for a five seat SUV. With that sort of pricing, it's impossible to ignore in today's market for cheap and accessible motoring!

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year

Model tested: Dacia Duster dCi 115 Comfort
Price: 
€25,190
Engine: 
1.5-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
115 hp
Torque: 
260 Nm
0-100km/h: 
10.5 seconds
Top speed: 
179 km/h
CO2 emissions (WLTP): 
111 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€200 per year