The new Mercedes-Benz GLE pictured in the Blackstairs Mountains!

Mercedes-Benz GLE 300d Diesel Review

The new Mercedes-Benz GLE pictured in the Blackstairs Mountains!
The new Mercedes-Benz GLE pictured in the Blackstairs Mountains!

Caroline drives the new Mercedes-Benz GLE!

Did you ever wonder what it might be like to drive a luxury five star hotel on wheels? The new Mercedes-Benz GLE comes close. From my lofty position behind the steering wheel, I take a glimpse into a five star world. The new GLE is a physically impressive car. It knocks around in the car park of large premium SUVs – think BMW X5, Volvo XC90, Land Rover Discovery, Jaguar F-PACE and Audi Q7. It drips with premium features all wrapped up in sumptuous leather. There’s every comfort feature you could wish for along with a smooth and breezy ride comfort that marks out the very best.

Pricing starts from €78,965 and though it might be a bit tasteless to talk too much about value at this side of the market, Mercedes-Benz Ireland has positioned the GLE with considerable clout, loading on the spec to make a serious case for the GLE over rivals. Of course, Mercedes Benz owners will already be converted to the comfort, refinement and aura of the three pointed star brand. Riding high in the GLE, now with the option of seven seats for the first time, the GLE is surprisingly charismatic.

Styling has been spruced up to make the car more attractive. The wheelbase is 80 mm longer and the new SUV has a more rounded and elegant presence, with distinctive LED headlights and rear lights. 18” alloys come as standard, while AMG Line models add AMG bodystyling and 20” alloys. However, it’s probably the interior of this car that really steals the show.

The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz GLE

Inside the new Mercedes-Benz GLE

First of all it’s huge inside, a proper large family SUV. The rear accommodation is excellent, generous in width and legroom. There is now the option of two seats in row 3 turning this into a seven seater. There is lots of electrical assistance to move the seats in row 2 forward and back with adjustable recline. The luggage capacity is up to 825 litres behind the rear seats, and up to 2,055 litres when the second seat row is folded down. A 72 mm increase in through-loading width allows bulky items to be stowed more easily.

Right, so up into the driver’s seat. Wow. The view is amazing with the new widescreen dashboard as standard with two 12.3 inch screens – one for the driver information display and the second for the infotainment. All the digital tech works seamlessly and is intuitive to use. It’s also super comfortable. The lofty high driving position is hard to beat.

The material quality is excellent throughout. Rectangular shaped air vents are a neat touch and there is a raised centre console between the driver and passenger with cupholders, storage and the controls for the MBUX infotainment system. Hey Mercedes!

The new GLE is available from €78,965
The new GLE is available from €78,965

What do I get for my money?

The range starts with the GLE 300d 4MATIC at €78,965. With an AMG Line exterior package, this model is available from €84,772. The AMG Line diesel is available from €85,332. The GLE 450 4MATIC petrol is available from €96,625.

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

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

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

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

Rear legroom in the new GLE
Rear legroom in the new GLE

Driving the new Mercedes-Benz GLE

4MATIC four wheel drive is standard on all models. In terms of engine, the big seller in Ireland will be the 300d with a 2.0-litre diesel putting out 245 hp. There is also a GLE 450 petrol powered by a six-cylinder engine with 48-volt mild hybrid technology. Motor tax ranges from €570 to €1200 for the GLE.

My test car was the GLE 300d and it performs well here with a 9-speed automatic gearbox. The engine is responsive and smooth, delivering its power with just enough urgency to feel brisk. The GLE is a big car but this engine does a fine job without making too much of a racket while it's at it. Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 8.0l/100km.

The Mercedes-Benz GLE has a newly developed steel suspension, while there is also the option of a new AIRMATIC air suspension and E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL for engine variants with six and more cylinders. Even on standard suspension, the Mercedes-Benz GLE is a good companion, and reasonably easy to manoeuvre for its size also with a myriad of parking aids to get you in and out of the car park safely! On the road the new GLE prioritises comfort and refinement. It does feel large on the road and it's certainly not the sportiest of SUVs, but it's a pleasure to drive and will move passengers around in comfort and luxury.

And the verdict?

The new generation of the Mercedes-Benz GLE ups its game in terms of styling, interior finish, technology and connectivity, bringing modern Mercedes-Benz features to the large family SUV class. The seven seat option is new for the GLE and makes the whole package even more competitive than before. Mercedes-Benz Ireland is offering a generously equipped GLE 300d and this engine is a great match for the car.

The interior is a true high point for the GLE - modern and contemporary yet easy to use and navigate. This is a fantastic large family SUV with plenty of space and comfort features. The GLE has no aspirations to be sporty, but for pure luxury comfort and refinement, it’s a top player in this market.

Highly desirable and utterly capable.

Caroline and the Mercedes-Benz GLE
Caroline and the Mercedes-Benz GLE

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Mercedes-Benz GLE 300d 4MATIC AMG Line
Price:
€85,332 (Range from €78,965)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
245hp
Torque: 500Nm
0-100km/h: 
7.2 seconds
Top speed: 225 km/h
Fuel economy (WLTP):
6.1 – 6.4 l/100km
CO2 emissions (WLTP): 
162 g/km
Motor tax: 
€570 per year

 


The new Kia e-Niro 64 kWh

Kia e-Niro 64 kWh Review (2019)

The new Kia e-Niro 64 kWh
The new Kia e-Niro 64 kWh

Caroline drives the new Kia e-Niro 64 kWh!

As electric vehicles begin to come in from the periphery and demand grows, Kia turns out to be one of the brands that has the right models at the right time. In 2019, the Korean brand launched not one, but two electric vehicles and both are sized and packaged as fashionable crossovers. The subject of this review is the Kia e-Niro, however you might also be interested in this review of the Kia e-Soul.

The Kia Niro is a relatively new model in its own right for Kia. The brand already sells a popular Niro Plug-In Hybrid. Now it also comes in electric. The Kia e-Niro is sold in two flavours in Ireland: the mid range 35 kWh and the long range 64 kWh. My test car was the e-Niro 64 kWh with a range of up to 455 km on a single charge according to WLTP figures.

So how much is it?

Pricing starts from €37,495 for the Kia e-Niro 64 kWh, including VRT relief and government grants. The Kia e-Niro 35 kWh is available from €33,495 with a range up to 289 km. Standard features include 17” alloys, leather upholstery, heated front seats and steering wheel, 7” inch screen featuring Android Auto/Apple Car Play and Tom Tom navigation, lane keep assist, smart cruise control, forward collision-avoidance assist and autonomous emergency braking.

If the e-Soul is the funky one, then the e-Niro is the conservative one. The e-Niro is a roomy five seat crossover with a raised ride height. The Kia has a closed ‘tiger-nose’ grille with an integrated charging port and the electric Niro also has blue trim and arrowhead LED daytime running lights to differentiate it.

The interior of the new Kia e-Niro
The interior of the new Kia e-Niro

Inside the new Kia e-Niro

The interior design is plain but the cabin quality is good. The dashboard features bright blue trim around the vents, echoing the trim highlights found on the outside of the car. A digital instrument panel displays key data on the EV system including range and battery power. The central touchscreen shows where the nearest public charge points are and connects to Apple Car Play and Android Auto. However, the e-Soul has a more modern infotainment system and interesting cabin to this reviewer’s eyes! The e-Niro does get the same new ‘shift-by-wire’ rotator dial drive selector, which looks good, is easy to operate and frees up space for a large storage area beneath the centre console.

But the e-Niro wins hands down on space and practicality, making it more suitable for family buyers. When the Niro was first launched in 2016, its new platform was engineered to accommodate a variety of advanced powertrains so the introduction of a battery-electric powertrain has had minimal impact on packaging and versatility.

The rear passenger compartment is more generously sized, while the boot is also bigger and more practical. At 451 litres, it beats also many other mainstream electric vehicles and there is a dedicated storage area beneath the floor, providing space for owners to store the charging cable.

The e-Niro 64kWh has a 150 kw motor giving the car a power output of 204 hp and 395 Nm torque. The e-Niro accelerates from 0-to-100 kph in 7.8 seconds. The battery pack is located low down in the body to improve handling and the relatively wide stance also improves vehicle behaviour in cornering. The car is equipped with fully independent rear suspension, tuned to deliver high stability and immediate handling responses and filter out small vibrations at higher speeds when travelling over poor surfaces.

The Kia e-Niro is one of the more practical electric vehicles on the market right now
The Kia e-Niro is one of the more practical electric vehicles on the market right now

Driving the new Kia e-Niro 64 kWh

The e-Niro feels natural on the move and makes brisk progress, however the e-Soul feels a bit more fun to drive.

Thanks to a number of new measures to make the car more aerodynamic, there is very little wind noise entering the cabin.

I tested the car during a spell of cold weather in October. The environment certainly has impact on the range. When I got into the car with a full charge my range was 375 kilometres. That’s plenty for a lot of hassle-free driving if you are charging your car nightly at home, where it will take about 9 hours using a wallbox charger.

On the motorway the e-Niro holds on to its charge well but it really excels in this regard around town and at speeds up to 80 km/h. There’s also regenerative breaking with three different ‘strengths’, which the driver can toggle between using the paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. Cool!

Right now Kia Ireland is experiencing huge demand for a limited number of Kia e-Niros and e-Souls. The brand sold their 2019 allocation very quickly and are now seeking interest for 2020 deliveries.

The Kia e-Niro is a very welcome addition on the EV scene. Along with the new Kia e-Soul, these two really do offer a great package for buyers wanting to go electric.

The Kia e-Niro is reassuringly familiar with a tried and tested formula of space, practicality and simple styling that won’t raise any eyebrows! The 64 kWh battery gives an excellent range in excess of 350 kilometres. On the road the e-Soul is comfortable and refined. In fact, it feels just like a ‘normal’ car!

Right car at the right time and bound to do very well for Kia.

The new Kia e-Niro is available from €37,495
The new Kia e-Niro is available from €37,495

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Kia e-Niro 64 kWh
Price:
€37,495
Battery: 64 kWh
Power: 
204 hp
Torque: 395 Nm
0-100km/h: 
7.8 seconds
Top speed: 167 km/h
Range (WLTP):
455 km
CO2 emissions (WLTP): 
0 g/km
Motor tax: 
€120 per year


The new BMW 3 Series!

2019 BMW 3 Series (320d) Review

The new BMW 3 Series!
The new BMW 3 Series!

Caroline drives the new BMW 3 Series!

The BMW 3 Series is an icon that doesn’t need much to sell itself. It’s long been hailed as the sportiest compact executive saloon in its class, exalted for its playful rear wheel driving dynamics and high-end build and refinement.

Now the BMW 3 Series is in its 7th generation and it’s a gentle evolution of a familiar and popular car. You don’t mess with an icon like the 3 Series.

What's new for the 2019 BMW 3 Series?

The new 3 Series was five years in development and BMW says that the focus for this new generation has been sportiness, innovation and design. Proportions have been revised, there’s a wider track and a longer wheelbase. These all impact on the visual appeal of the car and a new design language focuses on clean, precise lines. The design is comfortingly familiar yet modernised in line with the latest BMW ‘look’.

The 2019 BMW 3 Series is on sale in Ireland priced from €44,115. The new 3 Series is available in three trim levels: SE, Sport and M Sport.

Trim elements differ depending on specification and the 3 Series is in its sportiest incarnation in M Sport trim. The car sits 10 mm lower and there are large air intakes at the front as well as a redesigned front bumper, side skirts and rear apron. The kidney grille is finished in high gloss black. The stunning new Portimao Blue metallic is also a unique colour option for the M Sport model.

The interior of the BMW 3 Series
The interior of the BMW 3 Series

The interior of the new 3 Series

Inside the 3 Series gets a smart new interior very fitting of a junior executive car. There is a fine mix of materials and the quality is excellent throughout. The M Sport model adds sports seats to the specification, as well as an ‘M’ leather steering wheel, anthracite-coloured headliner, and full leather interior with heated front seats.

Cabin comfort for passengers has been improved with more shoulder room in the front and extra legroom in the back. Getting in and out of the car is easier for the rear passengers because the door aperture height has been increased. The boot has a capacity of 480 litres, while new partitioning into a primary luggage compartment and separate storage compartments has created an additional 36 litres of space.

There’s also a welcome addition of new technology features including a new digital instrument cluster as standard. The M Sport model gets the impressive 10.3-inch central instrument cluster and BMW’s brand new Operating System 7.0 with the Intelligent Personal Assistant.

The entry level SE model has 17″ alloys, LED headlights, BMW Light Carpet, interior ambient lighting, reversing camera, electric folding rear view mirrors, three-zone air conditioning and enhanced acoustic glazing.  There’s also a leather sport steering wheel and BMW Live Cockpit plus, with 8.8-inch central instrument cluster.

The 3 Series range starts from €44,115 in Ireland
The 3 Series range starts from €44,115 in Ireland

What are my options?

Engine options for the new 3 Series include the 318d and 320d (diesels available from €44,115) and the 320i and 330i (petrols available from €44,155). A new 330e plug-in hybrid is also available from €51,475. A six-speed manual gearbox is also available on some models, as is the BMW xDrive all-wheel-drive system.

My test car was a classic 320d M Sport, four-cylinder diesel engine with 190hp and an 8 speed automatic gearbox with a list price of €52,410. The 2.0-litre diesel engine has been upgraded and it now includes multi-stage turbocharging to improve efficiency across all engine speeds. On the road, the new 320d is a gem and one of the best diesel saloons on the market. It’s smooth and refined with plenty of power and torque. Acceleration is brisk with the 0 to 100 km/h sprint achieved in just 6.8 seconds with the automatic gearbox.

BMW has also made significant improvements to aerodynamics reducing the drag coefficient of the BMW 320d for example from 0.26 to 0.23 with measures such as an almost completely sealed underbody, aerodynamically optimised wheels, the use of Air Curtains at the front and the latest generation of active air flap control, which extends across the BMW kidney grille and lower air intake. Over a week of driving my fuel consumption averaged at 5.7l/100km and motor tax for this model is €200 per year.

Rear legroom in the new 3 Series
Rear legroom in the new 3 Series

On the road in the new BMW 320d

This all knits very well with the 3 Series’ natural dynamic appeal. BMW set out to improve the handling of the 3 Series even more in this new generation of the car by increasing the track front and rear and making the whole car stiffer and more rigid while also shedding 55kg of body weight. This translates to a tactile feeling on the road that is unmatched by rivals for driver appeal. The steering is meaty and ultra precise while the whole car stays perfectly balanced and aligned through tight cornering.

Despite sporty enhancements for the M Sport model (19” alloys option on test car and sports suspension), by and large the ride is fine, though some way off the slinky ride of an Audi A4. For M Sport models, buyers can specify the Adaptive M suspension that alters damping characteristics between more comfortable and sporty driving modes.

The BMW 3 Series is an icon, a hugely desirable car among its legion of fans. It still sets the benchmark for handling in its class, defining what’s possible from the compact executive sports saloon. The interior gets a welcome addition of new technology features that keep it competitive among rivals. The 320d is a fine example of a diesel saloon with class leading refinement and splendid power. Welcome back 3 Series!

The BMW 3 Series is an icon, a hugely desirable car among its legion of fans.
The BMW 3 Series is an icon, a hugely desirable car among its legion of fans.

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: BMW 320d M Sport Saloon Automatic
Price:
€52,410
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
190 hp
Torque: 400 Nm
0-100km/h: 
6.8 seconds
Top speed: 240 km/h
Fuel economy:
4.4-4.7 l/100km
CO2 emissions:
112 g/km
Motor tax: 
€200 per year


The new Skoda Scala!

2019 Skoda Scala 1.0 TSI Petrol Review

The new Skoda Scala!
The new Skoda Scala!

Caroline drives the 2019 Skoda Scala!

The Skoda Scala is Skoda’s new five door hatchback that slots in below the popular Octavia and replaces the Skoda Rapid. This time round, Skoda has been keen for their compact offering to attract a younger and more style conscious buyer. Cue the new, more romantic name (Scala!) and a smart new design inside and out.

Priced from €23,650, the 2019 Skoda Scala is available with a range of petrol and diesel engines and two trim levels at launch. Skoda has made a name for itself as a brand that offers more for less. And the Scala range is keenly priced. For example, the car I had on test was the high spec Style model and with the excellent 1.0-litre TSI turbo petrol engine, this car retails from €25,650.

It’s also one of the most spacious cars in its class, measuring 4.4 metres in length, but the wide and low stance hides the length. The front is classic Skoda with LED headlights available on the Style model. But even mid-range cars get LED taillights with dynamic indicators, which is quite a salubrious touch. The Scala was also the first Skoda to have S K O D A spelt out in individual letters across the rear! Ambition models get 16” alloys, while Style gets 17” inch alloys.

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

Inside the new Skoda Scala!

Slip inside the new Scala and you are met pleasantly with a new generation interior. The design is simple and elegant with an excellent infotainment system. The graphics on the 6.5”, 8.0” or 9.2” colour touchscreens are modern and the system easy to use, with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and wireless phone charging available. These sort of features are exactly what the younger market is looking for in a new car. Perceived quality is good too and the Style model has a stylish pearl-effect dash panel insert.

Standard equipment includes air-con, cruise control, electric windows, rear parking sensors and a 6.5” colour touch screen unit. The Image Package, which consists of the glass tailgate, will be provided as standard from Ambition. The Style model adds dual zone climate control, rear view camera, keyless entry, auto lights, rain sensor and 8” infotainment unit.

Inside the new Scala feels roomy, particularly for rear seat passengers, with large rear footwells. Boot capacity is 467 litres so it’s one of the best in class.

Engine options for the new Skoda Scala include 1.0 TSI 115bhp and 1.5 TSI 150bhp petrols, and a 1.6 TDI 115bhp diesel. Both manual and DSG automatic transmissions are available. The diesel is available from €26,475. A lower powered 1.0 TSI 95bhp petrol unit will be offered at a later date with pricing to be confirmed.

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

On the road in the 2019 Skoda Scala

The 1.0-litre petrol engine has a small capacity on paper but it works well in the Skoda Scala. It’s smooth and reasonably refined on the move and doesn’t feel underpowered even with a few passengers on board! Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 6.0 l/100km.

The new Scala is the first Skoda based on the Volkswagen Group’s new MQB A0 platform. Skoda has made comprehensive adjustments to the platform for the new Scala, which include using the longest possible wheelbase and rear overhang. The controls are light but the Scala is agile and fun to drive without trying too hard to be sporty.

The Skoda Scala moves Skoda’s compact offering up a gear. It is a nicely designed car, smart and understated. It feels modern inside and delivers for the target market with the latest generation infotainment allowing quick and seamless integration with smartphones. The Scala also carries the Skoda value proposition of being generously sized for carrying passengers and their things. The Scala is a great addition to the Skoda range and is a simple and stylish hatchback in the great tradition of Skodas!

The new Skoda Scala is available from €23,650
The new Skoda Scala is available from €23,650

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Skoda Scala 1.0 TSI Style
Price:
€25,650 (Range from €23,650)
Engine: 1.0-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
115 hp
Torque: 200 Nm
0-100km/h: 
9.8 seconds
Top speed: 201 km/h
Fuel economy:
5.7 – 6.5 l/100km
CO2 emissions: 
113 g/km
Motor tax: 
€200 per year

 


The new Kia e-Soul

2019 Kia e-Soul 64kWh Review

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

Caroline drives the 2019 Kia e-Soul!

The new Kia e-Soul is an exciting new electric vehicle to hit the market in 2019. We are entering a new era for mainstream electric vehicles with the availability of 64 kWh batteries. The new Kia e-Soul is a five seat crossover with a range in excess of 400 km. This makes a real difference when you are living with an electric vehicle daily.

However this battery technology still does not come cheap. The e-Soul is priced from €35,995 including VRT relief and Government grants for what is still a relatively compact car. But Kia has revived the funky Soul, this time exclusively as an EV. Not everyone will fall for its oddball looks but it adds some welcome character to the EV segment! There are four vibrant two tone exterior combinations available. You won't forget the e-Soul in a hurry.

The interior of the new Kia e-Soul
The interior of the new Kia e-Soul

The interior of the 2019 Kia e-Soul

The e-Soul has the elevated driving position of a crossover and gets Kia’s newest interior design, technology and infotainment. This is another big boon for the e-Soul compared to competitors like the Hyundai Kona EV and the Kia e-Niro. The cabin quality is good and there are lashings of gloss black around that cool new touchscreen, which has a wide screen and is easy to use. There are a number of well labelled shortcuts and EV menus, including a facility to find the nearest charging stations. It’s a very sophisticated system.

Standard equipment on the e-Soul includes the 10.25” touchscreen AV/nav display, 7” supervision cluster, lane keep assist, smart cruise control, front collison avoidance, full leather trim, Harmon Kardon sound system, heads up display and blind spot detection. The Kia e-Soul K2 is priced from €35,995, while the K3 with some more equipment is priced from €37,495, including VRT relief and government grants.

The e-Soul's boxy shape and squared off roofline is great for maximising interior space. The rear bench is a decent enough width with a good amount of legroom, though two will be more comfortable back here than three. However the boot is probably the stickiest point for family buyers. It’s just 315 litres and you will also find yourself storing the cables in here, which makes it more awkward.

The Kia e-Soul is a fashionable crossover priced from €35,995
The Kia e-Soul is a fashionable crossover priced from €35,995

So how far will it get you?

The 64kWh battery allows the Kia e-Soul to travel up to 452km according to the official WLTP rating. I achieved between 350 km and 400 km over a week of varied driving that saw me on the motorway, rural roads and in town. The powerful battery also means that the e-Soul holds onto its charge better, even on the motorway. As I zipped along the motorway at 120 km/h, I didn’t start to sweat with the apocalyptic loss of range that blights some EVs. The e-Soul feels like EV motoring with few compromises.

Ideally a Kia e-Soul owner will be charging their car overnight at home from a wallbox charger. Then the 400 km range is going to be very comfortable for most drivers. I say this because I again encountered difficulties with the public charging network – faulty chargers and chargers blocked by non-EVs. It’s a jungle out there, no doubts!

A Combined Charging System (CCS) DC fast charger is fitted as standard, which facilitates charging to 50% battery power in as little as 30 minutes. A normal charge is up to 9.5 hours. There are also a range of energy-recuperation technologies to maximise driving range including an energy efficient heat pump system and a regenerative braking system operated by paddle shifters behind the steering wheel.

Boot space in the Kia e-Soul
Boot space in the Kia e-Soul

Driving the Kia e-Soul

The Kia e-Soul also happens to be a lot of fun to drive. It’s seriously agile and the battery torque means that this things bombs along with loads of punch no matter what speed you are driving at. Okay, so there is not much feedback reaching the rim from the tyres but there’s weight in the steering so it feels precise for an electric vehicle. The e-Soul 64 kWh will accelerate from 0 to 100 kph in just 7.9 seconds.

I really enjoyed driving the Kia e-Soul. It’s an electric vehicle with lots of character, and whether you like it or not, it says something about you. It’s also got a good cabin ambience with a very modern interior. It is clearly expensive for a medium sized crossover but that is the current price for this sort of technology.

The Kia e-Soul widens the playing field a little more for this new era of mainstream electric vehicles with over 400 km range.

The e-Soul combines the trend for crossovers with an electric powertrain
The e-Soul combines the trend for crossovers with an electric powertrain

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Kia e-Soul 64 kWh
Price:
€35,995
Battery: 64 kWh
Power: 
204 hp
Torque: 395 Nm
0-100km/h: 
7.9 seconds
Top speed: 167 km/h
CO2 emissions: 
0 g/km
Motor tax: 
€120 per year

 


The new Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon

Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon Review

The new Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon
The new Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon

Mercedes-Benz continues to grow the brand’s family of compact cars with the addition of the new A-Class Saloon. The follow-up to the all-new A-Class hatchback that arrived in Ireland in summer 2018, the A-Class is now available for the first time as a saloon.

Priced from €31,445 in Ireland, the saloon carries about a €1000 premium over the A-Class hatchback. However, it is a visually more impressive car. Low, lean and sporty, the A-Class wears its dimensions perfectly, with short front and rear overhangs.

The separate boot has a volume of 420 litres and is larger than the boot in the hatchback. The new A-Class saloon is available in three trim lines – Style, Progressive and AMG Line. At launch, there’s an A180/A200/A250 (petrol) and A180d (diesel). The diesel model is available from €34,220.

Like the A-Class hatchback, the new A-Class Saloon features the latest in Mercedes-Benz technology and design. The interior of the car is a great expression of Mercedes-Benz values in compact form. But there is a definite more youthful and sportier vibe than in the larger saloons, estates and SUVs. My AMG Line trim car had beautiful Alcantara seats and door panelling, as well as sporty red stitching and detailing.

The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class
The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class

The cabin experience in the new A-Class is one of the best. The floating dashboard concept is elegant and modern. A 7” digital instrument panel for the driver comes as standard and is joined by a 7” or 10.25” screen for the infotainment. A touchpad controls the infotainment as well as voice control through the intelligent MBUX – Mercedes-Benz User Experience infotainment system that responds to ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice commands!

Standard equipment includes 16″ alloys, air con, active lane keeping assist, digital instrument cluster, MBUX multimedia system with touchscreen and touchpad, cruise control, Dynamic Select, heated front seats, reversing camera and part leather upholstery.

Progressive adds more chrome and carbon fibre effect trim to the cabin, automatic climate control, 17″ alloys, LED headlamps, visible tailpipe trim elements and rear apron with trim in chrome.

AMG Line adds a sport steering wheel, brushed stainless steel pedals, direct-steer system, aluminium trim, sports seats, 18″ alloys, AMG bodystyling and diamond radiator grille with chrome pins.

The new A-Class Saloon is priced from €31,445
The new A-Class Saloon is priced from €31,445

How practical is it?

Mercedes-Benz has improved interior space in this generation of the A-Class. There is more head, elbow and leg room. The rear still best serves two adults rather than three but it’s a nice way to travel for sure! The boot is larger than that in the hatchback and has a large opening for a saloon making loading and unpacking easier.

Engine options for the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon include two four-cylinder petrol engines of 1.4-litre and 2.0-litre capacity, and a new 1.5-litre diesel. Power outputs range from 116 to 224 hp. A 6-speed manual and 7-speed automatic gearbox are available, depending on model choice.

My test car was an A180d Automatic AMG Line with a list price of €37,889. The 180d uses a 1.5-litre diesel engine, which produces 116 hp and 260 Nm of torque. It can sprint from 0 to 100km/h in 10.5 seconds though it needs to be revved a bit to make such brisk progress. In that regard, it can get noisy though it’s quiet at a cruise. It is extremely efficient however and over a week of driving I averaged 4.9l/100km.

Rear legroom in the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon
Rear legroom in the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon

Driving the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon

There is some audible road noise but it is a comfortable car for the most part. The A-Class is one of the most fun to drive models in the entire Mercedes range and it’s no different in the saloon, being nimble and sporty. Dynamic Select offers different drive programs including Eco, Sport and Comfort with setting options for the engine, transmission, chassis and steering.

The compact models in the Mercedes-Benz range are about attracting more customers to the three-pointed star brand and giving the brand a more youthful image. The A-Class Saloon absolutely delivers on that. It’s sporty and desirable with great road presence.

The stunning interior is one of the car’s best assets and is packed full of the latest technology features and infotainment. The A180 d offers great economy but the A200 is a slicker engine that suits the refined image of the car better. But regardless of engine choice, Mercedes is on to a winner with this car and I expect in time the saloon will outsell the hatchback.

The Saloon is a cool and sporty derivative of the A-Class

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Mercedes-Benz A180d AMG Line Saloon
Price:
€37,889 (Range from €31,445)
Engine: 1.5-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
116hp
Torque: 260 Nm
0-100km/h: 
10.6 seconds
Top speed: 206 km/h
Fuel economy:
4.1-4.3 l/100km
CO2 emissions: 
110 g/km
Motor tax: 
€190 per year


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
Price:
€43,900 (Range from €39,900)
Engine: 2.4-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 
135hp (engine), 82hp (front electric motor), 95hp (rear electric motor)
Torque: 211 Nm (engine only)
0-100km/h: 
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 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
Price:
€49,745 (Range from €36,000)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
180 hp
Torque: 400 Nm
0-100km/h: 
9.9 seconds
Top speed: 216 km/h
Fuel economy:
6.5 l/100km
CO2 emissions: 
173 g/km
Motor tax: 
€270 per year

 


The new Mazda CX-30 will arrive in Ireland by the end of 2019

2019 Mazda CX-30 First Drive Review

The new Mazda CX-30 will arrive in Ireland by the end of 2019
The new Mazda CX-30 will arrive in Ireland by the end of 2019

The Mazda CX-30 is a new compact SUV from Mazda that will slot between the CX-3 and CX-5 in the brand’s SUV line-up. The CX-30 is one of the new generation of Mazda vehicles alongside new Mazda3 and features the latest in Mazda design and technology, including the exciting new Skyactiv X engine. Caroline travelled to Girona, Spain, to test drive the new Mazda CX-30 ahead of its arrival in Ireland at the end of the year in time for January 2020 registrations.

Styling

The new Mazda CX-30 features an evolution of Mazda’s famed KODO designed language with more refined surfaces. Mazda use clay modelling to achieve the beautiful curved surfaces that distinguish Mazdas from other mainstream manufacturers. The CX-30 has a neat, compact profile and unique design features that make it stand out. In fact it’s more of a high riding hatchback in the metal than a chunky SUV. A thick piece of grey plastic cladding around the lower sills and wheel arches gives the CX-30 the attitude of a modern compact crossover. 16” alloy wheels and LED headlights feature as standard. Signature colours include Soul Red Crystal, Machine Grey and Polymetal Grey.

Watch a video of the new Mazda CX-30:

Interior

The interior of the Mazda CX-30 is a sophisticated and premium offering that is hard to find in this class of vehicle. The dashboard has a horizontal, minimalist design characterised by plenty of good quality soft dashboard panelling. The CX-30 features the latest Mazda infotainment system that comes with a slick looking, wide screen 8.8 inch central display that is controlled by a rotary controller with shortcut buttons to access different menus. A digital driver information panel is also included as standard. The new CX-30 is available in two colour schemes: Dark Brown or Dark Blue. Leather is available in Black or Pure White.

The interior of the new CX-30
The interior of the new CX-30

Practicality

The CX-30 is a five seat SUV. Mazda has delivered on the promise of creating a roomier SUV. The CX-30 is a more spacious and practical vehicle when compared to the CX-3, though there are other SUVs in this segment that feel more spacious in the rear. Access and egress is easy thanks to generous door openings and the positioning and shape of the seats in the vehicle. There is 430 litres of boot space, which is more than in the equivalent Mazda3 hatchback. A powered tailgate is available.

Engines

There are two petrol engines (Skyactiv G and Skyactiv X) and one diesel engine (Skyactiv D) available for new CX-30. CX-30 is a front wheel drive SUV, with all wheel drive (AWD) available as an option.

Skyactiv G is a 2.0-litre petrol engine with new Mazda M Hybrid Technology and Cylinder Deactivation systems. Skyactiv G has 122hp and is available with automatic and manual gearboxes. On the road, the Skyactiv G works well in the CX-30 being both refined and delivering smooth power. Over a short test drive over rural roads and a short motorway stint we averaged 6.8l per 100km.

Skyactiv D is a 1.8-litre diesel putting out 116hp and 270Nm of torque. The torque of the diesel offers a pleasant punch and this engine offers superb economy in the CX-30. We averaged 4.8l per 100km over a long, mixed test route. Skyactiv D is available with automatic and manual gearboxes.

We also had an opportunity to take Mazda’s exciting new Skyactiv X on a short test loop in pre-production vehicles. Mazda claims this engine combines the benefits of a spark-ignition petrol engine with those of a compression-ignition diesel engine, and is both fuel efficient and powerful. Skyactiv X also comes with the new Mazda M Hybrid System. The extra power is evident on the road (180hp) but we are still on the fence as to whether this engine fully delivers. We will reserve judgement until we have had an opportunity to take this car for a longer drive on Irish roads!

The new Mazda CX-30 is available with petrol and diesel engines
The new Mazda CX-30 is available with petrol and diesel engines

On the road

The new Mazda CX-30 is based on a new generation of Mazda’s Skyactiv Vehicle Architecture that also underpins the new Mazda3 hatchback. Front wheel drive models feature G-Vectoring Control Plus for better handling. A torsion beam at the rear provides better refinement over a variety of road surfaces. On the road the Mazda CX-30 is easily one of the most quiet and refined cars in its class with minimal road and wind noise entering the cabin. It's comfortable and good fun to drive with excellent composure through bends and well judged steering.

Equipment

For Ireland there will be a choice of four trim levels: GS, GS-L, GT and GT Sport. Standard equipment is expected to include air con, an 8.8-inch colour entertainment screen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, 7-inch digital dashboard, rear parking sensor, window projected colour Active Driving Display, 16” alloys, LED headlights with High Beam Control, Mazda Radar Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitoring with rear traffic alert, Traffic Sign Recognition, E-Call and Lane Keep Assist.

GS-L includes a reversing camera, smart keyless entry, front parking sensors, powered tailgate, dual zone climate control and heated front seats.

The GT model is equipped with 18” alloy wheels, heated steering wheel, power adjustable driver’s seat and a black leather interior.

At the top of the range the GT Sport adds adaptive LED headlights, front and rear signature LED lighting, frameless rear view mirror, rear privacy glass, piano black exterior detailing and Bose® twelve speaker audio system.

Pricing

Mazda Ireland has confirmed that the new CX-30 range will be priced from €29,495 to €43,115. The range starts at €29,495 for a 2.0-litre petrol Skyactiv G. Both the 1.8-litre diesel Skyactiv D and the new Skyactiv X petrol are available from €31,915.

Rivals

The new Mazda CX-30 will go head to head with the Volkswagen Tiguan, Peugeot 3008, Toyota C-HR and segment leaders, Nissan Qashqai and Hyundai Tucson.

Verdict

The Mazda CX-30 fills a niche for customers seeking the compact dimensions of the CX-3 but with a more spacious and practical interior. The CX-30 delivers on that and features the same high-end design and finish that we have come to expect from Mazda.

It’s also one of the most fun and engaging crossovers to drive with excellent refinement on the move.

The CX-30 is now one of the most modern and advanced models in the Mazda range and features the full complement of Mazda engine technology – Skyactiv G, Skyactiv D and the new Skyactiv X.

Mazda Ireland expect the CX-30 to become its bestselling model and we can see why. This is the sweet spot of the market and the CX-30 is high in desirability.

We look forward to bringing you a full road test in 2020.

The new Mazda CX-30 will be in dealers from the December
The new Mazda CX-30 is expected be in dealers from December

Caroline Kidd


The new Peugeot 508 SW

2019 Peugeot 508 SW 1.5 Diesel Review

The new Peugeot 508 SW
The new Peugeot 508 SW

Caroline drives the 2019 Peugeot 508 SW!

Peugeot is fighting back with the new generation of the 508 SW estate and saloon amidst declining sales of D-segment saloons and estates. Style and design innovation are now at the centre of the Peugeot’s offering in the traditional large saloon and estate car market.

Pricing starts from €32,400 for the handsome new 508 fastback and €34,110 for the equally handsome 508 SW. Peugeot is offering a range of trim levels and petrol/diesel engines at launch, with a plug-in hybrid on the way also.

I reviewed the new Peugeot 508 fastback earlier this year and now it’s the turn of the new Peugeot 508 SW. This large estate car is a style icon with a low lean silhouette and unique rear styling. There is a premium edge to the design with frameless doors and an avant garde rear light signature. The Peugeot 508 SW is a car that captures attention for its stylish design before wooing you with its innovative cabin and large boot!

The 2019 Peugeot 508 SW is the practical sibling to the 508 Fastback
The 2019 Peugeot 508 SW is the practical sibling to the 508 Fastback

Inside the 2019 Peugeot 508 SW

Inside, the 2019 Peugeot 508 SW gets the latest generation of Peugeot’s innovative i-Cockpit® with a configurable 12.3-inch head-up digital instrument panel, either a ten-inch or eight-inch touchscreen dependent on trim, and a compact multi-function steering wheel as standard. The cabin experience is not like anything else in this class of vehicle. There is a sporty feel to the driving position as the cabin appears to wrap around you with all the instruments at your fingertips. The touchscreen and digital instrument panel look amazing, as do the piano key shortcut buttons for the infotainment.

You choose the Peugeot 508 SW over the saloon because you want all the style, but more space and practicality. The 508 SW has a large, easy-access boot, offering a total load space from 530 litres with the luggage cover closed, and up to 1780 litres thanks to Magic Flat rear seats. The 508 offers adequate rear seating for passengers, but some rivals like the Skoda Superb estate offer more rear legroom.

In Ireland the new 508 SW is available in four trim levels - Active, Allure, GT Line and GT – with the cars get visually even more appealing as you go up the trim levels. Standard equipment includes 8” touchscreen, digital instrument panel, 16” alloys, spare wheel, lane keeping assist, cruise control, active safety brake, AGR (ergonomic) seats, automatic wipers and lights, front and rear parking aid with camera and electric folding mirrors.

The cool new interior of the Peugeot 508
The cool new interior of the Peugeot 508

Driving the new 508 SW

1.6-litre PureTech, 1.5-litre BlueHDi and 2.0-litre BlueHDi engines are on offer with power ranging from 130hp to 225hp. My test car was the popular 1.5-litre 130hp diesel engine with automatic gearbox. In GT Line trim this car has a list price of €42,080 and comes with lots of equipment including 10” touchscreen with satellite navigation, blind spot monitoring, high beam assist, road sign recognition, advanced driver attention alert, keyless access and start, electric lumbar support, dark tinted rear glass, 18” alloys, wireless phone charging, adaptive cruise control, full LED headlights and 3D LED rear lights.

The new Peugeot 508 is built on the same EMP2 platform that underpins the popular 3008 and 5008 SUVs. On the road the 2019 Peugeot 508 SW feels agile and holds the road well through corners, but falls short of being outright fun to drive. The automatic gearbox offers an effortless drive, and with the cruise control on you will cruise happily for many miles in the 508 SW. The ride comfort is generally good but it did feel on the firm side over some mixed quality rural roads.

The Peugeot 508 SW offers a 530 litre boot with a low loading sill
The 508 SW offers a 530 litre boot with a low loading sill

The 1.5-litre diesel powering my test car has 130hp. It’s not a glamourous amount of power but on the road it’s up to the job of powering the 508, while offering very good economy. The 8 speed automatic gearbox can be a little hesitant to respond at low speeds but it offers an ease of use that is well suited to a fleet car like the 508 SW. I averaged 5.4l/100km over a week of driving so it's clearly an efficient way to travel.

The Peugeot 508 range breathes new life into the D-segment. The 508 fastback and 508 SW are cars you would like to be seen in, with premium design details not seen before in this segment. Peugeot has rethought the concept of the 508 and offers buyers something different, while still keeping pricing reasonable.

The 508 SW is pleasantly practical while the cabin experience is strikingly different. The latest technology and safety aids feature, while the touchscreen and digital instrument panel make this one of the most modern cabins in the class.

While petrol and diesel engines are the backbone of the range for now, there is a high-end plug-in hybrid on the way. However, what's available already offers excellent efficiency and low running costs for the D-segment.

In terms of driving dynamics, the car is good rather than outstanding but this is a pleasant car for long journeys on the motorway.  Rather, the 508's gorgeous styling and innovative cabin are what will draw buyers in.

v
The Peugeot 508 SW breathes some new life into the D-segment

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Peugeot 508 SW GT Line 1.5 BlueHDi 130bhp 8-spd automatic
Price:
€42,080 (Range from €34,110)
Engine: 1.5-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
130 hp
Torque: 300 Nm
0-100km/h: 
11.1 seconds
Top speed: 208 km/h
Fuel economy:
5.4 – 7.8 l/100km
CO2 emissions: 
135 g/km
Motor tax: 
€190 per year