The new Opel Mokka SRi on test for Changing Lanes!

Opel Mokka 1.2 SRi (2021) Review

The new Opel Mokka SRi on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Opel Mokka SRi on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the 2021 Opel Mokka!

The Opel Mokka has returned to Ireland in 2021, a rejuventated offering for the popular compact SUV segment in Ireland. Available in electric for the first time, along with petrol and diesel variants, the Mokka’s new face is one that changes everything for the Opel brand.

Priced from €23,295 for a petrol, from €25,095 for a diesel, and from €33,038 for the all-electric Opel Mokka-e, the Mokka is shaping up as a very compelling and competitive offering.

Of course, Mokka has some history in Ireland, launched back in Ireland as a new compact SUV contender in 2012 and revamped in 2016. This car still has good visibility on Irish roads, but Mokka owners will be astounded by the step forward this new version has taken.

What's so hot about the 2021 Opel Mokka?

It’s the design that gets you first. The 2021 Opel Mokka is lighter and sleeker looking, with a genuine sporty bent to it. Opel has found new direction indeed, tapping into their history in motorsport and classic Opels like the Manta and GSi models to add some zest to a new generation of cars.

You cannot miss the striking new grille area. Opel call it the ‘Vizor’ face. It looks like nothing else on the road. This new family look is bestowed upon other models like the Crossland and Grandland SUVs, as well as the upcoming new Astra hatchback.

The Opel Mokka goes on sale in Ireland as petrol, diesel or electric
The Opel Mokka goes on sale in Ireland as petrol, diesel or electric

For style conscious buyers this one hits the mark! SRi models (from €24,795) like the Mokka on test really stand out with 17” black alloy wheels, red exterior detailing and a contrasting black roof! Other trim levels include the SC and Elite.

Standard equipment levels are good including traffic sign recognition, lane keep assist, collision avoidance sensor with brake assist, pedestrian detection alert, electronic cruise control with speed limiter, rear parking sensors with rear view camera, air conditioning, 7” colour touchscreen, 7” colour driver instrument cluster, DAB radio and 16” alloy wheels.

Inside the 2021 Opel Mokka SRi

Inside there is an all-new dashboard design that follows the Opel new ‘Pure Panel’ philosophy. Take it as code for simplified, modern and minimalistic, and you will come close to the experience behind the wheel of the new Mokka.

Opel has worked hard to give this car a new personality and the red trim of the SRi model certainly spices things up. There is a full digital experience for the driver with a digital instrument cluster as standard and 7” colour touchscreen with Apple Car Play and Android Auto. A multimedia system with 10” touchscreen and navigation is also available.

The interior of the 2021 Opel Mokka SRi
The interior of the 2021 Opel Mokka SRi

This is a compact vehicle but in terms of interior accommodation, it’s competitive for this class of vehicle with a decent show of legroom and headroom in the rear. The boot is also smartly sized at 350 litres. The new Mokka is a little bit wider than the car it replaces so there’s plenty of elbow room upfront. Rear seats split fold and there is also a false floor in the boot for added practicality.

What are my options?

Available across all three trims, petrol and diesel engines offer power outputs ranging from 100 hp to 130 hp. The petrol model is a 1.2-litre affair with 100 or 130 hp, and the option of a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic gearbox.

At Changing Lanes we tested the petrol automatic with 130 hp. It performs well with a good show of power and clever automatic that rarely misses a beat.

Buyers will also find a 1.5-litre diesel in the line-up with 110 hp and a 6-speed manual gearbox.

There’s also the exciting new all-electric Opel Mokka-e powered by an 50 kWh battery with 136 hp and a range of up to 324 km.

The very stylish all electric Opel Mokka-e
The very stylish all electric Opel Mokka-e

Driving the new Opel Mokka!

The Opel Mokka is the second model in the Opel range to use the CMP platform from parent company PSA, after the launch of the all-new Corsa in 2020. It’s lighter by up to 120 kg on some of the models in the range, while rigidity is up by 15%. It’s clear to see that the new Mokka is a far more efficient design, more aerodynamic with a lower centre of gravity. Opel engineers have worked hard to reduce squeaks and rattles and improve the acoustic quality, with an acoustic pack fitted as standard to further reduce road noise.

On the road, the Opel Mokka has a light and modern feel that makes it easy to handle and steer through any driving situation. It's a much improved car to drive now, refined and comfortable by class standards, with just the odd bump over ramps and the like on our test car’s 17” ‘shoes’! These cars are built to be autobahn-proof and the Mokka can surely hold its own on the motorway, staying in lane simply and confidently.

Did you like it?

Opel is definitely back in the game with the new Opel Mokka. There are more exciting models on the way. Changing Lanes loves a comeback kid and the new Opel Mokka has put its best game face on.

Choice is a key feature of the new Mokka range and Opel is to be commended for bringing such a selection to the compact crossover range. The petrol model on test offers a very good value entry into the Mokka range; the Mokka-e is a compelling option for buyers ready to make the switch to electric.

Mokka has taken a huge step forward. In design and technology, it can really now hold its own. It will stand out and adds a youth and vibrancy back to the Opel brand that was sorely missed.

The new Opel Mokka on sale now from €23,295
The new Opel Mokka on sale now from €23,295

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Opel Mokka 1.2 SRi Automatic
Price: 
€26,295
Engine: 
1.2-litre turbo petrol
Power: 130 hp
Torque: 230 Nm
Top speed: 200 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 9.2 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
133-135 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€210 per year


The new Ford Puma ST on test for Changing Lanes!

Ford Puma ST (2021) Review

The new Ford Puma ST on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Ford Puma ST on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the 2021 Ford Puma ST!

The Ford Puma ST has rolled into Ireland for the very first time. Ford’s stellar Puma, only a kitten itself having been launched in Ireland for the first time in 2020 – gets a high performance makeover. I’m excited!

At Changing Lanes, we have some great history with Ford Performance models like the Fiesta ST, Focus ST, Focus RS and of course the mighty Mustang!

Now Ford creates a high performance compact crossover to join the family and promises to fill a gap we never knew needed to be filled.

But with the market continuing to go gaga for crossovers and SUVs, Ford hits the market with a tasty compact performance offering - once again.

What's so hot about the new Ford Puma ST?

The Ford Puma ST of course shares much of its DNA with the Ford Fiesta ST. It’s powered by the same engine – a three cylinder 1.5-litre turbo petrol affair – putting out 200 hp and 320 Nm. Bask in it because pure and basic combustion engines like this one are on the way out. But it’s glorious, oh so glorious to behold!

Priced from €41,813, you are going to pay a premium for this mean little streak of crossover. For reference the Fiesta ST range starts from €33,219 and the Focus ST from €47,859 as of July 2020. But if you love the Puma’s style and image, then you’re going to be pretty sold on the high-performance ST model.

The Puma ST goes on sale in Ireland from €40,813
The Puma ST goes on sale in Ireland from €40,813

Ford has given it a generous tart up with black shiny trim elements, LED signature headlamps, 19” alloy wheels, red brake calipers, black contrast roof, dual chrome exhaust. It looks aggressive, but those bug eyes might be too big for some as I know the Puma already has come in for some criticism for its styling!

A Ford Performance-embossed splitter is integrated into the front bumper to increase front end downforce by almost 80 per cent for greater stability and traction. The large rear roof spoiler also supports optimised aerodynamics, with a distinctive diffuser incorporated into the rear bumper. Signature ST upper and lower grilles are designed to deliver increased engine cooling capability. So it's stylish but also functional!

Inside the new Ford Puma ST!

Inside the most notable addition is two mighty Recaro front sports seats. They hold you in nice and snug for all that hard cornering you will be doing on the way home from the supermarket.

The interior dashboard design is lifted straight from the more humble powered Pumas so it’s a plain enough affair. There’s an ST badged, flat bottomed steering wheel, ST scuff plates, unique ST gear shift knob, alloy sport pedals. I’m a bit disappointed by the hard plastics, which are just about acceptable in a standard Puma, but considering the ST’s steeper price tag, they are harder to stomach here.

Inside the cabin of the Ford Puma ST
Inside the cabin of the Ford Puma ST

But allow the gloss and glamour of the standard digital instrument panel to distract you. It’s a fine piece of kit and glows suitably red when you pop your Puma ST into sport mode!

Other equipment features include heated seats and touchscreen with Apple Car Play and Android Auto.

Driving the 2021 Ford Puma ST

The new Ford Puma ST is hot on the road. But you have got to push on a bit to feel the mechanical wizardry at work. You can drive this car like a pussy cat and all you will notice is some slightly heavier steering and a firmer ride, non-negotiable for a performance kitty like this one.

But then push on a bit, engage tiger mode…and wow! Ford do make excellent performance cars. The Puma ST is no different. Our test car was fitted with the ST Performance Pack, which features a mechanical Limited Slip Differential (LSD), Launch Control, Performance Shift Light and Shift Indicator for €1,172. Launch control is an absolute blast! The mechanical LSD keeps everything really tight and tidy through the corners.

Worth it? Hell yeah! Cornering grip is excellent and the Puma ST slips effortlessly though every bend, but you will feel like a rally driver doing it. It makes you feel professional. This car is good.

The Ford Puma ST is a worthy member of Ford's talented team of high performance ST models
The Ford Puma ST is a worthy member of Ford's talented team of high performance ST models

An optimised chassis features bespoke twist-beam, anti-roll bar and damper configurations. Steering responses are 25 per cent faster and brakes 17 per cent larger than the standard Puma, along with specially-developed Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres.

Puma ST also features selectable Drive Modes including Sport mode and – for the first time on a Ford Performance vehicle – Eco mode for when there is no need to go flat out.

The little three cylinder petrol engine rasps more maturely than what you might think. Not quite as rapturous as the Fiesta ST - deliberately tuned to match the more 'refined' character of Puma - it can still enthusiastically applause you for some of your best efforts behind the wheel. Moving through the gears is heavenly with a snappy six speed manual gearbox adding to the drama, 0‑100 km/h in just 6.7 seconds of three cylinder hissing and spitting.

Over a week of driving my fuel consumption averaged at 7.4 litres per 100 km.

WATCH CAROLINE'S VIDEO REVIEW OF THE NEW FORD PUMA ST!

Did you like it?

The Ford Puma ST is a very fun car to drive. However it is an expensive one. Cars like this are on the way out but a blast in the very best sure feels good. Ford make excellent performance cars. The Puma ST will surprise you with its appetite for corners. With the mechanical LSD, it just slays corners.

The Puma ST offers near equal the fun of the Fiesta ST but with just a little more practicality. Ford has carried over the Megabox feature from the standard Puma. I don't know many performance cars with an extra 80 litres of storage space under the boot floor!

Cabin quality could be better in places. This is not the plushest cabin experience but the Recaro sports seats go so far to make up for it.

A good engine like the Puma ST’s will awaken something in most drivers. A joyful car to drive!

The 2021 Ford Puma ST is on sale now
The 2021 Ford Puma ST is on sale now

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Ford Puma ST
Price: 
€40,813
Engine: 
1.5-litre turbo petrol
Power: 200 hp
Torque: 320 Nm
Top speed: 220 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 6.7 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
134 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€280 per year


The 2021 Renault Megane Sport Tourer E-TECH Hybrid on test for Changing Lanes!

Renault Megane Sport Tourer E-TECH Hybrid Review

The 2021 Renault Megane Sport Tourer E-TECH Hybrid on test for Changing Lanes!
The 2021 Renault Megane Sport Tourer E-TECH Hybrid on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the 2021 Renault Megane Sport Tourer Hybrid!

In late 2020, Renault launched a suite of new hybrid models in Ireland with some familiar faces – Clio, Captur and Megane! Hybrid is hot right now, and the technology holds much promise for Irish motorists.

Hybrid is a new direction for a brand that went electric for the first time with the launch of the Renault Zoe electric supermini back in 2012. With a strong customer base to work with in the Irish market, the French brand now adds petrol electric hybrids to the mix of diesel and petrol in key model ranges like the Captur and Megane.

What's new for the Megane in 2021?

The Renault Megane has also had some work done for 2021 to keep it fresh. The grille and bumpers have been updated, all the lights are now LED – front, rear, and fog - with dynamic indicators at the rear for the first time and new door-handle lighting.

The Megane is offered in three variants – hatchback, saloon (‘Grand Coupe’) and estate (‘Sport Tourer’). The hybrid debuts in the Megane Sport Tourer, though the hatchback will also soon be available as a hybrid too.

Plug-in hybrid power debuts for the first time in the Megane range in 2021
Plug-in hybrid power debuts for the first time in the Megane range in 2021

What's so special about the Renault Megane Sport Tourer E-TECH Hybrid?

Here we find the practical and efficient Renault Megane Sport Tourer E-TECH plug-in hybrid on test for Changing Lanes. The Sport Tourer is the one with the big boot and a good looker for those in the market for a compact estate car.

Priced at €30,490 in Iconic trim, or at €32,490 in the new sporty R.S. Line trim, the new Sport Tourer E-TECH brings hybrid to the Megane range for the first time. It uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine, two electric motors, and a 9.8 kWh battery. Power output is a healthy 160 hp making it the most powerful, while the automatic transmission adds to the high spec feel. In fact, it’s already shaping up as a good buy.

The beauty of the Renault Megane Sport Tourer E-TECH is not just its good looks, but also the ability to plug it in and charge up the battery to experience driving on battery power alone up to 50 km.

Is it nice to drive?

And even when the battery power runs out, you have here a very efficient car with my fuel consumption averaging at 5.2 litres per 100 km over a week of driving. An official CO2 figure of 30 g per km means that this car is just €140 to tax per year.

The battery will charge in 3 hours from a wallbox or in just over 4 hours from a domestic 3-pin socket.

Inside the new Megane E-TECH Hybrid
Inside the new Megane E-TECH Hybrid

E-TECH powertrains use advanced technology influenced by the Renault DP World F1 team, including a multi-mode clutchless gearbox for smooth and swift responses.

With 160 hp available, the Megane Sport Tourer responds confidently to the throttle. The car feels natural on the road and remains a tidy handler through bends. It’s not a sports car, but overall feels very accomplished. There are no paddles to operate the automatic; but smooth shifts prevail most of the time. It’s highly commended for comfort too, which seals the deal for this test driver!

Is it practical?

Yes! Just look at it!

The Renault Mégane Sport Tourer sits on a longer wheelbase to the hatchback, making for a much more comfortable seating experience for rear seat passengers. There’s good headroom and the rear footwells have enough depth to be comfortable for long legged folk.

The boot is square with a low loading sill making it ideal for lifting things in and out more easily. Yet overall capacity is down to 447 litres to accommodate the battery. It’s still ‘big’ when you open the lid and look in – but a petrol or diesel Megane Sport Tourer will beat it for outright capacity. There is space beneath the boot floor to keep charging cables stowed away tidily.

The Megane estate hybrid is a practical and efficient car
The Megane estate hybrid is a practical and efficient car

Inside the Renault Megane Sport Tourer

Renault has also updated the Megane’s interior somewhat for 2021. No more need to complain about the fiddly ventilation controls. Renault has added in some shortcut buttons, dials and switches to alter fan speed and temperature the old-fashioned way. Much welcome when you are on the move.

The 7” touchscreen is fitted as standard to the E-TECH Iconic, with the more impressive 9.3” portrait style as standard on the R.S. Line model. There are a lot of hard plastics in here but generally it’s a solid effort from Renault. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also come as standard for more seamless access to media, contacts, and maps. There’s a magnificent 10.2-inch digital display for the driver.

The E-TECH Iconic has a good level of standard kit as well including cruise control, rear parking sensors and camera, dual zone climate control, 16” alloys, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, automatic high beam and ambient lighting.

The Renault Megane Sport Tourer E-TECH hybrid retails from €30,490 in Ireland
The Renault Megane Sport Tourer E-TECH hybrid retails from €30,490 in Ireland

Did you like it?

The Renault Megane Sport Tourer is nice to drive and very practical. This is a good looking car, with the practicality of an estate-style boot – regardless of the space being impeded somewhat by the battery, the boot floor is flat, the opening wide.

Considering the spec of the car, Renault Ireland has kept this particular model well-priced to keep it a real viable option in the Megane range.

This car marks a debut for plug-in hybrid in the Megane range, so the first Megane that can be charged up and ran using battery power for a limited range of up to 50 km. But Renault’s technical wizardry means that whatever way you run the Megane Sport Tourer, it’s very efficient.

Super comfortable on the road, this is a great car! Now check out my review of the latest Renault Megane 1.5 dCi hatchback.

The Renault Megane Sport Tourer E-TECH is on sale now
The Renault Megane Sport Tourer E-TECH is on sale now

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Renault Megane Sport Tourer Iconic E-TECH Plug-in Hybrid 160 Auto
Price: 
€30,490
Engine: 
1.6-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 160 hp
Torque: 349 Nm
Top speed: 111 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 9.8 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
30 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€140 per year


The new Kia Sorento Hybrid on test for Changing Lanes!

Kia Sorento Hybrid (2021) Review

The new Kia Sorento Hybrid on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Kia Sorento Hybrid on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the 2021 Kia Sorento Plug-in Hybrid!

The Kia Sorento has established itself well in the market for 7-seat SUVs in Ireland. An all-new generation of the popular Sorento arrived here at the end of 2020, raising the game once again in the Kia camp.

What's so special about the 2021 Kia Sorento?

Offered with a diesel engine or as a plug-in hybrid for the very first time, the Kia Sorento offers buyers at both ends a stylish and upmarket large SUV.

Kicking off from €52,500 for the plug-in hybrid and from €52,440 for the diesel, the Sorento is a flagship SUV for the Korean brand. It looks and feels every inch of that billing.

The Sorento is big, physically imposing, with a new look inspired by the Kia Telluride, which is not sold in this country. Believe me this new Sorento should be large and good-looking enough for all your needs! All models come well-equipped with 19" alloys, roof rails, leather upholstery, 10.25" touchscreen, and a full suite of safety features.

The new Kia Sorento Hybrid is available from €50,000
The new Kia Sorento Hybrid is available from €52,500

How practical is it as a seven seat SUV?

The Sorento's 13.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack is located beneath the driver and front passenger seats. The layout means the battery pack doesn’t intrude on the Sorento’s cabin or cargo space.

Carrying people in comfort is what this SUV excels at. All models available in Ireland are 7-seaters, with the two seats in the very rear folding into the boot floor when not in use. The cabin is huge and spacious, the driving position lofty, the cabin finish high quality with the best in Kia technology and infotainment. Think of a living room on wheels and you are close.

There’s also a huge boot with a powered tailgate available - up to 809 litres with the third row of seats folded down. With all seven seats in place, there's 175 litres available for a few bags. The 50:50 split-fold third-row seats are easy to fold down using levers inside the boot.

The rear bench has great width and there are ISOFIX child seat fixtures on the outer seats of the 2nd and 3rd row seats.

Tell us more about the new Kia Sorento Hybrid

Powering this hybrid beauty on test for Changing Lanes is a plug-in hybrid petrol electric powertrain. The new Sorento PHEV uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine, an electric motor and a 13.8 kWh battery pack. The battery can be charged in about 3.5 hours.

Flexibility is the name of the game here. When the battery is fully charged the Sorento can cruise silently on electric power for a range of up to 57 km. Truly astounding when you consider the size and weight of this SUV.

Inside the new Kia Sorento
Inside the new Kia Sorento

What's it like to drive?

Interestingly the Sorento PHEV is the only model in the range offering four wheel drive, with diesel models only offered as front wheel drive vehicles. Drive is sent to the front wheels or all four wheels, depending on road conditions, via a quick-shifting six-speed automatic transmission.

On the road, the Kia Sorento PHEV is a very accomplished drive. Comfort and refinement is fitting of a large family SUV with this price tag. The four wheel drive system means that the Sorento PHEV (265 hp) put its considerable power to the road with great ease and grip. In fact it’s the most powerful Sorento ever sold in Europe!

This is a large SUV but it handles town, and country roads with decent agility for what it is. Placing the battery low down in the centre of the body, between the two axles, also keeps the centre of gravity low and aids weight distribution. It’s hard to notice any discernible difference in the handling compared to the diesel model.

We recommend buyers of plug-in hybrid do make use of that electric range, charging up between drives at home or at work. However when running solely as a hybrid, our average fuel consumption was 6.9 litres per 100 km, proving that technology has come along way when a large SUV like the Sorento can post a decent figure like that on petrol power.

There’s also the Kia Sorento diesel, which offers better economy over longer motorway runs.

The Sorento offers plug-in hybrid power for the very first time in 2021
The Sorento offers plug-in hybrid power for the very first time in 2021

Did you like it?

Hell yeah! Kia is once again bringing quality, innovative cars to market…at high speed to meet the changing market demands for more hybrid and electrified vehicles.

The Sorento PHEV is not an also-ran – it’s a viable option for large families seeking a modern SUV that can be run very efficiently indeed when that battery power is fully exploited.

Elsewhere, the Sorento sports a sort of rugged Americana vibe. It just might be larger than life itself, with a comfortable and spacious cabin that makes it a great family car.

All cars are well-equipped, offering amazing technology features that truly move Kia’s game on in the large SUV segment.

We loved the Sorento diesel; now we can say we love the Kia Sorento PHEV too! A genuinely practical and spacious three row, seven seat plug-in hybrid SUV for the Irish market.

The 2021 Kia Sorento only comes in extra large!
The 2021 Kia Sorento only comes in extra large!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Kia Sorento PHEV AWD K4
Price: 
€47,365
Engine: 
1.6-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 265 hp
Torque: 350 Nm
Top speed: 193 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 8.7 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
38 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€140 per year


The 2021 SEAT Tarraco FR on test for Changing Lanes!

SEAT Tarraco FR (2021) Review

The 2021 SEAT Tarraco FR on test for Changing Lanes!
The 2021 SEAT Tarraco FR on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the new SEAT Tarraco FR!

The SEAT Tarraco got its big Irish market launch back in 2019. Awards quickly followed for SEAT’s flagship SUV. The Tarraco was not just big in size, it also went large on design and quality!

Now it’s time to revisit the SEAT Tarraco, this time in sporty FR trim with a 2.0-litre diesel under the bonnet. The Tarraco is available in 5 or 7 seat models, with 7 seat versions starting from €41,295.

In Ireland buyers can choose from three well equipped trim levels:  SE, Xcellence and FR. The FR models start from €47,365, building on the Tarraco’s healthy specification with even more features and a sporty makeover inside and out.

Power comes from a 1.5-litre TSI turbo petrol with 150 hp or a 2.0-litre diesel with 150 hp - or 200 hp and four wheel drive.

What's new for the SEAT Tarraco FR?

The Tarraco is a good-looking large family SUV, and it gets even better in FR trim. There have been a range of exterior enhancements, including special grille with FR logo, wider, black wheel arch mouldings, black roof rails and window frames, and side mirrors finished in Cosmo Grey. At the back the new Tarraco FR gets a new spoiler, an exclusive rear diffuser and the rear logo in a handwritten style. 20” alloy wheels complete the look!

The Tarraco is available with petrol and diesel engines with a plug-in hybrid to join the range shortly
The Tarraco is available with petrol and diesel engines with a plug-in hybrid to join the range shortly

Inside the 2021 SEAT Tarraco

The SEAT Tarraco feels immediately sporty inside too with some very impressive sports seats. The Tarraco has a lovely cabin and it’s standing the test of time very well. The fit and finish is excellent, allowing the Tarraco FR to command its considerable list price without buyers feeling short changed.

The digital instrument cluster is crisp and modern, while an updated infotainment system with 9.2” screen in the centre of the dash looks glossy and offers good functionality and connectivity.

There’s also a new touch module for the climate control functions with illuminated touch sliders for fan and temperature control. It’s pretty simple to use once you get the hang of it.

The FR model lives up to its sporty billing with a leather sports steering wheel with FR logo, leather gear selector and aluminium pedals at your feet.

Other standard equipment features include keyless start and entry, power folding mirrors, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, rear view camera, drive profile selection, front heated seats, park assist, and parking sensors.

Sporty and comfortable interior for the Tarraco FR
Sporty and comfortable interior for the Tarraco FR

Driving the Tarraco

The Tarraco is a big car but easy to manage and control, whether on the road or in the car park.

There’s little to complain about in terms of space. This is a large, versatile family car whatever way you look at it! Space is more limited in the third row, but it goes with the territory. It’s handy to have these extra two seats available. When these two extra seats are folded into the floor, the Tarraco offers a cavernous boot with great width and height.

On the road the Tarraco FR proves to be comfortable and refined, with the DSG automatic gearbox offering an even more relaxed drive. The 2.0-litre diesel is a powerful companion with plenty of torque. It’s also  economical considering the size of the vehicle, with our fuel consumption averaging at 6.5 litres per 100 km. Motor tax for this model is €270 per year.

Did you like it?

The SEAT Tarraco FR is an exciting addition to the Tarraco range, bringing more individuality to this large SUV once again. All models come well-equipped, which is reassuring. But this Tarraco FR surely has presence that brings SEAT’s flagship on another gear.

It is largely a cosmetic update inside and out, but equipment levels are high so you will want for nothing inside the cabin!

The Tarraco makes a great family car regardless, with a huge cabin and plenty of comfort and refinement on the road. No wonder it's an award winner!

The Tarraco FR adds more character to SEAT's flagship SUV
The Tarraco FR adds more character to SEAT's flagship SUV

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: SEAT Tarraco 2.0 TDI 150hp DSG FR
Price: 
€47,365
Engine: 
2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 150 hp
Torque: 360 Nm
Top speed: 196 km/h
Fuel Consumption: 5.6-6.0 l/100 km
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 10.1 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
148-157 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€270 per year


The new Audi Q4 e-tron is now on sale in Ireland

Audi Q4 e-tron (2021) First Drive Review

The new Audi Q4 e-tron is now on sale in Ireland
The new Audi Q4 e-tron is now on sale in Ireland

The Audi Q4 e-tron, the brand's first compact electric SUV, has arrived in Ireland and goes on sale now priced from €41,465 on the road, including grants and VRT relief. Caroline was at the press launch in Dublin to find out more about the new Q4 e-tron and bring it for a first drive on Irish roads.

Audi's range of electric vehicles is growing in the right direction, which is into the sweet spot of the market. Following the launch of the Audi e-tron electric SUV series and the high performance Audi e-tron GT, the new Audi Q4 e-tron brings a full Audi battery electric vehicle to the mid-size SUV segment. The new Audi Q4 e-tron comes to market in Ireland with two battery capacities offering varying levels of power and range - the Audi Q4 e-tron 35 and the Audi Q4 e-tron 40.

Audi Ireland has confirmed that the Audi Q4 e-tron Sportback - designed with sportier, coupé-like styling - will arrive later in 2021, with pricing and specifications to be confirmed closer to launch. We can also expect a quattro all wheel drive model.

Styling

The Audi Q4 e-tron stands out for its premium design features and prestigious presence bestowed upon it through alignment with Audi's e-tron electrified brand. It looks fantastic in the metal, a scaled down version of the larger Audi e-tron SUV, but more friendly and compact. The wheels are pushed forwards to the front of the car giving it a strong, unique look with short overhangs. The Audi Singleframe grille is closed, distinctly Audi - but electrified. The single bar light strip the width of the tailgate is another design connection to the flagship e-tron SUV. There's a range of trendy colour options including the gloriously chic Pebble Grey.

Interior

Inside there is plenty of familiar Audi switchgear. A new steering wheel design takes centre stage, backed by a full digital instrument panel. To the driver's left, the infotainment screen tilts towards you offering a range of connectivity and services to accompany you on the move. A floating centre console reveals a neat storage cubby underneath. It all feels very family friendly in here but with a very slick, high quality finish.

Inside the new Audi Q4 e-tron
Inside the new Audi Q4 e-tron

Practicality

The electric vehicle platform has been designed to maximise interior space for occupants. A flat transmission tunnel yields a flat floor in the rear. The rear bench offers good width and is slightly raised, to give occupants a good view of the road. Footwells are large with room for feet to be tucked in under the front seats. A powered tailgate is available, opening to reveal a good size boot (up to 520 litres), ideal for a family car.

Battery, performance and range

Models at launch are rear wheel drive. The entry level Audi Q4 e-tron 35 uses a 55 kWh battery and produces 170 hp. It has a WLTP combined range of up to 335 km on a single charge. The Audi Q4 e-tron 40 uses a 82 kWh battery with 204 hp and is capable of returning up to 511 km on a single charge (WLTP).

Driving it

The high-voltage battery of the Audi Q4 e-tron and the Q4 e-tron Sportback lies between the axles, which ensures a low center of gravity and a balanced distribution of weight. The Audi Q4 e-tron feels agile despite its considerable weight and changes direction very well. It's not a sporty handler but performs similarly to any of its similar SUV cousins. The cabin is well insulated, it's premium and predictable. While it wasn't a complete test of range, we did notice how the Q4 e-tron seemed to gain kilmometres of range, rather than use them over our 1 hour test drive! Regenerative braking can be set to three different levels.

The Q4 e-tron is offered here with two different battery capacities
The Q4 e-tron is offered here with two different battery capacities

Charging 

The Audi Q4 e-tron can be charged at home from a wallbox (takes 9-13 hours with 7.2 kW wallbox, depending on model) or using the public charging network. 110 kW and 125 kW rapid charging is available depending on model, the latter which takes just 38 minutes to charge from 5% to 80%.

Pricing

Priced from €41,465 inclusive of grants, rebates and delivery for the Q4 e-tron 35 with a range up to 335 km. The Audi Q4 e-tron 40 is priced from €51,850 with a range up to 511 km.

Equipment

The new Audi Q4 e-tron is offered in three trim lines: Advance, Sport and S line. Standard equipment includes 19" alloys, LED headlights, roof rails, heated seats, Audi drive select, rear parking sensors, MMI, Audi Smartphone interface and cruise control.

Sport models add adaptive cruise control, rear parking camera, and some cosmetic update inside and out. It's expected to make up the bulk of sales.

S line models add 20" wheels, S line styling and interior, ambient lighting, sports suspension and sports seats.

Rear seating in the Audi Q4 e-tronRear seating in the Audi Q4 e-tron

Summary

Audi is stepping up a gear with the launch of the new Audi Q4 e-tron all-electric, midsize SUV. Pricing is on point for the premium SUV segment - indeed premium car buyers in general - yet offering an electric powertrain with a very competitive range for today's market.

This is a generously sized SUV inside, yet compact and sleek on the outside.

The fit and finish of the vehicle is beautiful with a fantastic design and alignment with the prestige of the other e-tron models in the Audi electrified range.

Things are getting very interesting indeed in the mid-size premium SUV segment. We look forward to bringing you a more detailed review of the new Audi Q4 e-tron later in the year!

Caroline Kidd

 

The Audi Q4 e-tron on sale from €41,465
The Audi Q4 e-tron on sale from €41,465

The BMW X1 xDrive25e on test for Changing Lanes!

BMW X1 xDrive25e Hybrid (2021) Review

The BMW X1 xDrive25e on test for Changing Lanes!
The BMW X1 xDrive25e on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the 2021 BMW X1!

The BMW X1. The baby of the BMW X family of SUVs. For BMW, with a rich history in SUVs like the popular X5, the new brief required of the market was to beef up the compacts to satiate growing consumer demand for anything that looked at all like it might be good off-road!

The result was the X1, first launched in 2009, with a second generation model debuting in 2015. In 2019 the brand refreshed the car with some updated styling and the introduction of an all-new plug-in hybrid model.

Now the BMW X1 meets Changing Lanes for the first time. Excited, yes!

What's new for the 2021 BMW X1?

Plug-in hybrid is hot right now, you might have noticed. Now joining the X1’s range of petrol and diesel engines is the BMW X1 PHEV – aka the BMW X1 xDrive25e plug-in hybrid model.

The X1 range goes on sale from €40,775, with the plug in hybrid available from €45,790, while the sporty M Sport model on test retails from €47,287. There are four model variants available for the X1 - SE, Sport, xLine and M Sport - and each stands apart with its own unique looks and equipment to match.

The BMW X1 PHEV retails from €47,287 in Ireland
The BMW X1 PHEV retails from €47,287 in Ireland

The X1 has a stylish and upmarket presence. It’s not the most exciting or sporty BMW you ever set eyes upon, but with a softer, more friendly look to it. The M Sport version comes equipped with upgraded M Sport suspension and the M Aerodynamics package. Other features include heated front seats, folding exterior mirrors and Dakota Leather upholstery. The front apron, side skirts, wheel arch trim, diffuser and cladding on the BMW X1 M Sport come in body colour, with larger air intakes than other models.

Inside the 2021 BMW X1

The cabin of the 2021 BMW X1 is a comfortable and secure place to be. While this is an older generation BMW interior, the fit and finish of the car is truly special. It feels so upmarket and well-built. So classy!

This latest model incorporates the sixth generation of BMW’s iDrive system that introduces a touchscreen control for the Control Display alongside the iDrive Controller and optional intelligent voice control.

The X1 is a compact car but it feels spacious inside for this class of vehicle. Boot space is slightly compromised by the battery on board for the plug-in hybrid model, but it's not a huge impact and the boot does feel practical with a hatchback style opening for good access. There's 450 litres in total. A powered tailgate is available. Standard 40:20:40 split folding backrests allow the boot capacity to be increased to 1,470 litres.

The interior of the BMW X1
The interior of the BMW X1

What are my options?

The BMW X1 is powered by a range of three and four cylinder turbo engines, using either a front-wheel drive configuration or BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive. Manual and automatic gearboxes are available. The petrol range starts with the 140 hp 1.5-litre sDrive18i. There is also a more powerful 2.0-litre X1 sDrive20i with 192 hp. The diesel range uses a 2.0-litre engine, and both the sDrive and the all-wheel drive xDrive18d models deliver 150 hp. The 190hp all-wheel-drive xDrive20d is at the top of the X1 range.

BMW is stepping up its electrification journey with the addition of new plug-in hybrids to familiar favourites of the range. The new X1 xDrive25e plug-in hybrid on test uses a 1.5-litre, three cylinder engine with a 9.7 kWh battery giving an electric range of up to 57 km. The petrol engine transfers its power to a 6-speed Steptronic transmission and drives the front wheels. The electric motor delivers its power to the rear wheels via a single-speed transmission. This makes for a hybrid specific all-wheel drive, which makes the X1 super agile! It grips the road exceptionally well, with 220 hp available.

The new BMW X1 PHEV uses a 1.5-litre petrol engine, battery and electric motor
The new BMW X1 PHEV uses a 1.5-litre petrol engine, battery and electric motor

On the road in the BMW X1 xDrive25e

So beneath the quite demure looks, the X1 hybrid offers a lively drive and great handling. This is down to the car’s low centre of gravity, wide track, short overhangs, high level of body and chassis rigidity, and a suspension tuned well for comfort and agility. The xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system is linked with BMW’s DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) to keep oversteer or understeer in check, while the M Sport models add M Sport suspension for a sharper drive.

If you do a lot of town driving, the X1 PHEV is ideal as an introduction to electric motoring with up to 57 km available from a fully charged battery. From a wall box, the battery can be charged in just over 3 hours or in 5 hours from a conventional household socket. The charging socket is located under a separate flap on the front left side wall of the car.

Over a week of driving, my average fuel consumption was 7 litres per 100 kilometre. I failed to keep the battery topped up, so with more regular charging the X1 could be run more efficiently.

The X1 is a practical compact SUV with plug-in hybrid power
The X1 is a practical compact SUV with plug-in hybrid power

Did you like it?

The BMW X1 really surprised me. It’s a real high quality compact SUV, one with all of the class and refinement of a BMW wrapped up in a smaller (and chunkier) package like the X1.

It’s not the trendiest looking machine but the cabin may seduce you with its class, design and quality. It feels a little old school but in a reassuring way, like a good strong cup of tea!

This is a practical car with plenty of flexibility that gives it a headstart over the BMW 1 Series for example, and a different character.

Yet its nimble, compact and fun to drive. While there are petrol and diesel engines on offer, the X1 plug-in hybrid is a good option for urban drivers who can make use of that electric range, charge after every journey, and sample electric motoring for a limited range.

There is lots of power and it is super refined. So guess what? We really enjoyed driving the X1 at Changing Lanes!

BMW continues to expand plug-in hybrid range with new X1 PHEV
BMW continues to expand plug-in hybrid range with new X1 PHEV

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: BMW X1 xDrive25e
Price:
€47,287
Engine: 
1.5-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 220 hp
Torque: 385 Nm
Top speed: 193 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 6.9 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
43-48 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€140 per year


The Mazda CX-5 on test for Changing Lanes!

Mazda CX-5 Skyactiv-G (2021) Review

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

Caroline drives the 2021 Mazda CX-5.

Gorgeous, comfortable, and premium – those are just some words that come to mind when I think of the Mazda CX-5!

The first generation of Mazda’s popular SUV launched back in 2012 just as the SUV trend was really taking hold. In 2017 the brand launched a new generation model, which got all the sharp lines and modern curves that became synonymous with a new generation of incredibly attractive Mazda cars.

What's new for the 2021 Mazda CX-5?

Mazda has been consistently refining the CX-5 ever since. The 2021 Mazda CX-5 maintains this progress in design, engineering, and technology, with enhanced driving dynamics through engine and transmission updates, improved fuel economy, and lower emissions.

The 2021 range goes on sale priced from €34,345 for a Skyactiv-G petrol or from €38,225 for a Skyactiv-D diesel. There are manual and automatic transmissions, as well as the option of four wheel drive. The car comes well equipped with standard features including cruise control, 10.25” colour centre console display and multimedia commander, leather steering wheel, automatic lights and wipers, dual zone climate control and parking sensors, front and rear.

It’s no surprise to find that the CX-5 is Mazda’s bestselling model in Ireland and indeed, worldwide! Sleek and stylish, it still looks really good, with a premium finish to the design that makes heads turn.

The CX-5 range has been updated for 2021
The CX-5 range has been updated for 2021

Inside the Mazda CX-5

Inside the interior of the Mazda CX-5 is starting to show its age. But not in a bad way as the quality and design is still high end so you feel like you are driving something a little bit more special that many rivals in this space. The finish of the car is so good, the plushness of the cabin materials, and the simple classiness of the dials and instruments. Connectivity has evolved to support both Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™, and DAB+ is fitted as standard across the entire model range.

For 2021 the HMI system inside the car has been updated in line with what we have seen in new generation Mazda cars like the Mazda3 and CX-30. It combines a new, faster, clearer 10.25-inch centre display and more intuitive commander control operation with an expanded range of Connected Services from the latest MyMazda App. Features include remote door locking, vehicle finder, the remote pre-programming of multiple navigation destinations, a vehicle health report, dealership contact and service booking request, and roadside assistance.

The CX-5 is a comfortable five seater with a generous cabin and over 500 litres of boot space. A powered tailgate is available for extra convenience. We found the car very practical to live with. Split folding rear seats boost practicality.

Inside the 2021 Mazda CX-5
Inside the 2021 Mazda CX-5

On the road in the Mazda CX5 Skyactiv-G

Driving the Mazda CX-5 is a comfortable and refined experience. Over time revisions to the suspension have made the CX-5 sharper and better to drive than ever. Controls are smooth and direct, putting you in touch with the road in a delicate but tactile way.

Mazda says that there have been powertrain improvements for a better driving experience. These include optimised accelerator pedal operation for better vehicle response and control, improved engine response to throttle inputs, enhanced responsiveness of the six-speed automatic transmission and reductions in CO2 emissions.

Engine options include the 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G petrol engine with 165 hp, and the 2.2-litre Skyactiv-D diesel with 150 or 184 hp. Each will be available with an automatic or manual transmission.

Our test car was powered by Mazda’s tried and tested ‘Skyactiv-G’ 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine with 165 hp. This engine is super smooth and matched perfectly to a 6-speed manual gearbox. While it lacks the in-gear punch of a turbo unit, it is a gentle companion to the Mazda’s refined road manners and very quiet on the go. Over a week of driving we averaged fuel consumption of 7.5 litres per 100 km, so the Mazda CX-5 diesel will offer superior economy.

The 2021 Mazda CX-5 range goes on sale priced from €34,345
The 2021 Mazda CX-5 range goes on sale priced from €34,345

Did you like it?

The Mazda CX-5 is stylish and highly desirable, but also practical, with a large and comfortable cabin.

The interior of the car is starting to age but you can’t argue with the quality. Driving the CX-5 is still a premium experience, with a fit and finish that is very classy and upmarket. As the price climbs through the range, Mazda add even more equipment, but the CX-5 can command it easily.

On the road the CX-5 performs well, being both comfortable, precise and refined. The petrol engine is not the most efficient unit in a large SUV like this, but it is quiet and pleasant to drive, even with a 6-speed manual. The diesel offers more torque and better economy, which keeps it relevant in today’s market.

No doubt about it, the Mazda CX-5 makes a very good family car!

Gorgeous, comfortable, practical - it's the Mazda CX-5!
Gorgeous, comfortable, practical - it's the Mazda CX-5!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Mazda CX-5 GT Luxe 2.0 Skyactiv-G
Price: 
€42,240
Engine: 
2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol
Power: 165 hp
Top speed: 204 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 10.3 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
153 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€280 per year
 


The new Mazda3 100th Anniversary on test for Changing Lanes!

Mazda3 100th Anniversary Edition Review

The new Mazda3 100th Anniversary on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Mazda3 100th Anniversary on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the Mazda3 100th Anniversary Edition

The Mazda3 is one of our favourite cars here at Changing Lanes. The latest generation of the Japanese hatchback launched in Ireland in 2019 with a sensuous new look and sophisticated interior. It heralded the start of exciting new technology from the brand including mild hybrid technology and the world’s first compression-ignition engine. Doesn’t that sound exciting?

What's so special about the Mazda3 100th Anniversary?

Now to celebrate 100 years of the company, Mazda has launched a series of 100th Anniversary models. And in this review we will take a closer look at the Mazda3 100th Anniversary to see if it’s any good!

Inspiration for the special edition’s striking colour scheme came from the Mazda R360 Coupe from 1960, which was the brand’s first ever passenger car.

Finished in white pearl with special anniversary badges throughout and black alloy wheels, the Mazda3 100th Anniversary stands out for all the right reasons. This model is a design triumph regardless with beautiful curvature to the model around the C pillar that is just not what you expect from the family hatchback class. The Mazda3 is a true trendsetter.

Special edition Mazda3 takes inspiration from the Mazda R360 Coupe from 1960
Special edition Mazda3 takes inspiration from the Mazda R360 Coupe from 1960

Inside the 2021 Mazda3 100th Anniversary

Open the door and you are welcomed by a bespoke interior of red leather and matching red carpets. I was dazzled and it wasn’t just the red carpet effect! There is a soft cream panel to accentuate the width of the dashboard. The Mazda3 cabin wraps around you perfectly. It’s a true driver’s car. Infotainment is provided via a slick looking 8.8" screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, with a multimedia controller on the centre console.

This hatchback will seat five and space inside the vehicle is competitive for the class, well should we say premium compact class? Because that’s how this car feels. And with a list price of €37,220 for this car with the 2.0-litre e-Skyactiv-X M Hybrid petrol engine, this model in particular will certainly sit among high end hatchbacks.

But deservedly so. The e-Skyactiv-X also offers considerable power, poise and play in the Mazda3 100th Anniversary. Mazda’s revolutionary Spark Controlled Compression Ignition engine has been improved for this model year with a bit more power (186 hp) and torque (240 Nm), while overall efficiency has been improved. Being a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre petrol affair, it does deliver power differently to the road than say one of those small capacity engines with a turbo.

The interior of the Mazda3 100th Anniversary
The interior of the Mazda3 100th Anniversary

On the road in the Mazda3 e-Skyactiv-X!

Spend some time with this car though and you will find Mazda’s own little brand of fun and wizardy going on. It’s a super sweet car to drive, nicely balanced on the road, a lightness to the controls, yet the ability to be wrangled in and out of corners with a distinct and precise feel. It never feels hugely fast, but you learn to work with the neat distribution of power through the gears and it becomes a satisfying and interesting hatchback to drive. Mazda afficionados will love it!

Mazda has improved the fuel efficiency of this engine and over a week of driving we averaged 6.2 litres per 100 km, which is marginally better than the figure we returned when testing the Mazda3 Skyactiv-X in 2020. CO2 emissions are down 7 g to 120 g.

This is a unique and fun hatchback with some very clever engine technology. Improvements to efficiency are welcome; power and torque improvements are less obvious but this car performs well on the road regardless, with a distinct driving character from its 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine.

So that’s a wrap on the new Mazda3 100th Anniversary Edition. A stunning car, albeit at a price.

But the Mazda3 has been knocking at the door of premium for a while now.

The Mazda3 is refined and fun to drive!
The Mazda3 is refined and fun to drive!

Model tested: Mazda3 100th Anniversary Edition e-Skyactiv X
Price: €37,220
Engine: 
2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine
Power: 186 hp
Torque: 240 Nm
Top speed: 216 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 8.1 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
120 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€190 per year

Caroline Kidd

 


The 2021 SEAT Ateca on test for Changing Lanes!

SEAT Ateca 2.0 TDI (2021) Review

The 2021 SEAT Ateca on test for Changing Lanes!
The 2021 SEAT Ateca on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the 2021 SEAT Ateca!

At its launch in 2016, the SEAT Ateca brought a new dimension to the mid-size SUV market; the perfect match for urban and country life, offering a spacious, practical, and versatile SUV with a unique style we’ve come to expect from the brand ‘Created in Barcelona’.

Recently updated, SEAT has enhanced the Ateca and gone for a more luxe feel with the new Ateca Xperience, which replaces the old Xcellence trim line. Visually, it gets new all-terrain inspired styling – aluminium finish to the front and rear bumpers, body-coloured wheel arch surrounds, and side mouldings in an aluminium finish.

These rugged trim elements complement the already precise lines and muscular wheel arches, with striking LED headlamps and rear lamps with dynamic, sweeping indicators on the FR and Xperience trims. ‘Ateca’ is now spelt across the rear in a new handwriting style.

What's so special about the SEAT Ateca Xperience?

Priced from €37,900, the SEAT Ateca Xperience commands a more premium feeling inside and out, and a high specification, among an excellent engine line-up.

The SEAT Ateca range kicks off from €31,910 in a well-specced SE grade, offering consumers an already well-tuned mix of comfort, design, and practicality, with a choice of petrol and diesel engine. There are also FR models, which look and feel more sporty.

The Ateca Xperience range kicks off from €37,900 in Ireland
The Ateca Xperience range kicks off from €37,900 in Ireland

With buyers abandoning traditional hatchbacks in recent years, it’s clear to see why you might quickly mellow at the sight of the Ateca. With a raised ride height and the chunky looks of an SUV and sharp lines of a classic SEAT, it’s no surprise.

While the latest SEAT Leon now shows off the best of SEAT technology and design being an all-new generation car, slipping into the Ateca is a reminder how SEAT took a stronger grip on the Irish market in recent years.

SEAT Ireland has been riding the crest of a wave with a super stylish line-up of SUVs – the Arona, Ateca and flagship Tarraco. The segment keeps on growing, SEAT growing with it.

Inside the 2021 SEAT Ateca

Inside buyers are met with a solid and straightforward cabin design. The 2021 SEAT Ateca’s interior fit and finish is enhanced with the introduction of new door designs and materials, along with stitching across the panels. There’s also a newly-designed and upholstered steering wheel.

The Xperience has classy matte finish surrounds for the air vents, gear lever and infotainment system, with multi-colour ambient lighting bringing an extra level of customisation to the cabin. There’s also a 9.2-inch touchscreen - keeping things modern in the cabin - with wireless access to both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and wireless smartphone charging. Other standard features include a full leather interior, automatic high beam and Predictive Adaptive Cruise Control.

The car is nicely sized inside with plenty of space up front and good size in the rear for this sort of compact family SUV. The boot has some good depth to it too. There’s an impressive 510 litres of load space to play with!

Inside the new SEAT Ateca Xperience
Inside the new SEAT Ateca Xperience!

What are my engine options?

The latest SEAT Ateca goes on sale with the brand’s familiar portfolio of petrol (TSI) and diesel (TDI) engines.

Ateca Xperience models are offered with 1.5-litre turbo petrol (150 hp) or 2.0 diesel with 115 hp or 150 hp.

Other engines in the range are the 1.0-litre TSI with 110 hp (from €31,910). Motor tax ranges from €210 to €280.

On the road the SEAT Ateca is once again, straightforward and predictable. A quick detour through the Wicklow Mountains on the way home revealed a sharper side however, and this car does hold the road well so there is fun to be had should you want to slip it into Sport mode! It’s a sharp and direct competitor, but ride comfort in this Xperience model is also on par for the segment.

My test car was powered by the 2.0-litre diesel with 150 hp, a powerful and refined companion for this SUV. Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 5.8 litres per 100 km.

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

Did you like it?

SEAT Ireland hit a golden age with the arrival of a trilogy of SUVs on the Irish market. The full complement of Arona, Ateca and Tarraco SUVs helped the brand drive market share in Ireland like never before.

Since then the brand has welcomed a new generation SEAT Leon and the introduction of hybrid power to the SEAT range for the very first time.

Buyers are now faced with a myriad of choices when they decide to trade in for a new family SUV. Size, quality, and price do vary. And though the Ateca in its current outfit is coming towards the end of its tenure, there’s little to complain about when you take this one for a spin.

Behind the wheel, the Ateca confidently takes on its competitors with a straightforward and logical cabin.

The Ateca is backed up by well proven combustion engines and some great trim options that make the car more individual, while also adding many convenience and comfort features.

The Xperience model sits at the top of the range, and while packing in considerable spec, there's even more value to be had in the rest of the range, with cars equipped well from entry.

Being simple, practical and efficient like the Ateca is very appealing in today’s SUV market.

SEAT Ateca: Simple, practical and efficient
SEAT Ateca: Simple, practical and efficient

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: SEAT Ateca 2.0 TDI XPerience DSG
Price: 
€41,100
Engine: 
2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 150 hp
Torque: 340 Nm
Top speed: 200 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 8.8 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
137 - 144 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€210 per year