The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon

2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon Review

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon

Caroline drives the 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon.

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon is one of the stalwarts of the Mercedes-Benz range that has been endearing buyers of compact executive saloons for over two decades now.

The current generation of the car debuted in 2014 and quickly gained notoriety for its interior elegance and comfort. Now in 2019, there is an updated C-Class range with pricing starting from €37,710.

What's new for the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon in 2019?

Updates include new engines, equipment and trim elements to keep it at the races against key rivals like the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series.

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon gets a slim makeover in that all the elegant, compact saloon proportions are retained but with some new trim elements, alloy wheels and headlight/rear light design.

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon has been updated for 2019
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon has been updated for 2019

Available in the classic Avantgarde trim or the sportier AMG Line, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class oozes class and prestige. AMG Line models get standard fit 18” alloys, more aggressive bumpers and a stunning diamond radiator grille with chrome pins. LED headlights come as standard.

The interior of the 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon

Inside, the cabin of the C-Class is very plush and luxurious with beautiful soft touch materials and design elements, like the circular air vents and open pore black ash wood trim. The C-Class range gets a technology upgrade in that you can now opt for a 12.3-inch digital cockpit display and a 10.25-inch infotainment screen. The 10.25 inch screen as part of the Advantage pack is definitely worth considering (€3,417) as it looks a lot more premium and at home than the standard 7” screen.

There is also a new multifunction steering wheel with touch-control buttons that respond to swiping motions like the screen of a smartphone. It gives a bit more modernity to the cabin of the C-Class.

The interior of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon
The interior of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon

The C-Class Saloon will seat five though the rear will be more comfortable for two rather than three because of the large ‘hump’ housing the transmission tunnel. The boot is a competitive 480 litres and the boot lid lifts electronically from a button on the key or a switch in the cabin.

Equipment and engines

Standard equipment includes leather upholstery, cruise control, dual zone climate control, heated front seats, keyless start and 17” alloys. The AMG Line (from €39,250) models add sports pedals, 18” alloys and AMG bodystyling.

Engine options for the C-Class include a 1.6-litre petrol (C180), 2.0-litre petrol (C300), 1.6-litre diesel (C200d) and 2.0-litre diesel (C220d), as well as some sportier variants.

The C200 is now powered by a 1.5-litre turbo petrol with 'EQ Boost'
The C200 is now powered by a 1.5-litre turbo petrol with 'EQ Boost'

The new Mercedes-Benz C200 with EQ Boost

One of the most exciting additions to the 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon range is the C200 now with EQ Boost. The new 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine has mild hybrid technology. A 48 volt on-board electrical system with a belt-driven starter/alternator gives the car a boost in performance and efficiency. The power output is 184hp and 0 to 100 kmh is achieved in just 7.7 seconds.

The C200 delivers smooth power through a nine speed automatic gearbox, and is refined at a cruise though gets noisier when you give it a heavy right foot. Over a week of driving the C200 averaged fuel consumption at 8.4l/100km, while motor tax is €390 per year for this model, so a diesel would offer superior economy for high mileage drivers.

Rear legroom in the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon
Rear legroom in the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon

On the road in the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon

My test car featured Dynamic Body Control that alters suspension damping characteristics in three stages. The damping characteristics are tuned more tautly in the two stages “Sport” and “Sport+”. The “Comfort” mode is more comfortably tuned, unevenness is levelled out better and road roar and tyre vibration characteristics are improved.

There’s also a Sports Direct-Steer system for more agile and smooth handling.

On the road, the C-Class Saloon glides along the tarmac effortlessly offering a top class comfortable and serene drive. It offers rear wheel drive agility and is flexible through corners, though the sensations reaching the rim are not overtly sporty. I recently drove the Mercedes-Benz C200 Coupé, but I really like the C200 set-up in the Saloon.

There may be a squeeze on saloons from SUVs but there is likely to always be a market for prestigious, premium saloons like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. This facelift has improved and modernised the interior even more, so that the car still feels current. This is a fine luxury motor for cruising and Mercedes-Benz has successfully packaged the essence of the brand in the C-Class, making it a great entry point into the premium saloon market.

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon is a very desirable compact premium saloon
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon is a very desirable compact premium saloon

Caroline
Kidd

Model
tested: 
Mercedes-Benz
C200 Saloon AMG Line Automatic
Price:
€43,600 (Range from €37,710)
Engine: 1.5-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
184 hp
Torque: 280 Nm
0-100km/h:  
7.7 seconds
Top speed: 239 km/h
Fuel economy:
6.0-6.3l/100km
CO2 emissions: 
144g/km
Motor tax: 
€390 per year


The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé is a prestigious and desirable coupé

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé Review

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé

Caroline drives the 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé.

There are few things more desirable in life than a slinky Mercedes-Benz coupé. Mercedes-Benz just has an aptitude for creating luxury sports coupés that will stop you in your tracks. A Mercedes-Benz coupé sells a dream of sunshine, asphalt, and slow, luxury living.

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé might be the most compact two door coupé that the brand offers, but none of that prestigious style has been compromised. With pricing starting from €38,365, the C-Class Coupé has been updated for 2019 with new engines, equipment and trim elements to keep it at the races.

Thankfully, the C-Class Coupé’s elegant and sporty silhouette remains every bit intact. There are new bumpers and a standard-fit diamond radiator grille with chrome pins on the AMG Line model. LED High Performance headlights now come as standard, as do more accentuated all-LED rear lights. The AMG Line model also has an AMG-specific front apron with sporty air intakes and chrome trim.

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé has had an update for 2019
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé has had an update for 2019

The interior of the 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé

Inside, the cabin of the 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé is very plush and luxurious with beautiful design elements like the sculpted leather seats, circular air vents and open pore black ash wood trim. The C-Class range gets a technology upgrade in that you can now opt for a 12.3-inch digital cockpit display and a 10.25-inch infotainment screen. The 10.25 inch screen as part of the Advantage pack is definitely worth considering (€3,417) as it looks a lot more premium and at home here than the standard 7” screen.

There is also a new multifunction steering wheel with touch-control buttons that respond to swiping motions like the screen of a smartphone.

The C-Class Coupé will seat four but being a coupé the rear space is tight on legroom and headroom. A narrow boot aperture hardly makes it the most practical member of the family either – you will be needing the C-Class Estate for that (!) – but there’s still plenty of room with 360 litres.

The interior of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé
The interior of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé

Standard equipment includes leather upholstery, cruise control, dual zone climate control, heated front seats, keyless start and 17” alloys. The AMG Line (from €41,342) models add sports pedals, reversing camera, 18” alloys and AMG bodystyling.

The C200 Features Mild Hybrid Technology

One of the most exciting additions for the 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé is the new 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine with EQ Boost mild hybrid technology. This model, badged C200, has a 48 volt on-board electrical system with a belt-driven starter/alternator and it gives the car a boost in performance and efficiency. When accelerating, EQ Boost can assist the 184 hp engine with an additional 14 hp, bridging the brief moment until the turbocharger has built up its full charge pressure.

There's a new steering wheel and option of a digital instrument panel
There's a new steering wheel and option of a digital instrument panel

During deceleration, the starter/alternator recuperates kinetic energy and charges the battery. There is also gliding mode with the engine switched off when the speed falls below a certain minimum level, and the recuperative brake with intelligent engine stop when the vehicle is coasting. Alongside the diesel engines, the petrol engines are also equipped with a particulate filter.

Other engines include a 1.6-litre petrol (C180), 2.0-litre petrol (C300), 1.6-litre diesel (C200d) and 2.0-litre diesel (C220d), as well as some sportier variants.

Driving the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé

The C-Class Coupé also gets the dynamic body control suspension that alters suspension damping characteristics in three stages. The damping characteristics are tuned more tautly in the two stages “Sport” and “Sport+”. The “Comfort” mode is tuned for a more comfortable ride and less tyre and road noise. There’s also a Sports Direct-Steer system for more agile and smooth handling.

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé is available from €38,365 in Ireland
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé is available from €38,365 in Ireland

On the road, the C-Class Coupé glides along the tarmac effortlessly. It is a comfortable, serene drive. It's agile and flexible through corners, without being overtly sporty. The C200 delivers smooth power through a nine speed automatic gearbox, though the engine was more noisy than what I was expecting. Over a week of driving the C200 averaged fuel consumption at 7.7l/100km, while motor tax is €390 per year.

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé is easily one of the best looking compact coupés out there. It’s a hugely desirable car with a fine interior also. On the road, it’s not the sportiest choice and in C200 guise I did miss the thick, syrupy pulling power of a diesel engine. But this remains a fine car that looks as good as the day it was launched.

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé is a prestigious and desirable coupé
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé is a prestigious and desirable coupé

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Mercedes-Benz C200 Coupé Automatic
Price:
€47,431 (Coupe range from €38,365)
Engine: 1.5-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
184 hp
Torque: 280 Nm
0-100km/h:  
7.9 seconds
Top speed: 239 km/h
Fuel economy:
6.1-6.5l/100km
CO2 emissions: 
148g/km
Motor tax: 
€390 per year


The new Peugeot 508 fastback makes a serious style statement

2019 Peugeot 508 1.5BlueHDI First Drive Review

The new Peugeot 508 fastback
The new Peugeot 508 fastback is now on sale in Ireland

The new Peugeot 508 has just arrived in Ireland and goes on sale priced from €32,400. Available initially as a ‘fastback’ (looks like a saloon but is actually a hatchback), an SW estate version will arrive in Ireland this summer. Caroline drove from Dublin to Cork in the new Peugeot 508 at the recent Irish press launch.

Styling

The Peugeot 508 makes a serious style statement in the D-segment, breaking the mould of the traditional, four door saloon silhouette with a sports coupé inspired look. Frameless windows are a neat touch often reserved for more expensive, premium cars. The 508 embodies Peugeot’s move upmarket and the look changes a little depending on trim level. The high spec GT Line models for example have a special chequered chrome radiator grille, striking LED headlights and 18” alloys.

Interior

The interior of the new Peugeot 508 is not like anything we’ve seen in this segment before. Angled around the driver, there is a cool looking digital instrument panel above a compact steering wheel. To the driver’s left are some beautiful ‘piano keys’ to operate shortcuts on the 8” infotainment screen. Material quality is good around the cabin with flashier trim elements as you move through the grades.

Practicality

The new Peugeot 508 is actually a hatchback and the boot opens to reveal 487 litres of space with a good wide opening. The car will seat five and feels reasonably spacious inside for this class of vehicle.

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

Engines

Two petrol engines and four diesel engines will be available, depending on trim, including a 1.6 THP petrol 180bhp automatic 8-speed S&S; a 1.6 THP petrol 225bhp automatic 8-speed S&S (GT only); a 1.5 BlueHDi diesel 130bhp 6-speed manual S&S, 1.5 BlueHDi diesel 130bhp automatic 8-Speed S&S; a 2.0 BlueHDi diesel 160bhp automatic 8-Speed S&S; and a top of the range 2.0 BlueHDi diesel 180bhp automatic 8-Speed S&S.

On the road

The new Peugeot 508 is built on the same EMP2 platform that underpins the popular 3008 and 5008 SUVs. On the road the new 508 is smooth and agile to drive, while the 1.5-litre 130hp diesel offered plenty of pulling power to cover our test route. We will bring you more detailed driving impressions after a full road test in the coming months.

Equipment

Peugeot Ireland is selling the new 508 in a choice of four trims: Active, Allure, GT Line and GT.

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 Allure gains a 10” touchscreen with satellite navigation, blind spot monitoring, high beam assist, road sign recognition, advanced driver attention alert, 17” alloys, keyless access and start, lumbar support and dark tinted rear glass.

The Peugeot 508 goes on sale in Ireland priced from €32,400
The Peugeot 508 goes on sale in Ireland priced from €32,400

The GT Line adds 18” alloys, wireless phone charging, adaptive cruise control, full LED headlights and 3D LED rear lights, electric lumbar support, GT Line exterior and interior styling and iCockpit Amplify (choice of two interior ambiences: Boost or Relax) with Driver Sports Pack.

The range-topping GT 2.0 BlueHDi 180bhp automatic version comes equipped with 18” alloys, Focal sound system, Nappa leather seats with full electric driver’s massage seat, active suspension control, an electric tailgate and GT exterior and interior styling.

Pricing

Active models are available from €32,400, Allure from €34,930, GT Line from €38,170 and GT from €49,120.

Rivals

The Peugeot 508 will go up against the Volkswagen Passat, Opel Insignia Grand Sport, Mazda6, Ford Mondeo, among other D-segment saloons.

Verdict

The Peugeot 508 makes a serious style statement in the D-segment and while SUVs have put these cars under pressure for some years now, Peugeot is fighting back with an upmarket and designer feel to their flagship ‘fastback’. The interior of the car is truly innovative. It's petrol and diesel power for now, with a plug-in hybrid scheduled for the autumn. We look forward to getting under the 508’s skin a little more later in the year and bring you a full road test report.

The new Peugeot 508 fastback makes a serious style statement
The new Peugeot 508 fastback makes a serious style statement

Caroline Kidd


The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate Review

The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate
The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate

Caroline drives the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate.

Launched back in 2014, the current generation of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class was noted for its interior elegance and quality. In 2018, Mercedes-Benz treated the C-Class to a mid-life refresh to keep the car competitive. Historic rivals for the C-Class have been the Audi A4 and the BMW 3 Series. With a new generation of the 3 Series arriving imminently, the Merc’s refresh is timely.

What's new for the 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

There have been a few subtle external design changes for a more sporty appearance including new bumpers and trim elements. The C-Class comes with halogen headlamps incorporating LED daytime running lamps as standard. The diamond radiator grille is standard on AMG Line models also.

Inside the car, Mercedes-Benz has upgraded the upholstery and trim for an even more luxurious feel. A 12.3-inch digital cockpit display and a 10.25-inch infotainment screen are now available as options. Equipment has also been updated to make the latest driving assistance technology available in the C-Class.

Some of the most notable changes are in the engine range. The C200 now features a new 184hp 1.5-litre petrol engine with ‘EQ Boost’. Using a 48-volt onboard network with a belt-driven starter/alternator, the system adds more power and efficiency.

The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class
The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate tested here

What about the C200d?

Yes you can still choose your C-Class with a diesel engine. The C200d tested here uses a four cylinder, 1.6-litre diesel engine, putting out 160hp in this state of tune. A 2.0-litre diesel from the E-Class badged C220d is also available with 194hp.

The updated Mercedes-Benz C-Class range kicks off in Ireland at €37,710 for the saloon and €39,630 for the estate. It’s available in two trim lines, Avantgarde and AMG Line. I tested the C200d Estate AMG Line Automatic with a list price of €47,697.

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class remains a high quality offering inside and out. The C-Class Estate has a smart exterior finish and AMG Line models look particularly good with AMG bodystyling including AMG front apron with sporty air intakes and chrome trim. At the back there is an AMG-diffuser look rear apron with insert in black and AMG side sill panels. 18” wheels come as standard, but the model tested had 19” AMG 5 twin spoke alloy wheels added as an option for €1700.

The C-Class range has received some updates for 2019
The C-Class range has received some updates for 2019

The interior of the 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate

Inside the C-Class impresses with its interior elegance. There have been a few material updates and technology features added. The circular air vents, wood veneer, soft touch panelling and leather upholstery all combine for a cabin experience that is one of the best in the business. The test car had the 10.25” screen added as an option, which I think looks better and more premium than the 7” touchscreen that comes as standard. I’m also a big fan of the touch sensitive buttons on the steering wheel that allow you to scroll through menus in a simple and precise fashion.

Other equipment features on the AMG Line model include heated front seats, keyless go, reversing camera, AMG sports pedals in brushed stainless steel, powered tailgate, cruise control and dual zone climate control.

The C-Class Estate is the most practical member of the C-Class family. Though the boot volume is just about 10 litres bigger than the saloon, the Estate has a much more usable boot space with a wide opening. The rear seats can be let down by pulling a switch in the boot. Rear seating is generous enough, with the Estate also giving rear occupants more headroom. A large transmission tunnel makes things a bit more awkward for the middle seat passenger, but it goes with the territory in these rear wheel drive, premium estate cars.

The C-Class Estate is the most practical member of the range
The C-Class Estate is the most practical member of the range

On the road in the C200d Estate

The C200d puts its power to the road via a 9 speed automatic gearbox. The engine has plenty of power for the C-Class Estate and is also an impressively refined unit on the move. Power delivery is smooth and it responds well to throttle, though the Sport mode is best engaged if you demand a sudden surge in power quickly. The engine is reasonably efficient also with my fuel consumption over a week of driving averaging at 6.2l/100km. Motor tax is €270 per year for this model.

The C-Class Estate handles and steers in quite a neutral way. It’s not sporty but the ace card for the C-Class is the way it moves over the tarmac. It’s very smooth and serene, with a great hushed cabin and ride quality that’s always a signature of a premium motor.

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate is a stylish and practical estate car. It comes with a hefty price tag but it’s a quality and serene driving experience. The C200d has plenty of power for this car and it's reasonably efficient to run also.

But what the C-Class really shines for is its interior elegance. This recent round of refinements are subtle but the addition of some digital enhancements are a welcome addition.

The C-Class has enough character of its own to woo premium buyers.

The Mercedes-Benz C200d Estate AMG Line is available from €47,696
The Mercedes-Benz C200d Estate AMG Line is available from €47,697

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Mercedes-Benz C200d Estate Automatic
Price: 
€47,697 (Range starts at €37,710)
Engine: 1.6-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
160 hp
Torque: 360 Nm
0-100km/h:  
8.2 seconds
Top speed: 220 km/h
Economy:
4.3-4.7 l/100km
CO2 emissions: 
124g/km
Motor tax: 
€270 per year

 


The 2019 Mazda6

2019 Mazda6 2.2 Diesel Review

The 2019 Mazda6
The 2019 Mazda6

Caroline drives the 2019 Mazda6!

The Mazda6 just keeps on evolving and towards the end of 2018 it was time for another update. Arguably the Mazda6 has always been a great example of a large saloon, but to a refined nose the gentle tweaks do keep the car current and fresh.

In 2012, the Mazda6 ushered in a new era with its striking KODO ‘Soul of Motion’ design philosophy. Over the years, Mazda have made some minor refinements but you would have to be eagle-eyed to spot any major styling changes in the Mazda6’s sensuous silhouette.

But we are reliably informed that there is a new ‘3D’ grille with mesh positioned deeper within the surround. The LED headlamps integrate new signature ‘wing tips’ from the grille surround. The lower bumper has also been redesigned for a sleeker profile and an aerodynamically efficient air intake.

At the rear, the 2019 Mazda6 Saloon has a remodelled boot lid, while both the Saloon and Tourer have cleaner rear bumper styling with more body coloured areas. Soul Red Crystal is available for the first time, a deeper and enhanced version of the signature Soul Red the car was launched with.

The interior of the 2019 Mazda6
The interior of the 2019 Mazda6

Inside the 2019 Mazda6

The cabin of the 2019 Mazda6 has also been reworked a little to include upgraded seats, instrument panel, door trim and materials. Can we pause for just a second to appreciate the refined sophistication of the cabin of the Mazda6? It just keeps getting better and better inside the Mazda6 - even more premium. This current iteration is a fine mix of upmarket materials and stylish, refined design. There is an 8” centre screen for infotainment and it’s compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

There is space for five inside though the rear legroom does not appear as generous as in some rivals. At 480 litres, the boot comes in a little behind rivals also but by most standards that’s still a lot of space.

In Ireland the updated Mazda6 goes on sale from €31,945 with three equipment levels: Executive SE, Platinum and Platinum+. New features for the 2019 Mazda6 range include ventilated seats, projection active driving display and 360° parking display. The range of i-ACTIVSENSE safety systems now include Radar Cruise Control.

What are my engine options?

Engine options for Ireland include the 2.2-litre SKYACTIV-D diesel with 150hp or 184hp and the 2.0-litre SKYACTIV-G petrol engine with 165hp. Both petrol and diesel engines are available with either a manual or automatic transmission. The 2.0-litre SKYACTIV-G has been enhanced with new intake ports, new pistons and revised fuel injection and cooling. In its highest output, the popular 2.2-litre SKYACTIV-D diesel now produces 184hp (up from 175hp).

The new Mazda6 has some changes to the styling, interior, equipment, engines, suspension and sound proofing
The new Mazda6 has some changes to the styling, interior, equipment, engines, suspension and sound insulation

My test car was a 2.2 diesel manual with 184hp in Platinum+ trim, retailing from €42,865. Active Driving Display with integrated Satellite Navigation, Adaptive LED Headlights and Blind Spot Monitoring come as standard. All models now feature Blind Spot Monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, Mazda Radar Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist and Advanced Smart City Brake Support.

Other features on my test car included leather interior, dual zone climate control, 19” alloys, keyless entry and Bose sound system.

What else is new in the 2019 Mazda6?

Under the skin, Mazda has made some adjustments including suspension fine tuning and component upgrades, designed to improve ride comfort while maintaining the Mazda6’s famed driver engagement. Bump stop characteristics have been revised, the front dampers have increased in diameter and rebound springs have been added, while a new urethane rear damper top mount has been fitted for smoother vehicle behaviour and improved ride quality. The steering knuckles have been lowered for more neutral steering characteristics and rigid mounts now attach the steering gear to the suspension cross-member for a more precise response to subtle steering wheel actions.

Mazda has also made some refinements to improve cabin insulation with thicker body panels, natural sound smoother technology and noise absorbing materials. New vibration absorbing material has also been added to the centre tunnel and the roof lining. A flatter underbody, plus new bumper and engine undercovers claim to streamline airflow under the car, while ducts introduced in place of the fog lights in the front bumper create a flow of air to the front wheels, improving aerodynamic performance. SKYACTIV-G models are also fitted with an active air shutter that closes when the engine does not need cooling to improve real-world efficiency.

The Mazda6 goes on sale in Ireland priced from €31,945
The Mazda6 goes on sale in Ireland priced from €31,945

So what does all this translate to on the road?

Well, it’s all good for the Mazda6. The diesel model tested is super smooth to drive, with a lovely spread of power and works effortlessly with the manual gearbox. The engine is not too noisy and the Mazda6 makes a refined and comfortable long-distance cruiser, with just a whisper of road noise. It’s economical too and over a week of driving my fuel consumption was 5.5/100km.

But the real marvel of the Mazda is just how much fun it is to drive for a large saloon – at times I was having so much fun I thought I might be driving an MX-5! The handling is superb with pleasant agility and steering that’s sharp and communicative.

Refinements to the new Mazda6 raise its profile even more as a segment leader in terms of driving dynamics and cabin ambience. This car is also a true alternative to premium rivals like a Mercedes-Benz C-Class or Jaguar XE in my opinion.

The Mazda6 is the large executive car for all seasons: the one you will enjoy driving day in, day out.

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Mazda6 2.2 SKYACTIV-D Platinum
Price: 
€42,865 (Range from €31,945)
Engine: 2.2-litre turbo diesel
Power:
184 hp
Torque: 445 Nm
0-100km/h: 
8.5 seconds
Top speed: 227 km/h
Economy: 
4.7l/100km
CO2 emissions:
124 g/km
Motor tax: 
€270 per year

The Mazda6 is the one for posh cabin ambience and driving fun
The Mazda6 is the one for posh cabin ambience and driving fun

The new Audi A6 is now on sale in Ireland

Audi A6 40 TDI Review

The new Audi A6 is now on sale in Ireland
The new Audi A6 is now on sale in Ireland

The new Audi A6 has recently arrived in showrooms, priced from €50,800. Audi’s popular executive car has undergone a serious makeover with mild hybrid technology now a feature and a new cabin packed full of the most modern infotainment and assistance features.

Clearly inspired by the flagship Audi A8, Audi claims that the new A6 condenses "A8-style technological sophistication and refinement”. With the new arms race in the motor industry being fought along the lines of intelligent in-car technology features and showstopping connectivity, Audi needs that sort of A8 inspiration to futureproof the A6.

Yet to look at the new Audi A6 you might doubt that much has changed. In typical Audi fashion, styling of the new A6 is a mere evolution, but bears all the hallmarks of contemporary Audi design language. The new A6 has a classic Audi silhouette and stately presence that goes with the territory of a premium saloon.

The interior of the new Audi A6
The interior of the new Audi A6

Revolution inside the Audi A6

It's inside where the true revolution has taken place. The Audi A6 was starting to feel old-fashioned; but not anymore. The new A6 gets Audi’s slick new cabin design and infotainment that really speaks of the ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ that the brand has been built upon.

The centre console and top MMI touch response display (8.8-inches in standard form/10.1 inches with the optional MMI navigation plus upgrade) are directed towards the driver. The lower 8.6-inch display is used for the climate control, convenience functions and text input. The all-digital operating system gives haptic and acoustic response to inputs though it still can be a bit fiddly to use on the move. Yet this double screen layout looks so good and along with the Audi Virtual Cockpit (added as an option as part of the Technology Pack for €2925), this Audi A6 feels uber-modern and light years ahead of the competition.

The material quality is also excellent throughout and the overall cabin ambiance has to be the ultimate selling point for the new Audi A6. In practical terms, the new A6 will seat five and there is now that bit more legroom, headroom and shoulder room for passengers. The footwells are large in the rear and the boot opens to reveal 530 litres of space.

The new Audi A6 now offers mild hybrid technology to improve efficiency across the range
The new Audi A6 now offers mild hybrid technology to improve efficiency across the range

What are my options?

The new Audi A6 is available in two trim lines in Ireland, SE (from €50,800) and S Line (from €55,000). Standard equipment includes 18” alloys, LED headlamps, Lane Assist, cruise control, climate control, lumbar support, Audi Connect, leather interior, smart phone interface and an 8.8″ touchscreen (‘MMI touch response system’). S Line models add 19” alloys, lowered sport suspension, front sports seats, S Line styling kit, matrix LED headlamps and leather/Alcantara upholstery.

The car launches with a 2.0-litre TDI diesel (204hp) and two 3.0-litre V6 diesels (231hp and 286hp) with each model coming with an automatic gearbox as standard. A 2.0 TFSI petrol variant will follow later. All engines in the new A6 now feature new mild hybrid technology to improve efficiency across the range. My test car was a 2.0-litre TDI badged '40 TDI' and is a perfect match for the new A6. Running costs are reasonable too with motor tax of €200 per year and my fuel consumption over a week of driving was about 6l/100km. And I was enjoying this car a lot with a few sprints in Dynamic mode from Audi Drive Select!

The Audi A6 impresses with ride quality and in-car technology and
The Audi A6 impresses with ride quality and in-car technology 

What's the new Audi A6 like to drive?

On the road the Audi A6 is impressively quiet and refined with a beautiful ride and feeling of gliding effortlessly over Irish roads. The 2.0-litre diesel and a 7-speed automatic gearbox work seamlessly together providing smooth, responsive power delivery.

Progressive steering, which becomes even quicker and more direct as the steering angle increases, is standard. There's a nice fluidity to the steering and the A6 feels reasonably agile for its size. A BMW 5-Series would offer a more sporty and engaging drive, but there's little really to complain about behind the wheel of the new A6.

When comfort and refinement are priority, the new Audi A6 really excels and it really is an absolute pleasure to drive. This generation of A6 is easily now the technology and innovation champion of its class. The mild hybrid technology delivers genuine results in terms of fuel efficiency, while the slick and modern interior makes rivals now look quite old-fashioned! The new A6 is a fine example of Audi’s expertise in making excellent large executive saloons.

Now would you like to watch a video review of the new Audi A6?

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Audi A6 2.0TDI 204HP S-tronic S Line
Price: 
€55,000 (Range from €50,800)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power:
204 hp
Torque: 400 Nm
0-100km/h: 
8.1 seconds
Top speed: 246 km/h
Economy: 
4.3-4.7l/100km
CO2 emissions:
124-129 g/km
Motor tax: 
€270 per year


The new Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupé

2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupé Review

The new Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupé
The new Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupé

Caroline drives the 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupé!

Earlier in 2018, Mercedes-Benz Ireland launched two new models to the Irish market, at opposite ends of the scale – the new A-Class hatchback and the CLS Coupé. While the A-Class is the entry point into the Mercedes-Benz range, the CLS Coupé has the esteemed position of being one of the most opulent and exclusive models that Mercedes-Benz currently offers.

With pricing starting from €64,805, the Mercedes-Benz CLS is a stylish four door coupé that’s still good at carrying people and their things. The CLS is now in its third generation and has evolved into a real beauty with Merc's new corporate face finding an ideal home on this car's grand proportions. The sleek, classy profile makes the CLS a perfect entrance for any occasion, while the lowered look and 19" alloys of the AMG Line model on test put it in the sporty realm too.

Is the 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupé nice inside?

Inside, the interior will be familiar to any E-Class driver, but the Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupé takes the opulence to the next level. The driving position is cosy and sporty and the cabin feels like it wraps around you. An ambient lighting system with 64 colours to choose from and some stunning illuminated circular vents add to the artistry of the cabin and it would be a cold heart that would not feel seduced by the cabin of the CLS. The driver information display is fully digital and the CLS also features the latest Mercedes-Benz touchscreen infotainment system with impressive 12.3" display.

The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupé
The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupé

The interior will now seat five rather than four though the rear still feels like more of a place for two VIPS to relax, than three. The two footwells are large but the transmission tunnel is quite high in the middle. The boot is large at 520 litres but the narrow saloon style boot opening makes access to that space more impractical.

If you are looking for a slice of stylish, prestigious and refined motoring, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupé is deeply satisfying. The CLS 300d on test was powered by Mercedes' new 2.0-litre diesel engine. In AMG Line trim, this model retails from €71,990. Here it has 245hp and it's a swift mover with 0 to 100 kmh reached in just 6.4 seconds with 500 Nm of torque available. It's a refined and capable engine, while over a week of driving my fuel consumption was 6.1l/100km. Other models in the range include the CLS 350d 4MATIC and CLS 400d 4MATIC (3.0-litre diesels). The most powerful model is the CLS 450 4MATIC with 367hp (3.0-litre petrol).

What's the Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupé like to drive?

On the road the Mercedes-Benz CLS 300d glides along with seamless power delivery, a slick shifting gearbox, and a comfortable ride. There are driving modes to play with for more urgency though the throttle, though the CLS is not a sports car. It has good agility through bends and is a stealthy smooth operator even on tighter country roads, but it's more about a relaxed pace than a heavy hustle through hairpin bends! But then why on Earth would you want to rush things when sat behind the wheel of a luxury wagon like the CLS...

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupé
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupé range starts from €64,805 in Ireland

In Ireland the 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupé is available as an entry model or in AMG Line. Standard equipment includes 18” alloys, active brake assist, active lane assist, ambient lighting with 64 colours, leather upholstery, heated front seats, dynamic select, reversing camera, and speed limit assist. AMG Line models add 19” alloys and AMG bodystyling.

Would you buy it?

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupé is everything you could wish for from a big Merc. This handsome car drips with class and kerb appeal and the interior of this new generation is nothing short of contemporary brilliance. Technology is on point and the CLS 300d on test proved to be an excellent mate for the car with great power and reasonable running costs. There are plenty of premium models that offer this level of refinement, even within the Mercedes-Benz range, but there is a level of prestige and style to the CLS Coupé that really justifies it. Bravo Mercedes-Benz!

Caroline Kidd

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupé
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupé is a stylish and prestigious vehicle

Model tested: Mercedes-Benz CLS 300d AMG Line Automatic
Price: 
€71,990 (Range from €64,805)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power:
245 hp
Torque: 500 Nm
0-100km/h:  
6.4 seconds
Top speed: 250 km/h
Economy: 
5.2 -5.4l/100 km
CO2 emissions: 
142 g/km
Motor tax: 
€390 per year


The Ford Mondeo Hybrid (HEV)

Ford Mondeo Hybrid (HEV) Vignale Review

The Ford Mondeo Hybrid (HEV)
The Ford Mondeo Hybrid (HEV)

Caroline drives the new Ford Mondeo Hybrid (HEV).

Find yourself on an Irish motorway and it won’t be long until you spot a Ford Mondeo. The Ford Mondeo is a firm Irish favourite, but in recent years diesel has been the Mondeo’s drink of choice.

Yet the motor industry is changing and diesel is gradually releasing its stronghold on the Irish market, with sales of petrol cars and petrol electric hybrids showing significant gains in 2018.

Ford Ireland has responded by bringing a Ford Mondeo Hybrid to Ireland for the first time. So while the Mondeo is still available with Ford’s 2.0-litre diesel, you will find a '2.0 HEV' on the price list too.

Available in two trims, Titanium and Vignale, the Mondeo Hybrid (HEV) is sold exclusively in Ireland as a four door saloon. Ford Ireland quotes a 'transaction price' of €32,745 for the Titanium Hybrid and €35,280 for the Vignale Hybrid, figures calculated after VRT rebate and dealer/manufacturer discounts.

The Ford Mondeo Vignale on test has quite a regal appearance but it’s the most inconspicuous hybrid ever! It looks just like a regular Mondeo four door, except for a hybrid badge on the back. The Vignale trim adds 18" alloys, adaptive LED daytime running lights, metallic paint and a special styling kit, including lashings of upmarket chrome.

The interior of the Ford Mondeo Hybrid (HEV)
The interior of the Ford Mondeo Hybrid (HEV)

What's it like inside the Ford Mondeo Hybrid (HEV)?

Standard equipment includes SYNC 3 with 8” touchscreen, keyless start and entry, rain sensing windscreen wipers, traffic sign recognition, ambient lighting, a special instrument cluster display and parking sensors front and rear. The Vignale model adds heated seats, quilted faux leather and a rear view camera.

In terms of dashboard layout and design, the Mondeo Hybrid is really starting to show its age but the ability to use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto does add modernity. The cabin lacks the premium feel of rivals like the Volkswagen Passat GTE or even the futuristic fun of the Toyota Prius. But the build quality was impressive for this model and appears rock solid. The instrument panel is digital with unique information on the hybrid system. You can also view the power flow between the electric motor and the engine from the touchscreen.

On a practical note, the Ford Mondeo Hybrid (HEV) will still seat five with two reasonably large footwells in the rear. Unfortunately boot space is down to about 380 litres in the hybrid because of the battery on board. There’s also an awkward ‘step’ in the boot and the saloon opening is naturally not the most practical. But we are reliably informed that a set of golf clubs will fit in there!

The boot of the Ford Mondeo Hybrid (HEV)
The boot of the Ford Mondeo Hybrid (HEV)

How efficient is the Ford Mondeo Hybrid?

The Ford Mondeo Hybrid (HEV) combines a 2.0-litre petrol engine and an electric motor to produce 187hp. Power is put to the road via a CVT automatic gearbox. Emissions of 99g/km mean that motor tax is just €180 per year. Over a week of driving, my fuel consumption averaged at 5.6l/100km, which is good for a large car with a petrol engine, but still a fair bit off the manufacturer's quoted 4.2l/100km. I did find the car more efficient around town at low speeds as there is less effort required from the petrol engine - the electric motor can do more of the work.

On the road the Ford Mondeo Hybrid is a smooth and quiet drive, offering good comfort and reasonable refinement from the hybrid system. CVT gearboxes respond better to gentle commands and if you put your foot down hard, the Mondeo Hybrid does get noisy. At a gentler pace it's more refined. 0 to 100kmh is a respectable 9.2 seconds, though the Mondeo Hybrid never feels exceptionally sporty or fast. The Mondeo Hybrid isn't quite as sharp or agile as a diesel model with more neutral handling.

The Ford Mondeo Hybrid (HEV) is still a solid buy for its big car space, comfort and refinement - though like a lot of hybrids, boot space suffers and the driving experience is a little more muted. There are savings to be made with the Mondeo Hybrid and for a car with a large petrol engine, it does offer good economy figures. Ford Ireland has really made the new Mondeo Hybrid a good value proposition, and this new model will give fleet buyers and lovers of large saloons something to think about because it is well-specced and priced.

The Ford Mondeo Hybrid range offers good value and equipment
The Ford Mondeo Hybrid range offers good value and equipment

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Ford Mondeo Hybrid Vignale
Price: 
€35,280 (Hybrid range starts at €32,745)
Engine: 2.0-litre petrol + electric motor
Power: 
187hp
Torque: 173Nm
0-100km/h:  9.2 seconds
Top speed: 187km/h
Economy: 
4.2l/100km
CO2 emissions:  
99g/km
Motor tax: 
€180 per year


The Volkswagen Arteon 2.0TSI R-Line

Volkswagen Arteon 2.0TSI Review

The Volkswagen Arteon 2.0TSI R-Line
The Volkswagen Arteon 2.0TSI R-Line

When Volkswagen was ready to launch the successor to the Passat CC, they also had a new name to bestow upon their flagship – Arteon. A suitably grand name for the Volkswagen Arteon also signalled that the brand wanted to distance the car from the Passat and lose any connotations of 'posh Passat' that were lingering about the CC.

With pricing starting from €37,495 for the very entry model, and €45k a relatively easy spend on an Arteon, it’s only right that buyers should be getting a little more than just a posh Passat! But on image and looks alone, the Volkswagen Arteon is in a class of its own. This is one of Volkswagen's most avant garde designs to date, being both an adventurous and evocative deviation for the brand.

What's special about the Volkswagen Arteon?

The Volkswagen Arteon is essentially a large coupé that’s good at carrying people and luggage too. This blueprint is something that premium manufacturers like Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have been proffering with success in recent years. The Arteon feels every inch the grand cruiser from the driver's seat and the two rear footwells are huge. Despite the coupé roofline, the rear headroom is not bad also. There is a large transmission tunnel in the middle, so the rear feels like more of a place for two VIPs than three. The boot opens hatchback style to reveal a large 563 litres.

Interior ambient lighting, full-width air vents and a fine mix of good quality materials enhance the plush feel of the cabin. However the design is not that much of a deviation from the Passat. Still with so much equipment and comfort features like predictive cruise control, parking sensors, tri zone climate control, dynamic road sign recognition, lane assist, rear traffic alert and excellent infotainment, there's hardly much to complain about. The Active Info Display digital instrument cluster and 8" touchscreen with clear glass surround are nice to look at and use, with seamless integration with smartphones through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The Volkswagen Arteon is styled like a coupé but inside there is plenty of passenger space
The Volkswagen Arteon is styled like a coupé but inside there is plenty of passenger space

Arteon Elegance models (from €42,350) add leather/Alcantara upholstery, ambient lighting, voice control, Active Info Display and rear view camera. R-Line models (from €44,695) add 19” alloys, R-Line styling kit, sporty ‘R-Line‘ steering wheel and seats, black headliner, keyless entry, locking and start, dynamic headlight range control with dynamic cornering function, and adaptive chassis control on the 240 hp model.

Engine options for the Volkswagen Arteon

So the Arteon looks great and it's big and comfortable inside. But is it powerful and fast? Well, there's quite a range of engines available including 1.5 and 2.0-litre petrols and a 2.0-litre diesel with 150 hp, 190 hp or 240 hp. The entry diesels certainly err on the side of economy. The Arteon is front wheel drive as standard but 4MOTION all wheel drive is available on the top of the range 240hp diesel, giving that model a more performance edge. 6 speed manual and 7 speed DSG gearboxes are available.

But there's one engine that does look promising for buyers looking for a more soulful heart to their Arteon. That's the 2.0TSI turbo petrol with 190hp. It's rare to test drive a large car like the Arteon with a petrol engine, but these are strange times we live in.

The interior of the Volkswagen Arteon R-Line
The interior of the Volkswagen Arteon R-Line

Is the Arteon nice to drive?

Immediately clear is the silence in the cabin - no diesel gurgle! Then there is that pleasant, smooth, linear power delivery through the 7 speed automatic gearbox. 0 to 100 kmh is a swift 7.7 seconds with a hint of a roarty soundtrack under a heavy right foot. Motor tax for this model is €280 per year while my fuel consumption over a week of driving was 7.7l/100km. The Arteon 2.0TSI R-Line DSG on test had a list price of €46,695.

The thing is, the Volkswagen Arteon is just not a sporty car, no matter how you dress it up. While there is plenty of power on tap, the Arteon never feels like it wants to play in your hands. It's a big front wheel drive car so while it can move well through corners, there's no rear wheel drive agility or engagement here - just stoic, reliable handling and pretty dry palms.

Is that a problem? Not really if you just want a classy, large car to cruise in, which the Arteon generally does very well. However, the ride comfort was disappointing on the 20" wheels added as an option to the test car, though the Arteon does give a more luxury ride on smaller wheels.

The Volkswagen Arteon is a classy, big car!
The Volkswagen Arteon is a classy, big car!

Should I buy the big Volkswagen?

The new Volkswagen Arteon certainly comes with prestige and an air of exclusivity that is mandatory for a flagship like this one: there's no doubt that the Arteon is a step up from the Passat in terms of size, design and prestige. There is good value to be had in the Arteon range with plenty of equipment and technology, along with engines that offer swift performance and decent economy. The Arteon is not a sports car and delivers quite a neutral driving experience despite the evocative looks. But it does a good job of behaving like a large, luxury car, and that's enough to keep it highly desirable.

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Volkswagen Arteon R-Line 2.0TSI DSG
Price: 
€46,695 (Range starts at €37,495)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
190hp
Torque: 320Nm
0-100km/h:  
7.7 seconds
Top speed: 239km/h
Economy: 
6.0l/100km
CO2 emissions:  
135g/km
Motor tax: 
€280 per year


Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Saloon Review

Mercedes-Benz E-Class
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Caroline drives the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

Despite the onslaught and popularity of SUVs, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class remains Mercedes' bestselling model in Ireland. Not only that, the E-Class is also Ireland’s bestselling premium car.

In 2016, Mercedes-Benz launched this new generation of their classic premium saloon; in 2018, the E-Class star quality shows no signs of abating.

On sale in Ireland from €48,200, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class has classy good looks and executive presence. AMG Line models like the one tested look particularly well with AMG bodystyling and 19” alloy wheels.

What's it like inside the Mercedes-Benz E-Class?

Inside, Mercedes-Benz brings the game on further, nailing premium contemporary interiors in the E-Class with a stunning design, exquisite materials and ‘show-stoppers’ like the 64-colour ambient lighting system. The interiors of the BMW 5-Series and the Audi A6 are nice; but are they this nice?

It’s hard not to feel stately behind the wheel of the E-Class and that’s just how it should be. Leather upholstery comes as standard as do comfort features like climate control, cruise control, parking sensors, reversing camera and heated front seats. The 'Mercedes-me Connect' infotainment system comes with a 12.3" screen and has plenty of functionality, but could do with some more modern graphics and can be a bit fiddly to use.

Safety equipment includes Attention Assist and Active Brake Assist. There are three trim levels – Avantgarde, Exclusive and AMG Line – and numerous options to choose from.

Interior of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class
The interior of the 2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

There’s space for five with large footwells in the rear - though a large transmission tunnel makes the middle seat more challenging, like in other rear wheel drive rivals. The boot is a competitive 540 litres, so should hold its own for the modern executive's needs.

What's the Mercedes-Benz E-Class like on the road?

Automatic gearboxes across the range add to the affable nature of the E-Class. The launch of the E-Class in 2016 saw the arrival of a new four cylinder 2.0-litre diesel. In Ireland this 194hp model is badged E220d and it’s a big seller here for its combination of power and economy. Motor tax is just €200 per year. The E220d AMG Line model on test has a list price of €53,085.

The E-Class is a smooth, effortless drive with an onus on comfort rather than sporty driving dynamics. Though it holds the road well with decisive steering, a BMW 5-Series is more fun in that regard. There are a number of driving modes including Sport and Sport+ modes that add urgency to the throttle and tighten everything up a bit more.

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class remains a class act!

For buyers of large saloons who like to feel special behind the wheel, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class delivers. Cocooned in luxury, with striking refinement and comfort, the E220d offers a neat balance between power, economy and value, and there are plenty of comfort features on board too. As a refined, comfortable luxury car, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class remains a ‘class’ act!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Mercedes-Benz E220d AMG Line Automatic
Price: 
€53,085 (Available from €48,200)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
194hp
Torque: 400Nm
0-100km/h: 
7.3 seconds
Top speed: 240km/h
Claimed Economy: 
3.9-4.3/100km
CO2 emissions:  
112g/km
Motor tax: 
€200 per year