The BYD Seal on test for Changing Lanes

BYD Seal Review

Read Caroline's BYD Seal review for everything you need to know about buying BYD's new electric saloon in Ireland.

The BYD Seal is BYD's third model to launch in Ireland after the Atto 3 and Dolphin.

In just a few short months, the Tesla Model 3 rivalling saloon has become BYD's bestseller.

It's available in two flavours - rear wheel drive Design or all wheel drive Excellence, with over 500 kilometres of range possible.

Let's take a closer look.

The BYD Seal on test for Changing Lanes
The BYD Seal on test for Changing Lanes

Styling 

The BYD Seal is an exciting car to behold with a sporty and sleek design that helps it stand out on the road. It's the second model in BYD's 'Ocean Series' after the Dolphin, cue the marine mammal reference.

The nose is low and sleek like a sports car. There are striking LED headlights and the DRLs are meant to represent water ripples. Flush door handles pop out neatly for access to the car. At the back there is a full width lighting bar with more extravagant detailing and a badge depicting how fast the all wheel drive version can get to 100km/h - a staggering 3.8 seconds. Sporty 19-inch alloy wheels come as standard and there's also a diffuser effect in the rear bumper.

There are six colours to choose from including pictured Indigo Grey.

Interior

Inside the newcomer feels stylish and well-appointed. There is the choice of blue or black leather interior as standard, with diamond stitching and sporty integrated headrests. The Seal gets what BYD call a 'surging wave' dashboard design and there's a bridge console in the centre that gives the Seal quite a snug, driver-focused feel. The suede-effect fabric in the dashboard and doors gives a pleasant plushness. Neat details include door handles shaped like water droplets and a crystal-effect gear shifter.

The cabin of the BYD Seal
The cabin of the BYD Seal

There's a full digital driver display and a large rotatable touchscreen for a high-tech feel. The touchscreen requires patience to navigate at first, with quite a lot of options to browse and touch controls exclusively for the climate menu. There's also a wired Apple CarPlay/ wireless Android Auto connection and voice control.

Standard equipment levels are high including heated and ventilated seats, heated steering wheel, wireless charging for two smartphones, upgraded sound system, panoramic roof and lots of safety features.

Practicality

The Seal is built on a bespoke electric vehicle platform so offers a spacious rear seat for passengers. There's loads of legroom and headroom for a saloon like this. It's very well-finished with lots of practical amenities like an armrest with cupholders, USB-C ports, air vents and pockets in the back of the front seats.

The boot has a capacity of about 400 litres, which is a good size however the saloon-style boot opening makes the space a little harder to access than in a hatchback.

There's also a small storage compartment under the front bonnet.

The Seal offers a range in the region of 500 kilometres
The Seal offers a range in the region of 500 kilometres

Battery

The Seal is powered by BYD’s own 82.5 kWh 'Blade' battery. It's a lithium-iron phosphate battery (LFP) and cobalt-free. BYD says it has a higher level of safety and durability compared with lithium-ion batteries and can withstand more charge and discharge cycles with hardly any loss of capacity.

The all wheel drive Seal has an official range of up to 520 kilometres (WLTP), while the rear wheel drive one can manage up to 570 kilometres (WLTP).

A heat pump comes as standard.

Driving

The Seal is a powerhouse with the top of the range Excellence all wheel drive model packing 670Nm of torque and 530hp. It puts its power down well with no drama or tyre squeal, feeling very secure and planted at all times as you hit 100km/h in just 3.8 seconds (5.9 seconds in the rear wheel drive Seal). It is a heavy car so the initial accelerator response doesn't feel particularly lively.

You can move between Sport, Normal and Eco driving modes. There's two 'strengths' of regenerative braking, though the effect is not that strong for either and stops short of one-pedal driving.

Rear seating in the Seal
Rear seating in the Seal

Seal gets the honour of being the first BYD with independent suspension, while the all wheel drive versions also get uprated dampers. While the Seal feels a lot more tied down and athletic than the BYD Dolphin or Atto 3, it doesn't quite have the same level of expertise behind the wheel as rivals like the Tesla Model 3 and Polestar 2. The steering is not weighted as well and lacks a fluid, natural feel.

Still when the roads get twisty, the combination of good body control and the speedy acceleration does make it feel willing and dynamic.

It's also impressively refined. The front windows get laminated glass for more insulation, which keeps things cool and calm in the cabin.

The Seal doesn't go as far as to offer a pillowy ride and feels quite harsh over the worst of Irish tarmac in town and on rural roads. It settles down on smoother tarmac.

In terms of efficiency, my average consumption wavered between about 17kWh - 21.6 kWh per 100 kilometres (382 - 485 kilometres).

Charging

The Seal has an 11kW on-board charger for AC charging as standard. It's possible to charge at up to 150kW in DC charging.

The BYD Seal is a stylish and well-appointed electric saloon
The BYD Seal is a stylish and well-appointed electric saloon

Pricing

The rear wheel drive Design model is on sale at €44,036 and from €49,836 for the all wheel drive Excellence.

Verdict

The Seal is BYD's best model yet to reach these shores. It's an incredibly stylish car with a superbly finished interior that's sure to woo new fans to the brand. It can also go the distance offering competitive range and charging for an electric saloon. The Seal is a good contender for cars like the Tesla Model 3, Polestar 3 and Hyundai Ioniq 6 though the driving experience requires a little finessing for those who enjoy a sharper driving experience. The Seal is one to watch in 2024 and is sure to make an impact.

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

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


The Subaru Solterra

Subaru Solterra Review | Best off-road EV


Read Caroline's Subaru Solterra review for everything you need to know about buying Subaru's electric crossover in Ireland.

Subaru is known as a 4x4 specialist with cars like the Impreza, Forester and Outback in its repertoire and famous for the flat four Boxer engine.

The brand is a small player in the Irish market but does have a strong following of fans who love the straightforward rugged and reliable character of a good Subaru.

The Japanese car brand has dabbled in some hybrid technology to clean up its environmental credentials and now steps into the arena of the full battery electric vehicle (BEV) with the all-new Subaru Solterra.

The Solterra was co-developed with Toyota and shares much of its engineering, battery and interior with the Toyota BZ4X. Subaru gave its all wheel drive expertise to the project, giving the Solterra a leg up in the market for any buyer seeking an EV that won't embarrass you off road.

Let's take a closer look.

The Subaru Solterra
The Subaru Solterra

Styling

The Solterra shares its basic shape with the Toyota BZ4X but with a few Subaru tweaks that make it arguably a better looking car overall. It's quite a big vehicle in the metal with numerous crossover design cues that hint at its ability off road. For a start, it sits a little bit higher off the ground than your average hatchback with a good 210 mm of ground clearance and there is copious amounts of plastic cladding around the wheel arches. At the front, the Solterra gets Subaru's iconic hexagon grille plate. There are also different headlights with washers. The standard wheel size is 18-inch, with the option to upgrade to a set of 20-inch on the Touring model. At the back, there are two separate lights as opposed to the Toyota's full light bar.

Interior

While the outside styling does offer a little distinction from the Toyota, inside it's a carbon copy. Subaru cars always had strong, good quality cabins and the same has to be said for the Solterra. However, the collaboration has added a little more style and digital tech to proceedings. There's a nice mix of materials including a tweed-like fabric on the dashboard and lots of gloss black. There's a leather wrapped steering wheel and digital driver display set above it. This is a little different to the set up in most other cars and may require you sit a bit higher to see everything on the screen. There's also a large touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, There are separate buttons underneath to adjust the climate control.

The cabin of the Solterra
The cabin of the Solterra

The Solterra is very well equipped with standard features on the Limited model including heated front and rear seats, keyless entry, 360 camera, digital rear view mirror and many safety features. The Touring adds a double sunroof, synthetic leather seats, power adjustment for the front seats, wireless smartphone charging and a Harman Kardon stereo with subwoofer.

Practicality

The Solterra offers generous space inside for passengers. The rear seat is quite wide and there is a lot of legroom thanks to a flat floor the width of the cabin. The floor is quite high however so the rear bench doesn't offer much in the way of thigh support but the rear seats do recline. A powered tailgate comes as standard and opens to reveal 452 litres. The boot is well designed with a wide opening and low sill making it easy to pack and unpack. There's also a little underfloor storage.

Battery

The Solterra uses the same battery as the BZ4X. It's a 71kWh battery (64kWh usable) with up to 465 kilometres of range (WLTP). A heat pump comes as standard but in real world driving the dual motor, all wheel drive set-up proves not to be the most efficient, while turning on the ventilation has a significant impact on the estimated range. Over a week of driving my average consumption was about 23 kWh per 100 kilometres, which indicates a range of 278 kilometres on a full battery charge.

The Subaru Solterra is the brand's first full electric vehicle
The Subaru Solterra is the brand's first full electric vehicle

Driving

Subaru as a brand is known for its rugged reliability and the Solterra comes to market as dual motor, all wheel drive only (the Toyota BX4Z is available in a front wheel drive variant). Aside from good ground clearance, the Solterra has a few other off-road tools on board like Grip Control, a hill descent control and X Mode, which allows you to switch between two preconfigured modes - Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud. If you find yourself in a muddy field, you will be glad to be behind the wheel of the Solterra.

Performance figures are good with 218hp, 336Nm of torque and 0-100kmh in just 6.9 seconds. The Solterra feels very responsive and sprightly on the road. It's an excellent handling car with a low centre of gravity from the battery position giving a nice feeling of balance and dynamism to the car. There's not too much lean in corners and the grip is superb. There are also a few driving models like normal, eco and power. There's paddle shifters behind the steering wheel to adjust the regenerative braking. It feels very solid and planted on the road though the experience is upset by quite a lot of road noise in the cabin at high speeds. Still the ride quality is excellent, and the Subaru takes on Irish roads with aplomb.

Rear seating in the Solterra
Rear seating in the Solterra

Charging

DC fast charging is possible up to 150kW for an 80% charge in about 30 minutes. AC charging is possible up to 7kW.

Pricing

The Solterra has recently had a price cut to keep it competitive and now starts from €44,995.

Verdict

The Subaru Solterra is a significant car for Subaru and stays true to Subaru's incredible 4x4 heritage, being perfectly set-up for winter roads, muddy fields and dirt tracks. It's a nice car to be behind the wheel and feels like a good quality offering. It's loaded with equipment and looks pretty smart too. The range is a little disappointing and others offer more range for similar money. But if you can live with that, the Solterra is a lovely car.

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

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

The Subaru Solterra is one of the best EVs for off-roading
The Subaru Solterra is one of the best EVs for off-roading

The new BMW i5

BMW i5 Review | The electric executive car

Read Caroline's BMW i5 review for everything you need to know about buying the new electric 5 Series in Ireland.

The new generation BMW 5 Series has arrived in Ireland and goes on sale as a petrol 520i, a petrol plug-in hybrid (530e or 550e) and as the all-new electric i5.

Following on from the success of the BMW i4, the i5 places a battery in BMW's classic executive saloon. A popular car for years now, it's famous for its luxury and dynamic rear wheel drive handling.

BMW has taken the decision not to sell the new 5 Series as a diesel so it's goodbye to the 520d and hello to the new i5.

Worth it? Let's take a closer look.

The new BMW i5
The new BMW i5

What's so special about the BMW i5?

The BMW i5 has a 81.2kWh battery (usable capacity) and there are two derivatives at launch - single motor or dual motor.

The classic single motor, rear wheel drive i5 eDrive 40 comes with a range projected between 477-582km (WLTP). It goes on sale from €91,105.

There's also a more powerful and expensive all-wheel drive i5 M60 xDrive with M performance upgrades and rear wheel steering.

The new generation 5 has a bigger presence than before, being longer, wider and taller than the model it replaces. BMW has done away with entry variants, so all 5 Series (from €70,845 for a 520i) and i5 models come as standard in the handsome M Sport trim. The M Sport Pro is available for upgrade too.

Alloy wheel sizes vary from 19- to 21-inch but it looks good even on the standard 19s.

The iconic kidney grille sits proudly at the front framed by LED headlights and sporty side air intakes. There's new black contrasting side sills and flush door handles for the very first time on a 5 Series.

Around the back, there is a subtle evolution of styling - but otherwise it's classic 5 Series. Strong, handsome, this time fully electrified.

A subtle evolution of style for BMW's famous executive saloon
A subtle evolution of style for BMW's famous executive saloon

Inside the i5

The brand new interior has had a massive digital upgrade with the addition of the new BMW curved display as seen in other models like the iX and the iX1. There's a full digital driver display that blends seamlessly into the central infotainment display, which can be controlled via touch control, voice control, gesture control and the iDrive controller on the centre console. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also feature, as well as wireless smartphone charging.

Charging stops can also be planned through the navigation system and battery preconditioning in advance to optimise the battery for fast charging.

'Veganza' synthetic leather upholstery comes as standard for a luxury feel. Front seats are heated with power adjustment and lumbar support. The cabin feels incredibly solid and well-built though without the outright opulence of the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class for example. It's still a sturdy premium offering however.

For a bit more bling, the BMW Interaction Bar makes its debut in the 5 Series. It's like a thick strip of ambient lighting that can change colour depending on the drive mode selected and flash visual warnings to the driver.

The cabin of the new BMW i5
The cabin of the new BMW i5

The i5 feels spacious inside for an executive saloon though a large transmission tunnel does impede on legroom for a middle seat passenger. But there's plenty of space and comfort for two VIPs on either side!

The boot is also generously sized at 490 litres, just a bit down on the space in the fuel versions (520 litres). The rear seats also split 40:20:40.

A Touring model is also available in both the fuel and electric version.

Driving the new BMW i5

It's a quiet and serene experience driving the new i5. You do feel nicely isolated from wind and road noise as it moves effortlessly over the tarmac. The ride is generally good too for an electric saloon on the standard lowered M sports suspension - just a bit bumpy over imperfections in the road surface. Things smooth out well on the motorway. There's also the option to upgrade to adaptive dampers.

The i5 eDrive 40 has 340hp and 430Nm of torque. It's a heavy car but can still do the sprint to 100km/h in just 6 seconds to the tune of an electric engine soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer, as seen in some other new electric BMWs. It does add a little bit of drama and excitement. There's also a Boost paddle behind the steering wheel for 10 seconds of maximum power and torque.

Handling is very secure and assured. The i5 has classic BMW meaty steering and is easy to place on the road. It has some dynamic skill and does offer a fair bit of driver engagement. Yet you can feel it shifting its considerable weight in fast cornering. A BMW i4 is more fun in this way.

Boot space in the new i5
Boot space in the new i5

During my test in a very cold January, the average consumption was about 19-23kWh per 100 kilometres, which translates to a real world driving range of 370-430 kilometres. A heat pump comes as standard and there is also a few levels of regenerative braking.

When it does come to charging, the i5 comes with an 11kW on board AC. DC fast charging is possible up to 205kW for a 10 to 80% charge in 30 minutes.

Did you like it?

BMW has pulled off quite a feat with the new electric i5. It's a very convincing member of the new 5 Series range, offering excellent comfort and refinement befitting of an executive car yet retaining a desirable profile packed full of the brand's latest digital tech. It's modern, sporty and very expensive - but for 5 Series buyers ready to go electric, this car offers a smooth transition.

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Written by Caroline Kidd

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

The new BMW i5 is a fun to drive electric saloon with great presence
The new BMW i5 is a fun to drive electric saloon with great presence

The BYD Dolphin is on sale now

BYD Dolphin Review | Best value EV

Read Caroline's BYD Dolphin review for everything you need to know about buying BYD's new compact electric hatchback in Ireland.

The BYD Dolphin is one of the most anticipated new cars to arrive in Ireland in 2024 because it's one of the most budget-friendly EVs to go on sale in quite a while.

EVs have secured themselves a reputation thus far of being expensive, with many models pricing themselves above their petrol and diesel counterparts.

The tide is turning with many brands now cutting prices to entice buyers among the backdrop of a slowing EV market and in an effort to fend off the very plausible threat from new Chinese car brands - just like BYD.

The BYD Dolphin has a starting price of just €25,570 for the Dolphin 44.9kWh with up to 340 km (WLTP) range and from €29,318 for the Dolphin 60.4kWh with up to 427 km (WLTP).

And beyond the quirky name, the Dolphin is a cheerful enough companion for the road.

Let's take a closer look.

The BYD Dolphin is on sale now
The BYD Dolphin is on sale now

What's so special about the BYD Dolphin?

The Dolphin is pitched as a compact hatchback to take on the popular MG4 and Volkswagen ID.3. It's part of BYD's 'Ocean Series', just like the newly launched BYD Seal four-door saloon.

It has a straightforward, practical shape as opposed to the sleeker and sportier MG and ID.3. But BYD clearly tried to stamp some trendy design touches on it like the attractive colour palette, contrasting roof, alloy wheels with coloured inserts, LED lighting and a smart full-width light bar at the rear.

The Dolphin uses BYD's very own 'Blade Battery', which is a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery as opposed to the lithium ion batteries we've heard a lot about to date. They are cheaper to make and do without precious metals like cobalt and nickel, which is an advantage.

It will seat five and there is a tremendous amount of legroom in the back seat. Built on a bespoke electric vehicle platform, there is a flat floor the full width - though it's still a compact car so it's most comfortable for two back there.

At 345 litres, the boot is a little disappointing though it will be perfectly adequate for some. It's smaller than the boot in the MG4 and ID.3, which may limit its appeal for family buyers.

The cabin of the new Dolphin
The cabin of the new Dolphin

Inside the BYD Dolphin

The Dolphin's cabin is full of character. It's a really fun interior with a strong aquatic theme - the door handles are shaped like a dolphin's flipper and there's a curved finish to the dashboard that does resemble waves on the sea.

The Design model gets a beautiful coloured interior - dark blue in my test car with some red stitching in the steering wheel and around the circular air vents.

There are cheaper hard plastics in places but they are well-disguised among lots of soft touch materials in the dashboard and doors. The vegan leather seats with integrated headrests are another highlight.

The digital technology on board is a little hit and miss. There is a small digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel, yet the icons are small and it appears quite cluttered.

An impressive 12.8-inch rotatable touchscreen is well-placed in the centre of the dash. It looks great with crisp graphics yet simple tasks like adjusting the fan speed require a few prods of the screen if you are using Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, which still require a cable to connect.

The new BYD Dolphin
The Dolphin is a cheerful companion for the road

Otherwise it's an exceptionally well-equipped car with standard features including lots of safety and driver assistance features, 360-degree camera, heated front seats with power adjustment and automatic lights with high beam assist.

The Design model adds wireless smartphone charging and a panoramic glass roof.

Driving the Dolphin

The Dolphin 60.4kWh uses a 204hp motor to send power to the front wheels. It's nippy enough and there's no problem picking up speed quickly to join motorways or for overtaking manoeuvres.

It's not the most exciting car to drive in the world with quite woolly steering but it's easy to place on the road and keep in lane on the motorway. It feels solid and comfortable on the road though it does get quite noisy at high speeds on the motorway, which might limit its appeal as a car for long commutes. A Volkswagen ID.3 is more refined in this manner.

Rear seating in the Dolphin
Rear seating in the Dolphin

There is a heat pump to improve the efficiency of the battery in cold weather and two 'strengths' possible of regenerative braking. Overall efficiency is good with my average sitting at about 16.3kWh per 100 kilometres during my time with the car. This put me on track for a real world driving range of about 370 kilometres between battery charges.

When it does come to charging, the Dolphin has an 11kW onboard AC charger. Fast charging rates are less impressive at 88kW compared to key rivals but it will still manage to go from 10-80% in 40 minutes.

Did you like it?

Beyond the sedate looks, the Dolphin is a cheerful car that will make a perfect family runabout. For the price, it has a very nice interior that makes rivals appear a bit dull and sparse. It's exceptionally well-equipped and while the screen is not without its foibles, overall this is a pleasant car to be behind the wheel of. It ticks the box for comfort without coming close to much excitement behind the wheel, yet it offers good reliable range. In short, the BYD Dolphin is a perfectly capable compact electric hatchback. If you’re interested in going electric and don’t want to spend a huge amount of money, it's a great option.

The Dolphin is one of the best value EVs on the market in Ireland
The Dolphin is one of the best value EVs on the market in Ireland

Model tested: BYD Dolphin Design
Price: 
€31,192
Battery:
60.4Wh
Range: 427 kilometres (WLTP)
Power: 204 hp
Torque: 310 Nm
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 7 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€120 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

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

 


The new Peugeot e-3008

Peugeot E-3008 Review | First drive of the new electric Peugeot

Read Caroline's Peugeot E-3008 review for everything you need to know about Peugeot's new electric version of a popular SUV that has sold over 1.3 million units worldwide.

The Peugeot 3008 has been a huge success for the Peugeot brand. In Ireland, it's a former Irish Car of the Year and one of the French brand's bestselling models - and has been for many years now.

No pressure then for the third generation model, which is expected to arrive in Ireland in a few month's time.

In a sign of the times, it will also be available as an electric 'E-3008' for the very first time, along with a petrol mild hybrid and a plug-in hybrid before the end of the year.

I travelled to France with Peugeot Ireland to drive the new Peugeot E-3008 ahead of its Irish launch.

Watch a video review of the new Peugeot E-3008!

Styling

The current Peugeot 3008 is one of the best looking SUVs of its kind. For this new generation, it migrates to a sleeker fastback design with a sloping roofline to the rear of the car just like a Toyota C-HR or Renault Arkana. Dimensions remain quite similar to the previous version, with no dramatic increases in width, length or height. In fact it's one of the most compact vehicles of its class. There's a new front-end with slimmer LED headlights connected by a black strip. Striking 'tri-claw' daytime running lights complete the feline look. The grille melts into the bodywork with same colour detail and is identical between the fuel and electric versions. There's a sporty floating spoiler at the back and new three-claw light signature.

Six colours are available including new Ingaro Blue. There will be two trims - Allure and GT - with 19- to 20-inch wheels available with an aerodynamic, geometric design. GT models are finished with gloss black around the wheel arches and lower sills, and come with a black contrast roof.

The new Peugeot e-3008
The new Peugeot E-3008 is expected in Ireland before the summer

Interior

Inside there's an evolution of Peugeot's i-Cockpit concept, now called the 'panoramic i-Cockpit'. There's a new compact steering wheel with new controls and paddles to adjust the regenerative braking for the very first time. The curved 21-inch display wraps elegantly above the steering wheel for an ultra-modern look. It seamlessly combines the digital instrument cluster with the touchscreen for media and ventilation controls. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto removes the need for messy cables. There are new customisable 'i-toggle' switches beneath the screen in a touch panel, which allow the driver to set shortcuts to their most used functions. There's also a new connected navigation system with a trip planner to help you plan the best route with charging stops where necessary.

The centre console curves around the driver, giving a cosy, sporty feel. Fabric finishes and ambient lighting enhance the upmarket feel. The seats are comfortable and supportive with fabric, leather-effect and Alcantara finish available. Peugeot aimed for a lounge feel and it's done a good job delivering that.

Practicality

At 520 litres, the boot volume is the same as before. A split level boot floor creates space to stow away the charging cables. There's no frunk available. There hasn't been a massive change in interior accommodation either, but it remains competitive in interior space with a flat floor a gift from the bespoke EV platform. The sloping roofline design doesn't affect headroom for back seat passengers either.

The cabin of the 2024 Peugeot e-3008
The cabin of the 2024 Peugeot E-3008

Battery

The E-3008 will be available in time with a choice of two battery sizes. The 73kWh standard range (210bhp) offers in the region of up to 525 kilometres, while the 98kWh (230bhp) can increase that to an incredible 700 kilometres. It's a 400V high-voltage lithium-ion battery, with a chemical composition of nickel, manganese and cobalt.

There's no battery pre-conditioning and a heat pump is optional.

Driving

The new E-3008 is special because it's the first model to use the Stellantis Group's new STLA Medium platform, which in time will underpin other Opel, Citroen, DS, Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Jeep models for instance. There will be a choice of two different battery sizes in a single motor, front wheel drive layout, as well as a standard range, dual motor option offering the most power of the range (320bhp). On the road, the E-3008 offers good road-holding ability, staying flat and balanced through corners thanks to its low set battery. The steering feels neat and fluid, with quite a lot of weight to it making it a steady drive on the motorway - though it's not as light and joyful a drive as the smaller Peugeot E-2008 around town and on twistier roads. On the motorway, it clearly excels in the overall refinement of the vehicle, with a quiet, serene cabin and no annoying wind or road noise. It's comfortable on the smooth stuff but does thud a bit over imperfections, joints, manhole covers in the road surface, a flaw shared with many an electric car or SUV.

The e-3008 can offer a range of up to 700 km in its top form
The E-3008 can offer a range of up to 700 km in its top form

There are three different driving modes - normal, sport and eco. In the normal mode, not all the power and torque is available and the E-3008 doesn't feel particularly full of joie de vivre. It's a more lively drive in the sport mode.

New driver assistance features include adaptive cruise control with stop & go function and lane-keeping assist, semi-automatic lane change and early speed recommendation.

A plug-in hybrid will join the range before the end of the year. At launch there will also be a mild hybrid petrol automatic with 136hp, which may be a good alternative if you do not want to go full electric at this time.

Charging

An 11kW charger comes as standard, with the option to upgrade to a 22kW for faster AC charging. DC fast charging is possible up to 160kW, charging the battery from 20% to 80% in 30 minutes for the standard range version. Vehicle to load charging also appears for the very first time in a Peugeot electric vehicle.

Rear seating in the new Peugeot e-3008
Rear seating in the new Peugeot E-3008

Pricing

It's yet to be confirmed how much the new E-3008 will cost you though Peugeot Ireland says it will be competitive.

Verdict

Peugeot is well on its way to becoming a fully electric car brand by 2030. The lion brand has been electrifying its range since about 2020 with the arrival of models like the excellent E-208 and E-2008. New arrivals include the E-308 and there's more on the way like the E-408 and the E-5008 - the electric version of Peugeot's highly successful seven seater.

The Peugeot 3008 has been an incredible success to date for the French car brand in its petrol, diesel and hybrid forms. The new one marks the start of a new era for the brand's mid-size SUV - both in design and powertrain. While looks are subjective, the new E-3008 is certainly a looker and takes on the fashionable style of a more coupé-like SUV without compromising practicality.

Inside it is beautifully finished and certainly sits at the upper end of the class for outright quality and a posh feel. These are factors that will endear it to traditional Peugeot buyers. The price of the electric may be yes palatable - that is yet to be confirmed - but the petrol option may offer a more appealing bridge to this new model. We just have to wait and see.

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

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

The new Peugeot e-3008 offers upmarket style and excellent refinement
The new Peugeot E-3008 offers upmarket style and excellent refinement

The new Kia EV9 is on sale now

Kia EV9 Review | Kia's biggest electric SUV

Read Caroline's Kia EV9 review for everything you need to know about buying Kia's new large electric SUV in Ireland.

The Kia EV9 is one of the most anticipated new electric SUVs to arrive in 2024. With the option of six or seven seats, it's one of the few large electric people carriers on sale.

What's more, it's one of the most desirable with futuristic SUV vibes and some excellent technology underneath including rapid 800 volt charging and over 500 kilometres of range from official tests.

Kia has form when it comes to building electric vehicles. The Kia Niro and Kia Soul were some of the best compact electric vehicles of their generation. The Kia EV6 is a former European Car of the Year and Irish Car of the Year winner, and remains a top choice of electric car in 2024.

The new Kia EV9 now crowns the Kia electric range, which will see more new models arriving later this year. It goes on sale priced from €77,500.

Let's take a closer look.

Kia EV9 Video

Styling

The EV9 might be Kia's best electric model yet; but it's definitely its biggest yet. In Ireland, the brand's largest model was the Kia Sorento seven-seat SUV. The EV9 is a whole lot bigger, measuring over five metres in length. In fact it's more akin to the Telluride, another Kia three-row SUV, built primarily for the North American market. So the EV9 really is a sight to behold on Irish roads! Compared to van-based MPVs that offer similar space and versatility, the EV9 is so cool and desirable. There are two trim levels, Earth and GT Line, with the latter getting a little more bling like 21-inch wheels and the gorgeous, exclusive Ocean Blue colour. Aerodynamic features include flush door handles and an active air flap at the front. The EV9 has a strong presence when viewed from the front (okay, every angle really!) with Kia's new 'digital tiger face' and full LED lights. The GT Line can also be distinguished by its cube-like LEDs. Altogether, the EV9 makes large people carriers cool again.

Interior

The dashboard design is quite minimalist with a lot of space and storage integrated into the design. On first impressions, it is quite an austere, grey plastic finish but it does all feel well made and solid. It's not as plush as a Mercedes-Benz or Volvo, but neither is it priced like one. Ambient lighting provides a little glamour, as does the widescreen digital display - full digital driver display, touchscreen and a small panel for climate controls in the centre. Surprisingly for a tech-focused car, it still uses a wired Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connection.

The cabin of the Kia EV9
The cabin of the Kia EV9

The EV9 comes with lovely two-tone synthetic leather seats with power adjustment and a massage function. The front and second row seats are heated and ventilated. There's also a premium sound system with 14 speakers and a 360 camera. The GT Line adds features like a sunroof and remote parking.

Practicality

With a three-metre wheelbase and three rows of seating, there's literally oceans of space inside the EV9. The Earth model comes as standard with seven seats, while the GT Line is available with a choice of six or seven seats. The six seater has two 'chairs' in row 2 that can slide forward and back, recline and even swivel. It's one of the most comfortable people carriers on the market. If you need to transport adults in comfort and luxury, it's a brilliant option.

There's also Isofix child seat fixtures on seats in row 2 and 3. With all seats in place, the EV9 still has space in the boot for a few bags - over 300 litres actually. With the row 3 seats folded into the floor, there's over 800 litres. A powered tailgate comes as standard and there's also a 'frunk' under the bonnet.

Battery

The EV9 uses a 99.8kWh battery, with range up to 563 kilometres (WLTP) in the single motor, rear wheel drive version (203hp) or up to 505 kilometres in the dual motor, all wheel drive (384hp). A heat pump is included as standard to improve efficiency. Battery pre-conditioning is also possible to charge more rapidly once you reach your charging stop.

The EV9 can seat six or seven people
The EV9 is an electric SUV that can seat six or seven people

Driving

The EV9 GT Line is the big daddy of the range with two electric motors creating a combined 384hp and 700Nm of torque for a 0-100km/h sprint in just 5.3 seconds. Not bad for a vehicle that weighs 2.6 tonnes! It offers excellent comfort and refinement for all those on board, feeling stable and composed for its size. The steering is nicely weighted too so it's easy to place on the road and drive through town - despite the big dimensions!

The official consumption figure is about 22.8kWh per 100 kilometres. During my test, 350-390 kilometres seemed a realistic range estimate between battery charges. There are paddle shifters behind the steering wheel to adjust the strength of the regenerative braking.

Charging 

11kW AC charging comes as standard. DC fast charging is possible up to 210kW. With 800 volt charging architecture, the EV9 is impressive when you stop at a fast charger like Ionity, for example. The battery can charge from 10-80% in 24 mins at a 350kW charger. There's also vehicle to load charging, allowing you power household electrical appliances from the charging port!

The EV9 has a hugely spacious and versatile interior
The EV9 has a hugely spacious and versatile interior

Pricing

The EV9 is available from €77,500 for the Earth and from €85,500 for the GT Line.

Verdict

The Kia EV9 is an incredible piece of design and engineering, cool and capable. It's an ambitious car from an ambitious car brand but it absolutely delivers on the space, equipment and technology it offers. With a hugely comfortable and versatile interior, it's easily one of the best electric seven seaters on the market.

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Written by Caroline Kidd

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

The EV9 is one of the best seven seaters on the market
The EV9 is one of the best seven seaters on the market

The Volkswagen ID.3 on test for Changing Lanes

Volkswagen ID.3 Review (2024)

Watch a video review

Read Caroline's Volkswagen ID.3 review for everything you need to know about buying Volkswagen's popular electric hatchback in Ireland.

The Volkswagen ID.3 has been a big success in Ireland since it first went on sale back in 2020. Along with the bestselling ID.4, it's really helped put Volkswagen on the map as one of the leading producers of electric vehicles.

The compact, five-door hatchback is available in 2024 with the choice of two battery sizes and it's also had a price cut making it a more attractive prospect than ever before.

Let's take a closer look.

The Volkswagen ID.3 on test for Changing Lanes
The Volkswagen ID.3 on test for Changing Lanes

Styling

In 2023, the ID.3 received a facelift that lightly tweaks the styling and adds some new colours like Dark Olivine Green - all for a more sophisticated presence. There's a new bonnet and the black strip under the windscreen has been removed. Volkswagen has also added a new front bumper with larger air intakes that have an aerodynamic benefit too. There are also new rear light clusters. Alloy wheel sizes vary from 18- to 20-inch depending on trim level. It's a handsome but not drastically different ID.3.

Interior

The cabin of the ID.3 is very minimalist compared to traditional fuel-powered Volkswagens like the Polo and the Golf. It's very modern but a little austere at the same time. For the facelifted model, Volkswagen has included some more soft touch materials in the dashboard and doors, but a Renault Megane E-Tech still has a nicer cabin overall.

There is a small digital instrument cluster as before for the driver behind the steering wheel. There's also a 10-inch touchscreen that's running the latest Volkswagen software for improved system performance and can receive over-the-air updates. It's responsive to use now, though the smartphone generation will likely find the wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto interface far more interesting.

The cabin of the 2024 Volkswagen ID.3
The cabin of the 2024 Volkswagen ID.3

The navigation system includes a route planner to help plan charging stops. The ventilation controls are placed in the screen as before, which can be a little awkward to adjust while driving. There are a few shortcut buttons underneath and touch sliders to adjust the volume of the stereo and the level of heating of the interior.

Practicality

The ID.3 was the first Volkswagen to be built on the brand's modular electric drive (MEB) platform. This allowed for an efficient design and spacious interior for a compact hatchback. The ID.3 feels roomy in the back seat with large footwells. The boot can accommodate 385 litres, which is competitive for a compact electric hatchback. The rear seats split fold 60:40 and there's Isofix child seat fixtures on the two outer seats and the front passenger seat.

Battery

The ID.3 is available with two different battery sizes: 58 kWh or 77 kWh. The 58 kWh offers up to 428 km (WLTP) of electric driving, while the 77 kWh offers up to 557 km (WLTP).

During my test drive of the ID.3 77kWh in a cold January, my average consumption was 18-19 kWh per 100 kilometres, which indicates a range of 405-428 kilometres in real world driving.

The ID.3 is a smart, practical electric hatchback
The ID.3 is a smart, practical electric hatchback

Driving

The ID.3 is rear-wheel drive - just like the original Beetle - with a single electric motor producing an ample 204hp and 310Nm of torque. That's good for a 0-100km/h time of 7.4-7.9 seconds, depending on which model you go for. The ID.3 77kWh feels sprightly from behind the wheel, with plenty of nippy acceleration on offer. It's smooth and agile to drive, with a solid feel and cohesiveness to the controls - all the things that made the Golf famous! It's devoid of much character but it can't be accused of being anything other than capable, which will please most buyers. Comfort and refinement levels are generally good though it can feel a little bumpy over imperfections in the road surface.

Charging 

11 kW charging comes as standard. DC fast charging is possible up to 120kW for an 80% charge in 30-35 minutes.

Pricing

The ID.3 58kWh is available on the road from €37,112 in Pro trim or from €37,928 in Pro Plus. The ID.3 77kWh is available from €42,440 for the Pro S and from €44,865 for the Pro S Plus.

Boot space in the Volkswagen ID.3
Boot space in the Volkswagen ID.3

Verdict

The Volkswagen ID.3 is a hugely significant car for Volkswagen and has been a big seller for the brand. However it's come under ever more scrutiny in a new car market that's become increasingly competitive with the arrival of some other brilliant electric hatchbacks like the Cupra Born, MG 4 and the Renault Megane E-Tech.

The facelift certainly goes some way to make the ID.3 more appealing but in truth, updates are minor and it's the price cut that really makes it worth a look. Buyers will find a competent electric hatchback that ticks the practicality box while offering a solid and predictable drive, with competitive range - particularly if you can stretch to the 77kWh.

The ID.3 is still lacking some character but it does have a classic Volkswagen quality feel so naturally it will continue to be a sound buy from one of Ireland's bestselling car brands.

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Written by Caroline Kidd

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

The new Volkswagen ID.3 - sensible beyond measure!
The new Volkswagen ID.3 - sensible beyond measure!

The BMW iX1 on test for Changing Lanes

BMW iX1 Review (2024)

Read Caroline's BMW iX1 review for everything you need to know about buying BMW's compact electric SUV.

BMW has launched a new generation of the brand's popular X1 and there's a full electric version for the very first time – the new BMW iX1.

It rivals premium electric SUVs like the Volvo XC40 Recharge, Audi Q4 e-tron and Mercedes-Benz EQA.

It's now available on the Irish market in two 'flavours' - the eDrive20 from about €52,000 on the road with range up to 473km (WLTP) or the more powerful dual motor xDrive30 priced from about €66,000 with a range up to 436km (WLTP).

Let's take a closer look.

The BMW iX1 on test for Changing Lanes
The BMW iX1 on test for Changing Lanes

What's so special about the BMW iX1?

BMW is rapidly expanding its range of full electric models like the iX, i4, i7 and newly launched i5. But the market still loves SUVs, particularly compact ones. The iX1 gives BMW lovers a relatively affordable way to get into one of the brand's electric SUVs.

The styling is brilliant too. The iX1 gets a big tick for desirability. There's also very little to distinguish the fuel powered X1 from the battery powered iX1.

So that means a pleasantly boxy stance, with typical BMW design cues like the large square kidney grille. Flush door handles and air curtains improve aerodynamic efficiency.

There are a few different trim lines - Sport, xLine and M Sport - which tweak the look somewhat. But overall this is a very handsome electric SUV, with a bit of coolness and dynamism to it - particularly in the M Sport trim.

The standard wheel size is 17-inch (or 18-inch on M Sport), with the option to upgrade to 19s or 20s.

Being a BMW, it should be good to drive too.

The iX1 is a compact electric SUV from BMW
The iX1 is a good-looking compact electric SUV from BMW

Driving the iX1

The iX1 eDrive20 uses a single electric motor to drive the front wheels, with a respectable 204hp and a range of up to 473km (WLTP).

For more performance, you will want to step up to the xDrive30. It adds a motor to the rear axle for a combined power output of 313hp. 0-100 km/h is a rapid 5.6 seconds, though the official range drops to 436 km (WLTP).

Yet the iX1 is an absolute joy to drive, feeling nippy and agile in all driving situations. It is also incredibly smooth, part of its premium edge. There is a Boost paddle behind the steering wheel that gives the driver 10 seconds of maximum power and torque. It's a little bit of a gimmick but fun nonetheless.

Comfort and refinement levels are good, though not quite as luxurious as the BMW i4. There is road noise at high speeds and the M Sport model on 20-inch wheels I tested was firm over any joints or imperfections in the tarmac.

Though not quite as fun to drive, a Volvo XC40 Recharge seems better resolved overall in this manner.

The interior of the new BMW iX1 xDrive30
The interior of the new BMW iX1 xDrive30

Still it's reasonably efficient for what it is, with consumption averaging at about 18.1 kWh per 100 kilometres during my time with the car. That works out at about 357 kilometres of driving on a full charge from the 64.7kWh battery (usable capacity).

AC charging is up to 11kW, while DC fast charging is possible up to 130kW for an 80% battery charge in about 30 minutes.

Inside the BMW iX1

The iX1 has a longer wheelbase than the model it replaces so it feels a bit roomer inside. It's still quite a compact vehicle but headroom and legroom is generous enough - though two will be most comfortable in the back seat. There's a 490-litre boot, which is impressive for a compact electric SUV.

The dashboard design and cabin layout is quite different to the model it replaces. The focus is on new digital tech with the BMW Curved Display making a glamourous debut.

The cabin of the previous X1 was looking quite dated by the end of its lifecycle but it had a terrific build and posh feel to it. This one is more contemporary but it's lost a bit of the upmarket feel of the previous generation - though the Oyster Vernasca leather upholstery was a nice option.

Rear seating in the iX1
Rear seating in the iX1

Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard. The control display is quite minimalist with a move towards less buttons. There's no iDrive controller on the floating centre console but the voice control works better than ever. Even the ventilation controls are accessed from the screen - but there is a handy shortcut to the climate menu always present.

Wireless smartphone charging also features though I found it hard to sustain a charge as my phone kept moving around in the holder.

Did you like it?

The BMW iX1 is an expensive but very trendy compact electric SUV. It looks great and is genuinely fun to drive. It's also surprisingly efficient so all the little aero design tweaks have certainly worked wonders to give owners a decent amount of range between battery charges.

It's practical for its size and has come on in strides when it comes to design. The cabin has gone very tech-focused but lost a little of its posh charm along the way. Yet it's still a very desirable package overall and easily one of the best of its class.

Model tested: BMW iX1 xDrive30 M Sport
Price: 
€67,780
Battery:
64.7 kWh
Range: 436 kilometres (WLTP)
Power: 313 hp
Torque: 494 Nm
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 5.6 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€120 per year

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Written by Caroline Kidd

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

The new BMW iX1 is expected in Ireland in early 2023
The BMW iX1 is a sporty and practical electric SUV

The Audi Q8 e-tron on test for Changing Lanes

Audi Q8 E-tron Review

Read Caroline's Audi Q8 e-tron review for everything you need to know about buying Audi's flagship luxury electric SUV in Ireland.

The Audi Q8 e-tron has a little bit of history in the Irish market. Back in 2019, Audi brought the first e-tron SUV to Ireland. It was big news at the time because it was the brand's first ever electric model.

Since then the e-tron family has expanded to include the Audi Q4 e-tron and the e-tron GT.

Now Audi's flagship electric luxury SUV gets a little more naming distinction, having been renamed in 2023 as the Audi Q8 e-tron SUV.

It's a bit more than your average facelift though, with the battery packs now getting increased capacity and more range, higher charging speeds and even some updates to the suspension, steering and other technical parts.

A timely update as the Q8 e-tron faces stiff competition from newcomers like the Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV and the BMW iX. Positioned in the premium side of the market, the new Q8-etron goes on sale from an on the road price of €88,400.

Let's take a closer look!

The Audi Q8 e-tron on test for Changing Lanes
The Audi Q8 e-tron on test for Changing Lanes

Styling

The Audi Q8 e-tron has an impressive presence. It still carries much of the chiselled look of a traditional fuel-powered SUV and is very pleasing to the eye, particularly finished in a classic Audi paint finish like Daytona Grey. At the front, the Audi 'Singleframe' grille is now bigger than before and framed by slimmer, matrix LED headlights with dynamic indicators. The Q8 e-tron also gets the brand's new logo with a flatter and more two-dimensional design.

There are three trim lines for Ireland: Advance, Sport and S Line. Alloy wheel sizes vary from 19- to 21-inch, which give the Q8 e-tron a sporty, performance stance. Audi Q8 e-tron is now written on the B pillar to add even more prestige. S Line models get sportier bumpers and other trim elements for a more dynamic look. At the back there is a full width light bar and a new Q8 badge. The Q8 e-tron definitely has kerb appeal and is probably the best-looking among rivals. Audi's more discreet approach to designing electric vehicles is certainly a success and should go down well among the customer base. The Q8 e-tron is also available as a Sportback with a sleeker coupé-like roofline towards the rear of the vehicle.

Interior

Not much has changed inside with just a few new cabin materials like open-pore wood. To be honest, it still looks great with plenty of cool digital tech on board. The cabin fit and finish is excellent with leather upholstery as standard. There is even an Audi Sport package that adds some lovely red stitching to the seats and steering wheel, and red trimmed seatbelts. The Audi virtual cockpit displays information to the driver perfectly. There is also the same 10-inch touchscreen as in the previous e-tron SUV with wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, voice control and route planner for navigation and charging stops. A separate touch panel underneath controls ventilation. It looks great but is positioned quite far down making it a bit awkward to use while driving. However haptic feedback at least makes it satisfying enough to use.

Other equipment features include heated front seats with lumbar support and wireless smartphone charging.

The cabin of the Audi Q8 e-tron
The cabin of the Audi Q8 e-tron

Practicality

The Q8 e-tron SUV is a spacious and roomy family SUV. It's noticeably bigger inside than the more compact Audi Q4 e-tron. There's plenty of legroom and headroom in the second row, with a few USB-C ports for passengers, an armrest and air vents (there is the option to spec separate climate control for rear passengers). It offers one of the biggest boots in the class at 569 litres with handy underfloor storage and switches to let down the rear seats. There's also an additional 62 litres under the bonnet, which is handy for storing charging cables.

Battery

There are two battery options: the Q8 e-tron 50 with a 95kWh battery and up to 484 kilometres of range (WLTP) and the Q8 e-tron 55 with a 114kWh battery and up to 573 kilometres of range (WLTP), depending on model.

On test was the Q8 e-tron 50 S-Line with a range of up to 452 kilometres (WLTP). In real world driving my consumption over a week averaged at 28.4 kWh per 100 kilometres, with the range working out at closer to 310 kilometres on a full battery charge.

The Q8 e-tron has more range than before on a single charge
The Q8 e-tron has more range than before on a single charge

Driving

There is plenty of power on offer with even the Q8 e-tron 50 putting out 340hp and 540Nm of torque, with a 0-100km/h time of just 6 seconds. The e-tron 55 ups power to 408hp while the high performance SQ8 e-tron model has 503hp and can do the 0-100 sprint in just 4.5 seconds. Not bad for an SUV that weighs close to 2.5 tonnes!

On the road the Q8 e-tron offers high levels of comfort and refinement on standard fit air suspension with controlled damping. The electric all wheel drive system delivers plenty of grip and the ride height can be adjusted, with a maximum towing capacity of 1800kg. There are also several different driving modes via Audi Drive Select and regenerative braking that can be adjusted from paddles behind the steering wheel. It handles the road well, feeling smooth and controlled. Audi has made some tweaks to the steering to make it more direct and also adjusted the ESC to allow more leeway in cornering. It's not one that encourages you to drive quickly but it's still very capable. Improved aerodynamics, more efficient rear axle motors and changes to the battery cell chemistry and battery management system have increased the range of both the e-tron 50 and 55. It's certainly an improvement but efficiency is not the Q8 e-tron's strong point with quite high consumption seen during my winter test.

Charging

DC fast charging is up to 150kW for the e-tron 50 and up to 170kW for the e-tron 55, charging from 10-80% in around 28 mins for the 50 and 31 minutes for the 55. Audi says the charging curve now runs at a high level for a very long time, allowing for more rapid charging. 11kW AC charging comes as standard with the option to upgrade to 22kW.

The Q8 e-tron is a very spacious SUV
The Q8 e-tron is a very spacious SUV

Pricing

The Q8 e-tron 50 with a 95kWh battery is available from about €88,400 on the road and from about €98,900 for the Q8 e-tron 55 with a 114kWh battery. The Q8 e-tron 50 S-Line on test has an on the road price of €97,895. The high performance SQ8 is available from €123,000.

Verdict

The Audi Q8 e-tron gets a bit more than your average nip and tuck. Improvements to the batteries mean that buyers can now enjoy a bit more range between battery charges. The Q8 e-tron still feels competitive beside newcomers like the EQE SUV and is overall a really good all-rounder. It is hugely spacious inside, with an excellent cabin and typical Audi build quality. Efficiency is still not its strong point but large SUVs like this were never the most efficient vehicles on the road so nothing has really changed there in the switch to electric. Still if you're looking for a comfortable and prestigious electric SUV, this Audi Q8 e-tron is an even better buy than before.

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Written by Caroline Kidd

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

The Audi Q8 e-tron can still be high on the shopping lists of luxury buyers
The Audi Q8 e-tron can still be high on the shopping lists of luxury buyers

The Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV on test for Changing Lanes

Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV Review

Read Caroline’s Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV review for everything you need to know about buying Mercedes’ new luxury electric SUV in Ireland.

In a few short years, Mercedes-Benz has rapidly expanded its range of electric vehicles to include a number of high-end electric saloons and SUVs.

The flagship of them all of course is the new Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV.

The S-Class has always been the epitome of luxury saloons in the Mercedes range. Now the EQS SUV flys that flag among luxury SUVs.

With the option of seven seats and a range in excess of 600 kilometres, the EQS SUV could be one of the best battery-powered luxury SUVs on sale today.

Let's take a closer look.

The Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV on test for Changing Lanes
The Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV on test for Changing Lanes

Styling

The EQS SUV is the SUV version of the gorgeous EQS saloon that launched in Ireland in 2022. It comes to market around the same time as the EQE SUV. The two vehicles do look quite similar with their smooth aerodynamic lines, black panel grille with Mercedes star and stunning full width light bar at the rear. Yet the EQS SUV seems to wear it somewhat better with its larger frame, looking a bit grander overall. It's still a far cry from the chiselled look of a Range Rover or BMW X7 but it is a style that grows on you and helps to make the vehicle as aerodynamically efficient as possible - a must for a large electric SUV. Measuring about 5.1 metres in length, it's a vehicle with considerable presence. It's the futuristic face of the Mercedes-EQ brand of electric vehicles with high-tech LED headlights adding a little bling, as does the illuminated running board and door handles that pop out from the bodywork as you approach. You can choose from two exterior styles - the elegant Electric Art and more dynamic AMG Line. Both come with 21-inch alloy wheels.

Interior

The cabin also shares much with the EQS saloon in design, but does feel more airy and spacious. From the minute you open the door, there's no mistaking the opulence on board the EQS SUV. It's a truly stunning cabin with some beautiful trims available and leather upholstery as standard in a range of colours. The ambient lighting illuminates the cabin perfectly. Luxury features include heated seats with power adjustment all round. Behind the gorgeous Nappa leather-wrapped steering wheel, there is an impressive full digital driver display as seen in all the latest Mercedes cars and SUVs. There's also an excellent portrait-style touchscreen that brings it all together with an intuitive design, voice control, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and over-the-air updates. The EQS SUV is an expensive vehicle but the cabin is where it really impresses. There is the option to spec the ‘Hyperscreen’ that gives your passenger their own screen as well behind a glass panel - but the standard set-up is fine really.

The cabin of the Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV
The cabin of the Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV

Practicality

There's the option to spec two extra seats for three rows of seating. Headroom and legroom in the second row is very generous. The two seats in the very back are more suitable for children but everyone can relax in the luxury surroundings. A panoramic glass roof comes as standard, which really makes it very bright and family friendly.

There's over 600 litres of boot space in five seat versions and over 500 litres in seven seat versions with the two extra seats folded neatly into the floor. Even with all seven seats in place, there's room for a few bags or suitcases. A powered tailgate comes as standard.

Driving

The EQS SUV is built on the same bespoke electric vehicle platform as the EQE and EQS saloons, as well as the EQE SUV. Buyers can choose from single or dual motor powered versions (rear wheel drive or ‘4Matic’ four-wheel drive). Power ranges from 360hp up to 544hp, but all versions have in the region of 600 kilometres of range measured by WLTP.

The entry into the range is the single motor, rear wheel drive EQS SUV 450+ with a 108kWh battery offering up to 706 kilometres range (WLTP). Consumption in real world driving is between 18-22 kWh per 100 kilometres, just like what is quoted by the manufacturer.

The EQS SUV offers a range exceeding 600 kilometres in official tests
The EQS SUV offers a range exceeding 600 kilometres in official tests

With 360hp, the EQS SUV 450+ still has plenty of power to feel swift and responsive from behind the wheel. There's 568Nm of torque. It's an SUV that favours a more relaxed driving style when you can sit back and enjoy all the comfort and refinement. It's a very hushed cabin and offers a super smooth drive. The standard fit air suspension with adaptive damping ensures that this is a top class driving experience. Rear wheel steering as standard also boosts agility in town and out on faster roads.

With the Mercedes’ Dynamic Select system, the driver can tweak the driving experience somewhat via four different mode: Eco, Comfort, Sport and Individual. There is also regenerative braking, the strength of which can be easily adjusted using the paddles behind the steering wheel.

Charging

When it comes to charging, DC fast charging is possible up to 200kW. AC charging is possible up to 22kW though the standard fit 11kW onboard AC charger can charge the battery to full in 11 hours. From a 7.4kW wallbox at home, that will take just under 17 hours.

Pricing

The range is available from €134,650 for the EQS SUV 450+ with a range in the region of 706 kilometres (WLTP). The dual motor EQS SUV 450 4MATIC is available from €138,790.

Boot space in the EQS SUV with seven seats in place
Boot space in the EQS SUV with seven seats in place

Verdict

The Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV marries a luxury driving experience very well with battery power. The range on offer is truly excellent offering plenty of comfort between battery charges. It's an SUV that commands respect and while it's not the most involving to drive, it does offer extremely high levels of comfort and refinement.

The true beauty of the EQS SUV is really the interior, which is the epitome of luxury and comfort. With brilliant tech on board and lots of luxury features, the EQS SUV does an excellent job of giving all those on board the five star feeling - without a whiff of range anxiety.

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Written by Caroline Kidd

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

The Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV is a pure luxury way to travel
The Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV is a pure luxury way to travel