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

Audi Q4 e-tron (2021) First Drive Review

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

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

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

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

Styling

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

Interior

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

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

Practicality

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

Battery, performance and range

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

Driving it

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

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

Charging 

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

Pricing

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

Equipment

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

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

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

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

Summary

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

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

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

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

Caroline Kidd

 

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

The SKODA Enyaq is now on sale in Ireland

ŠKODA Enyaq (2021) First Drive Review

The SKODA Enyaq is now on sale in Ireland
The ŠKODA Enyaq is now on sale in Ireland

The SKODA Enyaq has arrived in Ireland and goes on sale now priced from €37,465 including grants and VRT relief. Caroline was at the press launch in Dublin to find out more about the new Enyaq and bring it for a first drive on Irish roads.

ŠKODA's first all-electric model takes the shape of an elegant SUV, and will arrive here in two flavours at launch - Enyaq iV 60 and Enyaq iV 80 - with two different battery capacities and WLTP range. The entry Enyaq iV 60 has a WLTP range of up to 412 km. The Enyaq iV 80 has enhanced equipment levels with a WLTP range of up to 535 km and is priced from €44,712.

ŠKODA has also indicated that a SportLine version - and an all-wheel drive 80x version - will be launched in 2022, with pricing and specifications to be confirmed at a later date.

Styling

The new Enyaq marks a new direction for the brand but it is still recognisably and reassuringly ŠKODA. It has the presence of a large SUV, with a particularly stylish front end. LED headlights and 19" to 21" alloy wheel sizes complete the look!

Interior

There is an air of serenity inside the cabin of the Enyaq. This car surely does live up to its inspirational name! The Enyaq has a high quality cabin with a real premium feel. It's a real step up for the ŠKODA brand once again. There are plenty of soft touch materials and a lounge like feel that makes it a great family car.  A 13" touchscreen comes as standard in the centre of the dash with navigation, voice control and Smartlink for smartphone connectivity.

The interior of the new SKODA Enyaq
The interior of the new ŠKODA Enyaq

Practicality

Space inside the new Enyaq is excellent. Measuring 4,649 millimetres long and 1,879 wide, the Enyaq delivers the space and practicality customers have come to expect from ŠKODA’s SUV models. There is seating for five and a flat floor in the rear. The rear footwells are an impressive size and the boot can hold 585-litres of luggage. This can be extended to 1,710 litres with the rear seats folded.

Battery, performance and range

The entry level 62 kWh battery model is equipped with a 180PS (132kW) motor that drives the rear wheels through a single-speed transmission. It has a WLTP combined range of up to 412 km on a single charge. The larger 82kWh model generates 204PS (150kW) and is capable of returning up to 535 km on a single charge (WLTP).

Driving it

The new Enyaq iV is the first ŠKODA production model to be based on Volkswagen Group’s MEB modular electric car platform. We had limited time to explore the Enyaq's on the road performance but we did notice a few things that are a good early indication. The Enyaq feels effortless to drive with light steering making it ideal for town. Out on the motorway it cruises fine, offering good refinement and comfort. There's plenty of power to play with and driving modes to alter the experience behind the wheel. With its low centre of gravity due to the battery installed in the floor, it feels safe and solid on the road.

The Enyaq iV 80 has a range of over 500 km (WLTP)
The Enyaq iV 80 has a range of over 500 km (WLTP)

Charging 

The Enyaq can be charged at home from a wallbox (takes 9-13 hours with 7.2 kW wallbox, depending on model) or using the public charging network. 50 kW charging is possible (70 minutes to a full charge) with 100 kW and 125 kW available as an option.

ŠKODA has also launched PowerPass for accessing the public charging network. A mobile app and card enables customers to locate and access more than 1,667 charging points across Ireland, including the ESB network. It also provides some of the most competitive rates for IONITY DC fast charging. PowerPass knows if charge points are available or occupied and provides access to charging points in Northern Ireland, Britain and the EU.

Pricing

Priced from €37,465 inclusive of grants and rebates, the entry Enyaq 60 has a WLTP range of up to 412 km. The Enyaq 80 has enhanced equipment levels with a WLTP range of up to 535 km and is priced from €44,712.

Equipment

The Enyaq iV is offered exclusively with a service and maintenance package including replacement tyres.

Standard equipment on Enyaq 60 includes 19" alloys, 13" touchscreen infotainment, lane assist, turn assist, front assist, dual zone air con, cruise control, keyless start/stop. rear parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers and black roof rails.

The Enyaq 80 adds more power and range as well as chrome window surrounds and chrome roof rails, rear view camera, 2-spoke leather heated steering wheel, and drive mode select.

Rivals
The new Enyaq will rival large electric SUVs like the Volkswagen ID.4 and upcoming Nissan Ariya.

 

Summary
 

The ŠKODA Enyaq is one of the big releases of 2021, an electric blockbuster in its own right.

It arrives hot on the heels of ŠKODA's most recent suite of electrified models including the new Superb and Octavia plug-in hybrids.

The game has truly moved on when ŠKODA combines their knack in creating big, practical, good value cars with electric power. The Enyaq features some of the best quality of the ŠKODA range with a chic design feel to it that makes it stand out.

We look forward to bringing you a more detailed review of the new ŠKODA Enyaq later in the year!

On sale now priced from €37,465
On sale now priced from €37,465

Caroline Kidd


The new Mazda MX-30 on test for Changing Lanes!

Mazda MX-30 (2021) Review

The new Mazda MX-30 on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Mazda MX-30 on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the 2021 Mazda MX-30!

Mazda is a brand that likes to do things differently. Now they bring their unique perspective to the world of electric cars. Mazda’s first battery electric vehicle has just gone on sale in Ireland. The new Mazda MX-30 joins Mazda’s already talented range of hatchbacks, saloons, and SUVs, flying the flag for electric power at a time when EVs have firmly moved from the fringes to the mainstream.

So, what’s the Mazda MX-30 got to offer this brave new world of EVs?

Pricing starts from €30,965 for the Mazda MX-30 rising to €35,565 for a top of the range model, including grants and VRT relief. Power comes from a 35.5 kWh battery, with a WLTP range of 200 km. More on that later.

Over the years, the Japanese brand has firmly established itself with one of the best-looking ranges of cars in the world. Icons like the Mazda MX-5 seem to live on forever, never dimming in popularity or sheer icon status despite ever changing market trends. Quality and driving appeal are also undoubtedly key strengths of the Japanese brand in Europe. And the brand’s growing range of SUVs like the CX-5 and CX-30 are still some of the best around.

The MX-30 goes on sale from €30,965 in Ireland
The MX-30 goes on sale from €30,965 in Ireland

Enter MX-30. The new Mazda MX-30 is quirky, no doubt about it. Mazda has had some fun with the design of this one. It is more of a crossover than an outright SUV, with an extraordinary cool urban coupé-like appearance and equally dramatic and divisive ‘freestyle’ doors.

But in a world of vanilla crossovers and SUVs, at Changing Lanes we appreciate the Mazda’s cool new perspective on an electric crossover for the 2020s. Plastic cladding around the lower bumpers and wheel arches are mandatory for any modern urban crossover, and the elevated ride height and driving position give the MX-30 some cache in the market too.

Inside the new MX-30

Inside the MX-30 there is an intriguing mix of convention and next generation Mazda interior. Switch gear is largely familiar Mazda territory. It’s good quality and easy to navigate. But the Mazda MX-30 deviates substantially with a new touchscreen operation for ventilation controls, which actually works okay, and some very interesting, tactile cabin materials. The MX-30 interior is true designer with real cork in the centre console, and lashings of soft touch materials that would not look out of place in a cool living room.

But all this design rigour has some trade-off. The freestyle doors are beautiful and quirky but are just not as practical for access. That will only really matter if this part of your vehicle is in regular use. Once you are seated back there you will realise that this crossover is on the small side considering the price point. And the rear windows are small and don’t open! But the boot has a capacity of 366 litres so it seems realistic for a car of this size.

The interior of the 2021 Mazda MX-30
The interior of the 2021 Mazda MX-30

What are my options?

In Ireland the new Mazda MX-30 will be available in four trim levels: First Edition, GS-L, GT and GT Sport. Standard equipment includes radar cruise control, windscreen projected head-up-display, front and rear parking sensors, LED headlights and a rear camera. Higher grades such as the GT Sport add equipment like 12 speaker Bose sound system, sunroof and 360° view camera.

The MX-30 First Edition model on test for Changing Lanes features 8-way power driver seat with memory setting, adaptive LED signature headlights and a choice of dark or light leatherette and cloth interior. There's also the latest MyMazda app that allows you to control charging using a timer, monitor charging progress, and see your range indicator. The MyMazda app also gives real-time information on charging point availability and location, and can send the destination directly to the navigation system.

What kind of battery and range does it have?

Mazda is defying convention by using a lower capacity battery than many rivals to power the Mazda MX-30. The MX-30’s 35.5 kWh battery has a 200 km range measured by WLTP on a combined cycle. But in real world driving 150 km is more realistic.

Naturally this means the Mazda MX-30 is not in the range race. In fact it does limit the car’s appeal as it doesn’t give the same amount of ‘freedom’ as some electric vehicles in the same ball park. There is rationale to it of course. Mazda is on a ‘right-sized’ battery approach to building electric vehicles. That means that they haven’t stuffed the MX-30 with a high capacity battery in a race to win range. Mazda cites this as more efficient electric motoring, avoiding the weight of a larger battery and reducing energy spend over the entire life cycle of the vehicle ‘from well to wheel’. This strategy also keeps overall vehicle weight lower for better handling and agility, which is currently not the case for many EVs.

With 145 PS and maximum torque output of 271 Nm, the front-wheel drive MX-30 will accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 9.7 seconds. But it’s not one you feel like flooring the throttle in.

Freestyle doors in the Mazda MX-30
Freestyle doors in the Mazda MX-30

Driving the Mazda MX-30

True this is a good electric vehicle to drive. Unique for the segment, the Japanese brand created the motor pedal, which gives a more natural feel behind the wheel. There is some lean in fast cornering but the Mazda MX-30 is largely fun and interesting to drive. A true statement car with some very sophisticated engineering with Mazda’s typical human centric approach that makes you the centre of the universe once behind the wheel!

To help the driver feel more connected to the car and driving process, aural feedback is provided via the audio system in sync with pressure applied to the accelerator. It’s very impressive and gives that impression of revving an engine and moving through gears. Technologies such as electric G-Vectoring Control Plus (e-GVC Plus) ensure a natural feeling behind the wheel and stability while cornering.

The car is aimed at two-car households or those who live in cities or towns. But having the ability to charge at home will be essential for ownership of this car. Fast charging is available through a CCS charging adapter at 50 kW, giving 80% battery power in 36 minutes. It can be charged to full in as little as 5 hours at home.

Did you like it?

The Mazda MX-30 is a really interesting electric vehicle that makes a statement and stands out for its design and quality. Make no mistake, this car has been exceptionally well built and engineered. The cabin is comfortable and uniquely different with real attention to detail. We think it’s fair to say there are some compromises to practicality but the Mazda MX-30 is a more niche buy for buyers who value a more premium feeling electric vehicle. And Mazda Ireland have managed to keep the price of the car accessible here. So if you love Mazda, good design, and can charge at home, the MX-30 might be the one for you!

The Mazda MX-30 is a stylish addition to any urban driveway!
The Mazda MX-30 is a stylish addition to any urban driveway!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Mazda MX-30 First Edition
Price: 
€31,795
Battery: 
35.5kWh
Range (WLTP): 200 km
Power: 145 PS (107 kW)
Torque: 271 Nm
Top speed: 140 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 9.7 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
0 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€120 per year

 

 


The Tesla Model 3 on test for Changing Lanes!

Tesla Model 3 (2021) Review

The Tesla Model 3 on test for Changing Lanes!
The Tesla Model 3 on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the Tesla Model 3!

Tesla has arguably done more to accelerate the movement of the motor industry to electrification than any other car brand. And they really don’t operate like any other car brand. In fact, this relative newcomer (Est. 2003) does everything a little bit differently. And as I was soon to find out as I approached the Tesla Model 3 for the first time, there is nothing ordinary about the car in front me!

What's so hot about the Tesla Model 3?

Designed as Tesla’s smaller, simpler, and more affordable car, slotting in below the brand-defining Model S and ‘groovy-doored’ Model X SUV, the Tesla Model 3 officially went on sale in Ireland in 2019.

With pricing starting from €48,990, this car has massively contributed to the rapid widening of Tesla’s customer base. The brand has registered 340 cars in Ireland so far in 2021, with 335 of them Model 3s.

As I approach the car with what looks like a Tesla-branded credit card in my hand, it’s probably already done a background check on me and knows my first pet’s name. A swipe of the card against the B pillar and I’m in!

Glistening in ruby red, the Tesla Model 3 brings next generation glamour to Irish roads. Three variants are available all with varying levels of performance and battery wizardry: the Standard Range Plus (448 km WLTP, priced from €48,990), Model 3 Performance (567 km WLTP, priced from €65,990) and Long Range (580 km WLTP, priced from €58,990).

Topping up the Model 3's battery at the Tesla Supercharger
Topping up the Model 3's battery at the Tesla Supercharger

What's new for the Model 3 in 2021?

The Model 3 has also received a range of styling improvements for 2021 including matte black trim around the car's exterior features like the door handles, more efficient tyres and updated 18/19” Sports Wheels. The Model 3 Performance can now be ordered with new 20” ‘Uberturbine’ wheels. There’s also a new electrically operated boot lid, which opens at the touch of a button or from the touchscreen or Tesla app.

Interior updates include more matte black finish, which replaces the gloss finish in previous versions of the car. The centre console has been redesigned, featuring fixed inductive charging mats for two smartphones. Two additional high-powered USB-C ports have been added for high-speed device charging. Plus, an additional USB-A port in the glove compartment to use for storage devices for Sentry Mode and Dash Cam footage. A new heat pump improves how fast the cabin heats up.

Eight surround cameras allow for 360-degree vision, while twelve ultrasonic sensors provide detection of surrounding objects. Driver assistance features such as emergency braking, collision warning and blind-spot monitoring try their best to keep you out of trouble, while Autopilot is included as standard which, under driver supervision, enables the car to steer, accelerate and brake automatically for other vehicles and pedestrians within its lane.

Inside the 2021 Tesla Model 3
Inside the 2021 Tesla Model 3

Inside the Tesla Model 3

Yes, Tesla do things differently - but depending on how you like your cars, the Tesla’s austere cabin design and gigantic 15" touchscreen in the centre of the dash might have you running for something more analogue and familiarly square.

Even moving the side mirrors requires a quick detour into the central operating system. But as smart as Tesla is, the pure mechanical action of adjusting the wing mirrors is then done through a few twists, turns and slides of a reassuringly normal button on the steering wheel. And except for some stalks for the wipers, indicators, and gear selection, that’s about it. There’s no ON button or ignition - the Tesla just knows you’re ready to go. The Tesla Model 3 is the smartest car I’ve ever met. And I've met a lot of cars. Over 300!

The finish of the cabin and the quality of the design is an improvement on the Model 3 but it feels more basic than a premium German saloon that would command a similar list price. Cabin space is excellent with lots of glazing making it a pleasant place to travel in. The rear bench can seat three, while the boot opens to reveal over 500 litres of cargo space.

So will I be stopping a lot to charge it?

Tesla’s battery technology is truly astounding. Seeing over 500 km on your range counter means less time plugged in or even contemplating where the next charger is when driving between destinations. And Tesla has been building these big milers for years, with well-established car brands only beginning to catch up now. And they are still not there yet.

Yes, it is a very clever car. I sat for hours behind the wheel thinking about this. No need to do rapid calculations in my head, extrapolating, predicting, estimating, and still not having enough range to get home comfortably. With a real world driving range in excess of 500 km, this model moves the conversation on completely when it comes to normalising electric cars, what you can do with them and how it feels to own one.

The Tesla Model 3 has a great design with plenty of interior space
The Tesla Model 3 has a great design with plenty of interior space

Driving the 2021 Tesla Model 3

And how you can drive them! If the range doesn’t excite your passengers, then the performance surely will. The Tesla Model 3 Long Range can accelerate to 100 km/h in just 4.4 seconds and it feels just as fast with a silent shove of torque that requires a small warning to passengers of warp speed that is about to be engaged.

Rapid acceleration is a novelty but the Model 3 Long Range is a talented handler with all wheel drive delivering a distinct style of tarmac hugging charm.

It’s very comfortable for the most part but the ride falls short of truly magic carpet premium.

Most buyers will charge their Model 3 at home from a wallbox and rarely need to charge on the go. But the Model 3 also comes with a built-in CCS Charge Port for compatibility with third party fast charging networks like IONITY and ESB, or Tesla’s own Supercharger network and Destination chargers.

The Tesla Model 3 Long Range available from €58,990
The Tesla Model 3 Long Range available from €58,990

Did you like it?

The Tesla Model 3 is a marvel, no doubt about it. The smartest car on the road, already set up for self-driving in a world that isn’t ready for that yet.

But it is not emotional at all. From the cut of the cabin to the myriad of functions and games set in the central operating system, the Model 3 has the distinct feeling of being a device. A good one, but it’s a different approach to building cars. Not wrong, simply different.

The on-road performance is silently charming but the Model 3 will never talk to you through the steering rim or the pedals and whisper words of encouragement like some of the best cars I’ve ever known.

But over 500 km driving range on battery power and not a bead of sweat on my forehead hustling through four counties in one day? With reliable fast charging at the other end on the Tesla Supercharger network? Maybe we need a new definition of 'best' at Changing Lanes!

The undeniable magnificent battery technology, next level operating and design mean this car has and will continue to attract its own loyal following. It remains a status symbol of futurism and cleverness, and reassures that someday we won’t talk about cars and electric cars as if one is somehow compromised over the other. Just cars that can take you from A to B.

Caroline behind the wheel of the 2021 Tesla Model 3!
Caroline behind the wheel of the 2021 Tesla Model 3!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Tesla Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor All Wheel Drive
Price: 
€58,990
Battery: 
75 kWh
Range (WLTP): 580 km
Top speed: 233 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 4.4 seconds
CO2 emissions (WLTP): 0 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€120 per year
 

 


The new Audi e-tron GT on test for Changing Lanes!

Audi e-tron GT (2021) First Drive Review

The new Audi e-tron GT on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Audi e-tron GT on test for Changing Lanes!

The new Audi e-tron GT has arrived in Ireland and goes on sale priced from €102,397. A halo model for the Audi brand, the e-tron GT is a high-performance sports coupé that embodies all Audi’s values – electrified. That’s right, the Audi e-tron GT is battery powered but with mind-warping performance statistics. And as Changing Lanes was about to find out, there are even more surprises when the Audi e-tron GT hits the roads for the first time. Read on for Caroline’s first drive Audi e-tron GT review from the Irish launch of this revolutionary new model!

Styling

The Audi e-tron GT is gorgeous. Marc Lichte, Head of Audi Design, says the e-tron GT is “the most beautiful car that I have ever designed." We can believe it. The e-tron GT wears its proportions beautifully with sporty elegance and a futuristic closed grille at the front. There are hints of the R8 and TT to it but in fact the e-tron GT combines all the best hallmarks of Audi design but with an ultra-modern, futuristic twist. Electric cars just got very sexy. The body is extremely aerodynamic, and the drag coefficient is just 0.24. Wide and visually imposing, the Audi e-tron GT will make you rethink everything you ever thought you wanted in life!

Interior

Inside the cabin of the new 2021 Audi e-tron GT is unmistakably Audi with excellent material quality, glossy finishes and cool but straightforward digital technology. It all feels so normal inside, but so very classy. We like that the interior will be familiar to anyone who already drives one of the latest Audi cars, in terms of the style and how you interact with the controls. You sit in a low and sporty position behind the steering wheel. Frameless windows make you feel a million euros every time you open the door of your new e-tron GT.

The seats are upholstered either with a combination of artificial leather and Kaskade material or with a mixture of artificial leather and the microfibre material Dinamica. Recycled materials are used in both cases, for example polyester fibres that were made from old plastic bottles and textiles.

The new Audi e-tron GT is gorgeous from every angle!
The new Audi e-tron GT is gorgeous from every angle!

Practicality

The Audi e-tron GT is a high-performance sports coupé but with four doors and seating for five. The two rear footwells are a good size but it’s far from limo-like. The boot opens to reveal a respectable 405 litres while there is an additional 85 litres of storage space under the bonnet!

Battery

The new Audi e-tron GT's high-voltage battery has a capacity of 86 kWh (net), which gives a range of 479 km (WLTP). It’s a truly powerful car with 469 bhp and 630 Nm of torque. It can hit 100 km/h in just 4.1 seconds going on to a top speed of 245 km/h.

Charging

800-volt technology enables fast DC charging with an output of up to 270 kW – including just five minutes for a distance of approximately 100 km and roughly 22.5 minutes to bring the battery from 5% back up to 80%. At the moment, you can enjoy this rapid charging at IONITY charging stations. There is also an 11 kW onboard charger.

The interior of the 2021 Audi e-tron GT
The interior of the 2021 Audi e-tron GT

Driving it

The Audi e-tron is a magnificent machine. This car weighs over 2 tonnes but handles the road like a true professional. Quattro with e-torque vectoring comes as standard ensuring power is distributed intelligently to the individual wheels. When sufficient traction is available, it sends power primarily to the front axle. The suspension has been designed for a balance of dynamism and comfort, thanks to technologies such as Audi drive select, controlled damping and the rear-axle differential lock.

We had to push on in the e-tron GT to really see what this car was capable of. In fact it’s a very exciting car to drive, and you can really feel this car’s high performance DNA. Audi set out to create a sports coupé and that’s what they have done. Yet electrified. A characteristic that adds even more drama and performance to the e-tron GT.

Hop on that accelerator and the Audi e-tron GT is capable of mind-warping acceleration - just 4.1 seconds to take you to 100km/h. All accompanied by a cleverly designed sound that is fed through the speakers to enhance your driving experience. In fact, the sound is intuitive and coalesces nicely with what your right foot is doing on the accelerator. The Audi e-tron GT 'e-sound' won’t make the ground shake when it takes off at the traffic lights, but this is entertaining.

There is a deftness and lightness to the steering allowing ultra precise movements of the car. It's also super responsive to the pedal. Designed as a ‘Gran Turismo’, cruising comfort is good with adaptive air suspension available as an option.

A wonderful car that will make you recalculate everything you thought about what a performance car should be.

The new Audi e-tron GT goes on sale in Ireland from €102,397
The new Audi e-tron GT goes on sale in Ireland from €102,397

Equipment

Standard equipment on the new Audi e-tron GT includes 19” alloy wheels, panoramic glass sunroof, smartphone interface, navigation, front and rear parking sensors, synthetic leather upholstery, electric, heated front sports seats, lane departure warning and tri zone climate control.

Customers can manage pre-entry climate control of the interior and charging via their smartphones using the myAudi app.

Pricing

The new Audi e-tron GT retails from €102,397 in Ireland.

Rivals

The new Audi e-tron GT’s rivals include the Porsche Taycan and the Tesla Model S.

WATCH A VIDEO! Caroline driving the new e-tron GT on Irish roads for the first time:

Anything else?

The super high performance Audi RS e-tron GT is also hitting the Irish market now. Designed in the spirit of Audi’s classic RS models, it uses the same 88 kWh battery as the e-tron GT but with more power and torque. There is also more aggressive body styling, accessories and adaptive air suspension. Power output is a colossal 590 bhp while torque is rated at 830 Nm! The Audi RS e-tron GT can accelerate to 100 km/h in just 3.3 seconds. It retails from €140,367.

The Audi e-tron GT is the brand’s first fully electric car to be built in Germany. The new e-tron GT is built at Audi Böllinger Höfe at the Neckarsulm site in Germany on the same production line as the R8! The small-series production facility has been expanded, upgraded, and converted for its new role. The company is using customised digital processes and smart technologies but the finishing touches to each car are applied by highly skilled hands.

The e-tron GT has a range in excess of 400 km and incredible performance on the road
The e-tron GT has a range in excess of 400 km and incredible performance on the road

Summary

The new Audi e-tron GT epitomises the values of the Audi brand – electrified. The e-tron GT is a halo car for the brand and you will pay well for it. But considering the design and engineering that has gone into creating such a powerful car with real grace and elegance on the road, it’s not as outlandish as what you might expect.

Behind the wheel I was not thinking about range at all. The e-tron GT moves the conversation along. Let’s just talk cars. I was just enjoying the performance as the high voltage battery handles the rest.

With 270 kW charging, the e-tron GT is future proofed for the forseeable. The real challenge is that you can only avail of this rapid charging technology at a few stations around the county at the moment. But living with an electric vehicle is a lot easier than what it once was. We’d like to live with the e-tron GT a little more to fully test its range and capabilities!

The Audi e-tron GT is a car to aspire to. Created by visionary minds and talented technical hands. Vorsprung durch Technik at its finest.

The Audi e-tron GT is a super desirable halo car for the Audi brand
The Audi e-tron GT is a super desirable halo car for the Audi brand

Caroline Kidd


The MG ZS on test for Changing Lanes!

MG ZS EV (2021) Review

The MG ZS on test for Changing Lanes!
The MG ZS EV on test for Changing Lanes!

It’s not every day a new car brand enters the Irish market! But last November, MG announced they were making a return to Ireland. This time with a range of pure electric and hybrid vehicles.

Now under the stewardship of the Frank Keane Group, the brand has already appointed a 6-strong MG dealer network with retailers around the country in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway.

MG was originally a British brand with numerous MG cars marketed in Ireland over the years. But now the parent company is SAIC Motor (Shanghai Automobile Industry Corporation). SAIC is the 7th largest car manufacturer in the world and was the first automobile group in China with annual sales of more than 7 million units.

So it's a completely fresh start for MG Motor Ireland with some very on-trend new models that combine SUV-style with new electrified powertrains.

The MG ZS is the brand's first all-electric SUV to market here in 2021
The MG ZS is the brand's first all-electric SUV to market here in 2021

What’s so special about the MG ZS?

At Changing Lanes, we are meeting the MG ZS EV for the first time, which looks to be one of the brand’s most important new launches here. The all-electric compact SUV retails from a headline grabbing €28,995 including Government grants and VRT relief.

Powered by a 44.5 kWh battery, giving a range of 263 km (WLTP), the ZS makes a strong statement about the affordability of electric cars that are also capable of realistically supporting the needs of a family.

The MG ZS is launched on the market as a compact SUV, and people love these at the moment, right? MG looks to be finding its niche with design but as a new brand, it may not be immediately recognisable on the road. At the front there is a large MG badge to dominate the front grille, flanked by headlights with LED daytime running lights.

It sits well among the other SUVs, and with that sort of pricing it should gradually become a more familiar presence on Irish roads. MG is the fastest growing car brand in the UK and growing across Europe with sales in a number of markets.

Inside the new MG ZS EV
The interior of the new MG ZS EV

Inside the new MG ZS

With the new MG ZS, we are encountering a new brand for the first time at Changing Lanes so first impressions will account for a lot as we get to know the MG way of doing things. The interior of the ZS makes a good impression. The perceived quality is good with a mixture of cabin materials and soft touch surfaces, finished with detail stitching. In fact, it’s all a bit sporty inside here! Exclusive versions have leather-style upholstery.

MG has gone with more traditional analogue dials for the driver but there’s a familiar touchscreen to the driver’s left that keeps things modern. It can be on the slow side to respond to touch presses, but Apple Car Play and Android Auto compatibility mean you are unlikely to be frustrated too much.

The feeling of space inside the MG is excellent for a B-segment SUV. There is lots of headroom and large windows, which makes it bright and spacious feeling. The rear will seat three, though most comfortable for two and the rear footwells are a decent size for this class of vehicle. The feeling of space makes it simply family friendly, and there are plenty of storage places in the cabin also. Buyers will also find a good boot of 448 litres. The split folding rear seats enable you to expand this to 1,116 litres. Charging cables can be stored neatly under the boot floor leaving the boot clear of any apparel for charging so you can get on with your life!

The new MG ZS electric retails from €28,995 in Ireland
The new MG ZS electric retails from €28,995 in Ireland

Standard equipment (Excite trim) includes air conditioning, keyless entry with push button start, adaptive cruise control,  electric windows, 8" colour touchscreen, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, traffic jam assist, high beam assist, rear parking sensors and 17" alloy wheels.

The Exclusive model (from €31,995) adds equipment such as rear parking camera, silver roof rails, panoramic opening glass roof, rain sensing wipers, blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert, electrically adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, and leather style upholstery.

Powering the MG ZS EV

The MG ZS EV is powered by a strong 143 hp (105 kW) electric motor and combined with the 44.5 kWh lithium-ion-battery gives a WLTP range of 263 km. Maximum torque is 353 Nm, so the MG feels nifty once you hit the accelerator, with 0-100 km/h in 8.1 seconds.

Real life driving range is very realistic with over 200 km possible and my Dublin-Wexford drive done with range to spare. Charging is super easy using the fast charge network for example to pick up 80% charge in 40 minutes using the CCS charge port that lives behind a panel in the front grille. Charging at home takes about 6.5 hours using a 7kW wallbox charger.

Charge the MG ZS EV at home or on the public charging network
Charge the MG ZS EV at home or on the public charging network

On the road, the MG ZS EV makes good progress moving effortlessly from town to motorway. There are no large drops in range out on the motorway and losses in range are accurately reported to the driver. Regenerative, 3-level braking is also included and the automatic transmission can be set to Eco, Normal or Sport mode.

Steering and controls are light, while the automatic transmission makes it simple to drive too. It’s easy to drive around town and compact enough to be simple to park. It's not quite as cohesive a drive as some rival electric crossovers like the Peugeot e-2008 and the Opel Mokka-e, but the higher SUV stance of the MG goes some way to explain this more languid feeling behind the wheel.

Did you like it?

The MG ZS follows the rules of a classic B-segment compact SUV – raised ride height, chunky styling, big windows and some attitude. But with a twist. The fully electric powertrain and very nice range of over 200 km is likely to get the attention of many buyers.

So is the starting price. On closer inspection, the MG ZS EV can do a fine job of carrying people and their things in comfort. Perceived quality is also good, though it's not the most sophisticated drive or cabin in this segment.

The MG brand makes an electrified return to the Irish market. We expect the brand will hit its stride quickly with its range of new electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The MG ZS could quickly become the star of the range with its delicate entry into the electric SUV market and attention grabbing starting price.

A great start for MG in Ireland once again!

The MG ZS EV gets the MG brand off to a great start in Ireland
The 2021 MG ZS EV gets the MG brand off to a great start in Ireland

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: MG ZS EV Exclusive
Price: 
€31,995
Battery: 44.5 kWh
Power: 
143 hp
Torque: 353 Nm
0-100km/h:  
8.2 seconds
Top speed: 140 km/h
Range (WLTP): 263 km
CO2 emissions (WLTP): 0 g/km
Motor Tax:  €120 per year


The new Opel Mokka-e on test for Changing Lanes

Opel Mokka-e (2021) Review

The new Opel Mokka-e on test for Changing Lanes
The new Opel Mokka-e on test for Changing Lanes

The Opel Mokka-e is Opel's new all-electric crossover. It will go on sale in Ireland in April, with petrol and diesel versions also available. Caroline tested the 2021 Opel Mokka-e around Dublin and Wicklow to find out more about this exciting new model for the Opel brand in Ireland! Opel has marketed the Opel Mokka in Ireland since 2012 and at Changing Lanes, we've been lucky to follow the Mokka's journey since the beginning. Enjoy the latest of our Opel Mokka reviews below with the 2021 Opel Mokka-e, on Irish roads for the first time!

Styling

The Opel Mokka has radical new styling that is a new direction for the German brand. The car has a lighter, sportier and slimmer appearance; in fact it's now more of a crossover than an SUV, with a hatchback-style. But there's been a heavy addition of attitude: plastic cladding around the wheel arches, angular blacked out grille, two tone roof and optional black bonnet. The Mokka was lacking distinction in the popular B-SUV segment. Not any more!

Interior

The theme of renewal continues inside with an all-new interior for the 2021 Opel Mokka. It will be recognisable as an Opel to any previous Mokka owners who sit in, but it's had a detox in line with a bright new future. A full digital instrument panel keeps the driver updated with relevant information like speed and battery range. There is also a new touchscreen angled towards the driver, compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The interior is well-built with our test car sporting some stylish grey panelling and fabric inserts on the doors. Everything works and functions correctly with spot on material quality - we would just love to see a little more character inside the car in line with that exterior fizz.

The interior of the new Opel Mokka-e
The interior of the new Opel Mokka-e

Practicality

The Opel Mokka is a five seat crossover that has been built upon a bespoke multi-energy platform that can accommodate petrol, diesel or electric powertrain. This is important because it means there is no compromise to passenger space and boot volume inside the car, regardless which model you go for. The Mokka-e is a compact vehicle, but as an average sized female adult, I felt comfortable in the back. Taller passengers may feel more squeezed for legroom and headroom. The new Mokka is a little bit wider than the car it replaces so there's plenty of elbow room upfront. Rear seats split fold and there is also a false floor in the boot for added practicality. The volume is 350 litres - not huge but practical enough for day to day needs.

Battery, Range & Performance

The new Opel Mokka-e uses a 50 kWh battery with a system output of 136 hp. There are a number of driving modes to alter performance and efficiency - Sport, Normal and Eco. The WLTP range is 324 km but bear in mind how many kilometres you can get from the car will depend upon things like the ambient temperature, driving style and the speed. Opel offers an eight-year/160,000km warranty for the battery.

Charging

If stopping to use the public charging points, the Mokka-e's battery can be fully charged to 80% in about 25 minutes with a 100 kW charger or 80 minutes with a 50 kW charger. Charging at home is most efficient using a wallbox, which can charge the car in about 7 hours using the 7 kW onboard charger. Or try 22 hours with a three point plug!

The new Opel Mokka-e has an estimated range of 324 km on electric power
The new Opel Mokka-e has an estimated range of 324 km on electric power

Other engines

The new Mokka is also available with petrol and diesel engines. The 1.2-litre petrol engine is available with 110 hp or 130 hp, while the 1.5-litre diesel is available with 110 hp. 6-speed manual and 8-speed automatic gearboxes are available. Of the combustion engines, the diesel is the best for economy with fuel consumption of 4.5l/100km and CO2 emissions of 118g/km.

Driving it

The Opel Mokka is the second model in the Opel range to use the CMP platform from parent company PSA, after the launch of the all-new Corsa in 2020. It's lighter by up to 120 kg on some of the models in the range, while rigidity is up by 15%. It's clear to see that the new Mokka is a far more efficient design, more aerodynamic with a lower centre of gravity. Opel engineers have worked hard to reduce squeaks and rattles and improve the acoustic quality, with an acoustic pack fitted as standard to further reduce road noise. Being German it's Autobhan proof too! This translates on the road to a steady secure feeling from the steering that keeps the car in lane easily. Compared to the previous Mokka, this car is a revelation thanks to its new platform and 'weight loss'. It feels fun and agile on the road, while the Mokka-e goes about its business silently, with smooth responses from the controls.

Equipment

According to Opel Ireland, standard equipment will include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, LED lamps at the front and rear, an electric parking brake and traffic sign recognition. More information on trim levels and equipment will be announced closer to the launch. Dependant on trim, other available features will include six-way ergonomic seats, heated leather seats, massage function, a 180-degree panorama rear-view camera, navigation, Advanced Cruise Control, Active Lane Positioning, wireless smartphone charging, and glare-free, IntelliLux LED® matrix lights, unique to the segment.

100 kW high speed charging is possible with the new Mokka-e
100 kW rapid charging is possible with the new Mokka-e

Pricing

Official pricing has not been released yet but indicated pricing is from €23,500 for the 1.2-litre petrol (110 hp) manual, and from €33,000 (including VRT relief and SEAI grant) for the Mokka-e all-electric version, which will be sold exclusively in the high spec SRi trim.

Rivals

The new Opel Mokka and Opel Mokka-e will take on some established competition like the Renault Captur, Peugeot 2008/e-2008, Nissan Juke, and Hyundai Kona/ Kona Electric.

 

 

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Summary

The new Opel Mokka and Opel Mokka-e will be an exciting new addition to the Opel range, in the popular B-SUV segment. The Mokka will build on the success of the Opel Corsa in 2020, but this could arguably be Opel's year to go stellar.

The Mokka is now a car transformed with character and presence that will command attention on the road. The new interior is smart and well-appointed, with the addition of a new digital instrument cluster and touchscreen giving an on-trend, widescreen effect.

Opel is leading the renewal of their brand in Ireland with a clever multi-energy platform that sees buyers presented with more choice than ever before - petrol, diesel or electric. We expect the Mokka-e to be one to watch, combining the striking looks with an exciting new EV powertrain and range of up to 324 km.

Welcome back Mokka!

The new Mokka will put Opel on the map again
The new Mokka will put Opel on the map again

Caroline Kidd


The new Peugeot e-2008 on test for Changing Lanes!

Peugeot e-2008 (2021) Review

The new Peugeot e-2008 on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Peugeot e-2008 on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the new Peugeot e-2008!

With the new car market at its most receptive point ever for electric cars, Peugeot is a brand emerging as one to watch.

2020 saw the brand launch two all new electric models here – the Peugeot e-208 and Peugeot e-2008. Both are derivatives of two well very established Peugeot models in Ireland. The 208 and 2008 have many loyal fans around the country. You can tell by the visibility of these models on Irish roads.

Indeed the 2008 had developed arguably even more notoriety in the Irish market, falling into the compact crossover segment with some serious style, space and practicality.

With Peugeot now developing multi energy platforms for new models that can support petrol, diesel and electric powertrains, there is a car for every lifestyle and budget. But an extended test drive in the new Peugeot e-2008 has brought me to the conclusion that electric is truly closer than you think.

When you are living with a car every day, doing all your somewhat normal routines, you do start to see the other side of the coin more clearly.

The new Peugeot e-2008 is one of the most stylish compact electric vehicles today
The new Peugeot e-2008 is one of the most stylish compact electric vehicles today

What's so special about the Peugeot e-2008?

I have some history with the 2008. I’ve seen this car’s evolution as it was one of my first test cars when it came on the market in its first generation back in 2013, coinciding with my maiden journey into the automotive world.

We finally got the second generation of the car in 2020 and it bears all the trademarks of the revolution going on at Peugeot. The 2008 is so handsome in the metal and inside Peugeot moves on another step in their mission to move their brand upmarket.

The Peugeot e-2008 kicks off from €31,262 in Ireland including all relevant grants and VRT relief. The similarly specced Peugeot 2008 petrol automatic starts from €28,450. So while the electric 2008 is still carrying a premium, it’s not as much as what you might think. And electricity is cheaper than petrol, as is the motor tax on this model!

Peugeot has chosen a 50 kWh battery to power the e-2008. That gives 136 hp and a WLTP range of 310 km. On our test drive over 200 km was possible though the e-2008's range was susceptible to things like how cold it was outside and how fast I was driving. Basically the slower you drive, the more miles you get!

Inside the new Peugeot e-2008
Inside the new Peugeot e-2008

What are my options?

The e-2008 is available in the same three trim levels – Active, Allure and GT – as the petrol and diesel versions of the 2008 so there is no compromising on kit should you wish to buy the e-2008. Standard equipment on the e-2008 Active includes 16” alloys, automatic air conditioning with pre-heating functionality, electric and heated power folding door mirrors, rear parking sensors, i-Cockpit® with 3.5” instrument panel display reversing camera, traffic sign recognition, LED headlights and foglights, automatic emergency braking and active city brake. So a very well specced car indeed.

The e-2008 GT model I had on test retails from €35,010. Equipment highlights include heated front seats, 3D i-Cockpit® with 10”
colour touchscreen and 3D navigation, front parking sensors, leather/cloth trim, lime green contrast stitching on the seats and steering wheel, ambient lighting, and cosmetic updates including black roof, door mirrors and rear spoiler.

The e-2008 looks the exact same as the other models in the range but it does have a beautiful unique body-coloured chequered flag effect grille. Similar to a petrol or diesel car, you open a flap on the rear side to access the charge ports. There is some subtle 'e' badging too. I like Peugeot’s strategy as there is no ‘weirdness’ to the e-2008. It’s simply just powered by an electric engine as opposed to a petrol or diesel one.

The new e-2008 retails in Ireland from €31,262
The new e-2008 retails in Ireland from €31,262

Inside the Peugeot e-2008

The theme continues inside. It's the same switchgear from other models in the range. Great news because we also get the beautiful i-Cockpit arrangement - a digital instrument cluster with 3D effect on some of the higher trims where some of the information appears closer to you; a slick touchscreen to your left angled at the driver; and a compact steering wheel that feels so good in a compact car like the 2008. The stunning design and material finish gives the e-2008 an upmarket feel that makes this car one to watch.

Buyers will also love the practicality of the e-2008. It can seat five though it will be more comfortable for two in the back. Yet there are decent footwells in the rear for the class of vehicle. Because the e-2008 uses a bespoke platform, there has been no compromise to the space inside the vehicle or the boot compared to other models in the range. The boot has a capacity of 360 litres, though you will need to be careful about storing your charging leads to make the most of it.

Boot space inside the Peugeot e-2008
Boot space inside the Peugeot e-2008

Driving and charging the Peugeot e-2008

On the road the Peugeot e-2008 is very impressive. It's smooth and pleasant to drive, and very refined. Power output is 136 hp and there are also driving modes - Normal, Sport and Eco - which alter things slightly behind the wheel. The e-2008 has plenty of power and it's very responsive to the accelerator. With experience behind the wheel of both the Peugeot 2008 diesel and the Peugeot 2008 petrol, I can say it's remarkable how well Peugeot has incorporated the electric engine into the e-2008. It feels very natural and it's only in enthusiastic cornering that you feel the extra weight on board, so agility only feels somewhat different. It's easy to place through corners, the steering light and responsive.

The Peugeot e-2008 can be plugged in at home most effectively using a wallbox that can be installed, with grants available of up to €600 from the SEAI. With the standard 7 kW on-board charger for Type 2 AC charging, you will get a full charge in 7.5 hours. In this way charging becomes a way of life and you can leave your home confident with a full battery charge. There is also a CCS adaptor so you can make use of fast charging at motorway stations for example. The e-2008 can charge at up to 100 kW at high speed chargers, which can give 80% charge in just 30 mins.

The Peugeot e-2008 uses a 50 kWh battery so while the official WLTP range is given at 310 km, in reality range will vary depending on your driving. Living in rural Ireland, my driving was a mixture of town, country and motorway. Over 200 km is possible in these circumstances. I performed all my journeys will little fuss. Of course the Level 5 restrictions meant I'm not on the road as much as I used to be, but I still think range anxiety is less of an issue with this new generation of electric vehicles.

Things of course can get a little trickier on more long distance journeys and intercounty travel when you might require a top-up. But once again I didn't encounter any problems using the fast charge network.

The Peugeot e-2008 can avail of 100 kW DC fast charging
The Peugeot e-2008 can avail of 100 kW DC fast charging

Did you like it?

We're not just reviewing an electric vehicle here; we're also reviewing how well the e-2008 performs as a compact crossover.

Firstly, the new Peugeot e-2008 executes the compact SUV concept with a flourish that keeps it one of the most distinct of its class. Built to be practical and stylish, the new model will build on the success and customer base of the first, but with more maturity, refinement and style that makes it stand out, and the addition of the latest powertrain technology.

Inside buyers will find a well appointed cabin and a decent small family car with generous kneeroom and a practical boot.

The 2008 range kicks off in Ireland at €24,450, with the electric range priced from €31,262 including grants and VRT relief. Peugeot has done a remarkable job with the e-2008. The electric technology slips into this beautiful new model so seamlessly. It's pleasant and serene to drive, and stands out for quality and design. An extra 100 km range would be nice for even more peace of mind, though it certainly is not a deal breaker here.

More electric vehicles are coming to market, with plenty of competition, but the e-2008 does bring something different to the electric vehicle space.

Peugeot's first foray into electric is very successful. After driving all three versions of this compact crossover, the e-2008 really endeared itself to me and there is something very appealing about going for the most modern EV technology in the range.

Some readers may not have the facilities at home to charge or not be ready for the routine of plugging in their car or what can be a somewhat chequered experience when using the public charging system. But it's nice to see experienced car manufacturers bringing more electric vehicles to market, with the values and expertise garnered over decades of car manufacture. And with Peugeot's multi energy strategy, buyers will find exactly what they need in the new 2008 range.

The Peugeot e-2008 stands out for style and quality
The Peugeot e-2008 stands out for style and quality

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Peugeot e-2008 GT
Price: 
€35,010
Battery: 50 kWh
Power: 
136 hp
Torque: 300 Nm
0-100km/h:  
9.0 seconds
Top speed: 150 km/h
Range (WLTP): 310 km
CO2 emissions (WLTP): 0 g/km
Motor Tax:  €120 per year


Mazda MX-30 (2020) First Drive Review

The new Mazda MX-30 on test for Changing Lanes in Dublin!
The new Mazda MX-30 on test for Changing Lanes in Dublin!

The new Mazda MX-30 is Mazda's first battery electric vehicle and will arrive in Ireland in February 2021. The MX-30 is a compact electric crossover and will go on sale here priced from €30,495 including grants and VRT relief. Powered by a 35.5 kWh battery, the new Mazda MX-30 has a range of up to 200 km (WLTP).

We took the new MX-30 for a test drive ahead of its official launch in Ireland in 2021. Here are our opening thoughts on Mazda's first electric car.

Styling

The MX-30 is a compact crossover with plenty of cool exterior features. It evolves Mazda's famed Kodo design philosophy that little bit further with a more expressive, 'friendly' design. LED headlights come as standard as does obligatory plastic cladding around the wheel arches, sills and bumpers, a crucial accessory for any bonafide urban crossover! There's also showstopper rear hinged freestyle doors that open outwards and invisible B pillar between the front and rear passenger compartment. Six body colours are available - Soul Red Crystal, Polymetal Grey, Machine Grey, Arctic White, Ceramic White and Jet Black - and contrasting roof finishes.

Interior

The Mazda MX-30 interior is a beauty to behold with a pleasing evolution of Mazda's typical driver-centric cockpit design. Everything is positioned for the comfort of the driver. The MX-30 furthers the concept of the horizontal layout to give the interior a simpler, wider look. To this end, the interior features a floating centre console that stands independent of the dashboard and adds additional storage. The introduction of a 7-inch touch-screen air-conditioning control panel is a first for Mazda too, and simplifies the dash layout even further.

The MX-30 adds an earthier feeling to Mazda's classically classy interiors with more intentional natural and recycled materials including a cork centre console and door trim made from fibres produced from recycled plastic bottles.

Elsewhere the dials and interface are conventional and easy to follow. Build quality is good too.

The cockpit of the new Mazda MX-30
The cockpit of the new Mazda MX-30

Practicality

The MX-30 has similar dimensions to the Mazda CX-30. It feels roomy up front with an airy lounge-like feel. The rear seating is accessed through freestyle doors. There's no B pillar to block access and egress. Novelty value for sure however rear legroom is on the tight side. The shape and position of the rear windows also mean occupants can feel a little restricted. Legroom will be tight for larger adults.

Battery, Range and Charging

The MX-30 uses a 35.5 kWh battery, with a WLTP range of 200 km. Mazda is on a 'right-sized' battery approach to building electric vehicles. That means that they haven't stuffed the MX-30 with a high capacity battery in a race to win range. Mazda cites this as more efficient electric motoring, avoiding the weight of a larger battery and reducing energy spend over the entire life cycle of the vehicle 'from well to wheel'. This strategy also keeps overall vehicle weight lower for better handling and agility, which is currently not the case for many EVs.

They make a good case for this but the MX-30's range can look a bit feeble against the competition in the electric crossover segment. Fast charging is available through a CCS charging adapter at 50 kW, giving 80% battery power in 36 minutes. It can be charged to full in as little as 5 hours at home.

The Mazda MX-30 is a new electric crossover from the Japanese brand
The Mazda MX-30 is a new electric crossover from the Japanese brand

On the road

At Changing Lanes, we had the opportunity to preview the MX-30's new electric powertrain when driving a prototype vehicle last December in Lisbon, Portugal. We reported an impressive display by the prototype with natural feeling responses and revving character through a sound actuator. So now we have the opportunity to drive the real thing on Irish roads!

With 145 PS and maximum torque output of 271 Nm, the front-wheel drive MX-30 will accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 9.7 seconds. Though the 'MX' might imply something sexy and powerful, the MX-30 is not a sports car and doesn't need excessive power either. Yet there's pleasant kick from the accelerator should you want it.

To help the driver feel more connected to the car and driving process, aural feedback is provided via the audio system in sync with pressure applied to the accelerator. It's very impressive and gives that impression of revving an engine and moving through gears. Technologies such as electric G-Vectoring Control Plus (e-GVC Plus) ensure a natural feeling behind the wheel and stability while cornering.

The MX-30 feels at home in the urban environment of our test route. This was not a full test of battery performance however early indications were that the MX-30 uses energy cleverly.

Freestyle doors bring a distinct character to the new MX-30
Freestyle doors bring a distinct character to the new MX-30

Pricing & Equipment

In Ireland the new Mazda MX-30 will be available in four trim levels: First Edition, GS-L, GT and GT Sport.

GS-L models are available from €30,495. Features include radar cruise control, windscreen projected head-up-display, front and rear parking sensors, LED headlights and a rear camera. Higher grades such as the GT Sport (from €34,795) will add equipment such as a 12 speaker Bose sound system, sunroof and 360° view camera.

There is also a GT model available from €31,595.

The First Edition models will be the first to arrive in Ireland from February and are priced from €31,795. Features include 8-way power driver seat with memory setting, adaptive LED signature headlights and a choice of dark or light leatherette and cloth interior. Higher grades such as the GT Sport will add equipment such as a 12 speaker Bose sound system, sunroof and 360° view camera.

The MX-30 is also the first in the Mazda range to benefit from the latest MyMazda app, which is now available for free from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. It now contains functions that are only possible on an electric vehicle including notifications if a driver forgets to plug in the charging cable, the ability to control charging using a timer, monitoring charging progress, and a range indicator. The MyMazda app also gives MX-30 drivers real-time information on charging point availability and location, allows them to view key information such as plug types and opening hours, and send the destination directly to the navigation system.

The MX-30 features a further enhanced suite of i-Activsense features. Turn-Across Traffic functionality has been added to the existing Smart Brake Support (SBS) system to help prevent collisions when turning across traffic at intersections. New technologies include Emergency Lane Keeping with Road Keep Assist, which helps keep the car on the right track even in the absence of lane markings, and Emergency Lane Keeping with Blind Spot Assist, which helps prevent collisions when changing lanes.

50 kW fast charging is available
50 kW fast charging is available

Rivals

The new Mazda MX-30 will compete against other compact electric crossovers such as the Kia e-Niro, Kia e-Soul, Hyundai Kona Electric, Peugeot e-2008.

Summary

The Mazda MX-30 is yet another addition to the growing range of electric vehicles now available to buy in Ireland. It adds electric power to the fashionable body of a crossover, with a modern urban look that's bound to draw attention.

Mazda enters the field of electric vehicles bringing its driver centric design philosophy. That's welcome in the electric vehicle space. The beautiful interior design and interesting material choices certainly differentiate the MX-30, as do the freestyle doors! We're not convinced yet of the practicality of the arrangement but it surely is different!

Behind the wheel Mazda delivers the same pedantic pursuit of driver pleasure as in any of their combustion engined cars. This is good for people who enjoy driving.

Which leaves us thinking about range. We are yet to fully put to the test the practicality of charging and living with the MX-30. Yet the 200 km range will be eclipsed by most rivals. There's a lot of logic to Mazda's approach but will it work for real people?

The Mazda MX-30 is thankfully well-priced and well-equipped so there's still plenty to play for.

Mazda MX-30 is one of the most exciting electric crossovers arriving in Ireland in 2021
Mazda MX-30 is one of the most exciting electric crossovers arriving in Ireland in 2021

Caroline Kidd


The new Honda e on test for Changing Lanes

Honda e (2020) First Drive Review

The new Honda e on test for Changing Lanes
The new Honda e on test for Changing Lanes

The new Honda e has arrived in Ireland and goes on sale priced from €29,995 including Government grants and VRT relief. It's the Japanese brand's first battery electric car, based on the Honda Urban EV concept car, which made a dramatic debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2017 and has had tongues wagging ever since in anticipation of its cool retro-inspired styling and lounge-like interior.

With a WLTP range of 222 km, it is an all electric city car aimed at the urban dweller. It brings a number of innovations to the Honda brand, including Side Camera Mirror System. We had an opportunity to bring the Honda e for a test drive in Dublin. Here are our opening thoughts on the quirky Honda e.

Styling

The production Honda e retains most of the cool character of the original Honda Urban EV concept. Small in size, the Honda e is from the future and at home on city streets lit by neon lights. It's anything but ordinary. The clues are there as you approach. Traditional side mirrors have been replaced by cameras so the Honda e has 'no ears' per se, just small housing for the cameras protruding from each wing. At the front, there's a closed grille with those dazzling round headlamps deliberately styled to give the Honda e a friendly human face that you will just fall in love with instantly. Charging is via a remote controlled flap on the bonnet that opens to reveal a CCS port for fast charging and AC charging.

Quirky styling and laden with tech characterises the new Honda e
Quirky styling and laden with tech characterise the new Honda e

Interior

Inside Honda treats us to another glimpse of the future. Many manufacturers are showing us concepts of lounge-like interiors built around screens and more screens but Honda brings one to production in the year 2020. It's an elegant, classy and techy dashboard set-up with full-width LCD touchscreens and wood panelling that would not be out of place in an upmarket furniture store. Neither would the seat upholstery or bench-like seating in the rear. The Side Camera Mirror System means you get more screen action to show you what is going on around the vehicle. The compact cameras on the outside of the vehicle provide live images to two six-inch screens inside the vehicle. This camera technology is a first in the compact segment. Works beautifully we can confirm in daylight, though we haven't experienced it at night time yet. Standard kit too. Go up to the Advance model (from €32,995) and Honda will even up the ante with a Centre Camera Mirror System, which cleverly relays the image from a central rear-facing camera to the rear-view mirror display. It's an interior fitting of an up and coming electric city car. Analogue fans need not apply.

Practicality

The Honda e is a small car but can fit humans in it too and some of their gear. It's five door with four seat interior. Up front it feels roomy but legroom is on the small side in the rear and the boot has a capacity of just 171 litres. It's cool though, right?

Battery, Power and Range

The purpose built EV platform uses a 35.5 kWh battery, with a WLTP range of 222 km. The Honda e has 136 hp, while the Honda e Advance has 154 hp. Fast charging is available through a CCS charging adapter, with the opportunity to add 80% of charge in just 30 minutes. The Type 2 AC connection charges the car to full in 4.1 hours, with a 7.4 kW supply.

Inside the new Honda e
Inside the new Honda e

On the road

The excitement of setting off in the Honda e on a dull Monday morning in October just a few weeks before Lockdown 2.0! Bizarrely despite all that visible tech the Honda e is as easy as 1 2 3 to drive, or P R N D, considering it's controlled by a simple button gear selector that means you just press a button to put the car in Drive.

As well as Single Pedal Control, the Honda e also has two drive modes; Normal, for a quiet refined drive around town and Sport, for increased responsiveness.

Silence is the language of the Honda e. It's light and nippy and oh so modern. We felt a bit small on the motorway but could still keep up with the best of them. In typical urban driving it's that perfect slice of zero tailpipe emissions future motoring with instant acceleration and responsiveness. Buy the Honda e and that's 'now' motoring, but we expect more will join as Honda Ireland expects to sell their full allocation of 150 little e badged Hondas in 2021.

We had limited time to test the Honda e's consumption and efficiency but early indications are that it uses electricity cleverly. If buyers can charge every night at home you will set off each day on your commute with close to 170 km.

So much cool stuff in the cabin of the new Honda e
So much cool stuff in the cabin of the new Honda e

Pricing & Equipment

An enhanced suite of safety features sees the addition of three new safety technologies to the Honda e including Collision Mitigation Throttle Control, preventing sudden acceleration in either reverse or drive upon starting the car when there is an obstacle in the way; Low Speed Brake Function, which applies emergency braking while driving at low speed, and Lead Car Departure Notification System which notifies the driver when the car in front has started moving.

Another new feature is Honda Parking Pilot, which provides further driver support by monitoring for parking spaces and highlighting on the HMI screens a suitable position to begin assisted parking.

In Ireland the Honda e (from €29,995) comes as standard with Honda Sensing suite of safety features, 16" alloys, climate control with rear vent, automatic wipers, electric windows front and rear, heated front seats, parking sensors, rear view parking camera, ambient lighting, and panoramic glass roof.

Honda e Advance (from €32,995) adds an increased motor output, Centre Camera Mirror System, a more powerful audio system, heated windscreen and steering wheel, and the smart Honda Parking Pilot driver aid.

Honda in Ireland has chosen to sell the new Honda e from a number of urban Honda dealers nationwide, including Des Darcy Honda and Clonskeagh Motors Honda in Dublin, Kevin O’Leary Honda in Cork, and Sheils Honda in Limerick and Galway.

Rivals

The new Honda e will compete against other compact electric vehicles like the Peugeot e-208 and the MINI Electric.

Summary

The new Honda e hits the compact EV market at the premium end. Honda has many valid reasons for not using a larger capacity battery for more range but it will be tough for the Honda e in a market that fetishises range - the more of it the better seemingly and I might be saying the same thing after spending a week with the car.

The Honda e may not win the range race but what it does have is street cred that makes it serious eye candy for early adopters. If you're after a budget small car, the Honda e is evidently not for you. But the premium build, technology-laden Honda e is undeniably cool, adventurous and desirable.

A trendsetter we can fully get behind and look forward to delving deeper into the technology and practicality of living with a Honda e when we take it on an extended test drive in January 2021. Watch this space!

The new Honda e all electric compact now on sale from €29,995
The new Honda e all electric compact now on sale from €29,995

Caroline Kidd