The new Ora Funky Cat

Ora Funky Cat Review (2023)

The Ora Funky Cat is a new compact electric car expected to arrive in Ireland before the end of the year. The Funky Cat will be available with two different battery sizes and will go on sale priced from €31,995, including the grant for electric vehicles.

Ora is a Chinese car brand that's part of the Great Wall Motor (GWM) group and it's one of the newest car brands to arrive in Ireland and Europe. The IM Group will be responsible for distributing the new Funky Cat in Ireland, adding to their brand portfolio that already includes Subaru.

Caroline travelled to Birmingham to drive the new Ora Funky Cat ahead of its official arrival in Ireland.

The new Ora Funky Cat
The new Ora Funky Cat expected in Ireland before the end of the year

Styling

The Ora Funky Cat is designed as a compact hatchback - but a very stylish one. It might look like a supermini but it's actually similar in size to a Volkswagen ID.3. At the front, there are striking details like the circular headlights, reminiscent of another famous small car! The bonnet has some quite sporty looking detail and there is a sleekness and shine to this car that will surely put a smile on your face. The Ora logo is an enigmatic exclamation mark and appears on the bonnet and the alloy wheel caps. Like every fashionable small car, there is the option of a contrast white roof or black roof, and a palette of colour choices from metallic to pastel. 18-inch alloy wheels come as standard across the range. At the back, there is an unusual fully integrated light bar in the windscreen and a mid-mounted fog lamp finishes off the upscale look. Later in 2023, a GT model will become available with more sporty features.

Interior

Ora pitches the Funky Cat as an upmarket compact car and the interior certainly mostly lives up to that. It strikes a good balance between feeling spacious, but also cosy and well-appointed. A black interior comes as standard, while there is the option of two-tone colour schemes that add a fashionable bespoke look to the cabin of the Funky Cat. Stylish touches include the rotary dial for the gear selection and the chrome switches in the dash. There is some stylish quilting in the doors, suede-style fabric finish to the dashboard, and the quilted leatherette seats are another highlight.

Where the Funky Cat really excels is in onboard technology. There is a widescreen set up behind the steering wheel that incorporates the digital driver display and the touchscreen for the infotainment and voice control that responds to commands of 'Hello Ora'. Wireless smartphone charging is also included as standard as well as high-tech features like a reversing camera, 360 degree surround cameras and even facial recognition to personalise your settings to the car.

The interior of the new Funky Cat
The interior of the new Funky Cat

Practicality

The Ora Funky Cat comes with five doors as standard. It feels roomy up front for a compact car, while the back seat is much more spacious than small electric cars like the Fiat 500e and the Peugeot e-208. The Funky Cat is built on a dedicated electric vehicle platform and the floor in the back is flat giving everyone on board some great legroom. It doesn't feel too cramped for headroom either.

The boot measures 228 litres, which is small for a compact car. It's bigger than a Fiat 500e, but smaller than something like a Peugeot e-208 and significantly smaller than the likes of a Renault Megane E-TECH, MG4 or Volkswagen ID.3. Still, it will work for some lifestyles and you can let the rear seats down. There is also a small bit of underfloor storage for a set of charging cables.

Battery

The Funky Cat is available with two different battery sizes. The range kicks off with the 48 kWh 300 PRO (priced from €31,995) with a range of 310 kilometres (WLTP). The price rises to €39,995 for the 63 kWh 400 PRO+ with a range of 420 kilometres (WLTP).

Charging

The new Cat can charge up to 11kW (AC) and up to 67kW (DC). A standard CCS port comes as standard for all Funky Cats sold in Europe.

The Funky Cat is available from €31,995 in Ireland
The Funky Cat is available from €31,995 in Ireland

On the road

The Ora Funky Cat uses a 171hp motor to send power to the front wheels, making it a secure and swift compact hatchback on the road, no matter which version you go for. There's 250Nm of torque available and the 0-100 km/h sprint can be done in just over 8 seconds, going on to a top speed of 160 km/h. There's certainly power when you want it, and it feels nippy and capable, whether in town or on the motorway. It rides well for a small electric car too, offering a smooth and comfortable drive for the most part. Refinement out on the motorway could be better, with a fair bit of noise entering the cabin at high speeds. Steering provides some feel and there's lots of front end grip. Despite some lean in corners, it remains a fun and agile compact electric car. I was driving the 48 kWh 300 PRO version, which showed about 300 kilometres of range when I got into to it with a full battery. It seems reasonably efficient as well, averaging about 17.4 kWh per 100 kilometres during my time with the car.

Pricing 

The Ora Funky Cat goes on sale priced from €31,995 including grants for the 300 PRO version with a 48 kWh battery and 310 km (WLTP) of range. It's exceptionally well-equipped with lots of high-tech interior features, safety equipment, and 18-inch alloy wheels. The 400 PRO+ version is available from €39,995 including grants with a 63kWh battery and 420 km (WLTP) of range. It has even more luxurious features as standard including heated steering wheel, heated front seats with massage function, powered tailgate and a panoramic glass roof.

Rear seating in the Ora Funky Cat
Rear seating in the Ora Funky Cat

Summary

In Ireland, expect a dealership to open in Dublin very soon where the Ora Funky Cat will be available for test drive, followed by locations in Cork and Galway before the end of the year.

The Funky Cat is a stylish and charismatic addition to the market for compact electric cars in Ireland. It's a car that leads with style and high-tech features as standard, while the interior fit and finish with its myriad of colour options give it an upmarket feel.

Depending on which version you go for, the Funky Cat falls into two arenas when it comes to rivals. At the lower end of the scale it compares well to small EVs, offering bespoke style, a high specification, and a lot more passenger room in the back. The battery range is competitive as opposed to outstanding, but the Funky Cat has enough charm to be in contention.

Go for the more expensive version with the larger battery, and there's a more impressive 420 kilometre range yet the Funky Cat's small boot may hold it back from family buyers in the market for a good value, compact electric vehicle.

Ora is positioned as a more premium brand in the market so for buyers looking for a stylish and well-appointed small electric car that's a little bit different to the competition, then the new Funky Cat is definitely worth a look.

The Ora Funky Cat is a trendy compact car available in a variety of colours
The Ora Funky Cat is a trendy compact car available in a variety of colours

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

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


The Polestar 2 on test for Changing Lanes!

Polestar 2 Review (Dual Motor)

Read Caroline's Polestar 2 review for everything you need to know about buying the new electric car from Polestar in Ireland.

Polestar is one of Ireland's newest car brands, which launched here earlier in 2022. The first car to market here is of course the Polestar 2, a Tesla Model 3 rivalling premium electric car.

Since July, the brand has already registered over 100 new cars here, but expect that to rise quickly with the opening of their first retail location in Ireland in Sandyford, Dublin. Called 'Polestar Space', it's where prospective buyers can view the car and take it for a test drive before starting the online process of buying the car.

The new Polestar 2 goes on sale in Ireland priced from €51,135 after the SEAI grant is applied. There's a choice of standard range and long range batteries, and single and dual motor versions.

The Polestar 2 on test for Changing Lanes!
The Polestar 2 on test for Changing Lanes!

What's so special about the Polestar 2?

Polestar was established as a new, standalone Swedish premium electric vehicle manufacturer in 2017. Founded by Volvo Cars and Geely Holding, Polestar cars share technology and engineering with Volvo Cars.

That's good provenance but the most striking thing about the Polestar 2 is surely its design. For the brand's first mass production electric car, Polestar has created a stylish sedan-style vehicle but with some of the more fashionable design cues of this era - without turning it into an SUV.

The Polestar's compact proportions give it grace and elegance, while the raised ride height and more rugged styling features like cladding around the wheel arches and sills give it more presence than your average hatchback. There's a tasteful palette of neutral shades to go with it.

The Volvo family DNA is indeed evident in the design - see those confident lines and upright front grille and rear - but with the prestigious stamp of the new Polestar brand.

Polestar is cool, no doubts. Their enigmatic logo appears in various places around the outside and inside of the car. At the back a full width light bar gives the car its own characteristic style.

19-inch wheels, signature LED light designs front and rear and frameless mirrors make all variants largely indistinguishable from each other.

All in all, it's a cool Scandi alternative to the likes of the Tesla Model 3, BMW i4, Kia EV6 and the Hyundai Ioniq 5.

Polestar 2 is available with the choice of two batteries, and single motor or dual motor
Polestar 2 is available with the choice of two batteries, and single motor or dual motor

Inside the Polestar 2

For anyone familiar with the latest Volvos, the interior of the new Polestar 2 will feel quite familiar. But the design of the Polestar 2 means it feels sportier behind the wheel. The cabin is cosy with quite a high centre console, which enhances the sporty vibe. It feels well made with some nice sustainable materials used also.

The steering wheel bears the Polestar emblem, which also appears in what we think might be the world's most beautiful gear selector! There's a full digital driver display and portrait style touchscreen that's also used in the latest generation Volvo cars. The touchscreen uses a Google operating system - it was the first car in the world to do so. It's a very nice system to use with in-built Google maps and services.

Other standard features include a premium stereo with 8 speakers, front- and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera. There are a number of packs that add more equipment.

The Polestar 2 will seat five but it's fair to say that two will be most comfortable in the back. There is a prominent centre tunnel, which gives the car the feel of an elite sports sedan, but eats into legroom. A Tesla Model 3 feels a bit more spacious inside - but not by much.

The boot is a practical hatchback-style opening and offers 405 litres, which is on par with a lot of family hatchbacks and small SUVs. There’s a handy divider that is easy to slide up from the boot floor to separate items. A powered tailgate comes as standard.

Polestar has also include a 41 litre ‘frunk’ under the bonnet, which is handy for storing the charging cables.

The interior of the new Polestar 2
The interior of the new Polestar 2

Driving the Polestar 2

The new Polestar 2 is based on Volvo Car Group’s adaptable Compact Modular Architecture platform (CMA), which is also used by the Volvo XC40 and Volvo C40. It shares the same batteries - 69kWh or 78kWh. The best for range is the single motor version with the 78kWh long range battery, with up to 551 kilometres (WLTP) possible (from €56,135).

On test was the Polestar 2 with 78kWh, long range battery and dual motors. It is the most expensive of the range (from €63,850), but offers the best performance of the range with a whopping 408hp and the 0-100 kmh sprint completed in just 4.7 seconds. The projected range is up to 487 kilometres (WLTP).

But the performance of single motor versions is hardly shabby with both offering 231hp and the 0-100 kmh sprint in 7.4 seconds.

The Polestar 2 feels neat and agile on the road, offering a high-end driving experience behind the wheel. It cruises effortlessly at high speeds on the motorway. The ride is good on these smooth road surfaces, though it can feel a bit firm over any bumps or imperfections in the road surface.

All the controls are nicely weighted so it feels natural to drive. One pedal driving is possible, which means the car will gently come to a stop when you lift off the accelerator without having to touch the brake.

You can also adjust the steering feel but it's not quite as entertaining to drive as a BMW i4 or as outright 'fast' as a Tesla Model 3. Still, it's a balanced drive that leaves little to complain about.

Polestar 2 comes equipped with an 11 kW onboard charger, which gives more flexibility in AC charging. DC fast charging is available up to 150 kW, for an 80% charge in 35 minutes. It will take about 11 hours to charge the Polestar 2 at 7 kW from a wallbox installed at home for example.

The Polestar 2 is now available to view and test drive from Ireland's first Polestar Space in Dublin
The Polestar 2 is now available to view and test drive from Ireland's first Polestar Space in Dublin

Did you like it?

The Polestar 2 is one of the most anticipated new cars of 2022 and it doesn't disappoint. It's a very welcome addition to the market, offering a slick design and clever cabin, long range and fast charging. That makes it impossible to ignore for buyers looking for one of the best electric cars on sale at the moment.

Some are a bit more spacious or a bit more fun to drive, but the Polestar is a brand you buy into because you like they way they design cars and how they sell them too.

Single motor versions look like the best value and provide adequate performance, though of course dual motor acceleration is fun! But it's the sophistication of this car's cruising ability and cabin refinement that make it a stylish and capable executive car.

If you sit in and love the cabin of this car, that's probably enough already.

Welcome Polestar!

The Polestar 2 is on sale now
The Polestar 2 is on sale now

Model tested: Polestar 2 long range, dual motor
Price: 
€63,850
Battery:
78 kWh
Range: 487 km (WLTP)
Power: 408hp
Torque: 660Nm
Top speed: 205 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 4.7 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 Mercedes-Benz EQE on test for Changing Lanes

Mercedes-Benz EQE Review

Read Caroline's Mercedes-Benz EQE review for everything you need to know about Mercedes' new electric saloon in Ireland.

Mercedes-Benz is accelerating their brand towards an electric future with the launch of a suite of new electric cars and SUVs from their Mercedes EQ range of vehicles.

First to market were a new range of battery-powered SUVs - the EQC, EQA and EQB, all previously reviewed on this website.

But Mercedes-Benz has long been the purveyor of luxurious saloons and thankfully 2022 saw the arrival of two electric saloons - the flagship EQS and the EQE.

The EQE is more compact than the EQS with a shorter wheelbase. In terms of external dimensions, it's similar to the CLS in the Mercedes-Benz range.

The new Mercedes-Benz EQE on test for Changing Lanes
The new Mercedes-Benz EQE on test for Changing Lanes

What's so special about the new Mercedes-Benz EQE?

While it could be tagged as an electric E-Class that would not do this car justice. The new EQE is a stand-out model for the brand in its own right, sporting a sleek, aerodynamic design that points to a new breed of Mercedes-Benz.

The wealth of technology underneath can see the EQE cover over 600 kilometres on a single battery charge.

The EQE goes on sale in Ireland priced from €82,010. All version come with a 89kWh battery but vary in power and driven wheels. The entry into the range is the EQE 300 with 245hp, while the EQE 350 on test offers 292hp and 4Matic four wheel drive.

Styling is sleek for aerodynamic efficiency including flush door handles for a smooth silhouette. The EQE sports a futuristic front end in line with other Mercedes EQ models. It's smart and subtle -  a good evolution for the brand towards an electric future.

Various trim lines are available like Electric Art and AMG Line, which alter the look of the car slightly. 19-inch alloy wheels come as standard.

But it's inside where the EQE really shines, with an avant-garde interior that is beautifully appointed.

The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz EQE
The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz EQE

Inside the new Mercedes EQE

Mercedes-Benz interiors are maturing, with a strong digital component to every new model launched. The new EQE takes inspiration from the larger EQS, though the brand's impressive new MBUX Hyperscreen is not yet available here in the EQE.

The EQE might be electric, but Mercedes has not scrimped on quality and the EQE feels suitably posh inside with lots of beautiful, tactile materials used to create just the right ambience for a high-tech electric saloon. Heated front and rear seats come as standard, as does a wireless phone charger.

There's also a full digital display for the driver and a gorgeous MBUX portrait-style touchscreen that we've seen in some other models like the newly-launched Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

The interior dimensions are a bit bigger than the current E-Class with a bit more shoulder room and a slightly higher driver position. In the back there is enough legroom for adult passengers, though headroom feels tighter than an E-Class. The boot capacity is 430 litres, which is a bit less than an E-Class - but the saloon-style opening means neither car offers the most practical boot shape.

The EQE is available from about €82,000 in Ireland
The EQE is available from about €82,000 in Ireland

Driving the new EQE

On the road the new EQE shines for both refinement and electric driving range. The EQE 350 offers a smooth delivery of power and rides exceptionally well, making it the perfect long distance cruiser.

It's responsive and agile, though a BMW i4 is a more engaging drive when the roads get a little tighter and more interesting.

Mercedes' battery technology and the EQE's efficiency also make it a great choice of premium electric car. All versions of the car can post a driving range in excess of 500 kilometres on a full battery charge. The EQE proved to be one of the most efficient EVs I've driven in a while, with consumption averaging at 17 kwh per 100 kilometres.

AC charging is available up to 11kW, while DC fast charging is available up to 170kW.

Rear seating in the EQE
Rear seating in the EQE

Did you like it?

These days we tend to see more electric SUVs hitting the roads than electric saloons, but the EQE's aerodynamic design certainly proves to be very efficient and desirable.

Over the coming months an SUV bearing the EQE badge is expected for those that prefer a more rugged design and high driving position.

Mercedes-Benz is famous for executive saloons so there's a lot riding on this EQE. Its beautiful sleek design is enough to garner it a few fans and Mercedes is successfully moving their brand into this new era of electric mobility.

For an EQE that may live on the motorway, the combination of fast charging capability and an excellent driving range makes it a reliable companion.

Inside, the EQE provides a cabin design that will not isolate the brand's current customer base, such is the quality of the finish and the ease of use of the technology on board.

The Mercedes-Benz EQE is an exclusive car but ticks so many boxes for buyers looking for a high-end luxury electric car.

The EQE offers comfort, refinement and excellent battery performance
The EQE offers comfort, refinement and excellent battery performance

Model tested: Mercedes-Benz EQE 350 AMG Line 
Price: 
€85,980
Battery:
89 kWh
Range: 641 km (WLTP)
Power: 292hp
Torque: 565Nm
Top speed: 210 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 6.4 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€120 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

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

 


The Volvo C40 on test for Changing Lanes!

Volvo C40 Recharge Twin Review

Read Caroline's Volvo C40 review for everything you need to know about buying Volvo's new electric SUV in Ireland.

Do you remember a time when Volvo was famous for estate cars? These days it's SUVs that have become synonymous with the Volvo brand - and good ones at that. In Ireland the XC60 is the brand's bestselling model, followed by the Volvo XC40 - a former Irish Car of the Year.

While the brand has truly embraced hybrids for some years now, it was the launch of the XC40 Recharge, the brand's first fully electric model, that has really put them on the path to becoming a fully electric car brand by 2030.

But these days, the market demands SUVs of all sizes and shapes. So Volvo has launched another - the new Volvo C40.

The Volvo C40 on test for Changing Lanes!
The Volvo C40 on test for Changing Lanes!

What's so special about the Volvo C40?

The C40 has been designed as an SUV coupé. So it has many of the familiar SUV design cues, but the tapering roofline offers a sleeker and more prestigious look.

SUV coupés are a major trend at the moment in the motor industry. The C40 looks high-end and premium, and carries a little more prestige than a traditional SUV with a boxy rear-end. While it shares a lot with the XC40 Recharge, the C40 manages to stand out as more of a style icon and warrants its place in the line-up.

Large wheels are part of the deal too - 19-inch and 20-inch are available. There's also a trendy black contrast roof, black door mirror caps, sporty boot and roof spoiler, and a distinctive LED rear light signature.

The new Volvo C40 is only sold as a battery electric vehicle. You won't find any fuel versions in the line-up. There are single and dual motor versions, badged C40 Recharge and C40 Recharge Twin respectively.

Single-motor versions go on sale from about €53,730 including the SEAI grant for electric vehicles. They use a 69kWh battery that can travel up to 433 kilometres (WLTP) on one battery charge. It’s available in two trim levels, Plus and Ultimate, and comes well-equipped. Dual motor versions get a slightly higher capacity 78kWh battery that can drive for up to 446 kilometres (WLTP) on a single battery charge. They are available from €61,930 with Core, Plus and Ultimate trim levels, and offer the best performance of the range.

Elsewhere, this car is practical, offering seating for five and a classic Volvo cabin - so that means it's a simple design with lots of clever technology and safety features on board.

The interior of the Volvo C40 Recharge
The interior of the Volvo C40 Recharge

Inside the Volvo C40

You sit high in the cabin of the C40, with a good commanding view of the road ahead. It does feel a little bit sportier behind the wheel than the Volvo XC40 Recharge, but the cabin design is much the same. That means the centre of the dashboard is dominated by a 9-inch portrait-style touchscreen. There are very few physical buttons but the Android operating system works excellently and it's simple to navigate. Google Maps is built into it, and it integrates perfectly with a full digital driver display.

The cabin quality is good, it feels high-end but not as luxurious as what you might expect. Volvo has used a lot of recyclable materials in the cabin, which goes some way to explain why that might be. For example, the fabric seats in my test car didn't seem the right fit for a car of this price.

There's lots of equipment including wireless smartphone charging, heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, as well as a fixed panoramic glass roof.

The C40 has the same amount of leg and kneeroom as the XC40 Recharge so it offers decent accommodation, though a Volkswagen ID.4 does feel more spacious in the back. There's a little less headroom because of the sloping, coupé-style roofline - but that's about it. Rear doors don't open as wide as in some other family SUVs though.

Convenience features include a powered tailgate, which opens to reveal 413 litres of space, with some underfloor storage too. That's less than a Volkswagen ID.4 but the C40's trump card is a 'frunk' - a space under the bonnet where you can store the charging cables.

The C40 has been designed as a stylish SUV coupé
The C40 has been designed as a stylish SUV coupé

Driving the C40 Recharge Twin

Driving the C40 Recharge Twin is a lot like driving the electric XC40. They share the same batteries and underpinnings. It's solid and predictable on the road. It's a heavy SUV so there's a limit to its dynamism, but the dual motor version tested offers plenty of grip.

Single motor versions are the most efficient of the range and send 231hp to the front wheels. That should be enough performance for most, but the dual motor version does feel fast on the road when you want it. There's a whopping 408hp, more than a Volkswagen ID.5 GTX, and the C40 Recharge Twin will sprint to 100km/h in just 4.7 seconds.

The suspension has been firmed up to cope with the extra weight of the battery, but the C40 is still deemed a comfortable drive for the most part.

DC fast charging is possible with the C40 up to 150kW, so you can add 80% charge in just under 40 minutes at a high-power charging station. From a 7kW wallbox at home for example, it will take about 12 hours to charge the battery to 100%.

Every C40 also comes with a Plugsurfing card that allows you to use over 200,000 charge points across Ireland and Europe with just one access card.

Volvo C40 and XC40 charging
Pure electric Volvo C40 and XC40 Recharge

Did you like it?

Despite offering a more prestigious design and image, the Volvo C40 starts from the same price as the XC40 Recharge, Volvo's other electric SUV.

Just like the XC40, the C40 offers a classy cabin experience and a very user-friendly digital interface. It's the little things, like the integrated Google Maps, that make the C40 a smart companion on any journey.

The C40 looks great and is a prestigious electric SUV. It offers accommodation for five and a boot of over 400 litres, though some rivals do feel a bit more spacious in the back.

Dual motor versions offer excellent performance but the C40 is not dynamic enough for this to be a huge thrill beyond some hefty acceleration in a straight line. For that reason the 'entry level' single motor, front wheel drive C40 looks to be a more sensible option - unless four wheel drive is required.

This is a simple Swede to live with and stands out for its stylish good looks and relaxing cabin among other electric SUVs.

The new Volvo C40 Recharge Twin with dual motors priced from €61,930
The new Volvo C40 Recharge Twin priced from €61,930

Model tested: Volvo C40 Recharge Twin
Price: 
€68,950
Battery:
78 kWh
Range: 446 km (WLTP)
Power: 408hp
Torque: 660Nm
Top speed: 180 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 4.7 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€120 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

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


The Fiat 500e on test for Changing Lanes!

Fiat 500e Review

Read Caroline's Fiat 500e review for everything you need to know about buying Fiat's new electric city car in Ireland.

The Fiat 500 has been a huge success for Fiat since it was relaunched as the new 500 back in 2007. It's stayed popular throughout, while only being mildly revised over the years. Various special editions and cosmetic updates have kept it just as desirable as the day it was launched. It's clearly one of the most recognisable small cars on Irish roads.

At Changing Lanes, I've had the opportunity to follow the story of the 500 since about 2013 when I first tested the petrol version and since then I've tested it in many of its different iterations.

The 500 is the quintessential city car and now it's back for a new generation. The big news is that Fiat has taken the plunge and created a fully electric version of the 500 - the new Fiat 500e. Let's take a closer look.

The Fiat 500e on test for Changing Lanes!
The Fiat 500e on test for Changing Lanes!

What's so special about the Fiat 500e?

There are two battery sizes available - 24kWh and 42kWh. Go for that Fiat 500e 24kWh and you have one of the cheapest electric cars on sale right now. It's priced from just €24,995 including grants and VRT relief. The catch? The range is just 190 kilometres (WLTP). It might work as a second car or if the car will stay in the city only.

The Fiat 500e 42kWh offers more flexibility with a projected range of up to 320 kilometres (WLTP) and is priced from €29,995.

This is one of the most stylish small electric cars on sale right now. It sits on a new platform. It's a bit longer, taller and wider...but still tiny, measuring less than four metres in length. That makes the 500e the ideal city car, zero tailpipe emissions too. It's easy to park and manoeuvre around tight city streets.

The car has also matured well in terms of design. There's no mistaking it's a 500 but it somehow has more presence and a cooler stance on the road.  At the front, there is a new split lighting design that adds character, while at the rear, there's a big bumper and new lights.

There are three trim levels - Action, Icon and La Prima - with wheel sizes varying from 15- to 17-inch depending on what model you go for. There's even a very striking Red special edition of the car that comes packed with equipment.

So a charismatic small car that also happens to be electric.

The Fiat 500e is available with two battery sizes
The Fiat 500e is available with two battery sizes

Inside the Fiat 500e

The Fiat 500e has a brand new interior that has been modernised in line with this car's new status as a battery electric vehicle. There's a new two-spoke steering wheel and digital instrument cluster for the driver displaying relevant information including the status of the battery.

On all but the entry model there is an impressive 10-inch touchscreen using Fiat's Uconnect system. It has lots of functionality and all versions get wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The cabin is bright and airy thanks to large windows and windscreen.

There is quite a lot of exposed hard plastic in the cabin but that's mixed with some nicer materials like fabric trim in the dashboard panel and some lovely eco-leather seats in top of the range La Prima models. Some of the fabrics available across the range are made from recycled materials too.

This is a small car but up front it feels roomy for two people with some handy storage compartments. In the back it's a different story, but children should be fine. There's Isofix on the two seats in the rear but it's hardly a car you buy if you use the back of the car regularly as legroom and headroom are in short supply. There's also Isofix on the front passenger seat.

The boot is about standard for the city car class at 185 litres and is enough to carry a few bags.

The interior of the Fiat 500e La Prima
The interior of the Fiat 500e La Prima

Driving the 500 Electric

Versions with a 24kWh battery have 95hp, while versions with a 42kWh battery have 118hp. Yet there's not much between them in terms of real on the road performance and the Fiat 500e feels nippy and capable. In fact if you're used to driving a petrol 500, the electric version feels so much more responsive and smoother to drive.

The steering is light as you would expect from a city car and the Fiat 500 electric is fun to drive just by being a small car. It's not the most comfortable small car on the market and it does bounce around a bit over any bumps or imperfections in the road surface. It's not a dealbreaker if you like the car, but certainly frustrating over a long journey on a motorway for example. Yet this is a city car and that's where it's really at its best.

In real world driving, 270 kilometres is definitely possible on a full battery and driving at low speeds around town will prolong your range for longer. Fast charging is available up to 85kW getting you to 80% battery charge in about 35 minutes. While it takes just over six hours to charge the 500e to full from a standard 7.4kW wallbox at home.

There are also driving modes included - Normal, Range and Sherpa. The Range mode is like one pedal driving so you can control the car with just the accelerator. When you lift off the accelerator, the car will gradually bring itself to a stop. It makes city driving effortless.

The Sherpa mode is used to conserve your range when you find yourself trying to reach your destination on the last few kilometres of range. It turns off the air conditioning and reduces the top speed of the vehicle to 80km/h.

Fast charging is available for the 500e up to 85kW
Fast charging is available in the 500e up to 85kW

Did you like it?

The Fiat 500e is one of the most stylish small electric cars on sale right now. Fans of the petrol 500 will just love this electric version. It looks better and is even more enjoyable to drive now.

The interior has also had a great revamp and there are lots of nice trims available and cool digital features like the 10-inch touchscreen.

Like all these small electric cars, you will still pay more for one of these than the equivalent small petrol car. The 500 is certainly not the most practical small electric car on sale at the moment. Some others are bigger and nicer to drive too overall.

Yet, the Fiat 500 was always the car you bought because you wanted a small, trendy car to drive around town in. It still very much is, though not as cheap as before. Except now it's ready for the future too.

Model tested: Fiat 500e 42kWh La Prima
Price: 
€33,495
Battery:
42kWh
Range: 320km (WLTP)
Power: 118hp
Torque: 220Nm
Top speed: 150km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 9 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€120 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes

 


The new Cupra Born on test for Changing Lanes!

Cupra Born 58kWh Review

Read Caroline's Cupra Born review for everything you need to know about buying Cupra's new electric car in Ireland.

The new Cupra Born makes Cupra one of the most exciting new entrants to the electric vehicle market in Ireland. A market we know is growing.

But the Born is a welcome addition, making a bold statement with its hot hatchback inspired looks. It's a compact EV with presence that's sure to turn heads.

The new Cupra Born goes on sale in Ireland in 2022 with a choice of two batteries: a 58kWh and a 77kWh, though a Born 45kWh is expected to join soon.

The new Cupra Born goes on sale priced from €36,360 (including grants and VRT relief) for the 58kWh version with a range of 425 kilometres measured to WLTP industry standards. Expect the Born 45kWh to be a bit cheaper when it arrives here and compromise some range for that too.

The new Cupra Born on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Cupra Born on test for Changing Lanes!

What's so special about the Cupra Born?

First it's electric. And anything with a battery is hot these days. But there's clearly more to the Born than just being a BEV.

Rewind a little. Cupra began as the performance arm of the Seat brand. So you might remember hot hatchbacks like the Seat Leon Cupra and a personal favourite of mine, the Seat Ibiza Cupra.

But then Cupra became its own brand. And in 2021 they brought us their first car that wasn’t just a rebadged Seat, the Cupra Formentor, which turned out to be a really good car.

Now they’re back with this, the new Cupra Born, and it’s the Spanish brand’s first electric car. It shares a lot with the Volkswagen ID.3, because all these brands are part of the Volkswagen Group.

But the Cupra Born has been designed to be sportier and more dynamic. And it certainly looks the part.

The dimensions of the Born might be the same as the Volkswagen ID.3 but Cupra has really put their stamp on this car. It has a much more youthful and sportier appearance than the ID.3. Wheel sizes are available up to 20-inches; 18-inch come as standard. There's a range of unique colours available including the signature Aurora Blue pictured.

The car is full of sporty details, like a flowing aerodynamic side sill element and copper accents, now a signature of the Cupra brand. The Born looks strong, unique and desirable, though the loud styling and big wheels won't suit everyone. There are full LED headlamps at the front and a charismatic full length light signature at the back. A body-coloured, integrated diffuser adds a final sporty flourish.

The Cupra Born is a new compact electric vehicle
The Cupra Born is a new compact electric vehicle

Inside the Born

The cabin of the Born is very stylish and well-appointed. It's quite a minimalist design - a small digital screen displays relevant battery and driving information to the driver, while a 12-inch infotainment screen comes as standard and takes centre stage in the centre of the dash. There are few buttons, which may or may not be your thing. There are also touch sensitive buttons on the steering wheel, but they are not the most satisfying to use.

Standard equipment levels are high including wireless smartphone charging, heated, Cupra-branded bucket seats, heated steering wheel, rear view camera and adaptive cruise control.

The car certainly has a high-end, sporty ambience with more signature Cupra brand copper accents inside, good quality materials, and those gorgeous bucket seats.

This is a compact car but it has been designed from the very beginning to be an electric vehicle - born to be a BEV if you will. So there’s a good use of space inside. You can sit three in the back and legroom is particularly good. Though the large bucket seats up front make it a little less friendly for children in the rear maybe.

There is a 385-litre boot, which is competitive for a hatchback like this one and a place for the charging cables under the boot floor.

Inside the new CUPRA Born
Inside the new CUPRA Born

Driving the Cupra Born

The Cupra Born uses Volkswagen Group’s MEB architecture and comes with a choice of batteries shared with the Volkswagen ID.3. I drove the Born 58kWh, and it’s a good compromise between price and range. It starts from about €36,000 and the real world driving range is about 350 kilometres, which makes every day driving very comfortable.

There’s also a Born 77kWh available at the moment. It costs a bit more to buy (from €44,100). But offers a longer range - 548 kilometres measured to WLTP industry standards.

The Born 58kWh is available with a choice of two electric motors that alter the performance somewhat. I was driving the standard 204hp version, but if you go for the e-Boost package you’ll have 231hp. The Born 77kWh is sold by default with the e-Boost package.

Cupra is keen to highlight the performance of the Born and it's fair to say it's quick regardless of which version you go for. It's very responsive off the line, with the 204hp Born 58kWh hitting 100km/h in just 7.3 seconds. In all models, power goes to the rear wheels.

Yet this is hardly a hot hatchback. For sure Cupra has tuned the car somewhat and it does handle in a natural way, with good pedal feel. When the Performance mode is selected, there's a more defined feel to the steering, which makes it a bit more fun to drive down a twisty rural road.

Cupra Born in Vapor Grey
Cupra Born in Vapor Grey

Out on the open road, the Born proves comfortable and refined. It is a good car but not as 'racy' from behind the wheel as what you might expect from those good looks.

The CUPRA Born can be plugged in to both AC (up to 11kW) and DC charging networks (up to 170kW depending on the model). The Born 58kWh can fast charge up to 125kW so you can get to 80% battery charge in about 35 minutes at a high power charging station. It will take about nine hours to charge the battery to full at home using a standard 7.4kW wallbox or about six hours at 11kW.

Did you like it?

If you’re looking for one of the coolest electric vehicles on the market right now, this might be it.

It’s not quite hot hatchback thrills behind the steering wheel. But for an electric car at this price point, the Cupra Born is fun to drive and super stylish.

If you're just looking to drive an electric car that has a bit of style and charisma, then the Cupra Born fits the bill. It's finished well inside and offers a spacious interior for a small family.

Cupra is growing in profile with a suite of exciting new models on the way and a strategic dealer network developing in Ireland. The Born should help accelerate growth of the Cupra brand in Ireland, in a market growing increasingly comfortable with an electric future.

The Born is another exciting new electric car to arrive in Ireland
The Born is another exciting new electric car to arrive in Ireland

Model tested: Cupra Born 58kWh
Price: 
€36,360
Battery:
58 kWh
Range: 427 km (WLTP)
Power: 204hp
Torque: 310Nm
Top speed: 160 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 7.3 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€120 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes

 


The BMW i4 on test for Changing Lanes!

BMW i4 Review

Read Caroline's BMW i4 review for everything you need to know about buying BMW's new electric car in Ireland.

BMW has been on a 'charge' to electrification with the arrival of many new plug-in hybrids and full electric models in recent months. BMW's 'i' family is growing with the arrival of the BMW iX3, iX and now this, the BMW i4!

The BMW i4 is arguably the most interesting of them all, certainly for people who enjoy driving. According to BMW, the i4 is the brand’s first electric vehicle focused squarely on driving dynamics.

There are two versions available from launch: the BMW i4 eDrive40 tested for Changing Lanes, and the i4 M50 with even more performance worthy of the famous BMW 'M' badge.

The i4 eDrive40 goes on sale in Ireland priced from €65,505. Let's take a closer look.

The BMW i4 on test for Changing Lanes!
The BMW i4 on test for Changing Lanes!

What's so special about the new BMW i4?

The new BMW i4 is a little bit different to other electric BMWs that have come to market recently, like the iX3 and the iX - both SUVs.

The i4 has been designed as a sporty, four-door 'Gran Coupé', making it the real style icon of the BMW i range. This car is just beautiful to look at, with the same timeless good looks of a classic 3 Series or 5 Series. It might look quite like a saloon with its elongated rear end but in fact it's a hatchback - just lift the boot and you will understand. But for sure the 'Gran Coupé' moniker is posher!

From the front, the new i4 bears the brand's signature kidney grille flanked by slim headlights. Colour accents in blue feature in the lights and around the badge if you look closely, a characteristic linking all electric BMWs of this generation. But certainly the styling of the new i4 doesn't scream 'electric', which is a good thing.

M Sport versions like the car on test for Changing Lanes (from €67,345) look the best with 18-inch alloy wheels, M Sport exterior bodystyling, and glossy black exterior trim.

Inside, the i4 has a latest generation BMW cabin with a showstopping curved digital display and exquisite quality worthy of a premium car.

Powered by an 80.7 kWh battery, BMW says over 500 kilometres of driving is possible on a single battery charge. So you needn't really worry about range. But it's the way this car handles that really impresses.

The BMW i4 uses a 80.7kWh battery
The BMW i4 uses a 80.7kWh battery that can potentially return over 500 kilometres on a full charge

Inside the BMW i4

M Sport versions have leather upholstery and an M Sport branded leather steering wheel. The main focal point of the cabin is now the 12.3-inch information display and 14.9-inch control display that combine to give a stunning widescreen effect, very fashionable in the motor industry at the moment. It certainly moves the game on for BMW interiors and is easy to use and navigate.

Yet there is a familiar feeling to this i4 cabin. The quality is excellent throughout. The driving position can be low and sporty. There is a small bit of use of blue accents inside to highlight this car's membership of the BMW i family. But it's subtle and does not distract at all from what is a wonderful cabin experience in a premium electric car.

The BMW i4 is a Gran Coupé so open those frameless doors and you'll find seating for five. However, there is a large transmission tunnel in the rear so it's probably more suited to two adults in the back. There is some compromise to headroom for the sake of that sloping roofline. It was all worth it.

The boot comes with a powered tailgate and opens just like a hatchback to reveal 470 litres of space. There's no 'frunk' under the bonnet but the i4 can store its cables away neatly in a space at the side of the boot.

The interior of the BMW i4 M Sport
The interior of the BMW i4 M Sport - just gorgeous

Driving the i4

BMW has years of experience creating sporty premium cars and the i4 certainly got the memo. It was designed from the onset to be sporty and engaging, which influenced the design and placing of all the components to make the best of it.

Yes acceleration is rapid, even in this eDrive40 variant. It takes just 5.7 seconds to get to 100 km/h, and the i4 is always ready to respond quickly. Yet, the i4 just feels marvellous on the road. In the eDrive40, a single motor sends 340hp to the rear wheels and the new i4 handles like a classic rear wheel drive BMW. Praise be.

The steering is tactile, and there is a grace to the way this car handles the tarmac that belies what you might think possible of an electric car. There's very few cars in this price range at the moment that can compete with the i4 when it comes to driver engagement, even the Polestar 2 or Tesla Model 3. It's also sublimely comfortable.

In real world driving over 400 kilometres seems possible even with high speed motorway driving. The i4 was efficient during my time with it, averaging about 18.5kWh per 100 kilometres. Being low and sleek certainly helps.

The i4 can charge up to 205kW, getting to 80% battery charge in about 30 minutes. Up to 11kW AC charging is possible.

The BMW i40 M50 if you want even more power - 536hp
The BMW i40 M50 if you want even more power - 536hp and all wheel drive

Did you like it?

The BMW i4 is an excellent car. So good, that you will forget it's electric. It's a car you buy because you love driving.

For sure, there is still a premium to be paid for an electric car like the i4. But for the refinement and rapid acceleration, there is enough here to abandon your premium petrol or diesel saloon once and for all.

An SUV might be more practical, but the i4 is sexier by far. Sporty premium electric cars don't get much better than this.

The BMW i4 compromises none of the style and quality the brand was built upon. It handles beautifully and with well over 400 kilometres possible between charges, that's a lot of fun driving in utter comfort.

The interior quality belongs to a car of this price also and the new digital technology looks great.

If you're thinking of buying an i4, you probably should!

The BMW i4 is fun to drive and comfortable too
The BMW i4 is fun to drive and comfortable too

Model tested: BMW i40 eDrive40 M Sport
Price: 
€67,345
Battery:
80.7 kWh
Range: 493-590 km (WLTP)
Power: 340hp
Torque: 430Nm
Top speed: 190km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 5.7 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€120 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes


The Mercedes-Benz EQB on test for Changing Lanes

Mercedes-Benz EQB Review

Read Caroline's Mercedes-Benz EQB review for everything you need to know about buying the brand's new mid-size electric SUV in Ireland.

Mercedes-Benz is strengthening their 'EQ' range of electric cars and SUVs with the arrival of the new EQB.

Based on the Mercedes GLB that launched just a few years ago, the EQB is a charismatic, mid-size SUV with the added boon of offering two extra seats. That makes the EQB one of the few electric SUVs on sale with seven seats.

There are three versions of the EQB on sale now in Ireland, with the differences being between the number of driven wheels and the power output. But all versions use a 66.5kWh battery, with up to 435 kilometres of range (WLTP) possible on a full battery charge.

Pricing starts from €65,650 for the EQB250, from €68,675 for the EQB300 4Matic, and from €71,695 for the EQB350 4Matic.

In this review, we're going to take a closer look at the new EQB and of course drive it!

The Mercedes-Benz EQB on test for Changing Lanes
The Mercedes-Benz EQB on test for Changing Lanes

What's so special about the Mercedes-Benz EQB?

The Mercedes-Benz EQB carries all the class of the German brand packaged in a trendy SUV package. The EQB has a great stance with a boxy design and traditional SUV cues like cladding around the bumpers, sills and wheel arches, and roof rails that make it look like it's ready for adventure.

At the front the EQB features the typical Mercedes-EQ black panel grille with central star. The continuous light strip at the front and rear looks impressive when lit up and is another design cue that links all the brand's new EV models like the EQA and the EQE.

There are three trim levels - Progressive, Electric Art and AMG Line - which alter the appearance of the car somewhat with different trim elements and alloy wheel designs. But all versions get 18-inch alloy wheels that fill the arches nicely.

Behind the wheel, the upright windscreen and high seating position adds to the 4x4 charisma of this car. The secret is it's electric and zero emissions, offering a silent and smooth drive that defies how we might think of an SUV.

The EQB's interior is another strong point. It's not just practical; it's also got a gorgeous design and finish that makes it a compelling choice of premium compact SUV.

The interior of the Mercedes EQB
The interior of the Mercedes EQB

Inside the EQB

The EQB has a stunning interior with lots of good quality materials and glamourous ambient lighting and design features like the neat circular vents for the ventilation. Every EQB comes well equipped including lots of safety features, reversing camera, heated front seats, lumbar support and keyless go.

No one does compact premium interiors quite as good as Mercedes-Benz. The EQB is an expensive car but the quality and design of the interior certainly paints this car in good light. Leather upholstery comes as standard across the range.

The digital technology is some of the best we've seen in the segment and makes this car a pleasure to spend time in. Two 10-inch digital displays combine to give a slick widescreen effect and the MBUX infotainment system will respond to commands of 'Hey Mercedes'. The graphics look modern and it's all very easy to use.

The EQB shares its dimensions with the GLB and can accommodate seven people across three rows. Granted the EQB is at its best as a generously sized five seater with a big boot of over 465 litres. But the extra two seats are a great option for families. You can move the second row of seats forward to create a little more legroom in the third row. But it's still pretty tight back there so really only suitable for children.

A powered tailgate comes as standard.

Fast charging the Mercedes-Benz EQB
Fast charging the Mercedes-Benz EQB

Driving the Mercedes EQB

The range kicks off with the EQB250. It's front wheel drive only and offers 190hp. It is expected to be the most sought-after model in Ireland with pricing starting from €65,650 and a WLTP range of up to 426 kilometres.

The other two models in the range are four-wheel-drive. The EQB300 has 225hp, while the range-topping EQB350 has 288hp.

On test for Changing Lanes was the EQB300 4Matic. On the road the EQB impresses for its comfort and refinement, being one of the nicest electric SUVs to drive of its kind. It's a smooth and serene driving experience behind the wheel of the EQB. It's hardly sporty but there is plenty of power and grip, with the 0-100 km/h sprint done in 8 seconds should you feel like it.

Another impressive feature is the efficiency of the Mercedes-Benz EQB. Over a week of driving my average consumption was 19kWh per 100 kilometres, making it one of the most efficient electric SUVs I've tested in a while.

The EQB can charge at a maximum of 100kW, so you can get up to 80% charge in about 30 minutes at a high-power charging station. From a standard 7kW wallbox at home it will take about nine hours to charge to full. There's also an 11kW AC on-board charger, which can get the battery to full in about six hours with the right charger.

The Mercedes-Benz EQB offers a seven seat electric SUV option
The Mercedes-Benz EQB offers a seven seat electric SUV option

Did you like it?

The Mercedes-Benz EQB is the latest of the brand's electric EQ cars. It's more charismatic and spacious than the Mercedes EQA, with more traditional SUV styling and an interior design that really makes the most of the EQB's boxy dimensions.

It's certainly significantly priced but that's the price of zero emissions these days from a brand like Mercedes-Benz. There are plenty of other premium electric SUVs competing for the same market. But the EQB does shine for its elegance and refinement. It's truly a fantastic cabin experience that stands out head and shoulders above the rest.

What's more the EQB is well-equipped and genuinely efficient to run so you should see a good return on every battery charge.

Mercedes-Benz really has momentum now with a range of plug-in hybrids and full battery electric vehicles available spanning every segment of the market. The EQB is one of their best.

The EQB is one of the best premium electric SUVs you can buy
The EQB is one of the best premium electric SUVs you can buy

Model tested: Mercedes-Benz EQB300 4MATIC
Price: 
€68,675
Battery:
66.5kWh
Range: 431-435km (WLTP)
Power: 228hp
Torque: 390Nm
Top speed: 160km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 8 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€120 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes


The Suzuki S-Cross on test for Changing Lanes

Suzuki S-Cross Review (2022)

Read Caroline's Suzuki S-Cross review for everything you need to know about buying Suzuki's new crossover in Ireland.

The Suzuki S-Cross is back for a new generation with a rugged new look and attractive entry price of just €29,365 on the road.

The S-Cross does the honours of family SUV in the Suzuki line-up offering five seats and a spacious interior.

It's well-priced in today's market where family SUVs just keep going up in price but is it any good? In this review we're going to take a closer look to find out.

The Suzuki S-Cross on test for Changing Lanes
The Suzuki S-Cross on test for Changing Lanes

What's new for the Suzuki S-Cross?

The S-Cross has been a dependable part of the Suzuki range for some years now and has matured well. This latest version of the car has a lot more character than the car it replaces.

The styling is smart and boxy, and the S-Cross sits further off the ground than your average hatchback. That's what buyers love right now, so the S-Cross is one for the fashionable crossover set with its muscular design, angular wheel arches, skid plates and roof rails.

The S-Cross is not quite as glamourous or impressive in the metal than say the latest Kia Sportage or Nissan Qashqai but it's considerably cheaper to buy and well-equipped. So it's an accessible route into a trendy compact SUV that still has reasonable space inside for five people and their things.

Within the Suzuki line-up, the S-Cross offers more interior space than a Suzuki Vitara and feels more practical and mature. But the new Suzuki Swace will make an attractive alternative for some, with its sleek looks, big boot and super efficient hybrid powertrain.

The interior of the latest S-Cross
The interior of the latest S-Cross

Inside the S-Cross

The Suzuki S-Cross has a new interior design that fits pretty well with this car's rugged SUV character. There are lots of hard plastics but some nicer soft-touch materials too. The cabin is more modern than what has come before from the brand. But it's still far from the high-tech experience in some of the best of the segment.

Granted all versions come with a touchscreen and an impressive suite of safety equipment as standard including lane departure warning, lane departure prevention, traffic sign recognition, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert and adaptive cruise control.

The infotainment system syncs easily with smartphones for access to Apple Car Play and Android Auto, which means you can bypass the native system's quite basic and dull graphics.

Other standard features on the entry level 'Motion' include 17-inch alloy wheels, reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, push button start, keyless entry, dual zone air conditioning and heated front seats.

The Ultra model will arrive before the end of the year and will be four wheel drive only. It will add 17-inch polished alloy wheels, leather seat upholstery, integrated on-board navigation, panoramic sliding sunroof and a 360-degree view camera.

The interior is a bit more spacious and versatile than the car it replaces with seating for five and reasonable legroom and headroom in the rear, though it will be tight for three across the rear bench. The boot offers 430 litres of space, which is very practical in every day terms though some rivals do offer a larger boot.

The S-Cross has grown up with a trendy new look
The S-Cross has grown up with a trendy new look

Driving the Suzuki S-Cross

There's just one engine on offer in the S-Cross range. It's a 1.4-litre 'Boosterjet' turbo petrol engine with 48V mild hybrid technology to boost efficiency. It comes with the choice of a manual or automatic gearbox.

A full hybrid will join the range before the end of the year. So if you're looking for diesel, there is none. But this car is lightweight so it is pretty efficient by class standards. The mild hybrid components add less than 15kg to the overall weight of the vehicle.

Weight savings during development help the new S-Cross remain one of the lightest SUVs in its class at just 1,235kg for front wheel drive models.

Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 5.9 litres per 100 km. So no nasty surprises from a petrol-driven SUV capable of carrying five people.

On the road the S-Cross is straightforward to drive. It's hardly fun to drive like some Suzukis like the Swift and Vitara, but there's good grip, light steering and agile handling. So it doesn't stray too far from standards for the segment.

Boot space in the S-Cross

Did you like it?

The Suzuki S-Cross is a simple and honest way to travel, and has matured well for this new generation of the car. The S-Cross now has quite a distinctive look with all the rugged design cues that are so fashionable right now.

While it's not as impressive as an overall package as some other, more expensive family SUVs, the S-Cross does offer a simple range with just one petrol mild hybrid engine on offer that is efficient and cheap to run. These days that accounts for a lot. There's no nasty surprises when it comes to efficiency so the S-Cross will be a reliable motoring companion.

Let's not forget, the Suzuki S-Cross is one of the last family SUVs on the market to start at just under €30,000. That's a triumph in itself these days and that car is exceptionally well-equipped with lots of comfort and safety features that will keep life good behind the wheel of the latest S-Cross.

Model tested: Suzuki S-Cross Motion
Price: 
€29,365 OTR
Engine: 
1.4-litre turbo petrol
Power: 129hp
Torque: 235Nm
Top speed:  195km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 9.5 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
120g/km
Motor Tax: 
€190 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes


The Peugeot e-208 on test for Changing Lanes!

Peugeot e-208 Review

Read Caroline's Peugeot e-208 review for everything you need to know about Peugeot's electric supermini on sale in Ireland.

Peugeot is fast pursuing the electric dream with a slew of new hybrid and pure electric models. Many of the French brand's key models now offer some sort of electrified option - from the smallest 208 to the popular 3008 SUV and new Peugeot 308 hatchback and estate.

The Peugeot e-208 offers a pure electric drive in Peugeot's compact and stylish small hatchback. It goes up against other small EVs such as the Opel Corsa-e, Renault Zoe and Mini Electric.

But is it any good? In this review we're going to take a closer look to find out.

The Peugeot e-208 on test for Changing Lanes!
The Peugeot e-208 on test for Changing Lanes!

What's so special about the Peugeot e-208?

The e-208 looks good from all the angles. Peugeot's latest models are some of the most stylish out there. The e-208 has a gorgeous design, making it one of the most desirable small electric cars.

There's sporty elegance to the e-208 with a compact stance and distinctive light signature front and rear. If you want a car with 'fangs' this is the one for you - check out those striking daytime running lights at the front. While Peugeot's trademark 'tri-claw' taillights complete the feline theme at the rear.

There are three trim levels available in Ireland - Active, Allure Pack and GT. The GT model on test is surely the sportiest of them all with 17" diamond cut alloy wheels, gloss black around the wheel arches, black roof and a chequered flag effect grille.

Electric badging is subtle - just a small 'e' on the C-pillar and tailgate, and a blue finish to the Peugeot lion on the front grille.

With pricing starting from €28,730 including all relevant grants and VRT relief, the Peugeot e-208 is also keenly priced among small electric cars. Granted it will cost more to buy than petrol and diesel versions of the 208.  And the glorious e-208 GT on test looks great and is packed full of equipment but will set you back €33,285.

The Peugeot e-208 is also one of the most fun to drive small electric cars, with a range of up to 362km measured by industry standards. Though in real world driving, 280km seems more realistic once factors such as the time of year and your driving style are taken into account. For example, certainly at low speeds around town you'll get farther on your battery charge.

The interior of the e-208
The interior of the e-208

Inside the e-208

The cabin of the Peugeot e-208 stands out for its quality, with an upmarket feel that can be hard to find in the very smallest electric cars. There's lots of gloss black accentuating the cabin's stylish design and the beautiful Peugeot i-Cockpit.

In the centre of the dash there is a 7" touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, though Allure Pack and GT models get a more impressive 10" touchscreen. The ventilation controls are in the screen, but the elegant piano key underneath offer a shortcut to switch between menus quickly. Standard equipment includes automatic air conditioning, push button start and cruise control.

The e-208 is a small car so rear legroom is limited, though it's not impossible to carry adults. With the position of the battery in the e-208, Peugeot has managed to keep interior space and boot space the same as petrol and diesel 208s. The boot is compact too at 311 litres, but you can let the rear seats down for carrying larger items.

Driving the e-208

The e-208 is good fun to drive with agile handling and light steering. The 136hp motor in the e-208 provides enough power and the car moves effortlessly from town to rural roads to motorways.

On short journeys and in town driving the e-208 really shines, with the range of the car offering plenty of comfort between charging. The range diminishes more rapidly in high-speed motorway driving, but with a stop planned for charging, it's still a decent enough performance for the e-208.

And when it comes to charging, the e-208's 50kWh battery is pretty swift at adding the kilometres. With a 7kW wallbox installed at home it will take about 7.5 hours to charge the e-208 to full. Rapid DC charging is also possible using the standard CCS adaptor. Charging at the maximum 100kW, the e-208 can be 80% charged in 30 minutes.

The Peugeot e-208 is one of the best small electric cars
The Peugeot e-208 is one of the best small electric cars

Did you like it?

Electric suits the 208 very well. The Peugeot e-208 is super stylish, with a beautiful interior that feels more upmarket than much of the competition.

The e-208's 50kWh battery offers decent performance, particularly in the town and city environs where these small cars really feel at home. You couldn't find a better companion for city life.

I still think the Peugeot e-208 makes a great introduction to electric motoring. Like competitors, it is more expensive than an equivalent petrol or diesel car but there are many benefits to switching to electric at this time.  The e-208 is a very likeable small car that just happens to be electric too.

Model tested: Peugeot e-208 GT
Price: 
€33,285
Battery:
50 kWh
Range: 362km (WLTP)
Power: 136 hp
Torque:  260 Nm
Top speed:  150 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 8.1 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€120 per year

The Peugeot e-208 is on sale now from €28,730
The Peugeot e-208 is on sale now from €28,730

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Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes