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


The new Renault ZOE Z.E. 50 on test for Changing Lanes

Renault ZOE Z.E.50 (2020) Review

The new Renault ZOE Z.E. 50 on test for Changing Lanes
The new Renault ZOE Z.E. 50 on test for Changing Lanes

Caroline drives the new Renault ZOE Z.E. 50!

The Renault ZOE debuted in Europe back at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, making the ZOE one of the veterans in this modern era of electric mobility. Now in 2020, Renault is back with a new generation of the car – the Z.E. 50, a name which reflects the car’s new battery size. In fact, this is a car that has been consistently tweaked and improved over the years since its launch. And unlike the sales curve of a traditional car, ZOE has increased sales gradually year after year.

In the last six years of Changing Lanes I’ve also seen a gradual shift that means that modern electric cars like ZOE now find themselves in the most receptive market in their history. The number of electrified models in my test schedule has accelerated since 2018. In late 2019 we saw an electric car take the title of Irish Car of the Year for the first time. Media coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the fact that when you press pause on the economy, the environment benefits and air quality in cities improves. The idea of zero tailpipe emissions has never been more appealing. Just like smoking, cars with combustion engines could now become very unfashionable very quickly.

The Renault ZOE is already the bestselling electric car in Europe. With this car’s compact size and affordability, it’s easy to see why. Yet ZOE no longer has a monopoly on the compact electric vehicle space. New entrants like the Opel Corsa-e, Peugeot e-208, MINI Electric and forthcoming Honda e, mean that the ZOE will find itself coming under ever more scrutiny.

The 2020 Renault ZOE has a number of new features
The 2020 Renault ZOE has a number of new features

What’s new for the 2020 Renault ZOE?

In Ireland the Renault is the cheapest way into an electric vehicle with this new ZOE coming in a whisker below the starting price of its closest rivals with a sticker price of €26,990 after Government grants and VRT relief. That’s still considerably more than a 1.0-litre petrol Renault Clio for example, but let’s not forget the incentives, zero tailpipe emissions and savings you can make on running costs with an electric car. The new 52 kWh battery replaces the 41 kWh of the previous generation of the car, yet doesn’t take up any more space. It offers 25% more range than the Renault ZOE Z.E. 40, and is officially rated at 395 km (WLTP).

New safety technology has been incorporated into the ZOE’s platform along with a new regenerative braking ‘B Mode’. A 100 kW engine joins the range with 135 hp, giving the ZOE more maturity when it comes to motorway driving.

The ZOE’s versatile standard 22 kW AC Chameleon charger remains but there is 50 kW DC fast charging for the first time in the form of a new CCS adaptor, available as an option.

New paint colours include Celadon Blue (pictured), Flame Red and Quartz White. There’s also a brand-new interior that takes many cues from the new Clio, which improves the quality and technology of the vehicle considerably. We also welcome a new electronic “e-shifter” gear lever and automatic parking brake with auto-hold function.

Inside the new Renault ZOE
Inside the new Renault ZOE

What are my options?

Let’s take a closer look at the Renault ZOE Z.E. 50 range in Ireland to find out what’s available. There are three trim lines – Play, Iconic and GT Line. Two motors are available which give a different power output - the R110 motor (108 hp) and the new R135 motor with greater performance (135 hp).

The entry model into the range with that appealing sticker price (€26,990) has the R110 motor and in built 22 kW Chameleon charger. Equipment on this vehicle includes an impressive new 10-inch TFT instrument cluster, 7” touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, LED headlamps, automatic lights and wipers, air conditioning, electric door mirrors, and cruise control.

The Iconic model is available from €28,990 with the R110 motor or from €30,990 with the R135 motor and opens up the option of the CCS adaptor.

The GT Line is the top of the range model and comes as standard with the R135 motor, available from €31,990. Visually this model gets more bling with tinted rear windows, 16” diamond cut alloy wheels, chrome stamped grille. While inside there is special part recycled, part synthetic leather seat upholstery. Equipment updates include rear parking camera, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot warning, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, automatic high beam, traffic sign recognition,  9.3 inch portrait touchscreen, climate control and a wireless phone charger.

CCS fast charging is available for the first time in the 2020 Renault ZOE range
CCS fast charging is available for the first time in the 2020 Renault ZOE range

How practical is new ZOE?

The ZOE was designed from the start as an all-electric vehicle. Over the years, the brand has improved battery capacity without taking up more space inside the vehicle. In fact for a five door electric supermini, the ZOE does a good job. The boot is deep and has a capacity of 338 litres with a practical hatchback opening style. Up front the ZOE is roomy for two adults with lots of headroom and elbow room. It’s smaller in the back, feeling more suitable for two across the rear bench. However, Isofix child seat fixtures on outer rear seats and the front passenger seat boost practicality for young families or grandparents.

What’s it like inside?

The 2020 Renault ZOE debuts a brand-new interior. Quality has improved a lot making it feel like a more mature car in line with the Clio. The digital display for the driver is new and much more modern than what has come before. It displays information about things like your speed, range, power and efficiency. The new ZOE also benefits from Renault’s latest infotainment system that syncs easily to Apple and Android smartphones. There is no height adjustment lever on the driver’s seat but the steering wheel does adjust for reach and rake. There is also a more sophisticated gear selector to your left than what has come before.

Rear seating in the new Renault ZOE
Rear seating in the new Renault ZOE

Charging the Renault ZOE

For the first time, the ZOE will now be able to use Ireland’s fast charge network. A CCS adaptor is available from the Iconic level trim. It facilitates ZOE to charge at 50 kW at a fast charger on the ESB public charging network for example. After 30 minutes you could be on your way with an extra 145 km of range.

But don’t overlook the standard 22 kW AC Chameleon charger, which is actually a little bit of genius in its own regard. You can use any of the ESB’s more plentiful Type 2 chargers, often in town, and charge at 22 kW AC, and get a full charge in 2 hours and 40 minutes. I’ve seen this in action and in about an hour you can get 40% extra charge. A 7 kW wallbox unit at home for example charges the new ZOE in 9 hours and 25 minutes.

Driving the 2020 Renault ZOE Z.E. 50

The ZOE’s compact dimensions and electric powertrain work well together, particularly in the urban environment. You will be nipping around in no time and it’s here you really feel the benefit of ZOE's cool, linear acceleration. My test car had the R135 motor with 135 hp and you notice that extra zip. The electric motor gives instant response from a press of the throttle. The new B mode is a more aggressive regenerative braking system that allows near one pedal driving. This is because when you lift off the accelerator the car brakes itself quite rapidly so you can modulate the car's responses with just the accelerator pedal very easily.

I’ve tested the ZOE a few times in the last few years but this model seems to adapt to high speed motorway driving much better than before. This is down to improved refinement in the cabin and the higher powered motor.

You sit quite high in the ZOE, great for visibility but this car is not a sports car. The steering and handling does pass as feeling natural most of the time so there’s still all of the fun of driving a small car.

The new ZOE is available from €26,990 in Ireland
The new ZOE is available from €26,990 in Ireland

Did you like it?

The Renault ZOE has grown up again. The relative affordability of this car is important at a time when buyers will still find themselves paying a premium for a more environmentally friendly electric car. The ZOE now has a more mature feeling interior, while new technology features like the digital instrument display for the driver make for a much more modern and appealing driving experience.

CCS fast charging is a timely addition to the range, but it's not included as standard. Though there are benefits to upgrading to a higher spec ZOE with CCS, the appeal of the 22 kW on board charger should not be overlooked. It really does make charging quicker from the more plentiful Type 2 ESB chargers that you are more likely to encounter in Irish towns.

More range is always an advantage as it adds more flexibility and versatility to the routines of an EV owner, less time charging and more anxiety-free driving. Over 300 km is definitely feasible from new ZOE, especially if you stick to low speed city driving. What’s more, the higher capacity battery doesn’t drop kilometres from your range rapidly the minute you arrive on the motorway and squeeze the accelerator hard.

Like many manufacturers, Renault is moving fast now into electrifying popular models in their range. New hybrid versions of the Clio and Captur are expected this year. For buyers committed to full electric motoring, ZOE remains a charming tried and tested, tweaked and honed formula that balances affordability with practical charging and comfortable range.

Now watch my video for a closer look at the new ZOE's best features!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Renault ZOE Z.E. 50 R135 GT Line
Price: 
€31,990 (Range from €26,990)
Engine: 100 kW
Power: 
135 hp
Torque: 245 Nm
0-100km/h:  
9.5 seconds
Top speed: 140 km/h
Motor Tax: €120 per year


The 2020 Hyundai IONIQ on test for Changing Lanes

Hyundai IONIQ Electric (2020) Review

The 2020 Hyundai IONIQ Electric on test for Changing Lanes
The 2020 Hyundai IONIQ Electric on test for Changing Lanes

Caroline drives the new Hyundai IONIQ Electric.

Hyundai sashayed into the market for electric vehicles back in 2016 with the new Hyundai IONIQ Electric. In 2018, Hyundai’s electric offering was strengthened again by the arrival of the fashionable KONA Electric. While the brand also sells a range of hybrids and fuel powered cars, their electric offering has settled very well into the Irish market where buyers are ever more receptive to EV technology.

What's new for the 2020 Hyundai IONIQ Electric?

While the KONA Electric, is the trendy electric compact crossover, the IONIQ is the classic electric hatchback. Now in 2020 the Hyundai IONIQ Electric has been updated with a new battery giving more range and more power. This effectively keeps the IONIQ Electric at the races in a time when manufacturers are constantly improving and offering popular EV models with more range.

The 2020 Hyundai IONIQ Electric is available from €35,470 in Ireland including grant and VRT relief. The new model now has a 38.3 kWh battery with a range rated at 312 km (WLTP). The IONIQ is also available as a plug-in hybrid (from €34,995).

The updated IONIQ Electric now has more power and more range
The updated IONIQ Electric now has more power and more range

The Hyundai IONIQ Electric hatchback now has a redesigned closed grille with new distinctive pattern and active air flaps to assist in cooling. There are also new headlamps, rear lights, and new front and rear bumpers. It is quite an unusual design, not as trendy as the KONA, but there is the familiarity and sensible nature of a hatchback to it.

The interior of the IONIQ

Inside there has been a comprehensive redesign of the dashboard with upgraded materials and finishes, updated instrument cluster, cabin mood lighting and all new touch type temperature and multimedia controls. A new 10.25” widescreen navigation system comes as standard on the IONIQ Electric in Ireland. Hyundai interiors are generally quite conservative, so this is a really nice, modern feature for the car. The system allows the driver to easily find nearby charging stations. The IONIQ Electric’s standard high-resolution 7-inch LCD console display has also been improved with mood lighting to visualise the different drive mode themes – comfort, eco, eco + and sport. There’s also some nice blue ambient lighting in the cabin, visible at night.

Equipment includes cruise control, parking camera, keyless start and entry, 16” alloys, lane departure warning, heated front seats, climate control, LED headlights, high beam assist, wireless phone charging pad, and 10.25" Widescreen Navigation with Radio, RDS, DAB, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The IONIQ interior has been revamped for 2020
The IONIQ interior has been revamped for 2020

In terms of space, the IONIQ is a relatively compact hatchback but interior space, especially in the rear feels more generous than the Hyundai KONA. The boot is shallow but large with a generous 455 litre capacity. It stretches back a fair deal and has a very practical hatchback opening.

Battery and charging my IONIQ

The 2020 IONIQ Electric now uses a larger battery, which has increased in size from 28kWh to 38.3kWh, and a more powerful 100 kW motor. There is also new fully adjustable regenerative braking with one pedal driving functionality and smart regenerative braking. This automatically regulates the regenerative braking power depending on road inclination and forward momentum to ensure the smoothest driving experience, while maximising efficiency and range.

The IONIQ can be charged at home or on the public charging network. a 7.2kW on-board charger is fitted as standard - an upgrade from current 6.6kW – for Type 2 AC charging.  A CCS adaptor means that the IONIQ can also make use of 50 kW fast charging on the public network. Hyundai says that the battery can be recharged from flat to 100% charge in 6 hours 5 minutes on a 7kW charger. Using a 50 kW charger, 80% charge can be got in just under an hour.

On the road the Hyundai IONIQ Electric is smooth and effortless to drive. There is no particular dynamic appeal to this car but the light steering and comfortable suspension set-up make it an easy companion to travel Irish roads in. There is now more power with an overall system output of 136 hp so it copes fine in that regard without anyone mistaking it for a hot hatchback. The braking action is smooth, while one pedal driving is a doddle in the IONIQ.

50 kW charging of the Hyundai IONIQ Electric on the ESB e-cars network
50 kW charging of the Hyundai IONIQ Electric on the ESB e-cars network

Hyundai IONIQ vs KONA Electric?

Hyundai has been ahead of many manufacturers with two fully electric compact models in their Irish line-up. Like all electric vehicles right now, these are more expensive cars for their size than their fuel powered stablemates. However the Hyundai IONIQ Electric does have a lower entry price than the Hyundai KONA.

Clearly these two cars offer something a little bit different in style and format, trendy crossover (KONA) vs. classic hatchback (IONIQ). The KONA has an entry price of €38,630, while the IONIQ Electric starts from €35,470. Both are well specced cars, yet the KONA does have a more powerful 64 kWh battery, which is good for over 400 km of range.

There is plenty of options for EV buyers out there and lots to think about in terms of the balance between price, range, style, longevity and lifestyle suitability. The Hyundai IONIQ Electric is the classic electric hatchback that benefits greatly from a larger battery. Seeing over 300 km on your dashboard every morning is reassuring and this car is a simple entry into electric motoring.  It’s now got a more modern infotainment system that lifts the interior, while it’s also practical and compact for town.

If you would like to read our review of the IONIQ’s sister car, click here to read our Hyundai KONA Electric Review!

The new Hyundai IONIQ Electric is available from €35,470 in Ireland
The new Hyundai IONIQ Electric is available from €35,470 in Ireland

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Hyundai IONIQ Electric Premium
Price: 
€35,470
Battery: 38.3 kWh
Range: 312 km (WLTP)
Power: 
136 hp
Torque: 295 Nm
0-100km/h:  
9.7 seconds
Top speed: 154 km/h
Motor Tax: €120 per year


The new Audi e-tron

2020 Audi e-tron 55 quattro Review

The new Audi e-tron
The new Audi e-tron in Ireland

Caroline drives the 2020 Audi e-tron.

Audi has landed into the world of EVs with a big splash in the form of the flagship Audi e-tron SUV. With a massive 95 kWh battery, the e-tron is a technological achievement, a perfect embodiment of the Vorsprung durch Technik the brand is built upon. Progress through technology, the concept of the new e-tron is undoubtedly big, impressive and optimistic. Audi chose to conceive a large family SUV as the brand’s first ever fully electric production model. The new e-tron will spearhead an electric vehicle (EV) offensive for the brand that will see 12 production Audi e-models by 2025.

But the most important question for most EV buyers right now is – how far will it get me on one charge? While Audi quotes a WLTP range of up to 436 km, this reviewer can tell you that during our real world test during a cold spell in December, we travelled a reliable 300 km on a full charge.

What about performance?

In the metal the e-tron looks like the kind of vehicle that will make the ground shake when you start it up. But no twin turbos under the bonnet here. In fact, there is very little under the bonnet at all! Powerful front and rear electric motors energised by a large high-voltage battery, give the e-tron 55 quattro a power output of 402 hp and 664 Nm of torque and the 0 to 100 km/h sprint figure is 5.7 seconds. When you are swapping stats and stories at the EV fast charger, this will be met with a short intake of breath - but performance is not really the story here.

The interior of the new Audi e-tron
The interior of the new Audi e-tron

For sure the e-tron can move quickly. But what is more impressive and frankly enjoyable about this vehicle is the silky smooth refinement of the car. The way the controls feel, how it covers the tarmac so smoothly and effortlessly, all in silence.

Audi says the drive components are installed low and central for the best dynamic ability with the battery system located between the axles in the form of a flat, broad block beneath the passenger compartment. They say that this configuration makes the Audi e-tron’s centre of gravity similar to that of a saloon car. Axle load distribution is perfectly balanced at almost 50:50.

The Audi e-tron is very clever

Audi drive select allows driver to toggle between seven profiles depending on the driving situation, road conditions or personal preferences. The system also influences the standard air suspension with adaptive dampers. The pneumatic springs adjust individually to the road conditions depending on the speed and the driver’s preferences, varying the ride height by as much as 76 millimetres. At higher, motorway speeds on longer journeys the e-tron can sit lower on the road to improve aerodynamics and range. I drove it in the efficiency mode most of the time, with the most discernible difference being a less responsive throttle.

The 2020 Audi e-tron 55 quattro is powered by a 95 kWh battery
The 2020 Audi e-tron 55 quattro is powered by a 95 kWh battery

And when it comes to charging the mighty e-tron, there’s up to 150 kw charging, which I can tell you feels like magic. High speed 150 kw IONITY chargers arrived in Ireland in the summer at select Circle K stations and I’m lucky to have one in my area. There are fast chargers and then there are IONITY chargers. For €8 per use, I went from 10% battery power to 100% in 40 minutes. When I hopped back in the range read 314 km. At home with a 22 kw wallbox a full charge can be got in approximately 4.3 hrs or 8.3 hours with 11 kW charging.

Inside the 2020 Audi e-tron

Priced from €89,810 including grant reductions, the new Audi e-tron is an elite piece of kit. Inside, the e-tron is as salubrious as any other member of the Audi range. It features the latest in Audi interior design with a stunning digital cockpit. Material quality is excellent throughout and the space inside the vehicle is also used well. An electric tailgate reveals a boot volume of 600 litres.

Audi Ireland has also just recently announced the arrival of the Audi e-tron 50 quattro, which uses a 71 kWh battery and starts from €64,990 with a shorter WLTP range of 336 km.

The new e-tron 55 quattro available from €89,810 including grant reductions
The new e-tron 55 quattro available from €89,810 including grant reductions

The concept of the Audi e-tron is a true showstopper. Audi’s flagship electric SUV is a fantastic debut with the convenience of 150 kw charging and a genuine 300 km of real world range.

While the stats from the high voltage battery are impressive, the packing of this EV technology means that there is no denying the car feels heavy on the road and you will be acutely aware of carrying your battery when slowing down at a junction or for a roundabout. Dynamically, the e-tron does little to excite.

But the execution of this vehicle’s premium attributes, the attention to detail in the way it's been designed and built, and the smoothness of the cabin and ride is highly seductive. Hell, it’s an Audi after all. You will enjoy this car.

For eco-conscious trendsetters and EV evangelists, the e-tron brings huge bragging rights.

Caroline Kidd and the Audi e-tron
Caroline and the Audi e-tron

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Audi e-tron 55 quattro
Price: 
From €89,810 (including grants)
Battery: 95 kWh
Power: 
402 bhp
Torque: 664 Nm
0-100km/h:  
5.7 seconds
Top speed: 200 km/h
CO2 emissions:  
0 g/km
Motor tax: 
€120 per year


The new LEAF 62 kWh has more range than ever before!

2020 Nissan LEAF 62 kWh Review

Caroline drives the 2020 Nissan LEAF 62 kWh.

The Nissan LEAF is one of Ireland’s most popular electric cars and a pioneer of mainstream electric motoring. Within the last year the number of electric vehicles available in Ireland has expanded and the LEAF has been under attack from some new rivals. However the high visibility of the LEAF in Ireland, all generations, is undeniable, and you are definitely likely to encounter one at your local EV charger. The LEAF has clearly penetrated the market here very well.

In 2018, Nissan launched an all-new LEAF hatchback with a 40 kWh battery with more power and a range in the region of 250 km. The car had evolved into something more desirable with modern design technology and safety features. In 2019, the LEAF got even better with the launch of the new longer range Nissan LEAF 62 kWh.

What's new for the 2020 Nissan LEAF?

Priced in Ireland from €37,840, the 62 kWh LEAF crucially has a 25% increase in energy density and 55% boost in energy storage capacity, giving the 62 kWh LEAF a power output of 217 PS and up to 385 km (WLTP) on a single charge compared to the 40 kWh Nissan LEAF. I tested the car in the cold weather of November and with 98% battery power when I picked it up, the range read about 340 km.

The new LEAF 62 kWh has more range than ever before!
The new LEAF 62 kWh has more range than ever before!

Other new features for the LEAF 62 kWh include the new NissanConnect infotainment system as standard, with Apple CarPlay® and AndroidAuto® for seamless smartphone connectivity. An upgraded navigation system also shows live traffic and nearby chargers. There’s also a new NissanConnect Services app that allows users to send navigation routes and preset air conditioning or heating.

Nissan so far has ignored the electric crossover/SUV trend and the LEAF remains a classic hatchback with the latest Nissan family face. The new battery retains a similar shape and size to the 40 kWh LEAF battery pack, so there is no detriment to interior space in this upgraded model. Interior accommodation is about average for a hatchback of this size and the boot is a very good size. There are special places to store the cables so the practicality of the space is not negatively impacted.

The interior of the LEAF

Inside, the LEAF 62 kWh has the same dash design as the new generation LEAF we tested in 2018. There is some new digital technology however already the graphics on the driver information panel and infotainment screen are looking a little dated. Still, functionality is okay and it's handy to be able to find nearby charging stations. You also sit a little higher in the LEAF than a standard hatchback because of the battery under the floor.

The interior of the new Nissan LEAF
The interior of the new Nissan LEAF

In Ireland, the new 62 kWh Nissan LEAF starts from €37,840 in SV grade with a high specification including Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Recognition, Intelligent Trace Control, Moving Object Detection, Intelligent Lane Intervention, e-Pedal with regenerative function, front and rear parking sensors, Around View Monitor, 17″ alloy wheels, privacy glass, LED daytime running lights and LED rear signature lights.

The range-topping SVE 62 kWh LEAF is available from €40,500 and includes ProPilot, Bose Audio System, Intelligent Auto LED headlights, heated leather steering wheel and leather heated seats front and rear.

Driving the Nissan Leaf 62 kWh

On the road, the Nissan LEAF is nippy with 217 hp at its disposal. It handles well through corners and is smooth, refined and of course, quiet, on the move.

The extra range of this 62 kWh model is very welcome. The CHAdeMO type rapid charger is 50kW / 100kW compatible and will get you from 20% to 80% charge in about 90 minutes (50kW). Charging at home takes about 12 hours.

The new LEAF 62 kWh is still eclipsed by some rivals like the Kia e-Soul in terms of the range and how far it will go on one charge.

The Nissan LEAF is the original mass market electric vehicle, famed for its accessibility and affordable entry into electric motoring.

However, the new LEAF 62 kWh requires considerable investment and in range alone, there are some better competitors in this space.

LEAF buyers now have more options. Not everyone wants a crossover or SUV. Hatchback lovers still exist. The game is moving rapidly for EVs. The LEAF 62 kWh keeps up for now.

LEAF 62 kWh available from €37,840
LEAF 62 kWh available from €37,840

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Nissan LEAF 62 kWh SVE
Price:
€40,500
Battery: 62 kWh
Power: 
217 hp
Torque:  340 Nm
0-100km/h: 
6.9 seconds
Top speed: 158 km/h 
Range (WLTP):
385 km
Motor tax: 
€120 per year