The new Mercedes-Benz EQA

Mercedes-Benz EQA Review (2022)

Read Caroline's Mercedes-Benz EQA review for everything you need to know about the German brand's new electric small SUV on sale in Ireland in 2022.

The EQA is the first all-electric model in the Mercedes' compact car range. It's a close relation of the GLA, the popular compact crossover available here for some years now.

Mercedes-Benz has been on a mission to bring a whole range of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to market. We have seen a slew of plug-in hybrid models reach these shores including the GLC 300 de, the E-Class 300 e and the GLC Coupe 350 de.

Then there has been the brand's first full battery electric vehicle, the EQC, followed by the EQV and now this, the EQA!

The new Mercedes-Benz EQA
The new Mercedes-Benz EQA

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

The EQA was conceived as an all-electric small SUV from the brand's EQ family of electric vehicles. Based on the GLA class, the Mercedes-Benz EQA goes on sale in Ireland priced from €56,120.

It's a full battery electric vehicle powered by a 66.5 kWh battery with a claimed range of 426 km (WLTP) and 190 hp at its disposal.

In design, it does bear a resemblance to the GLA but with a more futuristic look around the front end in particular. Plus a striking light signature that's become a standard of Mercedes EQ vehicles.

The EQA may be described as compact. But it does have a considerable presence when you meet it for the first time. The front end stands out for a closed black panel radiator grille with large central Mercedes star. There are also EQ blue headlamp strips and a distinctive fibre-optic strip running along the front and at the rear.

In Ireland the new EQA goes on sale in three trim lines: Progressive, Electric Art and AMG Line. The Progressive line is expected to be the most sought-after model here. All-wheel-drive models will join the range at a later date with more power, including one version with a WLTP range of over 500 km.

The EQA is on sale in Ireland from €56,120
The EQA is on sale in Ireland from €56,120

Inside the EQA

Inside the EQA, convention is at work. We get a classic Mercedes-Benz compact car interior. The brand's new generation compacts lead the way in contemporary luxury. It's no different here. Everything is familiar Mercedes-Benz territory.

There is no compromise to quality. Everything feels good to use. Digital technology is on-point. There's a 10" digital instrument panel for the driver and a 10" touchscreen housing the MBUX infotainment system that responds to 'Hey Mercedes' commands.

It also feels spacious inside the EQA for a compact, with generous footwells in the rear and plenty of headroom. Boot space has taken a hit however to accommodate the EV powertrain. It's down to 340 litres. Though a low loading sill and wide opening boost practicality. There's also space to store charging cables under the boot floor.

Standard specification is good on the Progressive model. Features include high-performance headlamps with Adaptive Highbeam Assist, electrically operated tailgate, light 18-inch alloys, 64-colour ambient lighting, adjustable lumbar support, reversing camera and leather sports steering wheel.

The interior of the new EQA
The interior of the new EQA

Driving the Mercedes-Benz EQA

The new EQA is built on the GLA platform. But the combustion engine has been replaced by a 66.5 kWh battery and an electric motor that sends power to the front wheels (190 hp). Performance is fine, in line with the EQA's relaxed and premium feel behind the wheel. It will hardly throw you back in your seat every time you touch the accelerator. But handling is quite neutral as opposed to sporty, so efficiency is key here.

Mercedes has worked to improve the efficiency of the car with aerodynamic features like front and rear aprons, smooth underbody, closed cooling air system, and wind-optimised wheels with spoilers. There is a quoted range of over 400 km with average energy consumption of 17.6 kWh. During my time with the car, my average consumption was 20.8 kWh. The heat pump uses waste heat from the electric motor to warm passengers, increase range and reduce the draw on battery power.

The new electric Mercedes moves off effortlessly in silence. Refinement is a strong point for the EQA, no matter the road or road surface. The electric motor is isolated from the chassis and body to improve comfort and reduce noise and vibration. Numerous damping measures have been designed to prevent the transmission of airborne sound so the EQA can offer a premium driving experience in the compact electric SUV space.

The new EQA is the brand's first electric compact
The new EQA is the brand's first electric compact

Did you like it?

The Mercedes-Benz EQA moves the German brand into the competition for a compact premium electric vehicle. It's now the most affordable electric EQ model in the line-up based on the stylish and popular GLA. The EQA offers a competitive range of over 400 km, though that will depend on your driving style and other factors like the ambient temperature and the speed you are driving at.

The EQA has the advantage of an 11 kW on board charger allowing more flexibility in AC charging. While up to 100 kW DC fast charging is available, so you can get 80% battery charge in around 30 minutes at a motorway charger for example.

Mercedes trump card is the interior of the EQA. All the factors that make their compact car interiors so desirable are here with an 'EQ' branded twist to reflect the electric powertrain. Quality is excellent, equipment levels high.

For Mercedes fans seeking an electrified driving solution, the brand has also recently brought a GLA 250 e plug-in hybrid to market in Ireland. Priced from €48,690, the car's 15.6 kWh battery allows owners to sample driving electric for a range of up to 61 km, with the back up of a 1.3-litre petrol engine.

The EQA is a considerable investment but it fills a gap in Mercedes' portfolio and will be joined soon by the all-electric EQB.

The Mercedes-Benz electric charge continues in 2022 with the launch of the new EQS and EQE!

Mercedes-Benz is on a mission with a new range of EQ vehicles
Mercedes-Benz is on a mission with a new range of EQ vehicles

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Mercedes-Benz EQA 250 Progressive
Price:
€56,120
Battery: 66.5 kWh
Power:
 190 hp
Torque: 375 Nm
0-100km/h: 
8.9 seconds
Top speed: 160 km/h
Motor tax: 
€120 per year


The new Hyundai IONIQ 5 on test for Changing Lanes!

Hyundai IONIQ 5 Review (2022)

Read Caroline's latest Hyundai IONIQ 5 review for everything you need to know about Hyundai's exciting new electric car in Ireland in 2022.

The Hyundai IONIQ 5, the first model from Hyundai’s new IONIQ electric vehicle-exclusive brand, arrived in Ireland in 2021. The IONIQ 5 goes on sale priced from €37,995, with two batteries available - a 58 kWh with up to 384 km of range and a 72 kWh with up to 481 km of range (WLTP).

With striking good looks, revolutionary Hyundai interior, long range and fast charging, the IONIQ 5 makes a dramatic debut!

The new Hyundai IONIQ 5 on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Hyundai IONIQ 5 on test for Changing Lanes!

Hyundai as a brand has an impressive pedigree in electric vehicles already with the Hyundai Kona Electric being one of Ireland's most popular compact electric vehicles. The small crossover was a game changer when it arrived in Ireland at the end of 2018, with an electric range in excess of 400 km.

Since then the electric vehicle market has got even more competitive, but Hyundai strikes back with the launch of the IONIQ 5. It's a larger car than the Kona Electric. In fact the space inside is more comparable with the Hyundai Santa Fe, Hyundai's large family SUV. Let's take a closer look.

What's so special about the Hyundai IONIQ 5?

The IONIQ 5 marks a new direction for Hyundai in design. It is built on Hyundai Motor Company’s dedicated battery electric vehicle architecture called Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), which allows it to have unique proportions on an elongated wheelbase.

The IONIQ 5 looks like a concept car. It's a fresh new look for the Hyundai brand, with a futuristic presence on the road. The front of the car has Hyundai’s first clam shell bonnet that minimises panel gaps for the best aerodynamics.

The Hyundai IONIQ 5 is very striking and interesting to look at
The Hyundai IONIQ 5 is very striking and interesting to look at

The front bumper has an eye-catching V-shape incorporating distinctive daytime running lights that provide an unmistakable light signature unique to IONIQ 5. Small pixel-like light clusters also appear at the rear of the vehicle. Auto flush door handles provide clean surface styling and enhanced aerodynamic efficiency. It's a beautiful car that really makes a statement.

Inside, the IONIQ 5 has a lounge-like feel. The dedicated electric vehicle platform has allowed for an innovative use of space inside the vehicle. There's great width to the cabin and loads of space beneath the dashboard and where a centre console traditionally lies.

It's a new interior design concept for Hyundai - futuristic but functional. Yet it's easy to get comfortable in here. The controls are all intuitive to use. The quality is worth a mention too. It's truly excellent. Everything feels good to touch from the dials and switches, to the inside surfaces of the doors.

Digital technology is on point as you would expect from a trendsetter like the IONIQ 5. Two 12.3” LCD screens give an almost widescreen effect - one for the driver information display and one for multimedia. There's also wireless phone charging for compatible devices, a rear view camera and smart navigation-based cruise control.

Inside the new Hyundai IONIQ 5
Inside the new Hyundai IONIQ 5

Is it practical?

Hyundai pitches the IONIQ 5 between the Tucson and Santa Fe in size. In fact space inside is more comparable to the Santa Fe. There's loads of room in the front of the cabin.

Hyundai has reduced the thickness of the front seats by 30 percent, providing more space for those seated in the second row. You can also recline almost flat in those front seats!

Rear leg room is really excellent because of the stretched wheelbase. The rear seats split fold 60:40 and also slide as standard. There's a flat floor too making it more comfortable for a middle passenger.

The boot has over 500 litres of space and a traditional hatchback-style opening. There's also a handy space under the boot floor to store charging cables away cleanly. There is a small amount of extra storage under the bonnet too.

What's available in the IONIQ 5 range in Ireland?

In Ireland there is a choice of three battery and drive types for IONIQ 5: a 58 kWh, single motor, rear wheel drive; a 72 kWh, single motor, rear wheel drive; or a 72 kWh dual motor all-wheel drive model.

The 58 kWh model on test for Changing Lanes is single motor and sends 170 hp to the rear wheels. There's 350 Nm of torque available, with 0 to 100 km/h achieved in 8.5 seconds. The electric range of this model is up to 384 km (WLTP) and it's priced from €37,995, including all relevant grants and reductions.

The 72 kWh, single motor IONIQ 5 starts from €44,995. The same car with all wheel drive is available from €64,995 with the best performance of the entire range - 0 to 100 km/h in just 5.2 seconds.

There are four trim levels in Ireland: Executive, Executive Plus, Premium and Premium Plus, with high levels of equipment across the range. Standard equipment includes 19” alloy wheels, interior mood lighting, 12.3” LCD audio, visual and navigation system with DAB, Apple Car Play™ and Android Auto™, LCD drivers instrument cluster, and wireless phone charging for compatible devices. There's also a rear view camera, LED Multi-Faceted Reflector headlamps, LED stop, tail and turn lamps, rear parking sensors. Highway Drive Assist, Intelligent Speed Limit Assist, and Lane Keep Assist with Lane Following Assist.

Charging the Hyundai IONIQ 5
Charging the Hyundai IONIQ 5

Driving and charging the Hyundai IONIQ 5

On the road, the Hyundai IONIQ 5 58 kWh is swift and supple. There's a natural feeling to this car on the road that is very pleasant; it doesn't feel too heavy. It's not designed to be sporty but it is still agile and well-balanced through corners.

The transmission is very refined. The IONIQ 5 is quiet and comfortable on the move with little transmission noise entering the cabin. It's capable of driving long distances on one charge, while being comfortable too for an electric car with a balanced ride quality.

IONIQ 5 features 800V charging as standard, which makes it one of the best EVs on the market right now for charging. Of course this depends on the infrastructure available to you but the IONIQ 5 has a lot of things in its favour. If you can find an IONITY station, you can charge at the IONIQ 5's maximum charging rate of 220 kW, and get 80% battery charge in just 20 minutes.

There is also a powerful 11 kW on-board charger with more flexibility for AC charging. It allows the IONIQ 5 to charge almost twice as fast as a lot of other EVs on the market using those 22 kW public chargers in Irish cities and towns.

WATCH MY VIDEO OF THE NEW IONIQ5 !

Did you like it?

Hyundai has already proven itself as a front runner in the race to electric with the launch of the Kona Electric back in 2018 and its stellar electric range for a sub-premium compact.

But IONIQ 5 brings the game on again for the Korean car brand. The IONIQ 5 feels fresh, new and a generation ahead with its innovative design and 800V fast charging capabilities.

The 11kW on board charger brings even more flexibility in AC charging and is a great feature to have as standard.

It's no doubt an unusual car, more a hatchback than an SUV. Though the raised ride height will make it popular among drivers seeking a more crossover-style vehicle.

The IONIQ 5 deserves to draw attention to itself with its futuristic design, considering what Hyundai has packed into this car. All things considered, the IONIQ 5 58 kWh is well-priced, loaded with equipment and technology, and a sound buy. The 72 kWh version will bring even more comfort when it comes to range, with over 400 km available on a full battery charge.

The new Hyundai IONIQ 5 is just one more reason why electric is closer than you think.

The Hyundai IONIQ 5 on sale now from €37,995
The Hyundai IONIQ 5 on sale now from €37,995

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Hyundai IONIQ 5 58 kWh Premium
Price:
€44,995
Battery: 58 kWh
Power: 
170 hp
Torque: 350 Nm
0-100km/h:
8.5 seconds
Top speed: 185 km/h
Motor tax: 
€120 per year


The new Ford Mach-E!

Ford Mustang Mach-E Review

The new Ford Mach-E!
The new Ford Mach-E is now on sale in Ireland!

The Ford Mustang Mach-E has finally arrived in Ireland! It feels like we have been waiting for this car for so long. There is huge anticipation around the Mach-E, Ford's first serious attempt at a mass production battery electric vehicle. Was it worth the wait? Caroline took the new Mustang Mach-E for a test drive to find out.

The Ford Mustang Mach-E goes on sale in Ireland priced from €53,100 including the SEAI grant. There are rear wheel drive and all wheel drive variants, two battery sizes and a range topping Mach-E GT with 487 hp!

Styling

The Mach-E carries the famous Mustang name and the iconic pony badge. It's something of a crossover-style vehicle with the raised ride height of an SUV. It looks sporty and purposeful. It's a very successful electric vehicle design. The front end of the car is just gorgeous with that curved closed grille and thin, aggressive headlamps. Around the rear there is homage to the classic Mustang coupé with trademark tri-bar taillamps.

Interior

The interior of the Mustang Mach-E marks a new generation interior for a Ford car. There has been a significant digital upgrade to anything we've seen previously from the brand including a new digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel and a show-stopping 15.5" portrait-style touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard. It's a blend of old and new, with enough traditional switchgear inside to not frighten any Ford customers! A wireless charging pad for smartphones also comes as standard.

Quality seems generally good but it's not quite a premium billing for new Mustang Mach-E. The rotary selector for the automatic lacks a satisfying click into gear. Leather seats and other cabin materials have a red stitching finish and with that iconic pony logo on the steering wheel, you won't forget the Mustang Mach-E's sporty roots.

The new Mach-E goes on sale from €53,100
The new Mach-E goes on sale from €53,100

Practicality

The Mach-E has seating for five and space inside is about comparative to a mid-size SUV. There is a 402 litre boot and a 'frunk' (front trunk storage unit) with an additional 81 litres of storage space. The front trunk is also drainable for added convenience!

Battery 

There are standard (70 kWh) and extended-range (91 kWh) battery options available. There is a choice of single-motor rear-wheel drive and dual-motor all-wheel drive performance. The 70 kWh rear wheel drive entry model has a range of 440 km (WLTP) and 269 hp. The Mustang Mach-E First Edition on test for Changing Lanes features all-wheel drive and extended-range battery as standard (540 km WLTP) and 351 hp.

Charging

Ford is offering Mustang Mach-E customers an optional 7.4 kW Ford Connected Wallbox. The wall-mounted charger can top up the Mustang Mach-E battery from 10 per cent to 80 per cent in 8 hours. Mustang Mach-E customers also currently receive as standard two charging cables. The 6-metre Ford Public Charge Cable is compatible with the common charging standard in Europe, enabling customers to easily connect to AC chargers without an integrated charge cable. The 6.7-metre Universal Home Charge Cord enables connection to either a standard domestic socket or 32 A blue industrial socket.

DC fast-charging compatibility is also standard with charging up to 150 kW possible, using an IONITY charger for example.

The interior of the new Ford Mustang Mach-E
The interior of the new Ford Mustang Mach-E

Driving it

Mustang Mach-E’s all-new platform has been developed by Ford Team Edison to take full advantage of the performance-enhancing weight distribution and torque delivery of an all-electric powertrain. The lithium-ion battery is located centrally between the axles and beneath the floor for a low centre of gravity to support sporty driving dynamics.

The high-performance batteries – tested at temperatures as extreme as minus 40 degrees Celsius – are secured inside a waterproof case surrounded by crash absorption protection. An advanced active liquid heating and cooling system regulates battery temperatures for optimised performance in extreme weather, improved charging times and sustained high-speed driving.

Battery power is transferred to an all-new, oil-cooled, rear-mounted AC motor to drive the rear wheels, and an additional front-mounted motor for models equipped with the all-wheel drive system. The permanent magnet, synchronous rear motor enables peak torque in 0.5 seconds for ultimate responsiveness.

The available all-wheel drive system applies torque independently to the front and rear wheels for improved acceleration and handling. Unique settings for shock absorbers, springs, anti-roll bars, steering and powertrain have been tailored for the European market.

Mustang Mach-E also offers One Pedal Drive capability that helps return more kinetic energy to the battery, for greater efficiency.

There are new selectable drive modes - Whisper, Active and Untamed - the latter which unleashes the full potential of the Mustang Mach-E; sharpening the steering, enhancing the throttle response and even giving the driver the feel of downshifting on deceleration. Matched to the performance is a boosted interior sound, sporty orange lighting, and dynamic sense lines on the driver display that reflect the acceleration and cornering forces being experienced.

The Mach-E has two battery sizes available - 71 kWh and 90 kWh
The Mach-E has two battery sizes available - 70 kWh and 91 kWh

The Mustang Mach-E First Edition on test for Changing Lanes features all-wheel drive and extended-range battery as standard for 351 PS/258 kW, 580 Nm of torque and 0-100 km/h acceleration in 5.1 seconds.

On first impressions the Mach-E has been well engineered for a sporty and natural drive. It doesn't feel too heavy on the road and is fun to drive with lightening quick responses. There is a firm edge over bumps in the road and uneven surfaces, but on the smooth stuff all is good.

The range-topping Mustang Mach-E GT features all-wheel drive and extended-range battery as standard for 487 PS, 860 Nm of torque and 0-100 km/h acceleration in 3.7 seconds 

Equipment

In Ireland, Mustang Mach-E is offered in three series: RWD, AWD and GT, as well as a limited number of First Edition vehicles available at launch.

Mustang Mach-E RWD Standard Range / Extended Range Spec:

18” 5-spoke silver alloy wheels; LED reflector headlamps; LED Mustang signature tail lights; body colour bumpers; body colour headed mirrors with puddle light Mustang logo projection; side cladding and wheel arches in black; brace front grille design; heated driver and passenger seats; next generation SYNC 4A; FordPass Connect (embedded modem); e-latch keyless entry system including b-pillar keypad access; front trunk; selectable drive modes (Active, Whisper, Untamed); 10.2" Full Digital Cluster & 15.5" Central Touch Screen; One Pedal Drive; Pre-Collision Assist: includes Collision Mitigation, FCW (Forward Collision Warning), DBS (Dynamic Brake Support), AEB (Automated Emergency Braking), DA/DI (Distance Alert/Distance Indication), ESA (Evasive Steer); Ford VariPower charging cable; high power charging cable; 115kw high-powered charging (Standard Range model); 150kw high-powered charging (Extended Range model).

Mustang Mach-E AWD Standard Range / Extended Range adds:

19” black machined alloy wheels; red brake calipers; side cladding and wheel arches piano black; blade front grille design; black perforated full Sensico trim with red stitching; rear view camera; hands free tailgate; 360-degree camera; B&O Premium Sound System 10-Speaker inc. Dashboard Sound Bar; advanced active park assist; full panorama roof; dual motor permanent all-wheel drive.

Mustang Mach-E GT adds:

20” cast aluminium wheels; unique GT front grille design; Brembo brakes with red calipers; unique Pirelli tyres; unique GT bumpers; wheel lip mouldings – body colour and door cladding painted black; GT performance seats; 860 Nm of torque; 487PS/358 kW maximum power; MagneRide suspension; GT scuff plates.

The Ford Mustang Mach-E is fun to drive
The Ford Mustang Mach-E is fun to drive

Pricing

SeriesBodystyleBatteryTransmissionPrice*
Mustang Mach-E RWD5 door70kWh (75kWh) Standard Range1 speed auto€53,100
Mustang Mach-E RWD5 door91kWh (98kWh) Extended Range1 speed auto€64,400
Mustang Mach-E AWD5 door70kWh (75kWh) Standard Range1 speed auto€68,550
Mustang Mach-E AWD5 door91kWh (98kWh) Extended Range1 speed auto€76,100
Mustang Mach-E GT5 door91kWh (98kWh) Extended Range1 speed auto€82,100

*Gross Retail Prices including VAT and SEAI grant

Summary

The Mustang returns! But as Ford's first proper attempt at a full battery electric vehicle. There's no Ford badge anywhere on this car except on the key. We know the Mustang badge is cool. The Mach-E makes a great first impression.

With pricing starting from €53,100 and rising too €82,000 for the range-topping Mustang Mach-E GT, this is new territory for Ford and there is plenty of competition now in this price range.

The Mustang Mach-E bites back with cool crossover styling, the iconic badge and a car that is truly enjoyable to drive.

The interior of the Mustang Mach-E blends old and new, with an exciting new look but it's also entirely practical and functional. Cabin finish falls short of premium, but the Mach-E excels behind the wheel.

Battery range is not an issue here. There is plenty to be comfortable and battery performance is impressive. The car handles the road naturally, it's an electric car you will enjoy driving.

While it's odd to have a car with a Mustang badge and no rumble from under the bonnet, the world has changed and I'm glad Ford is now making electric vehicles with a little bit of personality. Mach-E is cool, no doubts!

The range-topping Mustang Mach-E GT
The range-topping Mustang Mach-E GT

Caroline Kidd.


The new BMW iX3 on test for Changing Lanes!

BMW iX3 Review

The new BMW iX3 on test for Changing Lanes!
The new BMW iX3 on test for Changing Lanes!

In 2021, BMW has strengthened its portfolio of electric vehicles considerably with the arrival of the new BMW iX3, an electric version of the popular BMW X3 mid-size SUV. This year has also seen the launch of the flagship electric iX large SUV and the i4 electric sports saloon.

What's so special about the new BMW iX3?

But there's a familiarity to the iX3 that's sure to help it penetrate the market here, a market that is becoming ever more receptive to battery power.

With pricing starting from €74,815, the BMW iX3 is perched predictably in the higher end of the market. But in recent years rivals Audi and Mercedes-Benz have been bringing their electric flagship SUVs to market, spearheading change that's rippling throughout every corner of the industry.

The development of the BMW iX3 was based on the experience amassed by the BMW i brand since 2011.

The iX3 is a pipe dream for many, but it's surprisingly effective and desirable for its market with robust range from a 80 kWh battery. Official data says the range is up to 460 km (WLTP) on a single charge, but most drivers won't emulate quite that. Still over 300 km is achievable and there's a lot of comfort and confidence driving on a full charge because of that.

The iX3 uses an 80 kWh battery
The iX3 uses an 80 kWh battery

Visually there are a few little hints to the iX3's electric underpinnings. Granted on test is the fully loaded 'Premier Edition Pro' that looks equally smart and sinister with bespoke modifications to the front and rear apron, enclosed front kidney grille and 20" black aerodynamic alloy wheels. But it's stout and squat like a good old-fashioned BMW SUV, many of which had found a home in Ireland since the X5 started it all.

Inside the new BMW iX3

Slipping inside the new BMW iX3 is a very pleasant experience. The cabin quality is excellent, the design sturdy and reassuring. There's no compromise in quality, everything looks and feels great, like any other X3 in the range. There's a full digital experience with a digital instrument cluster for the driver. It's a proper luxury liner.

The interior of the car also contains blue accents as a reference to the electric drive system. These can be found on both the Start/Stop button and the gear selector lever. Other model-specific cues include the model lettering on the centre console, door sill plates bearing the BMW i logo, the screens in the cockpit and Control Display adapted to the presence of an electric drive system as well as the standard-fitted ambient lighting, which provides blue illumination in its default setting.

Standard equipment for the new BMW iX3 includes BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto preparation and the digital services from BMW Connected Charging.

The interior of the new BMW iX3
The interior of the new BMW iX3

The BMW iX3 Premier Edition includes 20” black aerodynamic wheels, automatic tailgate, adaptive suspension and panoramic sunroof. Vernasca leather is available in a choice of four colours, along with Sensatec dashboard, sun protect glazing, ambient lighting and electric seats. Additional standard features include wireless phone charging, heated front seats and the brand’s very latest driver assistance technology, including Driving Assistant Professional, Parking Assistant and BMW Live Cockpit Professional.

Additional standard features on the Premier Edition Pro include BMW head-up display, Harman Kardon surround sound, gesture control, Parking Assistant Plus, automatic high beam assistant, and lumbar support.

Is it practical?

The iX3 remains a practical family SUV with little compromise on space inside the vehicle. The driver, the front passenger and the three occupants in the rear have almost exactly the same levels of space as in a conventionally powered BMW X3 variant.

Boot capacity also matches that of combustion-engined BMW X3 models, while the boot floor lifts up to reveal a stowage compartment for the charging cable or luggage compartment cover. Thanks to the 40:20:40 split/folding rear seat backrest, load space can be expanded as required. The load capacity of the new BMW iX3 is between 510 and 1,560 litres.

The BMW iX3 is capable of fast charging up to 150 kW
The BMW iX3 is capable of fast charging up to 150 kW

The new iX3 is capable of charging at 150 kW at DC fast-charging stations, with recharging from 0 to 80 per cent taking just over 30 minutes in these instances. When using AC terminals, there's single-phase charging available at up to 7.4 kW and three-phase charging at up to 11 kW.

Driving the BMW iX3

So is it still the ultimate driving machine with a battery? There's a healthy 286 hp and 400 Nm from a newly designed fifth-generation BMW eDrive electric motor. But that will be needed to haul the hulking iX3 at over 2.2 tonnes. Still the iX3 manages a 0 to 100 kmh sprint in just 6.8 seconds.

Power is transferred to the rear wheels and adaptive suspension fitted as standard optimises sporting responses and comfort. There's no four wheel drive option and ground clearance is not a strong point so don't try anything too adventurous with it.

The BMW iX3 has a unique rear axle subframe and bespoke chassis integration to help it meet the particular demands on a pure electric vehicle. The iX3 feels good on the road with the comfort and refinement we expect from a premium SUV. Handling and grip is fine but the weight of the battery and its distribution appears to take the edge off BMW's famed sporty handling characteristics, while the steering remains quite neutral too.

BMW enters the arms race with the iX3
BMW enters the electric premium SUV arms race with the iX3

Did you like it?

More than I thought I would. The iX3 is a brilliant electric SUV. Yes you pay for it but the quality and execution of this car is top notch. It remains comfortably familiar BMW territory - a beautiful interior, classic BMW design cues, and utterly seducing from the moment you slip behind the wheel and put it in Drive.

With over 300 km possible on one battery charge, I did many journeys with no charging required between them, including motorway journeys.

While ultimate 'ev' driving machine might be a stretch too far for this reviewer, comfort and refinement remain reassuringly premium and a good omen for the future of electric BMWs. The iX3 is another surprise hit of the year for Changing Lanes.

The BMW iX3 is a capable and desirable electric SUV
The BMW iX3 is a capable and desirable electric SUV

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: BMW iX3 Premier Edition Pro
Price: 
€76,067
Battery:
80 kWh
Power:  286 hp
Torque: 400 Nm
Top speed: 180 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 6.8 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€120 per year


The CUPRA Born on test for Changing Lanes!

CUPRA Born First Drive Review

The CUPRA Born on test for Changing Lanes!
The CUPRA Born on test for Changing Lanes!

The CUPRA Born is the first all-electric model from the CUPRA brand and will arrive in Ireland in March 2022. We got an early drive in the new Born ahead of its Irish launch next year. The range will go on sale from €31,440, with three battery sizes available. Designed and developed at CUPRA’s headquarters in Martorell, Barcelona, the CUPRA Born is produced at the Zwickau plant in Germany.

Styling

The CUPRA Born takes the shape of a cool hatchback. It's edgy and distinct looking with an equally stylish selection of colours to choose from including Vapor Grey and the exclusive Aurora Blue. CUPRA's signature copper accents and badging feature around the car. 18" wheels will come as standard, with 19" and 20" available. All include aerodynamic inserts and copper accents. Contrasting C-pillars have a floating design, while puddle lights beam the CUPRA logo on to the ground from the door mirrors. The high-end finish is complimented by LED lights that run “coast-to-coast” at the rear of the car.

The Born is the CUPRA brand's first all-electric model
The Born is the CUPRA brand's first all-electric model

Interior

Inside, the CUPRA Born has a stylish and modern interior with a minimalist vibe. There is a small digital instrument cluster for the driver and a 12" infotainment screen comes as standard. There are some nice materials used in the doors and around the dashboard to give a sportier and more premium vibe in line with other models in the new CUPRA range. Users can access online services, downloadable apps and service features as well as remote access and charging via the My CUPRA app or charge their mobile devices using the standard wireless QI charger. Standard bucket seats use SEAQUAL® Yarn made from upcycled marine plastics. The door panels and arm rests are made from Dinamica®, another recycled material.

Practicality

Space inside the CUPRA Born feels somewhere akin to a traditional family hatchback. It's compact but spacious up front with seating for three in the rear. There is a 385 litre boot, which is competitive for a hatchback like this one.

Inside the new CUPRA Born
Inside the new CUPRA Born

Battery 

There are three battery sizes to choose from: 45 kWh (WLTP range of 350 km), 58 kWh (WLTP range of 424 km), and 77 kWh (WLTP range of 540 km). The CUPRA Born’s electric powertrain is available in a choice of 150PS (110kW), 204PS (150kW) and a 231PS (170kW) e-Boost pack for even more performance. Some models can avail of 170 kW DC charging and go from 5% battery charge to 80% charge in just 35 minutes.

Driving it

Built on the Volkswagen Group’s modular MEB platform, power goes to the rear wheels. The Born combines a MacPherson strut suspension at the front with an advanced five multi-link design at the rear. When equipped with Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC), the Born rides 15 mm lower in the front and 10 mm lower in the rear. The fastest models in the range are fitted with the e-Boost package, pushing the Born to 100 km/h in just 6.6 seconds.

The electric motor is located above the rear axle while the battery sits low between the front and rear axles, delivering a low-slung centre of gravity and almost perfect 50:50 weight distribution. Five driving modes - Range, Comfort, Performance, Individual and CUPRA (e-Boost only) - adapt to the driver’s needs.

CUPRA say they have tuned the car for a sportier feel in line with their brand values. On the road the new CUPRA Born feels compact and agile. We had a quick drive in the 58 kWh version. It doesn't feel too heavy on the road and behaves in a natural way. Steering is smooth and easy, the cabin hushed. 

The CUPRA Born has three batteries available
The CUPRA Born has three batteries available

Pricing

In Ireland the new CUPRA Born will go on sale priced from €31,440 for the Born 45 kWh. The Born 58 kWh will start from €35,550 and from €39,000 in the e-Boost trim. The Born 77 kWh with e-Boost will start from €42,650. All prices include the SEAI grant.

Summary

The CUPRA Born marks a new era of electrification for the brand, joining plug-in hybrid variants of the CUPRA Leon, CUPRA Leon Sportstourer and the CUPRA Formentor. The brand's range will be 100% electric by 2030. There is a new electric SUV coming in 2024, the Tavascan, which will be followed by a new compact electric car in 2025.

The CUPRA Born stands out for its design, offering an exciting new entrant into the electric space. With three battery sizes available and a competitive entry price, the Born has a great opportunity to woo buyers in the market for a new compact EV.

We look forward to meeting the Born again in 2022 and bringing you a more detailed road test.

The CUPRA Born will officially go on sale in Ireland in March 2022
The CUPRA Born will officially go on sale in Ireland in March 2022

Caroline Kidd


The new MG 5 on test for Changing Lanes!

MG5 Estate Review (2021)

The new MG 5 on test for Changing Lanes!
The new MG 5 on test for Changing Lanes!

MG returned to Ireland at the end of 2020 with a new suite of electrified vehicles. Under a new distributor, the brand has launched three new models here - the MG ZS electric SUV previously reviewed for Changing Lanes, the MG HS plug-in hybrid SUV, and now this, the MG5, an all-electric estate car for the Irish market.

An estate car! We don't hear much about them these days as the market is obsessed with SUVs and crossovers. Yet estate cars were always the default choice for buyers seeking a lifestyle vehicle that can fit the dog and some gear, while giving a more 'active' image than a saloon or hatchback.

But SUVs these days seem to capture most of that market - though it's debatable how well they fit the brief for space and practicality.

What's so special about the MG5?

The new MG5 is discreet to look at but underneath there's an electric powertrain that is good for up to 345 km. There are no other electric estate cars on the market at the moment making the MG5 a unique proposition right now.

The MG5 sits quite low for an electric car, with the water-cooled battery pack integrated into the car’s chassis. There are dynamic benefits here too, with the low centre of gravity influencing how the car feels on the road.

With pricing starting from €27,645 for the Excite model and from €30,895 for the Exclusive model with more equipment on board, the MG5 remains affordable in today's EV market, with affordability and value being key drivers of the MG brand relaunch in Ireland.

The MG5 is on sale in Ireland now priced from €27,645
The MG5 is on sale in Ireland now priced from €27,645

What's it like to drive?

The MG5 on test used a 52.5 kWh battery with up to 345 km (WLTP) of range available, and a 115 kW motor, equivalent to 156 hp. The performance figures are good and the MG5 feels swift and responsive on the road. It is agile and simple to drive with a very conventional layout to the controls used to operate the vehicle and monitor its progress. The low centre of gravity means it feels planted at all times, behaving in a natural way in response to driver inputs.

The car is comfortable in driving on its 16" wheels and will cruise happily on the motorway. In that way it can't be faulted. The MG5 is predictable in charging and there are no massive drops in range when you get it out onto the motorway.

Ownership of the electric MG5 of course will mean acquainting yourself very quickly with charging. With a 7 kW wallbox installed at home for example, a full charge can be got in about 8.5 hours or overnight. The MG5 is also equipped with a CCS charging port so can avail of fast charging, gaining 80% in 50 minutes from a public fast charge point, charging at 50 kW. Charge points are easily accessed from the front of the car behind the MG badge.

The interior of the MG5
The interior of the MG5

What's it like inside?

Inside the MG5 there is a traditional dashboard layout with all the controls logically laid out. The cabin is nicely appointed for the price point of the vehicle. The layout and design is more traditional than avant garde, but we do like the neat rotary gear selector on the centre console.

Standard equipment includes the 8" colour touchscreen and Android Auto/Apple Car Play. Our MG 5 Exclusive had plenty of nice features like heated front seats, automatic air conditioning, leather covered steering wheel, rear parking camera and leather style upholstery.

There's a natural sense of practicality to the MG5 because it's an estate car. Rear legroom is good for the C segment also, and there's plenty of headroom from that tall roof line. Buyers will be pleased to note that there's 464 litres of space available up to the luggage cover, or 578 litres up to the roof. Other advantages include a wide loading area. There is a bit of a lip between the boot opening and the boot floor - a flat loading area would have been an even greater advantage and more practical for an estate car. The rear seats also split fold 60:40 for even more space.

Practicality is a key feature of the MG5 estate
Practicality is a key feature of the MG5 estate

Did you like it?

At the time of writing, MG has updated the MG5 range with a model with a larger capacity battery - 61.1 kWh giving an estimated range of 403 km (WLTP). This model goes on sale priced from €29,645. It features fast charging capability with the ability to reach an 80% battery charge in just 40 minutes via a 100kW CCS rapid charge point.

MG is already making impact with six dealers appointed around Ireland and over 300 cars sold in their fledgling year in this market. Affordability is a key driver, but the cars are getting out there.

While the MG ZS follows the trend for SUVs and crossovers, the MG5 seeks to offer buyers an alternative with a well-kitted out estate car.

It's fair to say the MG5 lacks some contemporary style, but it is a practical car that works very well as intended as a cheap to run electric car with a surprisingly enjoyable cabin and driving experience that should help it find good homes!

The MG5 is a new electric estate car from the MG brand
The MG5 is a new electric estate car from the MG brand

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: MG 5 EV Exclusive
Price: 
€31,595
Battery:
52.5 kWh
Power: 156 hp
Torque: 260 Nm
Top speed: 185 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 7.7 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€120 per year


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

Audi Q4 e-tron Review (2022)

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

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

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

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

Styling

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

Interior

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

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

Practicality

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

Battery, performance and range

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

Driving it

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

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

Charging 

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

Pricing

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

Equipment

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

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

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

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

Summary

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

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

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

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

Caroline Kidd

 

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

The SKODA Enyaq is now on sale in Ireland

Skoda Enyaq Review (2022)

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

Read Caroline's Skoda Enyaq review for everything you need to know about Skoda's first electric SUV in Ireland.

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

What's so special about the Skoda Enyaq?

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

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

Styling

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

Interior

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

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

Is it practical?

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

Battery, performance and range

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

Driving it

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

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

What about charging the Skoda Enyaq?

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

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

Pricing

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

Equipment

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

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

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

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

Did you like it?

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

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

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

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

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

Caroline Kidd


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

Mazda MX-30 (2021) Review

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

Caroline drives the 2021 Mazda MX-30!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inside the new MX-30

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

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

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

What are my options?

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

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

What kind of battery and range does it have?

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

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

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

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

Driving the Mazda MX-30

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

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

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

Did you like it?

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

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

Caroline Kidd

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

 

 


The Tesla Model 3 on test for Changing Lanes!

Tesla Model 3 Review (2022)

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

Read Caroline's Tesla Model 3 review for everything you need to know about buying Tesla's new more affordable electric car in Ireland.

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

What's so hot about the Tesla Model 3?

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

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

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

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

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

What's new for the Model 3 in 2021?

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

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

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

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

Inside the Tesla Model 3

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

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

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

So will I be stopping a lot to charge it?

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

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

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

Driving the Model 3

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

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

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

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

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

Did you like it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Caroline Kidd

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