The Nissan Juke Hybrid will arrive in Ireland later in 2022

Nissan Juke Hybrid First Drive Review

The Nissan Juke Hybrid will join the Nissan range in Ireland later this year.

The Juke is one of the brand's most successful models to date with over 11,000 finding homes in Ireland since it first went on sale in 2010. The second generation Juke launched in 2020. Now Juke goes hybrid for the very first time.

Caroline travelled to Milton Keynes with Nissan Ireland to drive the new Nissan Juke Hybrid.

The Nissan Juke Hybrid will arrive in Ireland later in 2022
The Nissan Juke Hybrid will arrive in Ireland later in 2022

Styling

The Nissan Juke Hybrid shares the same sporty crossover design as the rest of the Juke range. The Juke still looks modern and fresh with distinctive styling features including hidden rear door handles for a coupé style and a trendy contrast roof. Hybrid badges now feature on the front doors and the bootlid. The front grille of the Juke Hybrid displays the new Nissan brand logo and also features a strip of black gloss material where it meets the bonnet, a new feature of all electrified Nissan models including the upcoming electric Nissan Ariya. New two-tone 17" alloy wheels and 19" aero wheels will be available.

The Hybrid also gets a few design tweaks to improve aerodynamic efficiency including a new mesh grille with smaller holes. Modifications have also been made to the bodywork below the bumper to improve airflow. A radiator grille shutter has been added, allowing airflow to be automatically adjusted according to cooling needs. The rear spoiler has been restyled for cleaner airflow behind the car. And in front of the front wheels, the air deflectors have been reshaped and repositioned to clean the airflow. The rear axle has gained a cover to smooth the airflow under the car. Magic!

Interior

Inside the cabin, the Nissan Juke Hybrid has a sporty vibe with charismatic circular air vents and plenty of soft touch materials in our test vehicle. Hybrid models have an updated driver display including a power gauge and one for the battery's state of charge. A visual representation of the flow of power can be displayed on the 7" combimeter screen between the two dials. Infotainment is provided via an 8" touchscreen on top of the dash with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There's also a new button to activate e-Pedal one pedal driving on the centre console, as well as driving modes and an EV mode. It's a cool and modern cabin for this Juke.

The interior of the new Juke Hybrid
The interior of the new Juke Hybrid

Practicality

The Nissan Juke Hybrid is smaller inside than a Nissan Qashqai for example but it does offer similar space inside to many other compact crossovers on the market. It's possible for two adults to get comfortable in the rear. Headroom could be tight for taller adults but children will be fine. While the standard Juke petrol has an excellent boot volume of 422 litres, the hybrid loses some of that volume to accommodate the battery. It's down to 354 litres but that's still comparable to many hatchbacks.

Engine

The new Nissan Juke Hybrid uses a 1.6-litre four cylinder petrol engine, 1.2kWh battery and a 36kW electric motor. Power is up to 143hp, 25% more than what the 1.0-litre petrol Juke offers. According to Nissan, fuel consumption is reduced by 20% to between 5.0-5.2 litres per 100 km.

On the road

The Juke Hybrid starts in electric mode, moving off silently. Over our mixed test route across town, rural roads and motorway, we saw consumption as low as 5.6 litres per 100 km. It's a standard hybrid so no need to plug it in to get that sort of return on fuel consumption either.

On the road the extra power of the hybrid is apparent compared to the Juke 1.0-litre, offering pleasant acceleration and lively performance. The Juke's automatic gearbox seems to hold onto gears a bit longer than what you expect, no doubt to improve efficiency. There are no paddles or manual mode to override this. Though in Sport mode, the gear changes seem marginally quicker.

Elsewhere, the Nissan Juke Hybrid is a sporty and composed drive, offering lots of grip in cornering, and stability and refinement at high speeds on the motorway. It's compact and agile around town, though the ride seems firm over bumps.

Boot space in the Juke Hybrid
Boot space in the Juke Hybrid

Pricing & Equipment

Full pricing and equipment for the Nissan Juke Hybrid will be released later in the summer. The Nissan Juke 1.0-litre petrol currently starts from €25,745, so expect the hybrid version to carry a premium. Though Nissan Ireland say pricing will be competitive against hybrid rivals like the Toyota Yaris Cross and Renault Captur Hybrid.

Summary

The Nissan brand is gaining momentum again with the arrival of new electric and hybrid models like the electric Ariya and the Qashqai hybrid.

Now hybrid joins the Juke range, giving more options to buyers on the look out for a stylish and fuel-efficient compact crossover.

At Changing Lanes, we were already fans of the latest generation Juke. It's fun to drive and has a cool cabin and quirky coupé-inspired styling.

Thankfully these qualities have been retained in the new Juke Hybrid. It no doubt will be more expensive to buy, but the combination of more power and the ease of the automatic gearbox make it a more sophisticated offering.

The Nissan Juke Hybrid is a stylish and efficient compact crossover
The Nissan Juke Hybrid is a stylish and efficient compact crossover

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes


The Toyota C-HR GR-Sport on test for Changing Lanes!

Toyota C-HR GR Sport Review (2022)

Read Caroline's Toyota C-HR GR Sport review for everything you need to know about buying the latest version of Toyota's popular hybrid crossover in Ireland in 2022.

The Toyota C-HR has been a great success in Ireland since it launched here back in 2016. A new model for Toyota when it launched, the C-HR's trendy crossover looks and hybrid powertrain have been enough to make it a bestselling car in Ireland in a relatively short space of time.

In 2020, the C-HR was updated slightly inside and out. The range was also widened with the arrival of a new 2.0-litre hybrid powertrain offering buyers the option of more power.

Now Toyota has added a new range topping trim level to the range - introducing the new Toyota C-HR GR Sport. It joins the Luna, Sport and Sol trim lines.

The C-HR range starts from €31,025, with the C-HR GR Sport range starting from €38,515.

The Toyota C-HR GR-Sport on test for Changing Lanes!
The Toyota C-HR GR Sport on test for Changing Lanes!

What's so special about the Toyota C-HR GR Sport?

Inspired by Toyota's high performance GR Supra and GR Yaris, the GR Sport trim line bestows the C-HR with a list of sporty design enhancements. Just like the Toyota Corolla GR Sport, these enhancements are purely cosmetic.

Toyota's 1.8 litre hybrid (122hp) or 2.0 litre hybrid (184hp) powertrains provide the power, with a natural bias towards efficiency - rather than racetrack performance like those classic GR models!

Still it's a formula that works. The C-HR is a very good looking car anyway, with plenty of interesting design features. The GR Sport adds even more prestige to this popular crossover.

At the front there's a special black background to the Toyota emblem and headlamp housings. The centre bumper and fog lamp surrounds get a glossy black finish, a dark chrome grille and a new, more aggressively styled front spoiler.

There is lots of standard equipment including touchscreen with Apple Car Play and Android Auto, dual zone climate control, power adjustable driver's seat, and auto fold door mirrors. There's also the full range of Toyota Safety Sense, including adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert and high beam assist.

Around the back of the car the Toyota emblem has a black background. There are more glossy black reflector surrounds, bespoke under-bumper trim garnish and a GR Sport badge.

The Dynamic Grey paint with black roof is exclusive to the GR Sport and the car sits on special 19" alloy wheels.

The GR Sport is the new range topper for the C-HR range
The GR Sport is the new range topper for the C-HR range

Inside the C-HR GR Sport

The C-HR has a very stylish interior and good quality finish. It is one of the most premium feeling cabins of the brand's compact range. You sit that little bit higher than in a hatch and the cabin appears to wrap around you in a sporty way.

The new C-HR GR Sport gets a few special additions including a new silver cabin finish, perforated leather steering wheel rim with red stitching, unique scuff plates, and a GR stop/start button.

There are also new GR-inspired Alcantara seats with leather bolsters and red and grey stitching. They give the cabin a real sporty feel and look great!

The C-HR is classed as a C-segment SUV but it's on the 'cosier' side of the spectrum. There is seating for three in the rear but two will be most comfortable. The coupé-style design of the rear doors and high beltline look great from the outside. But it does mean that it's quite dark and enclosed feeling for back seat passengers.

The boot at 377 litres is more comparable with the average hatchback. Some crossovers and SUVs in this price bracket do have larger boots and are more practical.

The interior of the Toyota C-HR
The interior of the Toyota C-HR

Driving the Toyota C-HR Hybrid

The Toyota C-HR marked a turning point for the Toyota brand when it was first launched back in 2016. It was the first of a new generation of Toyota cars built upon the TNGA platform with more style and dynamism. TNGA changed everything for Toyota, creating a new line-up of cars that have really driven sales for the brand, including the latest Corolla and RAV4.

Toyota already made some dynamic upgrades to the C-HR in 2020 for improved steering feel. The 2.0-litre hybrid also launched with a new suspension design that improves ride comfort. Refinement was also improved with an upgraded Noise Vibration Harshness (NVH) pack to further reduce cabin noise.

The GR Sport adds on that with model-bespoke tyres, suspension system and steering tuning to improve how the car performs on the road, while retaining good ride comfort.

The C-HR GR Sport feels good on the road. It is a fun car to drive that handles more like a hatchback. The steering is precise and you feel nicely connected to the car. It can cruise on the motorway in comfort, with good refinement too. Though this model in particular does grate a bit over bumps on rougher surfaces.

Rear seating in the C-HR
Rear seating in the C-HR

What are my options?

There is the choice of two hybrid powertrains for the C-HR. The 1.8-litre hybrid has 122 hp and the best economy of the range. For anyone seeking a bit more power, the new 2.0-litre hybrid in the C-HR delivers 184 hp and can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.2 seconds.

The Toyota C-HR 2.0-litre hybrid feels robust and well balanced in terms of power and its delivery through a CVT automatic gearbox. Refinement has been improved with less noise from the CVT.

There's also a new monitor in the latest C-HR to show what percentage of the time your car is driving in EV mode, i.e. on power from the battery not the combustion engine. This is useful in low speed driving for example. Overall this car is as efficient as promised, with my average fuel consumption over a week of driving coming in at 4.8 litres per 100 km.

Did you like it?

The C-HR is one of Toyota's best models, with a premium finish to the design, interior and on the road behaviour that makes it stand out.

It is a very stylish and fashionable car. It was designed as such. So it's not the most practical or the best value for money of the C-segment SUVs. But still highly desirable.

All models come well equipped, including the entry into the range.The new GR Sport trim enhances the C-HR's individual look with a high end finish. It is in short a lovely car. But it starts to get expensive for what is still a relatively compact car. There is better value to be had elsewhere in the range.

Toyota offers two efficient hybrid powertrains for the latest C-HR. But the 1.8-litre hybrid is a good balance on power and efficiency, and will meet the needs of most motorists.

It’s very easy to see the appeal of the C-HR from behind the wheel. As more hybrids come to market, the sophistication of the hybrid powertrain and Toyota’s experience in this area shines through.

The Toyota C-HR is a trendy and fun to drive crossover
The Toyota C-HR is a trendy and fun to drive crossover

Written by Caroline Kidd

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

Model tested: Toyota C-HR 2.0 Hybrid GR Sport
Price: 
€41,160
Engine: 2.0-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 
184 hp
Torque: 190 Nm
0-100km/h:  
8.2 seconds
Top speed: 180 km/h
CO2 emissions (WLTP): 120 g/km
Motor Tax: €190 per year


The new Hyundai Santa Fe on test for Changing Lanes

Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Review (2022)

Read Caroline's Hyundai Santa Fe review for everything you need to know about buying Hyundai's flagship SUV in Ireland in 2022.

In 2021, Hyundai launched a new version of the popular Santa Fe seven seat SUV in Ireland.

The big news for the launch of this new model is the arrival of a new plug-in hybrid to the Santa Fe range.

With pricing starting from €56,445, the Hyundai Santa Fe plug-in hybrid is now the entry into the Santa Fe range. The Premium trim version with more equipment is available from €60,445.

Hyundai will also sell you a diesel Santa Fe from €64,895, with diesel four wheel drive models priced from €69,995.

The new Hyundai Santa Fe on test for Changing Lanes
The new Hyundai Santa Fe on test for Changing Lanes

What's so special about the Hyundai Santa Fe?

The Hyundai Santa Fe is following the move in the industry towards electrification. Hyundai's largest SUV is now available for the very first time as a plug-in hybrid on the Irish market.

But for drivers where diesel still makes a lot of sense, that's available in the range too.

All models for the Irish market come with 7 seats.

The big Hyundai has had some work done beyond powertrain in the latest series of improvements. Everything has been done with the aim of making this popular SUV more premium.

The profile and rear remain almost identical to the generation of the Santa Fe that launched in 2018. But the front end has a new look that is more bold and distinctive than what has come before.

At the rear, there's a new taillight design and a red reflector band has been added to connect the taillights. The rear bumper has also been gently reshaped for a more sophisticated design. The car looks great, with a substantial presence for a flagship SUV.

19" alloy wheels, roof rails and chrome door handles come as standard for the Santa Fe plug-in hybrid.

Hyundai has revamped the Santa Fe to make it more premium
Hyundai has revamped the Santa Fe to make it more premium

Inside the Santa Fe

Inside, the interior of the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe has also been significantly updated for a more premium feel.

It works well. There's a new lower dashboard design, a redesigned centre console and a new 10.25-inch touchscreen. There are new shift-by-wire buttons for the automatic transmission. For the first time, the new Santa Fe comes with a Terrain Mode selector in the centre console to switch between different drive modes. There's also a new 12.3-inch fully digital cluster for the driver.

Leather upholstery, parking camera, wireless phone charging, heated steering wheel and heated seats come as standard. The Premium model gets a powered tailgate, around view monitor and panoramic glass roof.

All cars come with a suite of safety equipment including adaptive cruise control and lane follow assist.

In terms of practicality, the Santa Fe has seating for seven, with two extra seats in the third row. The battery pack for the hybrid is positioned beneath the driver and passenger seats, with no impact on cabin or boot space.

As a result of the platform update, the new Santa Fe has 3 cm more leg room in the second row. While there is 4 cm more leg room for passengers in third row. Boot capacity has been increased too, with a total of 571 litres in 5 seat mode.

The cabin is huge, with plenty of headroom and legroom in the second row. The seats in the third row are ideal for children and can be folded down and stored neatly when not in use.

The interior of the new Santa Fe
The interior of the new Santa Fe

Driving the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid

The new Santa Fe is the first Hyundai model in Europe to be based on the brand's new, third-generation vehicle platform. The new platform allows for significant improvements in performance, handling, efficiency and safety for the latest version of the Santa Fe.

Steering has been altered for more agile handling. Noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) performance is improved through reinforced sound-absorbing systems in vibration-sensitive parts of the body.

On the road the Santa Fe is every inch the premium SUV with a smooth and refined drive, no matter the road surface. It handles well for a large SUV, with great visibility all round.

The Santa Fe plug-in hybrid uses a 1.6-litre T-GDi ‘Smartstream’ petrol engine paired with a 66.9 kW electric motor drawing its power from a 13.8 kWh battery. It's available with four-wheel drive and the total power output is 265 PS, while combined torque is 350 Nm. It's paired to a newly-developed 6-speed automatic transmission.

Plug-in hybrid happens to suit the Santa Fe very well, with plenty of power available and a serene cabin experience. This model has the advantage of allowing you to charge the Santa Fe at home for example, and then drive it electric for a range of up to 58 km. This is ideal for drivers who have a short commute perhaps or spend a lot of time driving in and out of town.

Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 6.8 litres per 100 km, so with regular charging the Santa Fe will really come into its own.

Rear legroom in the Santa Fe
Rear legroom in the Santa Fe

Did you like it?

Hyundai brings the Santa Fe into the big time.The Hyundai Santa Fe is a salubrious and well-kitted out car that feels like a flagship from behind the wheel.

With a well-appointed cabin featuring the latest digital technology features, Hyundai delivers on its ambition to move Santa Fe upmarket. The new interior design is a big improvement over the previous version of the Santa Fe.

Large family seven seat SUVs like this one don't come cheap, but in return the Santa Fe offers fabulous interior space and practicality.

Interestingly the petrol plug in hybrid is now the most affordable entry into the Santa Fe range. With four wheel drive and a healthy power output, it's a feasible alternative to a diesel SUV.

On the road the Santa Fe is smooth and refined, with the hybrid adding a serene quality to this car. For urban drivers, it's a large SUV with a conscience, running happily on electric power for a range that is ideal to exploit in low speed driving situations around town for example.

The brand is on a roll here with the new generation Tucson still Ireland's bestselling car so far this year and the Hyundai IONIQ 5 the bestselling electric car. With seating for seven, the Santa Fe offers even more flexibility in a hotly contested segment of the market.

The Santa Fe seven seat SUV is on sale now
The Hyundai Santa Fe seven seat SUV is on sale now

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid Executive Plus Auto 4WD
Price:
€56,445
Engine: 1.6-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power:
261 hp
Torque: 350 Nm
0-100km/h:  
8.8 seconds
Top speed: 187 km/h
CO2 emissions:
37 g/km
Motor tax: 
€140 per year


The Mercedes-Benz CLA Hybrid on review for Changing Lanes

Mercedes-Benz CLA Hybrid Review (2022)

Read Caroline's Mercedes-Benz CLA 250e review for everything you need to know about buying the new CLA hybrid in Ireland in 2022.

Mercedes-Benz has been adding new hybrids to the brand's range of hatchbacks, saloons and SUVs in recent years. The shift offers buyers even more options when it comes to Mercedes most popular models like the A-Class, GLA, C-Class, GLC, E-Class and GLE, among others.

The all-new Mercedes-Benz CLA launched in Ireland in 2019. It was another step forward for the elegant four door, coupé-like saloon.

Now it's the return of the CLA to Changing Lanes, this time as a hybrid.

The Mercedes-Benz CLA Hybrid on review for Changing Lanes
The Mercedes-Benz CLA Hybrid on review for Changing Lanes

What's so special about the Mercedes-Benz CLA Hybrid?

Mercedes-Benz is completing the range of EQ Power models in the brand's compact-car family with the CLA hybrid, which uses the brand's third-generation hybrid system. Badged CLA 250e, this stylish Mercedes hybrid uses a familiar 1.3-litre turbo petrol engine, battery and electric motor.

The power output is 218 hp making it one of the most powerful versions of the CLA in the entire range. Yet there's also the ability to plug the CLA in and drive it electric for a range of up to 70 km.

The CLA range starts from €45,370 in Ireland for a CLA 180 with a 1.3-litre petrol engine (136 hp). The diesel range starts from €46,935 for a CLA 180d. And now the CLA 250e plug-in hybrid starts from €48,785 in 'Progressive Premium' trim. While in 'AMG Line Premium', it starts from €51,355.

So Mercedes is 'gearing up' the hybrid CLA to make it a compelling prospect in the range.

This is a very handsome car. The CLA carries more prestige in the Mercedes-Benz range than the A-Class for example on which it is based. Described as compact, the presence of the car is much bigger than that when you meet it in the metal for the first time. Frameless windows and that long, elongated coupé look add prestige to this car. The hybrid gets a subtle EQ Power badge and an extra flap for the charging ports. 18" alloys come as standard.

The CLA is available as a hybrid for the very first time
The CLA is available as a hybrid for the very first time

Inside the CLA

Inside, the CLA still blows the competition away with an elegant and exclusive look. The seats are sporty and cosseting. Leather comes as standard. The cabin comes alive at night with cool ambient lighting. The design is just slick and premium.

The hybrid gets the full digital experience - a 10.25" media display and 10.25" digital instrument display as standard, as well as an advanced sound system with ten speakers. The digital screens for the driver and infotainment are effortlessly cool for the compact class. The MBUX infotainment system responds to commands of Hey Mercedes.

The car is roomy up front, but some practicality is sacrificed for style and that sloping roof. Rear legroom is okay for the compact class. There has been a small impact on boot space in the hybrid but there remains a flat floor. There's 390 litres, but the saloon style opening does limit practicality somewhat. There's also a CLA Shooting Brake available, which offers more estate-style load-lugging abilities! It's also available as a hybrid.

The interior of the Mercedes CLA Hybrid
The interior of the Mercedes CLA Hybrid

Driving the CLA Hybrid

On the road, the Mercedes-Benz CLA 250e performs very well, with high levels of refinement from the four cylinder engine combined with the power and responsiveness aided by the electric motor.

The 8 speed automatic works very well here. The CLA hybrid loses none of the elegance of the CLA in other petrol variants like the CLA 180 we tested in 2019. In fact with start up and take off on electric, this hybrid is even more serene and refined from behind the wheel. It's a real viable option now in the CLA range.

It's efficient too with my average fuel consumption over one week averaging at 6 litres per 100 km. But there is the option to run the CLA 250e more efficiently by charging the 15.6 kWh battery and driving electric for a limited range of up to 70 km. It can be charged at home for example using a 7.4 kW wallbox in 1 h 45 min from 10-100 percent.

Did you like it?

The CLA is a stunning and very desirable car among the Mercedes-Benz range of compact cars. Though as we've clarified, the CLA has a the presence of a larger car.

Inside it's one of the best among rivals with a latest generation Mercedes interior dripping with cool digital technology and connectivity.

Behind the wheel, the Mercedes-Benz CLA offers a comfortable and refined driving experience. There's plenty of power here and the car handles the road well.

The new CLA Hybrid gives buyers more options, offering more power and equipment. With regular charging, this car can be ran like an electric vehicle for a limited range. Ideal for short commutes or urban motorists.

The CLA is still lovely after all these years. Even now with a plug!

The Mercedes-Benz CLA 250e is on sale in Ireland now
The Mercedes-Benz CLA 250e is on sale in Ireland now

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Mercedes-Benz CLA 250e Progressive
Price:
€48,785
Engine: 1.3-litre petrol electric plug-in hybrid
Power: 
218 hp
Torque: 450 Nm
0-100km/h:  6.8 seconds
Top speed: 240 km/h
CO2 emissions: 
23 g/km
Motor tax: 
€140 per year


The Mercedes-Benz GLC

Mercedes-Benz GLC Hybrid Review (2022)

Read Caroline's Mercedes-Benz GLC hybrid review for everything you need to know about buying the brand's mid-size SUV in Ireland in 2022, now available as a hybrid.

The Mercedes-Benz GLC is Mercedes' answer to the mid-size SUV. Slotting between the GLB and the GLE in the brand's SUV line-up, the GLC is a premium five seat SUV that looks good anywhere.

Changing Lanes got a drive in the Mercedes-Benz GLC 220d soon after it was revamped in 2019. It was a stand out drive and impressed me for its power, refinement and the quality of the cabin experience. Under the bonnet was a diesel engine, a default choice at the time for a new SUV on the Irish market.

What's new for the Mercedes-Benz GLC?

How things have changed in a relatively short space of time. This time I'm testing the new GLC diesel hybrid, badged GLC 300 de. It could be the best of both worlds. Diesel economy and convenience for motorway driving, combined with the option to drive in zero emission electric power in town and city driving. An SUV with a conscience?

In fact Mercedes-Benz has been quietly refreshing their product range with a suite of new hybrid models. Popular models like the CLA, GLA, GLE, E-Class and C-Class are now available as hybrids, some petrol and some diesel.

The Mercedes-Benz GLC
The Mercedes-Benz GLC

In Ireland the GLC range starts from €58,515 for a 220d diesel with 194 hp, or from €65,407 for the AMG Line model with sportier styling and more equipment.

The new diesel hybrid GLC is available from €66,735 with 306 hp and a high spec AMG Line Premium trim level and 4MATIC all wheel drive. Running costs are potentially very low, with annual motor tax a breeze at €140 per year.

The GLC still looks really sophisticated and classy, with neat proportions and timeless Mercedes design cues. The car on test has the AMG Line exterior features including 19" alloy wheels, diamond radiator grille with pins in chrome, AMG front apron with sporty air intakes and chrome trim element, and an AMG diffuser-look rear apron with a black insert.

Other standard features for the GLC 300 de include a powered tailgate, LED high performance headlamps, ambient lighting, reversing camera with front and rear parking sensors, traffic sign assist and a 9 speaker advanced sound system.

Inside the GLC

The interior of the GLC is an older generation Mercedes interior but it still has all the quality and elegance we expect from the German brand. The GLC 300 de on the market here also has a very high specification.

In terms of digital technology, the 10.25 inch display comes as standard with smartphone integration. There's also a full digital 12.3 inch information panel behind the steering wheel. It's not the latest set-up from the E-Class or the new C-Class with some older graphics, but it still is easy to use and works well.

All materials feel good to touch and there's a full leather interior.

The interior of the Mercedes-Benz GLC
The interior of the Mercedes-Benz GLC

In the cabin the GLC does feel more spacious and practical than a C-Class for example thanks to more headroom and a raised ride height. The transmission tunnel does eat into space for the middle seat passenger, but the two footwells are large and it will be comfortable for two in the rear.

The integration of the battery for the GLC hybrid means that there has been some impact on boot space. Capacity is down from about 500 litres to 395 litres in the hybrid. For a family car this is a bit disappointing, though thankfully it does have a flat floor with neat storage underneath for the charging cables.

Driving the Mercedes-Benz GLC Hybrid

A diesel hybrid is a rare thing, but now a strong feature of the Mercedes line-up as we move forward in this new era of electrification. How successful is it in the GLC?

Safe to say, the GLC has a huge range of powertrain options available from front wheel drive models to 4MATIC all wheel drive, and petrol, diesel and diesel plug-in hybrid.

We can vouch for the power and refinement of the 220d four cylinder diesel engine based on our previous experience, but what happens when you add a battery and electric motor?

More power for a start. The GLC 300 de hybrid has 306 hp and 0 to 100 kmh is just 7.2 seconds. It's matched to a silky 9 speed automatic. When you hit the accelerator, the GLC responds with enthusiasm.

If you are willing to charge the vehicle (which you really should if you are buying a plug-in hybrid) then you can drive on electric power alone for a range of up to 45 km. But this depends vastly on your speed and style of driving and is best for low speed driving around town to make the most out of it.

Over a week of driving, my average fuel consumption was 6.4 litres per 100 km (with very little charging!), which is good for a big four wheel drive SUV.

The Mercedes-Benz GLC is now available as a plug-in hybrid
The Mercedes-Benz GLC is now available as a plug-in hybrid

Did you like it?

The GLC handles the road nicely, it's powerful and refined as you would expect of a premium vehicle.

The diesel plug-in hybrid offers flexibility, but the electric driving range is best exploited in urban driving situations. In these scenarios it's an SUV with a conscience: driving in zero emissions electric power in built up areas and cities.

You will be glad of the diesel engine out on the larger roads and motorways. Even in 4MATIC all wheel drive spec, this car will return good economy.

Yes it looks expensive compared to the entry level 220d diesel, a fine car in its own right. But the plug-in hybrid GLC is offered in the most attractive AMG Line specification with lots of equipment on board and all wheel drive. And it's competitively priced against rivals.

This is an older generation Mercedes now but it's still a quality vehicle with the right mix of prestige and plug-in hybrid for today's market.

Model tested: Mercedes-Benz GLC 300de 4MATIC 
Price:
€62,300 (Range from €58,615)
Engine: 2.0-litre diesel electric plug-in hybrid
Power:
306 hp
0-100km/h: 
6.2 seconds
Top speed: 230 km/h
CO2 emissions:
49 g/km
Motor tax: 
€140 per year


The new DS 7 Crossback on test for Changing Lanes!

DS7 Crossback Hybrid Review (2022)

Read Caroline's DS7 Crossback review for everything you need to know about the brand's flagship plug-in hybrid SUV in Ireland.

It's just over ten years since DS landed in Ireland in the shape of a number of Citroen DS models, including the cute and compact Citroen DS3. The cars were essentially Citroens with some more exclusive badging and opulent trim.

By 2014, DS Automobiles was spun off from Citroen. But it wasn't until 2019 that we got the first brand-specific model, the DS7 Crossback, which I reviewed shortly after it arrived in Ireland.

DS is now owned by motoring behemoth Stellantis. The French premium car brand has found a new home in Ireland with the Gowan Group, who import a suite of Stellantis brands to Ireland including Peugeot, Opel, Citroen, Alfa Romeo, Jeep and Fiat.

The new DS 7 Crossback on test for Changing Lanes!
The new DS 7 Crossback on test for Changing Lanes!

What's so special about the DS7 Crossback?

The DS7 Crossback is special. It's the best of what the DS brand has to offer right now. Designed as a large premium SUV in the brand's 'spirit of avant-garde', it is everything DS wants to be known for. French luxury, opulence, avant-garde design and the most magnificent detailing inside and outside the car.

The DS7 also leads with the brand's 'E-TENSE' plug-in hybrid technology, as well as other petrol and diesel options. Front wheel drive and four wheel drive models are available. With pricing starting from €44,995 rising to €63,200, the DS is up against some well-established competition in the busy large family SUV segment. But the DS7 Crossback is a considerable car.

DS is still a relative newcomer to the Irish market. The brand does not have a massive presence here yet. But a new DS Store opened in Dublin in 2021 at Gowan Motors on the Navan Road. So the DS7 will give its owner the gift of being different for the moment until the brand gains more visibility on Irish roads.

This car is a beauty with a large imposing presence set off perfectly in the Nera Black of the test car, and the Performance Line+ trim. Wheels are 19" as standard. That big grille has beautiful detail with the jewel-like DS badge in the centre. Flanked on either side by magnificent headlights with DS Active LED vision as standard. Each contains three rotating modules and a main LED projector, which unwrap themselves like beautiful diamonds every time you unlock the car. The light show is spectacular at night.

The DS 7 goes on sale in Ireland in 2022 from €44,995
The DS 7 goes on sale in Ireland in 2022 from €44,995

Inside the DS7 Crossback

The signature diamond motif features from the grille to the rear lights and the theme continues inside.

Inside the cabin of the DS7 Crossback is covered in swathes of luxurious Alcantara - the seats, the door cards, the dashboard. It suits the sporty feel of the Performance Line perfectly. It gives a feeling of luxury and quality to the cabin. All this standard on the Performance Line entry point into the DS7 range. There are some harder plastics lower down in the doors but generally the overall impression is good. The car is packed with high end features.

The centre console sports an intricate collage of metal buttons to operate everything from the controls for the powered electric windows to the electronic handbrake. It is beautiful detail and very distinct for DS, though takes a bit of getting used to. It's anything but conventional.

The cabin feels modern with a full digital instrument cluster for the driver and a large 8" touchscreen that is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The DS7 is a five seat SUV - there is no seven seat option. It's big inside. The rear bench is very accommodating with large footwells. This SUV has a longer wheelbase than competitors so rear seating space feels much more generous. The boot is also very large and practical considering the price of the vehicle. There's 555 litres available and a powered tailgate.

The interior of the new DS 7 Crossback
The interior of the new DS 7 Crossback Performance Line

What are my options?

In Ireland, DS offers the DS7 with a range of petrol and diesel engines, and a plug-in hybrid. The petrol option is a 1.2-litre unit with 130 hp (from €45,795). The DS7 1.5-litre diesel has 130 hp and goes on sale from €44,995. All models are automatic for a premium touch.

The DS7 plug-in hybrid is badged 'E-TENSE' and is available from €52,295 for a front wheel drive model and from €61,700 for a four wheel drive model.

So while the hybrids are the most expensive of the range, they offer considerable more power with 225 hp from a 1.6-litre petrol engine and electric motor. They also sound and feel more refined. The 13.2 kWh battery means you can charge the DS7 Crossback hybrid and drive on a pure electric range for up to 58 km. This is ideal in urban environments, where potentially the car could be ran on electricity alone, only dipping into the fuel tank on longer runs.

Driving the DS 7 Plug-in Hybrid

Without charging, my average fuel consumption was 7.0 litres per 100 km so it's certainly advantageous if you can charge frequently and run on electricity for the battery range on trips around town for example. It takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes to charge from a 7 kW home charger.

Elsewhere, the DS7 E-TENSE hybrid does impress with a suitable amount of power and performance for a flagship SUV.

The DS7 Crossback is built on the EMP2 (Efficient Modular Platform), which is used by other Stellantis models. The flexible rear beam was replaced by a multi-arm arrangement to obtain a smoother ride and minimise noise. DS engineers also extended the wheelbase by 5.5 cm and widened the front track.

There is also high-end insulation between the engine compartment and the cabin, in the wheel wells, beneath the bonnet, in the door panels, in the roof lining and underneath the carpeting.

Power is delivered to the road smoothly, with a premium quality to the ride quality. The Active Scan Suspension is standard on the E-TENSE hybrid models. It monitors the road ahead using a camera and adjusts the four shock absorber settings accordingly, making them firmer or softer in response. So what you have behind the wheel is a large SUV that handles tight twisty country roads with a professional finish, as well as motorway tarmac, and the rough and tumble of road surfaces around many Irish towns and cities.

The DS 7 is available as petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid
The DS7 is available as petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid

Did you like it?

The DS7 Crossback is an intriguing vehicle. For a while at least it will still be a mysterious but rare presence on Irish roads. The car looks the part. The devil is in the detail. There is a sophistication and elegance to this car that does demand attention. The spirit of avantgarde!

The petrol and diesel models form a more affordable entry into the DS7 range. And buyers will enjoy the salubrious spec of the Performance Line models, with that beautiful interior swathed in Alcantara. This is a spacious family SUV, with a huge boot and very comfortable seating.

But the hybrid somehow fits the bill for a flagship SUV with a power output that the DS7 seems more worthy of. It won't suit everyone, and will be at its best in urban environments where it can zip around on electric power. But with the DS Store in Dublin, DS are strategically placed for this customer.

DS is hitting its stride now with a new distributor, DS Store, and the upcoming arrival of the exciting new DS4 and DS9. So backing a DS has never looked so good.

The DS 7 Crossback is a new French premium SUV priced from €36,000
The DS7 Crossback diesel on test for Changing Lanes in 2019

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: DS7 Crossback E-TENSE Performance Line+
Price:
€57,245 (Range from €44,995)
Engine: 1.6-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power:
225 hp
Torque:  320 Nm
0-100km/h: 
8.9 seconds
Top speed:  225 km/h
CO2 emissions:
31 g/km
Motor tax: 
€140  per year


The new Peugeot 508 PSE on test for Changing Lanes!

Peugeot 508 PSE Review (2022)

Read Caroline's Peugeot 508 PSE review for everything you need to know about buying Peugeot's new flagship high performance hybrid in Ireland.

Peugeot is striking the Irish new car market with a range of new hybrid and electric models. Key model ranges like the 208, 2008, 3008 and 508 now all contain some sort of 'electrified' model, be it a full battery electric vehicle or a plug-in hybrid.

The soon-to-arrive new Peugeot 308 range will also have a hybrid available for the very first time.

It's an exciting time for Peugeot passenger cars. But their high performance division is also undergoing a revival. Peugeot Sport brought us so many epic performance cars like the legendary 205 GTi and recent hits like the 208 GTi and the 308 GTi.

The new Peugeot 508 PSE on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Peugeot 508 PSE on test for Changing Lanes!

But times are changing and Peugeot Sport must reinvent itself for this new era of hybrid and electric power, while bringing exciting performance cars to market that blend efficiency with performance and dynamism to thrill even the most hardened petrolheads.

A big challenge for any brand, and for one with a sporting heritage like Peugeot. So they have created a new brand - Peugeot Sport Engineered (PSE) - and the first model to come to market is the Peugeot 508 PSE.

What's so special about the Peugeot 508 PSE?

Based on the 508, Peugeot's stylish executive car, the 508 PSE is a high performance hybrid that can drive on electric power for a range of up to about 42 km.

Available as a 508 PSE Fastback or SW (estate) with a list price starting from €70,405, this car has a premium billing. It's the most powerful production Peugeot has ever made and probably the most expensive too!

The 508 was a stunning car to begin with. The 508 PSE adds an aggressive, sporty look very befitting of a high performance car. PSE models are available in Perla Nera black, Pearl white or exclusive Selenium grey. The new PSE brand adds lime green accents and 'claw' marks around the car. There is an aggressive bodykit with very distinctive winglets, a black diffuser at the rear, and 20" wheels.

WATCH MY VIDEO REVIEW OF THE NEW 508 PSE

Inside the 508 PSE

There's a premium price tag for the 508 PSE but the interior does not disappoint. Peugeot has been on a move upmarket for years now, and the product reflects that.

Inside the Peugeot 508 PSE manages to feel even more special and sporty than standard versions of the 508. There are beautiful sports seats as standard and lime green stitching. Peugeot's iCockpit still looks great with a 12.3" digital instrument panel for the driver and a central 10" HD touchscreen for the infotainment and other functions. The compact steering feels great in the hands, adding to your sense of control over the vehicle. You sit low and sporty, with plenty of adjustment in the steering wheel and seat.

This is a big car, with the SW model being the more practical of the two. Thankfully the design of the hybrid has not impacted boot space or passenger space in either vehicle.

Two adults will be comfortable in the rear. The boot of the SW has a 467 litre capacity, wide opening area and low loading sill making it ideal for carrying gear!

The interior of the Peugeot 508 PSE
The interior of the Peugeot 508 PSE

Driving the 508 PSE Hybrid

Under the bonnet there is a familiar 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine, derived from a few of our favourite Peugeot hot hatchbacks. But there's more: two electric motors - an 80 kW at the front and an 83 kW at the rear. So this halo car for the Peugeot range is all wheel drive with 360 hp and 520 Nm of torque. Power is put to the road through an 8-speed automatic gearbox that never misses a beat. Acceleration is hot hatchback quick: 5.2 seconds. While the top speed is an electronically limited 250 km/h.

The performance stats are certainly stunning but theses days they don't tell the full story. The question is how good does the Peugeot 508 PSE feel on the road?

PSE has taken a Peugeot 508 and given it a high performance makeover to handle 360 hp. They have worked on the chassis, it has a lower and stiffer suspension, wider track, sticky Michelin tyres and very strong performance brakes. All wheel drive helps with the power distribution to the road. There are driving modes and adaptive suspension. Modes include hybrid, electric and sport. The latter gives a more responsive throttle, tighter steering and adjusts the adaptive suspension settings. There's also some augmented engine noise in the cabin when you hit the accelerator, which is realistic and does add to the excitement behind the wheel.

This car has a number of different sides to it and it transitions seamlessly between them. Refinement and comfort is excellent, making this car a great all rounder.

The 508 PSE has 360 hp and 520 Nm of torque
The 508 PSE has 360 hp and 520 Nm of torque

But Sport mode is maximum attack mode, where you access the car's exciting performance character and efficiency goes out the window! The car handles the road sublimely well. There is instant throttle response, pushing you all the way to the back of your seat. But the cornering performance is something to behold. The steering has been vastly improved over a standard 508 so all the sensations reach your fingertips. It feels more fluid, precise and well weighted. This car dips and dives into corners like a car half its size. Despite weighing 1850 kg with all its hybrid 'gear' on board, it behaves like a hot hatchback in corners. A good one.

Fuel consumption does differ from about 5.5 litres per 100 km in a cruise on the motorway, to up to 8.5 litres per 100 km in full attack mode. But with the opportunity to charge the battery and run the car on electric power, the efficiency of this vehicle and its running costs are truly up to you.

Did you like it?

Yes, yes and yes. Peugeot Sport has done a wonderful job with this car. It's the first performance Peugeot in about 5 years. It has a lot to live up to. Frankly I did not quite expect such a visceral experience from a hybrid performance car. Peugeot has done it with the 508 PSE.

It a very expensive Peugeot. But when you look at the quality of the car, the engineering and the performance on the road, it all makes absolute sense.

Peugeot has been on a move upmarket. The 508 PSE is the best of Peugeot at the moment. A very interesting car that is practical and fun to drive. Certainly one to aspire to and a halo car for the entire Peugeot range.

The Peugeot 508 PSE is a master of hybrid performance
The Peugeot 508 PSE is a master of hybrid performance

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Peugeot 508 SW PSE 
Price:
€71,890
Engine: 1.6-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power:
360 hp
Torque: 520 Nm
0-100km/h: 
5.2 seconds
Top speed: 250 km/h
CO2 emissions:
42 g/km
Motor tax: 
€140 per year


The new Toyota Yaris Premier on test for Changing Lanes!

Toyota Yaris Hybrid Review (2022)

 Thinking of buying a new Toyota Yaris in 2022? Read Caroline's Toyota Yaris Hybrid review for everything you need to know about Toyota's small hatchback.

The Toyota Yaris is one of Ireland's most loved small cars. It's been around for over 20 years and is a consistent top 10 bestselling car in Ireland. In 2020 Toyota launched an all-new generation of the popular Yaris and it was quick to snatch the award of European Car of the Year 2021.

In 20 years, the Yaris has become Toyota’s most important model in Europe, steadily increasing both its sales volume and its market share.

The new Toyota Yaris Premier on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Toyota Yaris Premier on test for Changing Lanes!

What's so special about the new Toyota Yaris?

There's something major happening at Toyota in recent years. It's called TNGA or Toyota New Global Architecture. If you thought Toyotas were boring cars, you need to drive their new generation vehicles.

The new Yaris is the first small Toyota to be built on Toyota New Global Architecture. The GA-B platform is central to the car’s improved dynamic performance, giving a lower centre of gravity and much greater body rigidity. A range of Toyota Safety Sense active safety systems come as standard, including Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) such as Lane Trace Assist and Emergency Steering Assist.

The Yaris Hybrid is more powerful and efficient than before
The Yaris Hybrid is more powerful and efficient than before

The latest Yaris is also a much cooler looking car than the model it replaces. It's a far more energetic and dynamic design. A bi tone roof is available with alloy wheel sizes up to 17" and new LED light technology.

Inside the Yaris

Toyota has transformed the interior of the latest generation Yaris. Quality and design have taken a real step up in line with this car's cooler and more youthful image.

The interior has a more open and spacious feel when compared to the outgoing model. The driving position is better, sportier.

There are more soft touch materials and cool ambient lighting available on some models. There are 7" and 8" touchscreens available with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The steering wheel is smaller and sportier. New auxiliary buttons have a greater tactile quality.

The new GA-B platform allowed for a reduction in the car’s overall length, making it the most compact model in its class, but with an increase in its wheelbase for more space and comfort for everyone on board. The new Yaris has more space and elbow room - an extra 20 mm between the driver and front passenger. The boot is nowhere near class-leading but it has some depth and offers an adequate 286 litres of space.

Inside the 2020 Toyota Yaris
The interior of the new Toyota Yaris

In Ireland the Toyota Yaris is available in five trim levels –  Aura, Luna, Luna Sport, Platinum and Premier. The 2022 Toyota Yaris range kicks off in Ireland with a 1.0-litre petrol with 72 hp, while there is also a 1.5-litre petrol manual and a 1.5-litre hybrid auto.

Pricing starts at €20,140 for the Yaris Aura petrol, while the Toyota Yaris Hybrid pricing starts from €23,990 in Luna trim.

How economical is the Toyota Yaris Hybrid?

The new Toyota Yaris uses the latest, fourth-generation Toyota hybrid technology. New components have been engineered to be compact, lightweight and efficient. The focus in the development of this car was not just to make it more efficient, but to also make the car more enjoyable to drive.

The Toyota Yaris Hybrid now offers EV driving for longer periods in urban traffic. CO2 emissions have dropped, while it's more efficient than before too. Under the bonnet there's a 1.5-litre petrol electric hybrid powertrain to improve efficiency by 20% and put out even more power at 116 hp. It's quicker and more responsive to the throttle.

Behind the wheel, the new driving position gives you a greater sense of control and connection with the car, supporting the fun-to-drive character of the new Yaris. The car feels more agile and engaging at the wheel. The steering is quicker and more direct. The hybrid delivers the power in a smoother, quieter and more refined way than the previous generation of the Toyota Yaris Hybrid.

While built for efficiency, the Yaris Hybrid feels natural on the road, like any petrol driven small car. A revised suspension set-up means it covers the tarmac better, with a softer and smoother ride. In town driving it can run up to 80% of the time on electric power, with the engine only cutting in when needed. So in urban environments it helps your eco-credentials, while sipping at the fuel.

Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 5.5 litres per 100 km, with some long distance motorway runs included. So this is a good return on fuel economy for a small car.

The new Yaris is a radically improved car
The new Yaris is a radically improved car

Did you like it?

The new Toyota Yaris is far more desirable than the car it replaces. It has truly blossomed as a small car on the new TNGA platform. It looks great and even quite sporty in higher trim levels like the top of the range Premier model on test for Changing Lanes.

Already an award winner, the new Yaris has been suitably revamped inside and now feels a lot more competitive in its segment with the latest technology and digital features.

The Toyota Yaris Hybrid has also been greatly improved. It's much more refined now on the road to drive. The car is more fun to drive than it was before. It's comfortable by small car standards too. It is more expensive to buy than the petrol models in the range, but the car has power and feels good on the road.

Toyota has just welcomed the new Toyota Yaris Cross to Ireland, an SUV spin off of the Yaris sharing much of the same DNA but in more of a crossover style.

The Yaris picks up the baton as a small simple efficient hatchback, with good value and choice available in the range.

It's a classic and reliable choice of small car but the Yaris now feels truly competitive in its class of vehicle and one you can pick with your heart too.

A transformation for one of Ireland's favourite cars.

The Yaris Hybrid is available from €23,990
The Yaris Hybrid is available from €23,990 in Ireland

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Toyota Yaris Hybrid Premier
Price:
€27,680
Engine: 1.5-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 
116 hp
0-100km/h: 
9.7 seconds
Top speed:  175 km/h
CO2 emissions: 
88 g/km
Motor tax:
€160 per year


The new Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé on test for Changing Lanes!

Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé Review

Read Caroline's Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé review for a definitive verdict on buying the brand's new diesel plug-in hybrid SUV in Ireland in 2022.

The new Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé on test for Changing Lanes!

What's so special about the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé?

Mercedes-Benz adds a new diesel electric plug-in hybrid powertrain to the GLE Coupé. Spawned from the GLE large, premium SUV family that debuted an all-new generation vehicle in 2019, the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé offers a more stylish and exclusive design. It is the ultimate SUV-coupé, with a well appointed interior featuring Mercedes show-stopping quality and technology.

With hybrid continuing to grow in popularity across different market segments, now Mercedes-Benz drops a diesel hybrid into the GLE and GLE Coupé. Badged GLE 350 de, this model combines the long distance motorway economy of a diesel with zero emissions electric driving around town for a distance of up to 100 kilometres. Large SUVs have often had a poor image for environmental concerns but with plug-in hybrid technology, there is now a real viable option to charge the vehicle and drive on cleaner power and limit environmental impact, while still enjoying the convenience and economy of a diesel engine on longer runs.

Priced at €98,065, the GLE 350 de Coupé sits in truly premium territory but it's a wonderfully made SUV. It oozes class and sophistication, while comfort is in a completely different arena too, even on the large 21" wheels of the test car.

Currently accounting for around one third of Mercedes-Benz sales, SUVs are of increasing importance to the brand with a global customer base of over six million owners spread across an eight model range that includes GLA, GLB, GLC, GLC Coupé, GLE, GLE Coupé, GLS and G-Class.

The GLE Coupé is now available as a hybrid
The GLE Coupé is now available as a hybrid

Inside the GLE Coupé

The GLE Coupé is every inch the large luxury SUV but with a more exclusive design to the GLE, which has more traditional and boxy SUV lines.

Inside there is some trade-off in the practicality stakes - that sloped roofline will mean a bit less headroom for rear passengers - but this is still a large SUV by anyone's standards. The rear footwells are large, while the middle passenger gets a relatively flat space for their feet too, along with their own ventilation controls.

The boot has a powered tailgate and opens to reveal a large boot of 510 litres that goes back a good deal but wouldn't have same depth as the standard GLE for example. The diesel plug-in hybrid system also eats into the space somewhat compared to a standard diesel model by about 100 litres. But a special rear end design and a modified rear axle create space for the large battery housed beneath the floor of the boot. This attention to detail means there is a flat floor and no step in the luggage compartment, like the E-Class hybrids for example.

The interior of the GLE Coupé is an absolute marvel. You are happily ensconced in comfortable supportive sports seats with full leather and power control. Heated of course! There are two large 12.3" screens that blend together perfectly with modern graphics and lots of functionality. The latest generation ‘Mercedes me’ and MBUX infotainment system responds to voice commands and is easy to use.

The interior of the new Mercedes GLE Coupe
The interior of the new Mercedes GLE Coupe

How does the diesel hybrid work in the GLE?

The diesel hybrid GLE 350 de uses a 2.0-litre diesel engine, 31.2 kWh lithium ion battery and 100 kW electric motor. Power is transmitted by the 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission. There's a healthy 320 hp while there is 700 Nm of torque available giving 0 to 100 km/h acceleration in just 6.9 seconds. Impressive for a hulking machine like the GLE Coupé!

Despite its considerable size (over 2500kg in kerb weight), the GLE Coupé feels nothing short of swift and responsive to the throttle. It masks its weight reasonably well too, feeling agile and sure-footed in most situations. It's a fabulous SUV to drive with precise and weighty steering, and super supple ride quality. It handles the road well, with a sporty edge to it. Whether cruising on the motorway or following a twisty road through the mountains, the GLE Coupé adapts to each with aplomb. Driver and passengers sit high up with a commanding view over the road.

The diesel plug in hybrid powertrain also happens to be very successful in the GLE. Handling and driving dynamics don't feel impacted in any negative way. There's no lumpiness to the transmission, just smoothness and thick syrupy power delivered with no fuss or wheel spin. Delicious! 4MATIC fully-variable all-wheel drive with torque on demand truly helps with that too.

The hybrid system helps eke out better fuel economy. Even without charging I managed a respectable 6.7 litres per 100 km. The GLE 350 de Coupé can also avail of DC fast charging, which is quite unusual for a plug-in hybrid. It will take about half an hour. The GLE Coupé has a towing capacity of up to 3500 kg also as a plug-in hybrid.

The GLE 350 de Coupé can also avail of DC fast charging
The GLE 350 de Coupé can also avail of DC fast charging

Did you like it?

More tightly tailored than the GLE, the GLE Coupé does offer a more stylish and exclusive design with a small compromise to space and practicality. This is a wonderful large SUV for those lucky enough to own one.

The GLE and GLE Coupé both have one of the best car interiors in the class. It's a fine example of contemporary premium. The widescreen digital effect is just stunning, while there are so many gadgets and tools on board for a full on luxury liner experience.

There's a fine balance between comfort and sportiness behind the wheel. The GLE 350 de Coupé is supremely quiet and smooth-running.

The diesel plug in hybrid does work well here in the GLE 350 de. Motor tax for this behemoth is just €140 thanks to the low emissions and it offers new levels of flexibility and less environmental impact around town for example. But the battery will need to be kept charged up and the SUV driven on electric power to reap these benefits.

Hard to find fault with this machine!

The Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé is a high end SUV-coupé
The Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé is a high end SUV-coupé

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Mercedes-Benz GLE 350de 4MATIC Coupé
Price:
€98,065
Engine: 2.0-litre diesel electric plug-in hybrid
Power:
320 hp
Torque: 700 Nm
0-100km/h: 
6.9 seconds
Top speed: 210 km/h
CO2 emissions:
23 g/km
Motor tax: 
€140 per year


The new SEAT Leon Sportstourer PHEV on test for Changing Lanes

SEAT Leon Sportstourer Hybrid Review

The new SEAT Leon Sportstourer PHEV on test for Changing Lanes
The new SEAT Leon Sportstourer PHEV on test for Changing Lanes

Caroline drives the SEAT Leon Sportstourer plug-in hybrid!

SEAT has used the launch of the latest generation Leon as an opportunity to bring the brand's first plug-in hybrid model to the Irish market. Combining a petrol engine, battery and electric motor, the new Leon e-Hybrid range is a nod to the future of motoring, a starting point for the electrification of the SEAT brand.

Hybrid power for the Leon

Available as a hatchback or a Sportstourer estate, the new SEAT Leon e-Hybrid can be plugged in and charged, allowing owners to drive on electric power for up to 60 km. This is designed for drivers who do short commutes or spend a lot of time driving in town and can really make the most of the pure electric range and zero tailpipe emissions that go with it. Yet the back up of the combustion engine is always there.

The e-Hybrid range kicks off from €33,615 in Ireland for the hatchback and from €35,065 for the Leon e-Hybrid Sportstourer tested here for Changing Lanes.

The fourth generation Leon has been designed, developed and produced in Barcelona, at the company’s headquarters in Martorell. It turns out to be a very handsome car on approach for the first time. The Leon Sportstourer is arguably even better looking than the new generation Leon hatchback. Longer proportions give elegance and sportiness to this car. In sporty FR trim and finished in Mystery Blue, it has real presence.

Leon Sportstourer PHEV on sale from €35,065
Leon Sportstourer PHEV on sale from €35,065

Inside the SEAT Leon Sportstourer

The interior of the new SEAT Leon Sportstourer has been designed to be sleek and minimalist. Decorative mouldings surround the dashboard and continue through the front doors. A digital instrument cluster and 10" infotainment screen take centre stage with functionality including natural voice control as well as gesture recognition to simplify user interaction. It also gives information about the e-Hybrid system including what mode the vehicle is running and battery state of charge.

Equipment levels are good with e-Hybrid models, coming in high spec Xcellence and FR trims only. Highlights of the FR model on test include 18" machined alloy wheels, keyless engine start, rear view camera, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beam.

The Leon Sportstourer proves itself to be a comfortable family car with seating for five and the added practicality of an estate-style boot. While the hybrid packaging does impact boot volume in the Leon e-Hybrid models given that the battery pack is located under the boot floor, the Sportstourer accommodates it better with 470 litres available compared to just 270 litres in the Leon e-Hybrid hatchback.

Inside the SEAT Leon Sportstourer

Driving the SEAT Leon Sportstourer PHEV

The new Leon plug-in hybrid uses a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine, electric motor and 13kWh lithium-ion battery pack to produce a healthy 204 hp and 350 Nm of torque. Power is put to the road through a 6-speed DSG automatic gearbox. The e-Hybrid system requires more space than a traditional combustion engine but it’s been packaged to maximise dynamics so the chassis isn’t forced to compensate, with weight balanced between the front and rear of the vehicle.

On the road the new SEAT Leon Sportstourer feels quick and sophisticated. The hybrid powertrain suits it remarkably well adding a premium feel to the driving experience. Power delivery is strong and linear while the automatic gearbox never misses a beat. The car handles the road confidently and is comfortable too. My average fuel consumption was a remarkably efficient 5.4 litre per 100 km without any charging. Motor tax is €140 per year.

The Leon e-Hybrid can switch instantly between the different driving modes – whether powered solely by the combustion engine, a mixture of both combustion and electric energy, or only by electricity. The plug-in hybrid version provides an all-electric range of up to 60 km (WLTP) using the energy stored in the vehicle’s battery, for increased efficiency, or to travel around city streets.

The driver can choose to maintain the battery’s state of charge, saving it for situations when zero emission driving is ideal. When the battery is running low, the powertrain switches back to hybrid mode. Once you’re near a power source, the battery can be plugged in and replenished in 3-4 hours using a 3.6 kW wallbox charger.

The Leon e-Hybrid can be charged and driven on electric power around town
The Leon e-Hybrid can be charged and driven on electric power around town.

Did you like it?

The SEAT Leon has always been a core pillar in the brand’s product range, with more than 2.3 million sales since its introduction in 1999. The fourth-generation SEAT Leon hits the market perfectly with modern design and technology, as well as the addition of a plug-in hybrid powertrain for the very first time.

Turns out to be remarkably successful in the Leon. The Sportstourer e-Hybrid makes a very appealing prospect. It's not just gorgeous to look at, but the estate-style design makes up well for the loss in boot volume that comes with the hybrid models.

Buyers will pay a premium in the Leon range for the hybrid models but these are high spec models and a good introduction to electrified motoring. Equipment levels are very good and the Leon e-Hybrid can be a truly efficient vehicle to run.

What's more it feels good on the road, sophisticated and premium, and one you will enjoy driving.

Plug-in hybrid suits the Leon Sportstourer very well
Plug-in hybrid suits the Leon Sportstourer very well

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: SEAT Leon Sportstourer PHEV FR
Price: 
€35,065
Engine: 
1.4-litre turbo petrol
Power:  204 hp
Torque: 350 Nm
Top speed: 220 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 7.7 seconds
CO2 emissions:
26-28 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€140 per year