The BYD Seal on test for Changing Lanes

BYD Seal Review

Read Caroline's BYD Seal review for everything you need to know about buying BYD's new electric saloon in Ireland.

The BYD Seal is BYD's third model to launch in Ireland after the Atto 3 and Dolphin.

In just a few short months, the Tesla Model 3 rivalling saloon has become BYD's bestseller.

It's available in two flavours - rear wheel drive Design or all wheel drive Excellence, with over 500 kilometres of range possible.

Let's take a closer look.

The BYD Seal on test for Changing Lanes
The BYD Seal on test for Changing Lanes

Styling 

The BYD Seal is an exciting car to behold with a sporty and sleek design that helps it stand out on the road. It's the second model in BYD's 'Ocean Series' after the Dolphin, cue the marine mammal reference.

The nose is low and sleek like a sports car. There are striking LED headlights and the DRLs are meant to represent water ripples. Flush door handles pop out neatly for access to the car. At the back there is a full width lighting bar with more extravagant detailing and a badge depicting how fast the all wheel drive version can get to 100km/h - a staggering 3.8 seconds. Sporty 19-inch alloy wheels come as standard and there's also a diffuser effect in the rear bumper.

There are six colours to choose from including pictured Indigo Grey.

Interior

Inside the newcomer feels stylish and well-appointed. There is the choice of blue or black leather interior as standard, with diamond stitching and sporty integrated headrests. The Seal gets what BYD call a 'surging wave' dashboard design and there's a bridge console in the centre that gives the Seal quite a snug, driver-focused feel. The suede-effect fabric in the dashboard and doors gives a pleasant plushness. Neat details include door handles shaped like water droplets and a crystal-effect gear shifter.

The cabin of the BYD Seal
The cabin of the BYD Seal

There's a full digital driver display and a large rotatable touchscreen for a high-tech feel. The touchscreen requires patience to navigate at first, with quite a lot of options to browse and touch controls exclusively for the climate menu. There's also a wired Apple CarPlay/ wireless Android Auto connection and voice control.

Standard equipment levels are high including heated and ventilated seats, heated steering wheel, wireless charging for two smartphones, upgraded sound system, panoramic roof and lots of safety features.

Practicality

The Seal is built on a bespoke electric vehicle platform so offers a spacious rear seat for passengers. There's loads of legroom and headroom for a saloon like this. It's very well-finished with lots of practical amenities like an armrest with cupholders, USB-C ports, air vents and pockets in the back of the front seats.

The boot has a capacity of about 400 litres, which is a good size however the saloon-style boot opening makes the space a little harder to access than in a hatchback.

There's also a small storage compartment under the front bonnet.

The Seal offers a range in the region of 500 kilometres
The Seal offers a range in the region of 500 kilometres

Battery

The Seal is powered by BYD’s own 82.5 kWh 'Blade' battery. It's a lithium-iron phosphate battery (LFP) and cobalt-free. BYD says it has a higher level of safety and durability compared with lithium-ion batteries and can withstand more charge and discharge cycles with hardly any loss of capacity.

The all wheel drive Seal has an official range of up to 520 kilometres (WLTP), while the rear wheel drive one can manage up to 570 kilometres (WLTP).

A heat pump comes as standard.

Driving

The Seal is a powerhouse with the top of the range Excellence all wheel drive model packing 670Nm of torque and 530hp. It puts its power down well with no drama or tyre squeal, feeling very secure and planted at all times as you hit 100km/h in just 3.8 seconds (5.9 seconds in the rear wheel drive Seal). It is a heavy car so the initial accelerator response doesn't feel particularly lively.

You can move between Sport, Normal and Eco driving modes. There's two 'strengths' of regenerative braking, though the effect is not that strong for either and stops short of one-pedal driving.

Rear seating in the Seal
Rear seating in the Seal

Seal gets the honour of being the first BYD with independent suspension, while the all wheel drive versions also get uprated dampers. While the Seal feels a lot more tied down and athletic than the BYD Dolphin or Atto 3, it doesn't quite have the same level of expertise behind the wheel as rivals like the Tesla Model 3 and Polestar 2. The steering is not weighted as well and lacks a fluid, natural feel.

Still when the roads get twisty, the combination of good body control and the speedy acceleration does make it feel willing and dynamic.

It's also impressively refined. The front windows get laminated glass for more insulation, which keeps things cool and calm in the cabin.

The Seal doesn't go as far as to offer a pillowy ride and feels quite harsh over the worst of Irish tarmac in town and on rural roads. It settles down on smoother tarmac.

In terms of efficiency, my average consumption wavered between about 17kWh - 21.6 kWh per 100 kilometres (382 - 485 kilometres).

Charging

The Seal has an 11kW on-board charger for AC charging as standard. It's possible to charge at up to 150kW in DC charging.

The BYD Seal is a stylish and well-appointed electric saloon
The BYD Seal is a stylish and well-appointed electric saloon

Pricing

The rear wheel drive Design model is on sale at €44,036 and from €49,836 for the all wheel drive Excellence.

Verdict

The Seal is BYD's best model yet to reach these shores. It's an incredibly stylish car with a superbly finished interior that's sure to woo new fans to the brand. It can also go the distance offering competitive range and charging for an electric saloon. The Seal is a good contender for cars like the Tesla Model 3, Polestar 3 and Hyundai Ioniq 6 though the driving experience requires a little finessing for those who enjoy a sharper driving experience. The Seal is one to watch in 2024 and is sure to make an impact.

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

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


The 2024 Suzuki Swace

Suzuki Swace Review (2024)

Read Caroline's 2024 Suzuki Swace review for everything you need to know about buying Suzuki's compact hybrid estate car in Ireland.

Suzuki's trusty estate car has been updated for 2024 with even more fuel efficient hybrid technology and better interior materials and tech on board.

Priced from €34,795, it merges practicality very well with efficiency.

Based on the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports and featuring the same hybrid tech, it doesn't have much originality but it does add something special to the Suzuki line-up - and the update is surprisingly successful in making the Swace feel more upmarket than before.

The 2024 Suzuki Swace
The 2024 Suzuki Swace

Styling

Styling updates are minimal. The Swace is a plain but attractive estate car with a low, sporty stance on the road. It has a slightly different nose than the Corolla it's based on, managing to pull off quite a high-tech look with its headlight design, sharp LED lighting and sporty gloss black grille and fog light surrounds.

There's just one trim level offered in Ireland called Motion and it comes with 16-inch alloy wheels that do suit the car well. Rear privacy glass and roof rails are also included.

There are a range of nice paint finishes including Platinum White Pearlescent, Super White, Precious Silver, Black Mica, Dark Blue Mica, Phantom Brown Metallic and Oxide Bronze Metallic.

Interior 

It's inside where the Swace has come on in leaps and bounds during this update. The material quality and darker finishes look better than before, with a plusher and more upmarket feel. The cabin is just like the Toyota - but within Suzuki's range, it's a definite star of the line-up with an incredibly solid and well-built interior that's pretty stylish too.

The cabin of the 2024 Suzuki Swace
The cabin of the 2024 Suzuki Swace

There's also a much more modern 8" infotainment screen from the Corolla with wireless Apple CarPlay/wired Android Auto and an excellent digital instrument cluster with three display modes. It really lifts the cabin.

Standard specification is now higher and includes Emergency Driving Stop system, LED rear lamps, dual zone automatic air conditioning, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, rear parking camera, type C USB port and Dynamic Radar Cruise control.

Practicality

The Swace is a very spacious and comfortable estate car. There's plenty of space in the back for adults to get comfortable. The 596-litre is bigger than the S-Cross Hybrid boot and is ideal for family life. It comes with a two-position floor with reversible waterproof side. There are also switches in the boot to let down the rear seats.

Engines

The Swace's hybrid tech has been updated in line with the Corolla's fifth generation Toyota hybrid technology. It's the same 1.8-litre capacity petrol electric hybrid but now with more power (140hp) and torque (185Nm) that makes it livelier and quicker on the road (0-100km/h in 9.4 seconds).

The Swace offers the space and practicality of an estate car
The Swace offers the space and practicality of an estate car

CO2 emissions have also been lowered and it's a reliable fuel-sipper overall. I saw consumption of 4.4 litres per 100 kilometres during my test drive.

Driving

The Swace is by no means an exciting car to drive but it does offer smooth steering and a solid feel that takes it seamlessly from town to motorway and rural roads. There's a bit of road noise from the tyres but overall it's a comfortable car to spend time in. Being a hybrid, it's best driven in a more relaxed manner as the CVT auto can make the engine noisy if you try to pick up speed quickly.

There are driving modes like normal, sport and eco to adjust the driving behaviour somewhat. There's also regenerative braking to recoup some energy back into the small capacity on board that makes this one of the most efficient cars to drive in its class. That's particularly the case in town driving where it can run silently on the power from its electric motor at low speeds and when taking off.

Pricing

The Suzuki Swace Motion is available from €34,795 in Ireland.

Boot space in the Swace
Boot space in the Swace

Verdict

The Suzuki Swace is an innocuous but brilliant estate car. It still manages to offer good value in the market with plenty of standard equipment and safety features.

The update has given it a nicer interior with more modern digital tech. But it remains a spacious, practical and incredibly efficient car.

The only shame is there's not much originality to it being so similar to the Toyota it's based on.

Still, there's no denying it's a good car and does stand out in the Suzuki line-up for its overall sophistication.

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

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

The stylish, practical and efficient Suzuki Swace
The stylish, practical and efficient Suzuki Swace

The BYD Dolphin is on sale now

BYD Dolphin Review | Best value EV

Read Caroline's BYD Dolphin review for everything you need to know about buying BYD's new compact electric hatchback in Ireland.

The BYD Dolphin is one of the most anticipated new cars to arrive in Ireland in 2024 because it's one of the most budget-friendly EVs to go on sale in quite a while.

EVs have secured themselves a reputation thus far of being expensive, with many models pricing themselves above their petrol and diesel counterparts.

The tide is turning with many brands now cutting prices to entice buyers among the backdrop of a slowing EV market and in an effort to fend off the very plausible threat from new Chinese car brands - just like BYD.

The BYD Dolphin has a starting price of just €25,570 for the Dolphin 44.9kWh with up to 340 km (WLTP) range and from €29,318 for the Dolphin 60.4kWh with up to 427 km (WLTP).

And beyond the quirky name, the Dolphin is a cheerful enough companion for the road.

Let's take a closer look.

The BYD Dolphin is on sale now
The BYD Dolphin is on sale now

What's so special about the BYD Dolphin?

The Dolphin is pitched as a compact hatchback to take on the popular MG4 and Volkswagen ID.3. It's part of BYD's 'Ocean Series', just like the newly launched BYD Seal four-door saloon.

It has a straightforward, practical shape as opposed to the sleeker and sportier MG and ID.3. But BYD clearly tried to stamp some trendy design touches on it like the attractive colour palette, contrasting roof, alloy wheels with coloured inserts, LED lighting and a smart full-width light bar at the rear.

The Dolphin uses BYD's very own 'Blade Battery', which is a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery as opposed to the lithium ion batteries we've heard a lot about to date. They are cheaper to make and do without precious metals like cobalt and nickel, which is an advantage.

It will seat five and there is a tremendous amount of legroom in the back seat. Built on a bespoke electric vehicle platform, there is a flat floor the full width - though it's still a compact car so it's most comfortable for two back there.

At 345 litres, the boot is a little disappointing though it will be perfectly adequate for some. It's smaller than the boot in the MG4 and ID.3, which may limit its appeal for family buyers.

The cabin of the new Dolphin
The cabin of the new Dolphin

Inside the BYD Dolphin

The Dolphin's cabin is full of character. It's a really fun interior with a strong aquatic theme - the door handles are shaped like a dolphin's flipper and there's a curved finish to the dashboard that does resemble waves on the sea.

The Design model gets a beautiful coloured interior - dark blue in my test car with some red stitching in the steering wheel and around the circular air vents.

There are cheaper hard plastics in places but they are well-disguised among lots of soft touch materials in the dashboard and doors. The vegan leather seats with integrated headrests are another highlight.

The digital technology on board is a little hit and miss. There is a small digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel, yet the icons are small and it appears quite cluttered.

An impressive 12.8-inch rotatable touchscreen is well-placed in the centre of the dash. It looks great with crisp graphics yet simple tasks like adjusting the fan speed require a few prods of the screen if you are using Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, which still require a cable to connect.

The new BYD Dolphin
The Dolphin is a cheerful companion for the road

Otherwise it's an exceptionally well-equipped car with standard features including lots of safety and driver assistance features, 360-degree camera, heated front seats with power adjustment and automatic lights with high beam assist.

The Design model adds wireless smartphone charging and a panoramic glass roof.

Driving the Dolphin

The Dolphin 60.4kWh uses a 204hp motor to send power to the front wheels. It's nippy enough and there's no problem picking up speed quickly to join motorways or for overtaking manoeuvres.

It's not the most exciting car to drive in the world with quite woolly steering but it's easy to place on the road and keep in lane on the motorway. It feels solid and comfortable on the road though it does get quite noisy at high speeds on the motorway, which might limit its appeal as a car for long commutes. A Volkswagen ID.3 is more refined in this manner.

Rear seating in the Dolphin
Rear seating in the Dolphin

There is a heat pump to improve the efficiency of the battery in cold weather and two 'strengths' possible of regenerative braking. Overall efficiency is good with my average sitting at about 16.3kWh per 100 kilometres during my time with the car. This put me on track for a real world driving range of about 370 kilometres between battery charges.

When it does come to charging, the Dolphin has an 11kW onboard AC charger. Fast charging rates are less impressive at 88kW compared to key rivals but it will still manage to go from 10-80% in 40 minutes.

Did you like it?

Beyond the sedate looks, the Dolphin is a cheerful car that will make a perfect family runabout. For the price, it has a very nice interior that makes rivals appear a bit dull and sparse. It's exceptionally well-equipped and while the screen is not without its foibles, overall this is a pleasant car to be behind the wheel of. It ticks the box for comfort without coming close to much excitement behind the wheel, yet it offers good reliable range. In short, the BYD Dolphin is a perfectly capable compact electric hatchback. If you’re interested in going electric and don’t want to spend a huge amount of money, it's a great option.

The Dolphin is one of the best value EVs on the market in Ireland
The Dolphin is one of the best value EVs on the market in Ireland

Model tested: BYD Dolphin Design
Price: 
€31,192
Battery:
60.4Wh
Range: 427 kilometres (WLTP)
Power: 204 hp
Torque: 310 Nm
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 7 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€120 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

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

 


The Volkswagen ID.3 on test for Changing Lanes

Volkswagen ID.3 Review (2024)

Watch a video review

Read Caroline's Volkswagen ID.3 review for everything you need to know about buying Volkswagen's popular electric hatchback in Ireland.

The Volkswagen ID.3 has been a big success in Ireland since it first went on sale back in 2020. Along with the bestselling ID.4, it's really helped put Volkswagen on the map as one of the leading producers of electric vehicles.

The compact, five-door hatchback is available in 2024 with the choice of two battery sizes and it's also had a price cut making it a more attractive prospect than ever before.

Let's take a closer look.

The Volkswagen ID.3 on test for Changing Lanes
The Volkswagen ID.3 on test for Changing Lanes

Styling

In 2023, the ID.3 received a facelift that lightly tweaks the styling and adds some new colours like Dark Olivine Green - all for a more sophisticated presence. There's a new bonnet and the black strip under the windscreen has been removed. Volkswagen has also added a new front bumper with larger air intakes that have an aerodynamic benefit too. There are also new rear light clusters. Alloy wheel sizes vary from 18- to 20-inch depending on trim level. It's a handsome but not drastically different ID.3.

Interior

The cabin of the ID.3 is very minimalist compared to traditional fuel-powered Volkswagens like the Polo and the Golf. It's very modern but a little austere at the same time. For the facelifted model, Volkswagen has included some more soft touch materials in the dashboard and doors, but a Renault Megane E-Tech still has a nicer cabin overall.

There is a small digital instrument cluster as before for the driver behind the steering wheel. There's also a 10-inch touchscreen that's running the latest Volkswagen software for improved system performance and can receive over-the-air updates. It's responsive to use now, though the smartphone generation will likely find the wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto interface far more interesting.

The cabin of the 2024 Volkswagen ID.3
The cabin of the 2024 Volkswagen ID.3

The navigation system includes a route planner to help plan charging stops. The ventilation controls are placed in the screen as before, which can be a little awkward to adjust while driving. There are a few shortcut buttons underneath and touch sliders to adjust the volume of the stereo and the level of heating of the interior.

Practicality

The ID.3 was the first Volkswagen to be built on the brand's modular electric drive (MEB) platform. This allowed for an efficient design and spacious interior for a compact hatchback. The ID.3 feels roomy in the back seat with large footwells. The boot can accommodate 385 litres, which is competitive for a compact electric hatchback. The rear seats split fold 60:40 and there's Isofix child seat fixtures on the two outer seats and the front passenger seat.

Battery

The ID.3 is available with two different battery sizes: 58 kWh or 77 kWh. The 58 kWh offers up to 428 km (WLTP) of electric driving, while the 77 kWh offers up to 557 km (WLTP).

During my test drive of the ID.3 77kWh in a cold January, my average consumption was 18-19 kWh per 100 kilometres, which indicates a range of 405-428 kilometres in real world driving.

The ID.3 is a smart, practical electric hatchback
The ID.3 is a smart, practical electric hatchback

Driving

The ID.3 is rear-wheel drive - just like the original Beetle - with a single electric motor producing an ample 204hp and 310Nm of torque. That's good for a 0-100km/h time of 7.4-7.9 seconds, depending on which model you go for. The ID.3 77kWh feels sprightly from behind the wheel, with plenty of nippy acceleration on offer. It's smooth and agile to drive, with a solid feel and cohesiveness to the controls - all the things that made the Golf famous! It's devoid of much character but it can't be accused of being anything other than capable, which will please most buyers. Comfort and refinement levels are generally good though it can feel a little bumpy over imperfections in the road surface.

Charging 

11 kW charging comes as standard. DC fast charging is possible up to 120kW for an 80% charge in 30-35 minutes.

Pricing

The ID.3 58kWh is available on the road from €37,112 in Pro trim or from €37,928 in Pro Plus. The ID.3 77kWh is available from €42,440 for the Pro S and from €44,865 for the Pro S Plus.

Boot space in the Volkswagen ID.3
Boot space in the Volkswagen ID.3

Verdict

The Volkswagen ID.3 is a hugely significant car for Volkswagen and has been a big seller for the brand. However it's come under ever more scrutiny in a new car market that's become increasingly competitive with the arrival of some other brilliant electric hatchbacks like the Cupra Born, MG 4 and the Renault Megane E-Tech.

The facelift certainly goes some way to make the ID.3 more appealing but in truth, updates are minor and it's the price cut that really makes it worth a look. Buyers will find a competent electric hatchback that ticks the practicality box while offering a solid and predictable drive, with competitive range - particularly if you can stretch to the 77kWh.

The ID.3 is still lacking some character but it does have a classic Volkswagen quality feel so naturally it will continue to be a sound buy from one of Ireland's bestselling car brands.

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

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

The new Volkswagen ID.3 - sensible beyond measure!
The new Volkswagen ID.3 - sensible beyond measure!

The 2024 Toyota C-HR

Toyota C-HR Review (2024)

Read Caroline's 2024 Toyota C-HR review for everything you need to know about buying Toyota's trendy hybrid compact crossover in Ireland.

The Toyota C-HR has been a big success for Toyota Ireland since it first launched here at the end of 2016. The stylish coupé-crossover has been a consistent bestseller, with over 15,000 sold in Ireland to date.

The new C-HR aims to build on the success of the first with a bold new design and even more efficient hybrid technology.

It goes on sale from about €40,000 and is available to test drive in dealers now with first customer deliveries expected from January 2024.

The 2024 Toyota C-HR
The 2024 Toyota C-HR is on sale now from Toyota's Irish dealer network

Styling

The C-HR was always the style icon of the Toyota range. This new one brings it to the next level with a striking new front end, more pronounced character lines and some very dramatic bi-tone colour options that extend into the rear of the car for the very first time.

The C-HR sits alongside the newly launched Corolla Cross in Toyota's mid-size crossover offering. However, the C-HR is designed to stand out and yes it does! At the front, the new slim LED headlights give C-HR the new family face of Toyota, like the latest Prius and BZ4X. There are some sharper character lines along the side of the car. At the back there are new horizontal lights that give a dramatic light bar effect with a special 'Toyota C-HR' illumination in the middle that lights up when you lock and unlock the vehicle.

There are a range of colours available, with Sport+ and Sol models coming with a very trendy black contrast roof. Go for the top of the range Premiere Edition or GR Sport Premiere Edition and the contrast black is extended into the rear of the car. Alloy wheel sizes vary from 18- to 20-inch. New flush door handles and a split roof spoiler add to the C-HR's aerodynamic efficiency.

Interior

The cabin has matured very nicely for this new generation of C-HR. It feels like a bigger, more substantial car from behind the wheel. There's a pleasant mix of digital features, good quality plastics, plush materials and a classic solid Toyota feel. Fabric sports seats come as standard but going up the trim levels adds more suede finish and vegan leather trim. There's a fabulous new digital instrument panel and new steering wheel. An 8-inch touchscreen is standard on the entry level Sport model with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. But all other versions get a very impressive 12-inch screen. Ventilation is adjusted from a row of buttons beneath the screen.

The cabin of the 2024 Toyota C-HR
The cabin of the 2024 Toyota C-HR

Other standard features include parking sensors, reversing camera, heated front seats, keyless entry and dual zone climate control. Sport+ adds wireless smartphone charging and a panoramic glass roof. The Toyota Safety Sense 3 suite of safety equipment comes as standard with features like blind spot monitoring, lane departure alert with steering control and safe exit assist.

Practicality

The C-HR hasn't changed much in size but it still offers adequate accommodation for a trendy crossover. The boot is a small bit bigger than before at 388 litres in the 1.8-litre hybrid and 364 litres in the 2.0-litre hybrid. That's about on par with the average hatchback. But it is well designed with a wide opening and the availability of a powered tailgate. The rear seats can also split fold 60:40.

Legroom and headroom is good enough in the back for a car of this size. Toyota has also removed the kink from the window line so it feels brighter and more family-friendly than before. It's snug and comfortable. There's no centre armrest but there is a cupholder in each door and one USB-C port for back seat passengers.

Engines

After Corolla and Corolla Cross earlier this year, Toyota's new fifth generation hybrid now makes its debut in the C-HR range. There are 1.8 and 2.0-litre petrol electric hybrids available. It has more compact parts to save weight and improve efficiency. The 1.8-litre is expected to be the biggest seller. Power is up from 122hp to 140hp, with 0-100 km/h completed in a reasonable 9.9 seconds. Toyota quotes fuel consumption of about 4.8 litres per 100 kilometres for this model. There's also a more powerful 2.0-litre hybrid with 198hp and fuel consumption rated at 4.9 litres per 100 kilometres.

A 2.0-litre C-HR plug-in hybrid is expected to arrive in the summer of 2024.

The C-HR is available with choice of hybrid engines
The C-HR is available with a choice of hybrid engines

Driving

The new C-HR is built on an upgraded GA-C platform from Toyota with improvements to the suspension, steering and brakes. The controls all work well together and the car has a solid, cohesive feel on the road. It's easy to control, with a wider track and lots of front end grip giving it a secure and planted feel through bends. On the Spanish roads of my test route, the C-HR was a mature and comfortable drive. There's not too much road or wind noise either.

There are a few different driving modes like Normal, Sport, Eco and Custom, which alter the driving experience somewhat. There's also a B mode to increase regenerative braking.

Like other Toyota hybrids, the C-HR uses an e-CVT automatic gearbox. It still can get quite noisy under hard acceleration but can be avoided with a gentler use of the accelerator. It's a hybrid that is more geared towards efficiency and that's where the C-HR really excels, with consumption as low as 4.4 litres per 100 kilometres during my test drive.

Pricing

The 2024 Toyota C-HR range starts from €40,250 for the 1.8 Sport model. Sport+ starts from €42,920 and Sol from €45,010. The Premiere Edition is priced from €49,940 and the GR Sport Premiere Edition from €52,500. Both come with the more powerful 2.0-litre hybrid.

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

Verdict

The Toyota C-HR was always the style icon of the Toyota range. The new version takes that to the next level with even bolder styling and paint options.

It is a super stylish crossover that really does stand out against rival crossovers and SUVs. For outright space, some rivals offer a little more but the C-HR still feels roomy enough inside to be practical.

A mature feel pervades this car now, from the finish of the interior to the way it covers the road. The handling is very good though the hybrid drive is best suited to more efficient than sporty driving.

It has gone up in price but then again the new C-HR is more than the car it started out as. It is exceptionally well-equipped and loaded with lots of standard safety features and digital tech.

Overall, Toyota has once again created a stand-out car in the C-HR that will please the style-conscious and be incredibly efficient to run too.

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

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

The Toyota C-HR is a super stylish crossover that's incredibly efficient too
The Toyota C-HR is a super stylish crossover that's incredibly efficient too

WATCH A VIDEO OF THE NEW C-HR!


The Cupra Leon on test for Changing Lanes

Cupra Leon Review

Read Caroline's Cupra Leon review for everything you need to know about buying Cupra's sporty hatchback in Ireland.

Cupra was a badge that adorned many high performance Seat cars over the years like the Ibiza Cupra and the Leon Cupra.

But all that changed in 2018, when Cupra became its own standalone brand within the Volkswagen Group.

And it’s been a big success, releasing some great models like the Born and the Formentor, and becoming one of Ireland’s fastest growing car brands along the way.

The Cupra Leon sells in smaller numbers than the Born and Formentor, but Cupra has still managed to sell around 300 of them this year.

The Cupra Leon goes on sale priced from about €35,310, with the choice of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid. That’s still competitive against the likes of the Toyota Corolla, the Opel Astra, Peugeot 308 and the Ford Focus. And you get to drive a car that looks as good as this.

The Cupra Leon on test for Changing Lanes
The Cupra Leon on test for Changing Lanes

Styling

If you thought it looked a lot like a Seat Leon, you’d be right because this is one model that is still shared with the Seat brand. But it’s been beefed up and given the Cupra makeover. Cupra is of course a more upmarket, performance brand within the Volkswagen Group. And these days Seat Ireland no longer offers the Leon in the sporty FR trim, leaving space for Cupra to carry the mantle - which it does very well. The Cupra Leon looks meaner and more aggressive with sportier bumpers, larger air intakes, large front splitter, dark chrome front grille frame and side skirts. It also wears Cupra's copper trimmed badge in the centre of the grille. It's a very eye-catching car and attracts plenty of admiring glances.

The wheels deserve a special mention. No one does alloy wheel designs as cool as Cupra's. 18-inch come as standard, while high performance VZ models get 19-inch. The test car pictured has an optional copper/black tipped 19-inch design. Stunning!

All in all, it looks good parked up beside high spec versions of its rivals.

Interior

The cabin is very similar in its basic design and layout to the Seat, but it has been 'Cuprified' and all for the better. The material quality is better overall with some nice soft touch panels in the doors and gorgeous seats. The Leon e-hybrid gets bucket seats as standard, though entry level petrol and diesel models get more basic sport seats. There's the option of those same bucket seats in full leather, blue or black. The steering wheel stands out with the Cupra logo and the full digital instrument cluster with a number of different layouts to toggle between from the touch of a button. There's a lovely strip of ambient lighting around the dash, with the choice of a few different colours.

The cabin of the Cupra Leon
The cabin of the Cupra Leon

A large touchscreen comes as standard with wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Wireless smartphone charging is an option but there are a few USB-C ports. The minimalist cabin means that pretty much everything is controlled from the screen, including the ventilation. It can be a bit fiddly to use on the move, though you get used to it. Other features include heated steering wheel, heated front seats and a reversing camera.

Practicality

The Cupra Leon is built on the same underpinnings as the latest Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3 for example. It is one of the most spacious hatchbacks of its kind, with generous headroom in the back. Tri-zone climate control comes as standard.

Petrol and diesel versions have a decent 380 litres of boot space, though the plug-in hybrid can only manage 270 litres. But opt for the Sportstourer and that goes up to 470 litres.

Engines

There are a range of engines for the Cupra Leon and it's get a few spicier power options than the Seat. The range kicks off with a 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine with 150hp and the choice of a manual or automatic gearbox. There are similar options for the 2.0-litre diesel, also with 150hp. There's also a 1.4-litre plug-in hybrid with either 204hp or 245hp. The 12.8kWh battery onboard can be charged in about 3.5 hours at a rate of 3.6kW and driven electric for up to about 60 kilometres.

For some real high performance, there's the Cupra Leon VZ 2.0-litre TSI turbo petrol with 245hp or 310hp and four wheel drive.

The Cupra Leon is available with a range of engines
The Leon is available with a range of engines

Driving

The Cupra Leon is a really nice hatchback to drive with precise steering and sweet handling. It gets a front differential lock as standard so it handles the tarmac with real skill, turning into corners with lots of grip and staying wonderfully flat and balanced throughout. The Leon is almost worth it just for that skill.

Dynamic Chassis Control comes as standard on VZ models, but was added as an option to the test car. It means you can fine tune the suspension damping and steering through a few different settings: Comfort, Sport and Individual. It's comfortable for a sporty hatch and the extra firmness of the Sport mode actually enhances the driving experience. The only annoyance is persistent road noise from the tyres.

With 204hp and an electric motor for a burst of torque, the e-Hybrid is one of the most powerful of the range with 0-100 in 7.5 seconds and 350Nm of torque. It's expensive to buy however and does need to be charged to get the best from it - including efficiency. On an empty battery, it gets thirstier. But if you can charge it regularly and even drive on electric power alone for a limited range, then it can work well. But otherwise most buyers will be served well enough by the 1.5 petrol.

Pricing

The Cupra Leon range starts at about €35,310 for a 1.5-litre petrol manual. Diesels start from €37,585. The Leon e-Hybrid on test with 204hp costs about €48,145.

Rear seating in the Cupra Leon
Rear seating in the Cupra Leon

Verdict

The Cupra Leon is a brilliant sporty hatchback. It stacks up very well against high spec, sporty versions of rivals like a Corolla GR Sport, Astra GS, and Focus ST Line. It's fun and spirited to drive, and Cupra has done a good job at giving it a makeover to make it feel more special. It does get quite expensive however, particularly as a plug-in hybrid. However with one of the more basic engines, it's a very good buy indeed.

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

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

The Cupra Leon is a brilliant hatchback
The Cupra Leon is a brilliant hatchback

The new Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid on test for Changing Lanes

Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid Review (2023)

Read Caroline's Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid review for everything you need to know about buying Toyota's new hybrid car in Ireland.

The Toyota Prius is an icon of the Toyota range. Over 5 million have been sold worldwide. It's where hybrid began for the Japanese car brand over 25 years ago.

Since then, Toyota has become synonymous with hybrid technology and its range of cars are among Ireland's bestsellers like the Corolla, Yaris Cross and C-HR.

For a long time the Prius was the world's most famous hybrid car. But it wasn't always the prettiest.

Until now.

The new Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid on test for Changing Lanes
The new Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid on test for Changing Lanes

What's so special about the Toyota Prius?

The new Prius goes on sale priced from €45,900 so it is more expensive to buy than before. However it's now exclusively sold as a plug-in hybrid in Ireland with the ability to drive on electric power only for up to 71 kilometres, otherwise enjoyed as a fuel-sipping hybrid.

This is a gorgeous car. The Prius has been completely reimagined for this new fifth generation model. The iconic wedge shape is still apparent but it's been honed and toned into something entirely beautiful and eye-catching.

Shorter and lower than the car it replaces but with a longer wheelbase, the design is hugely aerodynamic to boost efficiency. Finished in charming Tokyo Gold, the Prius can turn heads in appreciation.

19-inch alloy wheels come as standard with LED lighting adding a stylish flourish to the design. Hidden rear door handles give a coupé-like profile.

The cabin of the new Prius
The cabin of the new Prius

Inside the Prius

The new cabin is less futuristic than the previous version, with a more mature and upmarket feel.

There's a new steering wheel, digital driver display and large touchscreen in the centre of the dash with over the air updates, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and voice control.

Ambient lighting adds a premium touch while there are good quality soft touch materials in the dashboard. The harder plastics in the doors and centre console let down the side a bit.

High-end features include heated and ventilated front seats, digital rear view camera and lots of standard safety equipment.

Three will fit across the rear bench with generous legroom though headroom is not the most generous due to the sloping roofline.

A powered tailgate comes as standard and opens to reveal 284 litres. That doesn't sound like much but in reality it will swallow up a few suitcases but buyers looking for a bigger boot would best be looking at a Corolla Touring Sports, Corolla Cross or RAV4.

The new Prius Plug-in Hybrid can drive up to 71 kilometres on electric drive alone
The new Prius Plug-in Hybrid can drive up to 71 kilometres on electric drive alone

Driving the Prius Plug-in Hybrid

The new Prius is built on the second generation of Toyota's GA-C platform of the Toyota New Global Architecture. It handles the road with some real elegance, feeling neat and well-balanced through bends. The steering is also well-weighted, keeping the driver connected to the driving experience.

The plug-in hybrid uses a new generation of Toyota hybrid with lighter and more compact parts. At its heart, there is a 2.0-litre petrol engine, a small capacity battery and an electric motor feeding power to the front wheels.

There is 223hp in this new model, which is considerably more than the previous Prius plug-in hybrid. 0-100 is just 6.8 seconds so there is plenty of power when you need it. The Prius is smooth and agile to drive though it's not one that encourages you to drive quickly. The eCVT transmission gets a bit noisy during enthusiastic driving, even in the Sport mode.

It is much better enjoyed at a more relaxed pace where it proves exceptionally efficient. Even without plugging in to charge the battery, the new Prius can easily achieve 4.5 litres per 100 kilometres in fuel consumption. Truly exceptional.

Boot space in the new Prius
Boot space in the new Prius

Wind noise is relatively subdued but there is some persistent road noise.

There's a 3.3 kW on-board charger, which can top up the battery in four hours from a wallbox or 6 hours from a socket at home.

Did you like it?

The new Toyota Prius is a truly desirable car for its good looks. It marks a new chapter for the Prius and a very good-looking one at that.

It's also exceptionally efficient and the plug-in hybrid gives the driver the option to run this car on electricity alone for a limited range that may particularly suit urban dwellers.

However this is not a cheap car and cabin quality is a bit patchy in places, while for some it just may not be practical enough.

But if you're enthralled by driving one of the world's most iconic cars with  serious eye-catching good looks, then the Prius is a reliably efficient companion.

Model tested: Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid
Price: 
€45,900
Engine:
2.0-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 223 hp
Torque: 208 Nm
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 6.8 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€140 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

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

The new Prius is a stunning hybrid hatchback
The Toyota Prius is a stunning hybrid hatchback

The Skoda Octavia Sportline on test for Changing Lanes

Skoda Octavia Review (2023)

Read Caroline's Skoda Octavia review for everything you need to know about buying Skoda's most popular model in Ireland.

The Octavia has been a real success story for Skoda. It's the brand's most popular model and over 7 million have been sold.

A fourth generation of the Octavia launched in 2020 and has kept the car among the bestsellers. And that's despite the market being saturated with SUVs and crossovers of all sizes. Skoda's humble hatchback has prevailed.

The Octavia has always been known for practicality and straightforward motoring. But the latest version is the brand's most advanced yet. It goes on sale from €30,245, though the price does creep up when you opt for one of the more powerful engines and trim lines.

And for that there are many - Ambition, Style and Sportline - as well as petrol and diesel engines including high performance Octavia RS models.

The plug-in hybrid has been withdrawn from sale for now due to supply issues.

The Skoda Octavia Sportline on test for Changing Lanes
The Skoda Octavia Sportline on test for Changing Lanes

What's so special about the Skoda Octavia?

The Octavia is classed as C-segment but it is huge inside. It's built on the same platform as other Volkswagen Group cars like the Seat Leon, Audi A3 and the Volkswagen Golf. Yet the stretched wheelbase means that there is much more generous legroom in the back.

The boot is by far the biggest of the compact class with 600 litres in the hatchback and 640 litres in the estate version. To put that in perspective, a Volkswagen Golf can only manage 380 litres.

There's been a gentle evolution of styling but somehow the Octavia looks a little more elegant and upmarket than before. Even the entry level Ambition model gets 17-inch alloy wheels.

Top of the range Sportline models sit a bit lower to the ground and come with more sporty black trim around the grille, bumpers and rear bootlid spoiler, along with a set of unique 18-inch alloy wheels.

The latest Octavia is a bit more aerodynamic than before and clean lines accentuate its length.  It's a timeless design that ages well. The Octavia is technically a hatchback but it looks more like a saloon really.

Headlights are now slimmer with matrix LED technology available for the very first time in the Octavia.

There are quite a few changes inside too.

The cabin of the Skoda Octavia
The cabin of the Skoda Octavia

Inside the Skoda Octavia

There's loads of space for passengers inside and it's a very comfortable cabin to spend time in. Seating three across the rear bench shouldn't be a problem either.

The dashboard has a new minimalist design and Skoda has also introduced some plusher materials to the cabin and ambient lighting.

Infotainment is provided via a new free-standing touchscreen in the centre of the dash and there are a few sizes available from 8- to 10-inch. Ventilation has moved to the screen but there are a few handy shortcut buttons below that make it easier to interact with. There's a modern, full digital driver display.

Some hard plastics prevail in the cabin in obvious places like the door handles. But generally the cabin looks good and feels hard-wearing.

Sportline models get sports seats with integrated headrests and a fabric insert in the dashboard. There's also a three-spoke sports steering wheel. Though the overall impression is a little underwhelming for a top of the range model with a list price from €40,700.

There is a good level of equipment however, like heated front seats and wireless smartphone charging.

The Octavia is available with petrol and diesel engines
The Octavia is available with petrol and diesel engines

Driving the Octavia

Engine options for the Octavia include a 1.0-litre TSI turbo petrol with 110hp, a 2.0-litre diesel with 115hp or 150hp, and a 1.5-litre TSI turbo petrol with 150hp. Mild hybrid versions of the petrol engines are available with a 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox. But the 6-speed manual remains a good choice for the Octavia.

The high performance Octavia RS is available as a 2.0-litre diesel (200hp) until early 2024 when production stops or as a 2.0-litre TSI (245hp).

My test car was the Octavia 1.5-litre TSI Sportline with a list price of €40,700. It is a real gem of an engine. With 150hp, there is plenty of power when you want it and the Octavia never feels under pressure. It's a smooth, quiet and refined companion of the Octavia.

There's also cylinder deactivation to improve the efficiency. It works by shutting down two cylinders when the engine is under low load. On the motorway it really helps lower the consumption, though it does increase during town and other suburban driving. My average fuel consumption over a week of driving was 6.6 litres per 100 kilometres.

On the road, the Octavia is a straightforward drive with direct, precise steering and good grip in cornering. It's more comfortable and refined than ever but there is some persistent road noise. Sportline models also ride a little firmer over the road surface than Octavia's on a more standard suspension, though it does cruise motorways with ease.

There's loads of space in the back of the Octavia
There's loads of space in the back of the Octavia

Did you like it?

Nothing else in this class really comes close to the value the Octavia offers when you consider how much bigger it is than rivals. If you value practicality, this is the car for you.

It's also very handsome, particularly in the Sportline trim. The Octavia has closed the gap on rivals with more comfort and tech on board than ever before. There's a good selection of well-proven engines to choose from with the 1.5-litre petrol being one of the nicest to drive.

The Skoda Octavia is an Irish favourite and it's easy to see why. It's a sensible and practical choice of car. After all these years.

Model tested: Skoda Octavia Sportline 1.5 TSI
Price: 
€40,700
Engine:
1.5-litre turbo petrol
Power: 150 hp
Torque: 250 Nm
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 8.5 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€200 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

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

The Skoda Octavia Sportline is on sale now
The Skoda Octavia Sportline is on sale now

The Cupra Formentor on test for Changing Lanes

Cupra Formentor Review (2023)

Read Caroline’s Cupra Formentor review for everything you need to know about buying Cupra's stylish crossover.

The Cupra Formentor first launched back in 2021 and was Cupra's first model designed exclusively for the brand. Since then the Cupra range has expanded to include the Born electric hatchback. The Cupra Leon and Ateca complete Cupra's range of family cars and SUVs - with a little bit of attitude. The new electric Cupra Tavascan is expected to arrive in 2024.

Cupra is pitched as an upmarket sporty brand within the Volkswagen Group. The Formentor has really helped to establish Cupra as a new standalone brand in the Irish market since Cupra first appeared here in 2019. The Formentor's blend of sporty crossover style and array of power options including petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid has made it a good choice for Irish motorists. It is the brand's bestselling model currently.

In this review, I take a closer look at the Formentor range in 2023 and drive the plug-in hybrid version with 204hp.

The Formentor goes on sale priced from about €40,630.

The Cupra Formentor on test for Changing Lanes
The Cupra Formentor on test for Changing Lanes

Styling

The Formentor is priced in the region of familiar family SUVs like the Kia Sportage and Nissan Qashqai. But it's a bit more of a sporty coupé-crossover by design. It's lower and longer than a Cupra Ateca SUV but still sits a little higher off the ground than your average hatchback, which gives it a sense of presence. There's also a touch of rugged crossover style with a contrasting finish around the wheel arches, bumpers and lower sills to add character.

The Formentor is quite outlandish in its looks - in a good way. It definitely stands out on the road as something a little different. There's a sporty front splitter, sexy roof spoiler and diffuser effect in the rear bumper hinting at some good performance. Though the plug-in hybrid's copper 'exhaust tips' are for styling only. There are a range of captivating 18- and 19-inch alloy wheel designs available with Cupra’s signature copper accents.

Interior

The cabin is quite distinct too and feels very 'Cupra'. The gorgeous bucket-style sports seats are a must-have and really add to the sporty vibe. The dashboard layout feels very driver-focused, with a lovely leather-wrapped, Cupra-branded steering wheel and lots of soft-touch materials adding to a feeling of quality that seems just about right for a car at this price point. There's more of Cupra's signature copper trim to add style and exclusivity.

Inside the new CUPRA Formentor
The cabin of the Cupra Formentor

The Formentor is very well-equipped with tri-zone climate control, reversing camera and heated front seats/heated steering wheel. There's also a full digital driver display and you can toggle between a few different layouts from a button on the steering wheel. The large touchscreen in the centre of the dash comes with Cupra-specific graphics as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for seamless integration with your smartphone. It can be a little bit fiddly to use. There's heavy reliance on the screen for simple tasks like adjusting the ventilation or the fan speed for example. You get used to it but it's not the most practical of systems.

Practicality

The Formentor will seat five and offers two large footwells in the rear as well as a decent enough amount of headroom for a stylish crossover like this. It will be more comfortable for two rather than three passengers. But there are amenities included like separate vents as part of the tri-zone climate control, USB ports, an armrest and hatch that opens through to the boot.

When it comes to boot space, the petrol and diesel models are best offering a competitive 450 litres. If you go for a plug-in hybrid that figure goes down to about 345 litres. It's a shallower space overall but still useful.

The Formentor offers a range petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid
The Formentor offers a good range of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid engines

Engines

Petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid options are available with either a 6- or 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox depending on model. The entry into the range is a 1.5-litre turbo petrol with 150hp. There's also a 2.0-litre diesel with 150hp. The plug-in hybrid uses a 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine, electric motor and a 12.8 kWh battery. So it can be driven electric for up to about 55 kilometres at most. It's available with 204hp or 245hp (VZ trim only).

At the top of the range, there is a high performance 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine just like the Golf R, putting out 310hp in the Formentor.

Driving

On the road the Formentor is more fun to drive than most crossovers and SUVs. Being a more performance-oriented brand, the Formentor gets an electronic limited slip differential that improves traction and grip in front wheel drive models. It helps to keep the Formentor tidy through bends. The steering is direct and well-weighted, and the whole car feels quite driver-focused. In plug-in hybrid form, it's not a hot hatchback but there is plenty of power when you want it. The Formentor responds willingly, with 0-100 completed in 7.8 seconds.

To get the best efficiency from the plug-in hybrid, the battery is best charged, which takes about 3.5 hours at a rate of 3.6kW. Over a week of driving in mostly hybrid mode, my average consumption was about 6 litres per 100 kilometres. Motor tax for this model is €140. The ride quality is mostly good with just a hint of firmness over bumps and imperfections in the road surface. The Formentor settles down well to a cruise on the motorway but there is some wind noise at high speeds.

Rear legroom in the Cupra Formentor
Rear legroom in the Cupra Formentor

Pricing

The range starts at about €40,630 for a 1.5 petrol manual, from €42,335 for a 2.0 diesel manual and from €48,300 for the plug-in hybrid. VZ high performance models are available from €57,795 for the plug-in hybrid and from €74,825 for the top of the range 2.0 TSI 310hp.

Verdict 

The Formentor is a brilliant crossover. It offers style and sportiness in abundance, without compromising the sort of practicality that will make it work for families too. There is a great range of power options that keep the Formentor relatively affordable. While also offering a good plug-in hybrid option for buyers who have the ability to charge to get the best out of the car. Inside, the Formentor is stylish and well-made, with lots of standard equipment coming as standard. What's more, it's really enjoyable to drive.

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

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

The Formentor goes on sale from €37,135
The Formentor is a brilliant crossover

The MG5 on test for Changing Lanes

MG5 Review (2023)

Read Caroline’s MG5 review for everything you need to know about buying MG’s electric estate in Ireland.

While the newly launched MG4 has been grabbing all the headlines this year, it's the brand's larger MG5 model that will offer you even more space and comfort at a competitive price.

Styled as an estate car, the MG5 is powered by a 61 kWh battery with a range of up to 403 kilometres (WLTP) and a starting price of €37,395.

The MG5 has also recently been facelifted and refreshed inside for 2023 so it's definitely worth a closer look.

The MG5 on test for Changing Lanes
The MG5 on test for Changing Lanes

Styling

The MG5 was one of the brand's first models to go on sale when MG launched in the market in Ireland in late 2020. It offers the traditional style and space of an estate car and slots into the MG range above the MG4. For 2023, the MG5 gets the new face of the MG brand with a redesigned nose and slim LED headlights that brings it right up to date. There's now some real design cohesion emerging between models in the MG line-up and the MG5 benefits greatly from this facelift. The design is a little more generic around the mildly revised rear of the car.

In Ireland there are two trim levels for MG5: Excite and Exclusive. 16-inch alloy wheels with aero covers come as standard. Exclusive models get upgraded to a nicer 17-inch design - though they reduce the range to a maximum of 379 kilometres (WLTP).

Interior

MG has also updated the interior of the MG5 for 2023. It's also a very welcome update. The new dashboard design is more modern and stylish than before. The MG5 feels like a proper grown-up car from behind the wheel. There's a new 10-inch touchscreen that uses the same updated software as the new MG4. It is an improvement on the previous system and is easy enough to navigate, though the minimalist design means that the ventilation must be adjusted from the screen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard, which will be the preference for many to access music, maps and contacts. But during my time with the car I found it difficult to get a stable connection with Apple CarPlay.

The cabin of the MG5
The cabin of the MG5

Standard features for MG5 Excite include the MG Pilot advanced driver assistance system, air conditioning, driver's seat lumbar support, reversing camera, vehicle to load charging and the MG iSmart app connectivity.

The Exclusive adds features such as rear privacy glass, leather-style interior with electric seat adjustment and heated front seats, automatic climate control, rain sensing wipers, auto dimming rear view mirror and a 360-degree camera.

Practicality

There’s a natural sense of practicality to the MG5 because it’s an estate car. There's good legroom in the back and plenty of headroom for adults. There’s also 479 litres of boot space with the load cover in place, or 578 litres with it retracted. The MG5 might be a better option than the MG4 for buyers who need a big boot and more practicality.

Battery

There is just one battery available and it's the same as in the previous version of the MG5. The 61 kWh battery offers a range of up to 403 kilometres in the Excite model and up to 379 kilometres in the Exclusive model.

The MG5 is a practical electric car
The MG5 is a practical electric car

Charging

AC charging is possible up to 7 kW for a full charge in about 10 hours. DC charging is possible up to 87 kW for a full charge in about one hour.

Driving

The MG5 is front wheel drive and powered by a 156hp motor. There's 280Nm of torque and 0-100 km/h is a healthy 7.7 seconds, so the MG5 never feels under pressure to keep up with traffic or join motorways. It offers a big car feel from behind the wheel, secure and planted on the road, more comfortable and softer sprung than the MG4. It may not be as lively or nimble to drive, but it feels like a better cruiser overall. It's efficient for its size too, with my consumption over a week of driving averaging at about 16.3 kWh per 100 kilometres.

You can adjust the level of the regenerative braking to recover energy back into the battery. There are also three different driving modes - Normal, Sport and Eco - that adjust the drive somewhat depending on your preference.

Pricing

The MG5 Excite with a range of up to 403 kilometres is priced from €37,395. The MG5 Exclusive is priced from €40,645. All prices include the SEAI grant.

Boot space in the 2023 MG5
Boot space in the 2023 MG5

Verdict

MG has made serious progress in the Irish market since the brand launched here in 2020. While new models like the MG4 have been helping grow the brand, the MG5 still offers a sound package overall of comfort, technology and practicality in an estate-style body.

It's not quite as trendy or modern as the MG4 but the latest update has done wonders for the MG5. It looks far more interesting now and the interior is also more contemporary. It performs well as an EV with smooth operation and competitive range. What's more, in today's market the MG5 still offers a lot of car for the money.

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

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

The MG5 has been significantly updated for 2023
The MG5 has been significantly updated for 2023