jaguar xf

Jaguar XF Purrs Back Into Executive Class

Jaguar Ireland launched the new XF to the Irish media last Thursday at Carton House, Co. Kildare. The XF is the brand’s executive saloon and a rival to the BMW 5-Series, Audi A6 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and comes hot on the wheels of the new XE compact executive saloon launched earlier this year.Read more


Volkswagen Polo

Volkswagen Polo 1.4TDI Lounge Review

The Volkswagen Polo has been reworked and new engines added to keep it competitive in the supermini class
The Volkswagen Polo has been reworked and new engines added to keep it competitive in the supermini class

The Volkswagen Polo is one of the perennials of the supermini class: it’s been around for years, and typically it’s been a reliable, if somewhat conservative, choice of small hatchback.Read more


Honda HR-V

First Drive Review: Honda Jazz and HR-V

There’s nothing quite like some shiny new cars to start the week, and when two come along together, it’s even better.

It must be a treat for Honda Ireland too and their associated Irish dealer network. With 2015 already bringing revised Civic and CR-V models, the arrival of a new third generation Jazz, and all new HR-V compact SUV, will add further options. For petrolheads, there’s a Civic Type R on the horizon, and the NSX must not be too far away either.Read more


Volkswagen up! city car review

Volkswagen up! 1.0-litre (75bhp) Review

Volkswagen up! city car review
The Volkswagen up!: the smallest car in the VW range

The Volkswagen up! is the smallest car in the Volkswagen range, slotting in below the Polo, and since it was launched in 2012, the up! has been the car to beat in the city car class. I have driven quite a few small cars, but this was my first time to drive the up!, and because it's widely regarded as the benchmark in this class, I was curious to see what it would be like.Read more


audi A1 review

Audi A1 1.0TFSI S tronic Review

audi A1 review

The Audi A1 is the entry level model into the Audi range and promises a premium car experience within the compact dimensions of a small hatchback. The A1 has recently been given a small facelift, some new engines, some changes to the suspension and steering, new colours, new alloy wheel designs and some more equipment. With prices starting at €20,800, the A1 slots firmly into the premium small car class, where image and kerb appeal are the currency of sale. Has the A1 still got it?

Watch my video review of the Audi A1 or scroll down to read a review:Read more


Renault Captur 1.5 dCi 90 Signature

Renault Captur 1.5 dCi 90 Signature Review

The Renault Captur is a compact crossover based on the Clio. It’s a bit more practical and spacious, with the chunky looks and extra height of an SUV, and the running costs of a small car.

But in a crowded compact crossover, can the Captur stand out?

Scroll down to read the review or watch my video review:

Design

Renault Captur 1.5 dCi 90 SignatureYou bet it can stand out from the crowd, on looks alone anyway. The Captur is deliciously compact in the metal with a very colourful presence. It looks every inch the mini off-roader with a curvy, chunky body, plastic cladding and an array of colour customisation options to choose from, ranging from the bright and bold, to the sleek and sophisticated. You can change the colour of the roof, the alloy wheel inserts and bits of pieces of the interior trim, but Renault has simplified the process by offering a number of tried and tested combinations.

While there are a lot of hard plastics in the cabin, the look is modern and funky as opposed to cheap and nasty, and should prove durable and easy to clean. Models with Renault’s R-Link infotainment system look particularly well with a touchscreen in the centre of the dash. Some models have removable seat covers that you can zip off and wash. So whether it’s chocolate, ice-cream or dog hair, there are no excuses not to have clean seats!

Renault Captur 1.5 dCi 90 Signature
Renault Captur: Colourful, modern and fun cabin
Renault Captur 1.5 dCi 90 Signature
Renault Captur: Boot is 377 litres but there are a number of ways to boost the space

The Captur is 6cm longer than the Clio so feels a bit more spacious inside and the extra height makes it easier to access the cabin and the boot, and provides a good, elevated driving position. The boot is 377 litres, with a useful flat loading sill.

But there’s more. You can slide the rear bench forwards from a lever in the boot, or from the cabin, to increase boot space. The boot also has a false floor so when you place that in the very bottom of the boot, and push the rear seats forward, you’ve boosted the boot space to 455 litres. Let down the rear seats and you have 1235 litres to play with.

Driving

There is a small 0.9-litre turbocharged petrol unit or a 1.5-litre diesel to choose from. Both produce 90bhp. My test car has the 1.5 dCi and it’s a real high point for the car because it’s so refined, you’re not even thinking you’re driving a diesel because it’s so quiet on the move. It’s not hugely powerful on paper and you don’t get shoved back into your seat every time you change gear, but it’s not sluggish either and rarely feels out of its depth.

On the road, the Captur is solid and planted, and with that diesel engine, it’s well set up for motorway driving. The steering and pedals are light so it’s a very easy car to drive and the compact dimensions make it easy to manoeuvre and park. The light controls do work a little bit against the Captur on a rural road because the steering can feel a bit vague as you turn in for the corner, and the body roll will put you off driving fast around them.

Renault Captur 1.5 dCi 90 Signature
Renault Captur: 1.5 dCi diesel engine is impressively refined and cheap to run

Economy

The 1.5 dCi has emissions of just 95g CO2/km so will cost just €180 to tax per year. The official economy for this engine is just over 74mpg.

Equipment

Renault Captur 1.5 dCi 90 Signature
Renault's R-Link infotainment system

There are three trim levels for the Irish market: Life, Intense and Signature.  Standard equipment is very good including four electric windows, Bluetooth, alloys, daytime running lights, cruise control and climate control. Signature trim has recently been added to the range and the kit list is very impressive – additional rear parking sensors, rear view camera, rear privacy glass, part leather upholstery, heated front seats and Renault’s R-Link infotainment system (includes a navigation system). A red touch pack as standard on Signature trim, adds red trim around the vents and the centre console.

Though there’s no four wheel drive option for the Captur, Signature trim adds Renault’s Grip Xtend advanced traction control system. It features three modes (Road, Loose Ground and Expert) and you can toggle between  them via a rotary dial on the centre console.

Renault Captur 1.5 dCi 90 Signature
Renault Captur: A stylish and practical compact crossover

Verdict

The Captur is not the sort of car that will encourage you to drive fast – it’s more of a comfortable, refined and economical one that you will enjoy on the motorway or around town. It’s a small car but Renault has packaged the space really well with clever design touches, and in a crowded compact crossover market the Captur stands out for its style and customisation – without being weird-looking. So if you don’t fall for the space, you will certainly love the way it looks!

Caroline Kidd

Model Tested: Renault Captur 1.5 dCi 90 Signature
Price: 
€23,990
Engine: 
1.5-litre diesel
Power: 
90bhp
0-100km/h:
13.1 seconds
Economy: 
74.3mpg
CO2 Emissions: 
95g/km
Motor Tax: 
€180 per year


audi q7

Audi Q7: First Drive Review

Model driven: Audi Q7 3.0TDI 272 quattro Tiptronic S Line

It’s Tuesday morning and I’ve just arrived at Tankardstown House near Slane in Co. Meath for the Irish press launch of the new Audi Q7. I’m excited about this one. I’ve been reading the product guide to get some of the headline detail and now I’m keen to see for myself where Audi is taking the second generation of their flagship luxury SUV.Read more


Video: On The Road In The Audi TT

My friend had a lend of a new Audi TT Coupé over the weekend so obviously I had to go and check it out! I brought my camera with me and took some photos and videos, and I've put these together to give you a little flavour of the car.Read more


Opel Astra SRi Limited Edition car review

Opel Astra SRi Limited Edition 1.6 CDTi Diesel Review

The Opel Astra is due to be replaced before the end of the year by an all-new car, but while we wait, Opel Ireland has introduced a new sporty trim to tempt buyers into the current model, the SRi Limited Edition. And with Opel’s new 1.6 CDTi diesel unit under the bonnet that promises more power, economy and refinement, don’t write this Opel Astra off just yet.

Scroll down for the full review or watch my video review below!
Read more


Ford Mondeo Estate car review

Ford Mondeo Estate Automatic 2.0L TDCi Diesel Review

The Ford Mondeo is back with a new look, new interior, more technology, and being all new from the ground up, it should be even better to drive than before.

Here I test drive the new Mondeo in estate format (or Wagon as Ford refer to it as). The estate is a great option if you need a more practical boot than what the Mondeo hatchback offers, or if you like the looks and image that goes with an estate car.

Scroll down for the review or watch a video of the new Ford Mondeo estate:Read more