The new Peugeot E-5008 is expected in Ireland later this year

Peugeot E-5008 Review

Read Caroline's Peugeot E-5008 review for everything you need to know about the new version of Peugeot's popular seven-seat SUV, expected in Ireland later in 2024.

The Peugeot 5008 has been a huge success for Peugeot in Ireland. It's one of the nation's favourite family cars and a familiar sight on Irish roads.

Now there's a new one incoming. Sitting on all-new underpinnings, it will be offered as a plug-in hybrid, mild hybrid petrol and as a full battery electric vehicle with a range up to 660 kilometres in its top form.

The new E-5008 shares much in the way of batteries and underpinnings with the Peugeot E-3008, which arrived in Ireland this summer.

So is it still a brilliant family car?

I travelled to Sweden with Peugeot Ireland to test it out ahead of its arrival in Ireland.

The new Peugeot E-5008 is expected in Ireland later this year
The new Peugeot E-5008 is expected in Ireland later this year

Styling

The new 5008 is longer, wider and taller than the model it replaces. Much like before, it shares a lot of its style with the smaller 3008 SUV. There's a new front-end characterised by slim LED headlights, new claw-like daytime running lights and a black strip with 5008 spelt out across it. The grille is quite a flamboyant affair with body coloured detail. There will be two trim levels - Allure and GT - and six different body colours. Wheel sizes are 19- or 20-inch. The wheelbase is longer than the E-3008 to allow for more space for passengers. Around the back, the 5008 gets more of the traditional boxy rear of an SUV compared to the 3008's now more coupé-like roofline. The new look sits very well upon the 5008 and it's matured into a very handsome seven seater that's sure to stand out among rivals like the Mercedes-Benz EQB, Skoda Kodiaq and Kia Sorento.

Interior

The 5008 has a truly spectacular cabin design featuring Peugeot's new 'panoramic i-Cockpit' and plenty of plush cabin materials that really make it feel a cut above the rest. A 21-inch high definition digital screen sits elegantly upon the dashboard with a slightly curved display. Beneath that there's a new compact steering wheel with paddles now present to adjust the strength of the regenerative braking. The centre console wraps neatly around the driver and houses a few buttons for controls like the drive modes and electronic parking brake release. A glossy panel sits beneath the main display where you can program shortcuts to your most used features like navigation, climate control and music. There's also plenty of storage dotted around the cabin, wireless smartphone charging and an opening glass roof to flood the cabin with light.

The cabin of the new Peugeot E-5008
The cabin of the new Peugeot E-5008

Practicality

Onboard the 5008 feels very spacious and family-friendly. There's seven seats as standard across three rows. This is a car that was always a hit with families for its modular interior - three individual seats in row two, all with Isofix. This time round Peugeot says it's prioritising modularity and comfort. That means the middle seat is now a bit narrower than the outer two seats and Isofix features on just the two outer seats. While there's plenty of legroom and headroom for everyone, the former layout did offer a unique layout and more flexibility for fitting child seats. Still, the rear bench can slide forward and back 60:40, and the backrests can fold down individually.

There's more boot space than before when all seven seats are in place, with space for a couple of cabin bags in an upright position. There's also extra storage under the boot floor for the charging cables, and even the parcel shelf fits neatly there. In five seat mode, there's a generous 748 litres.

Battery

There are two battery options - 73kWh and 96kWh - just like the new E-3008. The entry model will use the 73kWh battery and a 210hp motor sending power to the front wheels. This version offers a range of up to 502 kilometres (WLTP). With the long range battery, the E-5008 offers up to 660 kilometres of range (WLTP). The top of the range dual motor model will be the most powerful and offer up to 500 kilometres (WLTP).

The 5008 is a stylish and capable seven seat SUV
The 5008 is a stylish and capable seven seat SUV

Driving

On the road, the E-5008 has an affable driving character that's ideal for a family car. We tested the entry level model with 210hp and it's definitely not fast or exciting to drive but nor is it unpleasant. The electric powertrain offers a quiet, serene driving experience and it's one of the most refined seven seaters around. The longer wheelbase makes it feel more comfortable and settled on the road than the smaller E-3008. While our test route was not exactly taxing, the efficiency figures indicated that this won't be thirsty on its battery consumption. Regenerative braking can be adjusted from paddles behind the steering wheel and there are a few driving modes like normal, sport and eco to adjust things a little.

Other power options will include a petrol mild hybrid automatic and a plug-in hybrid with a range up to 80 kilometres.

Charging 

11kW AC charging is included as standard with the option to upgrade to 22kW. DC fast charging is possible up to 160kW. No matter which battery you opt for, a 20-80% charge is possible in under 30 minutes.

Rear seating in the new Peugeot 5008
Rear seating in the new Peugeot 5008

Pricing 

Pricing for the new 5008 range will be announced closer to launch. The current range is priced at about €51,995 for a diesel automatic.

Verdict 

In its electric guise, the new Peugeot 5008 will be one of the very few electric seven seaters on sale - for now at least.

It also happens to be a very good one. The EV powertrain suits it very well, adding a quiet and effortless drive to the mix. It covers the road well, offering an enjoyable lounge feel that's ideal for a family car.

The 5008's style and presence just gets better and better, and the cabin fit and finish is truly a step above many mainstream alternatives.

For a compact seven seater, it offers plenty of space and flexibility, with some clever boot storage also.

While pricing is yet to be announced, the new 5008/E-5008 is likely to continue where the previous version left off and it feels like a worthy successor.

The new 5008 is available as a plug-in hybrid, petrol mild hybrid or full battery electric vehicle
The new 5008 is available as a plug-in hybrid, petrol mild hybrid or full battery electric vehicle

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Written by Caroline Kidd

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


The new Jeep Avenger on test for Changing Lanes

Jeep Avenger Petrol Review

Read Caroline's Jeep Avenger review for everything you need to know about buying Jeep's small petrol SUV.

The Jeep Avenger launched in Ireland in 2023 and marked the start of a new chapter for the Jeep brand. It's the brand's smallest model yet styled as a very fashionable SUV.

At launch, it was available as a full electric vehicle but Jeep has since added a 1.2-litre petrol to the Avenger range.

The good news is it makes the Avenger a little more affordable than before, with a starting price now from €31,495. The electric Avenger starts from €35,995.

Let's take a closer look.

The new Jeep Avenger on test for Changing Lanes
The new Jeep Avenger on test for Changing Lanes

Styling

The Jeep Avenger is a very smart-looking small SUV. It really stands out against rivals with its iconic seven-slat Jeep grille, boxy shape and squared-off wheel arches. The LED headlights have a charismatic lighting signature that gives the Avenger a very modern Jeep face - but still the family DNA from the Renegade and Compass is apparent, which is good for Jeep fans!

It has tonnes of attitude and a range of cool colours that suit it very well including bright red and aqua, as well as more subtle tones like grey, white and black. There are two trim levels to choose from for the Avenger petrol - Longitude and Altitude - with 16- or 17-inch alloy wheels that come with an attractive chunky design. The Altitude model also gets glossy black door mirror caps.

Interior

Inside, the little Jeep has quite a robust cabin with lots of hard black plastic but it doesn't look too cheap and there's no squeaks or rattles. It perhaps could do with a few more plusher materials or at least some colour. But it's modern and well-equipped with plenty of storage up front including a nice shelf in the dash that's handy to slot things into. The petrol gets a chunky silver gear selector, and there's also nice seats embossed with the Jeep logo. There's a large touchscreen as standard with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Cruise control and manual air conditioning are also included as standard.

The cabin of the Avenger
The cabin of the Avenger

The higher spec Altitude model gets an attractive full digital driver display, keyless entry, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, automatic air conditioning, rear view camera, wireless smartphone charging and six-speaker JBL audio system with subwoofer.

Practicality

The Avenger is a small car and that is most apparent in the back seat. It will feel cramped for two adults but realistically children should be fine. There are few amenities back there with no armrest or door bins but there is one USB-C port.

There's more boot space than in the electric Avenger (380 litres vs 355 litres) so that might be appealing to some buyers. The boot has a split floor, which helps create a flat sill for getting things in and out.

The Altitude model also adds a handy powered tailgate.

The Jeep Avenger is happy on tarmac or sand!
The Jeep Avenger is happy on tarmac or sand!

Engines

The Avenger petrol uses a 1.2-litre petrol that appears in other cars from parent company Stellantis like the Opel Mokka and Peugeot 2008. It's a well-proven engine and is equally capable in the Avenger where it's offered with 100hp and a 6-speed manual gearbox. My average fuel consumption over a week of driving was 5.6 litres per 100 kilometres.

Driving

It's a revelation to drive compared to other models in the Jeep range. With compact dimensions, it's an ideal car for tight city streets or bopping along country roads. It can even hold its own out on the motorway. The steering is light and there's not much in the way of feel, but it does have good body control through bends and a sort of chuckable manner that makes it endearing. It's great fun to drive with the petrol engine proving to be lively and well-matched to the manual gearbox, which is a joy to use. It can be a little bit bumpy over rougher surfaces in town and country but it's a small compromise for what is mostly a joyful small car to drive.

It's not quite as refined or sophisticated overall as the closely related Peugeot 2008, with a bit more road noise getting into the cabin - but it makes up for it in attitude.

Boot space in the new Jeep Avenger
Boot space in the new Jeep Avenger

The Avenger is front wheel drive (there's no four wheel drive version). There's a few different driving modes to choose from like Normal, Sport and Eco as well as a few off-road modes for Snow, Sand and Mud. Ground clearance is quite good for a small SUV at 200+mm. One for the urban jungle!

Pricing

The Jeep Avenger petrol goes on sale from €31,495 for the Longitude and from €33,995 for the Altitude.

Verdict

The Jeep Avenger was one of the hottest new releases of 2023. Having secured the title of European Car of the Year, it marked a real resurgence for the Jeep brand in Europe with one of its most competitive models in years.

It's already helping to grow the Jeep brand in Ireland once again.

The petrol Avenger on paper has a much more palatable entry price than the electric for what is quite a dinky car - though running costs are also important to consider when making a choice between petrol or electric.

Either way, if the Avenger is on your shopping list it's good to know it's a delightful small SUV with a little attitude and spark to it that makes it a great companion for the road.

The Jeep Avenger is a brilliant companion for the road
The Jeep Avenger is a brilliant companion for the road

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Written by Caroline Kidd

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


Caroline and the 2024 Skoda Kodiaq

Skoda Kodiaq Review (2024)

Read Caroline’s Skoda Kodiaq review for everything you need to know about buying the new Kodiaq in Ireland in 2024.

The Skoda Kodiaq has been a bestseller since it launched in Ireland all the way back in 2017, well known for being one of the most spacious and best value seven seaters on the market.

The second generation model arrives this summer priced from €53,670 and will be available with the choice of petrol, diesel, or plug-in hybrid technology for the very first time.

I was in Barcelona recently with Skoda Ireland to check it out ahead of its Irish debut.

Caroline and the 2024 Skoda Kodiaq
Caroline and the 2024 Skoda Kodiaq

Styling

The Kodiaq has grown up and is a bit more imposing than its predecessor. It’s longer overall in length, which is good for space for your passengers on the inside. The second generation Kodiaq sports a smart evolution of the classic style that made this SUV such a hit in the first place. But the redesigned front end and rear make it look even a little bit grander.

Improved aerodynamics should be good for fuel economy too. Skoda’s modern design language sees a new protruding grille than can be ordered with 14 light elements to form a striking light strip between the headlamps. Dark chrome matt replaces shiny chrome on the grille surround. A revised Skoda logo sits upon a reshaped bonnet. Matrix LED headlights and dynamic rear indicators are available for a premium touch.

Wheel sizes are available from 18- to 20-inch. The range will start with the Selection and Selection +, with a Sportline to be added later.

Interior

The Kodiaq gets a brand new Skoda interior and it looks a lot more modern and tech-focused than before. There are some beautiful upholsteries and material finishes available, including synthetic leather on the Selection+ model. There's also a new two-spoke steering wheel with paddles and ambient lighting for a premium finish.

The new Skoda Kodiaq is arriving in Ireland this summer
The new Skoda Kodiaq is arriving in Ireland this summer

A 10.25-inch digital dashboard display and 10.4-inch infotainment display take centre stage, with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and two wireless smartphone charging pads as standard. A 13-inch display is available as part of a technology pack. The Skoda 'smart dials' also debut and are a clever invention. These three, intuitive multifunctional controls are positioned below the infotainment display and can be used to adjust the climate controls quickly and the middle one is customisable for your favourite features.

The automatic transmission gear selector has been repositioned to the steering column, creating more space in the centre console for storage and cupholders.

Standard features for Ireland will include keyless entry/go, adaptive cruise control, tri-zone climate control, reversing camera with front and rear parking sensors, and heated front seats.

Practicality

Whether you go for a five or seven-seat model, the Kodiaq boasts a huge boot and powered tailgate as standard for added practicality. The volume is up about 75 litres on the previous version, with up to 910 litres available in five seat versions/845 litres in seven seaters (about 100 litres less in the plug-in hybrid at 745 litres).

The cabin of the 2024 Skoda Kodiaq
The cabin of the 2024 Skoda Kodiaq

The second row of seating is hugely spacious with huge footwells and generous headroom too. The seats can slide forward and back to create a bit more legroom for those in the third row.

Even seven seat models can muster about 340 litres of boot space when all seven seats are in use. It's worth noting that space in row three is more suitable for children than adults.

Petrol and diesel Kodiaqs are seven seaters as standard, while the plug-in hybrid will be five seat only.

Engines

The new Kodiaq is available with a choice of petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid powertrains. The range kicks off with a 1.5-litre turbo petrol with 150hp, and mild hybrid and cylinder deactivation technology to boost efficiency.

There's also the well-proven 2.0-litre diesel with 150hp in the front wheel drive model, or 190hp in the Kodiaq 4x4.

Petrol and diesel Kodiaqs come with a 7-speed DSG automatic.

There's also a new 1.5-litre petrol electric hybrid with 200hp and a range in the region of 100 kilometres.

The new Kodiaq will be available with petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid powertrains
The new Kodiaq will be available with petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid powertrains

Driving

The Kodiaq is a smooth and serene drive with the diesel offering plenty of power and torque, and good economy too (as low as 5.3 litres per 100 kilometres in the front wheel drive version). Diesel is by far the most popular choice for the Kodiaq on the Irish market and Skoda Ireland expect that trend to continue.

The Kodiaq is a brilliant SUV to be behind the wheel of, offering good comfort and refinement levels. For such a large car, it's easy to manoeuvre around tight country roads or in town, while it happily munches up the miles out on the motorway. There's loads of grip, and the power and torque of the diesel makes for a satisfying drive.

The new plug-in hybrid is equally impressive. It offers drivers a little more flexibility with the ability to be run as a hybrid or on electric power alone for a range of about 100 kilometres. It might suit a town and suburban driver who can keep the battery topped up and make the most of running the car on its battery power alone. It's a smooth and silky delivery of power and noticeably quieter than the diesel too.

Pricing 

The Kodiaq diesel range starts from €53,670 for the front wheel drive or from €61,870 for the 4x4. The petrol range starts from €54,380, while the plug-in hybrid will be available from €57,590.

Rear seating in the Skoda Kodiaq
Rear seating in the Skoda Kodiaq

Verdict 

The Skoda Kodiaq is well established now in the Irish market and a family favourite - it was the best selling seven-seat SUV in 2023.

Kodiaq is not as affordable as it once was but it still manages to feel like good value in the market. It's a seven seater that doesn't disappoint and a suitable flagship for the Czech brand - a vehicle with space, practicality, comfort, quality and good looks on its side.

There's also a very suitable engine range and the new plug-in hybrid adds more flexibility for those keen to experiment with a little bit of battery-powered driving.

If you're in the market for an upmarket seven seater, this has to be on your list.

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Written by Caroline Kidd

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

The Skoda Kodiaq is a brilliant seven seat SUV
The Skoda Kodiaq is a brilliant seven-seat SUV

The new Dacia Duster

Dacia Duster Review (2024)

Read Caroline's Dacia Duster review for everything you need to know about buying the new Duster in Ireland in 2024.

The Dacia Duster is one of Ireland's favourite cars and has been for many years. The Duster is known for being a good value compact SUV. Over the years it's got better and better.

The new generation Dacia Duster arrives in Ireland in September and I was in Malaga recently to take a closer look at it.

The 2024 Dacia Duster introduces new design, more modern interior with sustainable materials and more efficient hybrid powertrains for the very first time. It's also promised to be more spacious and capable.

Let's find out!

The new Dacia Duster
The new Dacia Duster is expected in Ireland later in 2024

Styling

The third generation of this Dacia classic takes the Duster's now iconic boxy charm...and takes it to the next level. Built on a new platform, exterior dimensions haven't changed much but it is a bit longer overall. The Duster takes on the new face of the Dacia brand, just like the latest Jogger and Sandero.

It manages to look incredibly tough and rugged next to rivals and that's something that should continue to endear it to fans. Dacia's Y-shaped signature features in the new lights front and rear. There's also a variety of chunky alloy wheel designs from 17- to 18-inch. There's lots of robust cladding around the car made from up to 20% recycled materials, which adds to the Duster's utilitarian look but also protects it from light bumps and scrapes. Large skid plates under the bumpers protect the underbody. Roof rails add to the outdoors look and it's all finished off with the new Dacia logo.

Trim levels include Essential, Expression and then the choice of two top trims - Extreme or Journey.

Interior

This is a car that's been transformed inside too. The Duster's cabin always felt quite basic and plastic though over the years the brand has added better digital technology and some plusher materials. This one feels like the most cohesive design yet and really shines for digital tech integration and more modern design. It's not the last word in luxury but it fits with the Duster's tough, go anywhere character. D U S T E R is proudly etched in the dashboard panel.

The cabin of the new Duster
The cabin of the new Duster

There's also a new steering wheel, a brilliant 7-inch digital driver display, 10.1 inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and a few USB-C ports dotted around. Wireless smartphone charging is also now available. Cruise control and automatic lights will be included as standard across the range, with some models getting automatic high-beam also.

Of even more importance are the new driver assistance systems added to the Duster such as automatic emergency braking, traffic sign recognition and speeding alert, rear parking assist, emergency stop signal, lane departure warning, lane keep assist and driver attention alert.

Practicality

The new Duster is a five-seat SUV and offers a little more space inside than before. It was always quite generously sized for what it was and this one just enhances that - particularly in the width of the cabin at the front and legroom in the back (+30mm). The boxy design means that headroom is good too. The boot opening is wider and higher with a bit more space than before - up to 517 litres.

Accessories include a roof rack and a Sleep Pack, first introduced on the Jogger. This 3-in-1 box contains a double bed that folds out, a tray table and storage space.

The new Duster will be available as a hybrid or petrol
The new Duster will be available as a hybrid or petrol

Engine

The current Duster range is available with petrol and diesel engines but switching to a newer platform means Duster has now embarked on its electrification journey and can accommodate mild hybrid and full hybrid powertrains for the first time. As before, manual or automatic gearboxes will be available and the option of 4x4.

However, there's no more diesel for the Duster, which was a big seller for Dacia in Ireland. At the launch in Malaga, I had the opportunity to drive the brand new Duster 'Hybrid 140', which is already available in the seven-seat Dacia Jogger range in Ireland and offers a fuel efficient drive that may make it easier for diesel Duster owners to make the switch.

It's a standard hybrid so no need to plug in and charge to get the best efficiency from it. It's the same set up as the likes of the Renault Clio and Arkana Hybrid with a 1.6-litre four cylinder engine at its core and a 1.2kWh battery and two electric motors. The automatic transmission makes it an effortless drive.

The good news is that it's possible to drive it up to 80% of the time in electric mode in town driving for example. There's also regenerative braking to boost efficiency. During my test drive, I saw consumption as low as 5.0 litres per 100 kilometres.

The new Duster also gets a new 1.2-litre, three cylinder petrol mild hybrid engine ('TCe 130') from the Renault Group, which helps boost the efficiency and smooth running of the car. It will be available with a manual gearbox and opens up the option of four wheel drive.

Boot space in the Dacia Duster
Boot space in the Dacia Duster

Driving

The new Duster is built on the CMF-B platform that underpins other Dacia models like the Jogger, Sandero, and the Clio and Captur from parent company Renault. This platform brings Duster right up to date... where it belongs! It contributes to less vibration and road noise for a more comfortable drive and passenger experience. It's also better to drive, feeling more composed with less lean and tighter steering.

On the road, it's an affable drive, offering decent levels of comfort and refinement for a budget-friendly compact SUV like this. The hybrid can be noisy when pushed but that's a characteristic of most of its peers too. At a smooth pace, the Duster feels relaxed (0-100km/h in the hybrid is a languid 10.1 seconds). It's still not a pin sharp handler but it feels capable and the new driver assistance features certainly make it a safer and more sophisticated drive than before.

The Duster has always offered a very affordable 4x4 option, which is quite rare in its segment. The new Duster is available with 4x4 Terrain Control transmission with five different setting: Auto, Snow, Mud/Sand, Off-road and Eco. It offers ground clearance of 217 mm with up to 31° approach angle at the front and 36° departure angle at the rear on 4x4 versions. There's also a downhill speed control. A new 'All Road Info' system inside the car displays useful information like the lateral tilt, uphill and downhill pitch, and power distribution to the front and rear axles on the centre screen.

The Duster can trace its roots back to 2010 and has been an incredible success for Dacia
The Duster can trace its roots back to 2010 and has been an incredible success for Dacia

Pricing 

Pricing is yet to be confirmed for the Irish market. The current Duster range starts from €23,590.

Verdict 

Dacia is a brand that should see a prosperous 2024 with the arrival of new Duster and the all-electric Dacia Spring this summer.

The Sandero and Jogger offer good value in their respective segments and are now sporting Dacia's new look and brand identity.

It's a brand that's found its position in the market for making honest, straightforward and affordable cars and there's really demand for that at the moment. The Duster has been and still is the coolest of them all.

The new Duster shows a brand that's really hit its stride. With its confident stance and rugged interior, its iconic status is secured for another generation. It's also safer, more spacious and better to drive.

Diesel will be missed - most of the Dusters bought in Ireland are diesel. But the hybrid at least can prove to be not far off it in terms of economy while being cleaner overall - and quieter.

Duster has always offered a lot for the money. Let's hope it stays the affordability king of crossovers.

King of crossovers? The 2024 Dacia Duster will hit Irish roads in September
King of crossovers? The 2024 Dacia Duster will hit Irish roads in September

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Written by Caroline Kidd

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


The Renault Arkana on test for Changing Lanes

Renault Arkana Review (2024) | Stylish and practical

Read Caroline's Renault Arkana review for everything you need to know about buying Renault's stylish SUV coupé in Ireland.

The Renault Arkana first launched in Ireland in 2021 and quickly became one of the brand's bestsellers, outselling the Clio and the Captur.

Along with the Megane E-Tech and the newly launched Austral, it gives Renault a strong presence in the compact side of the market.

The Arkana has recently been updated for 2024 so it was time for another spin.

The Renault Arkana on test for Changing Lanes
The Renault Arkana on test for Changing Lanes

What's so special about the Renault Arkana?

Styled as an SUV coupé, the Arkana is a stylish, five-seat family car with trendy crossover-inspired looks. It sits a bit higher off the ground than your average hatchback and features familiar Renault design cues like striking LED lights front and rear.

At the rear, the roof slopes down in an attractive coupé style - with little compromise to practicality as the Arkana houses a generous boot and plenty of passenger space. Alloy wheel sizes vary from 17- to 19-inch depending on trim level.

For the update, Renault has made a few subtle tweaks. Evolution and Techno trim lines are joined by the new Esprit Alpine, which replaces the previous R.S. Line and gets some sportier trim like 19-inch alloys and gloss black wing mirror caps.

The grille has a new diamond pattern and wears the new Renault logo. There's also a new F1-style blade in the front bumper, finished in grey on the Esprit Alpine. The rear lights have smoked glass covers and tailpipes are finished in gloss black.

There's also a new colour called Midnight Blue.

The cabin of the Arkana
The cabin of the Arkana

The Arkana is available as a 1.3-litre mild hybrid petrol or as an even more fuel-efficient hybrid. It also still manages to offer good value in the market, starting from €32,590 for the petrol and from €35,490 for the hybrid.

Driving the Arkana E-Tech Hybrid

The Arkana E-Tech Hybrid uses a 1.6-litre full hybrid just like the Clio Hybrid. It combines a four-cylinder petrol engine with a small capacity battery, two electric motors and a 6-speed multimode automatic transmission.

With 145hp, it has plenty of power while boasting lower CO2 emissions and the ability to drive up to 80% of the time on battery power alone at low speeds in town, for example.

It also proves to be very fuel efficient with real world consumption between 5.5 and 5.7 litres per 100 kilometres during my time with the car. It's not a plug-in hybrid, so doesn't need to be plugged in to get the best efficiency from it.

It's a capable drive without being as sporty as what the coupé looks might suggest. The steering is accurate and direct but the hybrid can get noisy under hard acceleration.

The ride is a little firm so in town and on country roads it feels a little bumpy at times. There's quite a lot of road noise at high speeds on the motorway too.

The Renault Arkana is available as a petrol mild hybrid or full hybrid
The Renault Arkana is available as a petrol mild hybrid or full hybrid

But on balance, it's a nice car to spend time with. It offers a good view out of the road ahead and is simple and efficient to drive.

The 1.3-litre petrol is available with 140hp or 160hp depending on trim level and also comes with an automatic transmission.

There's no diesel option in the Arkana range.

Inside the Arkana

The Arkana still scores well for practicality. The hatchback-style boot has a wide opening and capacity of 480 litres. It doesn't feel cramped in the back despite the sloping roofline and provides adequate space for two, or even three from time to time.

The cabin design and finish hasn't changed much in this update but it's still a nice place to be with a good solid feel and plenty of cool digital tech on board.

The Esprit Alpine (from €37,790) offers the plushest cabin of the range with details such as suede-effect and synthetic leather seats with Alpine logo and blue stitching. The leather wrapped steering wheel gets stitching in the colours of the French Tricolour. There's also a bespoke grey panel in the dash.

The boot of the Arkana
The boot of the Arkana

It also has luxury features like heated steering wheel, heated front seats with power adjustment. Lovely!

The entry level Evolution model comes with a 7-inch touchscreen now with in-built navigation and wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.

It's worth going for the mid-range Techno model as it adds an impressive full digital driver display and larger 9.3-inch touchscreen.

Did you like it?

The Renault Arkana is still a great offering in the market for style, practicality and efficiency. It's not quite as sporty to drive as it looks and could do with a bit more refinement overall but for the price it still manages to offer good value for buyers. The update is very, very subtle but what a great looking car!

Arkana is a car with a lot of charm and it's no surprise it's such a big seller for Renault in Ireland.

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

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

The Renault Arkana is practical, stylish and efficient
The Renault Arkana is practical, stylish and efficient

The 2024 Peugeot 2008

Peugeot 2008 Review (2024) | So much to like

Read Caroline's Peugeot 2008 review for everything you need to know about buying Peugeot's small SUV in 2024.

The Peugeot 2008 has been a huge hit for the Peugeot brand since it first launched in Ireland all the way back in 2013.

Now in its second generation, it is one of the brand's bestsellers alongside the Peugeot 3008 and 5008 SUVs.

Peugeot has recently spruced up the 2008 to keep it competitive against its rivals like the Skoda Kamiq, Ford Puma and Toyota Yaris Cross. It goes on sale priced from €30,740.

It's available with a choice of engines including petrol, petrol mild hybrid and the full electric Peugeot e-2008, which I reviewed for this site last summer. But it's the 1.2 petrol that's the subject of this review.

Let's take a closer look.

The 2024 Peugeot 2008
The 2024 Peugeot 2008 on test for Changing Lanes

What's so special about the Peugeot 2008?

The current Peugeot 2008 launched here in 2020 but still looks fresh. It has lots of style and sophistication for the small SUV class. It now has been updated in line with the rest of the Peugeot range so it gets the brand's new lion shield logo, larger grille and 'three-claw' daytime running lights at the front.

At the back P E U G E O T is now spelt across a black strip connecting the rear lights, which also have a new lighting signature.

There are three trim lines: Active, Allure and GT. Standard wheel sizes vary from 16- to 17-inch with more efficient aerodynamic design.

There's a range of smart colours available including Selenium Grey, Okenite White, Vertigo Blue and Elixir Red. There's also a trendy contrasting black roof for the GT model.

The upmarket feel continues to the inside.

The cabin of the 2024 Peugeot 2008
The cabin of the 2024 Peugeot 2008

Inside the Peugeot 2008

The cabin design is now an older variation of the brand's 'i-Cockpit' that mixes a compact steering wheel with a cosy, driver-focused feel. The build quality feels good for this kind of small SUV and the mix of materials combine for a classy feel.

There's a full digital driver display on Allure and GT models, and a now standard fit 10-inch touchscreen with wireless smartphone connectivity. Like before, the ventilation is controlled from the screen though there are a few shortcut buttons to pull up menus quickly.

A parking camera and parking sensors come as standard. Wireless smartphone charging is standard with the GT model.

It's a car that's easy to get comfortable in quickly and is spacious for its size with ample legroom and headroom. There's also a practical 434 litre boot with a two-position floor that is bigger than some hatchbacks.

The 2008 is available as petrol, petrol mild hybrid or full electric
The 2008 is available as petrol, petrol mild hybrid or full electric

Driving the 1.2 petrol

The Peugeot 2008 is a joy to drive with smooth dynamic steering and very composed handling through bends. Out on the motorway it shows the maturity of a larger car, feeling supple and comfortable at all times. It's a solid car to drive and never gets too noisy.

The 1.2-litre petrol is the entry into the range and is available with 100hp or 130hp and a 6-speed manual gearbox. There's also an automatic mild hybrid version with 136hp. On test was the 1.2 petrol Allure with 130hp retailing at €34,295 and it's brilliant in the 2008. It's lively and perky to drive, while also being quiet and economical. You couldn't wish for more from a petrol crossover.

Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 5.8 litres per 100 kilometres and it costs €200 to tax per year.

Rear legroom in the 2008
Rear legroom in the 2008

There's also the Peugeot e-2008 (from €35,610), which gets a new 54kWh battery with more range than before (up to 406 kilometres WLTP) and a more efficient 156hp electric motor.

Did you like it?

It's an easy yes. The Peugeot 2008 remains one of the best of its kind. If you're looking for a stylish, fun and spacious small SUV, the Peugeot 2008 definitely has to be on your shopping list. Whether you go petrol or electric, it's a great buy.

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Written by Caroline Kidd

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

The Peugeot 2008 is one of the best small SUVs you can buy
The Peugeot 2008 is one of the best small SUVs you can buy

The Subaru Solterra

Subaru Solterra Review | Best off-road EV


Read Caroline's Subaru Solterra review for everything you need to know about buying Subaru's electric crossover in Ireland.

Subaru is known as a 4x4 specialist with cars like the Impreza, Forester and Outback in its repertoire and famous for the flat four Boxer engine.

The brand is a small player in the Irish market but does have a strong following of fans who love the straightforward rugged and reliable character of a good Subaru.

The Japanese car brand has dabbled in some hybrid technology to clean up its environmental credentials and now steps into the arena of the full battery electric vehicle (BEV) with the all-new Subaru Solterra.

The Solterra was co-developed with Toyota and shares much of its engineering, battery and interior with the Toyota BZ4X. Subaru gave its all wheel drive expertise to the project, giving the Solterra a leg up in the market for any buyer seeking an EV that won't embarrass you off road.

Let's take a closer look.

The Subaru Solterra
The Subaru Solterra

Styling

The Solterra shares its basic shape with the Toyota BZ4X but with a few Subaru tweaks that make it arguably a better looking car overall. It's quite a big vehicle in the metal with numerous crossover design cues that hint at its ability off road. For a start, it sits a little bit higher off the ground than your average hatchback with a good 210 mm of ground clearance and there is copious amounts of plastic cladding around the wheel arches. At the front, the Solterra gets Subaru's iconic hexagon grille plate. There are also different headlights with washers. The standard wheel size is 18-inch, with the option to upgrade to a set of 20-inch on the Touring model. At the back, there are two separate lights as opposed to the Toyota's full light bar.

Interior

While the outside styling does offer a little distinction from the Toyota, inside it's a carbon copy. Subaru cars always had strong, good quality cabins and the same has to be said for the Solterra. However, the collaboration has added a little more style and digital tech to proceedings. There's a nice mix of materials including a tweed-like fabric on the dashboard and lots of gloss black. There's a leather wrapped steering wheel and digital driver display set above it. This is a little different to the set up in most other cars and may require you sit a bit higher to see everything on the screen. There's also a large touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, There are separate buttons underneath to adjust the climate control.

The cabin of the Solterra
The cabin of the Solterra

The Solterra is very well equipped with standard features on the Limited model including heated front and rear seats, keyless entry, 360 camera, digital rear view mirror and many safety features. The Touring adds a double sunroof, synthetic leather seats, power adjustment for the front seats, wireless smartphone charging and a Harman Kardon stereo with subwoofer.

Practicality

The Solterra offers generous space inside for passengers. The rear seat is quite wide and there is a lot of legroom thanks to a flat floor the width of the cabin. The floor is quite high however so the rear bench doesn't offer much in the way of thigh support but the rear seats do recline. A powered tailgate comes as standard and opens to reveal 452 litres. The boot is well designed with a wide opening and low sill making it easy to pack and unpack. There's also a little underfloor storage.

Battery

The Solterra uses the same battery as the BZ4X. It's a 71kWh battery (64kWh usable) with up to 465 kilometres of range (WLTP). A heat pump comes as standard but in real world driving the dual motor, all wheel drive set-up proves not to be the most efficient, while turning on the ventilation has a significant impact on the estimated range. Over a week of driving my average consumption was about 23 kWh per 100 kilometres, which indicates a range of 278 kilometres on a full battery charge.

The Subaru Solterra is the brand's first full electric vehicle
The Subaru Solterra is the brand's first full electric vehicle

Driving

Subaru as a brand is known for its rugged reliability and the Solterra comes to market as dual motor, all wheel drive only (the Toyota BX4Z is available in a front wheel drive variant). Aside from good ground clearance, the Solterra has a few other off-road tools on board like Grip Control, a hill descent control and X Mode, which allows you to switch between two preconfigured modes - Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud. If you find yourself in a muddy field, you will be glad to be behind the wheel of the Solterra.

Performance figures are good with 218hp, 336Nm of torque and 0-100kmh in just 6.9 seconds. The Solterra feels very responsive and sprightly on the road. It's an excellent handling car with a low centre of gravity from the battery position giving a nice feeling of balance and dynamism to the car. There's not too much lean in corners and the grip is superb. There are also a few driving models like normal, eco and power. There's paddle shifters behind the steering wheel to adjust the regenerative braking. It feels very solid and planted on the road though the experience is upset by quite a lot of road noise in the cabin at high speeds. Still the ride quality is excellent, and the Subaru takes on Irish roads with aplomb.

Rear seating in the Solterra
Rear seating in the Solterra

Charging

DC fast charging is possible up to 150kW for an 80% charge in about 30 minutes. AC charging is possible up to 7kW.

Pricing

The Solterra has recently had a price cut to keep it competitive and now starts from €44,995.

Verdict

The Subaru Solterra is a significant car for Subaru and stays true to Subaru's incredible 4x4 heritage, being perfectly set-up for winter roads, muddy fields and dirt tracks. It's a nice car to be behind the wheel and feels like a good quality offering. It's loaded with equipment and looks pretty smart too. The range is a little disappointing and others offer more range for similar money. But if you can live with that, the Solterra is a lovely car.

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Written by Caroline Kidd

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

The Subaru Solterra is one of the best EVs for off-roading
The Subaru Solterra is one of the best EVs for off-roading

The new Peugeot e-3008

Peugeot E-3008 Review | First drive of the new electric Peugeot

Read Caroline's Peugeot E-3008 review for everything you need to know about Peugeot's new electric version of a popular SUV that has sold over 1.3 million units worldwide.

The Peugeot 3008 has been a huge success for the Peugeot brand. In Ireland, it's a former Irish Car of the Year and one of the French brand's bestselling models - and has been for many years now.

No pressure then for the third generation model, which is expected to arrive in Ireland in a few month's time.

In a sign of the times, it will also be available as an electric 'E-3008' for the very first time, along with a petrol mild hybrid and a plug-in hybrid before the end of the year.

I travelled to France with Peugeot Ireland to drive the new Peugeot E-3008 ahead of its Irish launch.

Watch a video review of the new Peugeot E-3008!

Styling

The current Peugeot 3008 is one of the best looking SUVs of its kind. For this new generation, it migrates to a sleeker fastback design with a sloping roofline to the rear of the car just like a Toyota C-HR or Renault Arkana. Dimensions remain quite similar to the previous version, with no dramatic increases in width, length or height. In fact it's one of the most compact vehicles of its class. There's a new front-end with slimmer LED headlights connected by a black strip. Striking 'tri-claw' daytime running lights complete the feline look. The grille melts into the bodywork with same colour detail and is identical between the fuel and electric versions. There's a sporty floating spoiler at the back and new three-claw light signature.

Six colours are available including new Ingaro Blue. There will be two trims - Allure and GT - with 19- to 20-inch wheels available with an aerodynamic, geometric design. GT models are finished with gloss black around the wheel arches and lower sills, and come with a black contrast roof.

The new Peugeot e-3008
The new Peugeot E-3008 is expected in Ireland before the summer

Interior

Inside there's an evolution of Peugeot's i-Cockpit concept, now called the 'panoramic i-Cockpit'. There's a new compact steering wheel with new controls and paddles to adjust the regenerative braking for the very first time. The curved 21-inch display wraps elegantly above the steering wheel for an ultra-modern look. It seamlessly combines the digital instrument cluster with the touchscreen for media and ventilation controls. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto removes the need for messy cables. There are new customisable 'i-toggle' switches beneath the screen in a touch panel, which allow the driver to set shortcuts to their most used functions. There's also a new connected navigation system with a trip planner to help you plan the best route with charging stops where necessary.

The centre console curves around the driver, giving a cosy, sporty feel. Fabric finishes and ambient lighting enhance the upmarket feel. The seats are comfortable and supportive with fabric, leather-effect and Alcantara finish available. Peugeot aimed for a lounge feel and it's done a good job delivering that.

Practicality

At 520 litres, the boot volume is the same as before. A split level boot floor creates space to stow away the charging cables. There's no frunk available. There hasn't been a massive change in interior accommodation either, but it remains competitive in interior space with a flat floor a gift from the bespoke EV platform. The sloping roofline design doesn't affect headroom for back seat passengers either.

The cabin of the 2024 Peugeot e-3008
The cabin of the 2024 Peugeot E-3008

Battery

The E-3008 will be available in time with a choice of two battery sizes. The 73kWh standard range (210bhp) offers in the region of up to 525 kilometres, while the 98kWh (230bhp) can increase that to an incredible 700 kilometres. It's a 400V high-voltage lithium-ion battery, with a chemical composition of nickel, manganese and cobalt.

There's no battery pre-conditioning and a heat pump is optional.

Driving

The new E-3008 is special because it's the first model to use the Stellantis Group's new STLA Medium platform, which in time will underpin other Opel, Citroen, DS, Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Jeep models for instance. There will be a choice of two different battery sizes in a single motor, front wheel drive layout, as well as a standard range, dual motor option offering the most power of the range (320bhp). On the road, the E-3008 offers good road-holding ability, staying flat and balanced through corners thanks to its low set battery. The steering feels neat and fluid, with quite a lot of weight to it making it a steady drive on the motorway - though it's not as light and joyful a drive as the smaller Peugeot E-2008 around town and on twistier roads. On the motorway, it clearly excels in the overall refinement of the vehicle, with a quiet, serene cabin and no annoying wind or road noise. It's comfortable on the smooth stuff but does thud a bit over imperfections, joints, manhole covers in the road surface, a flaw shared with many an electric car or SUV.

The e-3008 can offer a range of up to 700 km in its top form
The E-3008 can offer a range of up to 700 km in its top form

There are three different driving modes - normal, sport and eco. In the normal mode, not all the power and torque is available and the E-3008 doesn't feel particularly full of joie de vivre. It's a more lively drive in the sport mode.

New driver assistance features include adaptive cruise control with stop & go function and lane-keeping assist, semi-automatic lane change and early speed recommendation.

A plug-in hybrid will join the range before the end of the year. At launch there will also be a mild hybrid petrol automatic with 136hp, which may be a good alternative if you do not want to go full electric at this time.

Charging

An 11kW charger comes as standard, with the option to upgrade to a 22kW for faster AC charging. DC fast charging is possible up to 160kW, charging the battery from 20% to 80% in 30 minutes for the standard range version. Vehicle to load charging also appears for the very first time in a Peugeot electric vehicle.

Rear seating in the new Peugeot e-3008
Rear seating in the new Peugeot E-3008

Pricing

It's yet to be confirmed how much the new E-3008 will cost you though Peugeot Ireland says it will be competitive.

Verdict

Peugeot is well on its way to becoming a fully electric car brand by 2030. The lion brand has been electrifying its range since about 2020 with the arrival of models like the excellent E-208 and E-2008. New arrivals include the E-308 and there's more on the way like the E-408 and the E-5008 - the electric version of Peugeot's highly successful seven seater.

The Peugeot 3008 has been an incredible success to date for the French car brand in its petrol, diesel and hybrid forms. The new one marks the start of a new era for the brand's mid-size SUV - both in design and powertrain. While looks are subjective, the new E-3008 is certainly a looker and takes on the fashionable style of a more coupé-like SUV without compromising practicality.

Inside it is beautifully finished and certainly sits at the upper end of the class for outright quality and a posh feel. These are factors that will endear it to traditional Peugeot buyers. The price of the electric may be yes palatable - that is yet to be confirmed - but the petrol option may offer a more appealing bridge to this new model. We just have to wait and see.

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Written by Caroline Kidd

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

The new Peugeot e-3008 offers upmarket style and excellent refinement
The new Peugeot E-3008 offers upmarket style and excellent refinement

The new Kia EV9 is on sale now

Kia EV9 Review | Kia's biggest electric SUV

Read Caroline's Kia EV9 review for everything you need to know about buying Kia's new large electric SUV in Ireland.

The Kia EV9 is one of the most anticipated new electric SUVs to arrive in 2024. With the option of six or seven seats, it's one of the few large electric people carriers on sale.

What's more, it's one of the most desirable with futuristic SUV vibes and some excellent technology underneath including rapid 800 volt charging and over 500 kilometres of range from official tests.

Kia has form when it comes to building electric vehicles. The Kia Niro and Kia Soul were some of the best compact electric vehicles of their generation. The Kia EV6 is a former European Car of the Year and Irish Car of the Year winner, and remains a top choice of electric car in 2024.

The new Kia EV9 now crowns the Kia electric range, which will see more new models arriving later this year. It goes on sale priced from €77,500.

Let's take a closer look.

Kia EV9 Video

Styling

The EV9 might be Kia's best electric model yet; but it's definitely its biggest yet. In Ireland, the brand's largest model was the Kia Sorento seven-seat SUV. The EV9 is a whole lot bigger, measuring over five metres in length. In fact it's more akin to the Telluride, another Kia three-row SUV, built primarily for the North American market. So the EV9 really is a sight to behold on Irish roads! Compared to van-based MPVs that offer similar space and versatility, the EV9 is so cool and desirable. There are two trim levels, Earth and GT Line, with the latter getting a little more bling like 21-inch wheels and the gorgeous, exclusive Ocean Blue colour. Aerodynamic features include flush door handles and an active air flap at the front. The EV9 has a strong presence when viewed from the front (okay, every angle really!) with Kia's new 'digital tiger face' and full LED lights. The GT Line can also be distinguished by its cube-like LEDs. Altogether, the EV9 makes large people carriers cool again.

Interior

The dashboard design is quite minimalist with a lot of space and storage integrated into the design. On first impressions, it is quite an austere, grey plastic finish but it does all feel well made and solid. It's not as plush as a Mercedes-Benz or Volvo, but neither is it priced like one. Ambient lighting provides a little glamour, as does the widescreen digital display - full digital driver display, touchscreen and a small panel for climate controls in the centre. Surprisingly for a tech-focused car, it still uses a wired Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connection.

The cabin of the Kia EV9
The cabin of the Kia EV9

The EV9 comes with lovely two-tone synthetic leather seats with power adjustment and a massage function. The front and second row seats are heated and ventilated. There's also a premium sound system with 14 speakers and a 360 camera. The GT Line adds features like a sunroof and remote parking.

Practicality

With a three-metre wheelbase and three rows of seating, there's literally oceans of space inside the EV9. The Earth model comes as standard with seven seats, while the GT Line is available with a choice of six or seven seats. The six seater has two 'chairs' in row 2 that can slide forward and back, recline and even swivel. It's one of the most comfortable people carriers on the market. If you need to transport adults in comfort and luxury, it's a brilliant option.

There's also Isofix child seat fixtures on seats in row 2 and 3. With all seats in place, the EV9 still has space in the boot for a few bags - over 300 litres actually. With the row 3 seats folded into the floor, there's over 800 litres. A powered tailgate comes as standard and there's also a 'frunk' under the bonnet.

Battery

The EV9 uses a 99.8kWh battery, with range up to 563 kilometres (WLTP) in the single motor, rear wheel drive version (203hp) or up to 505 kilometres in the dual motor, all wheel drive (384hp). A heat pump is included as standard to improve efficiency. Battery pre-conditioning is also possible to charge more rapidly once you reach your charging stop.

The EV9 can seat six or seven people
The EV9 is an electric SUV that can seat six or seven people

Driving

The EV9 GT Line is the big daddy of the range with two electric motors creating a combined 384hp and 700Nm of torque for a 0-100km/h sprint in just 5.3 seconds. Not bad for a vehicle that weighs 2.6 tonnes! It offers excellent comfort and refinement for all those on board, feeling stable and composed for its size. The steering is nicely weighted too so it's easy to place on the road and drive through town - despite the big dimensions!

The official consumption figure is about 22.8kWh per 100 kilometres. During my test, 350-390 kilometres seemed a realistic range estimate between battery charges. There are paddle shifters behind the steering wheel to adjust the strength of the regenerative braking.

Charging 

11kW AC charging comes as standard. DC fast charging is possible up to 210kW. With 800 volt charging architecture, the EV9 is impressive when you stop at a fast charger like Ionity, for example. The battery can charge from 10-80% in 24 mins at a 350kW charger. There's also vehicle to load charging, allowing you power household electrical appliances from the charging port!

The EV9 has a hugely spacious and versatile interior
The EV9 has a hugely spacious and versatile interior

Pricing

The EV9 is available from €77,500 for the Earth and from €85,500 for the GT Line.

Verdict

The Kia EV9 is an incredible piece of design and engineering, cool and capable. It's an ambitious car from an ambitious car brand but it absolutely delivers on the space, equipment and technology it offers. With a hugely comfortable and versatile interior, it's easily one of the best electric seven seaters on the market.

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Written by Caroline Kidd

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

The EV9 is one of the best seven seaters on the market
The EV9 is one of the best seven seaters on the market

The Land Rover Defender on test for Changing Lanes

Land Rover Defender 75th Limited Edition Review

Read Caroline's Land Rover Defender review for everything you need to know about buying Land Rover's iconic off-roader in Ireland.

Land Rover is famous for building tough, off-road vehicles and the pinnacle of all that has to be the Defender.

In 2020, the all-new Defender arrived in Ireland. It's quickly become one of the brand's most popular models, outselling the Discovery. To celebrate 75 years of this legend, Land Rover has introduced an eye-catching Defender 75th Limited Edition.

The Defender starts from about €87,727 but the five-door Defender 110 75th Limited Edition 2.0 plug-in hybrid - like the one on test - will set you back closer to €123,160.

So is it worth it? Let's find out!

The Land Rover Defender on test for Changing Lanes
The Land Rover Defender on test for Changing Lanes

What's so special about the Land Rover Defender?

The Defender offers quite an extensive line-up. There are three body styles - 90, 110 and 130 - with varying numbers of seats available. There are a range of four- and six- cylinder petrol and diesel engines, and a V8. There's also a popular plug-in hybrid that offers punchy performance and some EV driving, which is particularly useful in town.

If it's kerb appeal you're after, the Defender has it all. The design is a brilliant interpretation of the classic Defender, all boxy dimensions and attitude with plenty of little design nods to the original like the classic circular in rectangle headlights.

The 75th Limited Edition goes with famous Grasmere Green and matching painted alloy wheels. It's very distinct and it looks better the more mud is thrown at it. The Defender is a vehicle that was made to play dirty.

There are a myriad of off-road tools like the configurable terrain response system that allows you to switch between a number of modes depending on what sort of ground you're tackling - snow, mud, rocks, sand, you name it!

It's pretty special inside too.

The cabin of the Defender 75th Limited Edition
The cabin of the Defender 75th Limited Edition

Inside the Defender

The Defender has one of the most utilitarian cabins of any Land Rover on sale. But somehow it all works. There's a pared back, tough chic to it all. Yet the quality is excellent, everything feels good to the touch. Synthetic leather upholstery come as standard.

Luxury features included heated front seats with 14-way power adjustment and memory function, 3D surround camera and a Meridian sound system.

75th versions stand out with a Grasmere Green dash panel but otherwise it's classic Defender with exposed screwheads, a stubby gear selector on the dash, and sturdy steering wheel.

The digital tech is another highlight - full digital driver display and an excellent Land Rover 'Pivi Pro' infotainment system with touch display. It's heaving with functionality but the menus are all easy to scroll through. There's lots of good off-road driving aids hidden in there too like wade sensing to alert you when you're reaching the Defender's awesome limit of 900mm!

There is a nice spread of buttons below the touchscreen and some dials for the ventilation. You can also find buttons here to adjust the height of the vehicle for off-roading.

It's all so clever and intuitive to use.

The Defender 75th Limited Edition gets a unique Grasmere Green finish
The Defender 75th Limited Edition gets a unique Grasmere Green finish

Is it practical?

The Defender 110 is the five-door model and it's available with five, six or seven seats. The boot offers over 800 litres of space in five seat models. Though beware the door is hinged from the side so you'll need lots of room to open it!

The cabin is huge and feels very roomy. There are alpine windows in the roof, just like the original, and the option of a glass roof. The big windows also let lots of light in. You can fit three easily across the rear seat and there's loads of legroom too.

Driving the Defender

On the road the Defender offers a very high-end driving experience. There's really nothing agricultural about it, despite its rough and ready roots. From the lofty driving position, you can enjoy the comfort and affability of it all. The 110's standard fit air suspension ensures a high level of control and comfort.

The Defender can trundle through town easily enough with well-weighted steering though it does feel big once you find yourself in a tight car park. Yet it's a great companion for motorway cruising, while it can easily tackle whatever obstacles an Irish rural road might throw up.

The P400e plug-in hybrid offers good performance and a limited range of 43 kilometres (WLTP) of electric driving, provided you are diligent about keeping it charged - 80% in as little as 30 minutes using a DC fast charger or 2.5 hours from a 7kW wallbox.

The 404hp is delivered smoothly, responsively through the 8-speed automatic, with a strong 640Nm of torque for a respectable three tonne towing capacity. Yet fuel consumption is still higher than most conventional SUVs, though keeping the battery charged does make a difference, along with stints on battery power alone.

Boot space in the Defender 110 P400e
Boot space in the Defender 110 P400e

Did you like it?

The Land Rover Defender is such an incredible motoring icon and has excellent capability - and kerb appeal. Its off-road pedigree is well documented, but the on-road driving manners are equally impressive. It's no surprise it's been such a big hit among Irish motorists.

The 75th edition is an acquired taste, with its classic Grasmere Green body and wheels combo. But what's underneath is still an extremely desirable machine and the plug-in hybrid is a solid choice.

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Written by Caroline Kidd

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

Simply the best!
The Land Rover Defender - simply the best!