The 2020 Audi Q3!

Audi Q3 (2020) 1.5 TFSI Review


The 2020 Audi Q3!
The 2020 Audi Q3!

Caroline drives the Audi Q3.

Audi’s Q range of SUVs have never been so relevant as they are now. Naturally, Audi has invested considerably in their Q range of SUVs in recent years, with new models like the Q2 and Q8, as well as this all new generation of the Audi Q3 that landed in Ireland in 2019. The arrival of the more compact Q2 in 2017, means that the Audi Q3 is no longer the smallest SUV in the Audi range. In fact, for this generation, Audi has considerably reinvented the Q3 so that it can function better as a family SUV.

In Ireland, the Audi Q3 2020 range kicks off at €39,400. There are a range of petrol and diesel engines on offer, as well as two trim lines, SE and S line. Manual and automatic gearboxes are available as is quattro four wheel drive, though standard models are front wheel drive.

The range has also been extended in 2020 with the arrival in Ireland of the new Audi Q3 Sportback. This new model adds a sportier, more coupé-like rear design in touch with Audi's other Sportback models. It carries a €1000 price premium over the Q3 SUV and the range starts from €40,400. But the more exclusive, niche design certainly makes it an interesting prospect in this mid-size segment. 


The Q3 S line on test for Changing Lanes
The Q3 S line on test for Changing Lanes

What's new for the Audi Q3 in 2020?

The new Audi Q3 debuts with a very smart new look inspired by the brand's latest design language. It's been comprehensively modernised to not alienate the target market, but looks fresh, angular and unmistakably Audi. It's got more definition and stance yet it’s still a relatively compact vehicle in the metal. The new Singleframe grille has an octagonal design and eight ‘don’t mess with me’ vertical bars. The new wedge shape lights use LED technology in all versions and are paired with LED daytime running lights.

Slip inside the cabin of the latest Audi Q3, and it’s hard not to be instantly beguiled by the quality and technology at your fingertips. The cabin experience in the Q3 is one of the best in class. That’s down to how the digital instrument panel (Audi Virtual Cockpit, a 10.25 inch screen within the binnacle), and the new 10.1 inch MMI touch display, fit so comfortably into the cabin with seamless controls. Audi interiors are evolving in just the right way and the new Q3 makes a very pleasant entrance back into this segment.


The interior of the new Audi Q3
The interior of the new Audi Q3

Inside the 2020 Audi Q3

The Q3's dashboard design is modern and cool with lashings of stylish high gloss black, while the material quality is good in just about all the places that matter. There’s also an optional ambient lighting package with 30 colour options for more wow. 

The new Q3 comes with a number of active safety systems including pre-sense basic, pre-sense front, side assist, active lane assist and automatic emergency braking. Standard equipment on SE models includes 18” alloys, Audi drive select, Audi Virtual Cockpit and 10.1” MMI touch display, light/rain sensor, LED headlights, cruise control and manual air con.

S line models (from €43,350) add 19” alloys, S line body kit, S line interior including front sport seats and stainless steel pedals, LED interior pack and full LED headlamps with dynamic rear indicators.

Does the new Audi Q3 make a good family SUV?

The new Audi Q3 is built upon the Volkswagen Group’s modular transverse matrix, which means that the new Q3 has grown in size. It’s longer and wider than its predecessor with a longer wheelbase also meaning that it is now more spacious inside for five people and their gear. In the rear it feels noticeably bigger with a welcome boost in knee room, headroom and elbow room that makes it more competitive in its segment than ever before.

For extra practicality an electrically powered tailgate comes as standard. The new Q3 also has a bigger boot at 530 litres or 675 litres depending on the position of the rear seats and backrests.


The Audi Q3 Sportback has joined the 2020 range with exlcusive styling
The Audi Q3 Sportback has joined the 2020 range with exlcusive styling

Is it good to drive?

According to Audi, the suspension in the new Q3 has been tuned to be more comfortable, assured and responsive, helped by the latest car’s longer wheelbase. S line models have a sport suspension for an even more tightly controlled feel. Progressive steering comes as standard across the range, which gradually becomes more direct as the steering angle increases.

On the road, the new Audi Q3 is remarkably good. The most striking and pleasant feature is the silence and seclusion of the cabin while driving. The refinement of this car is just beautiful. The handling and steering are more than adequate, making progress pleasant and brisk in the new Q3.

The Audi drive select dynamic handling system comes as standard and includes six modes - auto, comfort, dynamic, offroad, efficiency and individual. These settings influence the throttle response, the steering, the shift characteristics of the S tronic and the damper control where this is fitted.

Smooth TSI petrol power

In Ireland the new Audi Q3 is available with two petrol options (150hp and 230hp) and one diesel (150hp). The entry into the range is the 1.5-litre TFSI turbo petrol engine with 150 hp and 250 Nm of torque. This car is now badged 35 TFSI. We call it an entry model, but it's actually very advanced! It uses clever cylinder on demand technology to improve efficiency, which temporarily switches off two cylinders when the engine is at low load. I found it to be exceptionally smooth, sweet and powerful on the road in the Q3. Over a week of driving my fuel consumption averaged at 7.5l/100km, so high mileage drivers will achieve better economy from the diesel.

The new Audi Q3 sashays into a very competitive market. But this modern interpretation of ‘Audiness’ that now pervades the brand’s newer models like the Audi A6, makes the Q3 instantly desirable. The Q3 has grown up and is now more practical than ever with more space and more presence. The real jewel in the crown however is the latest generation Audi interior that sits so comfortably in the Q3. It strikes a perfect balance between comfort, quality and wow-worthy tech.  

The new Audi Q3 is astoundingly good!


The new Q3 on sale in Ireland from €39,400
The new Q3 on sale in Ireland from €39,400

By Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Audi Q3 1.5TSI S line S-Tronic
Price:
€43,350 (Range from €39,400)
Engine: 1.5-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
150 hp
Torque: 250 Nm
0-100km/h:  
9.6 seconds
Top speed: 211 km/h
Fuel economy:
7.4-7.7l/100km
CO2 emissions: 
169-176g/km
Motor tax: 
€280 per year


The 2020 Mazda CX30 on review for Changing Lanes!

Mazda CX30 Review (2020)

The 2020 Mazda CX30 on review for Changing Lanes!
The 2020 Mazda CX30 on review for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the 2020 Mazda CX30.

Mazda has been quietly investing in developing new SUVs in the last few years to complement their range of saloons and hatchbacks. However they were missing the coveted C-segment SUV. While the CX-3 debuted as a small SUV and the CX-5 picked up the baton as a large family SUV, there was nothing in the middle.

Enter CX30. Though just launched in Ireland at the end of 2019, new car registrations data shows that the CX30 is already Mazda’s most popular car in the range, just ahead of the all-new Mazda3.

What's so great about the 2020 Mazda CX30?

It’s not really that surprising. The new Mazda3 - and now the CX30 - usher in a new generation of models from Mazda that can truly call themselves premium. The technical and aesthetic value of these cars is high, something that the Japanese brand invests in heavily. Up close or from afar, design is more refined and classy than your average family SUV. The curvature of the sheet metal and S shape reflection in the flank surfacing are details only true artists could execute and deem important enough for a mass market crossover.

New interiors speak the same language inside the car, with better quality and even more premium design. While under the skin there is a new platform and engine technology that bring new levels of refinement to Mazda cars.

With the range starting from €29,495, the CX30 is pitched at the higher end of the market. Visually, it's more of a crossover than an SUV, but the raised ride height and extra plastic cladding give the car just the right character for today's market.

The CX30 is a new generation Mazda SUV
The CX30 is a new generation Mazda SUV

Mazda CX30 interior

The interior of the Mazda CX-30 wraps around you like a glove. The cabin design is modern and elegant with plenty of soft touch materials for a plush feel. GT models get a full leather interior as standard. The new infotainment system integrates very well in the dash design with a wide 8.8" screen. A rotary controller is included on the centre console with useful shortcut buttons, a feature we often see in premium cars. The system connects easily to smartphones via Apple Car Play or Android Auto.  A new digital instrument panel completes the look. This is a quality car, no doubts.

There are four trim levels for Ireland - GS, GS-L, GT and GT Sport. Standard features include air con, 8.8-inch infotainment screen, 7-inch digital dashboard, rear parking sensors, heads-up display, 16” alloys, LED headlights with High Beam Control, Mazda Radar Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitoring with rear traffic alert, Traffic Sign Recognition and Lane Keep Assist.

My GT test car had 18” alloy wheels, heated steering wheel, power adjustable driver’s seat, full leather interior, reversing camera, keyless entry, powered tailgate, dual zone climate control and heated front seats.

The interior of the 2020 Mazda CX30
The interior of the 2020 Mazda CX30

Mazda CX30 boot space and practicality

The interior of the Mazda CX-30 is a sophisticated and premium offering that is hard to find in this class of vehicle. Drivers will love the higher seating position than a hatchback, while there is plenty of room and adjustment to get comfortable up front. Rear seating space is less impressive. With a tall driver or passenger, rear occupants are going to find legroom tight. Door openings are large and the positioning makes it easy to get in and out. The boot is more competitive at 430 litres and larger than the Mazda3 hatchback. It's also deep and large enough to tick the box for practicality. An electric tailgate is standard on some models.

Mazda has introduced mild hybrid technology to the engine range, while the CX30 will also feature the brand's advanced Skyactiv X petrol engine. My test car was a Mazda CX30 Skyactiv G, which is powered by a 2.0-litre mild hybrid petrol with 122 hp. It suits the CX30 remarkably well. This naturally aspirated unit is so quiet on the move and power is adequate for a five seat family SUV. Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 6.5 litres per 100 km and motor tax for this model is €200 per year. If you want to try more power, there is also the 2.0-litre petrol badged Skyactiv X with 180 hp.

For the best economy, you will still want the 1.8-litre diesel badged Skyactiv D. We drove this model on the European press launch in 2019 and we were really impressed with fuel consumption as little as 4.8 litres per 100 km.

CX30 Pricing

The CX30 Skyactiv G is available from €29,495. The Skyactiv X petrol models with more power are available from €31,915 as is the CX-30 diesel range. Manual gearboxes come as standard with automatics available from €33,745. There are no diesel CX30 AWD (all wheel drive) models available in Ireland, but petrol AWD models start from €40,615.

Boot space in the CX30
Boot space in the CX30

Driving the CX30 in Ireland

The new Mazda CX-30 is based on a new generation of Mazda’s Skyactiv Vehicle Architecture that also underpins the new Mazda3 hatchback. Front wheel drive models feature G-Vectoring Control Plus for better handling. A torsion beam at the rear provides better refinement over a variety of road surfaces. We found the CX30 to be comfortable and flexible on Irish roads and a great compact crossover to drive.

That's because it handles more like a hatchback with natural, fluid steering and great body control through the corners. The cabin is also very well insulated to keep out road and wind noise. The premium level of refinement is a key selling point for the CX30 and puts it ahead of cheaper rivals.

Mazda CX30 or Mazda3?
The Mazda CX30 and the Mazda3

The CX-30 is now one of the most modern and advanced models in the Mazda range and features the full complement of Mazda engine technology – Skyactiv G, Skyactiv D and the new Skyactiv X. Being an SUV, it's super desirable and the styling and design of this car fits the market very well right now.

We were less impressed with the rear seating space, and some rivals in this class offer more for the money. The Mazda's top quality interior, premium features, refinement and fun to drive character make up for it. It's simply one of the best compact SUVs on the market right now.

The Mazda CX30 is one of the best compact SUVs on the market right now
The Mazda CX30 is one of the best compact SUVs on the market right now

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Mazda CX-30 2.0 Skyactiv-G GT
Price: 
€33,395 (from €29,495)
Engine: 2.0-litre petrol
Power: 
122 hp
Torque: 213 Nm
0-100km/h:  
10.6 seconds
Top speed: 186 km/h
Fuel consumption (WLTP): 
6.2 l/100km
CO2 emissions (WLTP)/NEDC2:  
141g/km/103g/km
Motor Tax: €200 per year


The new Volvo XC90 B5!

Volvo XC90 B5 AWD (2020) Review

The new Volvo XC90 B5!
The new Volvo XC90 B5!

Caroline drives the 2020 Volvo XC90.

Volvo is quickly becoming a leader in SUVs. Taking all the experience the brand garnered building practical family cars, namely estate cars, the Swedish brand has turned their magic touch to SUVs.

The new XC90 spearheaded Volvo’s spectacular revival in 2015 and was the first vehicle to be built on the new Volvo in-house designed and built chassis, using its own in-house designed and built engines. The XC90 was closely followed by the XC60 and the XC40, a family of Volvo SUVs all proving to be formidable competitors in their respective segments.

So what's new for 2020?

And what an experience the Volvo XC90 is. For the 2020 model year, the XC90 has received a refresh with new styling details, more equipment, upgrades to petrol-electric plug-in versions and the Irish debut of a new mild-hybrid powertrain - the B5 diesel mild hybrid tested here.

Priced from €77,970, the XC90 firmly occupies the large premium SUV segment. This is a stunning car inside and out. The XC90 is beautifully designed and makes an elegant statement wherever it goes. Now there are new grille and lower front bumper designs and the air intakes also have a fresh look. New alloy wheel designs have been introduced for 2020. All XC90 versions now come with roof rails and dual exhaust tailpipes as standard.

The interior of the 2020 Volvo XC90
The interior of the 2020 Volvo XC90

R-Design models (from €82,363) get a new black high-gloss finish for the exterior trim, including the door mirror casings, window frames and roof rails. There are also new paint options, including Thunder Grey, Pebble Grey and Birch Light shades.

Inside the 2020 Volvo XC90

The cabin has been designed with a simple layout built around the 9" tablet-like touchscreen with voice-activated control, navigation system and access to the Volvo On Call connected services platform. It's also compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The XC90's cabin is a calm, reassuring and comfortable place to be. It is a generous seven seat SUV with great leg- and headroom all round. Even in seven seat mode, the XC90 still seems to have more space to spare, while there's a huge 775 litres in five seat mode.

In Ireland, the new XC90 range is available in Momentum, R-Design and Inscription versions along with Pro upgrades for each. Standard equipment includes 19" alloys, LED headlights with active high beam, power-operated tailgate, parking sensors, rear parking camera, leather-faced upholstery, powered driver’s and front passenger seats, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control with ‘CleanZone’ air-quality system,12.3-inch driver’s information display, City Safety, including automatic emergency braking with Steering Support, Oncoming Lane Mitigation, Run-off Road Mitigation and Run-off Road Protection.

R-Design highlights include the gloss black mesh front grille, door mirror casings and window surround, sports seats with leather and nubuck upholstery, front-seat cushion extensions, sports leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles, sports pedals, black headlining and 20" alloy wheels with a diamond-cut and black finish.

The new XC90 is available as a mild hybrid diesel or a petrol electric plug-in hybrid
The new XC90 is available as a mild hybrid diesel or a petrol electric plug-in hybrid

What are my options?

Buyers in Ireland can choose from the new 'B5' mild-hybrid diesel with 235 hp or the 'T8 Twin Engine' petrol-electric plug-in hybrid with 390 hp. Every XC90 comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

My test car was a Volvo XC90 B5 R-Design with a list price of €82,863. It is a fantastic combination. Volvo’s established 2.0-litre 235hp diesel engine is combined with a 48-volt battery, a KERS kinetic energy recovery system and an integrated starter generator. Volvo says the system improves fuel economy by up to 15 per cent in real-world driving and produces lower NOx emissions than the outgoing D5 XC90 it replaces. It's a supremely quiet and refined set up. Over a week of driving my fuel consumption averaged at 8.2l/100km.

The other engine option is the XC90 T8 Twin Engine petrol-electric plug-in hybrid powertrain, which has been revised for 2020 with an increase in the high-voltage battery’s capacity from 10.4 to 11.8 kWh. This increases the car’s electric-only driving range to about 46 km.

The Volvo XC90 is priced from €77,970 in Ireland
The Volvo XC90 is priced from €77,970 in Ireland

Driving the new Volvo XC90

On the road the Volvo XC90 is good. Very good! It's a smooth drive with excellent ride quality. Refinement is top notch. The XC90 has surprising agility and has been engineered exceptionally well to make it one of the best, most effortless drivers in the large SUV segment. It's certainly not trying to be sporty but you do feel very much in control and in command behind the wheel of the XC90.

The Volvo XC90 is big, commanding and luxurious. Yet on the road it has the kind of agility associated with a smaller vehicle. The B5 is super refined and suits this behemoth very well. Interior quality and ambience is up there with the best on offer in this segment. Volvo probably wouldn't say this in a press release, but you will feel calmer and more relaxed behind the wheel. I did!

The Volvo XC90 is a masterpiece in the world of large SUVs.

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Volvo XC90 B5 AWD Automatic R Design
Price: 
€82,863 (XC90 from €77,970)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
235 hp
Torque: 480 Nm
0-100km/h:
7.8 seconds
Top speed: 220 km/h
Fuel consumption (WLTP): 
6.9-7.5l/100km
CO2 emissions NEDC2:
155g/km (WLTP: 179-195g/km)
Motor tax: 
€390 per year

Caroline in the Volvo XC90!
Caroline in the Volvo XC90!

The new SKODA Kamiq!

2020 Skoda Kamiq 1.0 TSI DSG Review

The new SKODA Kamiq!
The new Skoda Kamiq!

The new Skoda Kamiq completes an epic SUV trilogy for Skoda. Starting with the popular Kodiaq in 2017, joined by the mid size Karoq in 2018, and now the baby of the bunch – the petite but capable Kamiq! Small SUVs and crossovers are hot property these days and the Kamiq range kicks off at a very attractive €21,300.

The Kamiq is smart to look at, with compact, boxy dimensions. Skoda is quick to lift the car’s aesthetic features – split headlights featuring the daytime running lights above the main headlights, wide radiator grille, rear diffuser, elevated bonnet, front spoiler. Yet my favourite feature was the small dome in the bonnet that can be seen from the driver’s seat. In my eyes this is an unusually charismatic Skoda.

Built on the Volkswagen Group modular transverse matrix (MQB), Skoda has taken the platform and done some wonders with interior space. Compact crossovers can be very, eh, compact, but somehow the Kamiq feels like one of the most generous in the segment for rear head- and leg-room. The boot is also a good size for the segment with a capacity of 363 litres.

The interior of the new Kamiq
The interior of the new Kamiq

Inside the new Kamiq

The Kamiq is also the second new model in the Skoda range after the Scala to debut Skoda’s new interior design. It’s quite chic and minimalist with great infotainment, technology and smartphone integration. The 10.25 inch Virtual Cockpit is an option. Material quality is good for the segment with some nice trim elements.

In Ireland at launch the Kamiq is available in three trim levels kicking off at €21,300 for the 1.0-litre TSI 95 hp Active, from €23,300 for the Ambition and from €25,300 for the Style. Other engine options include a 1.0-litre TSI turbo petrol with 115 hp, a 1.5 TSI turbo petrol with 150 hp and a 1.6 TDI diesel with 115 hp. 5-speed and 6-speed manual gearboxes feature as does an excellent 7-speed DSG.

Standard equipment on Active and Ambition models includes the 6.5-inch ‘Swing’ touch screen infotainment system, LED headlights and tail lights, Lane Assist, Front Assist with City Emergency Brake and Predictive Pedestrian Protection, and Multi-Collision Braking.

My Style model has a high specification with equipment including 17” alloys, rear view camera, dual zone climate control, rear privacy glass, rain sensing wipers, leather steering wheel, the 8.0-inch ‘Bolero’ infotainment unit and full LED headlights with AFS and dynamic front and rear indicators.

Smart, fun and functional - the new Kamiq
Smart, fun and functional - the new Kamiq

Driving the new Skoda Kamiq

On the road drivers can enjoy an elevated seating position and light controls for a smooth and agile driving experience. The 1.0-litre 115 hp petrol engine suits this car very well and I was driving it in combination with the DSG automatic gearbox. It’s another stellar performance from this small engine/auto gearbox combination making it ideal for those seeking a small automatic for the city. Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 6.5 l/100km and motor tax is currently €200 per year for this model.

Skoda has landed in the popular compact B-SUV segment with a really strong new model. The Kamiq has the charisma of a small off-roader and it’s a great addition to the Skoda range. It’s spacious inside for its size and the small petrol engine makes it good fun to drive. There’s good value to be had in the Kamiq range with some well-proven engines and gearbox options.

The new Kamiq has everything covered to storm the compact crossover segment!

New Kamiq available from €21,300
New Kamiq available from €21,300

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: ŠKODA KAMIQ Style 1.0 DSG
Price: 
€28,100
Engine: 1.0-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
115 hp
Torque: 200 Nm
0-100km/h:  
10 seconds
Top speed: 193 km/h
Fuel consumption (WLTP):
5.5-6.8l/100km
CO2 emissions:
113g/km
Motor tax: 
€200 per year

 


Caroline and the new Opel Grandland X Hybrid4!

2020 Opel Grandland X Hybrid4 First Drive Review

Caroline and the new Opel Grandland X Hybrid4!
Caroline and the new Opel Grandland X Hybrid4!

The Opel Grandland X Hybrid4 is the Opel brand’s first plug-in hybrid. It will arrive in Ireland later in February as the new, all wheel drive, range topper of the Grandland X mid-size family SUV range. Caroline travelled with Opel Ireland to the Black Forest, Germany, to test drive it.

Styling

The Opel Grandland X Hybrid4 is a standard, friendly-looking family SUV, except for one key differentiating feature – the black bonnet that is exclusive to the Hybrid4. While this reviewer is a fan, Opel Ireland thinks it’s a risky move so dealer stock will be monotone only (the black bonnet will be available by special order). There’s a Hybrid4 badge at the rear and an extra flap housing the socket to charge the battery on board.

Interior

The new plug-in hybrid variant carries the same interior as the rest of the Grandland X range, except for a few new buttons and screens to control and monitor the hybrid system. The Grandland X cabin is quite sombre and conservative, but well-built with the latest technology features including the 8" touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The Opel Grandland X Hybrid4 can drive like an electric vehicle for up to 59 km
The Opel Grandland X Hybrid4 can drive like an electric vehicle for up to 59 km

Practicality

The Opel Grandland X Hybrid4 is a mid-size family SUV with seating for five and competitive rear seating space for this class of vehicle. The battery has been placed under the rear seats and there has been little intrusion to the space in the vehicle as a consequence of the electrified powertrain. Charging cables can be stored in a special compartment under the boot floor and the boot is still competitively sized.

Engines

The new Opel Grandland X Hybrid4 pairs a 1.6-litre petrol engine with two electric motors to produce an overall system output of 300 hp and 520 Nm of torque, making it the most powerful model in the Grandland X range. An eight speed automatic gearbox comes as standard.

There will also be a front wheel drive only Opel Grandland X Hybrid available from March with 225 hp.

CO2 emissions are as low as 29 g/km.

On the road

The Opel Grandland X starts in electric mode and has a pure electric range of up to 59 km. The driver can select easily between four driving modes on start up: Electric, Hybrid, Sport and AWD.

Once leaving the confines of Basel Airport, I slipped the Grandland X into hybrid mode. In this mode, the car intelligently selects how much electric assistance to give. Over the first leg of my test drive over motorway and then smaller, fast flowing roads through the Black Forest, my average fuel consumption was an economical 4.6/100km.

Opel engineers encourage owners to plug their new Grandland X Hybrid in every day because the best economy is returned from the car when the battery is kept topped up, as common with all plug-in hybrids. For drivers who travel a short commute comfortably within the 59 km, it would be possible to run the car on electricity only, dipping into the fuel tank rarely. Of course there is never fear of range anxiety because you always have the back up of the petrol engine.

Opel Grandland X Hybrid4 has all wheel drive for extra reassurance in challenging road conditions
Opel Grandland X Hybrid4 has all wheel drive for extra reassurance in challenging road conditions

On the return leg of the journey back to the airport, my battery power ran low as we did not charge at our lunch stop. Average fuel consumption was 6.3l/100km over a 100 km journey that included high speed Autobahn driving.

I dipped into Sport mode during my test drive and it turns the Opel Grandland X into a different animal. This performance biased mode gives the driver instant feedback through the pedals. However, this is not a sports SUV, the Opel Grandland X won’t hustle around corners like a hot hatch but it’s a pleasant pop of power in an otherwise demure SUV.

Charging

The battery can be fully charged in around two hours with a 7.4 kW wallbox or about seven hours using a three point plug at home.

Equipment

In Ireland the new Grandland X Hybrid 4 will be available in the high spec Elite trim. Equipment includes 19" alloy wheels, 8" colour touchscreen, leather seat trim, power adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, panoramic glass roof, front parking sensors, driver drowsiness system, forward collision alert, automatic emergency braking, lane assist and side blind spot alert.

Pricing

The new Opel Grandland X Hybrid4 Elite will go on sale in Ireland priced from €47,415. The Grandland X Hybrid (front wheel drive) will go on sale from €36,645 for the entry SC, €39,245 for the SRi and €41,745 for the Elite. All prices quoted here are inclusive of Government grants and incentives amounting to €7,500 for plug-in hybrids.

The interior of the new Grandland X Hybrid4
The interior of the new Grandland X Hybrid4

Rivals

The new Opel Grandland X Hybrid and Hybrid4 will compete against sister brand Peugeot’s 3008 Hybrid4 and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

Summary

The new Grandland X Hybrid4 is a pioneering new product for the Opel brand. Along with the new Corsa-e, these models spearhead the brand’s move to electrification that will see the brand’s entire product portfolio with a battery electric vehicle or hybrid by 2024.

The Grandland X is currently available with diesel and petrol engines, and the Hybrid4 marks a new departure, now offering another option for buyers seeking to move to a lower emissions vehicle.

With the standard Grandland X range kicking off at €28,995, the Hybrid4 carries a significant investment. And though huge savings can be made on running costs, some strategy regarding charging at home and at your destination is needed in order to truly see the benefits of a PHEV.

The hybrid system itself is impressive, as are the performance figures for a standard mid size family SUV. But it’s the green credentials of the Opel Grandland X, not the sporty ones, which should truly inspire buyers to own one.

The Grandland X Hybrid4 is available from €47,415
The Grandland X Hybrid4 is available from €47,415 in Ireland

Caroline Kidd


The 2020 Ford Puma is on sale in Ireland now

2020 Ford Puma First Drive Review

The 2020 Ford Puma is on sale in Ireland now
The 2020 Ford Puma is on sale in Ireland now

The Ford Puma is back but this time as Ford’s new B segment compact crossover. Caroline travelled to Malaga, Spain, to test drive Ford’s new feline. The 2020 Ford Puma joins the expanding Ford line-up of SUV and SUV-inspired crossover models in Europe - including the Fiesta Active, Focus Active, EcoSport, and new Kuga - and is in dealers now, priced from €24,465.

Styling

The new Ford Puma is a fantastic piece of design for the Ford brand in Europe. Proportions are SUV-inspired, the design sleek and sporty, but with a charismatic evolution of the Ford face – big grille and large almond shaped headlamps. It’s something fresh for the segment, with different personalities depending on what trim level you go for - sporty Puma ST-Line or stylish Puma Titanium.

Interior

The Puma’s cabin is based on the latest generation Fiesta interior. Material quality is competitive for the segment and the streamlined dashboard layout is characterised by a standard 8” touchscreen in the centre of the dash with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay for seamless smartphone integration. The Puma also introduces a new 12.3-inch digital cluster, which is standard on Puma ST-Line. Other features also include local hazard information displayed in the digital cluster, wireless charging pad, lumbar massage seats and removable seat covers.

The new Puma will be available in two different flavours - ST Line and Titanium (pictured above)
The new Puma will be available in two different flavours - ST Line and Titanium (pictured above)

Practicality

The 2020 Ford Puma is based on the Ford Fiesta but is bigger in all directions. Passenger space is competitive by class standards but most of the gains in practicality are in the boot area. Ford has introduced a new innovative ‘MegaBox’ concept. This 80 litre extra compartment in the boot can be used to stow larger items up to 115cm tall such as household plants on trips home from the garden centre! When not in use a flat floor can be placed over it. Combined boot space is over 400 litres, quite exceptional for the compact class.

Engines

The Puma features mild hybrid technology to improve efficiency and is one of 14 electrified vehicles to be introduced by Ford by the end of 2020. In Ireland the new Puma will be offered with the 1.0-litre EcoBoost mild hybrid petrol engine with 125 hp mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox. CO2 emissions are rated from 124 g/km and fuel efficiency from 5.4 l/100 km according to WLTP. There are no plans as yet to import the higher powered 155 hp version to Ireland.

The interior of the new Ford Puma
The interior of the new Ford Puma

EcoBoost Hybrid technology enhances the Puma’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine with an 11.5 kW belt-driven integrated starter/generator, enabling recovery and storage of energy usually lost during braking and coasting to charge a 48‑volt lithium-ion air-cooled battery pack. It also acts as a motor to provide torque assistance during normal driving and acceleration, as well as running the vehicle’s electrical parts.

An EcoBlue diesel engine will join the Puma range later, as will a 7-speed automatic transmission. We also anticipate a high performance Ford Puma ST derivative.

On the road

The Puma uses the Fiesta platform but with some modifications. It has a wider track and the rear suspension is stiffer by 50%. On the road the new Puma is exciting and characterful to drive. The steering has a sporty feel that comes alive in fast cornering. Body roll is minimal. Ford gave us a challenging and technical test route in the Ronda region of southern Spain and the new Puma was a delight to drive.

The new Puma is sporty and fun to drive
The new Puma is sporty and fun to drive

Driving modes are included as standard and settings include Sport, Normal, Eco, Trail and Slippery. The Sport model gave the car a bit more zest and the instant throttle response was great for the mountain roads. Comfort and refinement were very good but fuel consumption was a bit disappointing, with my average fuel consumption between 7.3 and 7.7 litres over a 3 hour drive. In fairness the route was very technical with a large part taking place uphill and in third gear so we will investigate this further during more balanced driving at home in Ireland.

Equipment

At launch the new Puma will be offered in three series in Ireland: Titanium, ST-Line and ST-Line X.

Standard equipment for Puma Titanium includes 17-inch machined alloy wheels, LED projector headlamps with auto high beam, pre-collision assist, 8-inch SYNC with navigation and FordPass Connect modem, keyless start, electronic air con, massage driver and passenger seats, ambient lighting, wireless charging, cruise control with adjustable speed limiter and rear spoiler.

The Puma ST-Line adds ST-Line sports body kit, large rear spoiler, LED fog lamps with cornering feature, ST-Line sports exhaust, 12.3-inch digital cluster, dark sports headliner, flat-bottom steering wheel, and alloy pedals and gear knob.

ST-Line X adds 18-inch matt black alloy wheels, SYNC Gen 3 8-inch touchscreen with navigation and B&O Play sound system, partial leather sports trim, privacy glass and shark fin antenna.

The innovative new Ford MegaBox
The innovative new Ford MegaBox

Pricing

The new Ford Puma will go on sale in Ireland priced from €24,465 for the Puma Titanium. The ST Line is priced from €26,065 and the ST Line X from €27,865. We can expect the diesel variant to start in the region of €26,465.

Rivals

The new Ford Puma enters a very competitive segment and rivals include the Renault Captur, Hyundai Kona, Volkswagen T-Cross and Skoda Kamiq.

Summary

The Ford Puma feels like a fresh start for Ford, not just in the B-segment but the entire portfolio. The Puma marks the beginning of a serious push to electrification for Ford. The Puma’s good looks should win many fans and it’s now one of the most modern and desirable models in Ford’s range.

While the Puma range is quite narrow at launch with just one engine and gearbox available, this is a fashionable mild hybrid powertrain so it is actually very suitable and apt for the compact class.

The new Ford Puma is at last a very competitive compact crossover for Ford in the busy B-segment.

The Puma is a great addition to the Ford range in Ireland
The Puma is a great addition to the Ford range in Ireland

I look forward to bringing you a full road test later in the year.

Caroline Kidd


The 2020 Subaru Forester e-BOXER hybrid!

2020 Subaru Forester e-BOXER Review

The 2020 Subaru Forester e-BOXER hybrid!
The 2020 Subaru Forester e-BOXER hybrid!

Caroline drives the 2020 Subaru Forester e-BOXER.

Subaru has long been a 4x4 specialist and purveyor of BOXER engine technology that saw the brand become 1990's heroes of rallying with the infamous Impreza Turbo. The glory days of Subaru in motorsport are long gone but the brand has been quietly producing some more sedate, serious crossovers and SUVs since then. The Subaru Forester is probably the one with the greatest following in Ireland, with a reputation for being safe, capable and reliable.

Now Subaru is introducing hybrid powertrains into their Forester and XV range for the first time. The fifth generation, 2020 Subaru Forester will be sold exclusively as a hybrid ('e-BOXER') and is priced from €45,545 in Ireland for the entry XE model, rising to €49,245 for the XE Premium.

What's new for the 2020 Subaru Forester?

The new Forester e-BOXER sits on the new Subaru Global Platform and combines an electric motor with two of Subaru's core technologies, the horizontally-opposed 2.0-litre BOXER petrol engine and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. Styling has evolved rather than taken any dramatic twist. The Forester is quite plain in appearance with a robust look more in tune with the brand’s 4x4 roots.

The interior of the 2020 Subaru Forester
The interior of the 2020 Subaru Forester

Inside there is a new interior with a more modernised dashboard design. The built and quality is excellent throughout. There is an 8" touchscreen with Apple Car Play and Android Auto, which means you can bypass the native system's quite old-fashioned graphics. A second screen above, inset in the dashboard, displays more information to the driver on ventilation, the hybrid system and efficiency.

The XE model is equipped with LED headlights, keyless entry, and electrically adjustable driver’s seat, while the XE Premium model includes 18” alloys, sunroof, leather seats, satellite navigation, power tailgate, heated rear seats and heated steering wheel.

The Forester features some very advanced safety technology as standard including Rear Vehicle Detection, Reverse Automatic Braking, and Driver Monitoring System. For example, the Driver Monitoring System uses a camera and facial recognition technology to monitor the driver's gaze and gives audible and visual warning to the driver to pay attention to the road! Subaru's emphasis on safety has seen the Forester recently named best in class for safety performance by Euro NCAP.

The new Forester is very accomplished off-road
The new Forester is very accomplished off-road

How practical is the Subaru Forester e-BOXER?

The new model is 20 mm wider and 30 mm longer than the car it replaces, improving passenger comfort. There is more elbow room and a longer wheelbase means more legroom for rear seat passengers. The rear bench is wide and comfortable, and its slightly raised position means there is a great view out for all passengers. The boot opens to reveal 520 litres with a plastic floor that’s easy to clean - ideal for outdoor adventures! An electric tailgate for extra convenience is standard on XE Premium.

The Forester has four wheel drive as standard with two off-road driving modes accessible from a dial on the centre console. 'Snow/Dirt' for use on slippery road surfaces such as snow or gravel and 'Deep Snow/Mud' for surfaces where the tyres can become buried, such as deep snow and dry dirt. There's 220 mm of ground clearance and the Forester e-BOXER’s towing capacity is 1,870 kg.

Rear seating in the Subaru Forester
Rear seating in the Subaru Forester

Driving the new Forester e-BOXER

This 2.0-litre petrol engine features mild hybrid technology for the first time. Support from an electric motor has been tasked with the job of improving the Forester's fuel efficiency. The Forester's performance figures are not particularly outstanding with 150 hp and 196 Nm of torque, but on the road this doesn't translate to any great disadvantage. In fact the nature of the CVT gearbox means that gentle progress on the accelerator is rewarded more than any grand showings of aggressive accelerator use.

There are three driving modes with varying levels of support from the battery. At very low speeds, the Forester can be powered by the electric motor alone for example in stop-and-go traffic, where Subaru say a 10% improvement in fuel economy can be seen compared to the outgoing 2.0-litre variant. At medium speeds, the motor and engine work together to improve power and performance. At higher speeds, Forester e-BOXER is driven solely by the petrol engine.

The new hybrid technology is arranged in a symmetrical layout with the electric motor assist and battery pack aligned longitudinally with the heavy motor placed near the vehicle's centre of gravity. The battery and other components are positioned above the rear axle.

The new Forester e-BOXER available from €45,545
The new Forester e-BOXER available from €45,545

Subaru is well-known for its off-road ability but probably less associated with ride quality. So I was really surprised to discover that the new Subaru Forester e-BOXER rides exceptionally well. I did lots of motorway and rural road driving and the Forester was very comfortable in these situations. It handles the road confidently, feeling flat and balanced through corners, while the engine responded willingly.

The Forester favours a less frantic driving style to manage revs from the CVT and promote better fuel efficiency. Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 8.2 l/100km, which was disappointing considering the promise of a more efficient Forester. The Forester has a tendency to hold onto revs, which doesn't do itself any favours when it comes to using less fuel.

To summarise the Forester

The careful arrangement of the paraphernalia for the hybrid system and balancing of the weight distribution means that you have a very natural feeling car that rides and handles exceptionally well.

The Forester's strong 4x4 roots give the driver real confidence off-road and while this is by no means a cheap vehicle, Subaru has thrown enough gear and leather at the Forester to pitch it as a more premium SUV.

But it's not a car for show-offs because style is not really part of the Forester's vocabulary. There is a lot of anonymity in this design. Depending on your point of view that's a good or bad thing.

The new Forester e-BOXER is an interesting evolution for the Subaru brand and the brand's perpetuation of the BOXER engine technology translates to one of the most unique behaving cars on the road. Subaru has given the Forester a gentle nudge in the right direction as the global car industry responds to ever tightening emission controls.

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Subaru Forester 2.0i e-BOXER XE Premium Lineartronic
Price: 
€49,245
Engine: 2.0-litre petrol engine + 2 electric motors
Power: 
150 hp
Torque: 196 Nm
0-100km/h:  
11.8 seconds
Top speed: 117 km/h
Fuel consumption (WLTP): 
8.1/100km
CO2 emissions (NEDC-2):
154g/km
Motor tax: 
€390 per year


The new Audi e-tron

2020 Audi e-tron 55 quattro Review

The new Audi e-tron
The new Audi e-tron in Ireland

Caroline drives the 2020 Audi e-tron.

Audi has landed into the world of EVs with a big splash in the form of the flagship Audi e-tron SUV. With a massive 95 kWh battery, the e-tron is a technological achievement, a perfect embodiment of the Vorsprung durch Technik the brand is built upon. Progress through technology, the concept of the new e-tron is undoubtedly big, impressive and optimistic. Audi chose to conceive a large family SUV as the brand’s first ever fully electric production model. The new e-tron will spearhead an electric vehicle (EV) offensive for the brand that will see 12 production Audi e-models by 2025.

But the most important question for most EV buyers right now is – how far will it get me on one charge? While Audi quotes a WLTP range of up to 436 km, this reviewer can tell you that during our real world test during a cold spell in December, we travelled a reliable 300 km on a full charge.

What about performance?

In the metal the e-tron looks like the kind of vehicle that will make the ground shake when you start it up. But no twin turbos under the bonnet here. In fact, there is very little under the bonnet at all! Powerful front and rear electric motors energised by a large high-voltage battery, give the e-tron 55 quattro a power output of 402 hp and 664 Nm of torque and the 0 to 100 km/h sprint figure is 5.7 seconds. When you are swapping stats and stories at the EV fast charger, this will be met with a short intake of breath - but performance is not really the story here.

The interior of the new Audi e-tron
The interior of the new Audi e-tron

For sure the e-tron can move quickly. But what is more impressive and frankly enjoyable about this vehicle is the silky smooth refinement of the car. The way the controls feel, how it covers the tarmac so smoothly and effortlessly, all in silence.

Audi says the drive components are installed low and central for the best dynamic ability with the battery system located between the axles in the form of a flat, broad block beneath the passenger compartment. They say that this configuration makes the Audi e-tron’s centre of gravity similar to that of a saloon car. Axle load distribution is perfectly balanced at almost 50:50.

The Audi e-tron is very clever

Audi drive select allows driver to toggle between seven profiles depending on the driving situation, road conditions or personal preferences. The system also influences the standard air suspension with adaptive dampers. The pneumatic springs adjust individually to the road conditions depending on the speed and the driver’s preferences, varying the ride height by as much as 76 millimetres. At higher, motorway speeds on longer journeys the e-tron can sit lower on the road to improve aerodynamics and range. I drove it in the efficiency mode most of the time, with the most discernible difference being a less responsive throttle.

The 2020 Audi e-tron 55 quattro is powered by a 95 kWh battery
The 2020 Audi e-tron 55 quattro is powered by a 95 kWh battery

And when it comes to charging the mighty e-tron, there’s up to 150 kw charging, which I can tell you feels like magic. High speed 150 kw IONITY chargers arrived in Ireland in the summer at select Circle K stations and I’m lucky to have one in my area. There are fast chargers and then there are IONITY chargers. For €8 per use, I went from 10% battery power to 100% in 40 minutes. When I hopped back in the range read 314 km. At home with a 22 kw wallbox a full charge can be got in approximately 4.3 hrs or 8.3 hours with 11 kW charging.

Inside the 2020 Audi e-tron

Priced from €89,810 including grant reductions, the new Audi e-tron is an elite piece of kit. Inside, the e-tron is as salubrious as any other member of the Audi range. It features the latest in Audi interior design with a stunning digital cockpit. Material quality is excellent throughout and the space inside the vehicle is also used well. An electric tailgate reveals a boot volume of 600 litres.

Audi Ireland has also just recently announced the arrival of the Audi e-tron 50 quattro, which uses a 71 kWh battery and starts from €64,990 with a shorter WLTP range of 336 km.

The new e-tron 55 quattro available from €89,810 including grant reductions
The new e-tron 55 quattro available from €89,810 including grant reductions

The concept of the Audi e-tron is a true showstopper. Audi’s flagship electric SUV is a fantastic debut with the convenience of 150 kw charging and a genuine 300 km of real world range.

While the stats from the high voltage battery are impressive, the packing of this EV technology means that there is no denying the car feels heavy on the road and you will be acutely aware of carrying your battery when slowing down at a junction or for a roundabout. Dynamically, the e-tron does little to excite.

But the execution of this vehicle’s premium attributes, the attention to detail in the way it's been designed and built, and the smoothness of the cabin and ride is highly seductive. Hell, it’s an Audi after all. You will enjoy this car.

For eco-conscious trendsetters and EV evangelists, the e-tron brings huge bragging rights.

Caroline Kidd and the Audi e-tron
Caroline and the Audi e-tron

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Audi e-tron 55 quattro
Price: 
From €89,810 (including grants)
Battery: 95 kWh
Power: 
402 bhp
Torque: 664 Nm
0-100km/h:  
5.7 seconds
Top speed: 200 km/h
CO2 emissions:  
0 g/km
Motor tax: 
€120 per year


The 2020 Range Rover Evoque

2020 Range Rover Evoque Review

The 2020 Range Rover Evoque
The 2020 Range Rover Evoque

The world’s trendiest SUV enters the new decade. Caroline reviews the 2020 Range Rover Evoque. 

The Range Rover Evoque was a dramatic new model for the Range Rover brand back in 2011, putting the brand on the radar of style setters everywhere with Victoria Beckham undoubtedly becoming the poster girl for the car. The Evoque was a huge success and high on many wish lists.

In 2019 it was time for the Evoque to evolve once again. The game for stylish premium compact SUVs had moved on with plenty of competitors looking to replicate the Evoque's success.

But the Evoque's blend of cool styling and the heritage of the Range Rover brand is a hard one to beat. Designers have wisely not upset the classic Evoque silhouette - high beltline/sloping roofline – instead opting for some subtle but modern refining of the surfaces. The super-slim Matrix LED headlamps are new and the flush door handles slip elegantly out from the car once you unlock it. Yes, this is a car you want to be seen in. It’s cool and stylish with the underlying pedigree of not just the Land Rover brand, but the prestigious Range Rover one too. Believe it’s a baby Range Rover because it really is.

What are my options?

In Ireland the Evoque range kicks off at €42,845. There are front wheel drive and four wheel drive models available with the 2.0-litre diesel with 150, 180 or 240 hp the popular choice in Ireland. A 2.0-litre petrol is available with 200, 250 or 300 hp. Mild hybrid technology (MHEV) now features across the range to improve efficiency and reduce emissions. An Evoque plug-in hybrid is expected soon also. A manual gearbox comes as standard and a 9-speed automatic is also available.

The interior of the new Evoque
The interior of the new Evoque

Trim lines are based around an entry Evoque and a more sporty Evoque R-Dynamic with S, SE and HSE packages available for both.

The car I had on test was a Range Rover Evoque S with four wheel drive and the 2.0-litre 150 hp diesel. It is a sweet spot in the range and is available from €49,285. The Evoque S is instantly luxurious inside with specification including leather upholstery, heated front seats, rear view camera, impressive infotainment, dual zone climate control and cruise control. On the outside there are 18” alloys and LED headlights. The capability of four wheel drive models is second to none as we found out testing the Evoque in Greece in 2019. The 2.0-litre diesel is also well up to the job here.

Inside the 2020 Range Rover Evoque

The cabin is comfortable with many beautiful soft touch materials. It’s reasonably spacious and competitive in terms of size for a compact premium SUV. Built on Land Rover’s new Premium Transverse Architecture, the overall dimensions are near on identical to the previous generation of the car but there is more interior space now than before. A longer wheelbase provides 20 mm extra rear kneeroom. The electric tailgate opens to reveal a generous 591 litres, perfect for impromptu shopping trips or day trips to the mountains.

The controls for the ventilation and four wheel drive system are set on a touchscreen like panel, which you might be at odds to operate when you first slip in behind the wheel. But after a while, it's actually very easy to use and looks so impressive. It's a proper 21st century technology addition! The new infotainment system also looks very well and is an improved unit.

The Range Rover Evoque is available from €49,285 in Ireland
The Range Rover Evoque is available from €49,285 in Ireland

Driving the new Evoque

On the road the 2020 Range Rover Evoque excels first and foremost for comfort and refinement. This is a premium driving experience with no such foibles as wind or road noise to upset passengers. A new, more rigid platform means the Evoque feels athletic in the corners with good handling and supple suspension reacting well to all road surfaces and changes in direction.

The 2.0-litre diesel with 150 hp is ideal for the Evoque and feels lively and powerful.  It mates well to the automatic gearbox, never getting too noisy in the cabin, even under hard acceleration. Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 6.6 l/100 km.

The Evoque will slip perfectly from smart city streets to rougher terrain and looks good doing both. The cabin experience is great for passengers with lots of comfort and luxury detailing. There are new powertrains on the way, but the Evoque diesel should still be popular. For buyers looking for a premium mid-size SUV, the Evoque still makes a great case for itself. It looks great and has a fantastic image. Land Rover have successfully brought the Evoque into a new era, with a welcome addition of new technology.

The Evoque matures perfectly. Still utterly desirable!

Caroline and the new Range Rover Evoque
Caroline and the new Range Rover Evoque

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Range Rover Evoque S D150 AWD Automatic
Price: 
€55,995
Engine: 2.0-litre diesel
Power: 
150 hp
Torque: 380 Nm
0-100km/h:  
11.2 seconds
Top speed: 196 km/h
Manufacturer Quoted Economy: 
5.6l/100km
CO2 emissions:  
149g/km
Motor tax: 
€390 per year


The new Mercedes-Benz GLC 220d

Mercedes-Benz GLC 220d Review (2020)

The new Mercedes-Benz GLC 220d
The new Mercedes-Benz GLC 220d

Caroline drives the new for 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC!

The GLC is Mercedes-Benz mid-size SUV offering based on the C-Class family. The GLC debuted for the first time in 2015 and it was revamped with updates to the styling, interior, technology and engines in 2019.

The range starts from €48,040 meaning that buyers do pay a premium over a C-Class but SUVs are so desirable right now, nobody seems to care. In fact, after spending a week with the GLC it’s not difficult to see the appeal of this vehicle. Visually it’s got a great presence and it inherits all the best C-Class DNA (namely that awesome interior), but with a great injection of practicality.

The chunky SUV styling sits well upon its frame - equal parts rugged and elegant. The AMG Line test car brings its best game face with the divine diamond radiator grille, 19” alloys and AMG body styling pack.

The interior of the GLC
The interior of the GLC

Inside the new Mercedes-Benz GLC

Inside, the interior of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC receives the same updates as the revamped C-Class saloon and estate. This mid-life refresh has been very successful in that it modernises the interior considerably and shows Mercedes’ fine quality and technology off to the very best, including the excellent MBUX multimedia system with ‘Hey Mercedes’ commands. The Advantage pack adds the 10.25” display screen in the centre of the dash – that’s highly desirable. There is a digital instrument panel available but the analogue dials look fine and you can control the infotainment and menus using simple swipe controls on the multifunction steering wheel. Leather upholstery comes as standard.

The GLC feels more spacious and practical than the C-Class it’s based on thanks to more headroom and a raised ride height. The transmission tunnel does eat into space for the middle passenger but it’s by and large a good family vehicle. The boot is competitive for the class at 550 litres and a powered tailgate comes as standard. Woohoo!

New generation Mercedes’ four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines with more power and greater efficiency feature also. 4MATIC four wheel drive is available and the most popular models will be the GLC 200d and the GLC 220d diesels.

Rear legroom in the Mercedes-Benz GLC
Rear legroom in the Mercedes-Benz GLC

Driving the new GLC 220d!

I tested the higher powered 220d 4MATIC, which has a 2.0-litre diesel putting out 194hp. The power delivery through the 9-speed auto is deliciously smooth and indulgent. This car is a peach to drive, far more engaging than what you might think. It hustles along effortlessly and is very comfortable and refined. Over a week of driving my fuel consumption averaged at 6.7 l/100km and motor tax is €280 per year.

The range starts from €48,040 for a GLC 200d, while the 220d starts from €50,160.

The Mercedes-Benz GLC benefits in a big way from this facelift with a beautifully appointed cabin and the latest engines and technology features.

This is a very impressive car on the road, with a ride that is perfectly judged and comfortable to make it a pleasure to drive every day.

The GLC 220d is highly desirable with a pleasant punch of power and silky refinement.

These are expensive cars but Mercedes is offering considerable equipment from entry. The GLC matures impeccably!

The GLC 220d is a fine diesel mid-size SUV!
The GLC 220d is a fine diesel mid-size SUV!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Mercedes-Benz GLC 220d 4MATIC AMG Line
Price:
€52,660 (Range from €48,040)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
194 hp
Torque: 400 Nm
0-100km/h: 
7.9 seconds
Top speed: 215 km/h
Fuel economy (WLTP):
5.2-6.0 l/100km
CO2 emissions (WLTP): 
140 g/km