The Mazda CX-5 Homura on test for Changing Lanes

Mazda CX-5 Homura Review

Read Caroline's Mazda CX-5 review for everything you need to know about buying Mazda's popular mid-size SUV.

The Mazda CX-5 has been a great success for the Mazda brand since it was first launched. Now in its second generation, the CX-5 is still Mazda's bestselling model in Ireland, ahead of the CX-30 and Mazda3.

Something about the Mazda CX-5's stylish SUV looks and spacious cabin keep it in the sweet spot of the market. Mazda also has a knack of treating the CX-5 to regular updates, which keep our attention on this vehicle.

In 2022, the Mazda CX-5 received an update and in this review we're going to take a closer look at what's new. And more importantly, is the CX-5 still a good buy as a five-seat, mid-size SUV?

Pricing starts from €36,745, with a range of trim levels and engines available.

The Mazda CX-5 Homura on test for Changing Lanes
The Mazda CX-5 Homura on test for Changing Lanes

What's new for the 2022 Mazda CX-5?

The Mazda CX-5 is one of the best-looking SUVs of its kind. It looks just as modern and stylish as it did when we first saw it at the European press launch in Barcelona in 2017.

Now in 2022, Mazda has added a little more distinct style to the CX-5. There are six trim levels available but some of the most notable in the latest series are the Newground, Homura and GT Lux.

However across the board all new CX-5s get a new grille and signature wing design, and new lights and bumpers. There’s also a new colour called Zircon Sand, but Soul Red Crystal and Polymetal Grey Metallic remain good options.

The Mazda CX-5 Newground starts from €38,745 and offers a more rugged 'outdoors' look to the CX-5's elegant lines. It gets silver underguard-style treatment to the front and rear bumpers and door garnishes, black door mirrors, lime green accents to the front grille and 19-inch black machine-cut alloy wheels.

The CX-5 Homura has also returned (from €43,895) and it's my pick of the range. It's a sporty look for the CX-5 with gloss black finish to the front grille, signature wing, lower bumper sections, wheel arches, door garnishes and door mirrors.There are also 19-inch alloy wheels finished in black metallic paint, and the front grille incorporates red accents.

The GT Lux (from €44,640) has a unified, one-colour exterior, matched with silver 19-inch alloy wheels for a high-end finish.

The interior of the Mazda CX-5 Homura
The interior of the Mazda CX-5 Homura

Inside the CX-5

The interior of the CX-5 is one of the most upmarket of the family SUV class. While the design has clearly aged, there's something timelessly classy about the Mazda's cabin. Sure newer rivals have more impressive digital displays and touchscreens at this stage but everything works in the Mazda just fine.

Infotainment is provided via a 10.25-inch centre display, which supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A heads-up display is available too. The seats have also been revised for more comfort. New equipment includes a four camera, 360 degree monitor and wireless phone charging.

Homura models get black leather seats with red stitching, which also features on the steering wheel, gear shift lever and door panels.

The CX-5 will seat five with good sized footwells in the second row. It might be tight for three back there, but children will be fine. There is over 500 litres of boot space, which is competitive for the segment and a powered tailgate comes as standard on some versions. Split folding rear seats boost practicality, with switches in the boot to let the seats down automatically The two-piece, reversible load-space floorboard and the tailgate sill are on the same level to help with loading.

The CX-5 has been updated for 2022
The CX-5 has been updated for 2022

Driving the Mazda CX-5

The Mazda CX-5 engine line-up in Ireland is exclusively petrol and diesel. There's no hybrid like what you will find in some of the rivals. The entry into the range is a naturally aspirated, 2.0-litre petrol engine with 165hp (‘Skyactiv-G’). Petrols are smooth and quiet but the performance can feel a bit uninspiring.

The 2.2-litre diesel with 150 hp in front wheel drive versions - and 184 hp in all wheel drive versions (‘Skyactiv-D’) - is more satisfying to drive because it has more torque and it offers the best economy of the range. Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 5.7 litres per 100 km.

It has plenty of power so it never gets too noisy under acceleration. The diesel CX-5 is certainly one of the best diesel SUVs in the segment for its refinement. Diesels start from €40,625.

6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic gearboxes are available depending on model. Even manuals are a breeze to drive, with the CX-5's agile handling and well-weighted steering contributing to what is still one of the best SUVs to drive. There have now been further enhancements to the CX-5's suspension and NVH (noise vibration harshness) performance.

Boot space in the Mazda CX-5
Boot space in the CX-5

Did you like it?

Equipment levels are high across the 2022 Mazda CX-5 range. Even the GS-L entry into the range gets 17-inch alloys, 10.25-inch colour screen display, keyless entry, cruise control, automatic air con, automatic lights and wipers, and parking sensors.

The GT adds black leather upholstery to the spec with power control and memory function, as well as 19-inch wheels, heated front seats and heated steering wheel. A powered tailgate and rear parking camera are available from GT Sport and above.

The Mazda CX-5 has definitely matured but it still stands out for its stunning good looks and upmarket interior. The cabin experience is no longer the most modern in the segment, but still feels ‘a cut above’ many competitors from the driver’s seat.

It’s subtle things like the way you are positioned in relation to the steering wheel and the controls, and the slick action of the manual gearbox, the refinement of the transmission. Things that last the test of time and make every drive a pleasure.

The CX-5 range now has more options than ever with some very distinct new offerings including the CX-5 Newground and the CX-5 Homura.

It’s easy to spend a lot of money on a CX-5 (looking at you Homura), which would be my pick of the range for a truly premium finish.

The Mazda CX-5 proposes a simple line-up of petrol and diesel engines. Hybrid has become a bit of a trend in this segment but it's absent here. Diesel seems like the best buy in the CX-5 range, which might be against market trends but there is still something to be said for the efficiency and satisfying drive behind the wheel.

Of course, later this year Mazda will launch their first ever plug-in hybrid SUV, the new Mazda CX-60. But it will be larger than the CX-5 so this car remains very much a key part of Mazda's line-up.

The Mazda CX-5 still has a lot to offer SUV buyers
The Mazda CX-5 has a lot to offer SUV buyers

Model tested: Mazda CX-5 Homura 2.2 Skyactiv-D
Price: 
€47,775
Engine: 
2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 150 hp
Torque: 380 Nm
Top speed:  204 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 9.9 seconds
CO2 emissions:
147 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€270 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes


The Nissan Juke Hybrid will arrive in Ireland later in 2022

Nissan Juke Hybrid First Drive Review

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

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

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

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

Styling

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

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

Interior

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

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

Practicality

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

Engine

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

On the road

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

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

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

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

Pricing & Equipment

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

Summary

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

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

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

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

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

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes


The Tesla Model Y on test for Changing Lanes!

Tesla Model Y Review

Read Caroline's Tesla Model Y review for everything you need to know about Tesla's new mid-size electric SUV in Ireland!

Tesla has expanded their range in Ireland this year with the arrival of the new Tesla Model Y. Following the successful launch of the Model 3, the Model Y will join the range as the brand's new electric mid-size SUV.

The Tesla Model 3 is already the brand's bestselling model in Ireland. The Model Y shares a lot of similarities with the Model 3, but is even more spacious with that oh-so fashionable look of an SUV, Tesla-style.

The new Model Y goes on sale in Ireland priced from €66,990. It's available in two 'flavours': Long Range All Wheel Drive (AWD) or Performance (from €72,990).

The Tesla Model Y on test for Changing Lanes!
The Tesla Model Y on test for Changing Lanes!

What's so special about the Tesla Model Y?

Built from the ground up as an electric vehicle, the Model Y’s aerodynamic design and battery technology make it one of the most efficient EVs on the market. The Long Range version offers 533 km (WLTP) driving between charges, and the battery performance is incredibly strong.

And it does look stunning. It shares lots of styling cues with the Model 3 but gains distinction as an SUV with more height, width and length, and even more utility styled alloy wheels. I love it!

And when you do hit the road cross country (or even cross continent), Tesla's Supercharger network is a reliable companion for quick and efficient charging. In Ireland it's also still exclusively provided for Tesla cars. A 10-80% charge takes a little over half an hour and the car starts to prepare the battery for optimum charging before you arrive there. The CCS charging connection means you can also use other public charge points.

Inside the Model Y follows Tesla's now trademark minimalist cabin. The dashboard has a simple horizontal layout with the 15" landscape style touchscreen taking centre stage. It is both the most innovative part of the cabin and potentially the most challenging in its brilliance too.

Inside the Tesla Model Y
The interior of the Tesla Model Y

Inside the Model Y

That's because you control pretty much everything from the screen. For example, even to activate the windscreen wipers requires a trip into the screen with a few scans and swipes. It's simply not the conventional way, leaving the driver with a steering wheel and not much else in their direct line of vision - one has to take a little glance to the left to see the speed of the vehicle on the screen.

But the screen's response, resolution, shortcuts and music/maps integration is simply brilliant. There's also a plethora of entertainment options, toybox, games and even a crackling fire effect, among many other wild and brilliant functions to discover in that screen. A folly or another digital wonder of the world - I'll let you decide.

The Tesla Model Y comes with synthetic leather upholstery and a simple palette of body colours. Quality follows that of the Model 3. These duo are now the most upmarket of the Tesla set with lots of soft touch materials, though the steering wheel does seem a bit basic looking for a premium priced car like this. On closer inspection, some of the fittings could be finished with a bit more elegance too.

All Model Y's have a high specification including 13 speaker premium sound system, power adjustable front seats, heated front and rear seats, and tinted panoramic glass roof. Generally the good stuff about this car outweighs any niggles about the finish.

The Model Y is the brand's new mid-size SUV
The Model Y is the brand's new mid-size SUV

Is it practical?

The Tesla Model Y offers more space than a Model 3 inside. The enlarged dimensions translate to an incredibly spacious living room in the Y. In the rear, three can sit comfortably with lots of headroom and legroom.

The boot opens in a practical hatchback style, with a powered tailgate as standard. It offers up to 854 litres with a large square opening, with good height and depth. You can also fold down the rear seats individually from switches in the boot and they fold flat neatly. There's also a frunk under the front bonnet for storing charging cables for example.

The loading sill is also low and flat making it easy to move things in and out of the boot.

The centre console has a large storage unit, while there are four USB ports and docking for two smartphones below the touchscreen. Modern minimalist with a sense of purpose.

Rear seating in the Model Y
Rear seating in the Model Y

Driving the Tesla Model Y

The Tesla Model Y Long Range (from €66,990) offers sprightly performance with 0-100 km/h in just 5 seconds, and one pump of the accelerator is enough to throw you back in your seat.

The Model Y Performance (from €72,990) ups the ante somewhat with 0-100 km/h in 3.7 seconds and a minimal drop in range to 514 km (WLTP) and top speed extended from 217 km/h to 250 km/h. It also gets 21’’ 'Überturbine' wheels, performance brakes, lowered suspension and aluminium alloy pedals.

Model Y's rapid straight line performance is enhanced by all wheel drive offering superb grip in corners. Tesla All-Wheel Drive has two ultra-responsive, independent electric motors that digitally control torque to the front and rear wheels—for far better handling, traction and stability control.

There's more lean in corners than a Model 3 for example but the Y is happy to hustle and is still fun to drive.

Cruising performance is excellent but the ride is very firm for a family SUV. At this price range, the Tesla Model Y should coast over bumps in the road with a bit more sophistication.

Did you like it?

Last year the Model 3 was the smartest car I've ever met. This year the Model Y follows suit, but as a trendy SUV.

It's only after spending time with these cars that you realise how revolutionary they are, how clever they are and how they do everything that little bit differently than every other car on the market.

But in the rapid electrification of the motor industry, it's the battery technology and reliable charging where the Tesla Model Y really shines. Everything seems to be have been taken care of in a way that makes the Tesla more compatible with modern life than any other EV I've driven.

The Model Y looks great but the ride comfort is disappointing in what is a sublime offering in many other areas. Still there's quite like a Tesla and the aforementioned fast charging, long range, badge kudos and behind the wheel experience mean the Y shall win many hearts regardless.

The Model Y is on sale priced from €66,990
The Model Y is on sale priced from €66,990

Model tested: Tesla Model Y
Price: 
€66,990
Battery: 75 kWh
Power:
434 hp
Torque: 493 Nm
0-100km/h: 
5 seconds
Top speed:  217 km/h
Motor tax: 
€120 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes


The new Toyota Highlander on test for Changing Lanes

Toyota Highlander Review

Read Caroline's Toyota Highlander review for everything you need to know about buying Toyota's flagship hybrid SUV in Ireland!

The Toyota Highlander is now on sale in Ireland for the very first time. The brand's new large, seven seat SUV slots above the RAV4 in the Toyota range. It's hybrid only and all wheel drive, with a more friendly, road-going image and presence than the perennial Land Cruiser for example. It should be more efficient too, all going well.

SUVs are hot right now and so is hybrid. So is the new Highlander any good? It was time for Changing Lanes to take it for a drive to find out.

The new Toyota Highlander on test for Changing Lanes
The new Toyota Highlander on test for Changing Lanes

What's so special about the Toyota Highlander?

With seven seats as standard, a huge amount of passenger space and lots of luxury features on board, the Highlander is new territory for Toyota in Ireland.

Priced from €71,305, it's expensive for sure and a significant step up from the popular Toyota RAV4. All wheel drive comes as standard as does a 2 tonne towing capacity.

The Highlander epitomises the term 'big car'. This car has presence and takes up quite a lot of space for a modern SUV at nearly 5 metres in length!

It's built on Toyota's TNGA-K platform architecture, which also underpins the new Camry, and uses the Japanese brand's fourth generation hybrid technology on board.

The Highlander shares a familiar solid and rugged look with other Toyota SUVs like the Toyota RAV4. It's an impressive vehicle from any angle. LED headlamps and 18" alloy wheels come as standard.

The new Highlander has seven seats as standard
The new Highlander has seven seats as standard

Inside the new Highlander

Inside, the Highlander gives you something of an armchair experience, with a comfortable and high driving position. It's properly lofty from behind the wheel.

The design is hardly cutting edge but the cabin of the Highlander does feel high-end for this brand. Satin and wood grain trim finishes add some prestige, as does a full leather interior and plenty of soft touch materials.

There's also every interior feature imaginable including an 8” multimedia touchscreen featuring navigation and smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™,  wireless phone charging, 3-zone air-conditioning, keyless entry and a Blind Spot Monitor (BSM).

Still competition is stiff among seven seat family SUVs, with the likes of the Volvo XC90 and even the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento bringing excellent quality and design to the segment, and arguably more impressive digitisation on board.

The Highlander comes well equipped from standard. But step up to a Sol (from €77,900) and enjoy extra features such as 20" alloy wheels (five spoke), JBL premium sound system, and heated front seats.

The top of the range Platinum (from €83,330) adds head-up display, 20" dark grey machined finish alloys (10 spoke), panoramic roof and pre-collision system with pedestrian and cyclist detection.

Inside the new Toyota Highlander
Inside the new Toyota Highlander

Is it practical?

The Toyota Highlander is huge inside! It's a very on-trend way of carrying multiple people and their things.

With a generous 2850 mm wheelbase, the Highlander feels like a genuine 7 seater. It offers more space and better access than many to passengers in the third row. The second row seating can slide forward by 180 mm to make third row accommodation more spacious and accessible. While with all seven seats in place, there's still 332 litres of boot space, comparable to a small hatchback.

In row 2, it's lounge-like, with big square windows, comfy seating and a flat floor. In five seat mode there is 631 litres of boot space in the Highlander, with a small bit of underfloor storage and a kick-sensor operated power tailgate.

Hybrid in the Highlander

The Highlander uses the same 2.5-litre hybrid powertrain as the RAV4, but here it puts out 248 hp. Driving modes are also included: Eco, Normal, Sport and Trail.

This is a standard hybrid; it's not like a plug-in hybrid that can be charged and driven electric for a limited range. Granted the Highlander's small capacity battery does mean that in low speed stop start town driving for example the SUV can run off its battery power when certain conditions are met, boosting efficiency.

Boot space in the Toyota Highlander
Boot space in the Toyota Highlander

This is a considerably sized car so I was very curious to see how well the Highlander would perform over motorway and town driving. But there were no ugly surprises, with my fuel consumption averaging at 6.9 litres per 100 km over a week of driving. Hybrid technology has come a long way and the Highlander feels acceptable in terms of efficiency.

Of course, steps have been taken to improve the car's aerodynamic performance. The front bumper bottom edge, front bumper sides and roof spoiler have all been shaped to smooth the flow of air passing over and leaving the vehicle.

A radiator air guide ensures that airflow is efficiently directed to the radiator with minimum resistance. When the radiator does not require additional air flow cooling, grille shutters close to both reduce airflow resistance and assist with engine warm-up.

A first for a Toyota vehicle, new aero-ventilating aluminium wheels combine both brake cooling and aerodynamic performance. The underbody features an extensive, flat undercover to smooth the passage of air beneath the vehicle.

Airflow exhaust mechanisms have also been fitted on the insides of the front and rear wheel arches. Reducing air pressure inside the wheel arches increases the contact load of the tyres, enhancing both grip and vehicle stability.

Rear legroom in the Highlander
Rear legroom in the Highlander

Driving the Toyota Highlander

On the road, power is delivered smoothly with not too much interruption from the CVT gearbox. To meet its more premium billing, the new Toyota Highlander uses an acoustic windscreen and front glazing. There's also roof, dash and floor silencers, and wheel arch and boot space liners.

The Toyota Highlander is clearly a car designed for gentle driving, and it excels at transporting those on board in comfort. Yet it's still agile for its size, with good grip and body control for a large SUV.

Ride character is made more comfortable through a system that controls drive torque to the front wheels to both reduce the vehicle pitch motion caused by road surface fluctuations and reduce bonnet lifting behaviour under hard acceleration.

Did you like it?

The Toyota Highlander builds on Toyota's recent success in hybrid cars and SUVs. The brand can now offer buyers an on-trend, large family SUV with seven seats that packages much of what has made the smaller RAV4 a success for example.

Chunky SUV styling meets the brand's best hybrid powertrain yet. The Highlander is quite unique in the segment as a standard hybrid, so it will suit those buyers where plug-in hybrid is less attractive, but who still require an economical petrol-driven SUV.

The interior of the Highlander gives a feeling of prestige but it is hardly the most high-tech cabin in the segment. Still it's old school Toyota quality that feels great from behind the wheel.

This car is truly huge inside with a generous blend of seating and cargo space. The Toyota Highlander is a step up for sure but it's one Toyota fans will love.

The Toyota Highlander is on sale now
The Toyota Highlander is on sale now

Model tested: Toyota Highlander Platinum
Price: 
€83,330
Engine: 2.5-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power:
248 hp
0-100km/h:  
8.3 seconds
Top speed:  180 km/h
CO2 emissions:  
160 g/km
Motor tax: 
€280 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes


The new Toyota Yaris Cross on test for Changing Lanes!

Toyota Yaris Cross Review

Read Caroline's Toyota Yaris Cross review for everything you need to know about Toyota's new small SUV in Ireland.

Toyota is a brand that has been slowly and steadily taking over the Irish new car market. The brand's punt on hybrid technology has really paid off, with new models like the RAV4, C-HR, Yaris and mighty Corolla featuring in the top five bestselling cars here so far in 2022.

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

Introducing the Toyota Yaris Cross!

Now the brand looks set to expand their reach into the small SUV segment with the launch of the new Toyota Yaris Cross. Based on the Yaris, it's the brand's first B-SUV and exclusively hybrid-engined.

It goes on sale priced from €28,050, which is in the region of the new Corolla. It also carries a significant premium over the Yaris Hybrid (from €24,470). But it is a more substantial car and it's the trendy crossover type that customers are happy to pay more for.

In Ireland it's sold in four grades: Luna, Luna Sport, Sol and Adventure. Most models are front wheel drive, but Toyota will sell you a Yaris Cross with all wheel drive in the Adventure trim.

In the metal, the Yaris Cross has a good stance. It is easily distinguishable from the Yaris it is based upon, carrying the body of a small SUV quite convincingly. In fact the rugged design makes it more of a junior RAV4 from many angles, which is sure to please buyers in the market for a compact car like this. Plastic cladding and squared off wheel arches reinforce the SUV look. Wheel sizes up to 18" are available.

The Yaris Cross uses a hybrid engine
The Yaris Cross uses a hybrid engine

Inside the Yaris Cross

Inside, the Yaris Cross is also unique enough to distinguish itself in the Toyota range. You sit a little bit higher than in a Yaris and the dashboard design feels a little more mature. It's not the most youthful or trendy design Toyota has ever come up with - the C-HR would be a more fashionable choice - but it is solidly made and good quality with a mix of different materials and colours.

Sol (from €34,390) and above get a new 9" infotainment system with much more modern graphics. Other models get the older 8" touchscreen, though Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mean you can bypass the system most of the time.

Standard equipment includes 16" alloys, electric windows, climate control, push button start, and reversing camera.

Going up the trim levels adds more gear, larger alloy wheels, some cosmetic updates and opens up the option of a trendy bi-colour roof.

All cars also come with a suite of standard safety equipment including road sign assist, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane departure alert and a new centre airbag. This makes it one of the safest small SUVs on the road.

Yaris Cross has the same 2,560 mm wheelbase as the new Yaris hatchback, but is 240 mm longer overall, with 60 mm added to the front overhang and 180 mm to the rear for more interior space. The ground clearance is 30 mm higher. The vehicle is taller by 90 mm and wider by 20 mm.

So inside it feels bigger than the Yaris and is spacious enough for a compact vehicle in the front. But in the rear the Yaris Cross still fails to impress when it comes to legroom, with some rivals doing it better. Yet a 397 litre boot is generous and adds a more practical touch to this car. An adjustable deck height gives the flexibility of either a secure underfloor compartment or increased boot space for larger loads.

The interior of the Toyota Yaris Cross
The interior of the Toyota Yaris Cross

Driving the Yaris Cross Hybrid

The new Toyota Yaris Cross is the latest model to be built on Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA). Designed and engineered in Europe, the Yaris Cross is manufactured in France.

It uses Toyota’s latest 1.5-litre petrol electric hybrid system, the same as in the new Toyota Yaris Hybrid. It works exceptionally well with a smooth and refined drive from a three-cylinder Atkinson-cycle petrol engine, engineered to reduce friction and mechanical losses and optimise combustion speed.

There is 116 hp available, which feels about right for a small SUV. The bias is towards efficiency and rightly so. There the Yaris Cross performs like a true hybrid star. My average fuel consumption over a week of driving finished at 4.7 litres per 100 km. In a market now flooded with small turbo petrol engines, this stands out for its genuine efficiency while feeling lively enough behind the wheel too.

Elsewhere the Yaris Cross performs with few tricks other than a pleasant and predictable drive that's comfortable for its size.

The Yaris Cross goes on sale in Ireland priced from €27,260
The Yaris Cross goes on sale in Ireland priced from €27,260

Did you like it?

The new Toyota Yaris Cross has only just arrived in Ireland in the past few months and already it's landed a place in the top 10 bestselling cars. Combining popular small SUV looks with a hybrid powertrain, the Yaris Cross hits the market just right.

The Yaris Cross offers a smooth hybrid drive that is truly efficient and refined making this the latest sophisticated hybrid machine to wear the Toyota badge.

It comes at a cost for sure, though it does look and feel like a more substantial car than the Yaris for example and it's automatic behind the wheel for extra convenience.

Inside the Yaris Cross is not the liveliest in design but it does have a mature and solid feel that will go the distance. While the boot is a great size for the class, rear legroom is on the tight side. Some rivals do it better at this price point. Even within the Toyota range itself, like the excellent Corolla Touring Sports.

But everyone loves crossovers right now. The Yaris Cross has all the trendy design cues and compact dimensions that are bound to cement Toyota's name in the market for small SUVs.

Model tested: Toyota Yaris Cross Sol
Price: 
€34,390
Engine: 1.5-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 
116 hp
Torque:  120 Nm
0-100km/h: 
11.2 seconds
Top speed:  170 km/h
CO2 emissions:  
113 g/km
Motor tax: 
€190 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes

The Yaris Cross is an efficient and capable small SUV
The Yaris Cross is an efficient and capable small SUV

The new Kia Sportage on test for Changing Lanes

Kia Sportage Review (2022)

Read Caroline's Kia Sportage review for everything you need to know about buying the new Sportage in Ireland in 2022.

The Kia Sportage is a bit of an icon, one of Ireland's favourite family cars and the bestselling Kia here for over ten years.

Now the 2022 model looks set to continue this success with a new look and refreshed engine line-up. There's a new hybrid on sale now, to be followed by the first ever Sportage plug-in hybrid before the end of the year.

The fifth-generation Kia Sportage has been specifically designed and developed for Europe, sitting upon the new ‘N3’ architecture.

It goes on sale priced from €34,300 for an entry level diesel, rising to €43,000 for a top of the range GT Line diesel mild hybrid.

The new Sportage Hybrid is available at €43,150.

The new Kia Sportage on test for Changing Lanes
The new Kia Sportage on test for Changing Lanes

What's so special about the Kia Sportage?

The Kia Sportage has always been a bit of a looker. Stylish and sporty, this new model has a great stance on the road. It plays the part of a mid-size SUV exceptionally well.

Kia's new design language has transformed this car at the front, with a modern 'tiger nose' grille and characteristic new boomerang shaped LED daytime running lights helping it to stand out from the crowd. Standard equipment includes 17" alloys, LED headlights and roof rails.

The sporty GT Line is back for this new generation of the Sportage. It sits at the top of the range with 19" alloys as standard, bespoke glossy black trim elements and a chrome coated front and rear skid plate.

Inside there is an all-new interior design, which really moves the game on for the Sportage. It's a latest generation Kia interior, with some of the brand's best digital technology on show.

All but the very entry model get an impressive 12.3" curved touchscreen with navigation. The K4 and GT Line complete the look with a full digital instrument panel for the driver.

It's a suitably plush and modern cabin for the new Sportage that balances style with functionality and comfort.

Inside the new Kia Sportage
Inside the new Kia Sportage

Is it practical?

The Sportage is a mid-size SUV with a five seat layout and good interior accommodation for this class of vehicle. It slots into the range below Kia's larger, seven seat Sorento.

The new platform improves boot space, headroom and legroom compared to the outgoing model. There's plenty of space up front and in the rear for a family SUV. The rear bench has reasonable width and large footwells too. The rear seats split fold 40:20:40 and the outer rear seats have ISOFIX child seat fixtures.

There's plenty of room in the boot too with all models getting over 500 litres: the hybrid offers 587 litres, the diesel offers 571 litres, while the diesel mild hybrid offers 526 litres. For an SUV, it also has a useful low loading sill.

A powered tailgate is available and comes as standard on GT Line models.

The new Sportage is available from €34,300
The new Sportage is available from €34,300

Driving the 2022 Kia Sportage

On the road the new N3 platform influences new Sportage’s driving characteristics though it doesn't feel like a massive step forward. The Kia Sportage offers a stable and comfortable drive with agile handling. It's not the most engaging of the SUVs to drive - a Mazda CX-5 or Ford Kuga would have the edge on it there.

There's a new-generation Electronic Control Suspension (ECS) for more comfort and safety thanks to its continuous damping control. It works by reacting quickly to the Sportage’s body movements and steering inputs, making rapid damper adjustments to counteract heave, pitch and body roll through corners. It also adapts the damping force of the suspension to comfortably accommodate obstacles and reduce wheel impact from aftershocks.

Boot space in the Kia Sportage
Boot space in the Kia Sportage

For now the 1.6-litre diesel is prominent in the Sportage range in Ireland, with 115 hp or 136 hp. Gearboxes include a 6-speed manual and 7-speed dual clutch automatic. Both the Sportage Hybrid and Sportage Plug-in Hybrid models are equipped with the latest-generation six-speed automatic transmission.

On test was the flagship GT Line sold exclusively as a diesel mild hybrid with a 6-speed manual gearbox. With 136 hp, it has plenty of power and is responsive to the throttle. You will know you are driving a diesel but it is efficient and user-friendly. Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 5.2 litres per 100 km.

When it arrives, the plug-in hybrid will be the most powerful of the range with 265hp and the ability to drive electric for a limited range. The Sportage Hybrid is already on sale with 230hp. It uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine, electric motor and small capacity battery.

The Kia Sportage is a stylish and sound buy
The Kia Sportage is a stylish and sound buy

Did you like it?

The Kia Sportage is back for a new generation and gets a welcome boost in its design and interior.

Kia does modern, intuitive interiors very well, with a stunning digital display, particularly in the higher trim levels of the new Sportage. It matches the Sportage's trendy urban image, and this car's dramatic styling is sure to turn heads quickly.

While new hybrid options keep the Sportage in tune with market trends, it's the diesel that is the most accessible in the range at the moment. It's not the most refined offering on the market, but it does deliver in terms of efficiency.

Like all competitors, the Sportage has gone up in price, but all models come well equipped with a full suite of safety equipment.

It also offers great practicality for this class of vehicle with plenty of clever features and space inside. For this reason it remains a stylish and sound buy in the Irish new car market in 2022.

Model tested: Kia Sportage GT Line 1.6 diesel MHEV
Price:
€43,000
Engine: 1.6-litre diesel
Power: 
136 hp
Torque: 320 Nm
0-100km/h: 
11.4 seconds
Top speed: 180 km/h
CO2 emissions (WLTP): 
132 g/km
Motor tax: 
€210 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes

The new Kia Sportage on sale in Ireland now
The new Kia Sportage on sale in Ireland now

The new Dacia Duster on test for Changing Lanes!

Dacia Duster Review (2022)

Read Caroline's Dacia Duster review for everything you need to know about buying Dacia's popular compact SUV in Ireland in 2022.

The Dacia Duster has been a huge success in Ireland since it was first launched back in 2013. Over 14,000 Dusters have found homes in Ireland since it first went on sale.

Now in its second generation, Dacia has updated the Duster again for 2022.  Duster gets more modern features to keep it competitive in the compact SUV segment.

Dacia is truly carving out an identity for itself beyond the brand's budget beginnings. 2021 saw the launch of the new Sandero and Sandero Stepway, with this model securing the title of Continental Tyres Irish Compact Car of the Year.

2022 will also see the launch of the brand's first seven seat model, the Dacia Jogger.

The new Dacia Duster on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Dacia Duster on test for Changing Lanes!

What's so special about the Dacia Duster?

But the Duster is a brand-defining car for Dacia, the one that really put the brand on the map here. It's perfectly placed to make the most of a market in love with the SUV.

It's available with petrol, petrol/LPG or diesel engines, with 4WD available as an option too.

Priced from €21,190, the Dacia Duster remains one of Ireland's truly affordable new cars.

The Duster is now very recognisable on Irish roads for its chunky, rugged design. You don't mess with an icon! So the Duster facelift has been minor. New light units include Y-shaped daytime running lights, which look more contemporary and seem to fit better, especially at the rear. This new shape also inspired the new 3D chromed radiator grille. Front LED direction indicators debut here for the first time in the Dacia range.

There’s also a new colour – Arizona Orange – that really makes the Duster pop.

Dacia says Duster’s aerodynamic performance has been improved with the simple design of the new rear spoiler and 16/17-inch alloy rims.

The Duster goes on sale in Ireland priced from €21,190
The Duster goes on sale in Ireland priced from €21,190

Inside the 2022 Dacia Duster

Inside, the cabin of the Duster is lifted by the addition of a new 8″ touchscreen with more modern graphics and a glossier finish. It replaces the old 7″ unit.

The USB ports have also moved to a neater location further down in the centre console so the cable no longer dangles across the touchscreen.

The cabin is composed almost entirely of hard plastic in line with the car's budget positioning in the market. But Duster somehow gets away with it. It's reassuringly basic. The new infotainment system certainly helps improve the cabin feel.

The cruise control buttons have been moved to a stalk on the multifunction steering wheel. There’s also new upholstery and new slimmer headrests.

Dimensions have not changed but the Dacia Duster’s boxy shape still makes it very practical and great value for the money. Duster will seat five, with the rear footwells offering more space than many more salubrious rivals in the B-SUV segment. The high roofline gives loads of headroom, adding to that feeling of space.

The boot is also a good size with up to 478 litres available in two wheel drive models, and 467 in four wheel drive Dusters. Isofix child-seat mounting points are fitted to the outer rear seats.

The interior of the Dacia Duster
The interior of the Dacia Duster

What are my options?

The new Duster is available in Ireland with petrol and diesel engines in 2022, as well as a petrol/LPG 'bifuel option' by special order. All wheel drive is available on diesel models.

The range kicks off with the 1.0-litre TCe petrol engine with 90 hp and a manual gearbox at €21,190. There's also a new petrol/LPG option priced the same, with 100 hp and a 6-speed manual gearbox.

It can run on petrol alone, but benefits from having an LPG tank fitted beneath the floor of the boot, in place of the spare wheel. LPG (liquid petroleum gas) is sold cheaper at the pump than petrol from some fuel stations around Ireland.

The diesel option in the Duster range is the familiar 1.5-litre dCi with 115 hp available in either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, combined with a six-speed manual gearbox. Four wheel drive Dusters are available from €26,140. They are extremely capable off-road for a small SUV, as I found out driving the Duster 4x4 in France.

With a bit more power, Duster is offered with a 1.3-litre TCe 150 hp petrol engine. It's sold as two wheel drive. It is the only engine in the range offered with an automatic gearbox.

Rear seating in the Duster
Rear seating in the Duster

Driving the Dacia Duster

The latest Duster features a new type of tyre, no matter which version a customer opts for. The two-wheel drive version is fitted with ‘green’ CO2-optimised tyres as standard. It's said to give a 10 per cent reduction in rolling resistance.

The Dacia Duster 1.5 dCi is a reliable companion for the Duster with a good return on economy. My average fuel consumption over a week of driving was 5.3 litres per 100 km. Performance is adequate for this class of vehicle, with the diesel offering a healthy amount of torque to keep the Duster moving competently from town to motorway.

Behind the wheel, the high driving position gives the Duster the surprising feeling of an authentic off-roader. The diesel can get noisy under acceleration but it's simple to drive, with light controls and good agility.

Duster’s all-electric power steering has been recalibrated on medium and high speed driving. So from 70 km/h, the steering becomes slightly heavier but the Duster is not the sharpest performer in its class with more body roll than some competitors. Yet it’s comfortable where it matters over long distances and copes with rougher surfaces on rural roads and in town reasonably well too.

The Dacia Duster is a great value small SUV
The Dacia Duster is a great value small SUV

Anything else?

In Ireland the Duster is available in three trim levels: Essential, Comfort and Prestige. There's also a limited edition Extreme model.

The Duster Essential (from €21,190) has steel wheels, automatic headlights, and black roof bars. Inside there’s a height and reach-adjustable steering column, cruise control with speed limiter, on-board computer, DAB Radio and manual air conditioning.

The Comfort (from €23,390) is more desirable for 16-inch alloy wheels, black-painted heated and electrically adjustable door mirrors, body-coloured door handles, front fog lights, and hill descent control. The interior has upgraded upholstery, height-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment, leather steering wheel, electric rear windows, rear parking sensors with rear camera, and the 8-inch infotainment system with Android Auto® and Apple CarPlay®.

The Prestige trim (from €25,290) adds 17-inch alloy wheels, grey door mirrors and roof bars, dark-tinted rear windows, and an acoustic windscreen. Inside there’s automatic air conditioning, keyless entry, multiview camera, front parking sensors, blind spot warning system, heated seats, on-board navigation system and wireless smartphone connectivity for Android Auto® and Apple CarPlay®.

The Duster Extreme (from €25,590) has 17" black alloy wheels, orange inserts on the front grille, side-mirror housing, roof rails, and tailboard, and inside on the air-vents, door panels, and centre console. There’s also special fabric/TEP upholstery with orange stitching. There's an exclusive colour too - Urban Grey.

The Duster holds a 3-star Euro NCAP safety rating with some safety equipment like lane departure warning and autonomous emergency braking still absent.

The new Dacia Duster Extreme limited edition
The new Dacia Duster Extreme limited edition

Did you like it?

The latest edition of the Duster gets a smartening up all round with a timely upgrade to the infotainment. This goes a long way to lift the cabin, though it is still on the more austere side compared to more expensive models.

Duster is the lovable rogue of the B-SUV class. It looks great with a tough utilitarian look. Even basic models have a simple rugged charm to them.

Clearly the Duster is not the one to get for cutting edge technology. Power still comes exclusively from combustion engines, keeping the price accessible in the Irish market. Though the Duster Bi-Fuel that can run on LPG is an intriguing option at a time when fuel prices are at their highest.

The Dacia Duster offers a lot for a five seat SUV. With that sort of pricing, it's impossible to ignore in today's market for cheap and accessible motoring!

Written by Caroline Kidd

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

Model tested: Dacia Duster dCi 115 Comfort
Price: 
€25,190
Engine: 
1.5-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
115 hp
Torque: 
260 Nm
0-100km/h: 
10.5 seconds
Top speed: 
179 km/h
CO2 emissions (WLTP): 
111 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€200 per year


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

Toyota C-HR GR Sport Review (2022)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inside the C-HR GR Sport

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

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

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

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

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

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

Driving the Toyota C-HR Hybrid

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

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

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

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

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

What are my options?

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

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

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

Did you like it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by Caroline Kidd

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

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


The new Peugeot 5008 on test for Changing Lanes!

Peugeot 5008 Review (2022)

Read Caroline's Peugeot 5008 review for everything you need to know about buying Peugeot's seven seat SUV in Ireland in 2022.

Peugeot's 5008 large family SUV has been updated with a fresh new look and a streamlined range that now includes three trim levels. The 5008 is exclusively powered by petrol and diesel engines, with manual and automatic gearboxes available.

Priced from €41,335, the Peugeot 5008 offers seating for seven as standard across three rows of seats with a hugely practical modular cabin.

The Peugeot 5008 has driven significant growth for the Peugeot brand in Ireland. Peugeot is now in the top 10 of bestselling brands in Ireland. Their new SUV range account for the brand's top three bestselling cars here - the 3008, 2008 and the 5008.

The new Peugeot 5008 on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Peugeot 5008 on test for Changing Lanes!

What's new for the Peugeot 5008?

Peugeot was quick to turn around their product line-up in response to the growing market for SUVs. The new generation 3008 and 5008 launched in Ireland back in 2017. When they debuted it was clear that both cars had evolved from MPV to SUV.

Backed up by Peugeot style and hugely practical interiors, these new Peugeot SUVs have heralded great success for Peugeot Ireland.

But it's time for a revamp. The Peugeot 3008 has already had a makeover. And now it's the turn of the larger 5008.

There is a strong design theme between these two. The Peugeot 5008 however is a genuine seven seater and the larger of the duo. But from the front end they are very similar.

The 5008 was a good-looking car but the facelift makes it even better. At the front there is a new frameless grille, redesigned headlights and new plunging fang-like daytime running lights. Gloss black side scoops and a painted tread plate are integrated into the new bumper design. The 5008 now looks more modern and a touch more aggressive than before.

At the rear there are new full LED lights and sequential indicators for extra star power. The light clusters are covered with a clear, smoked glass.

The Peugeot 5008 comes with seven seats as standard
The Peugeot 5008 comes with seven seats as standard

Inside the Peugeot 5008

When the 3008 and 5008 launched back in 2017, the interior design and layout marked a new departure for the French brand. Peugeot has been talking about moving their brand upmarket for some years now; their SUV range clearly demonstrates that with the spectacular i-Cockpit arrangement.

The interior of the 5008 has aged very well in the interim. It still impresses with a full digital instrument cluster, wraparound cabin effect, and those elegant piano style buttons for the infotainment.

For 2022, there's a new 10-inch high definition touchscreen as standard on all but the entry model into the range.

Cabin quality is very good with a nice refined feel to the interior of the Peugeot 5008. There is lots of elegant soft touch panelling, while the seats have good quality fabric too.

On the centre console, all internal combustion engines equipped with automatic gearboxes are now fitted as standard with the driving mode selector that allows the driver to choose between Normal, Sport and Eco.

The interior of the new Peugeot 5008
The interior of the new Peugeot 5008

Is it practical?

Storage around the car is very generous, a must for a family car, with plenty of cubbies and cupholders!

But the 5008 really stands out for its modular interior that allows for high levels of flexibility when it comes to seating. In this way, the 5008 really taps into its MPV roots and Peugeot's expertise in this area.

There are three individual seats in row 2 all with ISOFIX child seat fixtures, which is the 5008's party piece. The seats can move forward and back individually of each other to make more space for those in row 3. They can fold and incline as wished also. There's loads of legroom too and picnic tables integrated into the back of the front seats on Allure models and above. There's even blinds integrated into the rear windows. The GT model has two new USB sockets for devices in row 2.

There are two individual seats in row 3, which can be folded neatly into the floor when not in use or even removed completely. Space is limited back here but children will be fine using these extra seats.

There's also the possibility to tip the front passenger seat forward for loading long objects up to 3.20 m.

In seven seat mode, boot space is limited to about 167 litres. But in five seat mode, everyone's a winner with 702 litres available.

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

What are my options?

The 5008 range is powered by combustion engines for now with Peugeot's familiar 1.2-litre petrol engine available with 130 hp, and a manual or automatic gearbox. There's no hybrid available like the 3008.

There's also a 1.5-litre diesel with 130 hp and a manual or automatic gearbox. The top of the range 2.0-litre diesel with 180 hp and an automatic gearbox is reserved for the GT model.

In Ireland the 5008 is available in Active, Allure and GT trim levels. Standard equipment (from €41,335) includes automatic lights and wipers, lane keeping assistance, traffic sign recognition, reversing camera, dual zone climate control, 8" touchscreen, cruise control and 17" alloys.

The Allure model (from €43,425) has more equipment including 18" alloys, high beam assist, blind spot monitoring, ambient lighting, keyless entry and push button start, 10" touchscreen, driver's lumbar support, half leather seat trim and alloy roof rails.

GT models (from €47,035) add adaptive cruise control, advanced grip control, and numerous premium trim updates inside and out.

There are petrol and diesel engines available for the 5008
There are petrol and diesel engines available for the 5008

Did you like the Peugeot 5008?

The Peugeot 5008 sits a bit higher off the ground than your average hatchback, but behind the wheel it’s very car-like and easy to manoeuvre.

The steering is light for around town and parking, while out of town it holds the road very well too. The 5008 is a comfortable family car and while to call it nifty might be a stretch too far, it’s surprisingly nice to drive.

The 1.5-litre diesel provides enough torque to keep the 5008 moving well, though it is noisy under hard acceleration. It makes a good return too on economy for a large vehicle like this. Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 5.8 litres per 100 km.

This is a superb family car that stands out for its versatility and practical features. In many ways it's still an MPV - just styled as a cooler SUV. The cabin has really been maximised to make life easier for families, though some seven seaters are roomier in the third row.

The 5008 gets a suitable update in line with Peugeot's family face, with a streamlined range powered by petrol or diesel engines. While some rivals are introducing hybrid, it's not the best option for everyone and can get expensive. So for now the 5008 will be a fuel only option in the seven seat SUV space.

Peugeot's i-Cockpit offers a stylish and high class cabin experience for the segment. All in all, the 5008 has matured well and this latest round of updates enhance its presence in Peugeot's latest range of cars.

Model tested: Peugeot 5008 Allure 1.5 BlueHDI
Price: 
€44,410
Engine: 1.5-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
130 hp
Torque:  300 Nm
0-100km/h: 
11.1 seconds
Top speed:  191 km/h
CO2 emissions:  
135 g/km
Motor tax: 
€210 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes


The new MG ZS on test for Changing Lanes!

MG ZS EV Review (2022)

Read Caroline's MG ZS EV review for everything you need to know about buying MG's compact electric SUV in Ireland in 2022.

MG made a return to Ireland in 2020 with the launch of a new line-up of electric and hybrid cars. The MG ZS electric was the first to launch here and has been joined by the MG HS plug-in hybrid SUV and the MG5 electric estate car.

But the MG ZS seems a particularly well-placed car in the Irish market, combining the trend for SUVs with an electric powertrain.

Now MG has given the ZS EV a facelift and a new battery with a significant increase to range, which bodes well for this SUV. The ZS EV will continue to be offered in two trim levels, Excite and Exclusive.

The new MG ZS on test for Changing Lanes!
The new MG ZS on test for Changing Lanes!

What's new for the 2022 MG ZS EV?

On sale in Ireland priced from €32,995, including the SEAI grant and VRT relief, the MG ZS EV for 2022 has a new 72.6 kWh battery with a range up to 440 km (WLTP).

This replaces the first edition of the ZS EV, which launched with a 44.5 kWh battery and a range of 263 km (WLTP). The starting price has gone up, but the MG ZS offers that bit more comfort now on a full charge.

The MG ZS EV has a quite conventional look for an electric compact SUV. But the facelift has certainly given it a more modern and confident stance. That's mostly down to the new front end design. There's a closed, stamped-effect grille for the very first time, which helps the car stand out more. Especially in a bright colour like the Brilliant Blue of the test car!

This design feature is said to improve aerodynamics but it also now houses a more on-trend, side-opening charging port. It feels a bit sturdier than the access point on the previous version of the car that was positioned behind the MG badge.

LED headlights and distinctive daytime running lights also feature, as does a redesigned rear bumper and new wheel designs.

The MG ZS EV goes on sale priced from €32,995 in Ireland
The MG ZS EV goes on sale priced from €32,995 in Ireland

Inside the MG ZS EV

The revamp continues inside the 2022 MG ZS EV. The cabin of the MG ZS has a nice snug and sporty feeling from behind the wheel. It's quite a mature design for a B-segment SUV.

This new version gets a significant upgrade when it comes to the infotainment and digital technology on board. There's a new digital instrument cluster for the driver. The 10.1-inch tablet-style touchscreen has new graphics and improved functionality. It looks better than the previous version and is more responsive.

There's also a new iSMART connectivity system, which offers connection via a dedicated smartphone app for the first time. Features in the app include remote locking and unlocking, setting the air conditioning and heating, and activating the windscreen demister. Charging status and statistics can be viewed through the app, and you can also instantly stop or start a charge, and schedule charging.

There's also wireless phone charging, as well as the first over the air (OTA) software updates from MG, including new features and improvements.

Inside the new MG ZS EV
Inside the new MG ZS EV

The MG ZS EV is a generously sized small SUV for the B segment. There is lots of headroom and large windows make the cabin bright and welcoming. The rear will seat three, though it will be most comfortable for two. The rear footwells are a decent size for this class of vehicle too.

There are plenty of handy storage spaces in the cabin. Buyers will find a good boot of 470 litres. The split folding rear seats enable you to expand this to 1,116 litres. Charging cables can be stored neatly under the boot floor leaving the boot clear of any apparel.

What are my options?

The ZS EV Excite model, priced from €32,995 (after grant and VRT relief) comes with automatic air conditioning, bi-function LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, keyless entry and push-button start, 360 parking camera, a 10.1-inch touchscreen, sat nav, iSMART infotainment system and multiple USB charging points.

The Exclusive model, priced at €35,995 (after grant and VRT relief), adds a full panoramic roof and leather-style seats, along with more comfort and convenience options such as roof rails, heated front seats, electric driver’s seat adjustment, rain-sensing wipers and wireless phone charging.

MG’s suite of driver assistance technology also features. MG Pilot includes Active Emergency Braking with Pedestrian and Bicycle Detection, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning System, Traffic Jam Assist, Intelligent Speed Limit Assist and Intelligent High Beam Assist. The Exclusive model also gets Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Blind Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist.

Boot space in the ZS EV
Boot space in the ZS EV

The 2022 MG ZS is the first fully electric vehicle in the MG range to offer towing capability. A 500kg towing capacity means owners can now attach small trailers or fit a bicycle carrier.

The new MG ZS EV is also equipped with a V2L (Vehicle-to-Load) system as standard. This allows the battery to supply energy to an external electrical system via a charging cable with a type 2-plug on one side that fits into the car’s charging socket, and a power strip with household sockets on the other side. Ideal for powering a kettle, cooling box, e-bike, laptop, electric scooter or even another electric car!

Driving the MG ZS Electric

On the road, the MG ZS EV makes good progress, moving effortlessly from town to motorway. Steering is light and the MG ZS feels agile through bends. It's generally comfortable on the smooth stuff for a compact SUV, though you will feel the bumps over rough surfaces in town or rural roads.

The new 72.6 kWh battery gives this latest MG ZS a clear advantage over the previous version. The WLTP range is now 440 km, with 156 hp available. From my experience, the MG ZS will comfortably return over 350 km in mixed driving, which makes all the difference between charges.

Regenerative braking also features and the automatic transmission can be set to Eco, Normal or Sport mode.

The combination Type 2 and CCS charger provides up to 7kW fast charging using the on-board AC charger, or up to 76kW DC rapid charging. The new MG ZS EV can reach an 80% charge in about 40 minutes from a 100kW rapid charger, about 1 hour from a 50kW charger, and a 100% charge in about 10.5 hours using a 7kW charger at home.

The MG ZS EV can now drive for longer between charges
The MG ZS EV can now drive for longer between charges

Did you like it?

The latest MG ZS EV is more than just a facelift, with the new battery giving this car more flexibility and appeal.

Yes the price has gone up since the MG ZS first entered the Irish market. But with more range, the new MG ZS 72.6 kWh gives buyers more comfort between charges. It is also still competitively priced among a still rather limited market of small electric SUVs.

The new front end design also lifts the ZS considerably for more style and presence on the road. The interior update makes this car more user-friendly, along with the addition of the new app and new interesting technology features like vehicle to load charging for the first time.

The MG ZS EV has become a more familiar sight on Irish roads in just over one year since launch. This new version will help the brand to establish itself even more among buyers in the market for a new electric car.

Model tested: MG ZS EV Exclusive
Price: 
€35,995
Battery: 72.6 kWh
Power: 
156 hp
Torque: 206 Nm
0-100km/h:  
8.4 seconds
Top speed: 175 km/h
CO2 emissions: 0 g/km
Motor Tax:  €120 per year

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Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes