The new Opel Mokka SRi on test for Changing Lanes!

Opel Mokka 1.2 SRi (2021) Review

The new Opel Mokka SRi on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Opel Mokka SRi on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the 2021 Opel Mokka!

The Opel Mokka has returned to Ireland in 2021, a rejuventated offering for the popular compact SUV segment in Ireland. Available in electric for the first time, along with petrol and diesel variants, the Mokka’s new face is one that changes everything for the Opel brand.

Priced from €23,295 for a petrol, from €25,095 for a diesel, and from €33,038 for the all-electric Opel Mokka-e, the Mokka is shaping up as a very compelling and competitive offering.

Of course, Mokka has some history in Ireland, launched back in Ireland as a new compact SUV contender in 2012 and revamped in 2016. This car still has good visibility on Irish roads, but Mokka owners will be astounded by the step forward this new version has taken.

What's so hot about the 2021 Opel Mokka?

It’s the design that gets you first. The 2021 Opel Mokka is lighter and sleeker looking, with a genuine sporty bent to it. Opel has found new direction indeed, tapping into their history in motorsport and classic Opels like the Manta and GSi models to add some zest to a new generation of cars.

You cannot miss the striking new grille area. Opel call it the ‘Vizor’ face. It looks like nothing else on the road. This new family look is bestowed upon other models like the Crossland and Grandland SUVs, as well as the upcoming new Astra hatchback.

The Opel Mokka goes on sale in Ireland as petrol, diesel or electric
The Opel Mokka goes on sale in Ireland as petrol, diesel or electric

For style conscious buyers this one hits the mark! SRi models (from €24,795) like the Mokka on test really stand out with 17” black alloy wheels, red exterior detailing and a contrasting black roof! Other trim levels include the SC and Elite.

Standard equipment levels are good including traffic sign recognition, lane keep assist, collision avoidance sensor with brake assist, pedestrian detection alert, electronic cruise control with speed limiter, rear parking sensors with rear view camera, air conditioning, 7” colour touchscreen, 7” colour driver instrument cluster, DAB radio and 16” alloy wheels.

Inside the 2021 Opel Mokka SRi

Inside there is an all-new dashboard design that follows the Opel new ‘Pure Panel’ philosophy. Take it as code for simplified, modern and minimalistic, and you will come close to the experience behind the wheel of the new Mokka.

Opel has worked hard to give this car a new personality and the red trim of the SRi model certainly spices things up. There is a full digital experience for the driver with a digital instrument cluster as standard and 7” colour touchscreen with Apple Car Play and Android Auto. A multimedia system with 10” touchscreen and navigation is also available.

The interior of the 2021 Opel Mokka SRi
The interior of the 2021 Opel Mokka SRi

This is a compact vehicle but in terms of interior accommodation, it’s competitive for this class of vehicle with a decent show of legroom and headroom in the rear. The boot is also smartly sized at 350 litres. The new Mokka is a little bit wider than the car it replaces so there’s plenty of elbow room upfront. Rear seats split fold and there is also a false floor in the boot for added practicality.

What are my options?

Available across all three trims, petrol and diesel engines offer power outputs ranging from 100 hp to 130 hp. The petrol model is a 1.2-litre affair with 100 or 130 hp, and the option of a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic gearbox.

At Changing Lanes we tested the petrol automatic with 130 hp. It performs well with a good show of power and clever automatic that rarely misses a beat.

Buyers will also find a 1.5-litre diesel in the line-up with 110 hp and a 6-speed manual gearbox.

There’s also the exciting new all-electric Opel Mokka-e powered by an 50 kWh battery with 136 hp and a range of up to 324 km.

The very stylish all electric Opel Mokka-e
The very stylish all electric Opel Mokka-e

Driving the new Opel Mokka!

The Opel Mokka is the second model in the Opel range to use the CMP platform from parent company PSA, after the launch of the all-new Corsa in 2020. It’s lighter by up to 120 kg on some of the models in the range, while rigidity is up by 15%. It’s clear to see that the new Mokka is a far more efficient design, more aerodynamic with a lower centre of gravity. Opel engineers have worked hard to reduce squeaks and rattles and improve the acoustic quality, with an acoustic pack fitted as standard to further reduce road noise.

On the road, the Opel Mokka has a light and modern feel that makes it easy to handle and steer through any driving situation. It's a much improved car to drive now, refined and comfortable by class standards, with just the odd bump over ramps and the like on our test car’s 17” ‘shoes’! These cars are built to be autobahn-proof and the Mokka can surely hold its own on the motorway, staying in lane simply and confidently.

Did you like it?

Opel is definitely back in the game with the new Opel Mokka. There are more exciting models on the way. Changing Lanes loves a comeback kid and the new Opel Mokka has put its best game face on.

Choice is a key feature of the new Mokka range and Opel is to be commended for bringing such a selection to the compact crossover range. The petrol model on test offers a very good value entry into the Mokka range; the Mokka-e is a compelling option for buyers ready to make the switch to electric.

Mokka has taken a huge step forward. In design and technology, it can really now hold its own. It will stand out and adds a youth and vibrancy back to the Opel brand that was sorely missed.

The new Opel Mokka on sale now from €23,295
The new Opel Mokka on sale now from €23,295

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Opel Mokka 1.2 SRi Automatic
Price: 
€26,295
Engine: 
1.2-litre turbo petrol
Power: 130 hp
Torque: 230 Nm
Top speed: 200 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 9.2 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
133-135 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€210 per year


The new Kia Sorento Hybrid on test for Changing Lanes!

Kia Sorento Hybrid (2021) Review

The new Kia Sorento Hybrid on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Kia Sorento Hybrid on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the 2021 Kia Sorento Plug-in Hybrid!

The Kia Sorento has established itself well in the market for 7-seat SUVs in Ireland. An all-new generation of the popular Sorento arrived here at the end of 2020, raising the game once again in the Kia camp.

What's so special about the 2021 Kia Sorento?

Offered with a diesel engine or as a plug-in hybrid for the very first time, the Kia Sorento offers buyers at both ends a stylish and upmarket large SUV.

Kicking off from €52,500 for the plug-in hybrid and from €52,440 for the diesel, the Sorento is a flagship SUV for the Korean brand. It looks and feels every inch of that billing.

The Sorento is big, physically imposing, with a new look inspired by the Kia Telluride, which is not sold in this country. Believe me this new Sorento should be large and good-looking enough for all your needs! All models come well-equipped with 19" alloys, roof rails, leather upholstery, 10.25" touchscreen, and a full suite of safety features.

The new Kia Sorento Hybrid is available from €50,000
The new Kia Sorento Hybrid is available from €52,500

How practical is it as a seven seat SUV?

The Sorento's 13.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack is located beneath the driver and front passenger seats. The layout means the battery pack doesn’t intrude on the Sorento’s cabin or cargo space.

Carrying people in comfort is what this SUV excels at. All models available in Ireland are 7-seaters, with the two seats in the very rear folding into the boot floor when not in use. The cabin is huge and spacious, the driving position lofty, the cabin finish high quality with the best in Kia technology and infotainment. Think of a living room on wheels and you are close.

There’s also a huge boot with a powered tailgate available - up to 809 litres with the third row of seats folded down. With all seven seats in place, there's 175 litres available for a few bags. The 50:50 split-fold third-row seats are easy to fold down using levers inside the boot.

The rear bench has great width and there are ISOFIX child seat fixtures on the outer seats of the 2nd and 3rd row seats.

Tell us more about the new Kia Sorento Hybrid

Powering this hybrid beauty on test for Changing Lanes is a plug-in hybrid petrol electric powertrain. The new Sorento PHEV uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine, an electric motor and a 13.8 kWh battery pack. The battery can be charged in about 3.5 hours.

Flexibility is the name of the game here. When the battery is fully charged the Sorento can cruise silently on electric power for a range of up to 57 km. Truly astounding when you consider the size and weight of this SUV.

Inside the new Kia Sorento
Inside the new Kia Sorento

What's it like to drive?

Interestingly the Sorento PHEV is the only model in the range offering four wheel drive, with diesel models only offered as front wheel drive vehicles. Drive is sent to the front wheels or all four wheels, depending on road conditions, via a quick-shifting six-speed automatic transmission.

On the road, the Kia Sorento PHEV is a very accomplished drive. Comfort and refinement is fitting of a large family SUV with this price tag. The four wheel drive system means that the Sorento PHEV (265 hp) put its considerable power to the road with great ease and grip. In fact it’s the most powerful Sorento ever sold in Europe!

This is a large SUV but it handles town, and country roads with decent agility for what it is. Placing the battery low down in the centre of the body, between the two axles, also keeps the centre of gravity low and aids weight distribution. It’s hard to notice any discernible difference in the handling compared to the diesel model.

We recommend buyers of plug-in hybrid do make use of that electric range, charging up between drives at home or at work. However when running solely as a hybrid, our average fuel consumption was 6.9 litres per 100 km, proving that technology has come along way when a large SUV like the Sorento can post a decent figure like that on petrol power.

There’s also the Kia Sorento diesel, which offers better economy over longer motorway runs.

The Sorento offers plug-in hybrid power for the very first time in 2021
The Sorento offers plug-in hybrid power for the very first time in 2021

Did you like it?

Hell yeah! Kia is once again bringing quality, innovative cars to market…at high speed to meet the changing market demands for more hybrid and electrified vehicles.

The Sorento PHEV is not an also-ran – it’s a viable option for large families seeking a modern SUV that can be run very efficiently indeed when that battery power is fully exploited.

Elsewhere, the Sorento sports a sort of rugged Americana vibe. It just might be larger than life itself, with a comfortable and spacious cabin that makes it a great family car.

All cars are well-equipped, offering amazing technology features that truly move Kia’s game on in the large SUV segment.

We loved the Sorento diesel; now we can say we love the Kia Sorento PHEV too! A genuinely practical and spacious three row, seven seat plug-in hybrid SUV for the Irish market.

The 2021 Kia Sorento only comes in extra large!
The 2021 Kia Sorento only comes in extra large!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Kia Sorento PHEV AWD K4
Price: 
€47,365
Engine: 
1.6-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 265 hp
Torque: 350 Nm
Top speed: 193 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 8.7 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
38 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€140 per year


The 2021 SEAT Tarraco FR on test for Changing Lanes!

SEAT Tarraco FR (2021) Review

The 2021 SEAT Tarraco FR on test for Changing Lanes!
The 2021 SEAT Tarraco FR on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the new SEAT Tarraco FR!

The SEAT Tarraco got its big Irish market launch back in 2019. Awards quickly followed for SEAT’s flagship SUV. The Tarraco was not just big in size, it also went large on design and quality!

Now it’s time to revisit the SEAT Tarraco, this time in sporty FR trim with a 2.0-litre diesel under the bonnet. The Tarraco is available in 5 or 7 seat models, with 7 seat versions starting from €41,295.

In Ireland buyers can choose from three well equipped trim levels:  SE, Xcellence and FR. The FR models start from €47,365, building on the Tarraco’s healthy specification with even more features and a sporty makeover inside and out.

Power comes from a 1.5-litre TSI turbo petrol with 150 hp or a 2.0-litre diesel with 150 hp - or 200 hp and four wheel drive.

What's new for the SEAT Tarraco FR?

The Tarraco is a good-looking large family SUV, and it gets even better in FR trim. There have been a range of exterior enhancements, including special grille with FR logo, wider, black wheel arch mouldings, black roof rails and window frames, and side mirrors finished in Cosmo Grey. At the back the new Tarraco FR gets a new spoiler, an exclusive rear diffuser and the rear logo in a handwritten style. 20” alloy wheels complete the look!

The Tarraco is available with petrol and diesel engines with a plug-in hybrid to join the range shortly
The Tarraco is available with petrol and diesel engines with a plug-in hybrid to join the range shortly

Inside the 2021 SEAT Tarraco

The SEAT Tarraco feels immediately sporty inside too with some very impressive sports seats. The Tarraco has a lovely cabin and it’s standing the test of time very well. The fit and finish is excellent, allowing the Tarraco FR to command its considerable list price without buyers feeling short changed.

The digital instrument cluster is crisp and modern, while an updated infotainment system with 9.2” screen in the centre of the dash looks glossy and offers good functionality and connectivity.

There’s also a new touch module for the climate control functions with illuminated touch sliders for fan and temperature control. It’s pretty simple to use once you get the hang of it.

The FR model lives up to its sporty billing with a leather sports steering wheel with FR logo, leather gear selector and aluminium pedals at your feet.

Other standard equipment features include keyless start and entry, power folding mirrors, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, rear view camera, drive profile selection, front heated seats, park assist, and parking sensors.

Sporty and comfortable interior for the Tarraco FR
Sporty and comfortable interior for the Tarraco FR

Driving the Tarraco

The Tarraco is a big car but easy to manage and control, whether on the road or in the car park.

There’s little to complain about in terms of space. This is a large, versatile family car whatever way you look at it! Space is more limited in the third row, but it goes with the territory. It’s handy to have these extra two seats available. When these two extra seats are folded into the floor, the Tarraco offers a cavernous boot with great width and height.

On the road the Tarraco FR proves to be comfortable and refined, with the DSG automatic gearbox offering an even more relaxed drive. The 2.0-litre diesel is a powerful companion with plenty of torque. It’s also  economical considering the size of the vehicle, with our fuel consumption averaging at 6.5 litres per 100 km. Motor tax for this model is €270 per year.

Did you like it?

The SEAT Tarraco FR is an exciting addition to the Tarraco range, bringing more individuality to this large SUV once again. All models come well-equipped, which is reassuring. But this Tarraco FR surely has presence that brings SEAT’s flagship on another gear.

It is largely a cosmetic update inside and out, but equipment levels are high so you will want for nothing inside the cabin!

The Tarraco makes a great family car regardless, with a huge cabin and plenty of comfort and refinement on the road. No wonder it's an award winner!

The Tarraco FR adds more character to SEAT's flagship SUV
The Tarraco FR adds more character to SEAT's flagship SUV

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: SEAT Tarraco 2.0 TDI 150hp DSG FR
Price: 
€47,365
Engine: 
2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 150 hp
Torque: 360 Nm
Top speed: 196 km/h
Fuel Consumption: 5.6-6.0 l/100 km
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 10.1 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
148-157 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€270 per year


The BMW X1 xDrive25e on test for Changing Lanes!

BMW X1 xDrive25e Hybrid (2021) Review

The BMW X1 xDrive25e on test for Changing Lanes!
The BMW X1 xDrive25e on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the 2021 BMW X1!

The BMW X1. The baby of the BMW X family of SUVs. For BMW, with a rich history in SUVs like the popular X5, the new brief required of the market was to beef up the compacts to satiate growing consumer demand for anything that looked at all like it might be good off-road!

The result was the X1, first launched in 2009, with a second generation model debuting in 2015. In 2019 the brand refreshed the car with some updated styling and the introduction of an all-new plug-in hybrid model.

Now the BMW X1 meets Changing Lanes for the first time. Excited, yes!

What's new for the 2021 BMW X1?

Plug-in hybrid is hot right now, you might have noticed. Now joining the X1’s range of petrol and diesel engines is the BMW X1 PHEV – aka the BMW X1 xDrive25e plug-in hybrid model.

The X1 range goes on sale from €40,775, with the plug in hybrid available from €45,790, while the sporty M Sport model on test retails from €47,287. There are four model variants available for the X1 - SE, Sport, xLine and M Sport - and each stands apart with its own unique looks and equipment to match.

The BMW X1 PHEV retails from €47,287 in Ireland
The BMW X1 PHEV retails from €47,287 in Ireland

The X1 has a stylish and upmarket presence. It’s not the most exciting or sporty BMW you ever set eyes upon, but with a softer, more friendly look to it. The M Sport version comes equipped with upgraded M Sport suspension and the M Aerodynamics package. Other features include heated front seats, folding exterior mirrors and Dakota Leather upholstery. The front apron, side skirts, wheel arch trim, diffuser and cladding on the BMW X1 M Sport come in body colour, with larger air intakes than other models.

Inside the 2021 BMW X1

The cabin of the 2021 BMW X1 is a comfortable and secure place to be. While this is an older generation BMW interior, the fit and finish of the car is truly special. It feels so upmarket and well-built. So classy!

This latest model incorporates the sixth generation of BMW’s iDrive system that introduces a touchscreen control for the Control Display alongside the iDrive Controller and optional intelligent voice control.

The X1 is a compact car but it feels spacious inside for this class of vehicle. Boot space is slightly compromised by the battery on board for the plug-in hybrid model, but it's not a huge impact and the boot does feel practical with a hatchback style opening for good access. There's 450 litres in total. A powered tailgate is available. Standard 40:20:40 split folding backrests allow the boot capacity to be increased to 1,470 litres.

The interior of the BMW X1
The interior of the BMW X1

What are my options?

The BMW X1 is powered by a range of three and four cylinder turbo engines, using either a front-wheel drive configuration or BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive. Manual and automatic gearboxes are available. The petrol range starts with the 140 hp 1.5-litre sDrive18i. There is also a more powerful 2.0-litre X1 sDrive20i with 192 hp. The diesel range uses a 2.0-litre engine, and both the sDrive and the all-wheel drive xDrive18d models deliver 150 hp. The 190hp all-wheel-drive xDrive20d is at the top of the X1 range.

BMW is stepping up its electrification journey with the addition of new plug-in hybrids to familiar favourites of the range. The new X1 xDrive25e plug-in hybrid on test uses a 1.5-litre, three cylinder engine with a 9.7 kWh battery giving an electric range of up to 57 km. The petrol engine transfers its power to a 6-speed Steptronic transmission and drives the front wheels. The electric motor delivers its power to the rear wheels via a single-speed transmission. This makes for a hybrid specific all-wheel drive, which makes the X1 super agile! It grips the road exceptionally well, with 220 hp available.

The new BMW X1 PHEV uses a 1.5-litre petrol engine, battery and electric motor
The new BMW X1 PHEV uses a 1.5-litre petrol engine, battery and electric motor

On the road in the BMW X1 xDrive25e

So beneath the quite demure looks, the X1 hybrid offers a lively drive and great handling. This is down to the car’s low centre of gravity, wide track, short overhangs, high level of body and chassis rigidity, and a suspension tuned well for comfort and agility. The xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system is linked with BMW’s DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) to keep oversteer or understeer in check, while the M Sport models add M Sport suspension for a sharper drive.

If you do a lot of town driving, the X1 PHEV is ideal as an introduction to electric motoring with up to 57 km available from a fully charged battery. From a wall box, the battery can be charged in just over 3 hours or in 5 hours from a conventional household socket. The charging socket is located under a separate flap on the front left side wall of the car.

Over a week of driving, my average fuel consumption was 7 litres per 100 kilometre. I failed to keep the battery topped up, so with more regular charging the X1 could be run more efficiently.

The X1 is a practical compact SUV with plug-in hybrid power
The X1 is a practical compact SUV with plug-in hybrid power

Did you like it?

The BMW X1 really surprised me. It’s a real high quality compact SUV, one with all of the class and refinement of a BMW wrapped up in a smaller (and chunkier) package like the X1.

It’s not the trendiest looking machine but the cabin may seduce you with its class, design and quality. It feels a little old school but in a reassuring way, like a good strong cup of tea!

This is a practical car with plenty of flexibility that gives it a headstart over the BMW 1 Series for example, and a different character.

Yet its nimble, compact and fun to drive. While there are petrol and diesel engines on offer, the X1 plug-in hybrid is a good option for urban drivers who can make use of that electric range, charge after every journey, and sample electric motoring for a limited range.

There is lots of power and it is super refined. So guess what? We really enjoyed driving the X1 at Changing Lanes!

BMW continues to expand plug-in hybrid range with new X1 PHEV
BMW continues to expand plug-in hybrid range with new X1 PHEV

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: BMW X1 xDrive25e
Price:
€47,287
Engine: 
1.5-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 220 hp
Torque: 385 Nm
Top speed: 193 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 6.9 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
43-48 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€140 per year


The Mazda CX-5 on test for Changing Lanes!

Mazda CX-5 Skyactiv-G (2021) Review

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

Caroline drives the 2021 Mazda CX-5.

Gorgeous, comfortable, and premium – those are just some words that come to mind when I think of the Mazda CX-5!

The first generation of Mazda’s popular SUV launched back in 2012 just as the SUV trend was really taking hold. In 2017 the brand launched a new generation model, which got all the sharp lines and modern curves that became synonymous with a new generation of incredibly attractive Mazda cars.

What's new for the 2021 Mazda CX-5?

Mazda has been consistently refining the CX-5 ever since. The 2021 Mazda CX-5 maintains this progress in design, engineering, and technology, with enhanced driving dynamics through engine and transmission updates, improved fuel economy, and lower emissions.

The 2021 range goes on sale priced from €34,345 for a Skyactiv-G petrol or from €38,225 for a Skyactiv-D diesel. There are manual and automatic transmissions, as well as the option of four wheel drive. The car comes well equipped with standard features including cruise control, 10.25” colour centre console display and multimedia commander, leather steering wheel, automatic lights and wipers, dual zone climate control and parking sensors, front and rear.

It’s no surprise to find that the CX-5 is Mazda’s bestselling model in Ireland and indeed, worldwide! Sleek and stylish, it still looks really good, with a premium finish to the design that makes heads turn.

The CX-5 range has been updated for 2021
The CX-5 range has been updated for 2021

Inside the Mazda CX-5

Inside the interior of the Mazda CX-5 is starting to show its age. But not in a bad way as the quality and design is still high end so you feel like you are driving something a little bit more special that many rivals in this space. The finish of the car is so good, the plushness of the cabin materials, and the simple classiness of the dials and instruments. Connectivity has evolved to support both Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™, and DAB+ is fitted as standard across the entire model range.

For 2021 the HMI system inside the car has been updated in line with what we have seen in new generation Mazda cars like the Mazda3 and CX-30. It combines a new, faster, clearer 10.25-inch centre display and more intuitive commander control operation with an expanded range of Connected Services from the latest MyMazda App. Features include remote door locking, vehicle finder, the remote pre-programming of multiple navigation destinations, a vehicle health report, dealership contact and service booking request, and roadside assistance.

The CX-5 is a comfortable five seater with a generous cabin and over 500 litres of boot space. A powered tailgate is available for extra convenience. We found the car very practical to live with. Split folding rear seats boost practicality.

Inside the 2021 Mazda CX-5
Inside the 2021 Mazda CX-5

On the road in the Mazda CX5 Skyactiv-G

Driving the Mazda CX-5 is a comfortable and refined experience. Over time revisions to the suspension have made the CX-5 sharper and better to drive than ever. Controls are smooth and direct, putting you in touch with the road in a delicate but tactile way.

Mazda says that there have been powertrain improvements for a better driving experience. These include optimised accelerator pedal operation for better vehicle response and control, improved engine response to throttle inputs, enhanced responsiveness of the six-speed automatic transmission and reductions in CO2 emissions.

Engine options include the 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G petrol engine with 165 hp, and the 2.2-litre Skyactiv-D diesel with 150 or 184 hp. Each will be available with an automatic or manual transmission.

Our test car was powered by Mazda’s tried and tested ‘Skyactiv-G’ 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine with 165 hp. This engine is super smooth and matched perfectly to a 6-speed manual gearbox. While it lacks the in-gear punch of a turbo unit, it is a gentle companion to the Mazda’s refined road manners and very quiet on the go. Over a week of driving we averaged fuel consumption of 7.5 litres per 100 km, so the Mazda CX-5 diesel will offer superior economy.

The 2021 Mazda CX-5 range goes on sale priced from €34,345
The 2021 Mazda CX-5 range goes on sale priced from €34,345

Did you like it?

The Mazda CX-5 is stylish and highly desirable, but also practical, with a large and comfortable cabin.

The interior of the car is starting to age but you can’t argue with the quality. Driving the CX-5 is still a premium experience, with a fit and finish that is very classy and upmarket. As the price climbs through the range, Mazda add even more equipment, but the CX-5 can command it easily.

On the road the CX-5 performs well, being both comfortable, precise and refined. The petrol engine is not the most efficient unit in a large SUV like this, but it is quiet and pleasant to drive, even with a 6-speed manual. The diesel offers more torque and better economy, which keeps it relevant in today’s market.

No doubt about it, the Mazda CX-5 makes a very good family car!

Gorgeous, comfortable, practical - it's the Mazda CX-5!
Gorgeous, comfortable, practical - it's the Mazda CX-5!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Mazda CX-5 GT Luxe 2.0 Skyactiv-G
Price: 
€42,240
Engine: 
2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol
Power: 165 hp
Top speed: 204 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 10.3 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
153 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€280 per year
 


The 2021 SEAT Ateca on test for Changing Lanes!

SEAT Ateca 2.0 TDI (2021) Review

The 2021 SEAT Ateca on test for Changing Lanes!
The 2021 SEAT Ateca on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the 2021 SEAT Ateca!

At its launch in 2016, the SEAT Ateca brought a new dimension to the mid-size SUV market; the perfect match for urban and country life, offering a spacious, practical, and versatile SUV with a unique style we’ve come to expect from the brand ‘Created in Barcelona’.

Recently updated, SEAT has enhanced the Ateca and gone for a more luxe feel with the new Ateca Xperience, which replaces the old Xcellence trim line. Visually, it gets new all-terrain inspired styling – aluminium finish to the front and rear bumpers, body-coloured wheel arch surrounds, and side mouldings in an aluminium finish.

These rugged trim elements complement the already precise lines and muscular wheel arches, with striking LED headlamps and rear lamps with dynamic, sweeping indicators on the FR and Xperience trims. ‘Ateca’ is now spelt across the rear in a new handwriting style.

What's so special about the SEAT Ateca Xperience?

Priced from €37,900, the SEAT Ateca Xperience commands a more premium feeling inside and out, and a high specification, among an excellent engine line-up.

The SEAT Ateca range kicks off from €31,910 in a well-specced SE grade, offering consumers an already well-tuned mix of comfort, design, and practicality, with a choice of petrol and diesel engine. There are also FR models, which look and feel more sporty.

The Ateca Xperience range kicks off from €37,900 in Ireland
The Ateca Xperience range kicks off from €37,900 in Ireland

With buyers abandoning traditional hatchbacks in recent years, it’s clear to see why you might quickly mellow at the sight of the Ateca. With a raised ride height and the chunky looks of an SUV and sharp lines of a classic SEAT, it’s no surprise.

While the latest SEAT Leon now shows off the best of SEAT technology and design being an all-new generation car, slipping into the Ateca is a reminder how SEAT took a stronger grip on the Irish market in recent years.

SEAT Ireland has been riding the crest of a wave with a super stylish line-up of SUVs – the Arona, Ateca and flagship Tarraco. The segment keeps on growing, SEAT growing with it.

Inside the 2021 SEAT Ateca

Inside buyers are met with a solid and straightforward cabin design. The 2021 SEAT Ateca’s interior fit and finish is enhanced with the introduction of new door designs and materials, along with stitching across the panels. There’s also a newly-designed and upholstered steering wheel.

The Xperience has classy matte finish surrounds for the air vents, gear lever and infotainment system, with multi-colour ambient lighting bringing an extra level of customisation to the cabin. There’s also a 9.2-inch touchscreen - keeping things modern in the cabin - with wireless access to both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and wireless smartphone charging. Other standard features include a full leather interior, automatic high beam and Predictive Adaptive Cruise Control.

The car is nicely sized inside with plenty of space up front and good size in the rear for this sort of compact family SUV. The boot has some good depth to it too. There’s an impressive 510 litres of load space to play with!

Inside the new SEAT Ateca Xperience
Inside the new SEAT Ateca Xperience!

What are my engine options?

The latest SEAT Ateca goes on sale with the brand’s familiar portfolio of petrol (TSI) and diesel (TDI) engines.

Ateca Xperience models are offered with 1.5-litre turbo petrol (150 hp) or 2.0 diesel with 115 hp or 150 hp.

Other engines in the range are the 1.0-litre TSI with 110 hp (from €31,910). Motor tax ranges from €210 to €280.

On the road the SEAT Ateca is once again, straightforward and predictable. A quick detour through the Wicklow Mountains on the way home revealed a sharper side however, and this car does hold the road well so there is fun to be had should you want to slip it into Sport mode! It’s a sharp and direct competitor, but ride comfort in this Xperience model is also on par for the segment.

My test car was powered by the 2.0-litre diesel with 150 hp, a powerful and refined companion for this SUV. Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 5.8 litres per 100 km.

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

Did you like it?

SEAT Ireland hit a golden age with the arrival of a trilogy of SUVs on the Irish market. The full complement of Arona, Ateca and Tarraco SUVs helped the brand drive market share in Ireland like never before.

Since then the brand has welcomed a new generation SEAT Leon and the introduction of hybrid power to the SEAT range for the very first time.

Buyers are now faced with a myriad of choices when they decide to trade in for a new family SUV. Size, quality, and price do vary. And though the Ateca in its current outfit is coming towards the end of its tenure, there’s little to complain about when you take this one for a spin.

Behind the wheel, the Ateca confidently takes on its competitors with a straightforward and logical cabin.

The Ateca is backed up by well proven combustion engines and some great trim options that make the car more individual, while also adding many convenience and comfort features.

The Xperience model sits at the top of the range, and while packing in considerable spec, there's even more value to be had in the rest of the range, with cars equipped well from entry.

Being simple, practical and efficient like the Ateca is very appealing in today’s SUV market.

SEAT Ateca: Simple, practical and efficient
SEAT Ateca: Simple, practical and efficient

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: SEAT Ateca 2.0 TDI XPerience DSG
Price: 
€41,100
Engine: 
2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 150 hp
Torque: 340 Nm
Top speed: 200 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 8.8 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
137 - 144 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€210 per year

 

 


The SKODA Enyaq is now on sale in Ireland

ŠKODA Enyaq (2021) First Drive Review

The SKODA Enyaq is now on sale in Ireland
The ŠKODA Enyaq is now on sale in Ireland

The SKODA Enyaq has arrived in Ireland and goes on sale now priced from €37,465 including grants and VRT relief. Caroline was at the press launch in Dublin to find out more about the new Enyaq and bring it for a first drive on Irish roads.

ŠKODA's first all-electric model takes the shape of an elegant SUV, and will arrive here in two flavours at launch - Enyaq iV 60 and Enyaq iV 80 - with two different battery capacities and WLTP range. The entry Enyaq iV 60 has a WLTP range of up to 412 km. The Enyaq iV 80 has enhanced equipment levels with a WLTP range of up to 535 km and is priced from €44,712.

ŠKODA has also indicated that a SportLine version - and an all-wheel drive 80x version - will be launched in 2022, with pricing and specifications to be confirmed at a later date.

Styling

The new Enyaq marks a new direction for the brand but it is still recognisably and reassuringly ŠKODA. It has the presence of a large SUV, with a particularly stylish front end. LED headlights and 19" to 21" alloy wheel sizes complete the look!

Interior

There is an air of serenity inside the cabin of the Enyaq. This car surely does live up to its inspirational name! The Enyaq has a high quality cabin with a real premium feel. It's a real step up for the ŠKODA brand once again. There are plenty of soft touch materials and a lounge like feel that makes it a great family car.  A 13" touchscreen comes as standard in the centre of the dash with navigation, voice control and Smartlink for smartphone connectivity.

The interior of the new SKODA Enyaq
The interior of the new ŠKODA Enyaq

Practicality

Space inside the new Enyaq is excellent. Measuring 4,649 millimetres long and 1,879 wide, the Enyaq delivers the space and practicality customers have come to expect from ŠKODA’s SUV models. There is seating for five and a flat floor in the rear. The rear footwells are an impressive size and the boot can hold 585-litres of luggage. This can be extended to 1,710 litres with the rear seats folded.

Battery, performance and range

The entry level 62 kWh battery model is equipped with a 180PS (132kW) motor that drives the rear wheels through a single-speed transmission. It has a WLTP combined range of up to 412 km on a single charge. The larger 82kWh model generates 204PS (150kW) and is capable of returning up to 535 km on a single charge (WLTP).

Driving it

The new Enyaq iV is the first ŠKODA production model to be based on Volkswagen Group’s MEB modular electric car platform. We had limited time to explore the Enyaq's on the road performance but we did notice a few things that are a good early indication. The Enyaq feels effortless to drive with light steering making it ideal for town. Out on the motorway it cruises fine, offering good refinement and comfort. There's plenty of power to play with and driving modes to alter the experience behind the wheel. With its low centre of gravity due to the battery installed in the floor, it feels safe and solid on the road.

The Enyaq iV 80 has a range of over 500 km (WLTP)
The Enyaq iV 80 has a range of over 500 km (WLTP)

Charging 

The Enyaq can be charged at home from a wallbox (takes 9-13 hours with 7.2 kW wallbox, depending on model) or using the public charging network. 50 kW charging is possible (70 minutes to a full charge) with 100 kW and 125 kW available as an option.

ŠKODA has also launched PowerPass for accessing the public charging network. A mobile app and card enables customers to locate and access more than 1,667 charging points across Ireland, including the ESB network. It also provides some of the most competitive rates for IONITY DC fast charging. PowerPass knows if charge points are available or occupied and provides access to charging points in Northern Ireland, Britain and the EU.

Pricing

Priced from €37,465 inclusive of grants and rebates, the entry Enyaq 60 has a WLTP range of up to 412 km. The Enyaq 80 has enhanced equipment levels with a WLTP range of up to 535 km and is priced from €44,712.

Equipment

The Enyaq iV is offered exclusively with a service and maintenance package including replacement tyres.

Standard equipment on Enyaq 60 includes 19" alloys, 13" touchscreen infotainment, lane assist, turn assist, front assist, dual zone air con, cruise control, keyless start/stop. rear parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers and black roof rails.

The Enyaq 80 adds more power and range as well as chrome window surrounds and chrome roof rails, rear view camera, 2-spoke leather heated steering wheel, and drive mode select.

Rivals
The new Enyaq will rival large electric SUVs like the Volkswagen ID.4 and upcoming Nissan Ariya.

 

Summary
 

The ŠKODA Enyaq is one of the big releases of 2021, an electric blockbuster in its own right.

It arrives hot on the heels of ŠKODA's most recent suite of electrified models including the new Superb and Octavia plug-in hybrids.

The game has truly moved on when ŠKODA combines their knack in creating big, practical, good value cars with electric power. The Enyaq features some of the best quality of the ŠKODA range with a chic design feel to it that makes it stand out.

We look forward to bringing you a more detailed review of the new ŠKODA Enyaq later in the year!

On sale now priced from €37,465
On sale now priced from €37,465

Caroline Kidd


The new Ford Kuga PHEV on test for Changing Lanes!

Ford Kuga Plug-In Hybrid Review

The new Ford Kuga PHEV on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Ford Kuga PHEV on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the 2021 Ford Kuga PHEV!

The Ford Kuga has been a popular SUV on sale in Ireland since it was first marketed here well over 10 years ago.

Over the years it has evolved in styling and design, and in 2020 the brand launched a new Kuga here with hybrid technology on board for the first time!

Hybrid is rapidly becoming a real viable option for customers in the family SUV segment, and we have seen an explosion in the number of hybrid SUVs coming to market in Ireland in the last 12 months.

What's new for the Ford Kuga in 2021?

The Ford Kuga range now offers buyers a lot of choice, from trim line to powertrain. The all-new Kuga is the first Ford vehicle to be offered with plug-in hybrid, mild hybrid, and full hybrid powertrain technology.

The brand also fits the Kuga with 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engines, and the 1.5‑litre EcoBoost petrol engine. Transmissions include a six-speed manual and new eight-speed automatic.

The Ford Kuga plug-in hybrid range starts from €40,691 in Ireland
The Ford Kuga plug-in hybrid range starts from €40,691 in Ireland

At Changing Lanes, we have already sampled the Ford Kuga diesel, but now it’s the turn of the Ford Kuga plug-in hybrid!

To recap on pricing, the Kuga range kicks off from €35,036 for a Kuga diesel, with the plug-in hybrid range starting from €40,691.

Ford has updated the styling of the Kuga considerably for this new generation of the car. It’s now a much sleeker and fancier looking SUV! Lean and athletic, the ST Line and ST Line X models look the best in our opinion with red painted brake calipers, ST Line bodystyling, and 18” alloy wheels.

Inside the 2021 Ford Kuga

The interior has also been completely redesigned, inspired by the simple, horizontal design we have come to expect from new generation Ford cars. It’s modern and easy to interact with but not the most sophisticated offering in the segment, with more hard plastic finishes than what we would like. But the Kuga ST Line is brightened up with some red stitching, nice seats, and alloy pedals. There’s a new infotainment system that syncs easily to smartphones and Ford’s impressive 12.3-inch LCD instrument cluster.

The Ford Kuga does score highly on interior space with a large and practical cabin that families will love. The Ford Kuga model is 44 mm wider and 89 mm longer than the outgoing model, with more shoulder room, hip room, and headroom inside for front and rear seat passengers. It certainly feels it.

The second row of seats can be moved backwards to improve legroom or forwards to increase boot space, to a maximum of 645 litres. A handsfree tailgate is also available. Rear footwells are large and sitting three across the rear bench should not be a problem.

Inside the new Ford Kuga
Inside the new Ford Kuga

Driving the Ford Kuga Hybrid

The Kuga PHEV uses a 2.5-litre petrol electric plug-in hybrid powertrain and retails in Ireland from €40,691. It is the most powerful of the range with 225 hp. Emissions are rated at just 32 g CO2 per kilometre. It’s also ideal if you can charge the car after each journey and make use of the option to drive up to 56 km on battery power alone. Yet over a few days driving without charging up, we still managed to return a good 5.9 litres per 100 km.

The Ford Kuga is one of the sportier SUVs to drive and even as a plug-in hybrid it handles the road well, though we think the diesel model feels a bit more athletic. However, the extra power and responsiveness and smoothness of the automatic transmission is apparent in the way the plug-in hybrid handles the road. The longer wheelbase creates a larger footprint on the road and improves ride and stability. The plug-in hybrid ST Line model on test did feel more firm over rough and uneven road surfaces.

Kuga also offers for the first time selectable Drive Mode technology. Each mode adjusts throttle response, steering weight and traction control and gearshift timings for automatic models. Modes for Kuga include Normal, Sport, Eco, Slippery and Deep Snow/Sand.

The Ford Kuga has an impressive range of engine options
The Ford Kuga has an impressive range of engine options

Did you like it?

The Kuga truly excels as a family vehicle with a large and comfortable interior, and plenty of boot space. Interior quality feels a little cheap in places considering the list price of the car, especially on more expensive plug-in hybrid models.

But on the road the Kuga performs well, with the plug-in hybrid adding a more powerful, responsive feel.

Ford is getting its act together, bringing its most popular models to market now with electrified powertrains. Hot on the heels of the exciting new Ford Puma, the Ford Kuga is a perennial Irish favourite now with hybrid power and an impressive range of engine options. The plug-in hybrid proves to be an efficient alternative with loads of power and good economy.

The Kuga is still great for families with a spacious and practical interior
The Kuga is still great for families with a spacious and practical interior

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Ford Kuga PHEV ST Line-X PHEV
Price: 
€44,863
Engine: 
2.5-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 225 hp
Top speed: 201 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 9.2 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
32 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€140 per year
 

 


The new Mazda MX-30 on test for Changing Lanes!

Mazda MX-30 (2021) Review

The new Mazda MX-30 on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Mazda MX-30 on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the 2021 Mazda MX-30!

Mazda is a brand that likes to do things differently. Now they bring their unique perspective to the world of electric cars. Mazda’s first battery electric vehicle has just gone on sale in Ireland. The new Mazda MX-30 joins Mazda’s already talented range of hatchbacks, saloons, and SUVs, flying the flag for electric power at a time when EVs have firmly moved from the fringes to the mainstream.

So, what’s the Mazda MX-30 got to offer this brave new world of EVs?

Pricing starts from €30,965 for the Mazda MX-30 rising to €35,565 for a top of the range model, including grants and VRT relief. Power comes from a 35.5 kWh battery, with a WLTP range of 200 km. More on that later.

Over the years, the Japanese brand has firmly established itself with one of the best-looking ranges of cars in the world. Icons like the Mazda MX-5 seem to live on forever, never dimming in popularity or sheer icon status despite ever changing market trends. Quality and driving appeal are also undoubtedly key strengths of the Japanese brand in Europe. And the brand’s growing range of SUVs like the CX-5 and CX-30 are still some of the best around.

The MX-30 goes on sale from €30,965 in Ireland
The MX-30 goes on sale from €30,965 in Ireland

Enter MX-30. The new Mazda MX-30 is quirky, no doubt about it. Mazda has had some fun with the design of this one. It is more of a crossover than an outright SUV, with an extraordinary cool urban coupé-like appearance and equally dramatic and divisive ‘freestyle’ doors.

But in a world of vanilla crossovers and SUVs, at Changing Lanes we appreciate the Mazda’s cool new perspective on an electric crossover for the 2020s. Plastic cladding around the lower bumpers and wheel arches are mandatory for any modern urban crossover, and the elevated ride height and driving position give the MX-30 some cache in the market too.

Inside the new MX-30

Inside the MX-30 there is an intriguing mix of convention and next generation Mazda interior. Switch gear is largely familiar Mazda territory. It’s good quality and easy to navigate. But the Mazda MX-30 deviates substantially with a new touchscreen operation for ventilation controls, which actually works okay, and some very interesting, tactile cabin materials. The MX-30 interior is true designer with real cork in the centre console, and lashings of soft touch materials that would not look out of place in a cool living room.

But all this design rigour has some trade-off. The freestyle doors are beautiful and quirky but are just not as practical for access. That will only really matter if this part of your vehicle is in regular use. Once you are seated back there you will realise that this crossover is on the small side considering the price point. And the rear windows are small and don’t open! But the boot has a capacity of 366 litres so it seems realistic for a car of this size.

The interior of the 2021 Mazda MX-30
The interior of the 2021 Mazda MX-30

What are my options?

In Ireland the new Mazda MX-30 will be available in four trim levels: First Edition, GS-L, GT and GT Sport. Standard equipment includes radar cruise control, windscreen projected head-up-display, front and rear parking sensors, LED headlights and a rear camera. Higher grades such as the GT Sport add equipment like 12 speaker Bose sound system, sunroof and 360° view camera.

The MX-30 First Edition model on test for Changing Lanes features 8-way power driver seat with memory setting, adaptive LED signature headlights and a choice of dark or light leatherette and cloth interior. There's also the latest MyMazda app that allows you to control charging using a timer, monitor charging progress, and see your range indicator. The MyMazda app also gives real-time information on charging point availability and location, and can send the destination directly to the navigation system.

What kind of battery and range does it have?

Mazda is defying convention by using a lower capacity battery than many rivals to power the Mazda MX-30. The MX-30’s 35.5 kWh battery has a 200 km range measured by WLTP on a combined cycle. But in real world driving 150 km is more realistic.

Naturally this means the Mazda MX-30 is not in the range race. In fact it does limit the car’s appeal as it doesn’t give the same amount of ‘freedom’ as some electric vehicles in the same ball park. There is rationale to it of course. Mazda is on a ‘right-sized’ battery approach to building electric vehicles. That means that they haven’t stuffed the MX-30 with a high capacity battery in a race to win range. Mazda cites this as more efficient electric motoring, avoiding the weight of a larger battery and reducing energy spend over the entire life cycle of the vehicle ‘from well to wheel’. This strategy also keeps overall vehicle weight lower for better handling and agility, which is currently not the case for many EVs.

With 145 PS and maximum torque output of 271 Nm, the front-wheel drive MX-30 will accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 9.7 seconds. But it’s not one you feel like flooring the throttle in.

Freestyle doors in the Mazda MX-30
Freestyle doors in the Mazda MX-30

Driving the Mazda MX-30

True this is a good electric vehicle to drive. Unique for the segment, the Japanese brand created the motor pedal, which gives a more natural feel behind the wheel. There is some lean in fast cornering but the Mazda MX-30 is largely fun and interesting to drive. A true statement car with some very sophisticated engineering with Mazda’s typical human centric approach that makes you the centre of the universe once behind the wheel!

To help the driver feel more connected to the car and driving process, aural feedback is provided via the audio system in sync with pressure applied to the accelerator. It’s very impressive and gives that impression of revving an engine and moving through gears. Technologies such as electric G-Vectoring Control Plus (e-GVC Plus) ensure a natural feeling behind the wheel and stability while cornering.

The car is aimed at two-car households or those who live in cities or towns. But having the ability to charge at home will be essential for ownership of this car. Fast charging is available through a CCS charging adapter at 50 kW, giving 80% battery power in 36 minutes. It can be charged to full in as little as 5 hours at home.

Did you like it?

The Mazda MX-30 is a really interesting electric vehicle that makes a statement and stands out for its design and quality. Make no mistake, this car has been exceptionally well built and engineered. The cabin is comfortable and uniquely different with real attention to detail. We think it’s fair to say there are some compromises to practicality but the Mazda MX-30 is a more niche buy for buyers who value a more premium feeling electric vehicle. And Mazda Ireland have managed to keep the price of the car accessible here. So if you love Mazda, good design, and can charge at home, the MX-30 might be the one for you!

The Mazda MX-30 is a stylish addition to any urban driveway!
The Mazda MX-30 is a stylish addition to any urban driveway!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Mazda MX-30 First Edition
Price: 
€31,795
Battery: 
35.5kWh
Range (WLTP): 200 km
Power: 145 PS (107 kW)
Torque: 271 Nm
Top speed: 140 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 9.7 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
0 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€120 per year

 

 


The Renault Captur E-TECH Hybrid on test for Changing Lanes!

Renault Captur Hybrid (2021) Review

The Renault Captur E-TECH Hybrid on test for Changing Lanes!
The Renault Captur E-TECH Hybrid on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the new Renault Captur Hybrid!

Renault joins the hybrid pack with the new Renault Captur E-TECH Plug-in Hybrid. The ever-popular Captur now offers buyers the choice of petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid power, as tested here for Changing Lanes.

Based on the latest generation of the Captur - which launched in Ireland in 2020 - the new Renault Captur E-TECH Plug-in Hybrid offers buyers a pure electric driving range of up to 50 km with CO2 emissions as low as 34 g per kilometre.

What's new for the Captur in 2021?

Priced from €30,170, the new Renault Captur E-TECH sits at the higher end of the Captur range. There are two well-equipped trim levels – S-Edition and the all the bells and whistles E-TECH launch version (from €31,170). Under the bonnet, there’s a 1.6-litre petrol engine, which combined with two electric motors and 9.8 kWh battery produces 160 hp, making it the most powerful Captur in the range. It’s also an automatic by design for even more convenience in traffic or town.

At Changing Lanes, we are very fond of the latest generation of the Captur. Now in its second generation, the Renault Captur has really hit its stride in design and quality. It sports more mature styling but still looks fun, classy, and colourful. Interior quality has improved with a stylish finish that suits this small SUV very well indeed.

The Captur E-TECH Hybrid range starts from €30,170
The Captur E-TECH Hybrid range starts from €30,170

Inside the Renault Captur Hybrid

Inside the 2021 Renault Captur, you will find a comfortable cabin filled with Renault’s latest digital technology and infotainment. The portrait style touch screen measures 9.3 inches as standard and looks very contemporary in the centre of the dash, with crisp graphics and compatibility with smartphones through the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto interfaces. The driver also has the treat of a full digital driver display, which includes some information about the hybrid system for this special E-TECH model.

The Captur also appears perfectly sized with a good feeling of space inside the cabin, good shoulder room and feels roomy in the back for this class of vehicle. The rear bench can be slid forward and back as an extra practical feature. Boot volume is down on the standard diesel and petrol versions of the car – between 265 and 379 litres depending on position of the rear bench.

Equipment levels are very high with our S-Edition test car packing in traffic light recognition, cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, 17" alloys, automatic climate control, automatic high beam, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera, roof bars, two tone colour paint, rear privacy glass and wireless phone charging.

Inside the new Renault Captur E-TECH Hybrid
Inside the new Renault Captur E-TECH Hybrid

So what’s it like to drive?

Based on Renault's modular CMF-B architecture, the new Captur was designed for electrification from the start. E-TECH powertrains use advanced technology influenced by the Renault DP World F1 team, including a multi-mode clutchless gearbox for smooth and swift responses.

The Captur E-TECH hybrid takes off super silently in electric power. It remains smooth and sophisticated in the cabin, dealing with bumps in the road well despite its compact nature. The extra power available in this car is a real surprise and battery powered acceleration a delight for the right foot. Who knew 160 hp in a Captur could feel so good? It gives this car the maturity and responsiveness of a larger, more sophisticated car.

The Captur handles the road well but it is not a sports car, with the battery adding some weight that makes it less up for a dance through corners. But we are happy with the Captur’s performance and think that Renault engineers have done a good job here.

Remember you can charge this car in about three hours at 3.6 kW and enjoy up to 50 km on full battery power. This is ideal for buyers who can charge regularly and drive around town often on electric power. I was a bit tardy when it came to charging, but I still managed to achieve an average fuel consumption over a week of driving of 5.7 litres per 100 kms. Not bad at all!

The Captur E-TECH is powerful and efficient
The Captur E-TECH is powerful and efficient

Did you like it?

The Renault Captur is a fantastic small SUV. Our recent test drive was a reminder of all we love about this car – stylish, fun interior, spacious and practical. So what happens when you add plug-in hybrid?

Renault is revving up their entire range at the moment with the addition of hybrid to Clio, Captur and the Megane range. Of course any manufacturer worth their salt needs to be rolling out this technology at the moment. Renault already markets the popular all-electric Renault ZOE. But plug-in hybrid can be an interesting stepping stone to going full electric, allowing users adapt to charging a car and running on electric power.

Renault has meshed plug-in hybrid technology well into the Captur so we are impressed with this car’s feel on the road and power. Even without charging it posts some competitive efficiency figures. Though the real bonus is for buyers who run on electric power regularly and keep the battery topped up.

Captur has already got some great petrol and diesel engines on offer in the range. The Captur plug-in hybrid has a high spec and automatic gearbox, but it still commands a high list price with some compromise to boot space.

We like the Captur plug-in hybrid – it’s a good car – and when you compare it to other high spec automatics in the Captur range, it’s priced in the same ballpark. Whatever way you look at Captur – petrol, diesel or hybrid – it makes such a great small SUV.

2021 Renault Captur - a great small SUV now with hybrid power!
2021 Renault Captur - a great small SUV now with hybrid power!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Renault Captur E-TECH Plug-in Hybrid
Price: 
€30,170
Engine: 
1.6-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 
160 hp
0-100km/h:
10.1 seconds
Top speed: 
173 km/h
Fuel economy: 1.5-1.6 l/100 km
CO2 emissions (WLTP): 
34 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€140 per year