TowTruck247.ie dublin towing company

Interview With TowTruck247, Dublin Towing Company

TowTruck247.ie dublin towing company
Behind the scenes with a Dublin-based towing company! We talk to TowTruck247.ie to find out more about this business

In this interview we talk to Andrew from TowTruck247.ie, a Dublin towing company, to find out more about the car recovery business. Andrew tells us about what the company offers Irish motorists as well as his experience in specialised classic car transportation and what he likes most about helping people on the roads in need. Also, please read down for some professional advice on how to stay safe at the side of the road should you have a car breakdown!

1. Can you introduce yourself and what you do?

TowTruck247 is a car breakdown recovery and towing company based in Dublin. We offer quick, professional assistance for cars and light commercial vehicles. We also offer our customers roadside assistance, flat battery jump start, battery replacement on the spot, scrap car removal, nationwide towing service or nationwide car transportation. We are a fully insured and registered towing company, accepting all types of payment - cash, card payment, payment over the phone, payment by cheque and bank transfers. We can also provide a VAT invoice. We are proud of our fleet of trucks, which are well-maintained and ready for call-outs anywhere in Ireland.

2. How did you get started in the car towing and recovery business?

I decided to open my own business after a few years working as a driver in a towing and recovery company.

3. What areas are you available for call-outs and how quickly can your towing company respond?

We are available for all local jobs in the counties of Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow and Meath. In Dublin you can avail of our services across districts such as Crumlin, Tallaght, Dundrum, Rathgar, Rathmines, Terenure, Blackrock, Stillorgan, Ballsbridge and Donnybrook. We can dispatch our truck in as little as 35 minutes in response to call-outs. We can send our tow truck to any destination on the island of Ireland. We very often receive calls to tow a car for example from Cork to Dublin or from Dublin to Galway, or even from Belfast to Limerick.

You can request a quote online from TowTruck247
You can request a quote online from TowTruck247

4. What type of vehicles can you assist with?

We can do towing and recovery for all models of car, SUV, vans/light commercial vehicles. We also assist in the recovery of motorbikes and vintage cars because we have the knowledge and experience to deal safely with expensive and rare vehicles.

5. Can you describe a typical day at TowTruck247?

We operate a 24 hour service so our drivers work in shifts. When our drivers begin their shift, they carry out a number of routine checks on the truck, inside and outside. A typical day for us would be busy in the morning with call-outs, quiet during lunchtime, and after 2 or 3 pm it starts to get busy again with calls from drivers who have broken down and require assistance. Nights are usually quiet but we can get one or two calls per night.  When the shift is finished, the driver clocks out and can go home to rest.

6. When you arrive at the scene of a call-out, what checks and routines do you go through before work can commence to secure the vehicle? 

When we arrive the first thing we do is switch on all the hazard lights on the tow truck. After all lights are on and the truck is safely parked, we can get out and access if the driver needs any health help. We check the condition of the car before we do anything - is the car starting? Are the wheels rolling or stuck? We must also make sure all occupants have left the vehicle before we start. Once all checks have been made, we attach a special hook under the car to begin pulling it. Once in position on the trailer we secure all four wheels with special straps and we're ready to go.

TowTruck247 offer a quality classic car transportation service around Ireland for your precious vintage car!
TowTruck247 offer a quality classic car transportation service around Ireland for your precious vintage car!

7. Can you tell us about the most precious cars you have helped out with a tow?

From my experience the most precious car was a 2016 Bentley Continental GTS V8. Everything was fine with the car, it just needed transportation from Dublin to Donegal for one of our customers. Our most unusual jobs are when we deal with classic cars.  All vintage cars need more care and maximum attention when loading, during transportation, and unloading. They might be very old or not in the best condition.

8. What's the biggest challenge? 

When you work in towing and recovery for more than 10 years you understand that the biggest challenge in this business is when you get a call to rescue cars from the scene of a car accident. This is because you never know what to expect when you arrive there. How bad was the car crashed? How long will it take to clear the road? Will you need to block the whole road? Will Garda assistance be needed? and much more...

9. What do you enjoy about your work? 

Our job is hard and you need good skills. But as strange as it may sound, I like my job because I enjoy seeing people happy when I arrive to help them with their problems. And of course it's nice to work around cars.

10. When choosing a towing company, what should our readers look out for? 

These days it's easy to find a towing company but it's also easy to get unprofessional assistance from a company that is not registered or fully insured. My advice to drivers looking for towing and recovery service is to call a trusted company that is fully insured and qualified to do the work. Check the price of the service and the arrival time from the call-out. A cheap company might not be as professional as the one asking more. Also ask if you can pay by card with contact less payment to minimise risk in this time of Coronavirus. And always ask for a receipt.

what to do if your car breaks down
Do you know what to do to stay safe if your car breaks down at the side of the road?

11. How would you like to grow and develop your towing business over the next few years? 

We always do our best for our customers. Because happy customers mean one more step to success.

In the future we would like to expand our fleet of tow trucks, and hire more friendly and professional drivers and operators. We also plan to open more branches in cities like Cork, Galway, Limerick...

We would also like to gain more opportunities with insurance companies.

12. What advice do you have for anyone who gets stuck at the side of the road? 

The essential thing to bear in mind in this situation is to stay safe. If possible, the driver should position the car in a safe place as soon as possible. Put on the hazard and side lights. If you have a visibility vest, wear it. The driver and passengers should stay well away from the car, if possible. If the breakdown has happened on a national road or minor road, then the safest place to be is in the car. If the breakdown has happened on a motorway, do not place any warning device such as a triangle on the motorway as it may be too dangerous. Move your vehicle to the hard shoulder. Park as near to the left as you can. If you cannot do this, take steps to warn other drivers such as switching on your hazard warning lights. Do not walk on the motorway. Leave your vehicle through the left-hand door and make sure your passengers do the same. Leave animals in the vehicle or, in an emergency, keep them under control on the verge. Never try to do repairs yourself on the road. Contact a breakdown service provider right away!

It's always handy to have the number of a breakdown and recovery service in your phone in case of emergency so make a note of TowTruck247 on 087-6003684 for a professional towing service.

TowTruck247 dublin towing company


Melina and her Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet

Melina Mihaylova's Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet

Melina and her Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet
Melina and her Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet

This week we are meeting Melina Mihaylova and a beautiful Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet! Melina was born in Bulgaria, but is now living and working in London. Melina's day job is veterinary surgeon and her creative outlet is her lifestyle blog called Mell's World where she shares interesting features on her life and loves across beauty, lifestyle, travel, family and fast cars!

Melina has loved cars for most of her life. She clearly appreciates style and quality so she drives a current generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet. This model debuted back in 2014 and was a return to form for the German brand in the compact executive segment. The C-Class range quickly gained notoriety for refinement and interior elegance. The breadth of the range also means more options for customers with the new C-Class available as a saloon, estate, coupé or cabriolet.

In this interview Melina tells us more about where her passion for cars began and an interesting story of how she and her husband found their C-Class Cabriolet!

1. Can you introduce yourself to our readers in a few sentences?

My name is Melina but mostly I go by Melly or Mell. I’m a veterinary surgeon and I’ve got a lifestyle blog - Mell’s World. Recently upgraded to a mom as well, so I guess that will be affecting my car choices in the future as well! I’ve loved cars pretty much for as long as I can remember. When I was around 2-3 years old my Christmas wish was “4 expensive cars”, which at that time meant literally any little model car. My biggest dream was one with a remote control, which I never got, as they were very hard to find at that time in Bulgaria (where I was born). So I think I will be using my little boy as an excuse to fulfil that dream of mine! Otherwise, I got my driving license pretty much the moment I was legally allowed to and have been loving my time behind the wheel ever since.

The C-Class is known for its refinement and interior elegance
The C-Class is known for its refinement and interior elegance - check out that cabin!

2. What car do you drive?

At the moment we’ve got two cars - ‘17 Mercedes-Benz C220d Cabriolet and one epic little ‘06 Fiat Panda. Me and the husband don’t have “my car” and “your car”, however unlike me, he’s not really bothered by what he drives as long as it gets him to where he needs to be.

3. Why did you buy this car?

The Mercedes - we wanted a fun car. That was pretty much it. In the UK, contrary to popular beliefs, the weather is perfect for a convertible - not too cold and not too hot. So considering it was just me and the husband cruising around the country, the Merc was the best possible choice. I absolutely love it and it was actually funny how we bought it. We liked the model but many dealerships refused to sell one to us without a meeting or a test drive. However, at that particular time, both me and my husband were super busy at work (and let’s face it, it’s a brand new car, not much can be wrong with it), so in the end we found a place in North Wales willing to just sell the car and ship it to us from their showroom. And that’s how we bought a car via email.

4. What do you like about it?

I love the quality of the car - the materials, the interior, the comfort...the moment you get in it you feel super relaxed and luxurious. It’s not a car for speed and racing, although it can be quite nippy when you switch to Sport+ mode and push the pedal. It’s a car for cruising down the coastline with the roof down, enjoying the sun and the breeze. In the same time it has a bit of a dark and twisty spirit to it with its black seats and obsidian black paint. I just love it!

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/B_rYDpcDhgG/

5. Is there anything you would change about it?

I would probably get a petrol instead of diesel if I had to choose again. And if I could change anything about the design, I’d make the boot opening larger as it’s embarrassingly small and can barely fit anything through it.

6. What's in the glovebox?

Sunscreen! And wet wipes for the dashboard and the windows.

7. Favourite memory of the car?

Driving down the seaside in Devon. That car is designed for such places!

8. Three words to describe your car?

Comfortable. Relaxing. Dark.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet: Comfortable; relaxing; dark
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet: Comfortable; relaxing; dark

9. What do you think about the current line-up of Mercedes' cars?

I actually love their new A-Class. I had the opportunity to drive two of them in the last year and I think they’ve done great! If I needed a comfortable city car, that would have been my choice. I’m quite excited about the EQC but sadly still haven’t had a chance to try it out and compare it to the competitors Tesla Model X and Audi’s e-tron that I’ve tested, but hopefully we’ll rectify that soon!

10. We know you love your Mercedes, but if you could add one more car to your garage, what would it be if the budget was unlimited?

Nissan GTR. No doubt about that! I’ve loved that car since like forever and it’s just something I’d love to own one day. There are plenty of other exciting expensive cars I could pick but in this case it’s not really about the money (you can find a GTR at the price of the Merc easily). It’s about the sound that it makes and the way it looks and drives. I had the pleasure to test one and I am not ashamed to admit I had tears in my eyes when I got to rev the engine!

The iconic Nissan GT-R, another favourite of Melina's
The iconic Nissan GT-R, another favourite of Melina's

Many thanks to Melly for taking part in this interview! You can follow Melly's adventures on Instagram and Facebook.

Would you like to find out more about the Mercedes-Benz C-Class range? Check out a Changing Lanes review!

Saloon

Estate

Coupé


Mark Lidstone's Honda NSX

Mark Lidstone's Honda NSX

Mark Lidstone's Honda NSX
Mark Lidstone's Honda NSX at home in the Canadian landscape

Now we turn to Canada to meet Mark Lidstone and his Honda NSX. The NSX is an icon, imagine having one in your garage?

The NSX, Honda's mid-engined, rear wheel drive supercar, debuted as a concept at the Chicago Auto Show back in 1989. In North America, it was marketed as the Acura NSX - Acura is a spin off of Honda to market luxury high end vehicles. But this side of the Atlantic, it will always be known as the Honda NSX.

The first generation NSX was low slung and super light with the world's first all-aluminium monocoque, titanium connecting rods and a high-revving VTEC V6 engine putting out 270 hp.

In the early stages of development, the R&D team spent a month testing the prototype at Honda's Suzuka Circuit in Japan. In February 1989, around the same time as the NS-X Concept model's debut in Chicago, legendary F1 driver Ayrton Senna was in Japan to test the new Honda F1 car. The engineering team asked Senna if he would evaluate the NSX prototype. Even though the production NSX targeted levels of rigidity equalling Porsche and Ferrari, Senna felt it could be better.

"I'm not sure I can really give you appropriate advice on a mass-production car," Senna told the team, "but I feel it's a little fragile."

Based on Senna's input and over eight months of continuous effort to improve the body design including testing at Germany's Nürburgring, engineers increased the car's rigidity by 50 percent.

There's a little bit of history about the Honda NSX. But what about an owner's perspective? In this interview Mark Lidstone gives us some insight into what makes the NSX so special!

1. Can you introduce yourself in a few sentences?

My name is Mark Lidstone. I live in Port Moody, British Columbia just outside Vancouver. I am married and have 2 wonderful daughters. I have worked in the automotive industry for 18 years with Honda, Tesla and Mercedes-Benz.

2. What car do you drive?

A 1992 Grand Prix White (GPW) Honda NSX.

3. Why did you buy this car?

I bought this car to fulfil a commitment I made myself when I was 9 years old and first saw one on the cover of a car magazine at the grocery store. Many years later, I was fortunate enough to be in a position to buy one and began my search. After 6 years of looking, I found mine in Memphis, Tennessee, and bought it unseen literally 6 minutes after the ad was posted.

The Honda NSX classic mid engined supercar
The Honda NSX classic mid-engined supercar in Grand Prix White

4. What do you like about it?

The purity of the driving experience. Manual steering, naturally aspirated engine, dynamics set up by Ayrton Senna…it is a special event every time I have occasion to drive it.

5. Is there anything you would change about it?

I did not fit very well in this car so I ended up purchasing a piece of foam and customizing a new seat cushion that I installed in the factory leather seat cover. It dropped me about 1.5 inches, which was just enough to keep my head from touching the roof. Aside from that, perhaps a larger gas tank so I don’t have to stop so often!

6. What's in the glovebox?

1 Microfiber cloth, insurance/ownership papers, a hidden USB outlet I installed and ran to the upgraded stereo to keep the interior looking clean, and lastly, my fancy leather driving gloves.

7. Favourite memory of the car?

I have two…the first was in 2016 when I sent it down to an NSX specialist in Arizona for a complete engine rebuild and some other less major enhancements. After months apart I flew down to collect it and drove back to Vancouver through San Francisco. In all it was about 10 days and 3600 km. I took the long way back through some amazing parts of Northern California and the Pacific North West.

The second just happened last week when I got to take my daughter Audrey for her first drive. Honda had the foresight to install a threaded anchor location for a tether bolt behind the passenger seat so I can now properly install her seat and bring her for rides (provided mom signs off!)

Mark and his daughter Audrey testing cabin comfort in the Honda NSX
Mark and his daughter Audrey testing cabin comfort in the Honda NSX

8. Three words to describe your car?

Responsive. Beautiful. Timeless.

9. What do you think about the new NSX and Honda's products and position in the market right now?

I have yet to drive the new NSX but did fly to the Detroit Auto Show with some friends when it had its North American release. I must have spent all day staring and being told by various Honda reps to move along and give someone else a chance. I understand the need to innovate and am impressed by the engineering that has gone into it however I guess I consider myself more of a purist. Colin Chapman said “simplify, then add lightness…” but the world in general has gone the other way, not just Honda. Crash structures, hybrids, EVs, pedestrian safety…as the products have evolved due to changing priorities, it does seem like less attention is being given to simple driver enjoyment. The new NSX is certainly a fast car from what I have seen but I do not think it would speak in quite the same way.

I will always be a big supporter of Honda and its products although the styling these days seems to have gone a bit bonkers. They still make great cars that excel at their duties but not what I would consider too desirable, save of course, the new NSX. It’s good to see them return to F1 as an engine supplier and I have always been a fan of their various motorsport endeavours. The next big revolution will be EVs and Honda has not been investing heavily in that so long term I am concerned however it still remains to be seen if EVs will be the way forward.

10. What kind of reaction does the NSX get?

Always positive. It seems like everyone loves an NSX! Most people react to it the way I did before I owned one. I am a big fan of seeing the reaction it causes on the road since there are so few out here. It is such a beautiful machine and deserves to be shown off and enjoyed by all.

Thanks to Mark for taking part in this interview!

You can follow Mark and his adventures with the NSX over on Instagram.

The iconic silhouette of the Honda NSX
The iconic silhouette of the Honda NSX

Breda drives a 6th generation BMW 5 Series like this one

Breda Grumley Lalor's BMW 5 Series

Breda drives a 6th generation BMW 5 Series like this one
Breda drives a 6th generation BMW 5 Series like this one

In this week's Me and My Car feature we are meeting Breda Grumley Lalor and her BMW 5 Series! Breda is a wedding dress consultant and co-owner of the Bridal Hall, an award-winning bridal salon in Ballybrittas, County Laois. At the Bridal Hall, Breda and her sister Caroline stock a wide range of wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses in a cosy setting. They are experts in their field and offer a full service, including in-house alterations. Breda knows style and has been immersed in the bridal fashion industry for over 20 years. So it's no surprise that she drives a white BMW 5 Series, a seriously glam car to match a very stylish and accomplished woman!

Breda drives the 6th generation of the BMW 5 Series, or in BMW speak, the 'F10', produced between 2010 and 2016. The 5 Series has long been a popular large saloon in Ireland and continues to impress buyers with its comfort, refinement, quality and sporty driving character. As Breda so aptly puts it, the 5 Series 'loves the road'. With every new generation of the car, BMW adds more technology and tweaks the styling but never strays too far from a successful formula.

I asked Breda a few questions about her choice of car.

1. Can you introduce yourself in a few sentences?

Hi, my name is Breda Grumley Lalor and I'm married to John with three kids. I've been working in the Bridal Hall every day for the last 20 years, helping brides select their perfect dress from our selection.

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BveSPWjh8fS/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

2. What car do you drive? 

I drive a white BMW 520d diesel.

3. What do you like about it?

I just love BMW and this is my third one. It loves the road and I love driving it! I really like that it's an automatic. It's really comfortable and the heated seats are great for cold mornings. Long journeys are a delight because it's so smooth on the road. And it’s white.

4. Is there anything you would change about it? 

The only thing I will say is that it could be a bit bigger for when I have the whole family with me.

5. What's in the glovebox?

Sunglasses, recipes and lipstick.

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BtRlhJQhGgS/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

6. And one piece of advice for brides to be when it comes to choosing a car for their big day?

"If you are wearing a ball gown make sure your car is big enough for it to sit comfortably," says Breda.

Sounds like pretty sound practical advice!

Check out the Bridal Hall on Facebook and Bridesmaids by Breda.

We spent a few days driving a beautiful white BMW 5 Series M Sport back in 2017. Check out our review to find out more about the 5 Series and its best features!


The 2020 Toyota Corolla

Ireland's Bestselling Cars So Far In 2020

Today marks the first day of the 202 registration plate in Ireland. It has been an unexpected difficult start to the year for the motor industry in Ireland with the impact of the Coronavirus on the Irish economy now well documented. However, cars are still being sold and dealerships have been open since the middle of May for sales, repairs and service with new hygiene measures in place.

We have already looked at the new models on sale Ireland in 2020 from every car manufacturer in this article. But what about Ireland's bestselling cars? Now that we are halfway through the year it feels like a good idea to recap on the most popular models on sale in 2020. Check out our list below of the top 10 bestselling cars so far in 2020!

10. Volkswagen Golf

The new 2020 Volkswagen Golf now on sale in Ireland
The new 2020 Volkswagen Golf now on sale in Ireland

Available from €23,950

2020 units sold: 1,160

The perennial Volkswagen Golf has long been a bestseller in Ireland but has slipped down the rankings so far this year.  It still finds itself in the top 10 and a new generation of the Golf should boost the car's fortunes once again. Generation 8 of the classic German hatchback has just arrived in dealers and boasts some impressive new digital technology in the interior and mild hybrid engines for the first time.

9. Nissan Qashqai

The Nissan Qashqai is still a popular buy on the new and used car market
The Nissan Qashqai is still a popular buy on the new and used car market

Available from €27,700

2020 units sold: 1,214

The Qashqai is a former number one bestseller in Ireland. This is the car that started the crossover revolution and is a hugely popular family car in Ireland, both on the new and used market. The second generation of the car continued the brand's success and is available with petrol and diesel engines.

8. Toyota Yaris

The popular Toyota Yaris is also available as a hybrid
The popular Toyota Yaris is also available as a hybrid

Available from €15,950

2020 units sold: 1,251

The popular supermini is a consistent top 10 bestseller in Ireland for the Japanese brand, known for straight forward motoring and reliability. The Yaris is available with small efficient petrol and hybrid powertrains.

7. Toyota C-HR

The 2020 Toyota C-HR
The 2020 Toyota C-HR

Available from €30,620

2020 units sold: 1,268

The C-HR turned out to be an immediate success in Ireland when it launched here in 2017. A revamped version arrived in Ireland at the end of 2019 with tweaked styling and a new more powerful 2.0-litre hybrid powertrain joining the frugal 1.8-litre hybrid in the range. Avant garde looks make it one of the best looking mid size crossovers on Irish roads.

6. Skoda Octavia

The Skoda Octavia blends affordability with practical features
The Skoda Octavia blends affordability with practical features

Available from €24,340

2020 units sold: 1,420

The Octavia's popularity shows no signs of abating. Even with the imminent arrival of a new model, the Octavia has retained strong sales. The Octavia's blend of good value pricing and practical features have really struck a chord with Irish buyers.

5. Hyundai Kona

The new Hyundai Kona Hybrid
The new Hyundai Kona Hybrid, one of the smallest hybrid crossovers on sale in Ireland

Available from €21,495

2020 units sold: 1,444

Another bestseller for Hyundai, the Kona's popularity just keeps growing. Ireland's favourite compact crossover is now available with petrol and diesel engines, hybrid and electric meaning there really is something for everyone in the Kona range. Throw in striking looks and a fun to drive quality and you have one of the most desirable small crossovers on Irish roads.

4. Ford Focus

The new Ford Focus
The Ford Focus continues to sell well in Ireland

Available from €23,539

2020 units sold: 1,594

A new generation of the Focus debuted in Ireland in summer 2018 with improved interior, equipment and technology. The Focus is a great value family hatchback that's comfortable and fun to drive. It retains a strong position within Ireland's top 5 bestselling cars.

3. Volkswagen Tiguan

The Volkswagen Tiguan is now more popular in Ireland than the iconic Golf hatchback!
The Volkswagen Tiguan is now more popular in Ireland than the iconic Golf hatchback!

Available from €31,750

2020 units sold: 1,793

The latest generation of the Volkswagen Tiguan has been a huge success in Ireland since it was launched in 2016 and now outsells the Golf. The mid size family SUV boasts a high quality practical interior and a range of well proven petrol and diesel engines.

2. Hyundai Tucson

The new Hyundai Tucson N Line
The new Hyundai Tucson N Line

Available from €27,495

2020 units sold: 1,997

Ireland's most popular SUV. The blend of affordability along with cool chunky SUV looks has been a winner for the Hyundai brand in Ireland. Mild hybrid technology is new to the range for 2020 and there is also a new sporty N Line.

1. Toyota Corolla

The 2020 Toyota Corolla
The 2020 Toyota Corolla

Available from €26,390

2020 units sold: 2,497

Toyota scored a hat trick in 2019 with the arrival of three exciting new Corolla models -  a hatchback, estate and saloon. The new Corolla quickly became Ireland's bestselling car and continues that trend in 2020. This new generation of the Corolla impresses for its much improved interior and dynamic ability, while fuel sipping hybrid powertrains strike the right note too. In 2020 there is a new GR Sport trim level and a more powerful 2.0-litre hybrid powertrain available. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also available for the first time.

Check out the latest 202 offers from all the brands to get the best deal on your next car.

To read reviews of all the latest models check out our extensive Car Reviews, divided up into categories for your convenience!


Elizabeta is a technology journalist in Slovakia. Here she is with the Tesla Model S

10 Questions With Elizabeta Harry Gavendova, Tech Journalist

Elizabeta is a technology journalist in Slovakia. Here she is with the Tesla Model S
Elizabeta is a technology journalist based in Slovakia. Here she is with the Tesla Model S

This week in the Changing Lanes interview series, we meet Elizabeta Harry Gavendova, a technology journalist from Slovakia. Imagine reviewing the latest smartphone and then finding a Tesla in your test schedule? This is Elizabeta's life as a tech journalist with a media company in Slovakia! I think Elizabeta has an interesting and unique perspective on motoring. And the smartphone and technology industry is hardly that different to the car world. Every new product is ‘better’ than the one that went before - more power, new features, sleeker, lighter, 'the best we ever made'!

In this interview Elizabeta gives us some insight into her world, with some nice cars dotted along her journey. No surprises her favourite feature in the car is good smartphone connectivity!

1. Can you introduce yourself to our readers in a few sentences?

Hi guys, I'm a Slovak technology journalist for more than 7 years. I work for a well-known Slovak newspaper and website Hospodarske noviny. It focuses on economics and politics, but there is also a Technology section that I am responsible for. I write articles, and shoot and edit videos for our own internet television too. Testing smartphones or other smart stuff is my daily routine, as were press conferences and travelling (before the corona times).

2. What attracted you to a career in journalism? Why technology?

I guess, it was destiny... but this destiny was called Johnny, haha. Well, I studied, travelled and worked abroad for a few years. Once I settled again back in Slovakia, my school friend Johnny told me I should audition for a technology TV show casting. I studied screenwriting and directing at film school and already had some experiences from local TV, so I tried it. I went through the casting and got the job at "World of Technologies". Suddenly I became a screenwriter and reporter, and I had to study all tech and nerdie stuff - from smartphones, to smart homes and cars. A new era began for me and I fell in love with this. But learning about technologies is never-ending, "work in progress"…

Elizabeta and the BMW i8
Elizabeta and the BMW i8

3. What do you like most about your job?

I am grateful for the trust of my superiors (in my current and previous roles) and the opportunities they gave me. I love to talk about new products, try new technologies, take part in world events, where new things are launched. Be it new smartphones or any other technologies. I love the excitement of writing an article quickly to a deadline or shooting video at an event, express editing on the laptop in the hotel room, or just in the corridor backstage at the show. It is an honour to get early access to some cool stuff.

4. What's your approach to reviewing products, be it a new smartphone or the latest new car?

Hmmm, my smartphones testing may not look like testing at all...I just use them like my daily driver, usually for two weeks. So, I have all my data, apps that I use, simply everything. I do not use any other smartphone at that time, so I really depend on this device. Whether it cost €150 or €1500. I notice how it behaves, if it is slow, fast, how is the gaming experience, I take pictures, videos and I compare with previous smartphones.

With cars - I do not test so much, maybe once a month. I started with electric cars, but now I try all kinds of power! During the week I drive just in the city, testing consumption over short distances. At the weekends, I go on longer journeys to get to know the car better. I also find a nice place to shoot them - and wash them before shooting. I’m not a real motor journalist (yet), I write more about technology than cars.

5. What can you tell us about the motor industry in Slovakia? What kind of trends do you see in the new car market? 

Fun fact, Slovakia is number one in car production “per capita” (car units made a year multiplied by the number of people). Jaguar Land Rover, Kia Motors, Volkswagen and PSA Group all have manufacturing facilities here.

I am not sure if Slovaks have any special preferences or trends but SUVs and crossovers are popular for families. We also feel familiar with Czech cars like Skoda, thanks to the former Czechoslovakia countries connection. Drag racing is popular too with competitions held to sprint up a hill called Pezinska Baba.

Elizabeta reporting on the latest technology products
Elizabeta reporting on the latest technology products

6. What has been the most interesting car to test and why?

Honestly, I try to be curious and excited about any car. But yeah, some experiences do leave a lasting experience. I was really amazed by the Rolls Royce Phantom. I promise, it was not just because of the luxury! But I liked that I could literally talk about that car for hours to introduce all of its interesting technology - great noise cancelling cabin, flying carpet approach, rear doors opening on the opposite side to what you are used to, star ceiling above your head, art gallery at the front passenger side, screens on the back seats. And of course, the V12 engine with more than 560 hp. I felt like I was behind the steering wheel of a huge ship. I also loved the BMW i8 and Tesla Model S90 D.

7. What's your favourite technology feature in the car?

I am obsessed with good smartphone connectivity. As I change smartphones and cars all the time, I love to see at least something familiar on the main display - Android Car or Apple CarPlay. I joke that I always get lost using the original navigation systems from carmakers. So, I like Google Maps in the car with actual traffic information, voice messages, Siri assistant, my favourite music on Spotify... Modern infotainment systems give me my personal comfort in any car.

8. What have you learnt from your role about consumers and the way we interact with technology?

Lol, I learnt that sometimes you could try to give the best advice to consumers - but they still choose the other product, which doesn't make sense at all! You advise them to choose one model because for example it has a great camera, but they still choose the worst model just because it has, let’s say, cooler design. I mean sometimes you can be sure you have a good product, but people may think differently to you. This is strange and exciting at the same time.

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-sPy85HmsS/

9. Favourite place in Slovakia for a road trip?

We have many castles and mountains so you can take a trip to places like Orava Castle, Bojnce Castle, Spis Castle, Hight Tatras. We have our own small “Route 66”, which goes across Slovakia from north to south. On this road you will find nice scenes and places of interest. One of the most beautiful roads is the route from Brezno through Telgart to Domasa. You can admire a cool looking viaduct in Telgart, Domasa dam, nice mountain at Kralova hola and more attractions.

10. What advice would you have for anyone who would like a career like yours?

If you really want to do that, study, observe, and be patient with tests and products. Also, watch older colleagues, experts, try to learn and absorb as much from them as you can. You do not have to agree with all of their opinions, but at least think about it. Do not think you are cleverer than others. Technology is such a great and huge field, you could miss some details. And then - just do it with passion.

Elizabeta shooting the Peugeot 208
Elizabeta shooting the Peugeot 208

Thanks to Elizabeta for taking part in this interview!

Stay up to date with Elizabeta's adventures over on Instagram.

By Caroline Kidd


Vicki Butler-Henderson and the Ferrari 458 Spider

EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Vicki Butler-Henderson

Vicki Butler-Henderson and the Ferrari 458 Spider
Vicki Butler-Henderson and the Ferrari 458 Spider

This week I'm delighted to share my interview with the legendary Vicki Butler-Henderson! A motoring journalist, racing driver and broadcaster for over 20 years, Vicki continues to be a reliable and entertaining face of motoring on TV with credits including hit shows like Top Gear and Fifth Gear. She has also been a road tester for Auto Express and What Car? magazines, and written for more titles including The Sunday Times and The Daily Telegraph.

When I was growing up, there weren't many women writing about cars in the magazines or reviewing them on TV. But there was Vicki Butler-Henderson. Vicki was my childhood hero. I remember seeing her on the cover of Top Gear magazine behind the wheel of the then very new Honda S2000. I think it was 1999. That image was very powerful for me. Role models do matter.

So when Vicki accepted my invitation request, it really made my day! In this interview, Vicki shares a special moment on set in Italy with the Ferrari 458 Spider. I watched the clip and I can see why. I've included the YouTube clip of this segment from Fifth Gear. Watch it. I think it really shows why Vicki is a star.

Vicki, for many fans in the UK and Ireland you have been the First Lady of automotive in print and TV for over 20 years. How does it feel to look back on this career?

VBH: I feel incredibly lucky to have a career I love. Racing karts from the age of 12, and my love of writing, enabled me to become a motoring journalist - and that was something that was never an option at a University when I left school! I have learned everything I know by being ‘on the job’ and I am so grateful to my father who opened the motorsport door to me when I was young. It also helps to be blessed with a little bit of driving talent, too. I am so happy to do what I do!

Vicki and the Honda S2000
Vicki and the Honda S2000

You bring energy to the screen that's very authentic and inspiring. What's the secret to communicating cars on screen?

VBH: Passion! Driving cars is what I totally love, and I have tested thousands of cars over the years so it is relatively easy for me to have the knowledge to rate a new car against its rivals. When I drive a car on TV, I tune in to the car’s characteristics and abilities and just put that into words. It also helps if I’m sliding around a race track because that always makes me smile!

We know you also like to race cars. What are your top driving tips?

VBH: I have three simple things that you can start doing as soon as you next get into your car.

  1. Keep your hands in the ‘quarter to three’ position on the steering wheel almost all of the time. Glue them there! It will mean that you always know which way the wheels are pointing (useful on black ice if you skid, for example), and in time this will also help you to be better connected to the tyres and understand what the tyres are telling you through your hands - the road’s surface, its undulations, camber etc.
  2. Lift your eyes! Look much further down the road than you are doing now to get more information about any upcoming hazards. This will give you a bit more time to react and to keep yourself safe - which is very important!
  3. Coming up to roundabouts, or country bends, do all your braking in as straight a line as possible. Change down the gears whilst you are braking, as well. This will then leave your hands free to turn the wheel to get round the roundabout/corner, and your feet free to start accelerating as you reach your exit point.

Just keep practising these 3 things as they are the foundations to becoming a better driver!

You became the owner of one of the last limited edition Ford Focus RS Heritage Edition models. The Focus RS is one of my personal favourites too! Can you explain why you chose it?

VBH: You have great taste! I adore any Ford with a RS badge because it represents the sportiest version of its type. The Focus is a great car for me because its handling is so much fun, and also it is a great family car with its rear doors and decent cabin space. The Heritage is rare, so its exclusivity is an added bonus, but the best thing about it is the noise - it pops and bangs! Perfect for the school run...

Ford Focus RS Heritage Edition
Vicki owns one of these limited edition Ford Focus RS Heritage Edition models

You must have had many great experiences behind the wheel, testing cars. Which cars and experiences really stand out for you?

VBH: Two highlights were when I was a presenter for Top Gear.

One was when I was testing a Formula One car for Top Gear - albeit a F1 car that was a few years old by the time I got behind the wheel.

The other is going skywards in a Jaguar jet fighter plane - a tenuous link to a car (Jaguar!) when we needed something to test against Aston Martin’s latest car.

I have had many more wonderful adventures as well with Fifth Gear, particularly when I was almost brought to tears (of joy!) testing a Ferrari 458 Spider on the roads above Ferrari’s HQ in Italy (on You Tube if you fancy a watch).

How do you feel about electric cars?

VBH: They are coming! The absolutely best thing about them is their instant torque - put your foot on the throttle and they pull away from a standstill with gusto! I just wish that the recharging infrastructure in the UK was brilliant. Charging stations need to be as frequent as petrol stations, or more so, and we need to be able to charge batteries as quickly as it currently takes to fill a tank of petrol, at the very least. Waiting at a petrol pump is a pretty dull experience as it is.

What advice would you give to anyone trying to start and progress in a career in motoring journalism?

VBH: Start by writing about cars - motorsport, classic cars, anything that you are passionate about - for your local parish paper or newspaper. Anything to get printed on paper or online! Then offer yourself as a work experience bod for a car magazine and make yourself indispensable!

When can we next see you on TV?

VBH: All the time on catch-up! ITV4 is also often running ’The Car Years’ which is a lovely 6-part show about the best two cars from six different years. Also, a new Fifth Gear should be on air in its annual autumn slot on Quest/Discovery.

Vicki and the Maserati Quattroporte
Vicki and the Maserati Quattroporte

Thanks to Vicki for taking part in this interview!

By Caroline Kidd


The 2020 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

New Cars 2020 Coming To Ireland

What cars are new in Ireland in 2020? We've listed all the new models from the brands reaching Ireland in 2020 and those already here for the 202 registration!

Alfa Romeo

The Alfa Romeo range in Ireland at the moment is based around the Giulietta hatchback, Giulia saloon and Stelvio SUV. We haven't seen any new models yet in 2020. But a new compact SUV called the Tonale is expected in 2021 and will slot in below the Stelvio in the range. It will be available as a plug-in hybrid and the brand's first electrified car. In Ireland, the brand is offering some limited edition Giulietta models, along with refreshed styling and interiors for the Giulia and Stelvio.

Audi

A revised Audi A4 and Audi Q7 arrived in dealers at the beginning of 2020. Both models feature changes in design, connectivity and a new engine line-up incorporating mild hybrid technology. Since January the range has also been bolstered by the arrival of the Audi A1 citycarver, Q3 Sportback and Audi Q5 TFSI e, the latter which has 367 hp and a pure electric range of over 40 km. This summer will see the arrival of the new generation of the Audi A3 Sportback, with the new A3 Saloon scheduled to arrive in the autumn. The new A3 will be available with petrol and diesel engines, and a digital cockpit will come as standard. Audi will also expand the electric range with the new Audi e-tron Sportback. This SUV coupé derivative of the e-tron will have a range up to 446 kilometres and will arrive later in summer 2020.

BMW

There are new plug-in hybrids in the BMW camp including the X5 xDrive45e, BMW X3 xDrive30e and X1 xDrive25e. In March the all-new BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé arrived in Ireland. BMW recently took the covers off the facelifted 5 Series range and the new 4 Series Coupé so we should see these models in Ireland before the end of the year. Mild hybrid technology is also being introduced across 51 models from this year including the 5 Series, 3 Series, 6 Series, 7 Series and X range, to improve dynamic performance and reduce fuel consumption in BMW combustion engines.

The new BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé, one of the cars heading to Ireland in 2020
The new BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé, one of the cars heading to Ireland in 2020

Citroen

The Citroen C5 Aircross is one of the brand's most popular models now in dealers and will be joined by a new C5 Aircross PHEV before the end of 2020. The plug-in hybrid combines a PureTech 180 hp petrol engine and an 80 kW electric motor to deliver an electric range of 50 km. The new C4 will debut in 2021 as a crossover, with petrol, diesel and electric powertrains.

CUPRA

The new CUPRA Formentor is expected in the second half of 2020 and will be the first model launched exclusively to the CUPRA brand. The high-performance plug-in hybrid will have 245 hp and an electric range of up to 50km. A CUPRA Leon is also expected in 2020.

The new CUPRA FormentorDacia

The Dacia Duster gets a more efficient TCe 100 petrol engine. Air conditioning is now standard for the 2020 model year.

Fiat

The new Fiat 500 Hybrid is available now. Expect to see a new Fiat 500e La Prima battery electric vehicle in the first few months of 2021.
There are also 2020 model year updates for the 500X, 500L and Tipo.

Ford

The new Ford Puma compact crossover arrived in Ireland in January and introduces mild hybrid technology. The new Kuga SUV has just arrived in dealers. It's available as a plug-in hybrid or with a 1.5-litre diesel engine. The new Mustang Mach-E is expected in Ireland before the end of the year. There are also mild hybrid variants of the Fiesta and Focus expected here.

The new Ford Mustang Mach-E!
The new Ford Mustang Mach-E!

Honda

The new Honda Jazz and Honda e are expected later in 2020. The new Jazz will be hybrid only. Buyers will also find the Civic and CR-V ranges in dealers, including the CR-V Hybrid. A subtly updated Civic range is expected from August.

Hyundai

New in dealers is the Hyundai Kona Hybrid, Ioniq Electric - which comes with an increased range of 312 km - and the new generation of the Hyundai i10 city car. Other interesting new models include the Tuscon now with mild hybrid technology and the Tucson N Line.

Jaguar

There's a new Jaguar F-TYPE in dealers with updated styling, equipment, engine and technical upgrades. Jaguar also has special 'Chequered Flag' editions of models like the E-PACE, F-PACE, XE and XF with more equipment and sportier styling.

The new Jaguar F-TYPE
The new Jaguar F-TYPE

Jeep

The first Renegade plug-in hybrid badged '4xe' is expected by the end of the year. Elsewhere, Renegade, Compass and Wrangler have all received updates for the 2020 model year.

Kia

New models include a facelifted Kia Niro PHEV and e-Niro. There's also the new XCeed range, which has been bolstered by the recent arrival of the XCeed plug-in hybrid. The Kia Sportage is now available with a 1.6 diesel with mild hybrid technology. A new seven seater Kia Sorento is expected before the end of the year, as is a facelifted Rio range.

Land Rover

The new Land Rover Defender has just arrived in dealers. Plug-in hybrids of the Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque are also on the way, along with a new three-cylinder petrol Ingenium engine.

The new Land Rover Defender
The new Land Rover Defender

Lexus

And updated RX large SUV arrived in January. A new UX 300e all electric compact crossover is expected in 2021.

Mazda

The latest arrival in the Mazda camp is the all-new CX-30 SUV. There's also a revised Mazda2 in dealers. The brand's first electric crossover, the Mazda MX-30, is expected in early 2021.

Mercedes-Benz

The latest arrivals in dealerships are the new GLB and GLA compact SUVs. The GLB is available with five or seven seats. Further SUV launches will be the GLS and the GLE Coupé. A facelifted E-Class range will arrive in July, followed by a new S-Class before the end of 2020.  We will also see the second EQ model in the form of a fully electric powered EQA SUV at some point this year. New hybrids are joining also, with the first to arrive being the new E300de and the E300e saloon and estate models.

The new Mercedes-Benz GLB will arrive in Ireland in early 2020!
The new Mercedes-Benz GLB will arrive in Ireland in 2020!

MINI

A new MINI Electric based on the brand’s iconic three door hatchback has arrived in Ireland with a range of 235 to 270 kilometres.

Mitsubishi

A revised Space Star arrived in January of this year. The 1.2-litre petrol model is available in both manual and automatic transmission. In the second half of 2020, a Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV will arrive.

Nissan

The new Nissan Juke is the latest arrival in dealer showrooms this summer. It debuts with a new 1.0-litre petrol engine. For 2020, the Micra will be available with a new three cylinder 100 hp engine  - the same as the one currently in the CVT (automatic). The SV Premium grade has also been added to the Micra range and includes privacy glass, front fog lights, automatic air con and iKey, rear parking sensors and extra personalisation options. The Qashqai SE replaces the Qashqai SV with a price reduction of about €1,200. ProPilot has been added as an option to the Qashqai and X-Trail range for €1,000. Pricing has come down across the X-Trail range for example there's €3,000 off the volume selling 7 seater SVE (top spec model).

The new Nissan Juke is arriving in Ireland in November!
The new Nissan Juke has just arrived in Ireland

Opel 

A new generation of the Opel Corsa arrived in dealers at the beginning of the year. The range has now been joined by an all-new electric Corsa-e and the Grandland X plug-in hybrids (front wheel drive and all wheel drive). Arriving later in the year will be a facelifted Insignia range and the new electric Opel Zafira-e Life people carrier. Early 2021 will see the arrival of the new Mokka crossover, which will be available with combustion engines and as an electric vehicle. There will also be a new Crossland X.

Peugeot

The new Peugeot 208 arrived in Ireland earlier in 2020 with  petrol, diesel and electric variants available. The new Peugeot 2008 is also on sale in dealers now. Plug-in hybrid versions of the 3008 and 508 are also new for Peugeot.

Renault

There's a new Renault Clio and Captur range in dealers with petrol and diesel engines available. Hybrid variants are expected soon also. A new electric Renault Zoe with 52 kWh battery and a range of up to 395 km has just arrived in dealers. There are also facelifted ranges of the Koleos, and the Mégane due soon.

The second generation of the popular Renault Captur heading this way in 2020
The second generation of the popular Renault Captur heading this way in 2020

SEAT

The new SEAT Leon has just arrived in dealers this summer with petrol and diesel engines, mild hybrid technology and a plug-in hybird to follow later in the year. The SEAT Tarraco FR is also expected in 2020. The FR trim will complete the Tarraco range with sportier styling. The SEAT el-Born is the brand’s first fully electric car and is expected by the end of 2020 with a range of up to 420 km.

Skoda

The new Kamiq crossover and facelifted Superb range are in dealers now. The Superb is available with petrol and diesel engines and as a new plug-in hybrid 'Superb iV'. A new Octavia is on the way in the summer also. Skoda's first electric SUV, the Enyaq, is expected in 2021.

The 2020 ŠKODA Octavia!
The 2020 ŠKODA Octavia!

SsangYong

There's a new Korando SUV range and this summer sees the arrival of an updated Tivoli crossover range with a new 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine.

Subaru

Subaru has introduced new e-BOXER mild hybrid technology to the Subaru XV Crossover and the all-new Forester. Both are on sale now.

Suzuki

There's a new facelifted Ignis range now in dealers, with hybrid now available. New 48-volt self-charging hybrid technology is also now available in the Vitara and S-Cross. These models are equipped with a new K14D Boosterjet turbocharged engine, an even higher standard specification than before (including Automated Emergency Braking now standard on all Vitara and S-Cross Hybrid variants) and directly replace the outgoing 1.4-litre Boosterjet models with manual transmission.

Toyota

There's an updated Toyota C-HR range in dealers now with two hybrid powertrains available. A new 2.0-litre petrol electric hybrid joins the current 1.8-litre model. A new GR Sport trim level has been added to the Toyota Corolla range, along with 2.0-litre hybrid powertrain with more power. A new generation of the Toyota Yaris supermini is one the way before the end of 2020 and will be available as a 1.5-litre hybrid. There's also a RAV4 plug-in hybrid on the way. The new Yaris Cross small SUV and Higlander seven seat SUV are expected in Ireland in early 2021.

The 2020 Toyota Yaris
The 2020 Toyota Yaris

Volkswagen

The eighth generation of the iconic Volkswagen Golf has just arrived in dealers, and the new all electric ID.3 hatchback will arrive in September. Buyers will also find an updated Passat and Passat GTE in showrooms. A new T-ROC R performance SUV also arrived in 2020. The Toureg R hybrid is also expected before the end of the year, as are Golf plug-in hybrid variants and new Golf GTI, GTD and GTE. An updated Arteon range will arrive from September with a 1/5 litre petrol and 2.0 litre diesel. For the first time the range will be joined by a new Arteon Shooting Brake. The new Arteon R and Arteon eHybrid are expected in November. The popular Tiguan range is also being updated and will arrive in Ireland with petrol and diesel engines in November. The new performance Tiguan R will follow in January 2021 and a new plug-in hybrid will join the range in the summer.

Volvo 

A new Volvo XC40 plug-in hybrid has joined the range. There are also recently added V60 and S60, T8 plug in hybrids and the V60 Cross Country. This summer, buyers can expect to see a refreshed Volvo S90 saloon and Volvo V90/Cross Country estate models in showrooms. The S90 T8 plug-in hybrid is available from the end of June, while the V90 is available as a D4 FWD Automatic and a T6 plug-in hybrid. The V90 Cross Country is available in D5 AWD Automatic.

A new Bowers & Wilkins audio system and Advanced Air Cleaner technology are now available on all 90 and 60 Series models, along with double USBC charging points in the rear, replacing the 12 volt outlets. The wireless charging functionality for smartphones, first introduced on the XC40 SUV, is now also available on most variants in the 90 and 60 Series. The exclusive tailored wool blend seats first introduced on the XC90 last year are now also available on all 90 and 60 models, while there is also a leather free interior option for the top trim levels.

An all electric XC40 Recharge is expected in 2021.

The new Volkswagen Golf expected in Ireland in 2020
The new Volkswagen Golf expected in Ireland in 2020

Thinking about buying a new car this winter? You will want to get the best 201 offer Thinking about buying a new car this summer? You will want to get the best 202 offer

202 Offers And Car Deals For Ireland

Thinking about buying a new car this winter? You will want to get the best 201 offer Thinking about buying a new car this summer? You will want to get the best 202 offer
Thinking about buying a new car this summer? You will want to get the best 202 offer

Thinking of buying a new car this summer? Manufacturers are releasing 202 offers, car deals and finance offers ahead of the new 202 registration period, which starts on July 1st 2020. At Changing Lanes, we’ve put together a list of 202 offers and any scrappage deals available in Ireland at this time to help you find the best deal for you. This list will be updated as more manufacturers release their offers. For more information visit the manufacturer’s website or your local dealer.

Alfa Romeo

5.5% HP and PCP finance will be available.

Audi

Audi has announced updated finance rates on the Audi A3, Audi A4 and Audi A6 models with monthly repayments from €299, €399 and €499 on PCP for the current A3, A4 and A6 respectively.

BMW

There's 2.9% APR on all petrol and diesel models in BMW's X range of SUVs. The range topping X7 is available with 5.9% APR. The BMW 3 Series is available with 3.9% APR. The 5 Series is also available with 3.9% APR.

Citroen

0% PCP finance on Citroen C3, C3 Aircross, C4 Cactus, C4 Grand Picasso/ Spacetourer and C5 Aircross. 3.9% APR on C1, Berlingo and Spacetourer. Scrappage up to €4,000 is available for non-finance customers, except on Berlingo and C5 Aircross.

Dacia 

Dacia has released a 'Buy Now, Pay Later' offer on the Duster SUV, Sandero, Sandero Stepway SUV and Logan MCV. It includes 3 months deferred payments and 4.9% APR. This offer is available on all orders taken from 1st May to 31st July and registered by 31st July 2020 on current stock only.

Fiat

5.9% 61 month HP or 48 month PCP finance. Panda available for €35 PW, 500 for €45 PW, Tipo for €55 PW and 500X €65 PW.

Ford

Offers include optional three month ‘peace of mind’ payment deferral, 7 year warranty, savings of up to €2,250 on selected models and low 4.9 percent APR. There are also price reductions on highly specced versions of several of Ford’s most popular models including the  Ford Fiesta with a saving of up to €500, EcoSport with a saving of up to €2,000, with a saving of up to €1,500, Focus with a saving of up to €2,500, new Kuga with a saving of up to €2,500 and the Mondeo with a saving of up to €1,500.

Honda

3.9% across the entire Honda Civic range for cars registered before 31st July 2020.

Hyundai

Buyers can avail of 5 years free servicing or 3.9% finance or scrappage of up to €5000 on all new cars ordered before June 30th and registered before 31st July 2020.

Jaguar

Jaguar has announced details of new 202 offers across the special edition Chequered Flag range, offering monthly payments from €380. There's 2.9% APR finance available across the XE, XF, E-PACE and F-PACE models, coupled with an optional 3-month payment holiday.

Jeep

5.5% 61 month HP finance or 48 month PCP contract.

Kia

Hire Purchase from 0-3.9% APR. There's 0% APR on Sportage, Stonic, e-Soul, Niro Plug-In Hybrid and Ceed family - excluding XCeed PHEV. PCP Finance at 3.9% across the Kia range. New for 202 – low deposit HP over 60 months at 4.9%.

Land Rover

Land Rover has announced details of new 202 offers across the Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque SUVs, with monthly payments from €413. 3.9% APR finance available for both models, coupled with an optional 3-month payment holiday.

Mazda

4.9% APR finance available on Mazda2, Mazda3, new CX-30, CX-5 and Mazda6.

Mercedes-Benz

Star Finance PCP available across the Mercedes-Benz range guarantees the minimum future value (GMFV) of your Mercedes-Benz model, with APR rates starting at 3.9%.

Mitsubishi

Order a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV by 31st July 2020 to avail of 0% APR HP finance and a free Wallbox Pulsar home charge point worth €800. Mitsubishi is also offering two years free motor tax worth €380 on the new Space Star.

Nissan

New Nissan scrappage scheme for 202 offers €3,000 towards the cost of new Micra, Juke and all-electric Leaf, €4,000 towards Nissan Qashqai and €5,000 towards the X-Trail. The Nissan 'Subscribe and Drive' offer allows motorists to own a new car for as little as €356 per month without having to pay a deposit. Other offers include low rate 3.9% PCP finance available across the range and 0% HP finance on the Nissan Micra.

Opel

Customers who register their new 202-Opel passenger car before 31st August can avail of Hire Purchase or PCP finance from 2.9%, plus three years’ free servicing. Offer applies across the range including Corsa, Astra, Insignia, Crossland X and Grandland X.

Peugeot

202 offers from the brand include 5 year warranty (3 year manufacturer warranty + 2 year extension), APR from 3.9% and scrappage up to €4000 or a deposit contribution up to €500.

Renault

Renault’s 202 'Buy Now, Pay Later 3+2+1 Offer' is valid on all current stock across the Renault car range and includes 3 months deferred payments, 2.02% APR + €1,000 cashback. This offer is available on the electric Renault ZOE, Clio, Captur, Kadjar, Mégane, Scenic and Koleos models. Offer applies to all orders taken from 1st May to 31st July and registered on or before the 31st July 2020. Renault’s payment deferral offer is also applicable on selected used cars at Renault dealerships. Customers can 'Buy Now, Pay Later' on 191 and 192 models.

SEAT

0% PCP finance available on all Ibiza, Leon, Arona, Ateca and Tarraco models with an optional 3-month payment break and heavily discounted 3-year service plan. An online discount voucher can be downloaded from the SEAT Ireland website allowing for discounts of up to €3,000 on selected models. There's also a scrappage offer that includes 5.9% PCP finance starting from €209 per month as well as scrappage of up to €5,000 available on selected models across the SEAT range. 202 offers valid up until 30th June.

On used SEAT cars (2016 - 2020 models), there's 2.9% PCP finance available. The brand is also offering customers discounted service plans. Customers get a complimentary Sanity System vehicle clean with any used car purchase.

Skoda

Skoda's 202 offers include from 0% PCP finance on select models and the option to defer payments for three months on finance agreements. Offer available on all orders taken before 30th June 2020 and registered before 31st July 2020.

Suzuki

0% APR finance on the Ignis, Swift and Vitara ranges. There's also a three month deferred payment scheme to enable a new car to be purchased for July registration and payments not started until the autumn.

Toyota

Across the Toyota range there are finance contributions of up €3000 with 3.9% APR with Flex PCP Finance, allowing for lower monthly payments. Toyota Ireland is also offering a Trade-in Booster of up to €3,000 for non-finance customers, and 3 years servicing as standard for all customers.

Volkswagen

202 offers from Volkswagen include PCP finance starting from 0% APR on new Golf, the e-Golf, the Tiguan, the Tiguan Allspace, Passat, Passat GTE Plug-in Hybrid and the Arteon. Purchase contributions of up to €2,000 available on the Tiguan, Tiguan Allspace, new Passat, new Passat GTE, Touran and Sharan. Reduced-Rate Service Plans for three years for €10 per month. There are also Flexible Deposit Options ranging from 0% to 30% tailored to each individual’s needs. Buyers can avail of the option of a 3-month Payment Deferral to start their repayments 90-days after collecting their new Volkswagen. Finally, with a PCP contract, Volkswagen say that they guarantee the minimum future value of the vehicle at the end of the contract for further peace of mind.

The brand has also launched the Volkswagen Approved Used cars programme which includes 1-year warranty, 1-year roadside assistance, a full vehicle history check, reconditioning and sanitisation. Customers can also avail of 4.9% APR PCP finance. Service Plans available for €14.99 per month when combined with a used car finance contract and offers two services over a two-year period.

Volvo

Volvo has a number of offers on popular models for 202. There's 0% PCP finance and a complimentary Volvo Service Agreement on the XC40. For a limited-time, there is a €2,000 purchase contribution and complimentary Volvo Service Agreement on the XC60. The Volvo XC90 is also available with a purchase contribution of €1,500 and complimentary Volvo Service Agreement. There's also a Lounge Pack with extensive equipment for only €999. The Volvo V90 offer includes a €2,000 purchase contribution and complimentary Volvo Service Agreement. There is a complimentary Volvo Service Agreement available for all registrations on Volvo cars between now and 31st July 2020.

We'll be updating this article as new offers are added.


Chris and the Hyundai Genesis at a drive event near Quebec City

10 Questions With Chris Chase, Motoring Journalist

Chris and the Hyundai Genesis at a drive event near Quebec City
Chris and the Hyundai Genesis at a drive event near Quebec City

This week we're in Ottawa, Canada, for a chat with motoring journalist Chris Chase. Interviewing Chris was an opportunity to find out more about the motor industry in Canada and what it's like to work in the media there. Turns out being a motoring journalist in Canada is not too different from being one in Ireland. His advice for anyone wishing to pursue a career in this industry can translate across oceans and borders too.

I think I first came across Chris on Instagram back in 2016. I loved his 'Car by the River' photos where he would take a photo of each test car in the same sweet location by the Ottawa River. It was cool to see models I test too appear on his page in a another location on another continent in a different territory spec. When you're a car geek, these little things are interesting! Like why has the Mazda MX-5 got reflectors on the wheelarches! Why are you calling the Honda NSX an 'Acura'! And what's a Scion?

Here's what Chris has to say on cars, journalism and the best routes for road trippin' in Canada!

1. Can you introduce yourself in a couple of sentences?

I’m a 42-year-old (soon to be 43) journalism school grad lucky enough to spend some of my working time writing about cars and the auto industry. I consider myself a more casual car enthusiast than a lot of the people I know from the 15 years I’ve been doing motoring journalism. I love fun, fast cars, but the ones that most attract my interest are the entertaining cars that a person of average means can afford to buy and own, and that are easy to use for every-day driving.

2. How did you start your career testing cars? 

In 2004, I began writing car-related news and feature articles for the local daily newspaper and used car articles for a website called CanadianDriver.com. My editors at those publications gave me a great opportunity to get started in the industry, and then let me take a crack at writing new car reviews. The first car I tested was a 2006 Hyundai Sonata. To that point, it was one of the nicest cars I’d ever driven. Suffice it to say things went uphill from there.

3. Can you explain the 'Car by the River' concept to our readers and how it came about?

Looking back through my Instagram feed, my first actual Car by the River post was in December 2014. I started using that label a few years after I realised I had made a habit of taking photos of the cars I review by the Ottawa River; it’s one of the most scenic backdrops in Ottawa, where I live. I often end up driving along the water on my way home from picking up press vehicles, so it’s an easy thing to stop at one of the public parking areas to take some pics. I wish the origin story was more exciting, but there you are.

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/B4STCBClQME/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

4. How are things in the Canadian new car market at the moment?

Not great, but I’m sure Canada’s hardly unique in that respect. Sales were down significantly in the first quarter of 2020, and they’ll almost certainly drop much further as the coronavirus pandemic wears on. According to one piece of analysis I read, it was the worst first quarter for car sales since 2010, when the industry was recovering from the recession of 2008/2009. Some brands are reporting April 2020 sales around 80% lower than in April 2019.

The other part of the story is that there’s a lot of vehicle manufacturing in my home province of Ontario. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, General Motors, Ford, Toyota and Honda have factories in the southern part of the province near the Great Lakes and the U.S. border, and many of them have suspended production to prevent an oversupply of new vehicles. There’s a huge number of third-party suppliers of vehicle components that have also lost a lot of work.

I’m curious (morbidly so, perhaps) to see how long it takes the country’s auto industry to recover when the worst of the pandemic has passed.

5. What car did you learn to drive in? 

A 1986 Honda Civic with a 5-speed stick. About a year after I learned to drive, my parents traded that car in for a Dodge Caravan minivan. My dad offered to give me the Civic with the caveat that I’d have to pay for any work it needed to pass a safety (what you call the NCT in Ireland). For some strange reason, my 17-year-old self said no – one of the many reasons I wish I could go back in time. I still miss that car. It was super simple and would have been great for learning to do maintenance and repairs. If any of your readers are young new drivers, my advice to them is to never turn down a free car!

6. Have you ever been to Ireland or driven 'on the wrong side of the road'?

I’ve not been to Ireland, though my wife and I want to go for our anniversary in 2021 (we’ll see how that goes, considering the pandemic and all).

In 2011, we spent a few days in Cornwall on England’s west tip. We rented a Vauxhall Astra in Penzance that we used to tour around the region. It was nerve-wracking the first couple of days thanks to the narrow rural roads and getting used to driving from the right-front seat. There were some funny moments, like having to stop to let a flock of geese waddle across the road, and terrifying ones too, such as rounding a blind curve to find a lorry bearing down us from the other direction. I got really good at reversing to make way for other vehicles on that trip. I finally felt like I was getting the hang of it all on the fourth day – the day I took the car back to the rental agency.

Chris with the Hyundai Accent back in 1998, which he owned for about 10 years
Chris with the Hyundai Accent back in 1998, which he owned for about 10 years

7. Favourite place in Canada for a road trip?

Some of my favourite roads are not too far from home, in the Laurentian Mountains in Quebec, where there are lots of secondary and tertiary routes with fun curves and big hills. In the winter, a bit of snow cover practically turns some of these routes into rally stages.

Way out on the west coast of Canada – which is four or five hours from Ottawa by plane and closer to a week away by car – there’s a road on Vancouver Island between Victoria and Tofino that combines breathtaking views with lots of twists and turns, including a handful of hairpins. I only wish I’d been driving something more fun than a rented Corolla on that trip.

To get from Ottawa to the Maritime provinces on Canada’s east coast, there’s a beautiful route that goes through Quebec City and then follows the St. Lawrence River to a town called Riviere du Loup (roughly translated: Wolf River), where you make the turn into the province of New Brunswick. It’s not an exciting drive by enthusiast standards, but you get a rarely interrupted view of the St. Lawrence, which is a vast waterway with huge significance in Canadian culture and history.

What I haven’t done, but want to, is drive the entirety of the Trans Canada Highway – all 7,800 km (almost 4,900 miles) of it from Victoria, British Columbia, to St. John’s, Newfoundland. If you want to get an idea of some of what you’d see driving across Canada, look up a movie called One Week. It stars Joshua Jackson (Pacey on Dawson’s Creek) as a guy who is diagnosed with cancer and then, on an impulse, buys a vintage motorcycle (the internet says it’s a Norton Commando) and rides it from Toronto to Tofino, B.C. It’s a beautifully made film that highlights Canada’s pretty scenery.

8. What would be in your dream 3 car garage?

I always struggle with questions like this, only because there are so many interesting vehicles to choose from. My choices often surprise people because I don’t gravitate toward a lot of the vehicles typically favoured by car nuts.

My choice of classic car is the Citroen DS for its lovely design and interesting engineering. I would probably spend as much time looking at it (and maintaining it) as I did driving it because I can’t get enough of its styling.

For a daily driver, I’d have a BMW 5 Series wagon/estate from the E39 generation. I was tempted to choose the E39 M5, but I know myself, and it’s not my style. I love the wagon’s styling, and it stands in nicely as a utility vehicle without feeling utilitarian.

In the third garage bay would be a Mazda MX-5. It’s the one car that always occupies a spot on my all-time favourites list, and every time Mazda redesigns the car, the newest version is the one I want. The fourth-gen ND model arguably strays furthest from the MX-5’s origins as a no-nonsense driver’s car, but I love the combination of performance and refinement it offers. Every time I review one of these cars, I literally (and that’s not an exaggeration) want to spend the whole week doing nothing but driving it.

The Mazda MX-5 is one of Chris' favoruite cars - By the River of course!
The Mazda MX-5 is one of Chris' favoruite cars - By the River of course!

9. What advice do you have for anyone who wants a career as a motoring journalist?

My number one piece of advice is to not fixate on reviewing new cars. While it is a fun part of working as an auto writer, it’s also super competitive and it can be hard to find an “in.”

Instead, take any opportunity you’re given. One of my first car-related pieces was an article for the Ottawa Citizen daily newspaper about a store that sold aftermarket roof racks for carrying bikes, skis and the like. It wasn’t exciting, but I got paid for it and it was valuable experience for me as a recent journalism school grad. Also, don’t underestimate the thrill of seeing your byline in print for the first time.

I did a lot of research-based used car reviews and new-car buyer’s guide articles when I was getting started, and I’m still doing that type of writing 15 years later. It’s not flashy work, but it often pays reasonably well.

When you do get your first crack at reviewing new cars, don’t expect to immediately get the keys to crazy performance cars and posh luxury sedans. Even experienced reviewers spend a lot of their time writing about economy cars and family vehicles, so you have to learn how to evaluate them based on the criteria buyers care about.

Don’t forget about industry trade publications. Many of these magazines (in Canada, several still publish in print, as well as online) pay fairly and give you the chance to write longer-form articles. If you’re a recent journalism grad, these pieces can be great portfolio builders; doing this kind of writing is also a great way to learn how the auto industry operates behind the scenes.

If you want a proper career in motoring journalism, you will most likely have to build it yourself from various freelance gigs, because full-time, salaried jobs in the field are very rare. It might be more realistic to consider automotive journalism a part-time job in addition to something that provides more predictable income (and, in my case, workplace benefits).

10. How can our readers keep up with your work?

Most of my bylined work is published at OntarioCars.ca, where I do used car-related content and some new-vehicle reviews.

I write longer-form articles for The Ontario Dealer, a trade magazine published (in print!) by the Used Car Dealers Association of Ontario. You can find it online here: http://theontariodealer.com/

I also contribute to AutoTrader.ca, for whom I write news and buyer’s guide articles, as well as the occasional new-vehicle review.

For TractionLife.com, I write car reviews, news articles and other content.

Finally, I have my own site, ChrisChasesCars.com, which I mostly use as an archive of articles I’ve written for other publications, but I don’t update it often.

Thanks to Chris for taking part in this interview for Changing Lanes!

By Caroline Kidd