Range Rover Evoque Convertible

Does The World Really Need A Range Rover Evoque Convertible?

After some time in limbo, it looks like the Range Rover Evoque Convertible will go into production.

That should make me really happy, right? Since 2010, when Victoria Beckham first pouted petulantly beside the car at its launch, the world’s female population has been salivating at the mouth for a Range Rover Evoque.

It’s been a rip-roaring success; Land Rover struggled to build the Evoque fast enough to meet demand soon after it went on sale. A convertible version by its very open top nature should be even more desirable?

Range Rover Evoque Victoria Beckham
Fashion icons: Victoria Beckham and the Range Rover Evoque

Well no actually. Read more


Ford Focus RS

Motoring Wishes for 2015

It’s the 1st January and I’m sitting down to write my first blog of 2015. Christmas 2014 is all but a distant memory; memories of 2014 have been filed away with all the other ones.

I’ve read all the "top cars of 2014" lists from all major motoring publications and blogs that I can find. Heck, I’ve even written my own list for Changing Lanes - so I can’t even be too cynical about them.

But we shall look back no more and now hearts and minds are firmly set on 2015.

If you could be granted ten car or motoring related wishes for 2015 (and I don’t mean that BMW i8 you want delivered next week) what would they be?

Here are mine for what it’s worth.Read more


Caroline Kidd's Favourite Cars of 2014

Caroline's Favourite Cars of 2014

It’s the end of the year so I thought I would pick out my favourite cars of 2014.

I will try to explain why I’ve chosen these in particular. My list is not about budget, practicality or anything sensible like that, though some of these cars would tick those boxes anyway.

More often than not it’s because there is something really interesting about this car that I like - it’s different, innovative or boldly doing something new to make itself stand out from the crowd.

So here are my favourite cars of 2014 in no particular order…

You can also watch my video blog which explains the reasons behind my choices.Read more


Bond in Motion Review

Bond in Motion at the London Film Museum

Changing Lanes visits Bond in Motion at the London Film Museum!

Bond in Motion is the largest official collection of original James Bond vehicles under one roof and features over 50 original vehicles from the 23 Bond films released to date, including cars, bikes and boats.

So when I was in London recently, I thought I would go and have a look. I'm not really a "museum person" but if it's cars I can just about stretch to it! Bond in Motion turned out to be even better than I thought it would be.Read more


best use of fog lamps

Appropriate Use of Fog Lamps

Hot on the heels of last week’s post about the benefits of using dipped headlamps during the day, we move on to the controversial misuse of fog lamps.

It seems we are a very confused nation when it comes to using appropriate lights for different situations. Read more


Proper use of dipped headlamps

Daytime use of headlights - why bother?

It’s November and the gloomy days are coming thick and fast. Now is definitely the time to reacquaint oneself with the switch or stalk to operate the lights on the car.

Should be obvious? Well no.  In this country we seem to have a real issue with turning on lights during less than optimal driving conditions. On these dark days, it is particularly obvious.

Why should I bother?Read more


Suzuki Swift

Suzuki Swift: Unsung Hero?

The supermini class is a busy one. It’s packed with supermini superstars well-known among the Irish public like Fiesta, Micra, Corsa, Ibiza, Clio, Polo and Yaris.

There’s one supermini that in my opinion goes under the radar. It still sells but it doesn’t get namechecked very often when we talk about superminis.Read more


learner drivers

Help! There's a Learner Driver In Front

Learner drivers. How do you feel about them?

Do you grimace when you see one pulling out in front of you? Do you give any car bearing an L sign a wide berth?

Or do you practice some patience, adjust your speed and give them space? Empathise with them about their plight and reminisce about your own experience of learning to drive?Read more


five gorgeous coupes for less than 25000 euro

Five Gorgeous Coupés for Less Than €25000

So here’s the brief to find a brand new gorgeous coupé for less than €25,000:

  • Budget of €25,000 to buy a mid-sized hatch with more style and a sportier feel than a standard five door hatchback.
  • Must be refined, economical and comfortable enough for long journeys.
  • Drive solo most of the time but it should still be practical enough to occasionally carry friends or family in the back. And a usable boot please.

SEAT Leon SC

My pick: 1.2 TSI 110bhp SE

SEAT Leon SCThe SEAT Leon SC or “Sports Coupé” is a teeny bit shorter and lighter than the more family oriented five door Leon but still has the same generous 380 litre boot. While the design is not radically different from the five door, the SC has a sleeker profile with neater rear styling. The Leon boasts shared underpinnings with the Volkswagen Golf and as you would expect with such provenance, the Leon SC drives well with tidy handling and responsive steering. Inside it’s not as plush as a Golf, but it has the same simple and driver-oriented dashboard layout. I've chosen the turbocharged 1.2 litre petrol from the extensive engine line-up because it’s economical, refined and surprisingly punchy. It’s a real bargain at just €22,000 in SE trim including must haves like air con, 16” alloy wheels, Bluetooth and cruise control as standard.

Renault Mégane Coupé

My pick: 1.5 dCi 110bhp GT Line

Renault Megane CoupeThe Mégane range got a facelift earlier this year and the Coupé has benefited from this too. It’s a beautiful coupé to look at with curves in all the right places. A stiffer, lower suspension ensures that the Mégane Coupé has a much sportier feel to it than the five door hatchback. The 1.5 dCi diesel is a well-proven engine that’s smooth and refined, combining power and economy with CO2 emissions of just 90g/km. The boot is a good 344 litres but the width of the opening makes it quite awkward to access. I’ve chosen the slightly more expensive GT Line trim because it’s within budget and adds enough subtle updates to the inside and outside of the car to make it a bit more special. There are lots of goodies on this model including LED Daytime Running Lights, cruise control, dual zone air con, Bluetooth, rear parking sensors, leather steering wheel, 17” alloy wheels, sat nav, auto lights and wipers, and leather and cloth seats.

KIA Pro_cee’d

My pick: 1.6 EX

KIA Pro_cee'dKia cars could no longer be accused of being bland and the Pro_cee’d is no different. It’s got a sleeker design than the Cee’d five door hatch and it’s lower too - always a good place to start when looking for a sporty coupé. Like a lot of these cars at this price point, it’s not quite as sporty to drive as the looks might suggest but it is one of the most comfortable and the diesel engine is strong and competent. The cabin is smartly finished with bits of gloss black adding a bit more glam and the centre console is driver-oriented, not too unlike that of the SEAT. It’s also got a 380 litre boot and lots of equipment including 17” alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, fog lamps, LED Daytime Running Lights, air con, cruise control, Bluetooth, rear parking sensors and hill start assist.

Opel Astra GTC

My pick: 2.0 CDTi Sport

Opel Astra GTCThe five door Astra might scream “family” but the Astra GTC I can confirm does not. Phew! It’s lower and has a sexy new body that’s sleek, fluid and full of sporty promise. Opel has tweaked the suspension to improve the handling and the car has a wider track so it hunkers down on the road really well. It’s a solid, well put together car and this quality is particularly obvious in the cabin. The boot is 380 litres and cabin space is quite generous too for a coupé. I think the 2.0 litre CDTi 163bhp diesel is the best option even though it is the most expensive choice. It’s smooth, refined and has plenty of poke. Sport models come with air con, Daytime Running Lights, cruise control and 18” alloy wheels but Bluetooth has to be added as an option.

Wildcard: Hyundai Veloster

My pick: there’s only one – the 1.6 GDi

Hyundai VelosterThese are rare on Irish roads – if I'm to guess it’s because it only comes with a 1.6 litre petrol engine that most Irish buyers will run to avoid. For sure it’s more expensive to run than rivals, but what you get is an interesting coupé that’s a bit more practical than most thanks to its “2+1” door configuration (that’s one extra door on the rear passenger side). The boot is 320 litres but a good shape for a coupé. The dashboard layout and cowled instrument dials design is not too dissimilar to what you will find in a Focus but it’s classy and special enough to make us want to drive this coupé. The 1.6 petrol won’t blow you away with performance but it’s sweet to drive and the stiff suspension provides neat handling for a bit of fun. The spec is very good including 17” alloy wheels, auto lights, fog lamps, auto air con with climate control, LED Daytime Running Lights, rear view camera and parking sensors, cruise control, Bluetooth, not to mention sporty additions to the exterior like twin exhaust and bonnet vents. We like!!

How do these five gorgeous coupés compare on price and running costs for the models chosen?

 

SEAT Leon SC 1.2 TSI SE Renault Megane Coupe 1.5 dCi GTline Opel Astra GTC 2.0 CDTi Sport Kia Pro_ceed 1.6 EX Hyundai Veloster 1.6 GDi
Price €22,000 €24,990 €23,995 €23,950 €24,995
Power 110bhp 110bhp 165bhp 128bhp 140bhp
Fuel Petrol Diesel Diesel Diesel Petrol
Official Economy 58mpg 81mpg 59mpg 66mpg 48mpg
Road Tax €200 €180 €270 €200 €280

 

Caroline Kidd


Opel Calibra

Remembering the Opel Calibra

I was just a nipper when the Opel Calibra came out. I remember visiting the local Opel dealer with my mum and dad in the early nineties to look at a new Astra and seeing the Calibra in the showroom, all sleek and low slung.

I suppose it was the antithesis of the family hatchback my parents were looking for and it had such amazing presence parked up amidst all the Corsas, Astras, Vectras and Omegas. It was a car for grown-ups and I suppose it was a halo car of its time – the only car in the Opel range for sports car enthusiasts!

Opel Calibra

Read more