Skoda Octavia in the snow

Skoda Predicts Surge In 4x4 Demand Due To The ‘Beast From The East’

Skoda Ireland is predicting a rise in demand for their 4x4 range, with the arrival of the ‘Beast from the East' this week.

Skoda's prediction follows trends seen by the car brand after the severe winter snow in 2010 and 2011, where Skoda 4x4 sales increased fivefold the following year.

According to Skoda, the idea that all-wheel-drive only provides real benefits in winter on snow-covered or icy roads is a common misconception and their all-wheel-drive technology improves active safety all year round.

Speaking about ŠKODA’s 4x4 vehicles in Ireland, Mark Mulvaney, ŠKODA PR Manager, said:

"The all-wheel-drive market is extremely weather dependent. In 2012, we saw a huge increase in sales for our 4x4 range and we expect this trend to be repeated with the arrival of the snowstorm, this week. However, our 4x4 range is not just for snow storms that happen twice every decade – each 4x4 we produce proves to be a safe and loyal work horse in many other conditions, including towing trailers and boats, as well as on rough or slippery terrain.

“We are one of the few car brands that provide all-wheel-drive options across a range of models, from the Octavia and Superb to our latest SUV additions, so those looking to change or upgrade their car have plenty of options to choose from. In fact, Skoda is one of the longest-established brands to feature all-wheel-drive technology, first testing 4x4 systems back in the 1930s.”

The Skoda Octavia, Superb, Karoq and Kodiaq ranges are all available with 4x4. For further information visit www.ŠKODA.ie


Skoda Kodiaq Ireland

Irish Pricing And Specs For Skoda Kodiaq

Skoda Ireland has revealed Irish pricing and specifications for the new five and seven-seat Kodiaq SUV. Pricing will start from €28,795 and the Kodiaq will be launching in Ireland in March.

There will be three trim levels (Active, Ambition and Style), five engine and transmission options and fourteen different exterior colour options. A seven seat option will also be available for €1,000 more than the standard five seat model.

The range kicks off with a 1.4-litre turbo petrol with 125hp. The diesel range starts at €35,495 for a 2.0-litre with 150hp and a DSG automatic gearbox. 4x4 models start from €36,495.

Standard equipment includes 17” alloys, cruise control, Bluetooth, Climatronic air conditioning and Smartlink+ technology for smartphone integration with the infotainment system (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto).

The Ambition trim level (from €30,995) adds features such as 18” alloys, keyless engine start, silver roof rails, and front and rear parking sensors.

The top of the range Style trim level (from €38,495) includes additional features such as 19” alloys, keyless entry, LED headlights, Alcantara upholstery, interior ambient lighting, a rear-view camera and 8” Columbus Navigation system with an additional 4G LTE SIM card slot to enable a high speed Wi-Fi hotspot within the car (data plans sold separately) and a host of additional connected services from ŠKODA Connect.

ŠKODA Connect (Mobile Online Services) offers enhanced real time route planning, real time parking and petrol prices in the locality, customisable newsfeed, weather, customisable points of interest, in addition to other online services. A second ŠKODA Connect solution, which is also standard on all trim lines, offers additional functionality like remote access to the vehicle via the new ŠKODA Connect Mobile App and a number of additional driver assistance solutions. One such driver assistance feature is the Emergency Call (e-Call) function, which will automatically call the emergency services once an airbag is activated to further improve occupant safety.

Caroline Kidd


Skoda Yeti Ireland Review

Skoda Yeti 2.0TDI 150hp Review

There are plenty of anonymous cars on Irish roads and if you drive a crossover it’s very easy to slip into oblivion among all the other raised-up hatchbacks.

But there’s just something about the Skoda Yeti. It stands out. It says something about you. Whether that’s good or bad is for you to decide.

The Skoda Yeti is quite van-like in profile but it’s a purposeful design that reaps benefits in terms of interior space. The high, squared off roof gives excellent headroom for everyone on board and rear legroom is very generous too. It’s certainly one of the roomier feeling cars in its class and the 416 litre boot is very versatile.

The Yeti’s interior is ageing well and the material quality is generally good around the cabin, if not especially plush. The grey and red seats in my Monte Carlo test car did inject some colour and fun into the otherwise sombre interior but it would be churlish to write off the Yeti on these grounds because there is something pleasantly honest and functional about this car that goes beyond colour accents and other gimmicks.

Skoda Yeti Ireland Review
The Skoda Yeti has a distinctive presence on the road and Monte Carlo models with black wheels and black roof add even more attitude

The engine line for the Skoda Yeti is made up of a 1.2-litre TSI turbo petrol engine with 110hp and a 2.0-litre TDI with 110hp or 150hp. The 2.0-litre TDI with 110hp is the most efficient, returning up to 63mpg and motor tax is €200 per year. Petrols starts at €23,955, while diesels start at €25,495. Manual and automatic gearboxes are offered, as is the option of four wheel drive, with the cheapest 4x4 model coming in at €27,990.

My test car had the 2.0TDI with 150bhp and it’s got loads of grunt for the Yeti. Running costs do start to creep up a little however, with motor tax costing €270 per year for this model, though it still returns up to 59mpg. The 2.0TDI is a bit noisy on start up when cold and during harsh acceleration, but generally it’s a good companion for the Yeti.

The Yeti’s on road driving manners are surprisingly good. In short, it might look like a van but it does not drive like one. The steering is weighted nicely and it grips well over twisty rural roads with not too much body roll, and the suspension takes the edge off bumps and ruts in the road surface. However, it does get quite noisy in the cabin at motorway speeds.

Skoda Yeti Ireland Review
Skoda Yeti: The interior is sturdily built though it can get quite noisy in here at motorway speeds

There are five trims offered in Ireland: Active, Ambition, Style, Outdoor and Monte Carlo, with standard equipment including roof rails, alloy wheels, front fog lamps and air con.

The Monte Carlo model on test has cruise control, dual zone climate control, parking sensors, and a touchscreen for infotainment. There are also a number of unique features including a panoramic glass sunroof, 17” black alloy wheels, a front spoiler, rear diffuser, black front grille, door mirrors and roof, chrome tail pipe, flat-bottomed sports steering wheel and a sports pedal set.

Skoda Yeti Ireland Review
Skoda Yeti: An offbeat but practical crossover

With its unique looks and practical, spacious cabin, the Skoda Yeti remains an attractive and offbeat choice in the crossover segment.

Strong and sturdy with plenty of attitude, that’ll be the Skoda Yeti!

Model tested: Skoda Yeti Monte Carlo 2.0TDI 150hp
Price: 
€31,165 (Range starts at €23,955)
Engine: 
2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
150hp
0-100km/h:  
9.0 seconds
Economy: 
59mpg
CO2 emissions:  
126g/km
Tax band:
€270 per year

Caroline Kidd


Jeep Cherokee Ireland review

Jeep Cherokee 2.2-litre 200hp 4WD Review

Jeep Cherokee Ireland review
The Jeep Cherokee

The Jeep brand is synonymous with tough, off-road vehicles, with a history stretching back to the Willys Jeep used by the Allied Forces in World War II. The famous Jeep name has become a generic name for a 4x4 and these ‘jeeps’ have since broken through into the mainstream - you’re now just as likely to see one on the school run as you are on a farm.

But among the many soft roaders and faux-SUVs, the Jeep brand, just like Land Rover, has instant credibility. Depending on your social conditioning you will think Jeep are cool because a) the Willys Jeep helped win the war for the Allies or b) Alicia Silverstone’s character Cher drove a Jeep Wrangler in Clueless and it was like, OMG, so amazing.

I fall into the latter camp but even I couldn’t probably stand the rough and tumble of a soft-top Wrangler on a damp Irish commute.

Of far more relevance to the Irish market is the Jeep Cherokee, which these days is sporting ruggedly soft roader/crossover looks, yet in 4x4 guise it still has the guts to take you off road.

Jeep Cherokee Ireland review
Jeep Cherokee: The new range topper is a 9 speed automatic 2.2-litre diesel with 200hp

The current Cherokee has been in Ireland since 2014 but the addition of a new 2.2-litre diesel means it’s up for review again. This car has a lot of presence, and it looks quite upmarket and premium, especially in darker colours. There is just enough chrome to be tasteful rather than tacky, some fabulous bling bling polished chrome 18” alloys, and the striking light signature and classic Jeep seven slot grille at the front ensure it stands out from the crowd as something a bit different. The same can’t be said for the styling of the rear, which is much more generic, but overall I think the Jeep’s distinctive looks are one of its biggest assets in this crowded SUV market.

We have to talk about pricing very quickly in this review because in those terms the Cherokee sits at the more premium end of the market, though it would be more comfortable compared to more mainstream rivals. Entry into the range is at €38,350 for a front wheel drive model with a 2.0-litre diesel producing 140hp with motor tax of €280 per year.

Four wheel drive models start at €48,350 with a 2.2-litre diesel with 185hp and a 9 speed automatic gearbox. A higher powered 2.2-litre diesel (200hp) automatic now sits at the top of the range with a list price of €55,850 and motor tax of €390. There is not much between the engines in terms of fuel economy with the FWD diesel manuals claiming 53 mpg and the 4x4 diesel automatics claiming 50 mpg.

The interior has a tough, durable look with some soft touch materials at the top of the dash but too many hard plastics to live up to the premium pricing. It does well in terms of technology – there is a colour TFT digital display with driver information positioned between the rev counter and the speedometer, and a large touchscreen for infotainment and navigation in the centre of the dash. The seats in the Limited trim on test are a highlight - large, comfortable, finished in soft nappa leather, electrically adjustable and with a heating and ventilating function. You couldn’t ask for much more!

Jeep Cherokee Ireland review
The interior of the Jeep Cherokee

There is space for five in the cabin though the transmission tunnel for the 4x4 does protrude into the middle passenger’s legroom. But the footwells are large and the squared off roofline offers good headroom. The boot is a generous 591 litres and an electric tailgate comes as standard.

There are three trim levels for the Irish market – Longitude, Longitude + and Limited – and standard equipment is good from base including alloys, front fog lights with cornering function, silver roof rails, dual zone air con, auto lights and wipers, rear park assist, cruise control, electric windows and mirrors, and electric parking brake.

The test car had the 200hp diesel mated to the 9 speed automatic, and no surprises the Cherokee can move pretty niftily with 440Nm of torque available and 0-100kmh taking just 8.5 seconds. You can hear the engine gurgling away at idle though it never gets too raucous in the cabin out on the open road, and the car is well insulated from road and wind noise. This is a comfortable car for the long haul, though the ride can get choppy and less smooth off the beaten track when encountering rough/uneven surfaces.

Refinement is good, but the Cherokee does fall short of the idea of a ‘premium driving experience’. There is always a shadow of the off road to the on road driving manners, like the Cherokee really just wants to get on with the tough stuff. The steering is heavy which makes it less of a breeze for town driving and parking, though it’s direct and good for the turn in during out of town driving. It doesn’t feel very dynamic when presented with a series of corners, and the body lurches quite stodgily should you try to take these cornering manoeuvres on with a bit more zest, yet the grip of the 4x4 system masks most of these ills to a point where the Cherokee gets by as large, comfortable transport for a family with attitude.

Jeep Cherokee Ireland review
Jeep Cherokee: The big car with attitude

4x4 Cherokee’s come with Jeep Active Drive I which is billed as an efficient four-wheel drive system that can automatically switch between front and all-wheel drive when required. The Selec-Terrain system offers different four-wheel drive modes for different surfaces like snow, mud and sand, so you can find the setting that best suits the conditions in front of you and the car will do the rest.

The Cherokee is not cheap. It performs well, if not brilliantly, for a modern SUV. It would be easier to forgive the Cherokee its shortcomings if it wasn’t priced as a rival to the likes of Land Rover, Audi, BMW et al, which have more the aura of refinement and luxury to them. Yet it’s hard not to like this Jeep, it’s well equipped, it’s capable, it looks good, it’s different and it’s a Jeep. An actual Jeep. Like, totally cool.

Caroline Kidd

Model Tested: Jeep Cherokee Limited 2.2l 200hp 4WD
Price: 
€55,850 (Range starts €38,350)
Engine: 
2.2-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
200hp
0-100km/h:
8.5 seconds
Economy:
50mpg
CO2 Emissions: 
149g/km
Motor Tax: 
€390 per year