Caroline's Favourite Blogs And Reviews Of 2016

ChangingLanes.ie has gone from strength to strength in 2016 and I've been lucky to have the opportunity to write about some great cars and experiences this year. This is kind of like my end of year review so I've handpicked some of my favourite blogs and car reviews from this year.  Hope you will enjoy them as much as I do!

1. A Garage Full Of Renaults

This was easily my favourite story to write this year. I discovered that there was a car collector in Clare with the most eclectic collection of old Renaults I'd ever come across. The beauty of this collection was that none of the cars were priceless classics in the conventional sense, or high performance exotics for that matter - they were the ordinary cars that people drive to work or to the shops, lovingly restored and with a beautiful story behind each one of them. It was a great privilege for ChangingLanes.ie to be the platform for car collectors Breandán and Ailbe to share their story of how they came to be the proud owners of such a collection of cars.

renault collectors
Some of Breandán's collection of old Renaults

2. Driving The Audi R8 And RS3

Audi hosted a test drive event back in April and the list of cars available to drive on the day made me sweat a little... 326bhp A7 Competition, the 310bhp TTS, the 367bhp RS3, the 610bhp Audi R8 V10 Plus…The R8 blew my mind with its power and earned a place in my dream garage.

Audi R8 V10 Plus
The Audi R8 V10 Plus

3. First Drive Of The Ford Mustang

When the Ford Mustang arrived in Ireland in right hand drive for the first time back in February, Ford Ireland organised a launch event for press to drive the 5.0-litre GT and 2.3-litre EcoBoost. Our encounter was brief but memorable.

Ford Mustang review ireland
The Ford Mustang

4. Peugeot 308 GTi

Spending a week with the Peugeot 308 GTi was a particularly nice experience. As I approached the 308 GTi for the first time, at the back of mind was the memory of the 'supermarket-spec' 308 I'd driven two years earlier, but the GTi quickly showed me that it was a different beast entirely.

tips for good car photography
The Peugeot 308 GTi

5. Jaguar F-Pace

I fell a little bit in love with the Jaguar F-Pace because it was such a bloody good drive for an SUV and I probably got a bit of an ego boost from the big grille and badge. It's hard not to feel a little bit superior behind the wheel of a €56,000 Jag and it was one of those pinch yourself moments. Did they really give me the keys to this? Has there been a terrible mistake? I would opt for an XF over an F-Pace, but I still have huge respect for this car and the XF DNA runs deep through it.

Jaguar F-Pace Review Ireland
The new Jaguar F-Pace

Honorary mentions for other memorable drives in 2016: SEAT Ibiza Cupra, Audi A4, Toyota Prius and Volkswagen Golf GTE.

Caroline Kidd


Audi R8

What's Super About A Supercar?

I never fully understood why people bought supercars. Spending a couple of €100,000 on a car that could sprint to 100km/h in less than 5 seconds never made much sense to me.

Sure you can get there quickly - but what happens next? All incredibly excessive in my opinion so I’ve always felt a little detached from the world of exotic motors.

And then this week I drove the Audi R8. Hallelujah! Now I think I understand why people buy supercars...but why the turnaround?

Was it because the R8 is Audi’s most avant-garde design – wide, low and raring to go?

Was it the sneaky tease of the V10 through the rear window?

Was it the way the R8 could draw attention from other road-users like no other?

Was it the noise, the glorious noise of the V10 that actually scared me a bit the first time I fully gave the accelerator some welly?

Was it because the R8 was as easy to drive as an A1 and had the boring stuff like visibility sorted?

Was it the phenomenal grip, the fact that even a supercar novice like me could put the 610bhp to the road with minimal fuss?

Yes all those things are great.

But the reason why people buy supercars is the reason why I felt so detached from them in the first place. It took a drive in the R8 to work it out. I was right all along...they are excessive. And that’s why you feel so good behind the wheel. It’s completely selfish to own and drive a supercar. There’s more noise and power than anyone could ever need. The acceleration is so fast, it’s like being trapped in a video game except it’s real and that’s you driving! I think my brain is only processing the speed today, my head got left behind somewhere on the N11 yesterday when the R8 took off among the MPVs and articulated trucks.

You’re a superhuman in a supercar. Pure magic.

Caroline Kidd