2017 Kia Picanto review ireland

Kia Picanto Review

2017 Kia Picanto review ireland
The 2017 Kia Picanto

City cars account for just a small portion of all the new cars sold in Ireland each year. In Ireland it’s the Hyundai i10 that has nailed this market. Now sister brand Kia has an all-new Picanto, so can the new Kia Picanto do anything to toss up the city car league tables?

Design tends to be one of the areas that Kia uses to differentiate itself from Hyundai with more adventurous designs. The styling of new Picanto is evolutionary but a definite improvement and the distinct tiger nose grille certainly gives the Picanto its own character.

The interior has also been freshened up, but hard plastics prevail. That’s not a huge criticism as it’s all solidly built and effort has been made to make it more stylish, with the quirky air vent controls being a case in point.

In Ireland, the new Picanto is available in base TX trim or EX, while both trims are available with an ADAS pack, which includes autonomous emergency braking.

2017 Kia Picanto review ireland
The interior of the 2017 Kia Picanto

TX models (from €13,295) have electric windows, electric heated mirrors, leather wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth, and steering wheel mounted audio controls.

EX models (from €14,795) add 15″ alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, rear privacy glass, front fog lamps, speed limiter and cruise control.

The Kia Picanto comes with five doors as standard. Inside there is good shoulder for driver and passenger and reasonable space for this class of car in the back, but it will be more comfortable for children than adults. The boot in the new model has gone from 200 litres to 255 litres, which is one of the best in this class.

In Ireland, there are currently two engine options: a 67hp 1.0-litre petrol engine with a manual gearbox and an 84hp 1.2-litre petrol engine with an automatic gearbox. A 1.0-litre turbo charged engine is on the way.

The 1.0-litre is the emissions star with CO2 emissions of 101g per km and a claimed fuel economy of 4.4/100km.

2017 Kia Picanto review ireland
The Kia Picanto range starts from €13,295

The Picanto comes with a five speed manual as standard, with automatics available from €16,495.

On the road the Kia Picanto is a neat and agile drive and holds the road well, with light but accurate steering. There is some cabin noise at high speeds, but refinement is generally good for a small car. The 1.0-litre engine with 67hp in my test car is perky around town, but shows more limitations out on bigger roads where overtaking manoeuvres will need to be given plenty of thought!

The Kia Picanto is keenly priced, well-specced and while the 1.0-litre engine won’t set your pulse racing, the Picanto is undoubtedly a fun small car to drive that’s worth a test drive if you like your motoring cheap but cheerful.

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Kia Picanto 1.0 EX ADAS
Price: 
€15,195 (Range starts at €13,295)
Engine: 1.0 litre petrol
Power: 
67hp
Torque: 96Nm
0-100km/h:  
14.3 seconds
Top speed: 161km/h
Economy: 
64mpg
CO2 emissions:  
101g/km
Motor tax: 
€190 per year

If you are looking for a budget city car, you might also like this review of the Ford Ka+.

2017 Kia Picanto review ireland
The Kia Picanto is cheap to buy and well specced

2017 Suzuki Ignis Review Ireland

Suzuki Ignis Review

Suzuki is happy as a brand to market themselves as the ‘small car experts’ and in early 2017 they added yet another small car to their range in the shape of the new Suzuki Ignis. Ignis joins Celerio, Swift and Baleno in Suzuki’s small car range. That’s quite a portfolio.

But Ignis is a little different. In fact you could almost say Ignis sits in a class of its own. Is it a city car or is it a 4x4?

Well it’s a bit of both. Suzuki class Ignis as a compact crossover, and the cute but chunky, boxy looks are bound to divide opinion.

Pricing starts at a budget friendly €12,995 for a 2WD model, rising to €17,995 for a top spec model equipped with 4WD.

2017 Suzuki Ignis Review Ireland
The Suzuki Ignis has the tough look of a mini off-roader

Inside, the cabin is constructed from a mix of hard plastics that’s common in this segment, but the two tone colour scheme with orange accents provides light relief. In short, it’s a bright and pleasant cabin that is modern and easy to navigate. Infotainment is provided via a seven inch touchscreen on all but the base model, which is compatible with Apple Car Play and Android Auto.

In terms of interior space, the boxy design bodes particularly well. There is ample room up front and in the rear: headroom and legroom is very generous. Only the base model has five seat capacity: the other trims are four seaters with two individually sliding rear seats. The boot is 260 litres, which is good for this size of car too.

The Ignis has a slightly elevated ride height and driving position so you do feel as if you are driving a mini off-roader. There is just one engine available, a 1.2-litre with 90hp, but it’s more than up for the job as the Ignis is very light weighing as low as 855kg. It always feels lively and is robust enough for motorway driving. The engine is paired to a five speed manual gearbox, while there is also an automatic option. My 4WD test car returned close to 50mpg.

2017 Suzuki Ignis Review Ireland
The interior of the Suzuki Ignis

The Ignis is good fun to drive with quick, accurate steering and an agile chassis, but there is some lean in corners. It’s best in the city and gets noisy at high speeds, while rough, uneven surfaces will cause some discomfort in the cabin too.

Three trim levels are offered for Ignis in Ireland: SZ3, SZ-T and SZ5. SZ3 is available from €12,995 and equipment includes air con, front electric windows, digital radio and Bluetooth.

SZ-T (from €14,495) adds satellite navigation, rear view camera, wheel arch extensions, side mouldings, roof rails and 16-inch alloy wheels.

SZ5 (from €16,495) adds auto air conditioning, LED headlights with LED DRLs, front fog lights, rear electric windows, keyless entry and start, Dual Camera Brake Support and cruise control.

2017 Suzuki Ignis Review Ireland
The Suzuki Ignis comes with a 1.2-litre petrol engine

Suzuki’s Allgrip 4WD system is an option on SZ5 trim. Automatic gearboxes are available on each model for €1500 on top of the list price.

The Suzuki Ignis is certainly not like any other city car and brings a lot of rugged charm to the city car class. This is a spacious small car and offers good value for money, while the 1.2-litre engine is efficient and makes the Ignis good fun to drive. It feels a bit more basic when it comes to comfort and refinement, but at this pricing you can forgive it some of those ills.

Model tested: Suzuki Ignis 1.2 Dualjet SHVS SZ5 ALLGRIP
Price: 
€17,995 (Range starts at €12,995)
Engine: 1.2-litre petrol
Power: 
90hp
Torque: 120Nm
0-100km/h:  
11.1 seconds
Top speed: 166km/h
Economy: 
60.1mpg
CO2 emissions:  
106g/km
Motor tax:
€190 per year

2017 Suzuki Ignis Review Ireland
The Suzuki Ignis has plenty of rugged charm

Caroline Kidd

If you are looking for a city car, you might also like this review of the Volkswagen Up.


Ford Ka+ Review Ireland

Ford Ka+ Review

Small car buyers are really spoilt for choice because there are just so many options currently available on the Irish market.

Yet if value for money is the key consideration, then the field narrows considerably.

Enter the new Ford Ka+. Slotting in below the popular Ford Fiesta supermini and replacing the cute but outdated Ka, the new Ka+ is a five door city car that promises a lot of bang for your buck.

Sex appeal and desirability have not been key considerations in the design of the Ka+ and Ford has no intentions of joining the customisation crew with their new budget offering.

With prices starting from €13,050 the Ka+ is a sensible small car. It’s slightly shorter than the Fiesta but just under three centimetres taller and sports a miniature version of Ford’s new characteristic trapezoidal grille. Style icon it is not, but the Ka+ has a neat and compact appearance.

Ford Ka+ review ireland
The interior of the new Ford Ka+

There is a distinct Ford family feel to the interior and the perceived quality of the materials is good for this class of car. The cabin is not particularly stylish but it won’t cause any headaches.

The interior space is excellent for a car of this size, making this a practical small car. The doors open wide and there is a slight elevation to the seating position. Rear legroom is good and it should be comfortable enough to transport one or two adults in the back from time to time.

The 270 litre boot is also generous, being on the larger side of what we expect from a city car. There are 60/40 split-folding rear seats and a good few storage spaces throughout the cabin.

The Ka+ comes in two trim levels, Studio and Zetec. Studio models (from €13,050) include 15” steel wheels, front fogs and daytime running lights, speed limiter, trip computer and remote central locking. Zetec models (from €14,650) add manual air-conditioning, 15” alloy wheels, Ford SYNC, leather steering wheel and cruise control.

Ford Ka+ review ireland
The Ford Ka+ is a five seat budget city car

Power for the new Ford Ka+ comes from a naturally aspirated 1.2-litre petrol engine with two power outputs. A 70hp version is exclusive to the Studio trim and an 85hp version is exclusive to the Zetec. A five speed manual gearbox comes as standard. Both 70 and 85hp versions of the 1.2-litre engine qualify for motor tax of €200 per year, with claimed fuel economy of up to 56.5 mpg.

My Zetec test car had the 85hp version. It’s no performance star but it purrs along nicely. It’s perfect for town driving but it takes a bit more patience out on bigger roads as 0 to 100kmh is a leisurely 13.9 seconds. Once cruising speed is reached, the Ford Ka+ is remarkably refined and comfortable for a small car. The steering is light but with an elastic feel that makes it a fun little car to drive. There is body roll when you push the car hard into corners, but it grips the road well.

The Ford Ka+ won’t set hearts racing but it is very accomplished for a sub-€15,000 car. The space, handling, comfort and refinement make it an easy car to get along with. The engine is probably the weakest link as it’s not very robust out of the confines of the city, but Ka+ makes up for it by being a sensible but fun small car.

Ford Ka+ review ireland
The Ford Ka+ is powered by a naturally aspirated 1.2-litre engine

Model tested: Ford Ka+ Zetec
Price: 
€14,650 (Range starts at €13,050)
Engine: 1.2-litre petrol
Power: 
85hp
Torque: 112Nm
0-100km/h:  
13.9 seconds
Top speed: 168km/h
Economy: 
59mpg
CO2 emissions:  
110g/km
Motor tax:
€190 per year

Caroline Kidd

If you are looking for a budget city car you might also like this review of the Opel Karl.


Kia Picanto Ireland

New Kia Picanto Launched In Ireland

The new Kia Picanto city car has arrived in Ireland and will go on sale officially from 2nd May, priced from €13,295.

There will be two engines available: a 67hp 1.0-litre petrol engine with a manual gearbox and an 84hp 1.2-litre petrol engine with an automatic gearbox.

The 1.0-litre is the emissions star with CO2 emissions of 101g per km and a claimed fuel economy of 4.4/100km.

The new Kia Picanto will be available in two trims, TX (from €13,295) and EX (from €14,795), with an ADAS (Advanced Driving Assistance Systems Pack) available on all models.

Automatics are available from €16,495.

Standard equipment includes electric windows front and rear, electric heated mirrors, leather wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth, and steering wheel mounted audio controls.

EX models add 15" alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, rear privacy glass, front fog lamps, speed limiter and cruise control.

Caroline Kidd


Volkswagen Up! review Ireland

Volkswagen Up! 1.0-litre TSI Review

When I drove the Volkswagen Up! for the first time back in 2015, it gave me something of an epiphany -  horsepower is not always an indicative factor of how much fun a car will be. The Up!’s small 75hp 1.0-litre petrol engine gave me more smiles per mile than some cars with twice or even three times the power. And far from being a budget tin can with an engine, the Up! was comfortable with dare I say it…’big car feel’.

Now for 2017, Volkswagen has sprinkled a little bit of fairy dust over the Up! city car range. There are some mild styling tweaks, including new bumpers, new LED daytime running lights, revised radiator grille and bonnet, new alloy wheel designs and new colours like the Honey Yellow of my test car.

Inside the dashboard has been revised and the instrument dials now look more modern. Volkswagen’s ‘Composition’ media system is standard (3.1” monochrome display), along with digital radio, CD player, electric front windows and remote central locking.

Volkswagen Up! review Ireland
The interior of the Volkswagen Up!

Higher trims come with the ‘Composition Colour’ system as standard, a 5” colour display screen that uses Bluetooth connectivity for audio.  You can download Volkswagen’s ‘Maps + More’ app and use the docking station above the dash to access navigation, speakerphone, trip computer and other features from your smartphone.

There is space for four in the cabin, and the square shape of the car maximises interior space well for a car with such a compact footprint. The boot is narrow but deep (251 litres) and the rear seats can be let down for more cargo space. The pop-out windows in the back are a little disappointing, as many city cars are now moving towards having proper windows that can be rolled down manually or electrically.

Volkswagen has also used the 2017 update to add a new engine to the Up! range. Joining the non-turbo 1.0-litre with 60 or 75hp, is a new 1.0-litre TSI turbo petrol unit. The new engine is the performance star of the range with 90hp, 160Nm of torque and 0-100kmh achieved in 9.9 seconds (the first Up! to pass the sub-10 second barrier!).

Volkswagen Up! review Ireland
Volkswagen has added a new 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine to the Up! range

On the road, the addition of the turbo is instantly apparent. The in-gear acceleration is fast and urgent, and the engine is far more robust for overtaking manoeuvres and driving on larger roads out of town and on motorways compared to its naturally aspirated siblings. The 1.0-litre 75hp version is not bad at all, but you grapple with the gearstick more to make decent progress.  In town, the Up! is deliciously agile and easy to manoeuvre, while the low down torque is perfect for quick getaways from the traffic lights. All the other cars will seem to be going very slow.

The Up! is light and easy to drive and the five-speed manual gearbox is fun to use. The steering is very light so there is not much feedback, but there is still enough resistance to confidently throw it into corners, though the body roll will stop you doing anything too clever. The car is very composed and there is none of that awful bounce that plagues some small car rivals. There is some road noise however at speed.

In terms of economy, the Volkswagen Up! 1.0-litre TSI falls into the same tax band as the non-turbo 1.0-litre so it’s €190 per year, while the claimed economy is 60mpg but high 40s is more realistic in day to day driving.

There are four trim levels in the Volkswagen Up! range in Ireland: Take Up! (from €11,875), Move Up! (from €13,455), Up! Beats (from €14,855) and High Up! (from €15,005).

Volkswagen Up! review Ireland
The Volkswagen Up! remains one of the best small cars you can buy

The new 1.0-litre TSI is only available on the High up! trim with a list price of €17,065, so it is a lot of money to spend on a small car. Highline models come with air con, cruise control, leather trimmed multifunction steering wheel, 16” alloys, electric, heated door mirrors, rear parking sensors, front fog lights, and there are also some styling upgrades inside and out.

The Volkswagen Up! remains one of the best small cars you can buy but the high list price for the 1.0-litre TSI means that the non-turbo 1.0-litre is a more cost-effective choice, and as I found out when I tested the car back in 2015, it’s perfectly adequate. The turbo engine is more powerful and robust, especially out of the city, but the Up! is a city car, and that’s where it flourishes, turbo or no turbo.

Model tested: Volkswagen Up! High Up! 1.0-litre TSI
Price: 
€17,065 (Range starts at €11,875)
Engine: 1.0-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
90hp
Torque: 160Nm
0-100km/h:  
9.9 seconds
Top speed: 185km/h
Economy: 
60mpg
CO2 emissions:  
108g/km
Motor tax:
€190 per year

If you are looking for a funky city car, you might also like this review of the Fiat 500.

Caroline Kidd


Ford Ka+ Launch Drive

The Ford Ka is back, but not as we know it.

The Mk1 Ford Ka was one of the most distinct cars of the 1990s and reached notoriety, but the Mk2 that debuted in 2009 failed to take off in the same way.

But acknowledging a customer preference for a budget, five door small car in the shape of the Hyundai i10 and Opel Karl, Ford has responded with the Ka+. It's a Ka that's grown to accomodate five doors and five seats and with a starting price of €13,050, the Ka+ looks like very good value indeed.

In styling terms, the new Ka+ is perfectly acceptable, but like most of its rivals, style icon it is not. It's slightly shorter than the Fiesta but just under three centimetres taller and sports a miniature version of Ford's new characteristic trapezoidal grille that makes the Ka+ a cohesive member of the new Ford family.

Inside the Ka+ bears many Ford interior trademarks but it is altogether more streamlined and that's in its favour.

Ford Ka+
The interior of the new Ford Ka+

The perceived quality of the interior is also good for a small, budget car built in India for the European market. The interior space feels roomy for the city car class, and the 270 litre boot is also generous.

60/40 split-folding rear seats and a good amount of storage spaces throughout the cabin boost practicality.

In response to the smartphone generation, a MyFord Dock in the centre of the instrument panel can be used to store, mount and charge mobile devices such as phones and navigation systems.

In Ireland there will be two trim levels offered - Studio and Zetec. Studio models (from €13,050) include 15” steel wheels, chrome upper grille, front fogs and daytime running lights, AM/FM Radio with device dock, speed limiter, Electronic Stability Programme (ESP), trip computer and perimeter alarm with remote central locking.

Zetec models (from €14,650) add manual air-conditioning, 15” alloy wheels, Ford SYNC with AppLink, leather steering wheel, cruise control and MyKey.

Power comes from a 1.2-litre engine with two power outputs. A 70hp version is exclusive to the Studio trim and an 85hp version is exclusive to the Zetec. A five speed manual comes as standard.

On a drive around East London, our 1.2-litre, 85hp Ka+ was energetic enough for the suburban setting of our test route and also suitably refined with no obtrusive road, wind or engine noise. Early indications would be that it has the same 'fun factor' that makes the Fiesta such a success, with a nice elastic feel to the steering on turn in that enhances that feeling of being connected to the road.

Both 70 and 85hp versions of the 1.2-litre engine qualify for motor tax of €200 per year, with claimed fuel economy of up to 56.5 mpg.

Ford Ka+ Ireland
The new Ford Ka+, five door budget city car

The Ford Ka+ is arriving in Ireland this month.

Caroline Kidd


Opel Karl Rocks

Introducing Opel Karl Rocks!

Opel Karl Rocks
The new Opel Karl Rocks

Opel has released the first photos and details of an SUV-inspired Opel Karl. With a raised ride height and updated, more rugged styling, Opel Karl Rocks will debut at the Paris Motor Show at the end of September.

Based on Opel’s five door Karl city car, the Karl Rocks will offer the same interior and boot space, and also promises to keep the budget pricing. The ‘Rocks’ makeover will include silver roof rails, rugged front and rear bumpers with integrated skid pads (the former also including fog light), front and rear wheelhouse moldings and unique 15-inch bi-color look alloy wheels.

An 18-mm increase in ride height will give drivers and passengers an elevated seating position.  Inside there is unique “Favo” fabric upholstery for the seats, front door sill plates and a high gloss frame around the radio, or the optional Intellilink system that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and enables navigation via Apple Maps or Google Maps. Opel OnStar will also be available.

The new Opel Karl Rocks will also come with all of the safety and comfort features available in the regular Karl including the city mode that lightens the steering for parking and low speed turns.

Irish pricing and specs will be announced closer to launch.

Caroline Kidd


SEAT Mii by Mango Review

SEAT Mii by Mango Review

Watch my SEAT Mii by Mango video review or scroll down to read a review:Read more


The Icon Reloaded - First Drive New Fiat 500

 

New customisation options for the Fiat 500 including this "Comics" wrap
New customisation options for the Fiat 500 including this "Comics" wrap

Fiat launched the new 500 to the Irish media on Monday at Weston Airport in Lucan, Co. Dublin and they’re billing it as ‘the icon reloaded’.

On the surface of things it doesn’t look much different from the petite 500 remake that first arrived here in 2008.

But according to Fiat, there are 1,900 new components to enhance and refine an already very successful 1950s-inspired retro recipe.

How successful exactly? 1.5 million have been sold in over 100 countries since launch in 2007 and sales have increased year on year - even as the car has aged. From an Irish perspective, the market may be small for 3-door city cars like the 500, but just under 2000 of them have found homes here.

The marketing for the Fiat 500 is very much aimed at the young, social urbanite, yet interestingly Fiat’s own sales data shows that the average customer is a bit more middle-aged  - 45 to be exact – but predictably female.

Image and styling are naturally very important to Fiat 500 buyers and with the success of the current model, Fiat decided not to get too creative in the design studio when it came to updating the car. The most noticeable changes to the styling are the addition of new LED daytime running lights in a circular shape (like the zeros of the 500 logo), new bumpers with squarer edges, and a 3D-effect grille with chrome-like buttons on the Lounge version.

At the rear there are new 'empty' tail lamp clusters with ring-shaped illumination and body-coloured centres.

151214_F_500_00 (2)
The Fiat 500 in new colour Glam Coral

There are new alloy wheel designs and two brand new colours, “Glam Coral” pastel and “Avantgarde Bordeaux” metallic, which bring the total number of colours available to 13.

New ‘Second Skin’ personalisation options have also been added to the 500 range. These are factory-fitted themed graphics that add more wow factor, for example “Comics”, which has a cool two-tone appearance of black-yellow or black-red.

The interior still has the retro vibe with coloured dash panels and large round instrument binnacle. There’s more choice inside in terms of colour schemes and seat fabrics, though some of it is dependent on the trim level of the car. The Uconnect infotainment system is now standard across the range, with steering wheel-mounted audio controls and USB / Aux-in ports on all cars.

Fiat 500
Uconnect infotainment system is standard across Fiat 500 range

Available as a hatchback or cabriolet, there are three trim levels for the Irish market: Pop, Pop Star and Lounge. Standard equipment includes remote central locking, electric windows and mirrors, Uconnect, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and LED daytime running lights. An electric roof with heated glass rear screen is standard on the cabriolet.

Step up to Pop Star for air con and alloys, and to Lounge for a panoramic fixed glass sunroof, rear parking sensors, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and front fog lights. Lounge models also have a more advanced Uconnect system with Bluetooth hands-free calling and music streaming, voice recognition and an SMS reader for reading text messages.

In terms of engines, there is a choice of three petrols and one diesel: a 1.2-litre 69bhp petrol , 0.9-litre TwinAir turbo petrol with 85bhp or 105bhp and a 1.3-litre 95bhp turbo diesel.

At the launch I sampled the 1.2-litre 69bhp and TwinAir Turbo 105bhp. The TwinAir is predictably quick but it likes to let you know it’s working, so the noise will be either irritating or endearing. The 1.2-litre feels flatter through the gears, and the lack of power could get frustrating out on bigger roads - but it’s fine at low speeds around town.

The key to the Fiat 500 is pricing. The hatchback range starts at €13,450 for the 1.2-litre petrol in Pop trim. The Pop Star range starts at €14,400 and Lounge models at €15,800. The cabrio is available from €16,450.

Yes the Fiat 500 is a small car with a small boot. But in terms of pure desirability, presence and style, you won’t find many that move in such fashionable circles and can match that sort of pricing.

Caroline Kidd

Watch out for a full road test of the Fiat 500 coming soon!


Opel Karl ChangingLanes.ie Car Review

Opel Karl 1.0-litre (75bhp) Review

The Karl is Opel’s back-to-basics 5-door city car. How does it fit into the Opel range? Well, Karl is smaller than the Corsa, but does without the glitz and glam of the infinitely customisable 3-door Adam, and is cheaper to buy as well with prices starting for the range at just under €12,000.Read more