The 2018 Volkswagen T-ROC

2018 Volkswagen T-ROC 1.5TSI EVO Review

The 2018 Volkswagen T-ROC
The 2018 Volkswagen T-ROC

Caroline drives the new Volkswagen T-ROC.

The new Volkswagen T-ROC arrived in Ireland earlier in 2018 and it's an exciting new model for Volkswagen, showing more personality than what we're used to from the sensible German brand. Volkswagen has brought the new T-ROC the way of the crossover and with pricing starting from €24,750, the Volkswagen T-ROC slots in neatly below the popular Volkswagen Tiguan family SUV.

The Volkswagen T-ROC is positioned as a sportier, compact model and it’s immediately clear that the designers at VW had some fun with this one. The Volkswagen T-ROC is easily one of the most interesting and playful looking models in the range. In the metal it sits like a slightly elevated hatchback with gorgeous coupé-like styling, especially towards the rear.

But being marketed as a crossover means that the curves are balanced out with extra plastic cladding around the wheel arches, sills, and front and rear bumpers, adding more attitude to what is a very expressive design. The T-ROC is also the first Volkswagen SUV that will be available to order in two-tone paintwork with a contrasting roof, A-pillars and exterior mirror covers.

The interior of the 2018 Volkswagen T-ROC
The interior of the 2018 Volkswagen T-ROC

What's it like inside the new Volkswagen T-ROC?

Inside much of the switchgear is shared with other Volkswagen models, and dark grey plastics feature a lot. To add some interest there is a plastic dashboard insert that stretches the width of the cabin and continues its colour theme around the centre console. This was grey/black in the test car, but there are other colours available. The quality in the cabin is good, but the interior of a Golf for similar money feels a bit more plush. In terms of technology and in-car entertainment, the T-ROC scores well with a touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and a very impressive digital instrument panel.

The Volkswagen T-ROC is a five seater, though realistically four will be most comfortable because the middle seat in the rear is quite narrow. There is good accommodation up front and the two rear footwells are a reasonable size. There's extra headroom too. The boot is good at 445 litres but opting for a model with a spare wheel will eat into that boot volume.

In Ireland the T-ROC is available with a 1.0-litre TSI petrol (115hp), 1.5-litre TSI EVO petrol (150hp), a 1.6-litre TDI diesel (115hp) or a 2.0-litre TDI diesel (150hp). The 2.0-litre diesel is available exclusively with 4MOTION all wheel drive. A 6-speed manual gearbox comes as standard but there are also 7-speed DSG automatic gearboxes available.

Rear legroom in the Volkswagen T-ROC
Rear legroom in the Volkswagen T-ROC

On the road in the Volkswagen T-ROC

My test car was powered by the 1.5-litre turbo petrol unit with 150hp and it’s a powerful and refined option for the T-ROC. My fuel consumption over a week of driving was about 6.6 litres per 100 kms.

The Volkswagen T-ROC is built on the same MQB platform as the Golf and other Volkswagen products. On the road the T-ROC is smooth and confident, with well-weighted steering and a fun, agile feel. It doesn’t quite feel as hunkered down on the road in corners as a hatchback owing to that raised ride height, but heck it adds to the fun. The T-ROC is generally comfortable but a firm edge to the suspension will transmit some bumps into the cabin over uneven surfaces at low speeds around town.

Is it well-equipped?

There are three trim levels for Ireland – T-ROC, Design and Sport – and standard equipment includes leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, electric windows, 6.5” touchscreen, Bluetooth, automatic climate control, auto lights and wipers, lane keeping aid, forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking.

Design models start from €26,995 and add 16” alloys, more chrome detailing on the outside, front fog lamps, roof rails, parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, and more advanced infotainment system with 8 speakers, voice control and app connect.

The Volkswagen T-ROC range starts from €24,750 in Ireland
The Volkswagen T-ROC range starts from €24,750 in Ireland

Sport models start from €29,750 and add 17” alloys, double rear tailpipe, front sports seats, ambient lighting, LED headlamps, tinted rear windows, auto high beam among other exterior styling updates.

Would you buy it?

It's hard not to come away from the T-ROC feeling a little more enthusiastic about life. With this car, Volkswagen set out to make a fun crossover to complement the larger and more traditional Tiguan and they succeeded. The Volkswagen T-ROC is a fabulous addition to the Volkswagen range, and is easily one of the brand's most playful cars. The Volkswagen T-ROC is not the value option in the compact crossover class, but it is a stylish and sporty family vehicle.

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Volkswagen T-ROC Sport 1.5 TSI EVO
Price: 
€30,525 (Available from €24,750)
Engine: 1.5-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
150hp
Torque: 250Nm
0-100km/h: 
7.9 seconds
Top speed: 205km/h
Claimed Economy: 
5.4l/100km
CO2 emissions:  
121g/km
Motor tax: 
€270 per year

The Volkswagen T-ROC is a sporty and stylish crossover
The Volkswagen T-ROC is a sporty and stylish crossover

2018 Citroen C4 Cactus

2018 Citroen C4 Cactus Review

2018 Citroen C4 Cactus
The 2018 Citroen C4 Cactus

Caroline drives the 2018 Citroen C4 Cactus.

The Citroen C4 Cactus first went on sale in Ireland in 2014 at a time when crossovers were cool and hatchbacks were becoming less de rigeur.

In 2018 you could say we are still in this phase. Consider that Citroen used to market a C4 hatchback. Now that model has been discontinued and this second iteration of the Citroen C4 Cactus has been designed to plug the gap. As buyers continue to go gaga for crossovers, raised ride heights and SUV-inspired styling, the Citroen C4 Cactus seems like a car that could make a lot of people very happy.

What's new for the 2018 Citroen C4 Cactus?

For 2018, Citroen has toned down the styling of the C4 Cactus. It's marketed now as a C-segment hatchback but still with plenty of crossover attitude, like last year's Citroen C3 supermini. The innovative 'Airbumps' are less prominent, and have been moved further down. Customisation packs still feature so there is the option to keep your C4 Cactus discreet or go more colourful.

The dimensions of the 2018 Citroen C4 Cactus have not changed and once you slip inside, you are welcomed with a spacious airy feel to the cabin and wide, slim seats that add to a ‘lounge’ feel inside that characterises this current generation of Citroens. There are new 'Advanced Comfort®' seats and yes they are very comfortable and supportive!

The interior of the 2018 Citroen C4 Cactus
The interior of the 2018 Citroen C4 Cactus

The interior trim features quite a few hard black plastics but the two-tone colour scheme on my 'Flair' test model added some pleasant distraction. A digital instrument panel displays your speed and other relevant information, but there is no rev counter. So if you are the type of person that likes to keep an eye on your revs while driving, then this is not the car for you!

On a practical note interior space in the 2018 Citroen C4 Cactus remains competitive for this segment with rear accommodation more suitable for two rather than three. Weight-saving measures mean that there are still pop-out windows in the rear, but air conditioning is standard on all models. There’s a relatively high load lip but the boot makes up for it in outright space (358 litres), and a spare wheel included.

Pricing and equipment for the Citroen C4 Cactus

In Ireland there are three trim level: Touch, Feel and Flair. Pricing starts from €19,995 for an entry level Touch 1.2 petrol model or €22,195 for a diesel. Standard equipment on Touch models includes cruise control, 7” touchscreen, front fog lights, air con and LED daytime running lights.

Feel models start from €22,495 and add 17” alloys, rear privacy glass, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, auto lights and wipers, rear parking sensors, reversing camera, and automatic air con.

Rear seating space in the 2018 Citroen C4 Cactus
Rear seating space in the 2018 Citroen C4 Cactus

Flair models start from €24,495 and add an exterior colour pack, front parking sensors, Active Safety Brake, driver attention alert, speed sign recognition, lane departure warning and keyless entry/push button start.

The 1.2-litre turbo petrol is available in two outputs (110hp or 130hp), while the 1.6-litre diesel has 100hp. Manual or automatic gearboxes are available. Emissions are low with motor tax for the range from €180 to €200.

My test car was a 1.2-litre turbo petrol with 130hp, mated to a six speed manual gearbox. In Flair trim this model retails from €25,795.

What's the Citroen C4 Cactus like to drive?

On the road the 2018 Citroen C4 Cactus is softly sprung and soaks up uneven road surfaces very well. The C4 Cactus is the brand’s first car in Europe to use a new suspension system with’ Progressive Hydraulic Cushions’. With the perky petrol power of the 1.2-litre turbo petrol the C4 Cactus is agile and fun to drive, while also scoring for efficiency and running costs. It's lighter than rivals and feels it on the road. It's stable but doesn't have the same hunkered down feel in corners as some of its hatchback rivals and the steering is on the light side. But the C4 Cactus is more charming for being smooth, comfortable and quiet on the move.

The Citroen C4 Cactus range starts from €19,995 in Ireland
The Citroen C4 Cactus range starts from €19,995 in Ireland

Citroen is currently revolutionising its line up with some very current and comfortable models. The new positioning of the Citroen C4 Cactus is spot on: pitched as a hatchback but offering something completely different to rivals with its distinct, crossover-like styling. The interior can feel a bit budget in places and dynamically it's not the sharpest among rivals. The petrol models are particularly pleasant and efficient, but the real charm of the C4 Cactus is that it's just so relaxing to drive and spend time in!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Citroen C4 Cactus Puretech 130 Flair
Price: 
€25,795 (Available from €19,995)
Engine: 1.2-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
130hp
Torque: 230Nm
0-100km/h: 
8.2 seconds
Top speed: 193km/h
Claimed Economy: 
4.8l/100km
CO2 emissions:  
110g/km
Motor tax: 
€190 per year


The new Ford Fiesta Active Crossover

Ford Fiesta Active Crossover On The Way This Summer

The new Ford Fiesta Active Crossover
The new Ford Fiesta Active Crossover

The all-new Ford Fiesta Active will go on sale in Ireland this June priced from €21,900.

The Fiesta Active is the first in a new family of Active crossover models from Ford inspired by sports utility vehicles (SUVs) that combine "rugged styling and enhanced versatility with true Ford fun-to-drive dynamics and sophisticated comfort and driver assistance technologies, for Europe’s growing numbers of SUV and crossover customers".

The Ford Fiesta Active features a raised ride-height and a higher driving position as well as a number of cosmetic upgrades. There is also Drive Mode technology that enables drivers to choose between Normal, Eco and Slippery modes. Powertrain options include Ford’s multi-award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine offering up to 140 PS.

Irish pricing and specifications for the Ford Fiesta Active

In Ireland the new Ford Fiesta Active will be available in two versions Active and Active 2.

Standard features on Fiesta Active (from €21,900) include 17” 5-spoke alloy wheels with rough metal machined finish, rugged body-styling kit, silver roof rails, rear LED lights, rear privacy glass, Active front wing badges, and rear electric windows.

Standard features on Fiesta Active 2 (from €23,200) include 17” 5-spoke alloy wheels shadow black machined finish, black contrast painted roof and mirror caps, black roof rails, B&O Play premium audio system with 360° sound system with 10 speakers, 8” touchscreen, cruise control, auto high beam, driver alert and traffic sign recognition, rain-sensing wipers and auto-dimming rear view mirror, sport cloth seats with unique luxe yellow trim, yellow colour theme to key interior areas and a black headliner.


The BMW X2

BMW X2 To Launch In Ireland In March

The all-new BMW X2 will arrive in Ireland in March 2018 priced from €43,960.

This is a brand new model for the brand and the BMW X2 is somewhere between a coupé and a small SUV.

The new BMW X2 is eight centimetres shorter and more than seven centimetres lower than the BMW X1, yet has the same wheelbase.

At launch the BMW X2 xDrive20d diesel variant will be available (from €51,910). It generates a maximum output of 190hp and 400Nm of torque enabling a zero to 100km/h time of 7.7 seconds. Official fuel consumption is 4.8l/100km (combined), while CO2 emissions are as low as 124g/km in base trim.

The engine range will be expanded shortly after launch adding a further three engines in the form of the sDrive18d, xDrive18d and sDrive20i.

The range of exterior paint options include brand new colours for the brand including Galvanic Gold and Misano Blue, and perforated Dakota leather in Magma red.

Interior design highlights include a new driver display with black panel technology as standard, while the BMW ConnectedDrive features the latest digital services.

There are four trim levels for the new BMW X2 in Ireland: SE, Sport, M Sport and M Sport X.

Standard specification on SE includes 17-inch alloy wheels, BMW Navigation (RTTI), dual zone climate control, Front fog lights, ISOFIX front passenger seat, power tailgate, rain sensor and BMW emergency call.

Standard specification on Sport includes 18 inch-alloy wheels, sports steering wheel, black high-gloss trim with pearlescent chrome finisher, exterior styling trim, black high-gloss, LED foglights and headlights with cornering function.

Standard specification on M Sport includes 19-inch light alloy multi-spoke style wheels, ambient LED lighting, LED headlights, front LED fog lights, M Sport suspension, and heated sport seats, two-zone control air conditioning, cruise control with braking function, Park Distance Control, Bluetooth hands-free, BMW ConnectedDrive (BMW Emergency Call, BMW Navigation, BMW Online Services, BMW Teleservices, Real Time Traffic Information), Drive Performance Control and the Control Display - 6.5-inch display screen.

Standard specification on M Sport X includes 19-inch M Sport light alloy wheels, leather upholstery, aluminium interior trim with pearlescent finisher, and satinated  aluminium roof rails.


Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid

Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid Arrives In Ireland

Following the launch of the Kia Niro Hybrid in late 2016,  a new Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid has arrived in Ireland priced from €35,995.

This price includes the €2,500 VRT reduction with a further €5,000 reduction available as the Niro Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) also qualifies for the SEAI grant for environmentally-friendly vehicles.

Available in just one trim level, the Kia Niro PHEV comes with leather upholstery, heated front seats and steering wheel, dual air-con, reversing camera, Sat Nav with Tom Tom services and Apple Car Play and Android Auto compatibility.

The Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid is available with a choice of four colours, and rides on 16-inch alloy wheels.

There's also a 5 star Euro NCAP safety rating thanks to standard safety equipment that includes smart cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist and driver attention warning.

The Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid pairs a 1.6-litre GDI (gasoline direct injection) engine with a 8.9 kWh high-capacity lithium-polymer battery pack. The latest addition to Kia’s hybrid crossover range substantially reduces emissions over the more conventional Niro hybrid – CO2 emissions fall to 29 g/km and the car offers a zero-emissions, pure-electric driving range of up to 58 kilometres.

The total power and torque output for the Niro Plug-in Hybrid’s powertrain is 141 ps and 265 Nm, enabling the new model to accelerate from 0-to-100 kph in 10.8 seconds (0.7 seconds quicker than the standard Niro hybrid). Power is applied to the road through the Niro’s six-speed double-clutch transmission.

James Brooks, Managing Director, Kia Motors Ireland, commented: “As sales of PHEVs continues to grow in Ireland there is also a growing demand for crossover vehicles and Niro happily meets the demand of those consumers who want both the style and practicality of a crossover and the low emissions of an advanced PHEV.“

Caroline Kidd


Nissan X-Trail

Revised Nissan X-Trail Arrives

The Nissan X-Trail has received a makeover just in time for 181 sales. An updated version of Nissan's flagship crossover goes on sale in Ireland in November, priced from €32,150.

The enhancements focus on fresh exterior design, greater cabin refinement, more practicality for owners and innovative new technology.

In Ireland, the new Nissan X-Trail SUV will be available in XE, SV, SVE and a new SV Premium trim.

Five seat models start from €32,150, while seven seat models start from €36,600.

Engines include a 1.6-litre petrol and 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre diesels.

Standard equipment includes cruise control with speed limiter, Bluetooth connectivity, manual air-conditioning, electric folding/heated door mirrors and alloy wheels.

Depending on the grade chosen, other features include an opening panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, privacy glass, dual-zone automatic air-conditioning and roof rails. 

Caroline Kidd


Volkswagen T-Roc Ireland

Volkswagen T-Roc To Start From €24,750 In Ireland

The new Volkswagen T-Roc will go on sale in Ireland later this year, with a starting price of €24,750.

The entry-level Volkswagen T-Roc comes with the new 1.0-litre TSI petrol engine with 115bhp. Standard equipment includes Climatronic 2-Zone air conditioning, Front Assist, Lane Assist, USB interfaces, Bluetooth connectivity and a 6.5” ‘Composition Colour’ radio system.

There's also a better equipped Design model that also features the 1.0-litre TSI 115bhp petrol engine, priced from €26,995. Equipment includes 16” alloy wheels, a larger Composition Media radio system featuring an 8” glass touchscreen, a chrome package, Voice Control and App Connect.

At the top of the Volkswagen T-Roc range, there is a Sport trim, which comes with a choice of 1.5-litre 150bhp petrol engines or the 2.0-litre 150bhp TDI diesel, with the latter available in either 6-speed manual or 7-speed DSG. The 1.5-litre TSI Sport starts from €29,750 and the 2.0-litre TDI 4Motion starts from €34,795. Sport includes sports seats, 17” alloy wheels, LED headlamps, and tinted rear windows.

Volkswagen T-Roc Ireland
The Volkswagen T-Roc is available to order from October

Additional models will be added later in 2018.

There is a Design Pack and a Sport Pack available on some models, and a number of Technology Upgrade Pack available that add more equipment at good value.

A black roof is available as an option on the Design and Sport specifications.

The new Volkswagen T-Roc will be available to order in Ireland from next month, with display models arriving in showrooms throughout October and November.

Caroline Kidd


2017 Nissan Qashqai

2017 Nissan Qashqai Arrives In Ireland

A revised Nissan Qashqai has arrived in Ireland, and the 2017 version of the popular crossover goes on sale priced from €26,070.

The Qashqai's SUV styling has been tweaked slightly with most noticeable changes being to the grille, front bumper and fog lamps.  The boomerang shaped daytime running lights are also new and the LED light motif has been extended across the whole lamp at the rear.

Inside there is a new D-shaped steering wheel and redesigned seats in cloth or leather.

There have been a few changes under the skin to improve comfort and driving performance including the addition of Active Return Control, which allows the steering wheel to return to centre more naturally, improving precision during driving.

There are also significant improvements to noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) performance in the new Qashqai.

Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Intelligent Park Assist with New Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Still Assist have been added to the Nissan Qashqai range for the first time.

The Qashqai will be available with ProPILOT, Nissan’s autonomous drive technology in 2018.

New Qashqai comes in four grades in Ireland: XE, SV, SV Premium and SVE.

The new Nissan Qashqai is in dealers now.

Caroline Kidd


Opel Crossland X

New Opel Crossland X Arrives In Ireland

The all-new Opel Crossland X compact crossover has arrived in Ireland, priced from €21,995.

This new Opel 'urban' crossover model is the second member of the Opel X family, sitting alongside the Mokka X in the B-SUV segment. The third member, the larger Grandland X, will be launched in the compact class (C-segment) later this year.

The Crossland X will be available with choice of 1.6-litre turbo diesel (99 or 120hp) and 1.2-litre turbo petrol (81 or 110hp).

There will be two trim levels in Ireland: SC and SE.

Equipment on SC (from €21,995) includes Opel OnStar, Intellilink with 7" touchscreen, dual zone climate control, cruise control, 16" alloys, front fog lights, lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition.

SE models (from €23,495) add a contrast colour roof as standard, 17" alloys, ambient lighting, rear parking sensors and some updated styling features.

Diesels start from €23,995.

The new Opel Crossland X will be available at Irish Opel dealers this weekend.

Caroline Kidd


Toyota C-HR review ireland

Toyota C-HR Review

Toyota is hardly a brand that’s been known for avant-garde design in recent years. But with their new crossover, the Toyota C-HR, the rule book has been thrown out and replaced with a little of that edgy style that makes the cars from sister brand Lexus so distinct.

The Toyota C-HR (Coupe High Rider) is the most adventurous-looking Toyota we’ve seen in years and the car’s coupe-like features are testament to the designers’ desire to create a stand-out style for Toyota among mid-sized crossovers.

Inside, Toyota has created a cool, contemporary interior with swathes of piano black, plenty of soft touch materials and diamond-shaped detail dotted throughout. It is one of the most stylish Toyota interiors to date. The large 8” touchscreen in the centre is particularly impressive.

Toyota C-HR review ireland
The interior of the Toyota C-HR

With pricing starting at €26,895, the Toyota C-HR is priced in Peugeot 3008 and Nissan Qashqai territory. Remember Toyota also has the larger RAV4 family SUV in their range, but C-HR is the cooler sibling. It will fit three in the back and the middle seat is comfortable enough. Headroom is also good. The only issue is that it's a bit dark back there because of the high, tapered-off window line. The boot is 370 litres, so about as big as your average family hatchback, and practical for everyday use.

There are three trim levels for new C-HR offered in Ireland – Luna, Luna Sport and Sol – and the car is well equipped from base with 17” alloy wheels, leather steering wheel, front fog lamps, Toyota Touch 2 with rear view monitor, Pre-Collision System (including Pedestrian Recognition), Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with steering control, Automatic High Beam and Road Sign Assist.

Luna Sport adds 18” alloys, bi-tone roof, rear privacy glass, heated seats and a smart entry system. Top of the range Sol models add part leather upholstery, satellite navigation and park assist.

Buyers can choose from a 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine with a manual gearbox or the 1.8-litre petrol hybrid model that incorporates an automatic transmission. There is no four wheel drive option or diesel. Prices start at €26,895 for the 1.2 petrol in Luna trim, €29,950 for Luna Sport and €30,950 for Sol. Hybrids start from €29,350.

Toyota C-HR review ireland
The Toyota C-HR is available with a 1.2-litre turbo petrol or as a hybrid

The 1.2-litre turbo petrol produces 116hp with CO2 emissions from 135g/km. The C-HR hybrid has the latest-generation hybrid power plant of a 1.8-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, producing 120hp with CO2 emissions as low as 86g/km and a claimed fuel consumption of 74mpg.

My test car had the 1.2-litre petrol engine and the engine gives good performance with 0 to 100kmh achieved in 10.9 seconds. The car returned close to 40mpg for me over a week of driving. The turbo provides good flexibility but there is still a little working of the gearbox needed in the higher gears to make decent progress.

The C-HR is smooth and agile to drive with light controls. There is good grip and the car holds the road well. There is not much feedback to the steering, but there is enough resistance to get around corners with confidence and overall, the C-HR is a fun and agile crossover to drive. Comfort and refinement are excellent with just a little road noise on the motorway.

With the new C-HR, Toyota has done a great job to create a stylish product with real emotional appeal, and the quality and design of the interior makes this new crossover feel more than just a mass-produced, mid-priced compact SUV. That cool design has a few compromises however so it won’t be the most family-friendly crossover out there, but it’s a smooth and agile drive, and relishes urban life.

Toyota C-HR review ireland
The Toyota C-HR is available from €26,895

Model tested: Toyota C-HR 1.2T Sol
Price: 
€30,950 (Range starts at €26,895)
Engine: 1.2-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
114bhp
Torque: 185Nm
0-100km/h:  
10.9 seconds
Top speed: 190km/h
Economy: 
47.3mpg
CO2 emissions:  
135g/km
Motor tax:
€280 per year

Caroline Kidd

If you are looking for a quirky crossover you might also like this review of the Suzuki Vitara.