Skoda Superb

ŠKODA: “Diesel is alive and doing very well”

ŠKODA Ireland achieved market share of 7.1% in the first quarter of 2018.

This marks the highest ever sales performance by ŠKODA in Ireland. It equates to 5,064 new vehicles sold to customers.

ŠKODA is currently the sixth bestselling brand in Ireland. In a year when overall car sales are down over 5.8%, ŠKODA has grown its sales volume by 3.7%.

Accroding to ŠKODA Ireland, 56% of ŠKODA sales in the first three months of the year were diesel.

John Donegan, Brand Director at ŠKODA Ireland said: “Strong demand for our diesel powered vehicles helped us achieve our greatest first quarter result ever in the brand's history. We believe that our efficient EU6 Diesel engines still provide the best solution for the majority of Irish motorists. Diesel is alive and doing very well.

ŠKODA also possesses one of the most advanced ranges of petrol engines – such as the turbo-charged 1.0 TSI 115bhp unit, available in the Karoq and Octavia, offering great choice to our customers. By 2020, we will be offering our customers the option of Electric, Plug-In-Hybrid, Petrol and of course Diesel.”

Despite the growing trend towards SUVs, the brand’s bestselling model is the Octavia, with over 2,000 units sold. The Superb has also increased segment share.

New car CO2 emissions rise in europe

New Car CO2 Emissions Rise In Europe

Average CO2 emissions generated by new cars in Europe increased during 2017 for the first time in ten years, according to JATO Dynamics.

The analysis covered 23 European markets and found that average CO2 emissions increased by 0.3g/km in 2017 – finishing at 118.1g/km.

This rise in average CO2 emissions correlates with a decrease in demand for diesel cars across Europe – which produce lower CO2 emissions than petrol cars – and the rising popularity of SUVs, which emit higher average CO2 emissions.

Data for 2017 shows that diesel cars registered in the market had a CO2 emissions average of 117.9g/km, compared to petrol cars, which had an average of 123.4g/km – a difference of 5.5g/km.

Likewise, the average power output of a diesel engine registered in the EU was found to be 142HP, with 117.9g/km CO2 emitted.

The average power output of a petrol engine registered in the EU was found to be 123HP, with 123.4g/km emitted.

New car CO2 emissions rise in Europe
New car CO2 emissions rise in Europe

With increased negative public perception towards diesels, combined with increased government regulation and scrutiny of the fuel type, the volume of diesel cars registered fell by 7.9% to 6.77 million units in 2017.

In turn, diesel cars accounted for just 43.8% of total registrations in 2017, which is 11.1 percentage points lower than their peak, seen in 2011, and the fuel type’s lowest market share since 2003, when diesels accounted for 43.4% of total registrations.

Whilst demand for diesel cars declined in 2017, registrations of petrol cars increased by 10.9% – the highest level since 2003. This meant the market share of petrol vehicles grew by 3 percentage points from 47% to 50% between 2016 and 2017.

New car CO2 emissions rise in Europe
New car CO2 emissions rise in Europe

Alternative-Fuelled-Vehicles only experienced a small increase in volume. Despite the declining popularity of diesels, they increased their market share from 3% in 2016 to 5% in 2017.

Battery-Electric-Vehicles (BEVs) experienced meagre growth too. This could be due to consumer scepticism when it comes to the battery ranges of BEVs and the number of charging points available on the road network at present. In comparison, the market share of hybrid vehicles increased by one percentage point.

Demand for SUVs continued to rise in 2017 – but despite the introduction of smaller SUVs to the market and the adoption of hybrid solutions, which helped reduce the segments average CO2 emissions from 134.9g/km in 2016 to 133.0g/km in 2017, SUVs contributed to the overall increase of average CO2 emissions in Europe. This was because they emitted far higher average CO2 emissions than the new car average of 118.1g/km in 2017.

The correlation between the decline in demand for diesel cars and the increase in CO2 emissions was most evident in Europe’s largest markets. Diesel demand fell by double-digits in Germany and the UK, and in France and Spain it fell by 5.4% and 8.1% respectively. As a result, average CO2 emissions increased in all of these car markets.

New car CO2 emissions rise in Europe
New car CO2 emissions rise in Europe

At a brand level, Peugeot, which led the ranking in 2016, fell to second place after its emissions average increased by 2.7g/km to 104.5g/km in 2017. This was mainly due to its increased presence in the SUV segment, in particular with the Peugeot 3008, which experienced a high volume of registrations.

Toyota became Europe’s cleanest car brand amongst the top 20 best-selling brands, with its emissions average decreasing by 2.7 g/km to 101.2g/km. This can be attributed to increased demand for its hybrid vehicle models, which represented half of all registrations for the brand, with petrol (42%) and diesel (7.5%) cars making up the rest of its registrations.

Mazda CX-5

Mazda: "European Drivers Still Want The Internal Combustion Engine"

New research by Mazda has revealed that almost 60 per cent of European drivers, see a positive future for petrol and diesel engines.

The Mazda Driver Project research – commissioned together with Ipsos MORI – polled 11,008 people across key European markets and an average of 58 per cent believe there is “a lot of innovation and improvement still to come with petrol and diesel engines”.

The findings arrive as Mazda ramps up its ‘Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030’ vision to combine the best of internal combustion engines with effective electrification technologies. Central to this ambition is SKYACTIV-X, the world’s first commercial petrol engine to use compression ignition.

According to Mazda, this new engine "combines the advantages of petrol and diesel engines to achieve outstanding environmental performance, power and acceleration performance".

Mazda Motor Europe’s President and CEO Jeff Guyton said, “The research findings are fascinating. The whole basis of our long-running Drive Together campaign is to celebrate the sheer joy of driving, and it appears that European drivers see a long road ahead for the internal combustion engine – we are working hard to make that road an even better experience for drivers everywhere.

“We recently launched ‘Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030’, our long-term vision for technology development.  In it, we set out how we plan to use driving pleasure to help solve issues facing people, the earth and society. In the case of greenhouse gas emissions, we believe it’s necessary to have the right solution at the right time.

For us this means taking a well-to-wheel view, and therefore today’s most rational offering is a combination of internal combustion engines and electric devices which consider each market’s energy situation and power generation methods. In this context, we are determined to perfect the internal combustion engine."

Technical note: Data from the consumer research conducted by Ipsos MORI is based on a survey conducted among 11,008 adults across 11 European markets, with at least 1,000 interviews in each market. All interviews were conducted between 7th – 22nd September 2017. The consumer survey data is weighted to the known population proportions of each country‘s adults by age, gender, and home region.

Honda Civic 1.6 diesel i-DTEC

2018 Honda Civic Diesel Arrives In Ireland

Honda Ireland has expanded the Honda Civic range in Ireland with the arrival of a new 1.6-litre diesel engine with 120hp.

The tenth generation Honda Civic launched in Ireland in 2017 with two petrol engines: a 1.0 and 1.5 litre turbo petrol.

The Honda Civic range starts from €23,750 for a 1.0-litre turbo petrol, while the new Civic 1.6-litre diesel goes on sale from €25,550.

Honda has comprehensively revised its 120hp, 300Nm 1.6 litre i-DTEC diesel engine for the all-new Honda Civic range. CO2 emissions (under the updated NEDC test conditions) are from 93g/km when equipped with the six-speed manual transmission. Combined fuel economy figures under the updated test conditions are 3.5l/100 km.

The Civic Diesel is available in four trims: Smart (from €25,550), Smart Plus (from €27,950), Premium (from €31,950) and Premium Plus (from €33,450).

Standard equipment includes the Honda Sensing suite of safety equipment, Bluetooth, parking sensors, auto air con and 16" alloys.

Read a review of the Honda Civic 1.0 Turbo or Civic 1.5 Turbo.

Caroline Kidd

Ford Focus ST- Line diesel review ireland

Ford Focus ST-Line 2.0TDCi Review

Ford Focus ST- Line diesel review ireland
The Ford Focus ST-Line

The Ford Focus is one of Ireland’s favourite hatchbacks and has been a consistent bestseller since launch back in 1998. Though the current Ford Focus is due to be replaced before the end of 2018, the popularity of this model shows no signs of abating and there are deals to be had on a well-specced Ford Focus that make it look like very good value indeed.

In 2017, Ford added a new ST-Line sporty trim to key models like Fiesta, Focus, Mondeo and Kuga. I recently got behind the wheel of a Ford Focus ST-Line 2.0-litre diesel with 150hp.

ST-Line lends the Focus a very attractive sporty makeover with the addition of a body kit, rear diffuser, 17” ‘Rock’ metallic alloy wheels and black sports grille. Front fog lamps come as standard and the daytime running lights are LED.

Inside, there are sports seats with red stitching, a flat bottomed steering wheel, aluminium sports pedals and black headliner. Equipment includes manual air conditioning, heated windscreen, and electric windows, though my car had notables like cruise control (€150) and the SYNC 2 8” infotainment system (€575) added as options.

 Ford Focus ST- Line diesel review ireland
The interior of the Ford Focus

Under the skin there is a sports suspension but ride quality is still very good. On the road the Ford Focus shows real composure and finesse. The steering is fluid and elastic and the car changes direction with stunning precision and loads of grip. Refinement is also very good on the move, and the 2.0-litre TDCi diesel has a lovely spread of power.

Other engine options include the Ford Focus 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol with 100hp or 125hp, and a 1.5-litre diesel with 120hp. The best for economy is the 1.5-litre diesel with fuel economy a claimed 3.8l/100km.

It’s in the interior that the Ford Focus is starting to show its age, as the infotainment, quality and design is starting to fall behind newer rivals like the revamped Volkswagen Golf and Opel Astra. Still, it’s easy to get comfortable behind the wheel and when specced with the right equipment the Ford Focus is still an appealing car. Interior accommodation is good but the boot falls some way behind class leaders at 316 litres with a mini spare wheel, but a more respectable 363 with a tyre repair kit.

It’s always a pleasure to get behind the wheel of the Ford Focus again. The car has aged but still remains competitive and it’s easy to see why it’s a consistent top buy for Irish motorists.

 Ford Focus ST- Line diesel review ireland
The Ford Focus remains a good value family car with plenty of trim and engine options

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Ford Focus ST-Line 2.0TDCi
€27,670 (Range from €25,175)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Torque: 370Nm
8.9 seconds
Top speed: 212km/h
CO2 emissions:  
Motor tax: 
€190 per year


Fiat Tipo Review Ireland

Fiat Tipo Review

Since the demise of the Fiat Bravo, Fiat has been missing from the popular C-segment. To fill this gaping hole in their portfolio, Fiat has gone back in time to resurrect the Tipo name and launch a new compact car trio: say hello to the new Fiat Tipo estate, saloon and hatchback.

Fiat is not trying to evoke nostalgia for 1980's hatchbacks with retro design cues and PR spiel about resurrecting a classic. The 2017 Fiat Tipo is designed to be a budget compact car, that will give buyers ‘more for less’.

To that end, Fiat are launching the new Tipo in Ireland at superbly good value pricing. The saloon starts at just €16,745, the hatchback at €17,995, and the estate (station wagon) at €19,245.

It screams bargain. But is it just too good to be true?

Fiat Tipo Review Ireland
The Fiat Tipo is available from just €16,745

The Fiat Tipo is certainly very presentable from the outside. There is nothing of the flamboyant Italian about it, which is a little disappointing if you like that sort of thing, but it has a reassuringly steady, sensible design that will appeal to the masses. You won’t stand out but you could do far worse.

The cost saving measures to bring this car to market at such low pricing are revealed a little more when you get inside. The design makes it easy to interact with the controls and switches, but there is an abundance of cheap, dull-looking plastic. There is some more shiny material on the inside of the doors, but that’s not really a success either. Altogether it’s more functional than plush. A 5” Uconnect touchscreen with Bluetooth connection and navigation sits in the centre of the dash but it is a bit on the small side.

The Tipo redeems itself being generously sized for its stature. The rear legroom is very good for this class and though the middle seat is not the most comfortable place to sit, the legroom is not impinged by any clumsy high transmission tunnel, and headroom is also very good all round. The boot is 440 litres in the hatch, 520 litres in the saloon and 550 litres in the estate model, all large volumes for this class of car.

Fiat Tipo Review Ireland
The interior of the new Fiat Tipo

The engine range is also quite extensive. The petrol Tipo range comprises of a 95hp 1.4-litre, a 120hp 1.4-litre turbo and the 1.6-litre 110hp ‘e-TorQ’ that comes with an automatic gearbox. There are two turbo diesel engines for new Tipo: a 95hp 1.3-litre and a 120hp 1.6-litre.

My test car had the 1.6-litre diesel with 120hp and a 6 speed manual gearbox. It’s got bags of power and there’s always more in reserve so even in sixth gear on the motorway a squeeze of the throttle yields quick acceleration without having to drop a gear. Motor tax is €180 per year while this engine will return a claimed 76.3mpg in the estate version. There is a coarse edge to the engine note under hard acceleration and when taking off in first and second gear, but once cruising noise is not an issue.

The Tipo holds the road well. The steering is too light for the car to be hugely engaging to drive but there is enough resistance to cover ground quickly and safely, and it doesn’t lean too much in the corners. Refinement on the motorway is good: road and wind noise are kept to a minimum.  Ride comfort is less impressive because there is a constant little quiver underneath you even when the road ahead looks smooth.

Fiat Tipo Review Ireland
The Fiat Tipo doesn't hide its budget beginnings, but it's impossible to ignore if you are looking for a compact car

Available in three trim levels, Pop, Easy and Lounge, entry level cars come with air con, Bluetooth, and four electric windows, while Easy trim adds 16” alloys, 5” Uconnect touchscreen, cruise control, front fog lights and rear parking sensors. As an introductory offer, Fiat Ireland are offering the Easy trim cars at the same price as the Pop version.

The Fiat Tipo lacks the polish of more expensive rivals, never really shaking off the budget beginnings, but it’s not trying to be anything other than a sensible car. Aspirational types should look elsewhere, but the high standard spec, sub-€20,000 pricing and generous interior space makes the Fiat Tipo impossible to ignore if you are looking for a compact car that’s good value for money.

Model tested: Fiat Tipo Station Wagon Lounge 1.6 120hp
€23,495 (Range starts €16,745)
1.6-litre turbo diesel
Power: 120hp
10.1 seconds
CO2 emissions:  
Motor tax:
€180 per year

Caroline Kidd

mazda3 review ireland

Mazda3 GT 1.5-litre SKYACTIV-D Review

mazda3 review ireland
The Mazda3

The current Mazda3 has been on sale in Ireland since 2014 but has new pep in its step with the addition of a 1.5-litre diesel to the range.

Mazda3 was first launched with a 1.5-litre (100PS) petrol engine and a 2.2-litre (150PS) diesel engine, but the new engine (already seen in CX-3 and Mazda2) is now the most efficient in the range. It will also likely be more pleasing to Irish buyers who tend to feel more comfortable with a smaller capacity engine.

It’s efficient for sure. Mazda say the engine will return up to 74.3mpg with emissions of just 99g CO2, and the car proved frugal during my test drive. But thankfully the Mazda3 is no bore, and the 105PS engine has enough zip to exploit the Mazda’s excellent handling.  This car feels light and agile on the road, aided by a sweet shifting 6 speed manual gearbox and well-judged steering that means that corners can be taken on in one fluid motion that is extremely satisfying to the driver. While there is road noise at high speeds and the whisper of diesel gurgle when hopping on the accelerator, the Mazda3 never feels anything less than a smooth and sophisticated car.

The interior is mature but stylish and easy navigable, and the Mazda ‘MZD Connect’ infotainment system with touchscreen and rotary controller operates like something lifted from a more expensive car.

mazda3 review ireland
The Mazda3 has a stylish interior that is extremely well-finished

The Mazda3 will seat five and rear space is competitive for the class. The boot is 364 litres, which is a little off the very best in the class. And while there is a great bottle shaped space in all four doors, I was a bit disappointed that there weren’t conventional door pockets!

Yet door pockets or no door pockets, I couldn’t help but be hooked by the Mazda3. It’s a stylish presence in this segment and without the ubiquity of say the Golf, Megane, Astra, Focus, it feels more exclusive. The entry price into the range is a bit higher than some key rivals with prices for petrol models starting at €22,995, and diesels at €24,695, though standard specification is good including 16” alloy wheels, leather wrapped steering wheel, electrically adjustable and folding door mirrors, air con, keyless start, front and rear electric windows, Bluetooth, 7” colour touchscreen and multimedia system and hill hold assist.

Executive SE (from €26,195) adds the likes of front fog lights, auto lights and wipers, bi xenon headlights, LED rear lights, LED daytime running lights, rear parking sensors, rear privacy glass, dual zone climate control and cruise control. The GT model on test (from €27,395) had an updated interior with silver dashboard decoration panel, 18” alloys, head-up display, reversing camera, heated front seats and keyless entry.

mazda3 ireland review
The Mazda3 is a car that resonates with head and heart

The addition of the new 1.5-litre diesel to the range means that the Mazda3 can square up nicely to rivals in terms of engine size and despite being a really efficient unit, the Mazda3 is no bore.

However the Mazda3 is a car that really appeals for its grown-up good looks and stylish interior. Hatchback buyers are spoilt for choice but this one really does resonate with the head and the heart.

Model Tested: Mazda3 1.5 SKYACTIV-D GT
€30,290 (Range starts €22,995)
1.5-litre turbo diesel
11 seconds
CO2 Emissions: 
Motor Tax: 
€180 per year

Caroline Kidd

Renault Captur 1.5 dCi 90 Signature

Renault Captur 1.5 dCi 90 Signature Review

The Renault Captur is a compact crossover based on the Clio. It’s a bit more practical and spacious, with the chunky looks and extra height of an SUV, and the running costs of a small car.

But in a crowded compact crossover, can the Captur stand out?

Scroll down to read the review or watch my video review:


Renault Captur 1.5 dCi 90 SignatureYou bet it can stand out from the crowd, on looks alone anyway. The Captur is deliciously compact in the metal with a very colourful presence. It looks every inch the mini off-roader with a curvy, chunky body, plastic cladding and an array of colour customisation options to choose from, ranging from the bright and bold, to the sleek and sophisticated. You can change the colour of the roof, the alloy wheel inserts and bits of pieces of the interior trim, but Renault has simplified the process by offering a number of tried and tested combinations.

While there are a lot of hard plastics in the cabin, the look is modern and funky as opposed to cheap and nasty, and should prove durable and easy to clean. Models with Renault’s R-Link infotainment system look particularly well with a touchscreen in the centre of the dash. Some models have removable seat covers that you can zip off and wash. So whether it’s chocolate, ice-cream or dog hair, there are no excuses not to have clean seats!

Renault Captur 1.5 dCi 90 Signature
Renault Captur: Colourful, modern and fun cabin
Renault Captur 1.5 dCi 90 Signature
Renault Captur: Boot is 377 litres but there are a number of ways to boost the space

The Captur is 6cm longer than the Clio so feels a bit more spacious inside and the extra height makes it easier to access the cabin and the boot, and provides a good, elevated driving position. The boot is 377 litres, with a useful flat loading sill.

But there’s more. You can slide the rear bench forwards from a lever in the boot, or from the cabin, to increase boot space. The boot also has a false floor so when you place that in the very bottom of the boot, and push the rear seats forward, you’ve boosted the boot space to 455 litres. Let down the rear seats and you have 1235 litres to play with.


There is a small 0.9-litre turbocharged petrol unit or a 1.5-litre diesel to choose from. Both produce 90bhp. My test car has the 1.5 dCi and it’s a real high point for the car because it’s so refined, you’re not even thinking you’re driving a diesel because it’s so quiet on the move. It’s not hugely powerful on paper and you don’t get shoved back into your seat every time you change gear, but it’s not sluggish either and rarely feels out of its depth.

On the road, the Captur is solid and planted, and with that diesel engine, it’s well set up for motorway driving. The steering and pedals are light so it’s a very easy car to drive and the compact dimensions make it easy to manoeuvre and park. The light controls do work a little bit against the Captur on a rural road because the steering can feel a bit vague as you turn in for the corner, and the body roll will put you off driving fast around them.

Renault Captur 1.5 dCi 90 Signature
Renault Captur: 1.5 dCi diesel engine is impressively refined and cheap to run


The 1.5 dCi has emissions of just 95g CO2/km so will cost just €180 to tax per year. The official economy for this engine is just over 74mpg.


Renault Captur 1.5 dCi 90 Signature
Renault's R-Link infotainment system

There are three trim levels for the Irish market: Life, Intense and Signature.  Standard equipment is very good including four electric windows, Bluetooth, alloys, daytime running lights, cruise control and climate control. Signature trim has recently been added to the range and the kit list is very impressive – additional rear parking sensors, rear view camera, rear privacy glass, part leather upholstery, heated front seats and Renault’s R-Link infotainment system (includes a navigation system). A red touch pack as standard on Signature trim, adds red trim around the vents and the centre console.

Though there’s no four wheel drive option for the Captur, Signature trim adds Renault’s Grip Xtend advanced traction control system. It features three modes (Road, Loose Ground and Expert) and you can toggle between  them via a rotary dial on the centre console.

Renault Captur 1.5 dCi 90 Signature
Renault Captur: A stylish and practical compact crossover


The Captur is not the sort of car that will encourage you to drive fast – it’s more of a comfortable, refined and economical one that you will enjoy on the motorway or around town. It’s a small car but Renault has packaged the space really well with clever design touches, and in a crowded compact crossover market the Captur stands out for its style and customisation – without being weird-looking. So if you don’t fall for the space, you will certainly love the way it looks!

Caroline Kidd

Model Tested: Renault Captur 1.5 dCi 90 Signature
1.5-litre diesel
13.1 seconds
CO2 Emissions: 
Motor Tax: 
€180 per year