Volvo V60

Volvo V60 Family Estate Revealed

Volvo Cars has revealed the new Volvo V60 five-door, mid-size premium estate ahead of next month's Geneva Motor Show.

“The family estate driver is an important customer for our business and has been for generations,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and CEO of Volvo Cars. “The new V60 honours that tradition, but also takes it much further.”

The new Volvo V60 shares Volvo Cars’ Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform with the new Volvo XC60 SUV and four 90 Series cars.

Volvo says the SPA-based V60 introduces a "new standard to the mid-size premium estate segment with a luxurious interior, increased levels of space, advanced connectivity, plus Volvo Cars’ latest driver support systems and other safety technology".

“The V60 really is the central point of the Volvo brand,” said Robin Page, Senior Vice President Design at Volvo Cars. “It’s refined, has a beautiful proportion and stance, yet delivers on practicality and versatility.”

In a first for the segment, customers can access the new V60 via Volvo Cars’ new premium subscription service Care by Volvo, which offers car access via a monthly flat-fee subscription rather than ownership. According to Volvo this makes having a car as transparent, easy and hassle free as having a mobile phone.

The new Volvo V60 comes with two plug-in hybrid powertrain options: the new T6 Twin Engine AWD petrol plug-in hybrid that generates a combined 340hp or the T8 Twin Engine AWD petrol plug-in hybrid that delivers 390hp.

The regular petrol choice offers T5 or T6 powertrains. Drivers who prefer diesel can select D3 or D4 engines.

City Safety with Autobrake technology will feature which uses automatic braking and detection systems to assist the driver in avoiding potential collisions, and is the only system on the market to recognise pedestrians, cyclists and large animals. In a world first, City Safety now also engages autobraking to mitigate oncoming collisions.

The Pilot Assist system – which supports the driver with steering, acceleration and braking on well-marked roads up to 130km/h – has been upgraded with improved cornering performance.

The V60 also includes Run-off Road Mitigation, Oncoming Lane Mitigation and other steering assistance systems. The optional Cross Traffic Alert with autobrake further improves safety for people inside and outside the car.

Volvo Cars’ Sensus infotainment system is fully compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and 4G. The system is controlled via a tablet-style touch screen that combines car functions, navigation, connected services and entertainment apps.

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

Kia Optima SW Review Ireland

Kia Optima SW Review

Kia has recently added an estate to the Optima range, and though estates are not big sellers in Ireland, the new Optima estate is arguably better-looking than the saloon. It also boasts more space and a practical interior, so it most definitely is a worthy addition to the range.

The Optima SW (Sportswagon) is a looker and Kia has not strayed too far from the Sportspace concept that preceded this production version. It has tonnes of presence and looks more expensive than its modest €29,950 price tag.

The Kia Optima SW is exceptionally good value because Kia Ireland are making it available in just one high specced trim level (EX) and this is a very large car (no kidding!). The rear footwells are huge and the roofline is high enough to accommodate taller passengers. The boot is huge too of course – 552 litres versus 510 in the saloon, with the bonus of a wide opening and low loading sill. It’s not too difficult to see how the Kia Optima SW would make an excellent family car.

Kia Optima Review Ireland
Interior of the new Kia Optima SW

The interior feels well-built and there are soft touch materials mixed through that add more sophistication to an otherwise quite plain interior. But plain usually means easy to navigate and that applies here too. Infotainment is provided via a 7” touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.

Other equipment as standard on the Optima SW includes 18” alloys, auto lights and wipers, cruise control, leather covered steering wheel, dual zone climate control, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition, parking sensors and reversing camera.

There is just one engine available – Kia’s 1.7 diesel with 141hp. It is perfectly capable in the Optima SW and overtaking manoeuvres can be done quickly and efficiently. Yes, the engine does get a bit coarse at high revs but at a cruise it blends away into the background. This car will cost €190 to tax per year and can return up to a claimed 64mpg.

Kia Optima SW Review Ireland
The Kia Optima SW is available in one trim with a high spec and one engine - a 1.7-litre diesel with 141hp

On the road, this is a large, comfortable car that takes motorway journeys in its stride. But it is not the sharpest car dynamically. The light steering is wonderful in town because it makes it very agile in low speed manoeuvres. It becomes frustrating as you pick up speed on faster roads out of town, where you would long for a bit more weight, and there is also not much in the way of feedback.

It holds the road well enough but naturally that big long body starts to lean if it’s pushed too hard through corners. But so long as you’re not looking for a sporting estate, the Optima gets by just fine at a more relaxed pace.

Kia Optima SW Review Ireland
The Kia Optima SW has loads of space and is well-priced

The Kia Optima SW is a handsome beast that is exceptionally good value for its high spec and large interior and capacious boot. The Optima SW may find its biggest competition coming from its Sportage SUV stablemate because they are similarly priced, but don’t rule out this stylish estate car.

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Kia Optima SW 1.7 EX diesel
10.2 seconds
CO2 emissions:  
Motor tax:
€190 per year

Renault Mégane Sport Tourer Ireland

Renault Mégane Sport Tourer Goes On Sale

Following on from the launch of the new Mégane hatchback over the summer, the new Renault Mégane Sport Tourer is arriving in Ireland in December. The new Mégane estate is available to order now, priced from €20,490.

The Renault Mégane Sport Tourer is even more practical than the hatchback with boot space of 521 litres, expanding to 1,504 litres with the rear seats down.

Like the hatchback, the new Mégane estate will be available in five trim levels - Expression, Dynamique Nav, Dynamique S Nav, GT Line and GT.

Standard equipment includes front and rear LED daytime running lights, 16-inch wheels, electric windows, Bluetooth connectivity, DAB radio with fingertip controls, an AUX input, a two-way adjustable steering column and height adjustable driver and passenger seat.

At launch there is a choice of four engines for the new Mégane estate – two TCe turbocharged petrol options with capacities and power outputs of 1.2-litre/130hp and 1.6-litre/205hp (GT only). The turbodiesel alternatives are a 1.5-litre dCi 110hp or a 1.6-litre dCi 130hp engine. Manual and automatic transmissions are available.

Petrols start at €20,490 and diesels start at €22,490.

The new Renault Mégane Sport Tourer is available to order for 171 registrations in Renault dealerships around Ireland now.

Caroline Kidd

Fiat Tipo Ireland

Pricing And Specifications For New Fiat Tipo

The all-new Fiat Tipo Hatchback and Station Wagon will go on sale in Ireland in November with prices starting from €17,995. A saloon will join the range in January 2017.

According to Fiat, these new C-segment offerings  offer "exceptional roominess, high specification, robust quality and outstanding efficiency, not to mention its stylish Italian flair".

The hatchback has a boot capacity of 440 litres, while the Station Wagon has 550 litres.

Power comes from a 1.4-litre 95hp petrol engine, a 1.4-litre T-Jet 120hp turbo petrol and the 1.6-litre 110hp e-TorQ engine (combined exclusively to a six-speed, torque converter automatic transmission), and two turbo diesel engines – a 1.3-litre 95hp MultiJet and a 1.6-litre 120hp MultiJet.

Petrols start at €17,995 for the hatchback and at €19,245 for the estate. Diesels start at €19,745 for the hatchback and €20,995 for the estate.

The hatchback and Station Wagon will be offered in three trim levels: Pop, Easy and Lounge.

Standard equipment on Pop includes air conditioning, remote central locking, front & rear electric windows, body-coloured door mirrors with electric adjustment, six airbags,  chrome door handles, split rear seats, a front seat centre arm rest, full size spare wheel,  USB and Bluetooth connectivity with steering wheel remote controls. The Station Wagon adds roof bars.

The Easy trim level adds a five-inch Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear knob, LED daytime running lights, 16-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, rear parking sensors and cruise control.

At launch Fiat Ireland will offer the mid spec Easy trim for the same price as the entry Pop trim (€17,995).

Also included with the Easy version are the Uconnect LIVE services, which combines with a smartphone app (available via App Store or Google Play) to offer music streaming with Deezer and TuneIn, news from Reuters and the ability to stay in touch with friends via Facebook Check-in and Twitter, not to mention monitoring vehicle performance, efficiency and maintenance status with eco:Drive and my:Car.

The Lounge trim level, priced €1,250 above the equivalent Easy version, adds satellite navigation with TomTom LIVE services including HD Traffic, climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic lights and wipers, rear view camera, driver’s side lumbar support and a chrome pack all as standard.

There are a number of options and safety packs available.

The all-new FIAT Tipo goes on sale in Ireland from 4th November.

Caroline Kidd

Opel Astra Sports Tourer Car Review Ireland

Opel Astra Sports Tourer Review

Opel Astra Sports Tourer Car Review Ireland
The new Opel Astra Sports Tourer

After the arrival of the new Opel Astra here in late 2015, the Opel Astra Sports Tourer has recently landed in Ireland. “Sports Tourer” is the posh name but what we’re really talking about here is an estate car and it makes a great buy if you need more boot space and practicality than what a standard Astra hatchback can offer.

The new Astra Sports Tourer also happens to be a very handsome car in the metal. True, the test car (pictured) was a top of the range Elite model and came with gorgeous optional 18” ‘Twister’ alloys (€550), but there’s no denying that even in basic form, the new car has a lovely, elegant shape.

The new Astra has also seen a huge step up in design and quality over its forebear, and the quality in the cabin is up there with the very best in the class. The Astra I think actually has an advantage here because the dash design not only feels well-made and all the materials are of good quality, but it’s also interesting to look at and nice to interact with. The Intellilink infotainment system is standard from SC trim upwards and the touchscreen gives the cabin a slick appearance, while also allowing easy integration with smartphones and access to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto apps.

Opel Astra Sports Tourer Car Review Ireland
Interior of new Opel Astra Sports Tourer

Entry level S cars get air con and Bluetooth but step up to SC and you get additional 16” alloy wheels, cruise control, four electric windows, steering wheel mounted audio controls and Intellilink. While SC and sporty SRi trim will probably tempt buyers most in this segment, the Elite model on test was a great showcase of how sophisticated the Astra can be should you wish to spec it up, with standard features including leather seat trim, dual zone climate control, heated steering wheel, electric parking brake, heated front seats (also with a cooling function!) and heated outer rear seats, on top of the safety tech like lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and Opel OnStar that are standard from SRi trim up. A cool option fitted to the test car was the electric tailgate that can be released from the key or by waving your foot under the rear bumper (€500).

It’s an estate car so of course the boot is the key selling point here because it’s 540 litres compared to 370 litres in the hatchback. It’s ideal for regular use because it’s got a low flat loading area and great shape for stacking your cargo or housing your canine friends on trips to the beach or park. For your human friends, there is seating for five and the space on offer is good. In the back, head and leg room gives the impression of a large, roomy car and even the middle passenger gets a relatively flat space to put their feet.

Opel Astra Sports Tourer Car Review Ireland
Extra cargo space in the Opel Astra Sports Tourer, with a low, flat sill for easy loading

The great advantage of compact estates like the Astra Sports Tourer is that while they house generous cargo space they are also, well, compact, so you can get around easily and they are not a nuisance to park. The Astra Sports Tourer is a supremely confident drive and there is very little to complain about behind the wheel as the suspension does a great job of anesthetising the bumps and ruts of Irish roads, while the car handles with a great level of panache too. The steering is light and easy, but the grip from that front end makes itself tangible at the rim so placing the car on the road and dipping in and out of corners is actually quite fun. Compared to the hatch, the extra bit of bulk at the back makes the car feel slightly less dynamic if you’re pushing hard through tight corners because there’s more lean.

The Astra Sport Tourer is complemented by a range of petrol and diesel engines, with the best for economy returning as high as 78mpg. The engine line-up for the Sports Tourer is the same as the hatchback and includes three petrols (1.4-litre 100PS, 1.0-litre turbo 105PS, 1.4-litre turbo 150PS), and a 1.6-litre diesel with two different power outputs (110PS and 136PS). My test car had the 1.6-litre (136PS) diesel and it’s a fine specimen of the genre – super smooth power output through the 6 speed manual gearbox and excellent refinement with no annoying harshness, even stopping and starting around town. There’s also more than enough power and the car pulls strongly with great flexibility in all the gears, while returning up to 72mpg.

Opel Astra Sports Tourer Car Review Ireland
A range of strong engines for the new Opel Astra Sports Tourer, with the most efficient returning up to 78mpg

Estate cars have never really been big sellers in Ireland and certainly over the past few years many hatchback buyers have strayed further from this territory in the car showroom, migrating to similarly priced crossovers and SUVs rather than estates.

But the Opel Astra Sports Tourer certainly makes a great case for the humble estate, with a fine blend of practicality, smooth driving character and a level of refinement that would make many similarly priced SUVs and crossovers appear like false value.

Caroline Kidd

Model Tested: Opel Astra Sports Tourer Elite
€29,195 (Range starts €21,195)
1.6-litre turbo diesel
10.1 seconds
CO2 Emissions: 
Motor Tax: 
€190 per year

Opel Astra Sports Tourer Car Review Ireland
Opel Astra Sports Tourer: Fine blend of practicality and mature road manners