The new Kia EV9 is on sale now

Kia EV9 Review | Kia's biggest electric SUV

Read Caroline's Kia EV9 review for everything you need to know about buying Kia's new large electric SUV in Ireland.

The Kia EV9 is one of the most anticipated new electric SUVs to arrive in 2024. With the option of six or seven seats, it's one of the few large electric people carriers on sale.

What's more, it's one of the most desirable with futuristic SUV vibes and some excellent technology underneath including rapid 800 volt charging and over 500 kilometres of range from official tests.

Kia has form when it comes to building electric vehicles. The Kia Niro and Kia Soul were some of the best compact electric vehicles of their generation. The Kia EV6 is a former European Car of the Year and Irish Car of the Year winner, and remains a top choice of electric car in 2024.

The new Kia EV9 now crowns the Kia electric range, which will see more new models arriving later this year. It goes on sale priced from €77,500.

Let's take a closer look.

Kia EV9 Video

Styling

The EV9 might be Kia's best electric model yet; but it's definitely its biggest yet. In Ireland, the brand's largest model was the Kia Sorento seven-seat SUV. The EV9 is a whole lot bigger, measuring over five metres in length. In fact it's more akin to the Telluride, another Kia three-row SUV, built primarily for the North American market. So the EV9 really is a sight to behold on Irish roads! Compared to van-based MPVs that offer similar space and versatility, the EV9 is so cool and desirable. There are two trim levels, Earth and GT Line, with the latter getting a little more bling like 21-inch wheels and the gorgeous, exclusive Ocean Blue colour. Aerodynamic features include flush door handles and an active air flap at the front. The EV9 has a strong presence when viewed from the front (okay, every angle really!) with Kia's new 'digital tiger face' and full LED lights. The GT Line can also be distinguished by its cube-like LEDs. Altogether, the EV9 makes large people carriers cool again.

Interior

The dashboard design is quite minimalist with a lot of space and storage integrated into the design. On first impressions, it is quite an austere, grey plastic finish but it does all feel well made and solid. It's not as plush as a Mercedes-Benz or Volvo, but neither is it priced like one. Ambient lighting provides a little glamour, as does the widescreen digital display - full digital driver display, touchscreen and a small panel for climate controls in the centre. Surprisingly for a tech-focused car, it still uses a wired Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connection.

The cabin of the Kia EV9
The cabin of the Kia EV9

The EV9 comes with lovely two-tone synthetic leather seats with power adjustment and a massage function. The front and second row seats are heated and ventilated. There's also a premium sound system with 14 speakers and a 360 camera. The GT Line adds features like a sunroof and remote parking.

Practicality

With a three-metre wheelbase and three rows of seating, there's literally oceans of space inside the EV9. The Earth model comes as standard with seven seats, while the GT Line is available with a choice of six or seven seats. The six seater has two 'chairs' in row 2 that can slide forward and back, recline and even swivel. It's one of the most comfortable people carriers on the market. If you need to transport adults in comfort and luxury, it's a brilliant option.

There's also Isofix child seat fixtures on seats in row 2 and 3. With all seats in place, the EV9 still has space in the boot for a few bags - over 300 litres actually. With the row 3 seats folded into the floor, there's over 800 litres. A powered tailgate comes as standard and there's also a 'frunk' under the bonnet.

Battery

The EV9 uses a 99.8kWh battery, with range up to 563 kilometres (WLTP) in the single motor, rear wheel drive version (203hp) or up to 505 kilometres in the dual motor, all wheel drive (384hp). A heat pump is included as standard to improve efficiency. Battery pre-conditioning is also possible to charge more rapidly once you reach your charging stop.

The EV9 can seat six or seven people
The EV9 is an electric SUV that can seat six or seven people

Driving

The EV9 GT Line is the big daddy of the range with two electric motors creating a combined 384hp and 700Nm of torque for a 0-100km/h sprint in just 5.3 seconds. Not bad for a vehicle that weighs 2.6 tonnes! It offers excellent comfort and refinement for all those on board, feeling stable and composed for its size. The steering is nicely weighted too so it's easy to place on the road and drive through town - despite the big dimensions!

The official consumption figure is about 22.8kWh per 100 kilometres. During my test, 350-390 kilometres seemed a realistic range estimate between battery charges. There are paddle shifters behind the steering wheel to adjust the strength of the regenerative braking.

Charging 

11kW AC charging comes as standard. DC fast charging is possible up to 210kW. With 800 volt charging architecture, the EV9 is impressive when you stop at a fast charger like Ionity, for example. The battery can charge from 10-80% in 24 mins at a 350kW charger. There's also vehicle to load charging, allowing you power household electrical appliances from the charging port!

The EV9 has a hugely spacious and versatile interior
The EV9 has a hugely spacious and versatile interior

Pricing

The EV9 is available from €77,500 for the Earth and from €85,500 for the GT Line.

Verdict

The Kia EV9 is an incredible piece of design and engineering, cool and capable. It's an ambitious car from an ambitious car brand but it absolutely delivers on the space, equipment and technology it offers. With a hugely comfortable and versatile interior, it's easily one of the best electric seven seaters on the market.

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Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year

The EV9 is one of the best seven seaters on the market
The EV9 is one of the best seven seaters on the market

The new Kia Niro EV on test for Changing Lanes

Kia Niro EV Review

Read Caroline’s Kia Niro EV review for everything you need to know about buying Kia's new electric crossover in Ireland.

Kia in Ireland has strengthened their range once again with the arrival of the new Kia Niro. It's the second generation of the popular crossover and just like before, it offers customers a few unique flavours.

This new model is already an award winner, having been awarded Irish Small Crossover/SUV of the Year at the Irish Car of the Year awards.

The new Niro is available as a hybrid, plug-in hybrid and the jewel of the range is undoubtedly the new Niro EV.

With a 64.8kWh battery, the new Niro EV can drive electric up to about 460 kilometres (WLTP). It goes on sale priced from €41,775.

Let's take a closer look.

The new Kia Niro EV on test for Changing Lanes
The new Kia Niro EV on test for Changing Lanes

Styling

The Kia Niro has had a serious makeover for this new generation. It's longer, higher and wider than the car it replaces. Niro has evolved into a very handsome car, with more angles and a futuristic front end that takes inspiration from Kia's new design language. Roof rails, black painted wheel arches and side door mouldings, and chrome coated front and rear skid plates give the Niro some more rugged crossover appeal. The closed radiator grille helps the Niro EV to stand out from the Niro Plug-in Hybrid.

There are two trim levels offered for Niro EV - K3 and K4. The K3 has 17-inch alloy wheels, while the K4 gets a larger 18-inch set. All versions come with LED lights front and rear.

Interior

The cabin of the Niro EV has been transformed with a new generation Kia interior that's big on digital and high-tech features. Quality has improved even a bit more so it all looks tastefully put together. There's a full digital instrument cluster to keep the driver informed, and a 10.25-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A wireless smartphone charger comes as standard, as do a reversing camera, automatic air con, heated front seats and heated steering wheel. Step up to K4 for even more luxury features like dual zone climate control, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, full synthetic leather interior, electric lumbar support, and a head-up display. There's also a full suite of standard safety features like lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and highway driving assist.

The interior of the new Kia Niro
The interior of the new Kia Niro

Practicality

The new Niro EV has a longer wheelbase than the car it replaces so it feels a little bit roomier inside. For a compact crossover, the rear footwells are generously sized. It will be tight to sit three across the rear bench, but two adults will have enough room to get comfortable.

A powered tailgate comes as standard on the Niro EV K4 model and opens to reveal about 475 litres of space. That's more than the previous electric Niro and it's considerably more than the Niro Plug-in Hybrid! There's even a small storage compartment under the front bonnet.

Battery

There’s just one battery available for Niro EV and it's 64.8kWh offering a projected range of up to 460 kilometres (WLTP). In real world driving this might be a little optimistic but it still offers an excellent range for a compact electric crossover. It's also relatively efficient on the move, with consumption averaging about 17.8kWh per 100 kilometres during my time with the car.

Charging

DC fast charging is available for the Niro EV up to 72kW, while there is also a 7.2 kW on-board charger for AC charging.

The new Niro EV looks better than ever
The new Niro EV looks better than ever

Driving

The latest Niro is built on a new platform that allows for improvements to the suspension and steering compared to the previous version of the car. This makes for a more responsive and enjoyable drive. Niro EV feels agile on the road and a little more fun to drive than the Niro Plug-in Hybrid. The electric Niro is also the most powerful of the range with 204hp. It feels nippy in town, while also getting up to speed quickly on motorways. Overall refinement is good as well thanks to more insulation and padding around the vehicle’s structure. Niro EV also feels more settled and comfortable on the road than the Niro Plug-in Hybrid.

Pricing

The Kia Niro EV K3 is available from €41,775, while the Niro EV K4 is available from €44,990. It is the most expensive model to buy of the range compared to the Niro Hybrid (from €37,700) and the Niro Plug-in Hybrid (from €39,700). But all Niros come exceptionally well-equipped.

Rear legroom in the new Niro
Rear seating in the new Niro

Summary

The Kia Niro EV has been one of Ireland's most popular electric models for some time now and now it has evolved into a more desirable car than ever before.

While there hasn't been a big step forward in the battery and range offered, it's still very competitive among rivals in these areas, testament to what a great buy the electric Niro has been from the start and why it's always been a much sought after model.

But big improvements have been made now in the Niro's design, interior and on the road performance. Combined, they make this car more modern and desirable than before.

The Niro EV also happens to be the pick of the Niro range. It doesn't cost too much more to buy than the Niro Plug-in Hybrid, yet offers an excellent zero emissions powertrain, more boot space and is nicer to drive.

It's a win win for the new Kia Niro EV! It's not cheap but it's a great offering.

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Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year


The new Kia Sportage on sale in Ireland now

Kia Sportage Plug-In Hybrid Review

Read Caroline's Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid review for everything you need to know about buying Kia's new hybrid SUV in Ireland.

The Kia Sportage is one of Ireland's bestselling cars and has been for many years. Now in its fifth generation, it is a stylish option of family SUV, and has recently won the title of Irish Medium Crossover/SUV of the Year at the Irish Car of the Year awards in association with Continental Tyres.

Now it's available for the first time as a plug-in hybrid, along with hybrid and diesel versions too. While the range kicks off from about €37,500 for a Sportage diesel, the Sportage Plug-in Hybrid ('PHEV') is available from €47,000. Hybrids are becoming more and more popular in Ireland, and the Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid offers buyers the ability to charge the onboard 13.8kWh battery and drive electric for a range of up to about 70 kilometres.

At Changing Lanes, I've already tested the new Kia Sportage diesel, so now it's time to find out if the Sportage Plug-in Hybrid is a better option?

The new Kia Sportage on sale in Ireland now
The Kia Sportage is available as a plug-in hybrid for the very first time

Styling

The new Sportage looks very stylish and modern and is one of the best looking SUVs you can buy. Styling has been updated for this generation Sportage in line with other Kias like the new Niro. Whether you go for a diesel or hybrid version, all versions of the Sportage look similar, with plug-in hybrid models featuring an extra filler cap for electricity.

In Ireland, the plug-in hybrid is available in two well-equipped trim lines: K3 and K4. All plug-in hybrid Sportages come as standard with 19-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, LED headlights and boomerang-shaped LED daytime running lights for a charismatic road presence. Sportage K4 completes the rugged SUV look with a matt chrome coated front bumper and door garnish, high gloss black diamond mesh radiator grille and a silver painted skid plate at the back.

Interior

Inside, this latest Sportage has had a radical makeover from the previous version of the car and gets a latest generation Kia interior. Quality has improved with a fine mix of glossy black surfaces and good quality plastics giving the Sportage an upmarket feel. The cabin has some very impressive digital technology on board including a full digital driver display and a 12.3-inch touchscreen display as standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The Sportage is now one of the most stylish and contemporary cabins you'll find in the mid-size SUV class.

The interior of the Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid - stylish and modern
The interior of the Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid - stylish and modern

The Sportage Plug-in Hybrid gets cloth/synthetic leather effect seats as standard. The front seats are also heated and electrically adjustable, while the driver's seat also gets lumbar support. A heated steering wheel also comes as standard. K4 versions add full leather upholstery and heated rear seats.

There are lots of standard safety features like lane keep assist, lane follow assist, forward collision avoidance assist, cruise control, reversing camera, and high beam assist.

Practicality

The Sportage is generously sized inside for a compact SUV. The new platform means that there is more headroom and legroom compared to the previous Sportage. The plug-in hybrid has been designed with the battery placed centrally between the two axles so there is no impact to cabin space compared to fuel versions.

The back of the car feels spacious for an SUV of this size. The rear seats split fold 40:20:40 and the outer rear seats have Isofix child seat fixtures. There are also two USB charge points for rear seat passengers.

The boot has quite a low sill for an SUV so that makes it easier to load things in and out. The plug-in hybrid has been cleverly designed to offer 540 litres of boot space, which is only about 30 litres less than the Sportage diesel. The boot's square shape and wide opening make it practical for family life too.

For buyers seeking more space and seven seats, the larger Kia Sorento might be an option.

The Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid is available from €47,000
The Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid is available from €47,000

Engine

The Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine, a 66.9kW electric motor and a 13.8kWh battery pack. On a full battery, up to 70 kilometres (WLTP) of electric driving is possible, which is not too far off the Toyota RAV4 plug-in hybrid (75 kilometres) and more than the Ford Kuga plug-in hybrid (56 kilometres). In low speed city driving it's possible to drive up to 78 kilometres (WLTP) in EV mode.

Charging

The quickest way to charge the battery of the Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid is using a 7kW wallbox, which can be installed at home. Using this, it will take about 1 hour and 45 minutes to charge the battery to full. It will take about 5 hours and 45 minutes using a 3-pin socket.

On the road

This Kia Sportage is built on a new platform and has been specially designed for Europe with a new generation Electronic Control Suspension (ECS) to improve comfort and safety. The Sportage Plug-in Hybrid is one of the most refined vehicles of this type, offering a seamless hybrid and electric drive. The SUV moves smoothly over the road at all times, with a robust delivery of power. It's very quiet on the move and in town, making the Sportage Plug-in Hybrid more pleasant to drive than the Sportage diesel for example. It's the most powerful option of the range too, with 265hp and 350Nm of torque. Power goes to the front wheels via an automatic gearbox. A Ford Kuga plug-in hybrid feels a bit more fun to drive, but the Sportage offers a solid and mature drive for a plug-in hybrid SUV.

Rear seating in the new Sportage
Rear seating in the new Sportage

Motor tax for the Sportage Plug-in Hybrid is just €140 per year. Plug-in hybrids like the Sportage are at their best when the battery is kept charged. In the Sportage's case, that boosts the efficiency of the vehicle and allows EV only driving of up to about 70 kilometres. Fuel efficiency declines on an empty battery - in my experience to about 6.4 litres per 100 kilometres.

Pricing 

The new Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid is available from €47,000 for the K3 model and from €49,500 for the K4 model. Both come very well-equipped.

Summary

Many car brands are introducing plug-in hybrid technology to their line-up in the mid-size SUV segment so the new Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid is a timely addition to the Kia range. It is the most expensive Sportage to buy now, carrying a premium over diesel and petrol hybrid models. Yet it offers the most power of the range and does give buyers the option of very low running costs indeed, provided that you are willing to use the battery and make the most of the Sportage's electric driving range.

This plug-in hybrid Sportage also turns out to be a more pleasant drive than the Sportage diesel. The extra power and refinement on the move do make this car feel like a more attractive prospect. Throw in the Kia's high-tech cabin, spacious interior, big boot, and long list of standard equipment, and the Sportage Plug-in Hybrid proves to be one of the best hybrid SUVs you can buy.

The Sportage Plug-in Hybrid is one of the best of the range
The Sportage Plug-in Hybrid is one of the best of the range

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Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year


The Kia Niro on test for Changing Lanes!

Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid Review

Read Caroline's Kia Niro review for everything you need to know about buying Kia's new compact SUV in Ireland.

The Kia Niro was first introduced to Ireland back in 2016. It was a bit of a trendsetter at the time, an exciting new model for a Kia brand clearly on the way up.

Not only was it styled as a crossover - customers love them - but it also spawned a successful Niro plug-in hybrid and the jewel in the crown - the electric 'e-Niro'.

Now Kia has had a chance to revisit the Niro and create an all-new version. But electrification remains a key theme with plug-in hybrid and EV versions available, and an upcoming full hybrid.

But has the Niro now got the stylish design it deserves to really cement its position in the Irish market? Let's take a closer look to find out!

The Kia Niro on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Kia Niro on test for Changing Lanes!

What's so special about the Kia Niro?

The new Kia Niro plug-in hybrid ('PHEV') tested for Changing Lanes goes on sale in Ireland priced from €39,700 -  and it's notable for having more power and more range in EV mode than the model it replaces.

The attraction of the plug-in hybrid is the all-electric driving range of now up to 59 kilometres. At the core of this car is a 1.6-litre petrol engine paired with Kia's second-generation six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

On the road, it's more refined than ever, while savvy buyers who can keep the battery topped up will enjoy very low running costs from Niro ownership.

What's more, the new Niro seems to look the part now of a small, trendy crossover. It's found direction within the brand's new generation of vehicles like the Sportage and EV6.

Kia's design has been evolving over the years and the Niro wears the brand's avant-garde new design language very well to stand out on the road as something a little bit different.

18-inch alloy wheels and LED headlights come as standard for a stylish presence.

The new Niro will be offered as a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or electric
The new Niro will be offered as a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or electric

Inside the Kia Niro

Inside, there has been a transformation as well. Niro feels more modern and youthful than before, with some very impressive digital displays. A 10.25-inch touchscreen comes as standard and suitably modernises the cabin of the Niro. It's all very simple and intuitive to use, while the cabin quality feels good as well.

In Ireland the Niro PHEV is available in two trim levels, packed with equipment - the K3 (from €39,700) and the K4 (from €42,700).

Standard features on K3 models include heated front seats, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, wireless phone charger, and Apple Car Play and Android Auto with voice control. There are also lots of standard safety features like lane keep assist, lane follow assist, adaptive cruise control and blind-spot collision avoidance. The Niro is not cheap but that's a high specification.

Opt for the K4, and in addition there's power adjustable front seats, heated rear seats, head-up display, 10.25-inch LCD driver display screen and a powered tailgate.

The interior of the new Kia Niro
The interior of the new Kia Niro

The new Niro sits on a new platform and though it looks compact on the outside, it's surprisingly roomy inside. Naturally, it's not the widest car so three might feel a squeeze in the back. But for two adults or children, it does feel roomy. The boot can muster 348 litres of space in the plug-in hybrid -  some hatchbacks do it better, though it's still a decent usable space. The Niro EV actually has considerably more boot space!

On the road in the Niro PHEV

For this new generation of the Niro, Kia has made some suspension and steering improvements for a more enjoyable and responsive drive. There's also been the addition of more insulation and padding around the vehicle’s structure to reduce engine and road noise.

On the road the Niro PHEV does appear to have grown-up. It feels more driver-focused now despite its efficient powertrain. It's more refined than before so the cabin is more relaxing, and  comfortable for the most part too.

The power output of the hybrid is a healthy 183hp, and the Niro can certainly provide a good pick up in speed when you need it. The previous Niro hybrid felt less inclined to do this. There is still a bias to efficiency, but it's a good one - without charging the battery my fuel consumption was less than 5.0 litres per 100 kilometres, which is very impressive.

Rear legroom in the new Niro
Rear seating in the new Niro

Did you like it?

The Kia brand has real momentum in Ireland with bestsellers like the new Kia Sportage and the EV6. Now the brand has a real chance to make impact in the more compact side of the market, with the new Niro boasting some of the most sought after electrified powertrains on the market right now.

The Niro EV review is coming soon, where I will take a closer look at the new generation model that can travel up to 460 kilometres on one battery charge, and comes to market priced a little more than the Niro PHEV at €41,775.

But for now the Kia Niro PHEV moves the game on for the brand's plug-in hybrid range. Buyers can potentially run the Niro as an electric vehicle with regular charging. But in my experience, this car returns some excellent economy figures when ran even as a standard hybrid - though plugging in regularly is always the best option!

The Kia Niro has moved on a lot from the previous version in terms of design. It seems more comfortable in its skin now, with more kerb appeal. The design might not be for everyone, but it's a stylish and quirky crossover that has purpose.

Inside, the Niro packs in lots of equipment and a latest generation Kia interior with a modern, digital display. What's more, it's a practical offering in the segment.

These cars have excellent technology on board and don't come cheap. The bias here is still towards efficiency and that is something Niro does very well, in a number of different flavours for Irish consumers!

The Kia Niro plug-in hybrid is on sale from €39,700
The Kia Niro plug-in hybrid is on sale from €39,700

Model tested: Kia Niro K4
Price: 
€42,700
Engine:
1.6-litre petrol electric plug-in hybrid
Power: 183hp
Torque: 265Nm
Top speed: 161 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 9.8 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€140 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year


The new Kia Sportage on test for Changing Lanes

Kia Sportage Review (2022)

Read Caroline's Kia Sportage review for everything you need to know about buying the new Sportage in Ireland in 2022.

The Kia Sportage is a bit of an icon, one of Ireland's favourite family cars and the bestselling Kia here for over ten years.

Now the 2022 model looks set to continue this success with a new look and refreshed engine line-up. There's a new hybrid on sale now, to be followed by the first ever Sportage plug-in hybrid before the end of the year.

The fifth-generation Kia Sportage has been specifically designed and developed for Europe, sitting upon the new ‘N3’ architecture.

It goes on sale priced from €34,300 for an entry level diesel, rising to €43,000 for a top of the range GT Line diesel mild hybrid.

The new Sportage Hybrid is available at €43,150.

The new Kia Sportage on test for Changing Lanes
The new Kia Sportage on test for Changing Lanes

What's so special about the Kia Sportage?

The Kia Sportage has always been a bit of a looker. Stylish and sporty, this new model has a great stance on the road. It plays the part of a mid-size SUV exceptionally well.

Kia's new design language has transformed this car at the front, with a modern 'tiger nose' grille and characteristic new boomerang shaped LED daytime running lights helping it to stand out from the crowd. Standard equipment includes 17" alloys, LED headlights and roof rails.

The sporty GT Line is back for this new generation of the Sportage. It sits at the top of the range with 19" alloys as standard, bespoke glossy black trim elements and a chrome coated front and rear skid plate.

Inside there is an all-new interior design, which really moves the game on for the Sportage. It's a latest generation Kia interior, with some of the brand's best digital technology on show.

All but the very entry model get an impressive 12.3" curved touchscreen with navigation. The K4 and GT Line complete the look with a full digital instrument panel for the driver.

It's a suitably plush and modern cabin for the new Sportage that balances style with functionality and comfort.

Inside the new Kia Sportage
Inside the new Kia Sportage

Is it practical?

The Sportage is a mid-size SUV with a five seat layout and good interior accommodation for this class of vehicle. It slots into the range below Kia's larger, seven seat Sorento.

The new platform improves boot space, headroom and legroom compared to the outgoing model. There's plenty of space up front and in the rear for a family SUV. The rear bench has reasonable width and large footwells too. The rear seats split fold 40:20:40 and the outer rear seats have ISOFIX child seat fixtures.

There's plenty of room in the boot too with all models getting over 500 litres: the hybrid offers 587 litres, the diesel offers 571 litres, while the diesel mild hybrid offers 526 litres. For an SUV, it also has a useful low loading sill.

A powered tailgate is available and comes as standard on GT Line models.

The new Sportage is available from €34,300
The new Sportage is available from €34,300

Driving the 2022 Kia Sportage

On the road the new N3 platform influences new Sportage’s driving characteristics though it doesn't feel like a massive step forward. The Kia Sportage offers a stable and comfortable drive with agile handling. It's not the most engaging of the SUVs to drive - a Mazda CX-5 or Ford Kuga would have the edge on it there.

There's a new-generation Electronic Control Suspension (ECS) for more comfort and safety thanks to its continuous damping control. It works by reacting quickly to the Sportage’s body movements and steering inputs, making rapid damper adjustments to counteract heave, pitch and body roll through corners. It also adapts the damping force of the suspension to comfortably accommodate obstacles and reduce wheel impact from aftershocks.

Boot space in the Kia Sportage
Boot space in the Kia Sportage

For now the 1.6-litre diesel is prominent in the Sportage range in Ireland, with 115 hp or 136 hp. Gearboxes include a 6-speed manual and 7-speed dual clutch automatic. Both the Sportage Hybrid and Sportage Plug-in Hybrid models are equipped with the latest-generation six-speed automatic transmission.

On test was the flagship GT Line sold exclusively as a diesel mild hybrid with a 6-speed manual gearbox. With 136 hp, it has plenty of power and is responsive to the throttle. You will know you are driving a diesel but it is efficient and user-friendly. Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 5.2 litres per 100 km.

When it arrives, the plug-in hybrid will be the most powerful of the range with 265hp and the ability to drive electric for a limited range. The Sportage Hybrid is already on sale with 230hp. It uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine, electric motor and small capacity battery.

The Kia Sportage is a stylish and sound buy
The Kia Sportage is a stylish and sound buy

Did you like it?

The Kia Sportage is back for a new generation and gets a welcome boost in its design and interior.

Kia does modern, intuitive interiors very well, with a stunning digital display, particularly in the higher trim levels of the new Sportage. It matches the Sportage's trendy urban image, and this car's dramatic styling is sure to turn heads quickly.

While new hybrid options keep the Sportage in tune with market trends, it's the diesel that is the most accessible in the range at the moment. It's not the most refined offering on the market, but it does deliver in terms of efficiency.

Like all competitors, the Sportage has gone up in price, but all models come well equipped with a full suite of safety equipment.

It also offers great practicality for this class of vehicle with plenty of clever features and space inside. For this reason it remains a stylish and sound buy in the Irish new car market in 2022.

Model tested: Kia Sportage GT Line 1.6 diesel MHEV
Price:
€43,000
Engine: 1.6-litre diesel
Power: 
136 hp
Torque: 320 Nm
0-100km/h: 
11.4 seconds
Top speed: 180 km/h
CO2 emissions (WLTP): 
132 g/km
Motor tax: 
€210 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes

The new Kia Sportage on sale in Ireland now
The new Kia Sportage on sale in Ireland now

The Kia Niro

Kia Niro On The Way To Ireland (2022)

The new Kia Niro is expected in Ireland this summer
The new Kia Niro is expected in Ireland this summer

Kia Ireland has confirmed that the new Kia Niro will arrive in Ireland this summer as a plug-in hybrid (Niro PHEV) and an electric vehicle (Niro EV).

Pricing and specifications will be confirmed closer to launch. The Niro PHEV will arrive in time for the new 222 registration in July, with the Niro EV following later in the summer

What's new for the 2022 Kia Niro?

Kia’s popular Niro crossover has been entirely redesigned from the ground up for this new generation of the car. The Niro first arrived in Ireland in 2016 as a hybrid, before adding a plug-in hybrid and full battery electric vehicle to the range. It has since helped establish Kia as a major player in the EV market.

At the front, the new Niro showcases the latest evolution of Kia’s signature Tiger Face. At the rear there are new boomerang-shaped LED taillights. Personalisation options include the choice of different C-Pillar colours that contrast or complement the body colour and up to three different finishes for the cladding depending on the trim level chosen.

The new Niro is built on the brand's K3 platform and is said to feature class-leading interior space and storage capacity for the C-SUV segment. The new Niro EV has 475 litres of boot space and an additional 20 litres in the frunk. Niro PHEV models come with 348 litres of boot space, which can be further expanded by fully reclining the flat-fold rear seats.

Premium-effect recycled materials are used in the new cabin of the Niro, and a suite of new safety systems will also feature. Two 10.25-inch display screens show vehicle and navigation information, while a multi-mode touch display allows control of infotainment and heating

Other convenience features added to the new Niro include Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA) and vehicle-to-load (V2L) functionality.

Inside the new Kia Niro
Inside the new Kia Niro

Niro PHEV

The new Kia Niro PHEV will use the brand's 1.6-litre GDI petrol engine, paired with Kia’s second-generation six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. A 62kW e-motor in the PHEV version results in combined maximum power of 183PS and provides an electric-only range covering up to 65km (WLTP).

The Niro PHEV debuts Hyundai Motor Group’s very first 5.5 kWh high-volt Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) heater for Plug-in Hybrid models, extending the electric driving range in colder conditions. The self-regulated ceramic elements provide cabin heating to complement the vehicle’s heating core and ensure a continuous flow of warm air.

An intelligent Green Zone Drive Mode on Niro PHEV automates the use of electric power by taking location guidance from the navigation system, driving pattern learning or manual driver input.

Niro EV

The battery electric Kia Niro will use an 64.8 kWh battery with an electric range of 463 km (WLTP). When temperatures are low, the system in Niro EV uses navigation-based battery conditioning to pre-heat the battery when a charge point is selected as a destination, which helps shorten charge times and secure battery performance.

The EV version is distinguished from the PHEV by a two-tone closed grille and unique steel grey side cladding. The Niro EV has also received a dedicated lower grille and bumper treatment in addition to model-specific 17-inch alloys. The plug-in charging port for the EV model is positioned in the centre of the front grille for easy access at all charge points.

The new Kia Niro has received suspension and steering improvements in this new generation of the car. Additional insulation and padding have been inserted around the vehicle’s structure to reduce engine and road noise.

Other engineering advancements include a slight increase in torsional rigidity, said to deliver improvements in ride, handling, and steering behaviour.

The new Niro will be available as a plug-in hybrid or EV
The new Niro will be available as a plug-in hybrid or EV

Managing Director of KIA Ireland, Ronan Flood, with Sarah Jane Cooney

Kia Ireland Launches KiaCharge

Managing Director of KIA Ireland, Ronan Flood, with Sarah Jane Cooney
Managing Director of KIA Ireland, Ronan Flood, with Sarah Jane Cooney

Kia Ireland has launched  KiaCharge, a European-wide integrated public charging service, designed to give drivers easier access to public vehicle charging.

KiaCharge gives owners of the brand’s BEVs (battery electric vehicle) and PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) access to more than 1,400 charge points across Ireland, from a single account.

Drivers can access more than 315,000 additional charging points across 28 other European countries without the need for additional contracts.

From launch, KiaCharge provides access to major charging networks, including ESB, EasyGo and IONITY. There are plans to further expand KiaCharge coverage throughout 2022.

This means drivers don't have to sign up to separate accounts with multiple charging point operators or pre-pay with others.

Kia BEV and PHEV owners can access KiaCharge via a smartphone app or RFID card.

Instead of numerous individual transactions, payments are made via a single itemised monthly invoice.

The service offers two fully flexible tariffs, ‘Easy’ and ‘Plus’. The ‘Easy’ tariff for light users offers a one-off €2.49 charge to access the service. With no monthly subscription fees, most charging stations instead require a €0.49 ‘session fee’ when users plug in, with users paying per kWh of electricity.

The ‘Plus’ tariff is for those who rely more heavily on public charging. There's a €3.95 monthly tariff, with no up-front charge or session fees. Like the ‘Easy’ tariff, users also pay per kWh, but earn an additional 15 per cent discount per kWh from most networks (except IONITY).

Two IONITY bolt-on tariffs can also be added to avail of ultra-high speed charging and can reduce the standard per kWh fee by up to 65%.

Owners of new Kia EV6 models registered this year can avail of a 12 month free subscription to IONITY Power. This means the monthly fee, normally €13, is waived so the customer just pays for the charging session at €0.27 per KW/h used. This offer is validated on eligible vehicles using a VIN input during account registration of their KiaCharge account .


The new Kia EV6 on test for Changing Lanes

Kia EV6 Review

Read Caroline's Kia EV6 review for everything you need to know about buying Kia's new electric car in Ireland. The EV6 is also the recently crowned Continental Tyres Irish Car of the Year 2022.

The Kia EV6 arrived in Ireland in the second half of 2021. Kia in Ireland is no stranger to electric vehicles and very successful ones. But the EV6 feels like a real flagship for Kia. It showcases the absolute best of the brand.

On sale in Ireland from €50,000 including the SEAI grant, the new Kia EV6 has a sensual and sporty design, futuristic interior, 800 volt battery system and long range of well over 300 km.

Kia Ireland has some form in the electric vehicle space. The Kia e-Niro and e-Soul have been very popular since they were launched, with the Kia e-Soul crowned Irish Car of the Year 2020 soon after it arrived here.

The new Kia EV6 on test for Changing Lanes
The new Kia EV6 on test for Changing Lanes

What's so special about the Kia EV6?

The Kia EV6 moves the game on again, in terms of design, quality and technology. The EV6 is Kia’s first dedicated electric vehicle. It's underpinned by the new E-GMP platform from the Hyundai Motor Group.

Kia has gone for an avant-garde look for their new electric car. Classed as a crossover, this is an unusual looking car but undeniably a showstopper. It is the result of a collaborative effort between all three studios in Kia’s global design network in Korea, Germany, and California.

At the front there are characteristic daytime running lights with a sleek, modern appearance, forming what Kia calls a ‘digital tiger face’. This is a design progression evoking Kia’s ‘tiger nose grille’ for the electrified era. This is a superbly aerodynamic design with a swept-back windscreen providing dynamism and purpose. The bold rear haunches add volume and a charismatic rear light signature.

In Ireland there are two trim levels - Earth and GT Line. Both trim lines use a 77.4 kWh battery pack paired with a 168 kW (229 hp) electric motor and are fitted with a heat pump. Power goes to the rear wheels.

The Kia EV6 goes on sale in Ireland priced from €50,000
The Kia EV6 goes on sale in Ireland priced from €50,000

What are my options?

On 19” wheels as standard, the Earth model has a quoted range of 528 km (WLTP). Features include dual 12.3” display screens inside, UVO Connect, charcoal grey vegan leather upholstery with premium relaxation seats, LED headlamps and a powered tailgate.

The GT Line is the sportier of the duo. On 20” wheels it has a quoted range up to 506 km (WLTP). The EV6 GT Line goes on sale from €54,345 including SEAI grant. It features sportier GT Line styling, suede/vegan leather seats, front ventilated, blind spot view monitors, augmented reality heads-up display and a panoramic sunroof.

The EV6 has been optimised from the ground-up to be a full electric vehicle. It takes advantage of the E-GMP’s sophisticated tech and engineering foundations.

Interior design has also been liberated by Kia’s dedicated E-GMP platform. The EV6 offers increased space compared to previous Kia EVs based on existing internal combustion architecture.

It is certainly a large car, deceptively so.

The interior of the new Kia EV6
The interior of the new Kia EV6 GT Line

Inside the EV6

The interior of the EV6 has good width, with a 'floating' centre console and dashboard design that is innovative and gives a great feeling of space up front in the cabin. A flat floor in the rear makes it a comfortable place for rear passengers. Two adults will be very well catered for back there with large footwells and decent headroom too.

The boot has a hatchback-style opening and a flat floor boosting practicality. There is 520 litres available so a decent show for a family car too, with a 52 litre 'frunk' under the bonnet!

The Kia EV6 GT Line on test for Changing Lanes is the sportiest of the range and adds a lot of glamour and prestige to the EV6. There is youthful exuberance to this car, with plenty of gloss back in the dashboard design, full digital displays for the driver and cool ambient lighting.

The curved display sweeps across the dashboard, providing an instrument cluster in front of the driver and infotainment and navigation above the centre console. It's all easy to operate on the move. The EV6 GT Line also has suede sports seats as standard, which really add to the exclusive feel.

The Kia EV6 shares much of its underpinnings, technology, and battery with the Hyundai IONIQ 5. But the EV6 and the IONIQ 5 do look distinctly different from each other, with a very different cabin ambience.

Boot space in the Kia EV6
Boot space in the Kia EV6

Driving the Kia EV6

And there's more under the surface. The EV6 has been developed with Kia’s sporty driving appeal in mind, promising direct steering responses, agility, and road grip that boosts the ‘fun-to-drive’ ethos of the brand. The suspension has been engineered to deliver a sportier and more dynamic driving experience compared to its nearest rivals. Marginally stiffer front and rear spring rates result in slightly better controlled body roll when cornering and over undulating roads. The front and rear anti-roll bars are also 1mm thicker, resulting in a flatter, more controlled ride from behind the wheel, and slightly more linear steering. Increased damper force has also resulted in useful enhancements to body control and steering response.

The flat battery pack is placed across the floor of the vehicle, spreading the mass, optimising ride quality, and giving a low centre of gravity for a full electric vehicle. Innovative hydraulic bushings connect the rear subframe to the main body of the car, helping to further enhance the EV6’s driving performance and offset the overall weight typically associated with fully electric vehicles. The driving position is also more low slung than a traditional SUV for example, aiding that sporty feel behind the wheel.

The Kia EV6 surprises in just how settled and comfortable it feels over the tarmac. It hunkers down well, and true there is a sporty feel to the way this car handles. In fact it's very natural feeling on the road. It's testament to how this car has been developed with such pedantic pursuit of perfection and a desire to lead in the electric vehicle space.

Charging the EV6 at IONITY
Charging the EV6 at IONITY

Charging the EV6

At the moment all models in Ireland are rear wheel drive. Kia quotes a WLTP range of over 500 km for the Kia EV6 77 kWh. However on a full charge for this reviewer with plenty of high speed motorway driving, 350 - 400 km seems more realistic. But these days that is more than enough to get around happily.

When it comes to charging, the EV6 is one of the best on the market with an 800 volt battery system. If you can find an IONITY station, you can charge at up to 220 kW and add 80% battery power in about 20 minutes.

EV6 buyers in Ireland receive a free 12 month Kia Power Package subscription that offers this IONITY fast charging service at just €0.29 per kWh (normally €0.79).

At a 50 kW charger, it will take a little over an hour to get to charge the battery to 100% (but beware the overstay fee after 45 minutes!).

There's also an 11 kW AC on board charger, which is handy when you stop at one of those 22 kW chargers in many Irish towns as it charges almost twice as fast as a lot of other EVs on the market. AC charging to 100% at home should take just over 12 hours from a 7.4 kW wallbox.

Did you like it?

With a starting price of €50,000, the Kia EV6 offers everything -  a large practical cabin, a stunning interior design, a leading 800 volt battery system, 11 kW on board AC charger, and long range battery.

What's most striking is how Kia has taken the rival IONIQ 5 platform and tuned it for a sportier drive to add distinction. It looks completely different too with a more sensual and sporty design, and a wraparound cabin experience.

Granted with just the long range battery available, the EV6 has arguably a more premium billing in the Irish market than the IONIQ 5. The latter feels a bit more accessible thanks to a more affordable entry price for a standard range battery.

But design, cabin quality and equipment do a great job to justify the EV6 package. The GT Line is a truly appealing prospect in the electric vehicle market.

The Kia EV6 is an easy car to recommend. It is one of the best electric vehicles you can buy on the market right now.

The EV6 uses a 77.4 kWh battery pack
The EV6 is one of the best electric vehicles on the market today

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Kia EV6 GT Line
Price:
€54,345 including SEAI grant
Battery: 77.4 kWh
Power:
229 hp
Torque: 350 Nm
0-100km/h:
7.3 seconds
Top speed: 185 km/h
Motor tax: 
€120 per year


The new Kia Sportage on sale in Ireland now

Kia Sportage Goes On Sale In Ireland (2022)

The new Kia Sportage on sale in Ireland now
The new Kia Sportage on sale in Ireland now

The new Kia Sportage has arrived in Ireland, and goes on sale priced from €38,000.

The Sportage is a key model for Kia Ireland and the brand's bestselling model here for over 10 years.

The latest generation of the popular SUV will be available in Ireland with a choice of four powertrains at launch, including diesel, diesel mild hybrid, petrol mild hybrid and a petrol hybrid. A new Sportage plug-in hybrid will join later.

Trim levels include K3, K4 and a top of the range GT Line. The Kia Ireland initial product offer features a choice of four powertrains and four trim levels.

2022 Kia Sportage price and equipment

The new Kia Sportage K3 starts at €38,000 and is available with a 1.6-litre MHEV petrol engine with 150PS or with a 1.6-litre diesel with 115PS. Equipment includes 18” alloys, LED headlamps, dual-zone climate control, reversing camera with dynamic guidelines, cruise control with speed limiter, lane keep assist, lane follow assist and forward collision avoidance. There are also heated front and rear seats, power adjustable front seats and 12.3” infotainment screen with Kia Connect (UVO connectivity). The Sportage K3 petrol hybrid (230PS) is available from €42,000 and also features smart cruise control and highway driving assistance .

The K4 trim level is available with the 1.6-litre diesel engine (€40,500) and the 1.6-litre petrol hybrid (€44,500). Features include a matt chrome coated front bumper, door garnish and silver painted rear skid plates. Inside there is beige leather upholstery, driver memory seats, ventilated front seats, curved 12.3” inch driver cluster display, and a wireless phone charger. The K4 hybrid adds blind spot collision avoidance.

The top of the range Kia Sportage GT-line comes with the 1.6-litre diesel mild hybrid with 136 hp. Features include 19”alloys, special GT-line sports upholstery, GT-line exterior styling ,sports pedals and a powered tailgate.

The interior of the new Kia Sportage
The interior of the new Kia Sportage

What's new for the Kia Sportage?

The new Kia Sportage has been designed for Europe. It has a new design and was developed on a new ‘N3’ architecture. The latest version has more boot space, headroom and legroom compared to the outgoing Sportage.

The fifth-generation Sportage also debuts a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), hybrid (HEV) and a mild-hybrid (MHEV) petrol powertrain.

The latest Kia petrol and diesel engines are also available, ensuring that the new Sportage can meet all customer needs and requirements. The diesel engine can also be paired with the MHEV tech, to further reduce emissions and improve overall fuel economy.

A new-generation Electronic Control Suspension (ECS) is said to provide optimum comfort and superior safety levels at all times thanks to its continuous damping control.

The technology reacts quickly to the Sportage’s body movements and steering inputs, making rapid damper adjustments to counteract heave, pitch and body roll through corners. It also adapts the damping force of the suspension to comfortably accommodate obstacles and reduce wheel impact from aftershocks.

The new Sportage on sale from €38,000
The new Sportage on sale from €38,000

Anything else?

The packaging of the HEV and PHEV models has been carefully arranged to minimise impact on passenger and boot space. Luggage capacity is up to 591 litres depending on model.

For the Sportage Plug-in Hybrid arriving in Ireland later in 2022, the compact 1.6 turbo petrol engine is part of an advanced powertrain package that also features a 66.9 kW permanent magnet traction electric motor and a 13.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack. It will be the most powerful of the range with 265PS.

Gearboxes include a 6-speed manual and 7-speed dual clutch automatic. Both the Sportage Hybrid and Sportage Plug-in Hybrid models are equipped with the latest-generation six-speed automatic transmission.


The new Kia Sorento Hybrid on test for Changing Lanes!

Kia Sorento Hybrid Review (2022)

The new Kia Sorento Hybrid on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Kia Sorento Hybrid on test for Changing Lanes!

Read Caroline's Kia Sorento Plug-in Hybrid review for everything you need to know about buying Kia's new flagship SUV in Ireland with seven seats.

The Kia Sorento has established itself well in the market for 7-seat SUVs in Ireland. An all-new generation of the popular Sorento arrived here at the end of 2020. It raises the game once again in the Kia camp.

What's so special about the new Kia Sorento?

Offered with a diesel engine or as a plug-in hybrid for the very first time, the Kia Sorento offers buyers at both ends a stylish and upmarket large SUV.

Kicking off from €52,500 for the plug-in hybrid and from €52,440 for the diesel, the Sorento is a flagship SUV for the Korean brand. It looks and feels every inch of that billing.

The Sorento is big, physically imposing, with a new look inspired by the Kia Telluride, which is not sold in this country. Believe me this new Sorento should be large and good-looking enough for all your needs! All models come well-equipped with 19" alloys, roof rails, leather upholstery, 10.25" touchscreen, and a full suite of safety features.

The new Kia Sorento Hybrid is available from €50,000
The new Kia Sorento Hybrid is available from €52,500

How practical is it as a seven seat SUV?

The Sorento's 13.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack is located beneath the driver and front passenger seats. The layout means the battery pack doesn’t intrude on the Sorento’s cabin or cargo space.

Carrying people in comfort is what this SUV excels at. All models available in Ireland are 7-seaters, with the two seats in the very rear folding into the boot floor when not in use. The cabin is huge and spacious, the driving position lofty, the cabin finish high quality with the best in Kia technology and infotainment. Think of a living room on wheels and you are close.

There’s also a huge boot with a powered tailgate available - up to 809 litres with the third row of seats folded down. With all seven seats in place, there's 175 litres available for a few bags. The 50:50 split-fold third-row seats are easy to fold down using levers inside the boot.

The rear bench has great width and there are ISOFIX child seat fixtures on the outer seats of the 2nd and 3rd row seats.

Tell us more about the new Kia Sorento Hybrid

Powering this hybrid beauty on test for Changing Lanes is a plug-in hybrid petrol electric powertrain. The new Sorento PHEV uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine, an electric motor and a 13.8 kWh battery pack. The battery can be charged in about 3.5 hours.

Flexibility is the name of the game here. When the battery is fully charged the Sorento can cruise silently on electric power for a range of up to 57 km. Truly astounding when you consider the size and weight of this SUV.

Inside the new Kia Sorento
Inside the new Kia Sorento

What's it like to drive?

Interestingly the Sorento PHEV is the only model in the range offering four wheel drive, with diesel models only offered as front wheel drive vehicles. Drive is sent to the front wheels or all four wheels, depending on road conditions, via a quick-shifting six-speed automatic transmission.

On the road, the Kia Sorento PHEV is a very accomplished drive. Comfort and refinement is fitting of a large family SUV with this price tag. The four wheel drive system means that the Sorento PHEV (265 hp) put its considerable power to the road with great ease and grip. In fact it’s the most powerful Sorento ever sold in Europe!

This is a large SUV but it handles town, and country roads with decent agility for what it is. Placing the battery low down in the centre of the body, between the two axles, also keeps the centre of gravity low and aids weight distribution. It’s hard to notice any discernible difference in the handling compared to the diesel model.

We recommend buyers of plug-in hybrid do make use of that electric range, charging up between drives at home or at work. However when running solely as a hybrid, our average fuel consumption was 6.9 litres per 100 km, proving that technology has come along way when a large SUV like the Sorento can post a decent figure like that on petrol power.

There’s also the Kia Sorento diesel, which offers better economy over longer motorway runs.

The Sorento offers plug-in hybrid power for the very first time in 2021
The Sorento offers plug-in hybrid power for the very first time in 2021

Did you like it?

Hell yeah! Kia is once again bringing quality, innovative cars to market…at high speed to meet the changing market demands for more hybrid and electrified vehicles.

The Sorento PHEV is not an also-ran – it’s a viable option for large families seeking a modern SUV that can be run very efficiently indeed when that battery power is fully exploited.

Elsewhere, the Sorento sports a sort of rugged Americana vibe. It just might be larger than life itself, with a comfortable and spacious cabin that makes it a great family car.

All cars are well-equipped, offering amazing technology features that truly move Kia’s game on in the large SUV segment.

We loved the Sorento diesel; now we can say we love the Kia Sorento PHEV too! A genuinely practical and spacious three row, seven seat plug-in hybrid SUV for the Irish market.

The 2021 Kia Sorento only comes in extra large!
The 2021 Kia Sorento only comes in extra large!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Kia Sorento PHEV AWD K4
Price: 
€47,365
Engine: 
1.6-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 265 hp
Torque: 350 Nm
Top speed: 193 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 8.7 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
38 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€140 per year