The new SEAT Tarraco!

2019 SEAT Tarraco 2.0 TDI Review

The new SEAT Tarraco!
The new SEAT Tarraco!

Caroline drives the new SEAT Tarraco!

In the last few years, SEAT has grown its portfolio of cars with the addition of a new family of SUVs, including the Ateca and last year’s compact Arona. But now it’s the arrival of the Tarraco that looks set to enhance SEAT’s prospects even more. The new SEAT Tarraco is not only the brand’s largest family SUV, available with five or seven seats, but it’s also a new flagship model for the brand.

With pricing starting from €34,700, the SEAT Tarraco enters a significantly crowded market of family SUVs. Yet the Tarraco is certainly one of the most spacious of its ilk so in that way it’s a properly accommodating family car. Five seat models are standard but you can get two extra seats in the rear for an additional €1000, turning your Tarraco into the seven seat family mover of your dreams.

The SEAT Tarraco is available from €34,700 in Ireland
The SEAT Tarraco is available from €34,700 in Ireland

Stylish and practical family SUV

The SEAT Tarraco hides its bulk well in the metal, being creased in all the right places for a classy, discrete presence. However to distinguish the Tarraco, there’s some more elaborate design touches synonymous with the ambitious Spanish brand. There’s drama in the big, upright grille and sharp LED headlights with SEAT’s triangular signature design, as well as a defining light strip along the rear of the car.

SEAT Ireland has launched the Tarraco in two trims, SE and Xcellence, with even SE models getting LED lights and 18” inch alloys. The Xcellence model I had on test (from €39,885) had 20” alloys added as an option but standard kit includes 19” alloys and a special Xcellence styling kit.

Standard equipment is very good across the range with SE models getting 8” touchscreen, cruise control, digital instrument panel, SEAT drive profile, tri zone climate control, keyless start, front assist, city emergency braking, lane keep assist and rear view camera. Xcellence models add electric tailgate, adaptive cruise control, automatic lights and wipers, and park assist.

The interior of the SEAT Tarraco
The interior of the SEAT Tarraco

Inside the SEAT Tarraco

The interior of the SEAT Tarraco has a simple and elegant design with a digital instrument panel as standard and 8” touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Quality is some of the best we’ve seen from SEAT to date. There are also some more distinct elements to this cabin like the stylish brushed chrome trim inserts and the digital instrument panel with unique graphics and three different views to choose from.

The cabin feels large and spacious and there is loads of space for second row occupants. There are two optional seats in row three. There is not a lot of legroom back there, but the split fold rear bench in row 2 can be slid forward and back to create more space. The boot is a huge 760 litres with a wide aperture and a powered tailgate is standard on Xcellence trim.

Rear seating in the SEAT Tarraco
Rear seating in the SEAT Tarraco

What are my engine options?

The new SEAT Tarraco is available in Ireland with a 1.5-litre TSI turbo petrol (150hp), a 2.0-litre TSI turbo petrol (190hp) and a 2.0-litre TDI diesel. The 2.0-litre TDI is available with a manual gearbox with a power output of 150hp or in automatic DSG 4×4 guise with 190hp.

My test car was a 2.0-litre diesel with 190hp paired with a DSG automatic transmission and four wheel drive. It was a wonderful combination with smooth gearshifts and lots of power, making it an effortless drive whether in town or country. Over a week of driving my fuel consumption averaged at 7.2l/100km, while motor tax is €390 per year for this model.

The SEAT Tarraco is built on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB-A long wheelbase architecture but SEAT say that they have tweaked it to make it more like a SEAT, with a bit of sportiness and flair to the driving experience.

Boot space in the SEAT Tarraco when the seven seats are in place
Boot space in the SEAT Tarraco when the seven seats are in place

On the road in the SEAT Tarraco

The light controls make it easy work in the urban environment, while the diesel was smooth and refined around town. There is only so much that the Tarraco can do to disguise its size and weight in corners, but it handles with enough agility for this class of vehicle. The refinement and comfort of the car is truly special also and the Tarraco moves through the air with incredible ease.

The SEAT Tarraco is a real triumph for SEAT, showcasing some of the best quality, comfort and refinement the brand has to offer. It’s a spacious and practical vehicle with a versatile interior that should serve family well.

The Tarraco is stylish and well equipped with well proven engines on offer so it can truly command its position in the market as a stylish, quality and desirable SUV. This is such a pleasant car to drive every day, with ride quality and refinement that gives a surprisingly premium feel to the Tarraco. In that way SEAT has really delivered on the premise of a flagship model for their brand and the Tarraco is an aspirational vehicle that will turn heads.

The Tarraco is a real triumph for SEAT!
The Tarraco is a real triumph for SEAT!


Caroline Kidd

Model
tested: 
Tarraco
2.0TDI 190hp DSG 4Drive Xcellence (7 Seat)
Price:
€51,460 (Range from €34,700)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
190 hp
Torque: 400 Nm
0-100km/h:  
8 seconds
Top speed: 209 km/h
Fuel economy:
37.2-38.2mpg
CO2 emissions: 
147g/km
Motor tax: 
€390 per year


The 2019 Renault Kadjar in Iron Blue

Renault Kadjar 1.5 Diesel Review

The 2019 Renault Kadjar in Iron Blue
The 2019 Renault Kadjar in Iron Blue

Caroline drives the new Renault Kadjar 1.5 diesel.

Since the Renault Kadjar was launched as Renault’s new compact family
SUV in 2015, it has become a firm favourite and familiar sight on Irish roads.
The Renault Kadjar was a well-judged entrant to a burgeoning market with its
curvy good looks and competitive pricing.

Now in 2019, Renault has looked at their Kadjar range once again and made a few updates to styling, equipment and engines.

What's new for the 2019 Renault Kadjar?

The Renault Kadjar now has a new front-end design and C-shape light signature in line with Renault’s other SUVs, the Captur and the Koleos. Some new trim elements and LED lights have also been added to the rear of the car. There are new alloy wheel designs and new colours for the Kadjar range including Oural Green, Highland Grey and Iron Blue.

The Renault Kadjar is available from €26,995 in Ireland
The Renault Kadjar is available from €26,995 in Ireland

Inside, the Kadjar always had a
straightforward cabin that was easy to feel at home in and a comfortable place
on the move. New satin chrome trim has been added to the interior and the
touchscreen for the infotainment system is now flush with the centre console.
Some of the dials and switches have been changed also. Redesigned seats feature
length adjustment on some models, double density foam to enhance comfort, and
firmer side reinforcements for more support.

Standard equipment now includes climate
control, 7” touchscreen with Android Auto® and Apple CarPlay®, alloy wheels,
parking sensors, and automatic lights and wipers. Other additions include
bigger cup holders, bigger bins in the front doors and two rear USB sockets.

Interior space is good for this class of vehicle and the Kadjar will seat five. There is a 472 litre boot with a large square opening.

The interior of the 2019 Renault Kadjar
The interior of the 2019 Renault Kadjar

Engines and Equipment

In Ireland the Kadjar is available now in four trim levels: Play, Iconic, S-Edition and GT Line. The range kicks off at €26,995. Iconic models start from €29,695 and add cruise control and speed limiter, parking camera, and keyless entry/start and privacy glass.

The new sporty S-Edition (from €31,395) adds a half leather interior, panoramic roof, and LED/Xenon lights. The top of the range GT-Line (from €33,995) adds 19” alloys, leather seats, full LED lights, auto park, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and automatic high/low beam. 

Rear legroom in the Renault Kadjar
Rear legroom in the Renault Kadjar

The Renault Kadjar range has also been refreshed with some new or updated engines. There’s a new 1.3 TCe turbo petrol engine with 140 or 160hp. The Kadjar also features an updated 1.5 Blue dCi 115 diesel engine. It’s the most efficient engine in the range. For customers requiring more performance, the new 1.7 Blue dCi engine is now available with 150hp and comes in 4×2 and 4×4. Manual and automatic gearboxes are available. My test car was a Renault Kadjar GT Line 1.5dCi 115 with a list price of €35,995.

Driving the 2019 Renault Kadjar 1.5 diesel

On the road the Renault Kadjar 1.5 diesel is smooth and comfortable to drive. The updated Blue dCi 1.5 litre diesel engine is remarkably refined and economical, with my fuel consumption averaging at 5.1 litres per 100 km over a week of driving. It makes for a good combination, with the sort of pleasant driving character that is a must for a family car.

The Renault Kadjar is available with a range of efficient petrol and diesel engines
The Renault Kadjar is available with a range of efficient petrol and diesel engines

Renault has refined the Kadjar a little more to keep up with rivals. The Renault Kadjar with its redesigned nose is now arguably even more stylish than before, while the interior of the car has been given a better fit and finish also.

Underneath the Kadjar is still a practical and comfortable vehicle, with new engines meeting the latest emissions standards. Competition is of course fierce in the compact SUV segment but the Renault Kadjar brings some flair and passion with an utterly capable and enjoyable family vehicle.

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Renault Kadjar GT Line Blue dCi 115
Price:
€35,995 (Range from €26,995)
Engine: 1.5-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
115 hp
Torque: 260 Nm
0-100km/h:  
11.7 seconds
Top speed: 188 km/h
Fuel Economy: 
4.9l/100km
CO2 emissions: 
117g/km
Motor tax: 
€200 per year


The Volkswagen T-Cross is a new compact SUV from Volkswagen

Volkswagen T-Cross On Sale In Ireland In April

The Volkswagen T-Cross is a new compact SUV from Volkswagen
The Volkswagen T-Cross is a new compact SUV from Volkswagen

Volkswagen Ireland has announced that the new Volkswagen T-Cross, the smallest SUV in the Volkswagen family, will go on sale in Ireland in April priced from €22,495.

There will be three engines available for the new Volkswagen T-Cross in Ireland. The entry into the range is the 1.0-litre 95hp (112g/km) petrol engine starting at €22,495, followed by the 1.0-litre 115hp petrol engine (111g/km) starting at €24,495. A 1.6-litre 95hp diesel will round up the model range for Ireland, starting at €25,295.

The T-Cross sits on the MQB platform, and at 4110mm long is 54mm longer than the Polo, 138mm higher and it comes with a luggage compartment, which holds between 385- and 455-litres thanks to a sliding rear bench that can be moved by 14cm.

The interior of the new Volkswagen T-Cross
The interior of the new Volkswagen T-Cross

Trim lines include the entry level ‘T-Cross’, followed by the ‘Life’ starting at €24,550, ‘Style’ starting at €26,795 and ‘R-Line’ starting at €27,995.

Specification highlights include on the ‘Life’ model – 16” alloy wheels, 8” infotainment system, App Connect, Climatronic Air Conditioning, 2 USB interfaces and Adaptive Cruise Control.

‘Style’ models add items such as 17” alloy wheels, LED headlights, and a Chrome package, while the ‘R-Line’ model gains 17” Sebring wheels R-Line exterior package and within this trim, customers can opt for optional 18” wheels and an R-Line Interior package.

There will also be Technology Upgrade Packs (€499 ‘Life’ / €799 ‘Style’ & ‘R-Line’) which bundle various favoured options at a reduced price. There are also Design Packs available for ‘Life’, ‘Style’ and ‘R-Line’ models.


The new Citroën C5 Aircross has just arrived in Ireland!

Citroën C5 Aircross First Drive Review

The new Citroën C5 Aircross has just arrived in Ireland!
The new Citroën C5 Aircross has just arrived in Ireland!

The new Citroën C5 Aircross has just arrived in Ireland with pricing starting from €26,495. This is an exciting new car for Citroën, competing in the ‘sweet spot of the market’ where family SUVs reside. Caroline went along to the Irish press launch in Kildare to test drive the new C5 Aircross.

Styling

Citroën has rolled out some very individual and stylish cars in recent years like the C3 and C4 Cactus. The C5 Aircross brings the same sort of distinct look to the larger five seat SUV segment. It is very much a Citroën to look at and it's unlikely to get lost in a crowd, especially if you go for a funky two tone look. Details include a two-tier light signature, wheel arch extensions and Airbump® panels available with personalised coloured inserts.

Interior

The cabin of the C5 Aircross combines the latest technology features with soft furnishings for an airy, lounge feel. The dashboard has a nice mix of materials with some soft touch parts, though there are plenty of harder plastics too. Aesthetically it all looks fine. There is a standard 8” touchscreen for the infotainment and it also houses the ventilation controls. A 12.3-inch driver information panel is also included as standard. There are plenty of storage spaces with the central armrest housing more practical storage compartments.The C5 Aircross adopts the sofa-inspired seating of the C4 Cactus with thick, wide seats.

Practicality

The Citroën C5 Aircross is one of the longest and tallest vehicles in its segment and feels very spacious inside. It has the largest boot of its competitors at 580 litres. Modularity is a key feature with three individual seats in the rear that can slide, fold and recline. There is also a flat floor in the rear making it more comfortable for carrying three people.

The interior of the new Citroën C5 Aircross
The interior of the new Citroën C5 Aircross

Engines

The C5 Aircross comes with two petrol and two diesel engines, with a plug-in hybrid on the way in 2020. Petrol engines include the 1.2-litre 130hp Puretech engine paired with a 6-speed manual transmission and a 1.6-litre 180hp unit, which comes with the choice of a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission. On the diesel side there is a 1.5-litre Blue HDI 130hp engine with the choice of a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission, and a 2.0-litre 180hp unit, which comes as standard with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Motor tax ranges from €190 to €280 depending on model.

On the road

The Citroën C5 Aircross has laminated double glazed windows and an insulation layer to reduce road and wind noise. There has also been an emphasis on sound insulation in the engine compartment. This contributes to a refined cabin ambience. The new C5 Aircross also has Progressive Hydraulic Cushion suspension for a smoother and more comfortable ride. Whereas a conventional suspension system is made up of dampers, springs and mechanical bump-stops, the new Citroën system adds two hydraulic stops to each suspension unit – one for rebound and one for compression. It translates well to the road, with the C5 Aircross being very soft and smooth over the road. It's not the sharpest handling SUV, so if you hustle it on through corners there is more feeling of roll. At the launch I tested the 1.5 diesel and 1.2 petrol. Both are good engines with some of the best in class running costs and CO2 values.

The Citroën C5 Aircross goes on sale priced from €26,495
The Citroën C5 Aircross goes on sale priced from €26,495

Equipment

In Ireland there are four trim levels: Start, Touch, Feel and Flair.

The entry ‘Start’ trim level includes 8” touchscreen display, cruise control, active safety brake and air conditioning.

The ‘Touch’ trim adds items such as 17” alloys, rear parking sensors, folding mirrors, and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay.

The ‘Feel’ model has 18” alloys, front parking sensor, privacy glass, wireless phone charging and active blind spot detection.

‘Flair’ is the top specification level and includes 19” alloys, Citroën connect navigation, keyless entry and keyless start, a Panoramic Sunroof with interior LED ambient lighting and various driver assistance systems such as park assist, active lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control.

ConnectedCAM, a factory fitted dashboard camera from Citroën, is also standard across the range.

Pricing

Pricing for the C5 Aircross range starts from a competitive €26,495. Touch starts from €27,995, Feel from €29,995, Flair from €33,695.

The C5 Aircross has three individual seats in the rear
The C5 Aircross has three individual seats in the rear

Rivals

The Citroën C5 Aircross goes up against the Ford Kuga, Volkswagen Tiguan, Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tuscon, Peugeot 3008, among others.

Verdict

The Citroën C5 Aircross is a quirky new entrant into the highly competitive and lucrative compact SUV segment. The C5 Aircross makes a promising case for itself on price and spec. It's also a generously sized vehicle with engines that score well on emissions and running costs. I look forward to bringing you a full road test of the new C5 Aircross later in the year!

Caroline Kidd

The C5 Aircross is Citroen's take on the compact family SUV
The C5 Aircross is Citroën's take on the compact family SUV

changing lanes

2019 Honda CR-V Hybrid First Drive Review

The new Honda CR-V Hybrid pictured at Barberstown Castle, Straffan
The new Honda CR-V Hybrid pictured at Barberstown Castle, Straffan

Honda Ireland has just welcomed the new Honda CR-V Hybrid to Ireland. It joins the all-new Honda CR-V 1.5-litre VTEC Turbo (petrol) that arrived in Ireland in 2018. The 2019 Honda CR-V Hybrid is the first Honda SUV to be available as a hybrid in Europe and the car uses a 2.0-litre petrol electric powertrain. Caroline went to the Irish launch in County Kildare to test drive the new CR-V Hybrid.

Styling

The Honda CR-V Hybrid has considerable stature and road presence. The evolution between the styling of this new model and the previous generation has been quite gentle, but there are broader and more muscular wheel arches, sharper contours on the bonnet and rear quarters, as well as the latest Honda headlight signature. LED lights and 18” alloy wheels come as standard. There are eight exterior colours to choose from including Rallye Red, Crystal Black and Lunar Silver.

Interior

The Honda CR-V has a fabulous build quality and the interior is immaculately finished with plenty of soft touch materials, metallic trim and wood-effect inserts in the dashboard and doors. On all but the entry model, there is a stylish looking 7” touchscreen set in the dash with the Honda Connect infotainment system.

Practicality

This is a large vehicle, with plenty of interior space and a 497 litre boot. Honda has increased the wheelbase to eke out more passenger space. The 2019 Honda CR-V Hybrid is available with five seats only, though the 1.5-litre petrol models do come with an optional seven seats.

The interior of the new Honda CR-V Hybrid
The interior of the 2019 Honda CR-V Hybrid

Engines

The 2019 Honda CR-V Hybrid uses a 2.0-litre petrol electric hybrid powertrain with 184hp and 175Nm of torque available in both the front wheel drive and four wheel drive model. The CR-V Hybrid puts its power to the road using a CVT automatic gearbox. The manufacturer quotes fuel consumption for the front wheel drive model at 5.3l/100km and C02 emissions at just 120g.

On the road

The Honda CR-V Hybrid is one of the most aerodynamic cars in its class and features Honda’s Active Shutter Grille system to improve fuel efficiency. The hybrid system is operated via buttons rather than a traditional gear lever – Drive, Park, Neutral and Reverse. There is also a Sport mode button for a more responsive throttle input. A short range EV mode can be selected when in town and it gives about 2km of pure EV range, depending on battery charge and driving conditions.

I took the Honda CR-V Hybrid AWD for a short test drive around Kildare. The CR-V Hybrid is quiet and smooth on the move with a natural feeling hybrid drive and CVT gearbox. The CR-V Hybrid is more stoic than sporty in the handling department but it’s a competent drive for the five seat SUV, with good comfort and refinement, a must for this type of vehicle. Fuel consumption on my 30 minute test drive averaged at about 6.7l/100km.

Equipment

Honda Ireland is selling the new CR-V Hybrid in four grades: Comfort, Lifestyle, Elegance and Executive. Standard equipment includes 18” alloys, keyless entry and start, emergency call, Honda Sensing suite of safety equipment including adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist system, driver lumbar support, climate control, and LED headlights. Lifestyle models add equipment including rain sensing wipers, electrically folding side mirrors, leather steering wheel, dual automatic climate control, front and rear parking sensors, rear view camera and Honda Connect with 7” touchscreen. The Elegance model has leather upholstery, front heated seats, active cornering lights and ambient lighting. The Executive model has an opening panoramic glass roof, head-up display, heated steering wheel, electric tailgate and rear heated seats.

The new Honda CR-V Hybrid is a spacious five seat SUV
The new Honda CR-V Hybrid is a spacious five seat SUV

Pricing

Comfort is available from €38,000, Lifestyle from €40,500, Elegance from €43,500 and Executive from €49,500. Prices quoted here are for FWD models including grants reductions for hybrids, with AWD cars available from €43,500.

Rivals

The new Honda CR-V Hybrid has a direct rival in the recently launched Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. Indirect rivals include other large SUVs like the Hyundai Santa Fe, Skoda Kodiaq and Nissan X-Trail.

Verdict

The 2019 Honda CR-V Hybrid starts off well with this new generation off CR-V sporting a terrific build, top interior quality and spacious interior. The hybrid powertrain is new for the CR-V but appears to be quite a natural fit with good refinement. I look forward to taking the CR-V Hybrid for a longer test drive later in the year to test how efficient it is over a week of driving!

Caroline Kidd

The new Honda CR-V Hybrid is available in Ireland from €38,000
The new Honda CR-V Hybrid is available in Ireland from €38,000

The new SEAT Tarraco has just arrived in Ireland

2019 SEAT Tarraco First Drive Review

The new SEAT Tarraco has just arrived in Ireland
The new SEAT Tarraco has just arrived in Ireland

The SEAT Tarraco has just arrived in Ireland and is an exciting new large SUV for the brand, slotting in above the compact SEAT Arona and mid-size Ateca to complete SEAT’s family of SUVs. Caroline drove the new SEAT Tarraco at the Irish press launch in Dublin.

Styling

The SEAT Tarraco is a stylish new entrant into the large SUV class with a prominent grille giving presence and character and a full width light signature at the rear with dynamic indicators. SEAT Ireland has really tried to ensure that ‘base’ models will look well so even the entry SE model gets 18” alloys and LED headlights with SEAT's triangular signature design.

Interior

The interior of the Tarraco has a simple and elegant design with a digital instrument panel as standard and 8” touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. All the controls fall easily to hand and there is a good commanding driving position. There are a mixture of materials used and the quality is very acceptable with our Xcellence test model featuring some stylish brushed chrome trim inserts.

Practicality

The Tarraco is available as a five or seven seat SUV. The boot is a huge 760 litres with a wide aperture and powered tailgate as standard on Xcellence trim. There is loads of space for second row occupants and you can let the rear seats down from a release in the boot. The two seats in row three are more compact, but the split fold rear bench in row 2 can be slid forward and back to create more space.

The interior of the SEAT Tarraco
The interior of the SEAT Tarraco

Engines

The new SEAT Tarraco is available in Ireland with a 1.5-litre TSI turbo petrol (150hp), a 2.0-litre TSI turbo petrol (190hp) and a 2.0-litre TDI diesel. The 2.0-litre TDI can be specced with a manual gearbox with a power output of 150hp or in automatic DSG 4x4 guise with 190hp.

On the road

The Tarraco is built on the Volkswagen Group's MQB-A long wheelbase architecture but SEAT say that they have tweaked it to make it more like a SEAT, with a bit of sportiness and flair to the driving experience. We will have to wait for a longer test drive to fully put that sporty pitch to the test. But we did take the 2.0-litre 150hp manual diesel for a quick drive around Dublin suburbia at the Tarraco launch. The light controls make it easy work in the urban environment, while the diesel was smooth and refined around town.

Equipment

At launch in Ireland the new SEAT Tarraco will be available in SE and Xcellence trim with a sporty FR to follow at a later date.

Standard equipment is very good across the range with SE models getting 18” alloys, 8” touchscreen, LED headlights and rear lights, cruise control, digital instrument panel, SEAT drive profile, tri zone climate control, keyless start, front assist, city emergency braking, lane keep assist and rear view camera.

Xcellence models add 19” alloys, electric tailgate, adaptive cruise control, automatic lights and wipers, park assist, and a special Xcellence styling kit.

The SEAT Tarraco goes on sale in Ireland priced from €34,700
The SEAT Tarraco goes on sale in Ireland priced from €34,700

Pricing

The new SEAT Tarraco goes on sale in Ireland priced from €34,700 for the SE and €39,885 for the Xcellence. Seven seat models are available for a premium of €1000.

Rivals

SEAT Ireland list the Peugeot 5008, Hyundai Santa Fe and Nissan X-Trail as key rivals.

Verdict

The new SEAT Tarraco is a brand new model entering a busy segment of large five and seven seat SUVs. However the Tarraco is very well specced from entry into the range with some well proven petrol and diesel engines at its disposal. It’s a smooth, fuss free drive and a stylish newcomer that I look forward to bringing you a full road test of later in the spring.

Caroline Kidd

The SEAT Tarraco is a stylish new entrant to the seven seat SUV segment
The SEAT Tarraco is a stylish new entrant to the seven seat SUV segment!

The new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is in Toyota dealers now

2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid First Drive Review

The new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is in Toyota dealers now
The new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is in Toyota dealers now

The Toyota RAV4 was the original ‘Sports Utility Vehicle’ (SUV). Now in its fifth generation, Toyota has reinvented the RAV4 upon the exciting new TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture). The new RAV4 is arriving in Ireland at a time when Toyota Ireland is predicting that in 2019, 80% of their new car sales will be hybrid. The brand has already said that they will no longer sell diesel cars. The new RAV4 will be sold in Ireland exclusively as a petrol electric, self-charging hybrid. Caroline travelled to the Catalonia region of Spain to put the new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid to the test on and off road!

Styling

TNGA has given Toyota designers more freedom to design a stylish vehicle. The new Toyota RAV4 now has a more individual look for the segment. It is an altogether leaner and more angular SUV than the model it replaces, with more than a hint of the utilitarian design of the larger Land Cruiser. In Ireland, 17” alloys and LED headlamps come as standard, while Sport models are available with a bi-tone paint option.

Interior

The Toyota RAV4 has a new interior with a focus on improved quality and design. The dashboard has an attractive, clean horizontal design with soft touch materials and satin chrome features to add interest. Dials and switches are easy to operate, with a 7" or 8” touchscreen in the centre of the dash. The RAV4 is missing some of the outright glam and plushness of the interior of the smaller Toyota C-HR compact crossover. But in fairness, the plainer cabin of the RAV4 makes more sense with the tougher, utilitarian look of the outside of the vehicle.

The interior of the new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
The interior of the new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Practicality

The wheelbase has been increased by 30 mm to create more interior space in the new RAV4. This is a five seat SUV with competitive accommodation for this class of vehicle. There's about 40 mm extra width for rear seat passengers and more spacious rear footwells. The opening angle of the rear doors has also been improved to make it easier to access child seats and get in and out. Boot space is up 41 litres to 542 litres with a wide opening making it a practical space to work with. There is a height-adjustable, two-level deck board that can be reversed when dirty items need to be carried.

Engines

In Ireland the new RAV4 goes on sale exclusively as a self-charging hybrid. In some markets the new Toyota RAV4 is also offered with a 2.0-litre petrol. The 2019 RAV4 has a new, improved 2.5-litre petrol electric hybrid powertrain. There’s more power and greater efficiency. Front wheel drive models now have 218hp, while all wheel drive models have 222hp. The manufacturer quotes fuel consumption of 4.5l/100km on the NEDC 2 cycle and 5.6l/100km under new WLTP. Power is put to the road through a CVT automatic gearbox.

The new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid goes on sale in Ireland priced from €35,900
The new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid goes on sale in Ireland priced from €35,900

On the road

The new RAV4 has a more rigid body and lower centre of gravity with every component now lighter and located lower down in the vehicle for improved comfort and driving dynamics. The response from the electric power steering has also been improved by moving the assist motor from the column to the rack. There's a better driving position and on the road, the new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid immediately feels more fluid and engaging. The car handles confidently through corners with more natural and progressive steering. Refinement in town is excellent, with the hybrid operating in near silence. During our test drive, the new RAV4 was comfortable and stable over a variety of road surfaces, though on the motorway we did notice some wind noise from around the mirrors.

Toyota engineers have worked to reduce noise from the CVT gearbox in this new generation of RAV4. However to this reviewer the noise from the CVT gearbox is still a bit of a bugbear, especially when you try to gather speed quickly. Fuel consumption averaged out at about 7.0l/100km during my test drive across town, motorway and country.

We also had the opportunity to test the new Toyota RAV4 AWD model quite extensively off-road. It coped well with steep inclines and declines (without a hill descent control) and slippy, muddy conditions.

The new RAV4 has more interior space than the outgoing model and a larger boot
The new RAV4 has more interior space than the outgoing model and a larger boot

Equipment

Toyota Ireland is selling the new RAV4 in five grades: Aura, Luna, Sol, Sport and Platinum. Standard features on Aura models (from €35,900) will include 17” alloys, LED lights front and rear, dual exhaust tailpipes, black roof rails, electric parking brake, automatic lights, 7” multimedia system, dual zone climate control with rear vents, folding mirrors, driving mode selector and rear view camera. Toyota Safety Sense 2 is also standard, adding safety equipment such as automatic high beam, driver attention alert, eCall emergency call system, adaptive cruise control, pre-collision system with pedestrian and cyclist detection, road sign assist and lane trace assist.

The Luna model (from €37,590) will add dark grey painted upper front grille, silver front underrun, chrome interior trim, auto wipers, power tailgate, Smart Entry & Start, 8” multimedia system, front fog lamps, and front and rear parking sensors.

The Sol (from €39,590) adds 18” alloys, rear privacy glass, heated front seats, leather upholstery and satellite navigation.

Sport (from €40,990) adds 18” machine-finished alloy wheels, bitone roof, projector LED headlamps, painted lower bumpers and mouldings, painted front fog lamp surrounds, unique sport leather upholstery, black headlining, driver’s electric seat adjustment and lumbar support, and paddle gear shift.

Platinum (pricing tbc) features include 18” alloy wheels, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, chrome outer door handles, leather seats, grey headlining, memory driver seat adjustment, luggage net and heated steering wheel.

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 is built on a new platform and uses a 2.5-litre self charging hybrid powertrain
The 2019 Toyota RAV4 is built on a new platform and uses a 2.5-litre self-charging hybrid powertrain

Pricing

The new RAV4 goes on sale in Ireland priced from €35,900. Luna is available from €37,590. Sol is available from €39,590. Sport is available from €40,990. Pricing for the Platinum model is to be confirmed. Prices quoted here are for FWD models. We have no confirmation on pricing yet for AWD models. It will be announced closer to when first AWD models arrive in April.

Rivals

The Toyota RAV4 has many rivals including the Honda CR-V Hybrid, Ford Kuga, Mazda CX-5, Renault Koleos, Peugeot 5008 and Skoda Kodiaq.

Verdict

The new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid arrives in Ireland at a time when car buyers are beginning to look beyond diesel, while Toyota Ireland continues to back hybrid across their range of passenger cars and SUVs. For this new generation, the Toyota RAV4 has been completely reimagined. This new RAV4 makes a much stronger statement, backed up by improved interior quality, the latest technology and safety features, an improved hybrid powertrain and a more enjoyable drive. The new RAV4 Hybrid does not come to market cheap, but is a much improved vehicle and an interesting step away from the classic diesel SUV.

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is in Irish Toyota dealerships now.

Caroline Kidd


The 2019 Renault Kadjar has arrived in Ireland

2019 Renault Kadjar Pricing For Ireland

The 2019 Renault Kadjar has arrived in Ireland
The 2019 Renault Kadjar has arrived in Ireland priced from €26,995

Since it was first launched in late 2015, the Renault Kadjar has established a strong position in the popular compact SUV segment, with over 5,700 models sold to date in Ireland.

Now Renault Ireland has announced that the new facelifted Renault Kadjar has arrived in Ireland and goes on sale from €26,995.

There are new, more efficient petrol and diesel engines available while standard equipment now includes climate control, 7” touchscreen with Android Auto® and Apple CarPlay®, alloy wheels, parking sensors, and automatic lights and wipers.

Styling has been updated with a new grille and C-Shaped LED lights that now incorporate the front indicator There are also new 17- and 19-inch alloy wheel designs, along with three new colours - Oural Green, Iron Blue and Highland Grey.

The interior has also been redesigned with new seats and the touchscreen is flush-mounted to the centre console. There is a new control panel for the automatic air conditioning and other additions include bigger cup holders, bigger bins in the front doors and two rear USB sockets.

Engine options include the new 1.3TCe GPF turbo petrol engine with 140 or 160hp. The TCe 140 is available with 6-speed manual or 7-speed EDC automatic gearbox options. The manual-only TCe 160 offers the highest power output ever for a Kadjar.

New Kadjar also features an upgraded 1.5 Blue dCi 115. It's the most efficient engine in the range. For customers requiring more performance, the new 1.7 Blue dCi engine is now available with 150hp and comes in 4x2 and 4x4.

The interior of the 2019 Renault Kadjar
The interior of the 2019 Renault Kadjar

There are four trim levels: Play, Iconic, S-Edition and GT Line.

Play (from €26,995) features 17-inch alloy wheels, dual climate control, parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers, 7-inch touchscreen and Android and Apple Car Play.

Iconic trim (€29,695) adds cruise control and speed limiter, parking camera, keyless entry/start, auto lights and wipers, navigation and privacy glass.

The new sporty S-Edition (from €31,395) adds a half leather interior, panoramic roof, and LED/Xenon lights.

The top of the range GT-Line adds leather seats, panoramic sunroof, full LED lights and auto park.

Customers can avail of savings of over €4,000 on Kadjar for 191 with a complete package of 1.91% APR PCP or HP finance, €1,000 cashback and three years’ servicing available until 31st January 2019.

Renault’s 26 dealerships  in Ireland will offer a 24-hour test drive programme for January and February.

Play Iconic S-Edition GT Line
TCe 140 GPF €26,995 €29,695 €31,395 €33,995
TCe 160 GPF €32,395 €34,995
TCe 140 GPF EDC €29,295 €31,995 €33,695 €36,295
Blue dCi 115 €28,995 €31,695 €33,395 €35,995
Blue dCi 115 EDC €31,295 €33,995 €35,695 €38,295
Blue dCi 150 €37,995
Blue dCi 150 4x4 €39,995
- 17” Alloy wheels

- 7” Screen with

Apple CarPlay®/

Android Auto®

- Tinted windows

- Climate Control

- Electronic

handbrake

- Parking Sensors

- Front Fog Lights

- LED DRLs

- Cruise Control

- Auto Lights/Wipers

- Synthetic Leather

Steering wheel

- Sliding armrest

- 17” Alloy Wheels

- Handsfree Key Card

- Passenger Rear

Vents

- Roof Bars

- Lane Departure

warning

- F/R Parking Sensors

- Rear Camera

- 7” Touchscreen Nav - Apple CarPlay®/

Android Auto®

- Shark Antenna

- Privacy glass

- Electric Folding

Mirrors

- Flat Folding Floor

- Synthetic Leather

Steering Wheel

gear lever

- 2 rear USB points

- 17” Alloy Wheels

- LED Headlamps

- Front LED Fogs

- Rear view mirror

antiglare

- Panoramic roof

- Passenger Seat

height adjustable

- Light Grey Front/

Rear Skid plates

- Part synthetic

leather/3D fabric/

blue stitching

- 19” Alloy wheels

- AEBS

- Full Leather Seats

- Heated Drivers Seat

- Electric seat adjust

- Cushion extender

- Blind Spot Warning

- Hands free parking

- 360 sensors

- Panoramic Roof

- Leather steering

wheel

- Puddle lamps

 


The new Opel Grandland X Ultimate

Opel Grandland X Ultimate 2.0 Diesel Review

The new Opel Grandland X Ultimate
The new Opel Grandland X Ultimate

Caroline drives the Opel Grandland X Ultimate!

In 2018, Opel Ireland welcomed the new Grandland X to Ireland in the highly lucrative five door, family SUV segment. Available from €28,395 with a choice of 1.2-litre petrol, 1.5-litre diesel and 2.0-litre diesel, the Opel Grandland X occupies a peachy point for family buyers looking for a cool mid-size SUV.

I’ve already tested the Opel Grandland X 1.2-litre petrol and it was a car that I enjoyed for its straightforward practicality, stylish design and on point petrol engine. Now at the opposite end of the spectrum I’m testing the Opel Grandland X Ultimate. Under the bonnet there is a top of the range 2.0-litre diesel engine mated to an 8-speed automatic gearbox. The car also has an impressive spec including a number of more luxurious features as standard. But you do pay dearly for it, with a list price for this model of €41,595.

What's new?

The Grandland X’s neat frame is enhanced with 19” alloys, while the roof and door mirrors are finished in black on the Ultimate trim car. There are also silver coloured roof rails, premium ergonomic seats, heated leather seats and trim, adaptive AFL LED headlights, OnStar, touchscreen with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, 360° camera, Advanced Park Assist and a Denon premium sound system.

The interior of the Opel Grandland X Ultimate
The interior of the Opel Grandland X Ultimate

Inside the Grandland X there is reasonable space for five however the middle rear passenger will get short changed on leg and shoulder room. The electric tailgate comes as standard on the Ultimate trim and opens to reveal 514 litres of space.

The dashboard design is simple and straightforward with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility on the 8” colour touchscreen. The quality is good and the design straightforward and easy to navigate, however it's a little way off the showstopper you might expect of a car priced in the region of €40,000!

The Opel Grandland X Ultimate is powered by a strong 2.0-litre diesel engine
The Opel Grandland X Ultimate is powered by a strong 2.0-litre diesel engine

On the road in the Opel Grandland X Ultimate

The 2.0-litre engine is a powerhouse for the Grandland X with 177hp and 400Nm of torque giving it a trailer load of 2 tonnes. The Grandland X 2.0-litre makes brisk progress on the road and it doesn't sound too coarse for a large diesel engine either, changing gear with reasonable efficiency too. Motor tax for this model is €270 per year and over a week of driving my fuel consumption was 6.3l/100km.

The Grandland X works well as a family car in that it's easy to drive and get along with. It handles well though there is some lean in corners but generally it's very composed and pleasant to drive. The ride comfort on the 19" wheels of the test car was not as smooth and soft as I remembered from my test drive last year, but these are small nuances.

Rear legroom in the Opel Grandland X
Rear legroom in the Opel Grandland X

Should I buy it?

Opel Ireland is offering the Grandland X in five trim levels: SC, SRi, Elite, Ultimate and the new '120 Years' edition to celebrate 120 years of Opel. The Grandland X is undoubtedly a very valuable vehicle for Opel that's stylish and practical.

Certainly the Opel Grandland X Ulitmate is the Grandland X with all the bits thrown at it - top of the range diesel engine, effortless automatic gearbox and many luxury features.

In its most basic guise with a 1.2 litre petrol engine for example, the Grandland X certainly feels like a good alternative to the usual suspects in the family SUV class. For me this expensive top of the range model feels less convincing but for Opel fans looking for a powerhouse of an engine and plenty of luxury features, look no further than the Opel Grandland X Ultimate!

The Opel Grandland X Ultimate has a list price of €41,595
The Opel Grandland X Ultimate has a list price of €41,595

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Opel Grandland X Ultimate 2.0
Price: 
€41,595 (Range from €28,395)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
177hp
Torque: 400Nm
0-100km/h:  
9.5 seconds
Top speed: 211km/h
Economy: 
4.9/100km
CO2 emissions: 
128g/km
Motor tax: 
€270 per year


The 2019 Kia Sportage

2019 Kia Sportage 1.6 Diesel Review

The 2019 Kia Sportage
The 2019 Kia Sportage

Caroline drives the 2019 Kia Sportage!

The Kia Sportage took on a life of its own in Ireland with the launch of the third generation back in 2010. Accessibility and a stylish design ensured its presence on Irish roads in numbers.

The current generation of the Sportage was launched back in 2016, sporting (!) an even more sensuous design that always endeared the car to this reviewer. Coinciding with the Irish buyer's increasing appetite for SUVs, the Sportage is Kia’s bestselling model here and also one of Ireland's ten bestselling cars.

What's new in the 2019 Kia Sportage?

For Sportage fans, there’s now a new facelifted model on sale as we enter 2019, with some mild styling tweaks and changes to equipment and engines. Pricing starts from €29,815.

The familiar tiger nose grille is still there and the rather avantgarde lighting around the rear. In profile, the 2019 Kia Sportage is all but the same. Yet in fact there is a redesigned front bumper, grille and fog lamp housing. The facelift also introduces new full-LED headlamps with four-point LED daytime running lights on some models, and at the back there’s a new C-shaped LED light signature. The reversing lamp and reflectors are now integrated into the new rear bumper, which is finished with a flash of chrome across its base.

The interior of the 2019 Kia Sportage
The interior of the 2019 Kia Sportage

For all senses and purposes, the Kia Sportage is a very stylish SUV. There are also five new body colours, including the Blue Flame of the test car. The top of the range GT Line model also receives special cosmetic upgrades and 19″ alloys.

Inside the 2019 Kia Sportage

There is no change to dimensions and inside the Kia Sportage will seat five with decent accommodation all round. The Sportage is a very practical family vehicle with plenty of storage, rear seat space and a large square boot of 467 litres.

Inside the general layout of the cabin is retained but there’s a new steering wheel, revised driver instrument cluster, and the option of a new black-and-grey, two-tone upholstery. The ventilation and air conditioning controls have also been revised. Depending on trim level, the Kia Sportage comes equipped with a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system or a new ‘frameless’ 8.0-inch system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Material quality is generally good and the interior is easy to navigate and interact with.

The Kia Sportage range is very simple in that there is just one engine available, a new 1.6-litre diesel with 115 hp in manual versions or 136 hp in the automatic. This engine replaces the old 1.7-litre diesel and Kia claims that it is the cleanest diesel engine that they have ever made. There are K2, K3, K4 and GT Line trim levels with prices rising from €29,815 to €36,385 for a top of the range GT Line. Standard equipment includes 16″ alloys, roof rails, electric windows, 7″ touchscreen, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, rear parking sensors, air con and cruise control.

The 2019 Kia Sportage has a new 1.6-litre diesel engine
The 2019 Kia Sportage has a new 1.6-litre diesel engine

My test car was in the K4 trim and retails from €33,404. Equipment highlights included dual zone air con, leather upholstery, 19" alloys, wireless phone charger and a parking camera.

What's the Kia Sportage like to drive?

Mechanically nothing has changed under the skin during this update. On the road the Kia Sportage delivers a comfortable ride and competent handling that makes it a pleasant daily driver. The new diesel engine has plenty of torque to move the Sportage efficiently though it's still on the noisy side. Over a week of driving my fuel consumption was 6.1l/100km.

It’s very easy to see why the Kia Sportage is so popular with Irish buyers. Upgrades to this new model are small, but the new engine brings some improvements and in essence the Sportage is still a great SUV for its space, family friendly cabin and good road manners. In a crowded family SUV segment, the Sportage still manages to be stylish, practical and desirable.

The Kia Sportage is still a practical and desirable family SUV
The Kia Sportage is still a practical and desirable family SUV

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Kia Sportage 1.6-litre CRDi K4
Price: 
€33,404 (Range from €29,815)
Engine: 1.6-litre turbo diesel
Power:
115 hp
Torque: 280 Nm
0-100km/h: 
11.5 seconds
Top speed: 175 km/h
Economy: 
4.8-5.0l/100km
CO2 emissions:
126 g/km
Motor tax: 
€270 per year

Rear seating space in the Kia Sportage
Rear seating space in the Kia Sportage