opel mokka irish review

Opel Mokka 1.6CDTi Review

Scroll down to read the review or watch my Mokka video review!

The compact crossover has had a meteoric rise to fame and in late 2012 Opel’s offering arrived smack bang in the middle of the crossover boom. The Opel Mokka is one of the more ruggedly styled among this new breed of lifestyle vehicle and the addition in 2015 of a new diesel engine means that the Mokka is definitely worth a look if you fancy something small, compact but tough-looking.

For a small car, it really does look like a proper off-roader with roof bars and lashings of plastic cladding. Whereas some so-called crossovers are more similar to a slightly elevated estate car, the Mokka feels significantly higher so you will certainly feel lofty from the driver’s seat.

S2180085
The Opel Mokka is one of the more ruggedly styled of this new breed of lifestyle vehicle

Opels of late, like the new Corsa and Astra, have significantly improved interiors over their previous incarnations, but the Mokka's interior layout is based on one of Opel’s older dash designs so it still has the button-heavy, cluttered-look to the centre console. In its favour it’s all well-made and durable, and the steering wheel mounted audio controls fitted as standard simplify things a great deal.

A compact crossover must be practical and the Mokka packs in a 362 litre boot with a flat loading sill and practical square shape. The space in the cabin is good and a low transmission tunnel doesn’t eat too much into rear legroom.

opel mokka irish review
Opel Mokka: A 1.6-litre CDTi diesel engine replaces the old 1.7-litre CDTi

Rugged style aside, these compact crossovers are designed for on the road, not off it, though if you must have it Opel will sell you a Mokka with four wheel drive. Opel’s new 1.6-litre CDTi ‘whisper diesel’ replaces the old 1.7-litre CDTi. If you’re more of an urban driver, there are two petrol engines to choose from: a naturally aspirated 1.6-litre (115bhp) or a more powerful and efficient 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine with 140bhp.

The 1.6-litre diesel has 136bhp at its disposal, which is more than enough power for a small car like this. It makes the Mokka feel really nippy (0-100kmh is 9.9 seconds, not bad for a crossover!) and official figures say it will return up to 66mpg. It’s also well-suited to motorway trips. It is on the noisy side however, not quite living up to the whisper diesel moniker but that’s more obvious when stopping/starting around town and in low speed manoeuvres. It's much more refined when you’re cruising out of town.

opel mokka irish review
Opel Mokka: The cabin is well-made but is looking a bit old-fashioned compared to newer rivals

In terms of ride and handling, I had no complaints about comfort and it copes reasonably well with some of our more roughly-surfaced roads. The extra height means that there is a bit of roll in the corners if you take them too fast, but the car has good grip and the steering is good at communicating what the front wheels are doing, so you can still cover ground quite quickly and safely in the Mokka.

In terms of pricing, the entry price seems reasonable for the 1.6-litre Mokka at €20,995 for a basic ‘S’ model with air con and cruise control. But that’s an older engine with modest power and performance. Far more attractive is the likes of the 1.6CDTi in SC trim at €25,495, which adds alloy wheels, parking sensors and Bluetooth. The top of the range SE I was driving has a hefty list price of €28,245, though it has all the equipment you could ever need with additional navigation, heated seats and steering wheel, leather seat covers, rear privacy glass and Opel OnStar for 2016 models. Availability of the 1.4 turbo petrol opens up at SC grade, with a list price of €23,495.

The Opel Mokka has got the looks and attitude of a larger SUV, but the nimbleness and agility of a small car. It’s not the cheapest compact crossover out there but the diesel model tested here really does major on power, and combined with good driving dynamics, the Opel Mokka could be the fun little crossover you’ve been looking for.

opel mokka irish review
Opel Mokka: A fun, little crossover that benefits greatly from a new diesel engine

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Opel Mokka SE 1.6CDTi
Price: 
€28,245 (Range starts at €20,995)
Engine: 
1.6-litre diesel
Power: 
136bhp
0-100km/h:  
9.9 seconds
Economy: 
65.7mpg
CO2 emissions:  
114g/km
Tax band: 
A4 (€200 per year)


Renault Kadjar car review ireland

Renault Kadjar 1.6 dCi 130bhp Review

Renault Kadjar car review ireland
The Renault Kadjar: A new entrant to the large crossover segment

Read my review or watch the video review!

The Kadjar is Renault’s new C-segment crossover but it’s got a secret – it shares a platform with the popular Nissan Qashqai. But rather than just producing a Qashqai clone, Renault has tried to give Kadjar its own individual identity.  For a start, the Kadjar blends a rugged SUV look with the voluptuous curves we’ve seen already on Renault’s smaller crossover, the Captur.

Inside, it’s all very pleasant and comfortable with seating for five and a large boot (472 litres) that’s easy to access and load. The cabin is a strong point for the Kadjar. The materials all feel good to touch and they look good too. There’s nothing cheap or nasty about it.  The design is simple and uncluttered, and all cars come as standard with a digital driver information display with some snazzy blue graphics.

Renault Kadjar car review ireland
Renault Kadjar: The interior is built well and has a good layout

The equipment levels are good across the range with entry level Expression + models getting most of the must-haves like Bluetooth, cruise control, four electric windows, electronic parking brake, air con and fog lights. Unfortunately no alloys though.  You need to step up to Dynamique Nav trim for alloy wheels, but the upgrade also includes a touchscreen system for infotainment and navigation in the centre of the dash.

The most welcome thing about the Kadjar is just how pleasant it is to drive, which is not always a given when it comes to crossovers. No this one is just like a big hatchback. There is absolutely no roughness about it so if you want your SUVs more rugged look elsewhere. But who really wants that?

The Kadjar is really comfortable and feels like it’s gliding along the road. The hatchback qualities are good because the handling and steering feel sharp enough to give you quite a sporty drive when you get off the motorways. In town, it feels relatively agile for its size and it’s easy to control it to get in and around those tight spots.

Renault Kadjar car review ireland
Renault Kadjar: Comfortable seating for 5 and a user-friendly boot

If it’s diesel you’re after, you could go for the 1.6 diesel with 130bhp, which feels really powerful and refined, and also gives you the option of four wheel drive. If you’re more of an urban driver, there’s a 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine producing 130bhp. But the most economical of the bunch is the 1.5 diesel with 110bhp, returning up to 74mpg.

The range starts at just shy of €25,000 for the petrol powered Kadjar in entry level Expression + trim. Diesel models start at €26,790. A 1.5 dCi in Dynamique Nav trim (with the alloys and the touchscreen) has a list price of €28,290. There’s a higher specced Dynamique S Nav from €29,290 and a top of the range Signature Nav from €30,790.

The Renault Kadjar was one of the biggest surprise cars for me of 2015. I wouldn’t naturally levitate towards crossovers but the Kadjar makes the jaunt over into crossover territory less uncomfortable. The Kadjar blends quite effortlessly the refinement and easy driving quality of a hatchback, the size, practicality and comfort of a five seat MPV, and the coolness and desirability of an SUV. There really is very little to complain about. It’s the ultimate family car reloaded with a French twist.

Renault Kadjar car review ireland
Renault Kadjar: The ultimate family car reloaded with a French twist

Model Tested: Renault Kadjar dCi 130 Dynamique Nav
Price: 
€29,490
Engine: 
1.6-litre diesel
Power: 
130bhp
0-100km/h:
9.9 seconds
Economy: 
65.7mpg
CO2 Emissions: 
113g/km
Motor Tax: 
€200 per year

Caroline Kidd


Honda HR-V

First Drive Review: Honda Jazz and HR-V

There’s nothing quite like some shiny new cars to start the week, and when two come along together, it’s even better.

It must be a treat for Honda Ireland too and their associated Irish dealer network. With 2015 already bringing revised Civic and CR-V models, the arrival of a new third generation Jazz, and all new HR-V compact SUV, will add further options. For petrolheads, there’s a Civic Type R on the horizon, and the NSX must not be too far away either.Read more


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Why The Millennials Are Wrong About SUVs

Mllennials SUVs

As Ford gets ready for an SUV bonanza at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the company has released the results of a survey that serves to validate its investment in bringing five new SUVs and crossovers to market in the next three years.Read more


Renault Captur 1.5 dCi 90 Signature

Renault Captur 1.5 dCi 90 Signature Review

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

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

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

Design

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

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

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

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

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

Driving

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

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

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

Economy

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

Equipment

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

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

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

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

Verdict

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

Caroline Kidd

Model Tested: Renault Captur 1.5 dCi 90 Signature
Price: 
€23,990
Engine: 
1.5-litre diesel
Power: 
90bhp
0-100km/h:
13.1 seconds
Economy: 
74.3mpg
CO2 Emissions: 
95g/km
Motor Tax: 
€180 per year


audi q7

Audi Q7: First Drive Review

Model driven: Audi Q7 3.0TDI 272 quattro Tiptronic S Line

It’s Tuesday morning and I’ve just arrived at Tankardstown House near Slane in Co. Meath for the Irish press launch of the new Audi Q7. I’m excited about this one. I’ve been reading the product guide to get some of the headline detail and now I’m keen to see for myself where Audi is taking the second generation of their flagship luxury SUV.Read more


Caroline Kidd Ford Kuga

The Car That Could Park Itself

I’ve seen videos and TV clips of cars parking themselves loads of times. The driver lets go of the wheel and it starts twisting and turning all by itself. The driver still operates the accelerator and brake pedal but the car does the hard part – getting the angle right to manouevre into the space and saving you all that arm work. It’s very cool to watch.

It’s even cooler when you are the one in the driver’s seat and you are putting all your trust in the car to park itself. I couldn’t get enough of watching the wheel twisting like crazyRead more


Ford Kuga Irish Review

Behind The Scenes With The Ford Kuga

Last week I found out what it’s really like to be an SUV driver. I suppose I have a bit of a negative attitude towards SUV drivers and I always expect the worst sort of road behaviour from people who choose to drive soft-roaders.Read more