The 2018 Dacia Duster has arrived in Ireland!

New Dacia Duster Arrives In Ireland!

The 2018 Dacia Duster has arrived in Ireland!
The 2018 Dacia Duster has arrived in Ireland!

The new Dacia Duster has arrived in Ireland, priced from €17,390. The 2018 Dacia Duster has a new look and interior with significant tweaks to refinement, comfort, engines and technology.

This is the second generation of the popular Duster. Since 2013, over 10,000 Dusters have found homes in Ireland.

Specifications and pricing for Dacia Duster in Ireland

The new Duster will be available in three trim levels in Ireland: Essential, Comfort and Prestige.

Essential trim, available from €17,390, includes LED daytime running lights, 16-inch steel wheels, body coloured front and rear bumpers, heat adjustable driver’s seat, DAB radio with steering-column mounted controls and Bluetooth connectivity.

Comfort trim, available from €19,790, adds 16-inch alloy wheels, manual air conditioning, leather steering wheel, rear parking camera and sensors, electric front and rear windows, heated and electrically adjustable door mirrors and a MediaNav 7" touchscreen multimedia system (Satellite navigation, USB and AUX connection points).

The top-of-the-range Prestige version, available from €21,290, adds 17-inch alloy wheels, multi-view camera, blind spot warning, climate control and keyless entry.

Prices above are for petrol models; diesel models carry a €1,200 premium.

Diesel power and a new petrol engine for Duster 

The new Dacia Duster will be available with an improved 1.5-litre diesel engine 'Blue dCi 115'. New for 2018 is the 'SCe 115', a 1.6-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine, also with 115hp. Both engines use a manual gearbox. The Blue dCi 115 will be available with a 4x4 transmission from January 2019 with pricing from €20,590.

The new Dacia Duster is available from Dacia dealerships nationwide from 10th September.


The Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace Review

The Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace
The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace

Caroline drives the new Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace.

Volkswagen’s SUV range has never looked so good. While the Volkswagen Tiguan continues to sell well here in Ireland, it’s been joined in 2018 by a brand new Volkswagen T-ROC compact crossover, and the new Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace. Crowning Volkswagen’s SUV range is of course the new Volkswagen Touareg that arrived in Ireland over the summer.

More seats and space for the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace

Available with five seats (from €34,050) or seven (add €770), the new Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace is larger than the Volkswagen Tiguan with the all-important option of seven seats. The Tiguan and Tiguan Allspace were developed at the same time so there are many similarities between these two vehicles. But visually the Tiguan Allspace has a bit more presence. The bonnet has been raised up at the front and the rear doors of the Tiguan Allspace are longer to adapt the proportions to the longer overall length of the vehicle.

Inside, there's a simple dashboard design and the quality of the materials used throughout is indisputable. Touchscreen infotainment systems are available with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, while top of the range models get a very impressive digital driver information display.

The interior of the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace
The interior of the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace Highline

There are three trim levels - Trendline, Comfortline and Highline - with standard equipment including 17" alloys, air conditioning, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking and lane assist. Mid-range Comfortline models (from €38,895) add some more styling features, adaptive cruise control, front fog lights, tri zone climate control, 8" touchscreen with App Connect and voice control, and parking sensors. Highline models (from €42,050) feature 18" alloys, velour seat trim, LED headlights, heated front seats and a rear view parking camera, among other equipment.

How big is the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace inside?

The Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace has a large and flexible interior with optional '5+2' seating. There is plenty of headroom all round and the rear footwells are large. The second row seats split fold 60/40 and can be moved forward and back to give more wriggle room to those in row 3. In seven seat mode, Volkswagen has managed to eke out 230 litres of boot space, while in five seat mode there is about 700 litres of space! When not in use the two extra seats in seven seat models fold neatly into the boot floor.

Volkswagen is offering the Tiguan Allspace with a 1.4-litre TSI 150hp petrol engine (Trendline only) and with a 2.0-litre diesel with 150hp, 190hp or 240hp. The diesel range starts from €36,350. Manual and automatic gearboxes are available, as is '4MOTION' all wheel drive. My test car was a seven seat Highline model with a 2.0-litre TDI 150bhp diesel, DSG automatic gearbox and 4MOTION all wheel drive retailing from €46,895.

Rear legroom in the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace
Rear legroom in the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace

Does it drive well?

On the road, the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace is everything you could want from a large family car - agile and easy to manouvre despite the large dimensions, comfortable and refined. It's not sporty, but controlled and predictable in corners. The 2.0TDI with 150hp offers adequate performance and over a week of driving I averaged 6.5l/100km. Motor tax on this all wheel drive, automatic model is set at €390 per year.

With the Volkswagen Tiguan already proving to be a hit in Ireland, buyers looking for more space or seats to accommodate a growing family can be pointed in the direction of the Tiguan Allspace. Rather than feeling like an afterthought, the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace has been designed with care so it's stylish, premium and huge! There's competition within the Volkswagen Group's own stable with the equally likable Skoda Kodiaq large SUV, but the Tiguan Allspace's quality, style and finish will keep it highly desirable among aspirational families.

Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace
The Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace is available as a five or seven seat SUV

Model tested: Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace Highline 2.0 TDI 150hp 4Motion DSG (7 seats)
Price: 
€47,665 (Range starts at €34,050)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
150hp
Torque: 340Nm
0-100km/h:  
9.9 seconds
Top speed: 198km/h
Economy: 
5.9l/100km
CO2 emissions:  
153g/km
Motor tax:
€390 per year

Caroline Kidd


The 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Review

The 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
The 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Caroline drives the new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross.

Mitsubishi has a lot of respect in the Irish market for building tough off-roaders and SUVs like the Pajero and Outlander. With ever-growing demand for stylish SUVs that are more at home on the school run than on the farm, the brand has responded with the new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross mid-size SUV. Pricing starts from €27,900 in Ireland, placing the Eclipse Cross firmly among the Tuscon and Qashqai set.

There is no doubt that the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is an exciting new model for the brand, with Mitsubishi citing it as the first of a new generation of cars for them that are 'more capable and desirable'. Certainly in the metal the Eclipse Cross has a lot of presence and Mitsubishi is pitching it as an SUV coupé. The styling is shown off to particular good effect in Diamond Red Metallic, a special new red paint developed for the Eclipse Cross and applied using a new chromatic painting process.

The ride height might be high like an SUV but inside Mitsubishi has managed to package something of a sporty, coupé-like feel. The centre tunnel is quite high for an SUV and the steering wheel sits more low so there is a pleasant, snug feel to the cabin. Mitsubishi describes the interior as ‘cockpit style’ and the quality is a step up for Mitsubishi with some nice soft touch materials and stylish piano black and silver trim. There is a 7-inch touchscreen display on the dashboard that pairs seamlessly to smartphones with Apple Car Play and Android Auto, combined with a new touchpad controller.

The interior of the 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
The interior of the 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

How practical is the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross?

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross might be a looker but it retains the sort of practicality that should please family buyers. The rear legroom is excellent and even in width the Eclipse Cross seems generously proportioned for this class of vehicle. The rear seats can also slide and recline. The boot opens to reveal 411 litres with the five seats in their normal position so that's a bit on the small side compared to some rivals.

There are three trim levels for Ireland: Invite (from €27,900), Intense (from €29,900) and Instyle (from €34,900). The entry model is well-equipped including 16" alloy wheels, reversing camera, touchscreen, automatic air conditioning, four electric windows,  cruise control, forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning, auto high beam and front fog lamps.

The top of the range Instyle model shown here was bursting with equipment including notables like full leather upholstery, head-up display , premium stereo, blind spot warning, lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert.

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is pitched as a stylish SUV-coupé
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is pitched as a stylish SUV-coupé

Entertaining petrol power for Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

At launch, the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is powered by an all-new 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine developing 163hp and 250Nm of torque, though a diesel is on the way in 2019. A six-speed manual comes as standard but a CVT automatic is also available. The current range is front wheel drive only but Mitsubishi Ireland says that four wheel drive will be available.

On the road the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross gets perky performance from its 1.5-litre petrol engine. With 163hp it's got a lot more power than what some of the more mainstream rivals are offering in their petrol ranges, but the running costs are a bit steeper too: motor tax is €390 per year and my fuel consumption was 7l/100km over a week of driving. But this engine makes easy and sometimes entertaining progress in the Eclipse Cross.

Rear seating in the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
Rear seating in the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

What's the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross like on the road?

Refinement is good with extensive sound insulation within the body panels as well as the use of soundproof glazing and a floor silencer material. Mitsubishi has tuned the suspension and steering for a more engaging drive and the results are a mixed bag. It's fine by class standards with direct steering and reasonable composure through bends, but there's not enough feedback in the steering or willingness to hunker down in corners to fully deliver on the promise of a sporty SUV. While the car is generally comfortable on the smooth stuff, the ride can be bumpy in town.

The distinctive SUV coupé style of the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross and its sporty stance will certainly draw attention to this one, while Mitsubishi has managed to capture some uniqueness in the interior too. Families will love the spacious interior, while the engine is a powerful match for the car. Equipment levels are high too with Mitsubishi's eight year warranty for peace of mind.

Not delivering fully on the sporty driving dynamics seems like a missed opportunity as the Eclipse Cross is a genuinely well-executed idea of an SUV-coupé among more vanilla competitors. Regardless, the Eclipse Cross is a great addition to Mitsubishi's portfolio and the bold, stylish design is a mark of great things to come from the Japanese brand.

The Mistubishi Eclipse Corss is available from €27,995 in Ireland
The Mistubishi Eclipse Corss is available from €27,995 in Ireland

Model tested: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Instyle 1.5L Turbo
Price: 
€34,900 (Range starts at €27,900)
Engine: 1.5-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
163hp
Torque: 250Nm
0-100km/h:  
10.3 seconds
Top speed: 205km/h
Economy: 
6.6l/100km
CO2 emissions: 
151g/km
Motor tax:
€390 per year

Caroline Kidd


The 2018 Volkswagen T-ROC

2018 Volkswagen T-ROC 1.5TSI EVO Review

The 2018 Volkswagen T-ROC
The 2018 Volkswagen T-ROC

Caroline drives the new Volkswagen T-ROC.

The new Volkswagen T-ROC arrived in Ireland earlier in 2018 and it's an exciting new model for Volkswagen, showing more personality than what we're used to from the sensible German brand. Volkswagen has brought the new T-ROC the way of the crossover and with pricing starting from €24,750, the Volkswagen T-ROC slots in neatly below the popular Volkswagen Tiguan family SUV.

The Volkswagen T-ROC is positioned as a sportier, compact model and it’s immediately clear that the designers at VW had some fun with this one. The Volkswagen T-ROC is easily one of the most interesting and playful looking models in the range. In the metal it sits like a slightly elevated hatchback with gorgeous coupé-like styling, especially towards the rear.

But being marketed as a crossover means that the curves are balanced out with extra plastic cladding around the wheel arches, sills, and front and rear bumpers, adding more attitude to what is a very expressive design. The T-ROC is also the first Volkswagen SUV that will be available to order in two-tone paintwork with a contrasting roof, A-pillars and exterior mirror covers.

The interior of the 2018 Volkswagen T-ROC
The interior of the 2018 Volkswagen T-ROC

What's it like inside the new Volkswagen T-ROC?

Inside much of the switchgear is shared with other Volkswagen models, and dark grey plastics feature a lot. To add some interest there is a plastic dashboard insert that stretches the width of the cabin and continues its colour theme around the centre console. This was grey/black in the test car, but there are other colours available. The quality in the cabin is good, but the interior of a Golf for similar money feels a bit more plush. In terms of technology and in-car entertainment, the T-ROC scores well with a touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and a very impressive digital instrument panel.

The Volkswagen T-ROC is a five seater, though realistically four will be most comfortable because the middle seat in the rear is quite narrow. There is good accommodation up front and the two rear footwells are a reasonable size. There's extra headroom too. The boot is good at 445 litres but opting for a model with a spare wheel will eat into that boot volume.

In Ireland the T-ROC is available with a 1.0-litre TSI petrol (115hp), 1.5-litre TSI EVO petrol (150hp), a 1.6-litre TDI diesel (115hp) or a 2.0-litre TDI diesel (150hp). The 2.0-litre diesel is available exclusively with 4MOTION all wheel drive. A 6-speed manual gearbox comes as standard but there are also 7-speed DSG automatic gearboxes available.

Rear legroom in the Volkswagen T-ROC
Rear legroom in the Volkswagen T-ROC

On the road in the Volkswagen T-ROC

My test car was powered by the 1.5-litre turbo petrol unit with 150hp and it’s a powerful and refined option for the T-ROC. My fuel consumption over a week of driving was about 6.6 litres per 100 kms.

The Volkswagen T-ROC is built on the same MQB platform as the Golf and other Volkswagen products. On the road the T-ROC is smooth and confident, with well-weighted steering and a fun, agile feel. It doesn’t quite feel as hunkered down on the road in corners as a hatchback owing to that raised ride height, but heck it adds to the fun. The T-ROC is generally comfortable but a firm edge to the suspension will transmit some bumps into the cabin over uneven surfaces at low speeds around town.

Is it well-equipped?

There are three trim levels for Ireland – T-ROC, Design and Sport – and standard equipment includes leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, electric windows, 6.5” touchscreen, Bluetooth, automatic climate control, auto lights and wipers, lane keeping aid, forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking.

Design models start from €26,995 and add 16” alloys, more chrome detailing on the outside, front fog lamps, roof rails, parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, and more advanced infotainment system with 8 speakers, voice control and app connect.

The Volkswagen T-ROC range starts from €24,750 in Ireland
The Volkswagen T-ROC range starts from €24,750 in Ireland

Sport models start from €29,750 and add 17” alloys, double rear tailpipe, front sports seats, ambient lighting, LED headlamps, tinted rear windows, auto high beam among other exterior styling updates.

Would you buy it?

It's hard not to come away from the T-ROC feeling a little more enthusiastic about life. With this car, Volkswagen set out to make a fun crossover to complement the larger and more traditional Tiguan and they succeeded. The Volkswagen T-ROC is a fabulous addition to the Volkswagen range, and is easily one of the brand's most playful cars. The Volkswagen T-ROC is not the value option in the compact crossover class, but it is a stylish and sporty family vehicle.

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Volkswagen T-ROC Sport 1.5 TSI EVO
Price: 
€30,525 (Available from €24,750)
Engine: 1.5-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
150hp
Torque: 250Nm
0-100km/h: 
7.9 seconds
Top speed: 205km/h
Claimed Economy: 
5.4l/100km
CO2 emissions:  
121g/km
Motor tax: 
€270 per year

The Volkswagen T-ROC is a sporty and stylish crossover
The Volkswagen T-ROC is a sporty and stylish crossover

The 2018 Ford EcoSport

2018 Ford EcoSport EcoBoost Review

The 2018 Ford EcoSport
The 2018 Ford EcoSport has been tweaked to make it more competitive among compact SUVs

Caroline drives the new Ford EcoSport.

The Ford EcoSport first appeared in Ireland in 2014 as Ford’s answer to the compact crossover/SUV craze. It failed to make a huge impression on the Irish market like its Ford Fiesta and Focus stablemates, and even the larger Ford Kuga SUV that also sells well here.

Now Ford is back with a second iteration of the Ford EcoSport compact SUV, citing improved quality, technology and capability as some of the key focus areas for this mid-life refresh. With pricing starting from €26,900, the Ford EcoSport will find a lot of competent rivals to displace.

So what does the Ford EcoSport have new for 2018?

The 2018 Ford EcoSport has had some cosmetic work done and it looks more than ever like a baby Kuga with the same sort of grille shape, headlamps and rear styling – just more in miniature. For sure it all sits a bit awkwardly on the EcoSport’s small frame but it is an improvement. Ford has also introduced more personalisation options and you can select a different roof colour. ST-Line models like the one on test have a sportier appearance with body kit, black roof rails and headlight bezels, rear spoiler, 17-inch alloy wheels, ST-Line badging and a contrast coloured roof and mirror caps included as standard.

The EcoSport is priced above the Fiesta and more in line with Ford Focus pricing. While there is generous headroom inside, it has more in common with the Fiesta in terms of width. In the rear, two will be most comfortable and there are more spacious SUVs/crossovers available in this price range. The boot is 334 litres as before with an adjustable boot floor and low loading sill. The boot door is hinged from the side as opposed to a liftback style boot lid. Apparently some buyers like this feature, but it can be impractical in tight parking spots.

The interior of the 2018 Ford EcoSport
The interior of the 2018 Ford EcoSport

The Ford EcoSport has a snug interior and is well-equipped

The interior dashboard design in the 2018 EcoSport is very similar in layout to the new Fiesta. My ST-Line model was nicely finished with red contrast stitching on the steering wheel and seats. Other ST-Line interior features include a leather-trimmed, flat-bottomed steering wheel, ST-Line branded scuff plates and stainless steel sports pedals. Infotainment is provided via a new 8” touchscreen that connects seamlessly to smartphones via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Controls are easy to navigate and the driving position is quite snug with plenty of adjustment in the driver’s seat and steering wheel.

In Ireland, Ford is avoiding any sparsely trimmed entry models so the car will be available in just two high spec trims – Titanium and for the first time, ST-Line. Standard equipment includes Ford SYNC 3 Navigation with 8” touchscreen, DAB radio, Emergency Assistance, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, rear view camera, keyless start, cruise control and part leather trim.

In Ireland, the new EcoSport is offered with Ford’s excellent 1.0-litre EcoBoost turbo petrol engine (125 or 140 hp) and a 1.5-litre diesel with 100 hp. A six speed manual comes as standard though an automatic is also available. The Ford EcoSport is front wheel drive by default but for 2018 it's offered for the first time with 'Intelligent All Wheel Drive' for improved traction on- and off-road.

Rear seating in the Ford EcoSport
Rear seating in the Ford EcoSport

Petrol Is A Good Mate For The Ford EcoSport

My test car was a 1.0 EcoBoost 125hp in ST-Line trim and it retails from €28,180. The engine is indeed fantastic with great refinement and smooth power delivery, though it doesn't feel as lively as the Fiesta EcoBoost. Over a week of driving my fuel consumption was about 7 litres per 100km and motor tax for this model is €200 per year.

You sit high in the Ford EcoSport so on the road it feels more like an authentic SUV than some more low slung rivals. The ride and handling has been tuned specifically for customers in Europe and the car stays composed through corners, with nicely-weighted steering. The manual gearbox gives a pleasant, precise gear change. You will find yourself backing off in the corners because there is some body roll making a Fiesta more fun in this regard. Generally the EcoSport scores well for comfort, though it can be upset by uneven surfaces and bumps around town.

The compact SUV segment is super competitive and the Ford is at the more expensive end of the market. The cars do come well-equipped with good turbo powered engines, but the space inside is not as generous as some rivals. Ford has improved the EcoSport considerably so that in its own right it's an acceptable offering and a step in the right direction for Ford’s grand SUV plan.

The Ford EcoSport is the baby of Ford's SUV range
The Ford EcoSport is the baby of Ford's SUV range

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Ford EcoSport ST-Line 1.0T EcoBoost
Price: 
€28,180 (Range from €26,900)
Engine: 1.0-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
125hp
Torque: 170Nm
0-100km/h:  
12.7 seconds
Top speed: 111km/h
Economy: 
5.2/100km
CO2 emissions:  
119g/km
Motor tax: 
€200 per year


Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Irish Pricing

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is now on sale in Ireland!

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio performance SUV has gone on sale in Ireland priced from €118,795.

Powered by a 2.9-litre V6 Bi-Turbo petrol engine with Q4 all wheel drive as standard, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio has 510hp and 600Nm of torque.  The SUV can sprint from zero to 100km/h in just 3.8 seconds and on to a top speed of more than 283km/h. The specifically calibrated eight-speed automatic transmission allows gear shifts in just 150 milliseconds in Race mode.

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is also equipped with the exclusive Alfa™ Chassis Domain Control unit, which acts as the brain to coordinate all the car's electronic systems. The system simultaneously assigns specific tasks to the various active systems, such as the Alfa™ DNA Pro selector, Q4 all-wheel drive, Alfa™ Active Torque Vectoring system, Alfa™ Active Suspension system and the ESC.

The standard Torque Vectoring technology optimises the Stelvio Quadrifoglio's drive distribution. The two electronically controlled clutches in the rear differential make it possible to control torque delivery to each wheel separately. This ensures the optimal transfer of power to the ground even when the car is pushed to its dynamic limits, without the need for intrusive inputs from the stability control system.

Equipment

Standard specification on the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio in Ireland includes 20-inch Quadrifoglio alloy wheels with special profiled wheel arches, restyled rear diffuser, sports exhaust with four outlets, and bi-xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights.

Inside, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio comes as standard with a leather dashboard and door tops, leather and Alcantara seats, leather steering wheel, carbon fibre trim and stainless steel pedals. There's also an 8.8-inch Alfa™ Connect infotainment system, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto™.

Safety specification includes advanced Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Blind Spot Monitoring (DSM), Integrated Braking System (IBS), Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and a rear-view camera with guide lines. Alfa™ Chassis Domain Control, Alfa™ Active Torque Vectoring, Alfa™ Active Suspension system and Alfa™ DNA Pro, with Race Mode, complete the standard set-up.


The 2018 Jeep Renegade

Jeep Renegade 1.4 Petrol Review

The 2018 Jeep Renegade
The 2018 Jeep Renegade

Caroline drives the Jeep Renegade.

The Jeep Renegade arrived in Ireland in 2015 as Jeep’s first entry into the small SUV segment. The Renegade fitted the brief perfectly for the smallest Jeep of all: it's compact, boxy perfection bearing all the classic hallmarks of Jeep design. With pricing starting from €21,950, it's positioned among an ever-growing list of similarly sized crossovers and SUVs.

But on looks alone, the Jeep Renegade sure brings kudos to this segment. It's the boxy antithesis to all those curvy crossovers like the Renault Captur and Opel Mokka X. Jeep's seven-bar grille is prominent at the front framed by two round headlamps, while the squared-off wheel arches and boxy rear pay homage to the classic Jeep Wrangler.

Thankfully the Renegade is a much more market-friendly product than the Wrangler. The Renegade is the first Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) car to be jointly developed by Italian and American engineers and the first Jeep to be built in Europe.

This means that inside, there is a distinct European flavour to the fit and finish of the car and it's certainly a nice interior to interact with. The Renegade has seating for five but like a lot of its competitors, realistically four will be most comfortable and there is a 351 litre boot. Anyone looking for something larger, should consider the new Jeep Compass.

The interior of the 2018 Jeep Renegade
The interior of the 2018 Jeep Renegade

Equipment and engines for the Jeep Renegade

Jeep Ireland markets three trim levels: Sport, Longitude and Limited. Standard equipment on the entry Sport model includes the UconnectTM infotainment system with 5″ touchscreen, Bluetooth, 16-inch alloy wheels, multifunction steering wheel with audio controls and air conditioning.

Longitude models are available from €25,800 and add 17-inch alloy wheels, black roof rails, front fog lamps, dual zone air conditioning, rear park distance control, cruise control, and UconnectTM 8.4-inch infotainment/navigation system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Limited models start from €28,300 and add 18-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, heated front seats and steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, forward collision and lane departure warning, front and rear park distance control, chrome exterior pack featuring chrome front grille, exterior mirrors, exhaust tailpipes and roof rails, and a premium 7″ TFT colour cluster display.

The engine line-up for Ireland includes a 1.6-litre e-torQ petrol (110hp), 1.4-litre MultiAir Turbo petrol (140hp), 1.6-litre MultiJet diesel (95hp and 120hp) and 2.0-litre MultiJet (140hp). There are manual and automatic gearbox options. Renegade is front wheel drive as standard but 4x4 is also available.

On the road in the Jeep Renegade

My test car was a 1.4-litre turbo petrol with 140hp in Limited trim with a list price of €28,300. On the road the petrol Renegade is smooth and refined but feels a little bit gutless. The on the road driving manners are good, and though the steering is not the most communicative of units, the Renegade stays composed through corners and is fun to drive in its own way. The ride is a little on the firm side so the suspension picks up more of the changes in road surface.

The 2018 Jeep Renegade
The Jeep Renegade is the smallest SUV in Jeep's range, priced from €21,950 in Ireland

The Jeep Renegade can get very expensive for what is still a relatively compact vehicle so be careful with your engine and trim choice. Along with the larger Jeep Compass however, the Renegade is a step in the right direction for Jeep if they are to conquer European hearts and minds with competitive compact SUVs. It's impossible not to be enamoured by the Jeep Renegade's rugged charms and character!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Jeep Renegade 1.4 MultiAir Turbo 140hp FWD Limited
Price: 
€28,300 (Available from €21,950)
Engine: 1.4-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
140hp
Torque: 230Nm
0-100km/h: 
10.9 seconds
Top speed: 180km/h
Claimed Economy: 
6.0l/100km
CO2 emissions:  
140g/km
Motor tax: 
€280 per year


The 2018 Jeep Compass

Jeep Compass 1.6 Diesel Review

The 2018 Jeep Compass
The 2018 Jeep Compass

Caroline drives the new Jeep Compass.

Jeep has long been the maker of tough off-road vehicles and SUVs. As SUV sales continue to grow, you could say that there has never been a better time to market a Jeep. The brand is starting to get its house in order again with the launch of some market-friendly products like 2015’s compact Jeep Renegade and the new Jeep Compass.

Priced from €27,995, the new Jeep Compass goes squarely up against the likes of the Nissan Qashqai, Opel Grandland X and Kia Sportage. These soft-roaders are hot property these days but on looks alone the Jeep Compass holds a lot of promise. The Compass is an ideal product for this market mixing modern kerb appeal with classic Jeep styling cues like the famous seven-bar grille and squared-off wheel arches.

New Jeep Compass is a very European SUV

Jeep's parent company is Fiat Chrysler (FCA) and the Compass is built in Europe. Slip inside and it's clear that while Jeep is still thought of as a very American brand, the new Compass is a very European SUV. The interior is lacking the character you might expect of a Jeep, but the build quality is good and there are soft touch materials to add aesthetic appeal. The Uconnect infotainment system is mounted in a trapezoidal shaped surround, a characteristic Jeep design cue, and there are plenty of other convenience features on board too.

The interior of the 2018 Jeep Compass
The interior of the 2018 Jeep Compass

On a practical note, the Compass has a very roomy cabin, particularly in the rear, and families will love the generous accommodation for three. My test car had a spare wheel that eats into the boot space a bit, though with a tyre repair kit, it’s a more competitive 432 litres.

The Jeep Compass range in Ireland

In Ireland there are three trim levels for the new Jeep Compass: Sport, Longitude and Limited. Standard equipment includes 16-inch alloy wheels, LED tail lights, leather steering wheel with audio controls, air conditioning, cruise control, forward collision warning and lane departure warning.

Engine options for Ireland include a 1.4-litre MultiAir Turbo petrol engine (140hp), a 1.6-litre MultiJet diesel (120hp) or a 2.0-litre MultiJet diesel with 140bhp or 170hp. A six speed manual comes as standard but there is an auto option. There are 4x4 models available too, though in standard form the Compass is front wheel drive.

Rear legroom in the Jeep Compass
There is good rear legroom in the Jeep Compass

My test car was a Jeep Compass 1.6-litre diesel in Limited trim with a list price of €34,695. This high spec model includes 18" alloys, front fog lamps, leather upholstery, electrically adjustable and heated front seats, heated steering wheel, a 560W BeatsAudio infotainment/navigation system, dual zone air conditioning, reversing camera and parking sensors, power folding exterior mirrors, 8.4″ infotainment/navigation system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, keyless entry/go, blind spot monitoring with rear cross path detection, and parallel and perpendicular park assist.

Is it nice to drive?

On the road, the Jeep Compass does well with the 1.6-litre diesel and manual gearbox. The engine never gets too raucous and it has plenty of power and torque, while being efficient also. The steering and gearing all feels cohesive and the car handles confidently for a family SUV of this size. It fits the requirement for being comfortable though I did note some road noise at speed out on larger roads.

The Compass is a great addition to Jeep's portfolio, allowing the SUV manufacturer to tackle a very lucrative segment with a competitive product. While the Compass lacks some of the character of the smaller Renegade, it makes up for it with a more practical size, extra comfort and refinement.

Competition is fierce in this segment and there are a few major players. But the Jeep Compass feels like a bit more of a novelty with its roots. Welcome back Jeep!

The Jeep Compass is an alternative family SUV
The Jeep Compass is an alternative family SUV

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Jeep Compass 1.6 Multijet 120hp FWD Limited
Price: 
€34,695 (Available from €27,995)
Engine: 1.6-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
120hp
Torque: 320Nm
0-100km/h: 
11 seconds
Top speed: 185km/h
Claimed Economy: 
4.4/100km
CO2 emissions:  
117g/km
Motor tax: 
€200 per year


Caroline and the new Volvo XC40

2018 Volvo XC40 D4 AWD Review

Caroline and the new Volvo XC40
Caroline and the new Volvo XC40

Caroline drives the new Volvo XC40.

For many years, Volvo has been known as the maker of some fine family cars, particularly estate cars. But the brand has reinvented itself for a new era of the family vehicle - that of the SUV. In a relatively short space of time, Volvo has become a very fine maker of SUVs. After the success of the XC90 and the XC60, it’s now the turn of the new Volvo XC40.

The Volvo XC40 is the baby of the Volvo SUV family, a compact premium SUV with pricing starting from €36,450 in Ireland. The Volvo XC40 certainly holds some promise as it’s already been voted European Car of the Year 2018. It’s also the first model on Volvo Cars’ new modular vehicle architecture (CMA), which will underpin all other upcoming cars in the 40 Series, including fully electrified vehicles.

It's clear that Volvo has taken due care to create an entry level SUV that is desirable not just because it’s a Volvo, but because it’s the kind of vehicle you instantly feel at home in.

On the outside the Volvo XC40 has a confident presence not compromised by the constraints of being a compact vehicle. In fact the XC40 is probably the most distinct of the trio of Volvo SUVS – XC40, XC60 and XC90 – with plenty of visual chutzpah.

The new Volvo XC40
The new Volvo XC40 has plenty of visual chutzpah

What's it like inside the new Volvo XC40?

The interior of the Volvo XC40 manages to capture much of the style and quality of the larger Volvo SUVs, rather than feeling like a cheaper product whipped up for profit margins. Everything you can feel and see regularly like the steering wheel, dials, centre console and door panels all look and feel good, though you will find cheaper plastics in the lower extremities. But generally there is a decent feeling of plushness inside to justify the pricing. The infotainment system with 9" touchscreen is a particular highlight in its glossy casing with logical layout.

Like a lot of rivals the price for the new Volvo XC40 can get steep quickly but here’s the general price tiering for the XC40 trim range in Ireland: XC40 (from €36,450), Momentum (from €38,900), Inscription (from €42,900) and R-Design (from €47,394).

Standard equipment includes 17” alloys, LED headlights, rear parking camera and sensors, digital instrument panel, cruise control, climate control, City Safety (includes Pedestrian & Cyclist Detection & Front Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake), traffic sign recognition, Driver Alert Control with Lane Keeping Aid, 9” touchscreen and heated front seats.

There are a number of engines available for the new Volvo XC40. In terms of diesel there’s the D3 (150hp) and D4 (190hp). Petrol options include the T3 (156hp), T4 (190hp) and T5 (247hp). All wheel drive is standard on some models like D4 and T5, while the entry T3 model is a front wheel drive manual. Automatic gearboxes are also available.

The interior of the new Volvo XC40
The interior of the new Volvo XC40 is comfortable and plush

The Volvo XC40 is stylish and practical

D4 AWD models with 190hp start from €47,450, while my D4 AWD R-Design test car starts from €51,183. The model tested had a number of options and came in at over €60,000. Expensive indeed but there is value to be had in the range. The R-Design models do look particularly good with 18” alloys, dual exhaust pipes, glossy black window surround, gloss black mesh front grille and gloss black door mirrors. Inside there are contour sports seats with part leather upholstery, black headlining, perforated leather steering wheel, sports pedals and rear privacy glass.

The Volvo XC40 will seat five and is nicely sized for this class of vehicle with some decent head and legroom in the back for a compact SUV. The 432 litre boot is also competitive for the segment, if not huge.

On the road the Volvo XC40 truly impresses for comfort. The XC40 is beautifully softly sprung and though it’s not set up for the sportiest steering feel, the steering is fluid and controlled. The car slips in and out of corners with ease, hugging the road well despite the higher ride height when compared to a hatchback. There are a number of driving modes and the sportiest setting adds weight to the steering while adding a more urgent throttle response.

The D4 diesel is a 2.0-litre unit with 190bhp. It has plenty of power and the overall refinement of the engine is good. Combined with the automatic gearbox, this is a silky smooth mover.

All in all, the Volvo XC40 is an excellent compact premium SUV. It doesn’t come cheap but it gives its occupants the premium ‘hug’ while offering the sort of style and practicality so important in this segment.

The new Volvo XC40
The new Volvo XC40 is a stylish and practical compact SUV

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Volvo XC40 D4 AWD R-Design Automatic
Price: 
€51,183 (Available from €36,450)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
190hp
Torque: 400Nm
0-100km/h: 
7.9 seconds
Top speed: 210km/h
Claimed Economy: 
5.1/100km
CO2 emissions:  
131g/km
Motor tax: 
€280 per year


Peugeot is Ireland's fastest growing car brand in Ireland in 2018

Peugeot Is Ireland's Fastest Growing Car Brand In 2018

Peugeot is Ireland's fastest growing car brand in Ireland in 2018
Peugeot's new SUV range. Photo courtesy of Shane Adams, Dealer Principal, Adams of Glin.

Peugeot recorded the strongest growth in the Irish new car market at +53% for the first six months of 2018.

Sales have been driven this year by the Peugeot 3008 SUV, Irish Car of the Year 2018, and the new Peugeot 5008 7-seat SUV.

The strong car sales growth has placed Peugeot within the top 10 of bestselling car brands in Ireland, delivering a 4.2% overall market share in the new car market.

Des Cannon, Managing Director at Gowan Distributors, Peugeot Importers in Ireland, said: “Despite a slight contract in the new car market, I am delighted to report our growth of 53% in the first six months of the year. Our excellent SUV line-up, together with our five year warranty and attractive low-cost finance options across the range, has most certainly attracted conquest sales.”

He continued: “The all-important July 182-registration period is now upon us and our customer orders across the Peugeot Dealer Network are extremely healthy. We look forward now to continued growth in the second half of the year and beyond, thanks to the pending arrival of the new Rifter mini-MPV and the radical new 508 in late 2018.”