19 September 2017

Kia Stonic prices and details released

Kia's new Stonic small SUV will go on sale in Ireland at the end of October at a starting price of €18,599, writes Brian Byrne from Berlin.

There will be four engine options, a 1.25 84hp petrol for the entry K1 grade, a 100hp 1.4 petrol and 110hp 1.6 diesel in the K2 and K3 grades, and a 120hp 1.0 turbo petrol in the top K4 grade.

According to Head of Marketing & PR for Kia Ireland Aidan Doyle, the 1.4 petrol is expected to be the top selling engine variant. James Brooks, MD of Kia Ireland, says he anticipates that upwards of 1,000 units of Stonic will be sold in 2018. He added that his expectation is 74pc of sales will be petrol.

All versions will have as standard a 7-inch touchscreen for entertainment and information management, speed limiter and cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, and a spare wheel.

The K2 grade adds, among other things, projection fog lamps, folding mirrors and roof rack. The K3 specification includes a suite of driving aids, heated front seats, sat-nav and digital audio radio and a rear-view camera. Personalisation with contrasting roof and body colours will be available in the K3 and K4 grades.

The top spec K4, in addition to the 120hp engine gets push-button start, blind spot vehicle detection, and fully automatic climate control.

The top price for the car, entering a very competitive arena, will be €24,599, for either the K3 diesel or the K4 turbo petrol.

Driving in the countryside outside Berlin demonstrated an easy to drive car with good accommodation for four adults. A stint on a handling track on an old WW2 aerodrome suggested that the Stonic is a nimble and accurate performer, especially in tight and difficult conditions.

The main competitors in the Irish market are the Renault Captur, Opel's Mokka X, the Peugeot 2008, and Nissan's Juke which is due to be brought out in a new generation soon.

A First Drive review will follow.

17 September 2017

VW to show three new models at The Ploughing

Volkswagen Ireland will showcase three new models, never before seen in Ireland, at the National Ploughing Championships this week, writes Trish Whelan. The the new Polo (pictured above), T-Roc and Tiguan Allspace which will be among 15 models on display at the show, which is Europe’s largest outdoor event.

The new Polo is longer and lower in height than the previous generation and also larger inside and comes with a larger luggage capacity offering 69 litres more than the previous generation. It also has new technologies, with Active Info Display making its world premiere in the Polo. Engines for Ireland are predominantly petrols, 1.0 units ranging from 65-95hp and at the top of the range, a new 200hp GTI version will follow next year. There will also be a 1.6 diesel next year.

The new T-Roc (above) is a mid-size SUV that slots under the Tiguan in the brand’s SUV range. It comes to Ireland just before Christmas and will have both petrol and diesel engines. Most buyers are expected to opt for one of the new 1.0 and 1.5 petrol engines with 115- and 150bhp. Diesels will come in 2018.

Volkswagen is expanding the Tiguan range for the 181 plat with the Tiguan Allspace (above) which is an extended version of the Tiguan allowing space for an extra row of seats. This is VW’s first 7-seater SUV.

The Volkswagen stand will include demonstrations of Volkswagen Connect + Security & Service online services which tell you a variety of information about your car. There will be off-road displays of the 4Motion Tiguan and Touareg thanks to Orangeworks. Visitors will also have a chance to meet some of Volkswagen’s Brand Ambassadors including Bernard B rogan, Simon Delaney and Dave Moore.

JLR's debuts at The Ploughing Championships

Jaguar Land Rover returns to this year’s National Ploughing championships taking place this week from Tuesday 19 - Thursday 21 September at Screggan, Tullamore, Co Offaly, writes Trish Whelan.

Jaguar’s performance SUV, and winner of World Car of the Year 2017, the F-PACE will make its debut at the event alongside the Jaguar range of luxury saloons including the XE and XF as well as the F-TYPE sports car.

Land Rover will introduce two new models, the new Discovery (Land Rover’s most versatile SUV yet), and the recently launched new Range Rover Velar (pictured above) which sits between the RR Evoque and the RR Sport.

The Jaguar Land Rover kitchen will again host a series of cooking demonstrations with celebrity chef Rachel Allen over the three days of the festival. Irish Rugby International Jamie Heaslip will join Rachel on Wednesday for the cooking demo. 

Jaguar Land Rover stand is located at Block 3, Row 9, Stand 223 at the show. The Rachel Allen cooking demonstrations will take place each day at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. Guests are advised to arrive early as spaces are limited.

Rachel and Jamie are pictured below cooking up a storm at the Jaguar Land Rover kitchen last year. 

15 September 2017

New C3 Aircross arrives here in November

The new Citroen C3 Aircross will be launched in Ireland in November, to challenge in a segment that currently represents 16pc of the Irish car market, writes Brian Byrne.

The small SUV offers what is claimed to be class-leading space and will be available with two petrol engines of 82/110hp and one 100hp diesel. There will be an automatic options too.

The C3 Aircross, which debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week, will be available in 2WD versions only, though the PSA Peugeot-Citroen group's 'Grip Control' will be available for those who want a rugged terrain capability.

Colourful personalisation will be available, in line with recent Citroen practice. The C3 Aircross will come in eight colour variants with three contrasting roof colours and four 'colour packs' which will relate to trim on the roof rails, the headlight surround, the 'venetian blind' effect on the C-pillar and the wheel trims.

A claimed best in class boot capacity of 520L will exceed that of some crossovers in the C segment above the C3 Aircross.

Speaking at a motoring press reveal this morning, Product & Pricing Manager at Citroen & DS Ireland Ed Kelliher said the new car 'marries MPV aspects with the SUV packaging to provide best in class room for head, knees and elbows'.

A total of 12 technological driving aids will be available according to grade, with Lane Departure Warning being standard throughout the range. Another facility will be wireless mobile phone charging, and the vehicle has the only opening panoramic roof in its segment.

Pricing and specifications will be announced for the Irish market in October.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles launch petrol Caddy

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is launching the cheapest entry level van on the Irish market, a Caddy with a petrol engine, writes Brian Byrne.

The new version of the popular nameplate is powered by a 1.2 84hp engine, at a starting price of €14,995.

In combination with Volkswagen Ireland's new 'Eco Grant', which offers a range of incentives up to €4,000 against an approved trade-in to be scrapped, this can reduce to €13,995.

A 1.0 102hp and a 1.4 125hp are also available in the new petrol range, which sell alongside the 2.0 diesel that has been the mainstay engine for many years.

Announcing the move last night, MD of VW Commercial Vehicles Ireland Alan Bateson said it represents a 'strong option' for people considering a Caddy-sized van. Especially for operators who work manly in urban areas, the petrol Caddy offers increased power output with more refined driving, lower road tax costs for private users, and VAT can still be reclaimed on the vehicle for registered owners.

The offer is paired with a 0pc HP finance option.

The Eco Grant is available on Caddy, Transporter and Crafter Vans, ranging from €1,000 on the petrol Caddy to €4,000 on a Transporter or Crafter. It requires a trade-in of a vehicle from any brand which will be scrapped by an offial End of Life Treatment Centre.

To mark the grant, the company live-streamed on its Facebook the crushing of a Ford Focus at a Centre in Athlone last night, following which the buyer of a Crafter van under the schme was handed over his vehicle.

Volkswagen is this year celebrating 70 years of presence in the Commercial Vehicles business, since the launch of the first T1 Transporter.