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Kia fights back in dwindling D-car segment

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The second-generation Kia Optima.

By Gerry Murphy

As the pie gets smaller for D-Segment cars, the fight for a share of that pie is greater among some car makers. Market leaders like the Toyota Avensis, Volkswagen Passat, Opel Insignia and the Ford Mondeo are all shedding numbers with the growing popularity of the SUV market stealing their thunder.

However, some families and particularly the fleet segment still prefer the large saloon and that is why it remains a hugely important sector. Generally they are better to drive, come with a big boot and have more leg room than the taller alternative.

Kia has been knocking on the door of this segment for some time and when they introduced us to the Optima a few years ago and now the second generation of the car has been on sale here since January.

In many ways, the car is a sister model to the Hyundai i40 but, the Optima offers a much more premium look. They haven’t spared the chrome inserts on the exterior and with the Platinum version that I have been driving and the specification levels seem higher too.

Kia chiefs themselves say that the new model offers greater refinement and improved ride and handling over the outgoing model. This I would agree with and despite the steering weight being a little bit on the light side, the overall road manners displayed are rather impressive where a Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) is fitted as standard. That gives the car stability under braking and cornering by controlling the car’s Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and electric motor-driven power steering if it detects a loss of traction.

Kia offers the car in three trim levels EX, Platinum and GSE, all powered with their tweaked 1.7D power unit. Specification in the EX model  is decent and with a starting price of €27,950, it includes 17” alloys, sat nav, climate control, lane departure assist and speed limit Information as standard.

The volume model is expected to be the Platinum model at €31,450, which is the featured car in this test and it has a host of additional features including 18” alloys, full leather seats (heated front and rear), 12-way memory seat for the driver, heated steering wheel and Xenon lights. Also added in the Irish range are lane keep assist and speed limit information.

Connacht Tribune

Demand is set to outstrip supply for the ŠKODA ENYAQ 60 and ENYAQ 80

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The ŠKODA ENYAQ.

Last week ŠKODA introduces the Irish public to the new ENYAQ iV, their new all-electric SUV that looks set to be one of the most coveted cars of 2021 and has been getting a brilliant reaction by those who have driven it. Prices have also been announced and a limited numbers of the cars will be here in Ireland for the remainder of the year.

Just before the opening of order books for the ENYAQ iV – which will initially come to Ireland in two versions – ŠKODA has announced pre-grant prices starting from €46,570 for the ENYAQ 60 and €54,630 for the ENYAQ 80.

The ENYAQ 60 has a range of 390km thanks to a 58kWh battery. It comes with a generous standard equipment list, which includes 19” Proteus alloy wheels, Front Parking Sensors, LED headlights, Climate Control and a 13” infotainment system.

The ENYAQ 80 (which is expected to make up the bulk of Irish sales) has a 77kWh battery, capable of up to 510km (as measured under WLTP) and gains additional equipment such as a heated steering wheel, drive mode select, adaptive cruise control and 3-zone climate control.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Mazda3 a highlight of special editions to mark company’s 100th anniversary

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Mazda3

Salthill native David Bannon is the man employed to look after the marketing for Mazda in Ireland, and he will have few problems promoting their collection of special editions that celebrate Mazda being in existence for 100 years.

Recently I’ve been spending some time with the Mazda3 version, a car that is piled high with technical features that anyone would want in a car today. It has all the driver assistance to make for a brilliant driving experience, and the safety elements to make it really reassuring.

Against all that, these extras come at a rather hefty price and at an eye-watering €37,220. While you can get a Mazda3 with a starting price of €28,595, you do get a huge amount more in this anniversary model.

Like all Mazda cars, it drives so well, putting the driver front and centre. That is a given that all Mazda owners will know about, and something that puts the brand high on my list of firm favourites. They consider it to be like the relationship between a horse and a jockey in full flight and when it comes to its handling, cornering and ride quality, there are only a few that come close and hardly any that surpass this car in its class.

“As much as the limited-edition spec adds to the vehicle, the big change worth talking about is under the bonnet. The Skyactiv-X engine has received some updates in power and efficiency which I feel have noticeably improved the drive of the vehicle,” says Bannon.

That power comes from a 2.0 Skyactiv-X with mild hybrid assistance giving 186ps and 240Nm of torque. Both these are increased while the 0-100km time is reduced to 8.1 seconds.

Mazda claims that the car can deliver fuel economy (WLTP) of 5.3 L/km. Over almost 900 kilometres my fuel figure came to 5.9 L/100km which is very respectable compared to the catalogue figure and more than acceptable on a day-to-day basis. To put that figure in context, it is the same as the 1.8-litre diesel that has recently been discontinued in the Mazda3 range. CO2 emissions are recorded at 120g/km which equates to an annual €200.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Electric vans get into top gear

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Opel Combo-e Cargo

With numbers of electric cars on the increase by the day it is inevitable that electric vans would follow. Already there are a number on our streets and it makes sense that van owners and fleet managers would seriously consider them.

Opel is the latest brand to highlight their newest 100% electric van, the Opel Combo-e light commercial vehicle. Joining its Combo petrol and diesel engine siblings the zero-emission compact van does everything that the others do and has the same space for cargo.

Boasting a range of up to 275km from a single charge, the new Combo-e offers up to 4.4m3 cargo space and 800kg payload and is available in two lengths.

The 4.40m long Combo-e, which has the shorter wheelbase of 2,785mm and can carry objects up to 3,090mm long, offers payloads of up to 800kg and cargo volumes of 3.3 to 3.8m3. It has a towing capacity of 750kg.

The 4.75m extra-long XL-variant has a wheelbase of 2,975mm and a cargo volume of up to 4.4m3 that can accommodate objects up to 3,440mm in length. Six tie rings on the floor (with the option of four more at mid-height) help keep everything in its place.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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