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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

High demand expected for newly-arrived Yaris Cross

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The Toyota Yaris Cross.

Toyota’s newest Hybrid SUV, the Yaris Cross has just arrived in Ireland and can be seen at Tony Burke Motors in Ballybrit in Galway City and Parsons Garage in Tuam.

This is an entirely new passenger car segment and both dealers are expecting high demand, with supply expected to be limited for the fourth quarter of the year.

The Yaris Cross SUV self-charging hybrid is available in four grades and priced from €27,260, or €200 per month on Toyota Finance PCP.

There is a ruggedness about the design and this can be seen in the front under-run and a lower bumper protection plate at the rear. The specification also includes a set of silver roof rails as standard and 18-inch alloy wheels with a dark grey finish.

In recently announced Euro NCAP safety test results, the Yaris Cross scored the maximum five-sat rating. Toyota bosses say that the range is designed to be the world’s safest compact car with a segment first centre airbag which protects passengers from bumping into each other in the event of a side impact. Yaris Cross owners will also enjoy the peace of mind that the new collision mitigation features which provides increasing safety at intersections and emergency steering assist.

In the cabin, the Yaris Cross Adventure’s features piano black trim details and a black headlining. The supportive leather-like seats are upholstered in an Adventure grade design and there is a deco line across the black, soft-touch instrument panel and inner door mouldings, finished in Yaris Cross’ signature Brass Gold colour. Leather is used for the steering wheel and shift lever gaiter.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The new Kia EV6 set to be a massive success both in terms of looks and value

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The Kia EV6.

By Gerry Murphy

A trip to Dublin this week to get our first taste of Kia’s eagerly awaited EV6 proved to be one of the more enlightening new-car drives this year or, indeed for a few years.

Kia has been touting the positives of their first dedicated electric vehicle for a while and, at last it is available to see at Kia dealers throughout Ireland. There has been a healthy interest in the new car and already over 200 units have been sold, sight unseen, to Irish buyers.

The over-riding impression is that this new car is outstanding value for money when compared to other EVs on the market. Visually, it is spectacular and when you add the features, its capability, and the exquisite interior to the mix, it is no surprise that Kia chiefs are extremely upbeat about their new invention.

Kia Ireland are initially offering two trim levels: EV6 Earth and EV6 GT Line both RWD. The Earth model on 19” wheels is has a full charge range of 528kms with the GT-line on 20” wheels can achieve up to 506kms.

Both models are fitted with the long-range (77.4 kWh) battery pack that is paired with a 168 kW (229ps) electric motor. Both models are also fitted with a heat pump to optimise the efficiency of the battery in colder conditions.

The EV6 Earth (€50,000 including SEAI grant) comes with a host of comfort, convenience and safety features as standard including: 19” alloys, dual 12.3” curved driver display screens, UVO Connect, charcoal grey vegan leather upholstery with premium relaxation seats, LED headlamps, and smart power tailgate.

Key additions to the EV6 GT Line (€54,345 inc SEAI grant) include GT Line styling, 20” alloys, suede/vegan leather seats (front ventilated), blind spot view monitors, AR heads-up display, and panoramic sunroof.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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

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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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Connacht Tribune

Mercedes-Benz EQA one of a number of new electric cars that is driving up sales

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Mercedes-Benz EQA

By Gerry Murphy

We can no longer hide from the fact that electric cars are here to stay, and Mercedes-Benz are up and running by adding new models of all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to their burgeoning range. It is all part of a two-pronged attack in the electrified market with a combination of plug-in hybrid and all electric vehicles coming on stream.

I have been spending some quality time with the new EQA, which is a car that they say is targeted at a younger generation of eco-conscious motorists. This car is the all-electric version of their popular compact A-Class range and is expected to establish a strong market presence in Ireland for their growing electric-powered EQ model range. It is Mercedes-Benz’s goal to have a fully carbon-neutral fleet within the next two decades.

Although not the most outlandish design style compared to some offerings in the EV genre, the GLA-styled SUV body of the EQA is sensible and functional with distinctive brand staples and does not pretend to be anything else. Its overall structure is echoed on the inside too with the brand’s typically up-market furnishings and technology.

At the front, its black panel grille and star, EQ blue headlamp strips, and a distinctive fibre-optic strip running along front and rear reveal its Mercedes-EQ family membership. Other pointers to its electric character are evident inside including backlit trim and rosé gold decorative elements on ventilation outlets, seats and key.

Badged as an EQA 250, its technical makeup include 140 kW power, combined consumption of 15.7 kWh/100 km, and a WLTP calculated range of 426 km. However, like all electric cars, that range is compromised by driving style and use of onboard features.

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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