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Kia launches compact hybrid SUV for drivers who care about the planet

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The Kia Niro: kerbside appeal from an easy-on-the-eye hybrid.

By Gerry Murphy

There are mixed messages coming out of Korea with Hyundai going all out creating the Ioniq with three different power systems and sister brand Kia opting for Hybrid only. Clearly Kia has decided to follow the successful route taken by Toyota and are going in one direction only with their newest model, the Kia Niro.

This new compact, hybrid SUV from Kia arrived in Ireland in October and must be taken seriously as one of the first in the segment with Hybrid power. Toyota, the leaders in Hybrid vehicles has followed immediately with the C-HR but, the Kia was first and offers the practicality and kerbside appeal of an easy-on-the-eye crossover, together with the fuel efficiency and low emissions of an advanced hybrid.

This is a completely new car from the Korean car maker and is engineered from the ground up as a dedicated hybrid vehicle. Visually it’s an attractive, modern design that helps the car blend in to its surroundings. The chassis and structural architecture is specifically designed for the hybrid running gear and is a first for the brand.

Under the bonnet, the Niro is driven by a combination of a 1.6-litre GDI (gasoline direct injection) engine, lithium-ion polymer battery pack, 32 kW electric motor and six-speed double-clutch transmission.  This gearbox is a better option than the lazy CVT gearboxes preferred by other manufacturers and is a plus point for the Niro. It is only available in front-wheel drive with no plans for a 4×4 version in the near term.

What gives Hybrid owners that fuzzy feeling is the benefits of these cars to the planet in terms of emissions. The Niro emits just 88 g/km CO2 (combined), and is capable of using just 3.8L/100km of fuel for every 100 km of driving.

As tested over a combination of journeys, I returned a figure of 5.2L/km. The difference here is that the efficiency around town is more attainable than out in the countryside. My journeys were more rural than urban and while that does have a direct effect on the consumption figure, the figure returned is fairly impressive all round.

Prices in Ireland are dictated by the €1,500 VRT rebate that the Government applies to all Hybrid vehicles. That relief brings the official figure of €30,595 down to €29,095 to the customer.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

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Opel’s nod to the past with the new-look Corsa hits the mark

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2019 Opel Corsa.

Opel is back taking the fight to its rivals with the new Corsa. Here is a car that shines brightly in the Opel catalogue and offering the looks and the fun-to-drive element that we remember and love from the past.

Taking its lead from the Peugeot 208, the Corsa has a distinct character that young and old drivers alike will appreciate.

Opel is running a promotion line that lots of us started our driving life in a Corsa and that the new styling, a host of new technology and safety levels they believe that this car is now right up at the leading edge to attract buyers back to the brand.

This week’s test model, the 1.2-litre PURETECH petrol SRi version makes a good impression. It is lively through a six-speed gearbox with effective power when needed. Because of its light weight – under 1,000kg – there is never a time when you feel it is labouring on the motorway or on tighter country roads.

As you would expect from a car of this size, manoeuvrability in traffic hold no fears either. The SRi has a sport mode too if extra zip is needed, and although most owners will rarely use this, it is nice to know that you can avail of the additional power if required.

It is lower than the old Corsa and has a slightly longer wheelbase and that helps with the additional space inside, as well as delivering a lower centre of gravity. That adds to the overall improved handling and brings the new Corsa closer to the handling exploits of cars like the Ford Fiesta and the Volkswagen Polo.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Prestigious Car of the Year award goes to Peugeot 208

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The award-winning Peugeot 208.

Peugeot is celebrating this past week as the new Peugeot 208 has been crowned the 2020 Car of the Year.

Although the Geneva Motor Show has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus, a panel of judges made up of 60 European automotive journalists did vote for the most sought-after prize in international motoring.

At the announcement, the jury appreciated the bold design and technology features onboard the all-new Peugeot 208, together with the “power of choice” customer offer; customers choose their preferred trim, then the powertrain, whether petrol, diesel or electric, without compromising on space, technology, looks or driving sensations. Already a European best-seller, it is also the first Peugeot “2 series” and the sixth Peugeot to be awarded this most prestigious prize, during the 56-year history of the awards.

Nearly 110,000 customers have ordered the new Peugeot 208 since its launch in Europe in October, with 15% of the orders for electric versions. In France, the new Peugeot 208 leads the registration rankings of the PC market at the end of February 2020.

“I am particularly proud that the New Peugeot 208 has just won the 2020 Car of the Year prize. This trophy underlines the excellence of the work and great commitment of all the teams of the Brand and the Groupe PSA,” said Jean-Philippe Imparato, Peugeot brand CEO.

“It’s the first time that a Peugeot ‘2 series’ has triumphed. Indeed, three Peugeot “Cars of the Year” are currently on the road; the 3008, the 308, and now the new 208. The COTY 2020 legitimates the Brand’s “power of choice” strategy.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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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ŠKODA launches the first hybrid version of its flagship model

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The Skoda Superb iV.

It has been signposted for a while and now it’s here. ŠKODA has launched their first plug-in hybrid version of their flagship SUPERB in Ireland this month called the SUPERB iV.

Apart from some subtle exterior changes, at first glance the iV seems indistinguishable from any other new SUPERB. However, the SUPERB iV conceals an electric motor with a power output of 85 kW (115 bhp), capable of travelling up to 62 km on pure electric power as confirmed in the WLTP test cycle. That is combined with a 1.4 TSI petrol engine, delivering 115 kW (156 bhp).

Combined, the new hybrid drive system boasts up to 930km of range without refuelling. When both power units are working simultaneously, the SUPERB iV has a combined power output of 160 kW (218 bhp).

The electric motor acts as an additional boost, providing driving performance and a 0 to 100 km/h acceleration time of just 7.7 seconds. Driving Mode Select is another innovation fitted to the SUPERB iV as standard, and permits the driver to alter the vehicles driving characteristics and comfort settings by varying the steering, transmission and Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC).

In addition to Sport mode, drivers can also select E-mode and Hybrid mode. In E-mode, the SUPERB iV is powered entirely by the electric motor. It can travel almost silently and accelerate from 0 to 60 km/h in 5.0 seconds.

For safety, an E-noise sound generator creates a unique sound to alert pedestrians and cyclists. In Hybrid mode, both power units work together, and their interplay is automatically controlled electronically. This delivers combined consumption of 1.5 l of petrol per 100 km and 14.0 to 14.5 kWh per 100 km, which corresponds to CO2 emissions of 33 to 35 g/km. Annual road tax is €170.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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