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Kia takes the hybrid road with the Niro

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The Kia Niro.

By Gerry Murphy

These days, car makers are weighing up the best way to go to try and reach the demands of the EU in terms of lower emissions into the future. Many are looking at electric, other are talking-up the positives of plug-in hybrids and some are looking at hybrids only. Toyota is the brand that is the biggest winner in the showrooms with the success of the Prius.

Kia have taken note and have decided to follow suit with the introduction of their new Niro, a hybrid compact Crossover/ SUV that they launched in Ireland this week. It is on the way to the dealer network and is a clear statement on where they see the industry going in the immediate future. Prices start at €30,595 or €29,095 on the road when you include the government’s €1,500 VRT reduction.

Designed by their world-famous designer, Peter Schreyer, it is a whole new car, engineered from the ground up as a dedicated hybrid vehicle. As you would expect from the pencil of the master, it is an attractive, modern designed car with a clear target of trying to attract buyer that have been in the market for the flood of SUV’s that we see on our roads today.

The Niro’s new platform has been engineered in isolation from existing Kia models, and is designed to accommodate a specific set of environmentally-conscious technologies and next-generation powertrains. The powertrain is made up of a 1.6-litre GDI (gasoline direct injection) engine, lithium-ion polymer battery pack, 32kW electric motor and six-speed double-clutch transmission. Figures presented by Kia show that it emits just 88 g/km CO2 on a combined cycle, and is capable of using just 3.8 litres of petrol for every 100 km of driving.

Standard equipment on the Irish EXL model includes: Sat Nav with Android Auto, full leather interior with heated front seats, heated steering wheel, Dual Aircon with rain sensor, Lane Keep Assist, LED front and rear lights and privacy glass.

“Niro is the first step by Kia Motors Ireland in to Hybrid Electric Vehicles and we will continue to increase our presence in this market as the Kia Motors launches more, hybrid, plug in hybrid and EVs in the future,” said James Brooks, Managing Director of Kia Motors Ireland.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

New Volkswagen website aims to clear-up engine confusion

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The VW all-electric ID.

A survey of Irish drivers has found that there remain significant levels of confusion about the different engine/fuel types available in Ireland.

This market confusion has prompted Volkswagen to launch a new website, CarExplainer.ie to assist customers in making a more informed choice before they start their car buying journey.

Figures for the first two months of 2020 have seen the Irish new car market drop by almost 6% compared to the same period of 2019. Much of this drop in sales is thought to be down to widespread confusion in the market about which type of car to choose.

Volkswagen surveyed Irish motorists to get their views on engine technologies, and found that 67% of Irish drivers incorrectly believe that a diesel car emits more CO2 than an equivalent petrol one.

Nearly 33% of Irish drivers incorrectly believe that full Hybrid cars have zero CO2 emissions; while just under half (44%) of Irish drivers believe that electric cars produce some emissions while they are driving.

More than 70% of Irish drivers think there are less than 500 electric vehicle charging points in Ireland when there are more than 1,100.

When asked about Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles (PHEV), 56% of Irish drivers think that a Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle cannot complete a typical journey with zero CO2 emissions. More than 68% of Irish drivers would like a website that explains the different engine and fuel types available in Ireland and this is where www.CarExplainer comes in.

Volkswagen has built this site to help consumers cut through the noise that surrounds new engine technology at the moment and to give clear, straightforward information to customers.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Mercedes on track to fulfil promise to drive down fuel figures

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The Mercedes Benz CLA Shooting Brake.

This week’s test car has become this month’s test car because most car distributors have shut up shop as per Government orders and I’m left with the Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake until everything is up and running again.

For this I’m extremely grateful to Motor Distributors Ltd (MDL) – Mercedes distributors in Ireland – for allowing me to hold on to this eye-catching car.

Those with an eye for style will understand why Mercedes-Benz has produced the CLA Shooting Brake. Those with a practical persuasion might ridicule it, but a closer look might just challenge that position.

You see, some of the dimensions give a lie to any thoughts of this car being too sleek and too low to be a proper estate. It actually has more space in the boot than their own C-Class estate, and more headroom than the C-Class coupe.

As for the car itself, apart from the ultra-stylish, sleek exterior and the classy interior, this car, like many other cars in the Mercedes brochure, has one outstanding highlight: astonishing fuel consumption.

About six years ago, Mercedes bosses told us that they were on a mission to drive down fuel figures and to clean up their diesel engines beyond anything that was around back then. Right now, they are well into that target and this car is testament to that.

So far I have travelled around 500 kilometres, with 680 kilometres still left in the tank. My current rate of consumption is reading at 4.3L/100km which has been achieved without breaking any limits and driving, for the most part, in ECO or Comfort mode.

CO2 emissions are calculated at 108g/km which gives you an annual road tax bill of €190. These are impressive figures and imply that diesel can still have a significant role to play in the future of motoring.

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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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.

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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