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Love affair is back on with Opel Astra

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The Opel Astra.

The latest version of the Opel Astra follows a long line of compact family cars since the first Opel car to carry the Kadett name was presented to the public in December 1936. Through the years and the many versions of the Kadett, and later the Astra, Irish car buyers have had an on-off love affair with the brand and cars in this segment in particular.

Some pundits have been declaring that the Astra in previous form did not quite come up to the driving standards of the likes of the Volkswagen Golf  and the Ford Focus. However, those of us with longer memories will remember the first front-wheel drive Kadett the Kadett D. Here was a car that was way before its time in terms of handling – if not in looks – and was only matched at the time by the Alfa Sud in terms of grip and road holding.

Now the latest Astra is back at the top of the pile from a driving view point and most certainly in the looks department too. Overall its sleek body is a little smaller in outside dimensions than the previous model but it offers more room on the inside. It is a clever trick by the Opel designers giving more knee room and more elbow room too. They also manage to give you a healthy boot with 370 litres with therear seats upright and 1,210 litre with the rear seats folded.

Speaking of the inside, they have also upgraded it substantially with quality materials, a stylish layout and a noticeably improved build quality. To be fair the last version wasn’t too slack in this department either but this one is a step above that model and a leap above the opposition too.

My test car was the Astra SC 1.6 diesel with 136hp and a price tag of €23,245 with a number of extras added. CO2 emissions of 99g/km puts it into Tax Band A2 with giving an annual road tax of €180. The base price of the new Astra range starts at €19,995.Fuel consumption comes in a 5.2L/100km after almost 1,000 kilometres of mixed driving.

Standard features include cruise control with speed limiter; multi-function trip computer; electrically operated front and rear windows; and steering wheel mounted audio and cruise control. It is also fitted with Opels R4.0 IntelliLink system wihich gives you IntelliLink smartphone projection, 7-inch colour touch-screen, AM/FM/DAB digital radio, Bluetooth audio streaming and mobile phone portal, USB and aux-in audio connection.

Added Optional Extra’s in the test car will cost you €150 for a full spare wheel, €1,350 for the Opel IntelliLux Matrix LED Headlights and €250 for Front & Rear Parking Sensors.

Out on the road is where Opel have made the major changes to this car. The engine is one of their new ‘Whisper Diesels’ that is a quiet as a mouse especially when it is heated up. They have also upgraded the noise protection in the car and that adds to the quietness on the road.

Cornering, handling and the overall ride quality is now right up there with the best cars in the segment and surpasses almost all of them. While the steering is fairly light, it never lacks for confidence on the twistiest roads, it is extremely stable on the motorway and easy to operate in urban conditions too.

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.

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.

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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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