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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

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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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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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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