By Gerry Murphy
By some strange peculiarity in the planning, Ireland is the first country in Europe to take delivery of the new Kia Sportage. And, with the roaring start that the new Hyundai Tucson has had already in 2016, it is no surprise that bosses at Kia Ireland are full of optimism for their new SUV/Crossover.
At the launch this week in Dublin – the cars are already at the dealers – we were introduced to a package that is now slightly bigger and looks better than the hugely successful outgoing car. It has a new-look interior too that adds more quality, better materials and a whole new atmosphere.
This is now a massively competitive market and this new Kia is right up there with the best with a range of technologies to improve comfort, convenience, connectivity and safety. Of course you get the practical layout that most of these cars offer plus Kia are offering updated engines and transmissions that they claim enhance efficiency and performance, while ride, handling and refinement are all improved.
The 2016 version of the Sportage is now available with a choice of two engines – 1.7D for 2WD and 2.0D for AWD. The 1.7 engine has been refined for extra efficiency and with the addition of Idle Stop and Go technology the new Sportage moves from Band B2 to A4 with annual road tax now at €200 pa.
The car will come in three trim levels, LX with a startin price of €27,995, EX at €29,995 and GSe with a price tag of €34,495. The volume model will be the mid trim EX model which comes with a host of comfort and safety features including: 17” alloys, sat nav and reversing camera, driver’s power seat, half leather seats, speed limit info, high beam assist, and lane keep assist. The top of the range GSe adds 19” alloys, sunroof, full leather, heated seats, power passenger seat, smart key and xenon lights.
GT Line models develop the exterior look further, featuring new ‘ice-cube’ LED fog lamps, inspired by those found on the high-powered cee’d GT, and aluminium-effect skid plates.
The focus for the design team behind the new interior was to create a cabin which offered a wide, driver-oriented dashboard, with a simple, modern design. The interior blends metalwork with soft-touch materials and clearly defined horizontal lines, portraying a high level of mechanical precision.
The Sportage’s all-new cabin is where you can see the real changes boasting a high standard of material quality, with a far greater proportion of soft-touch materials and the use of cloth, leather and stitching creating a more luxurious ambience.
The result is an interior that majors on refinement and modern sophistication. Kia has also improved the soundproofing with a number of measures adopted to reduce significantly the intrusion of exterior noise.
As before, the Sportage continues to be offered with a choice of front- and all-wheel drive, with the revisions to suspension and steering, and the latest electronic driver aids, providing stable handling and high levels of grip in all conditions.
Toyota in high demand
Toyota, Ireland’s best-selling car brand in 2021 and 2022, is urging customers to act fast, with demand high for summer months, after it announced its 222 offers for new car sales registered from now to July 31 inclusive.
The latest 2022 offers include Toyota Easy PCP from 3.9% APR on models such as the new Aygo X and the award-winning Toyota Yaris in both hybrid and petrol powertrains. Firm favourites such as the Toyota Corolla and Toyota C-HR are also available for just 4.9% APR, along with other leading models at 5.5% APR respectively. Toyota customers who avail of these offers in the early summer months will also benefit from three years servicing as standard.
Due to the global rise in fuel prices that are currently affecting the motoring industry, and Ireland’s continued migration to more sustainable, lower CO2 emitting vehicles, Toyota is encouraging its customers to consider a hybrid electric powertrain this season.
Having predicted the demise of diesel many years ago, Toyota believes that its hybrids play an integral role in helping customers transition from higher-polluting diesel vehicles into more environmentally conscious hybrids that don’t require plugging in.
As the leading brand for reputation in Ireland RepTrak 2022, Toyota offers the largest range of self-charging hybrid electrics and provides customers with the widest choice of affordable, electrified options.
With leading vehicles such as the Toyota C-HR and Toyota RAV 4 PHEV now available for immediate summer delivery, Toyota is urging customers to contact their local Toyota dealer, Tony Burke Motors in Ballybrit, to avoid disappointment. Customers can also avail of the latest online tools to explore the breadth of vehicle options on offer.
Demand is high and supply is limited, so customers are urged to contact Tony Burke Motors on 091 480123 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
“We believe that there has never been a better time for Irish motorists to make the switch to hybrid electric vehicles,” said Zoe Bradley, Head of Marketing Communications in Toyota Ireland.
“With fuel prices at a market high, we want to incentivise drivers with a host of great finance offers for 222. Not only benefitting from lower running costs and strong used car resale values, but self-charging hybrids electrics also have many environmental benefits compared to diesel, such as 90% less NOx emissions.
“While demand remains high for our hybrid models, we are offering immediate delivery on popular models such as the Toyota C-HR, Toyota Corolla and the RAV4 Plug-in hybrid, so that our customers will get to avail of these great offers and enjoy their new car during the summer months.
“We have something to offer all customers and we recommend that interested customers get in touch with their local Toyota dealer as early as possible or find out more information on the models via Toyota.ie,” she said.
Toyota’s 222 passenger car offers include:
Aygo X – Toyota Easy PCP with 3.9% APR;
Yaris Hybrid – Toyota Easy PCP with 3.9% APR;
• Yaris Petrol – Toyota Easy PCP with 3.9% APR
• Corolla (all variants) – Toyota Easy PCP with 4.9% APR
• C-HR – Toyota Easy PCP with 4.9% APR
• RAV4 Hybrid – Toyota Easy PCP with 5.5% APR
• RAV4 PHEV – Toyota Easy PCP with 5.5% APR
• Camry – Toyota Easy PCP with 5.5% APR
• Prius – Toyota Easy PCP with 5.5% APR
• Highlander – Toyota Easy PCP with 5.5% APR
For terms and conditions see Toyota.ie.
Latest tweaks sees Peugeot’s catalogue continue to be as strong as a lion
Without doubt, most observers would agree that Peugeot has one of the outstanding catalogues of cars in their range. From the delightful new 208 to the large 5008 SUV, the French brand has developed probably the best-looking model range on the road right now.
Now they have embarked on a new journey with some image changes that introduces a new badge and some clever additional features inside and out. The new emblem is more like a coat of arms and is instantly recognisable.
The first of these is the new Peugeot 308, a firm favourite over the years in the C-segment and a model that take the new image into the future.
At first glance there is an obvious size change to the range from what went before. In fact, they have increased the length and expanded the wheelbase. They have also raised the car up higher and this more than most gives the 308 a much more dominant kerbside stance.
My first drive in the new 308 on the banks of Lough Derg and the Shannon demonstrated once again how far Peugeot has come as a brand. The car is now close to being the most complete family-sized hatchback there is. Once you come to terms with its unique steering and the additional height, you will really feel at home on all grades of roads and surfaces.
Inside, Peugeot continue to offer their i-Cockpit, for which they are now renowned, with its flat-bottomed small steering wheel and their clever 3D dash display. While space in the interior is restricted, especially in the back, it is not shamed by any means and is comparable to other cars in the bracket.
The boot volume is now 412 litres with 28 litres of compartmentalised storage space, with the rear seats folded, the maximum load is 1,323 litres.
Peugeot are initially giving us a choice of petrol, diesel and two examples of Plug-in Hybrid powertrains. An all-electric edition is coming later. The car is available with a PureTech (Petrol) 1.2L, 130 bhp 3-cylinder with an 8-speed automatic gearbox or a BlueHdi (Diesel) 1.5L, 130 bhp 4-cylinder 8 speed automatic engine and CO2 emissions from 117 g/km.
The PHEV have 180 and 225 output with the motor in each case complimenting a 1.6 PureTech engine. Each offers up to 60km in electric mode.
You will notice from that lineup that all models in the new range come only with 8-speed automatic gearboxes. There will be no manual versions as Peugeot chiefs believe that the future will be automatics only.
With the first deliveries starting now, the 308 is initially available in 3 grades – Active, Allure and GT. Pricing starts at €31,765 for the basic Active, the Allure starts at €35,705 while the GT has an entry price of €39,215.
There is also an SW estate model that is quite distinctive and very attractive coming in 2023 costing an extra €1,000 extra across the range.
Nissans turns a new Leaf
By Gerry Murphy
Nissan has been to the fore when it comes to electric vehicles for more than a decade now. The Nissan Leaf has been around since it was first manufactured in 2010 and has to-date been the most successful electric car worldwide.
Now Nissan has launched their newest electric model, the Ariya, and I have been out and about in it recently in the Wicklow area. Our test model was the standard-level version with the 63kWh battery. Comparisons with the Leaf are certainly not legitimate as this car is in a completely different marketplace and at a much higher price point.
Space and serenity are the predominant impressions in a car that is right up there in the luxury class. The Nissan Ariya all electric crossover is designed to not only impress EV buyers but to also demonstrate Nissan’s commitment to meeting a growing demand for new electrified, autonomous, and connected technologies.
On the inside it is delightful with noticeable head and elbow room. The dashboard and touch screen are not just lovely to look at, but very easy to use. Space in the front and back is better than most cars in its class, and while the coupe roofline may be a little low for taller people, it is still not a major drawback once you are inside it.
Technology levels are high with two 12.3-inch displays, one for the digital instruments and the other as an infotainment system. Nissan also add a strip of high-quality controls for more in-demand features that light up and vibrate when used.
It means that you don’t need to take you eye off the road when changing simple things like the climate in the car. The car also features Nissan’s Safety Shield, along with ProPilot with Navi-Link and e-Pedal, wireless Apple CarPlay, cabled Android Auto and a wireless phone charger.
Two battery options are available; a 63 kWh battery that delivers a range of 402 kilometres and an 87 kWh battery that offers a range of 529 kilometres. These range figures are measured in controlled conditions and are somewhat aspirational when it comes to everyday use.
My experience tells me that somewhere between 65 and 70% of those figures are more realistic. This is the same for every EV that I have driven over recent years. However, the quoted figures put the new Nissan right at the top of what is available in its own segment.
Nissan is launching the car with two grade options – Advance and Evolve – featuring many of its innovative safety and infotainment features as standard.
Pricing will start for the entry grade 63 kWh Nissan Ariya Advance from €48,995 and range up to €66,995 for the top of the range 87 kWh Ariya Evolve. These prices include Government incentives and the SEAI grants.