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Volkswagen’s Transporter – a van with the home comforts of a car

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The sixth generation Volkswagen Transporter: impressive on all counts.

By Gerry Murphy

Living with a van is seismically different to owning a car and since the very first one, the T1, Volkswagen’s Transporter has been a firm favourite with fleet buyers and thousands of one-man van owners.

Drivers often spend more time in their vans than the average car driver spends in their cars. They double up as a mobile office as much as being a mode of transporting goods and tools.

Van makers have been working hard in recent years to make vans more like cars to drive and all have a firm goal in making them easier to live with, a quest that has been more successful for some over others. Volkswagen is one such manufacturer and the new, sixth generation of the popular Transporter is testament to that.

Indeed, the interior is a mirror image of what they do in their passenger cars with a few more cubby holes thrown in for easy in-cabin storage and document filing. Bigger door pockets, well-placed cup holders, storage under the passenger seats and A4 size document clips give it the workplace and live-in details that the busy van driver needs on a daily basis.

Recently, the new Volkswagen Transporter won the 2016 International Van of the Year Award, the most coveted accolade in the Light Commercial Vehicle industry in Europe. That accolade is well deserved and while the competition is fierce in the segment, the Transporter came out on top of the voting which is carried out be leading commercial vehicle journalists all over Europe.

“The award acknowledges the Light Commercial Vehicle that makes a major contribution to raising the standards of efficiency and the sustainability of transport with respect to the environment and safety of people, and the Volkswagen T6 is deemed to have made this impact this year,” says the IVOTY Chairman, Ireland’s Jarlath Sweeney.

I have been driving the 190 hp version of the 2.0-litre driven van and it is clear what the judges of the competition saw when choosing it as the winner. Power is on tap whether full or empty and on the road you get a real confidence from how it handles in both scenarios.

The spacious, well-designed load area is well lit, comes with plenty of load anchor points and easily accessed through a selection of door formations. My test model came with a large tailgate and one sliding side door. However, buyers can choose split rear doors and a second skidding door if required. Gross vehicle weight is 3,000kg with a payload of 926kg.

In the cabin, the driving position gives the user a commanding seat with all controls within easy access and good visibility. The large door mirrors which are electrically adjustable – and heated in this case – are a must in vans as it helps the user negotiate tight spaces and makes parking simpler. I applaud this because not all manufacturers supply electric mirrors as standard which means that the drivers must leave his seat to make manual adjustment to the off-side mirror.

In this version standard features include: air conditioning, anti-theft alarm system, cruise control, bluetooth connectivity (phone & audio streaming), multi-function leather steering wheel, discover media navigation system, cloth upholstery multifunctional display “Plus” with driver alert system and auxiliary input with USB.

Noise and comfort levels in the cabin were enhanced by a solid bulkhead and driver armrests while the image of the van was improved with the fitting of front fog lamps and painted bumpers and mirror. 18” alloy wheels and some other extras in the test van gave it an overall price of €43,981 with VAT making up €7,407 0f that price and VRT of €200. However, the Transporter is available with a starting price of €19,817 excluding taxes.

Vans are a special mode of transport and are required to do a wide range of activities. We normally find that individual owners are normally very loyal to a specific brand and model. This is true for the Transporter, too, and for Volkswagen, this van has been a vital cog in their sales success for many years. This one is a clever extension of their pedigree for producing sturdy, driveable load carriers.

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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