13 December 2017

Mercedes opens orders in Germany for new CLS

Mercedes-Benz in Germany has opened its order books for the new third generation CLS 4-door coupe, writes Brian Byrne.

The car will be delivered to its first customers in March of next year. In Germany prices start at €62,127.

Engines availability include two 3.0 diesels and a 3.0 petrol, all with 4WD, and ranging in power from 210hp-340hp.

There are AMG-Line and Edition 1 option grades.

Families test Volvo autonomous cars

Volvo has begun a programme of autonomous cars testing on the streets of Gothenburg, by local families who will drive the specially equipped XC90 SUVs in what is called the 'Drive Me' project, writes Brian Byrne.

The first two families have already taken delivery of their cars, and over the next four years up to 100 people will have been involved in the project. Engineers will monitor their everyday use and interaction with the car, as they drive to work, bring children to school or go shopping for groceries.

During these first stages, the families will keep their hands on the steering wheel and supervise the driving at all times when using their cars. But, over time, all participants in the Drive Me project will gradually be introduced to more advanced assisted-driving cars, after receiving special training. Even then, testing these more advanced cars will initially take place in controlled environments with supervision from a Volvo Cars safety expert. No technology will ever be introduced if there is any question over its safety.

Volvo plans to have fully autonomous cars commercially available by 2021.

Kia Ireland sponsoring a running race series

Kia Ireland is sponsoring a new nationwide running race series through 2018 which will bring together seven established regional races and a new closed running event at Mondello Park, writes Brian Byrne.

The Kia Race Series will kick off in March with The Streets of Portlaoise 5k with the finale event in Mondello Park organised in September by Pop Up Races.

The Kia Race Series is encouraging Ireland’s best male and female distance athletes to compete against each other, with a new Kia Stonic up for grabs for both the overall male and female winner of the series.

To be eligible to win the series, runners must take part in five of the eight races including the finale. There is the added incentive of €7,000 bonus fund available for course records. The series also open to runners of all abilities from elite to club to weekend warriors with all those who take part in the series receiving a commentative t-shirt. For more details and to enter on-line go to kiaraceseries.com.

Pictured at the launch of the series are Catherina McKiernan and Mick Clohisey, with James Brooks, MD of Kia Ireland.

10 December 2017

Sandyford Motor Centre joins Peugeot dealer network

Sandyford Motor Centre have joined the Peugeot Dealer Network of Ireland, writes Trish Whelan.

Fronted by Dealer Principal, Bruce Soraghan, Sandyford Motor Centre is now retailing the full line-up of Peugeot passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, with a range of quality used cars for sale. The Aftersales Department is now alsofully equipped with the latest Peugeot diagnostic equipment, with the Parts Department stocking genuine Peugeot parts and accessories.

Sandyford Motor Centre is a well-established, family-run business founded over 17 years ago by Bruce and Robert Soraghan, and has built up a solid, loyal customer base.

Pictured back row at the signing of the agreement are: Joe O'Grady, Group Head of Finance and Business Development, Sandyford Motor Centre; Colin Sheridan, Sales and Marketing Director, Peugeot Ireland; front row: Des Cannon, Managing Director Peugeot Ireland Bruce Soraghan, Dealer Principal, Sandyford Motor Centre.

7 December 2017

Price for new Jeep Compass, coming in January

The new generation Jeep Compass will arrive in January at a starting price of €27,995, writes Brian Byrne.

There will be three diesel engines and one petrol, the former in 1.6 and 2.0 capacities with 120/140/170hp options, and the petrol a 1.4 with 140hp.

There will be three equipment levels — Sport, Longitude, and Limited. Standard across the range are LED tail lights, leather steering wheel with audio controls, air conditioning, cruise control, forward collision warning plus, and lane departure warning plus.

Hang back a bit in colder weather

Now that the temperatures are regularly dropping below the 7degC mark, it's time to adjust driving style, writes Brian Byrne.

That's the datum line for when lower temperatures mean less grip from your tyres, because the compound they're made from gets harder.

And most drivers in Ireland don't use winter tyres, which compensate for this as well as dealing with other technical characteristics to cope better with the season. Tyre for tyre, the difference can mean a 5m shorter stopping time from 100km/h on a wet road, if you have winter tyres.

So take it a bit slower and leave yourself more distance from the vehicle in front. Even if the road ahead looks dry, or ice-free.

And at the risk of further repetition, get out and check your tyres regularly, especially these winter days.

Tread depth — at minimum 1.6mm and arguably twice that — along with inspection for cuts, crack and bulges, and for stuff caught in the treads and sipes. Pressures check at least every couple of weeks.

And, again, hang back a bit.

Hybrid Mondeo on the way to Ireland

The hybrid version of Ford's Mondeo is going on sale here for the 181 market period, offering an alternative to the dominant diesel powertrain, writes Brian Byrne.

The car features a 2.0 petrol engine and electric motor combination, with a combined power output of 234hp.

The transmission is a CVT automatic. The claimed fuel consumption is 3.9L/100km or 72.4mpg equivalent, and the car's acceleration to 100km/h is 9.2s.

The price for Ireland has not yet been finalised, but is expected to be in excess of €32,000.

There has been no perceived shift from diesel to petrol preference in the Mondeo or Kuga models, Ford Ireland MD Ciaran McMahon said this week.

However, speaking at the international launch of the substantially revised EcoSport small SUV in Lisbon, he noted that some 30pc of Focus orders are now petrol, a doubling of the penetration compared to last year.

And he said that he expects to see a big increase in the number of hybrid cars coming on the market over the next year.

Special version of Volvo V90 Cross Country

Volvo Cars has revealed a special version of its V90 Cross Country all-road estate to celebrate the start of the 2017/2018 Volvo Ocean Race, writes Trish Whelan.

Buyers of the car will also contribute directly to helping understand the health of our oceans. To support the Volvo Ocean Race’s Science Programme around ocean plastics, the company will donate €100 for each of the first 3,000 V90 Cross Country Volvo Ocean Race cars it plans to build. The total donation of €300,000 underlines the brand’s long-standing commitment to environmental care.

The Volvo Ocean Race Science Programme equips boats in this year’s race with a variety of sensors that will capture data from some of the remotest parts of the world’s oceans including temperatures, barometric pressure, currents and wind speed, which will help contribute to more accurate weather forecasts and climate models used by scientists globally. The boats will also measure levels of salinity, dissolved C02 and algae in the sea water around them. These will help create a more complete picture of the scale of plastic pollution and its impact on ocean life. The Programme’s science partners include the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). 

The car will also help tackle marine pollution as the carpet inlays are made from Econyl, a fabric made from 100 per cent recycled nylon including abandoned fishing nets reclaimed from the seabed.

The new car comes with all the standard features customers expect from a Cross Country model like all-wheel-drive, increased ride height and a chassis optimised for comfort and control in all weather and road conditions.

The initial production volume of 3,000 cars will be sold in 30 markets around the globe.

Renault Zoe for Madrid car-sharing scheme

A fleet of 500 Renault Zoe electric cars will be on offer in a car-sharing initiative in Madrid in Spain next month, writes Brian Byrne.

Under a scheme called Zity, the carmaker has joined with urban transport services operator Ferrovial to provide the cars across the country's capital, accessible to customers via a smartphone app.

Madrid already restricts the use of cars with traditional internal combustion engines during times of intense air pollution, and plans to permanently ban ICE engines from its centre in the middle of next year.

Parking is free for electric vehicles in the city.

With a driving range of up to 285m in real world conditions, the supermini Zoe is Europe's best selling electric car.

Teaser event shows next Sprinter dashboards

These are three levels of dashboard that will be available in the new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van, which will launch in Ireland towards the middle of next year, writes Brian Byrne.

They were shown at an event in Stuttgart on Monday which discussed the future of delivery systems against a background of an expected continuation of the boom in parcels deliveries that have resulted from online sales platforms like Amazon.

The new Sprinter, the third generation, has been designed as the central component of a so-called 'holistic delivery solution' vision of an integrated transport system to be offered by Mercedes-Benz to its customers.

The head of Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles, Volker Morninweg, said the Sprinter will have the ability to be 'a completely connected van as part of the Internet of Things'.

Some 3.3m units of the Sprinter have been sold since it was first launched in 1995, and it sells in 130 countries.