25 May 2017

Volkswagen Commercials celebrates 70 years

Volkswagen Commercial vehicles has announced a new range of service offers to celebrate 70 years of its commercial vehicles, writes Trish Whelan

The offers will cover all routine service operations, including a minor service starting at €129 and a major service costing €259. Also, if you avail of the major service offer, you will receive a €50 credit towards your next service or repair.

The company has also introduced the ‘7 for 70 difference’ - Volkswagen will provide 7 benefits that it says other service providers don’t offer. This includes a free wash and vacuum, free courtesy van, price promise, express servicing and extended opening hours to suit the customer’s needs.

Offers are available at participating Volkswagen Commercial vehicle Service Centres. They apply to VW Commercial Vehicles 2013 or older. All prices are exclusive of VAT.

The new Volkswagen Crafter van is pictured above. 

New engine variant for Audi A5 Sportback

One of Audi Ireland’s most popular engine variants, the 2.0TDI 150hp, is now available to order in Ireland retailing from €46,500 RRP, writes Trish Whelan.

This model offers sports car performance with low consumption thanks to new engine technology with C02 from 111g/km and fuel consumption from 4.3 L/100kms.

The five-door A5 Sportback has more interior space and provides 480 litres of luggage capacity.

The Audi smartphone interface integrates iOS and Android mobile phones in an environment specially developed for them in the MMI.

The new A5 Sportback 2.0 150hp is available to order now at your local authorised Audi dealership.

24 May 2017

Toyota to hold 'Discover Hybrid' event in June

Toyota Ireland will hold a Discover Hybrid event during the month of June in conjunction with its range of consumer offers for 17, writes Trish Whelan.

This year Toyota has seen a 100pc increase in its hybrid sales and hybrid now accounts for 28pc of total sales.

The Japanese carmaker is expecting interest in its hybrid vehicles to continue to build due to its 40pc better fuel economy and the ability to drive in EV mode up to 40pc of the time without needing to ever plug it in. 

The brand’s Hybrid Guarantee is an industry first which gives customers new to hybrid peace of mind by allowing them to swap their hybrid for an equivalent petrol or diesel model during the next registration period should they wish to do so.

June will also see the launch of the company’s first plug in hybrid electric vehicle in time for the new registration period. The Prius PHV will now be available with a plug-in option alongside the standard non-plug in version. June will also see the launch of the new 2017 Yaris with a new design and bi-tone interior. The new Auris Luna sport grade is also available with a black roof, alloys, privacy glass and alcantara trim.

Offers across the Toyota range on all conventional and hybrid vehicles will see customers being able to choose either €3,500 scrappage on vehicles which are older than 2007 or 3 years’ free servicing. PCP rates start from 2.9pc for conventional models and 4.9pc for hybrid. The Toyota Proace is available with up to €4,000 scrappage or APR from 1.9pc.

Five 'hidden gem' driving routes

Going for a drive in the car has long been one of the staples of Irish family life. Even with our unpredictable Irish weather, a scenic Sunday afternoon drive is very often the best way of getting out and about with the family.

In this regard, we are lucky to have some of the most picturesque driving routes in Europe right on our doorstep. From stunning coastal trails like the Wild Atlantic Way to lesser-known inland gems like Brú na Bóinne and the Sally Gap, Irish motorists have an incredible array of routes to choose from.

Someone who knows a thing or two about the roads of Ireland is George O’Connor, Managing Director of Enterprise Rent-A-Car Ireland, a company that specialises in providing mobility solutions for people looking to get around Ireland by car.
O’Connor says tourist routes are there for local people to enjoy as well as visitors, and this June bank holiday weekend is a great opportunity to get out and enjoy a relaxing drive in beautiful surroundings.

“Whether you choose an old favourite or try a new route, the important thing is to give yourself plenty of time, take it at a leisurely pace and don’t be afraid to get out of the car and explore on foot if the chance presents itself. Here are five marvellous drives to consider for the long weekend,” O’Connor says.

Galway to Westport (approx 90 mins)
Starting with a classic, this route takes you deep into the heartland of Connemara and up into the hills, with an incredible view over Clifden Bay and out towards the islands of Inishturk and Turbot. Stop for lunch in Clifden before heading on towards Westport, where you’ll pass the gorgeous Doolough Valley with its Famine Memorial.

Dungarvan to Tramore (approx 45 mins)
Otherwise known as the ‘Copper Coast’ drive, this route has a bit of everything: hidden sandy beaches and tranquil seascapes, cliffs and coves as well as a succession of picturesque villages including Bunmahon, Dunhill and Fenor. This region is one of Ireland’s best-kept secrets as you’ll discover when you see the jaw-dropping cliffs at Ballydowane Bay.

Dollymount Strand to Howth Head (approx 40 mins)
When you live in the Dublin ‘bubble’, the temptation is to go west in search of quiet country roads but the coastal route from Dollymount Strand to Howth Head is as picturesque as any part of Ireland. Once past Bull Island, you begin to climb the oasis of green that is Howth until you reach the headland with its gorgeous views down over the Poolbeg towers.

Newgrange to Skerries (approx 40 mins)
Brú na Bóinne hardly qualifies as a hidden gem, given the worldwide fame and popularity of the prehistoric monument at Newgrange, but it is a captivating drive nonetheless and well worth the spin. Once you’ve paid your respects at the megalithic tomb, head east to Bettystown and then cut south through Balbriggan and on to Skerries by the sea for a delicious bowl of seafood chowder.

Letterkenny to Donegal (approx 1hr 20 mins)
If you have time for a proper road movie, this section of the Wild Atlantic Way is perhaps the most visually spectacular route in the country. There’s so much to take in on this breath-taking drive, but must-see highlights include Glenveagh National Park, Sheephaven Bay, the Glengesh Pass, Silver Strand Beach, the view from the Sliabh Liag Cliffs and the tranquil atmosphere all the way to Donegal town.

“These are five great drives but the possibilities are endless,” says O’Connor. “We are blessed with scenery that is the envy of the world; no wonder Irish tourism is set for another record-breaking year.”

Frank Keane VW wins commercial dealer award

Frank Keane Volkswagen was awarded Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Dealer of the Year 2016 at the recent Volkswagen Gold Pin Awards, writes Trish Whelan.

The award recognises the retailer’s contribution in a number of areas including sales performance, local market share and overall customer experience and is the highest honour that a Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle retailer can achieve.

The award was presented to Donal Geoghegan (Dealer Principal) and Ger Colwell (Commercial Vehicle Manager) of Frank Keane Volkswagen by Alan Bateson, Managing Director of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Ireland, at a recent gala awards ceremony held in Carton House, Maynooth, Co Kildare.

Since opening in January 2012 with a team of 14 staff members, Frank Keane Volkswagen has grown significantly resulting in two new dealership locations in five years: Liffey Valley Motor Mall and Deansgrange, Co Dublin. Frank Keane Volkswagen now has a workforce of over 120 people.

In 2016, Frank Keane Volkswagen acquired MSL Motor Group Volkswagen in Deansgrange, Ballsbridge, and Pottery Road. They also merged with the MSL Volkswagen Showroom in Deansgrange and opened up a new state of the art service centre. With this extensive expansion, the Commercial Vehicles department, managed by Ger Colwell, has developed into one of Ireland’s leading Van Centres.

Congratulating the team, Alan Bateson said “Our vans are proving more popular than ever, not just because of their unmatched quality and comfort, but also because of our leading residuals that are guaranteed, the only commercial vehicle brand in Ireland to do this.” He added that there is a Customer-first service support provided from their dedicated van centre network in Ireland.

He said with the recent launch of the new Crafter, International Van of the Year 2017, ‘we are focused on continued growth in the Irish market’.

Alan Bateson, Managing Director of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Ireland and Ger Colwell, Commercial Vehicle Manager of Frank Keane Volkswagen, are pictured above.

23 May 2017

A high-speed, hurdling launch for Irish in World University Games

Thomas Barr met Irish Sportswoman of the Year Nicole Drought for some high speed action at Mondello Park recently, to launch Team Ireland's involvement in the 2017 World University Games.

Whilst at Mondello Park, Barr enjoyed some high speed laps alongside Nicole in her 300bhp Ginetta G50. The Olympian then took the wheel himself, in one of the Trackdays.ie race prepared Honda Civics and impressed his instructor with his immediate pace.

In August of this year, 60 Irish students will travel to Tapei as the Student Sport Ireland team for the World University Games.

The Games act as a significant learning and training opportunity for both athletes and officials in a high performance and global multi-sport environment, which places both athletes and officials at an advantage for the Olympic Games.

Student Sport Ireland is the sole sanctioning body responsible for identifying, selecting and coordinating the Irish delegation to the 2017 Games.

Nicole Drought, 22, is a native of Roscrea in Tipperary. A former All Ireland winning Camogie Captain, she made her motor racing debut in 2015, driving a 250bhp Honda Integra in the Irish Touring Car Championship.

In 2016, she became the first Irish Ambassador for the Sean Edwards Foundation and accepted their invitation to travel to Le Castellet in France to test a GT3 Porsche 911. Also in 2016, she became a member of the Murphy Prototypes Young Driver programme and attended an ELMS race in France with the Irish based European sportscar team.

In December 2016, Nicole was voted sportswomen.ie Irish Sportswoman of The Year, taking a massive 20pc of the public vote- the first for a racing driver against far higher profile sports.

Thomas Barr is 400M Hurdler from Dunmore East in County Waterford. A six time Irish Champion, Thomas won Gold at the 2015 World University Games and finished fourth in the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio.

In 2011 he made University of Limerick his high performance home. Since then he has climbed the ranks and broken the national U23 and senior records in the process, and represented Ireland numerous times on the European and world stages.

All the way through, completing a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and after four years was awarded a first class honours degree.  In 2016 he graduated from UL with a Masters in Sports Performance.

Think the Irish weather is bad?

This is what happened to a motorist — and probably more than him — when he drove into a hailstorm in Colorado.

Captur is revised

Renault has revised its best-selling Captur small crossover, giving it a more distinctive look, writes Brian Byrne.
Closer in style to the Kadjar and upcoming Koleos, the Captur now comes also with a higher quality interior as well as a new Signature S Nav range-topper grade.
The car retains the two-tone paintwork theme of the original and continues with the extensive personalisation possibilities.
More chrome details and skid plates front and rear emphasise the lines of the car, which was the best selling B-segment crossover in Europe last year.
Further connectivity is available, with the Captur now compatible with Android Auto.
Three petrol and two diesel powertrains are available to choose from.