19 November 2018

Police in Dubai testing hover-bike

This is a hover-bike on test by the Dubai police, which may presage a fleet of them going into service, writes Brian Byrne.

The machine in prototype form is essentially a large drone with a place for a rider. Power is electric, and at the moment will permit speeds of up to 100km/h and at a height of up to 4.6 metres.

A 'drone mode' allows a 40-minute range, though in action that can currently slip down to 10-20 minutes.

They'll also need to do something about protecting people from those scything rotors, or crowd control will take on a whole new meaning ...

The machine isn't cheap, the one they've taken delivery of for testing from the California manufacturer is $150,000. But then, Dubai police already use Lamborghinis and other exotic cars for patrol vehicles.

16 November 2018

Subaru Forester clocks up 1 million kms

Jerner (Jerry) Jung with his Forester

A Subaru Forester owner has clocked up 1 million kilometres with no breakdowns, writes Trish Whelan.

Musician Jerner Jung (Jerry) from Slovenia has reached this landmark milestone which is the equivalent of driving 25 laps around the world, in the first generation Subaru Forester he bought on a friend’s recommendation back in 1998.

Jerry recalls the moment he reached 1 million kilometres while driving in his hometown of Ljubljana as he car’s odometer clicked round and got stuck on 999,999km. He thought the odometer would be automatically restarted to 0km so took pictures as he expected no one would believe him. Instead, it got stuck at 999,999km.

Two decades since buying the Forester, and after driving in all kinds of weather conditions and road environments, his Forester has never broken down. “I always paid attention to its regular maintenance and this car still retains about 70pc of its original parts to this day,” he says.

He also acquired a third generation forester a few years ago which already has more than 150,000 on the clock. 

Subaru has established a reputation for making tough cars to withstand the effects of both the elements and time. Over 97pc of the Subaru vehicles sold in Europe in the last 10 years are still on the road today.

The Subaru SUV range makes up 87pc of the total sales volume in Europe. While the Subaru XV is the best-selling model today, the Forester has been leading the pack in Europe for over 20 years with over 330,000 units sold across the region since its launch in 1997. Forester’s global accumulated production exceeds 3.7 million units.

New Corolla self-charging hybrid unveiled

New Toyota Corolla

The Corolla Saloon had its World Premiere today at the China Motor Show, writes Trish Whelan.

This marks the launch of the 12th generation Corolla Saloon. The Corolla has sold more than 46 million units in over 150 countries since its introduction in 1966.

Now, for the first time, the Corolla Saloon is arriving as a self-charging hybrid and will feature a 1.8 self-charging hybrid powertrain which offers frugal fuel economy of only 3.4L/100km (WLTP 4.3 L/100km) and C02 emissions of 77g/km (WTLP 98g/km), while offering up to 50pc all-electric drive on the everyday commute. 

There will also be a petrol variant; the improved 1.6 petrol variant is available with a six-speed manual transmission. Fuel consumption is 5.8 L/100kms (WLTP 6.1 L/a00km) and emissions are 131g/km (WLTP 139g/km). However, Toyota Ireland predicts that 90pc of the sales in Ireland in 2019 will be in hybrid.

The new Toyota Safety sense active safety package includes  Pre-Collision System with pedestrian detection both day and night, and cyclist detection in daylight hours, a full range Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with steering assist, Road Sign Assist, and Automatic High Beam. 

Self-charging hybrid prices start from €26,820 (excluding delivery and related charges) or from €208 monthly price on PCP. With over 1,500 ‘handraisers’, customers are advised to order now to ensure they get a 191 Corolla Saloon.

There will be two opportunities to see the brand new Corolla Saloon Hybrid before its official arriver to Ireland. On 13 December in the Clayton Hotel in Dublin, the car, along with the rest of the next generation hybrid models, will be available to view.

Then in January 2019, all Toyota dealerships across Ireland will host the new models as part of the 2019 Hybrid Roadshow. Toyota is asking customers to check what date in January the Roadshow will arrive at their local dealer. Final cars for registration will arrive from mid-February 2019. 

Toyota Ireland expect 80pc of their passenger car mix will be self-charging hybrid in 2019.

Wide range of new and revised Mercedes-Benz models for 2019

A-Class saloon.
A wide range of new and revised cars will be coming through from Mercedes-Benz during 2019, writes Brian Byrne.

They will include, in January, facelifted C-Class models in saloon, coupé, estate and cabriolet variants.

In February and March a new A-Class Saloon and an all-new B-Class range will arrive. From April onwards to June, a new CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and GLE with a 7-seat option will come on the market. In June there will also be a facelifted V-Class.

The arrival of the recently announced electric-powered EQC, will also be in June, while between July and September new arrivals will include a new GLS, and facelifted GLC Coupé and SUV models.

From October to December, the arrival of the all-new GLB will be a highlight. Slotting into the Mercedes-Benz range just below the GLC, the GLB is a mid-size SUV whose many features will include a 7-seat option.

Corolla saloon hybrid unveiled, deliveries in February

The 12th generation Toyota Corolla saloon has been unveiled in China and can be preordered at Irish Toyota dealerships now, writes Brian Byrne.

The car will be available in hybrid form for the first time when it arrives here, priced from €26,820.

Toyota Ireland says 90pc of sales here will be the 122hp hybrid, though it will also be available in 132hp petrol only form.

The hybrid is automatic as standard, while the petrol version will have a 6-speed manual.

Toyota says the hybrid will be able to deliver 50pc electric only driving on the typical commute journey, with 4.3L/100km economy and 98g/km CO2 emissions, both under the new real world WLTP regime.

In January, the Corolla saloon will be seen in dealerships for the 2019 Toyota Hybrid Roadshow, and pre-ordered cars will be available for registration in mid-February.

15 November 2018

Los Angeles debut for new Kia Soul

Kia’s Soul compact SUV appealed to those who want to drive something different, writes Trish Whelan. 

The current version was introduced in July 2014.

Now a new Kia Soul will make its world debut at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show which takes place from 30 November to 9 December.

An icon of Kia design, the Soul is all new for 2020 and will come to market with a bold, immediately recognisable design, uncompromising versatility and a fun-to-drive personality. 

It will come with several powertrains, including turbocharged engines and zero-emissions electric options. The new all-electric Soul version is set to go on sale in Europe next year. 

The 2014 model is pictured below.

Fiat announces three 191 offers

New Fiat 500X

Customers who buy a Fiat car will benefit from 3 years free servicing across the range as well as finance from 3pc APR for orders placed by 31 December and registered by 31 January 2019, writes Trish Whelan.

For those considering one of the three different body styles of the Tipo family (hatchback, sedan or estate), Fiat are offering an engine price match which will enable them to pick up a diesel model at the same price as the petrol equivalent, saving €1,750 versus the previous price walk.

The new Fiat 500X that has just arrived in Fiat showrooms (priced from €21,795), has been updated inside and out with new looks and technology. Three trim levels are Urban, City Cross and Cross. Three petrol engines include two new more efficient turbo petrol engines. A host of safety assistance systems now come as standard across the range. The 500X comes with 3 years free servicing plus 3pc APR finance (except the 500X Cross 1.3 150hp DCT Automatic). Customers can pick up the new 500X from €238 per month.

Fiat’s 3 years free servicing offer, coupled with the standard 3 years warranty and roadside assistance is across the entire range of passenger cars.

BMW offers service discount, car care, subscription

BMW Ireland is offering an aftersales subscription service which will provide discounts on servicing costs, and provide a number of other services to participants, writes Brian Byrne.

Bannered 'BMW First, there are three levels which provide different groups of services.

For €4.90 a month, customers can get a regular health check on their car, a 20pc discount on servicing, and change of wiper blades and light bulbs.

For €14.90 a month, they get a monthly mini-valet, a top up of fluids and lubricants, and exterior car wash, and also a fuel discount at Circle K forecourts.

The top level, called '2 in 1 Plus', costs €16,90 and includes the full list of services.

BMW Ireland says 500 customers have already signed up.