23 February 2018

Skoda looking towards a third SUV

Skoda is showing hints towards a third SUV in its model range, writes Trish Whelan.

The Vision X Concept for showing at Geneva next month brings the design language of the Kodiaq and Karoq into focus for the new vehicle.

Going on Skoda's past habits, the concept is very close to what a production car will be like.

More on the new Peugeot 508

New views of the new Peugeot 508 which will debut at Paris, writes Trish Whelan.

The new coupe-style exterior design is sharper and sleeker, while the car's interior includes an evolution of the i-Cockpit introduced by Peugeot to several other models in recent times.

There will be new engines, with petrol and diesel choices. Peugeot is promising a 'quantum leap' in quality, in support of the brand's upmarket strategy.

The car will be unveiled at the forthcoming Geneva Motor Show and goes on sale worldwide from September 2018.

Double win for Mercedes-Benz at SIMI awards

John Connolly, MUTEC General Manager (centre) pictured receiving the Commercial Vehicle Operation of the Year award from Derek McDermott, Bank of Ireland and Brian Cooke, SIMI at the recent SIMI annual Motor Industry Awards 2018.
The Mercedes-Benz organisation in Ireland had two good reasons to celebrate success at the recent SIMI Irish Motor Industry Awards.

On the commercial vehicles front, its Dublin-based MUTEC dealership — which recently completed construction of a high profile, state-of-the-art showrooms on the busy Long Mile Road — was presented with the Commercial Vehicle Operation of the Year award.

Noel Rabbitte, Mercedes-Benz Brand Manager at MSL Ballsbridge Motors (centre) pictured receiving the Franchised Sales Operation of the Year award from Derek McDermott, Bank of Ireland and Brian Cooke, SIMI at the recent SIMI annual Motor Industry Awards 2018.
At the same event, another of its Dublin dealerships which also underwent a major reconstruction in recent times – MSL Ballsbridge Motors – was presented with the Franchised Sales Operation of the Year award.

Conducted in partnership with Bank Of Ireland Finance, the 8th Annual SIMI Irish Motor Industry Awards celebrated what the organisers said was ‘best practice in the Irish motor industry’.

Intended to acknowledge the hard work and successful achievements of SIMI members during, what it termed, ‘challenging times for the industry’, the success achieved by MUTEC and MSL Ballsbridge was said by Mercedes-Benz chief executive in Ireland, Stephen Byrne, to be ‘a reflection of the very significant investment in premises and people made by both dealerships and the high standards they employ in their business’.

Porsche finished with diesel

The Porsche Cayenne S at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.
With the word out that Porsche is no longer going to sell diesel engines in its range, a 16-year experiment is over, writes Brian Byrne.

The Cayenne and Macan SUVs, and the Panamera, the three models which offered diesel, will now only be sold as petrol engines and hybrids. next year a fully-electric 4-door saloon will be offered.

The Cayenne SUV was the first Porsche to get a diesel engine. But only 15pc of the company's cars sold around the world were diesels.

VW's electric autonomous concept for Geneva

This will be Volkswagen's latest take on the future of the car, on display next month at the Geneva Motor Show, writes Brian Byrne.

The I.D. Vizzion Concept brings together electric drive and autonomous driving, with a 'digital chauffeur' which will manage all the driver assistance systems that eventually will provide a self-driving car.

The fourth member of the I.D. concepts, the 5.1-metre long car is concepted as an MPV, with dual electric motors providing AWD as well as a range of up to 665km in suitable circumstances.

Under current plans, Volkswagen says it will launch the I.D. electric car in the compact class in 2020. This will be followed, at short intervals, by a new electric SUV – the I.D. Crozz – and the I.D. Buzz which is an MPV.

22 February 2018

New C4 Cactus will have 'magic carpet' comfort

A new version of the Citroen C4 Cactus will arrive in Ireland in May and will be the first of the brand's cars in Europe to provide an innovative suspension system that offers a 'magic carpet' ride, writes Brian Byrne from the car's international launch in Marseille, France.

Building on the compact hatch launched in 2014, the latest version has the same dimensions, and a similar boot capacity. But as a replacement also for C4 hatchback, the stylists have shrugged off some of the original's SUV look without actually changing the shape.

Visually there are significant differences in the lights treatment front and rear, and the signature 'Airbump' panels of the original have been moved from the doors to the lower panels, and made smaller. The front styling now incorporates the extended 'chevron' theme seen in more recent Citroen cars. The extensions are edged with new LED daylight driving lamps.

Inside there are new seats, which the company calls 'advanced comfort' in line with the three years ago stated theme for the brand as specialising in providing exceptional comfort. A range of  high-tech structural and support foams are part of the design. While the interior styling remains the same, details have been upgraded and changed to provide a higher perceived quality.

The new car comes with petrol and diesel engines familiar from other models in the brand's range, with the addition of a 130hp petrol. At launch there will be 5- and 6-speed manual transmissions and a 6-speed automatic for the petrol cars, while an automatic with a 120hp diesel will be available later in the year.

No less than 12 driver assistance systems are part of the C4 Cactus specification, along with three levels of connectivity technologies.

There will be three grades in Ireland and a range of customisation options will be available.

21 February 2018

SEAT fans choose Tarraco for new SUV name

Tarraco will be the name of SEAT’s third SUV, writes Trish Whelan. 

The name has been chosen by 146,124 fans of the SEAT brand in 134 countries who took part in the final stage of the SEATseekingName process. Tarraco received 51,903 valid votes, followed by Avila with 41,993, Aranda with 39,321, and Alboran with 12,907. The results of the votes were certified by EY.

Tarraco city’s modern-day is Tarragona and it was one of the major metropolises of Hispania during the Roman Empire. 

Tarraco is the first SEAT model name to be chosen by popular vote and the fourteenth Spanish place name used to designate a brand model. 

It completes the brand’s SUV offensive which already comprises the Ateca and the Arona with a large vehicle that seats up to seven passengers. 

The Tarraco will be launched at the end of this year. 

Subaru & Castle Garage aid Monkstown Hockey Club

Subaru Ireland and Castle Garage have announced their sponsorship of Monkstown Hockey Club U-16s boys and girls squads, writes Trish Whelan.

Both companies are providing new kit and support for the U-16s squads. The new kit is a welcome boost for the rising stars of the well-known and very successful South Dublin hockey club.

Castle Garage is a family-owned and run Subaru dealership located right in the heart of Bray and just two minutes off the N11 with ample customer parking. With nearly 30 years’ service as the Subaru Main Dealer for South Dublin and Wicklow, they are the longest serving Subaru Dealer in Ireland. 

Derek Bradshaw, Dealer Principal says “This is a great initiative that allows us to get our name out there and support one of our local sports teams. These are a great bunch of kids and the bright young stars of local sports so we hope the support and new gear will bring as much of a boost to the teams as it will to Castle Garage.

Trevor Watkins, President of Monkstown Hockey Club added: “Our club is delighted to welcome Subaru and Castle Garage on board as sponsor of the U-16 section of our club. The club, teams, mentors and parents are delighted with this new partnership.”

The club was established in 1894 and is one of the oldest hockey clubs in Ireland. They are a South Dublin based hockey club with Mens, Ladies, Colts and Fillies teams.

Volvo launches new V60 family estate

Volvo Cars has revealed the new V60 five-door, mid-size premium estate, writes Trish Whelan.

The car was launched in the driveway of a family home in Stockholm, highlighting Volvo Cars’ pedigree in family estates and showing how its versatile design caters to the diverse needs and realities of modern family life.

The new V60 shares a platform with the new XC60 and four of the carmakers top of the line 90 Series cars. 

The V60 comes with two plug-in hybrid powertrain options: the new T6 Twin Engine AWD petrol plug-in hybrid that generates a combined 340hp or the T8 AWD petrol hybrid that delivers 390hp. The regular petrol choice offers T5 or T6 powertrains. Drivers who prefer diesel can select D3 or D4 engines. 

Volvo Cars’ Sensus infotainment system is fully compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and 4G and keeps drivers connected at all times. The system is controlled via a tablet-style touch screen that combines car functions, navigation, connected services and entertainment apps.

With a comprehensive list of safety features as standard, the V60 is one of the safest cars on the road.