15 May 2021

The Happy Pear twins team up with Toyota Sandyford

Toyota Sandyford has announced The Happy Pear Twins as the newest ambassadors of the Toyota C-HR Hybrid Sol, writes Trish Whelan.

 The eco-conscious twins, Stephen and Dave Flynn, opted for the C-HR Hybrid Sol as part of their year-long contract which will see them enjoy the eco-benefits of Toyota Hybrid technology. Capable of driving in EV mode up to 62pc of the time, Toyota Hybrids produce fewer harmful emissions than petrol and diesel vehicles.

The twins commented: “Toyota is a brand that we have always admired and respected, particularly for Steve whose first car was a Toyota Starlet, and so this is an exciting venture for both of us. Sustainability has always been at the heart of our beliefs; our motto is to drive less and move more, so we are happy to partner with a brand that is striving for more sustainable driving.”

One Toyota Hybrid can save as much as 1.7 tonnes of C02 versus a petrol car over three years which is the equivalent of planting 25 trees.

The Happy Pear, founded in 2004, is a company that focuses on lifestyle and well-being, offering over 40 products, two wholefood retail cafes and a range of bestselling cookbooks to a community of over 1 million fans.

The C-HR Hybrid Sol is available at the brand's dealerships priced from €38,385 or €250 p/m.

Loughlin Murphy (Dealer Principal, Toyota Sandyford), David Flynn, Zoe Bradley (Head of Marketing Communications at Toyota Ireland), Ian Gamble (Sales Director Toyota Sandyford), and Stephen Flynn are pictured above at the Toyota Sandyford dealership, Dublin 18.


11 May 2021

CUPRA Ireland expands its dealer network

CUPRA Ireland has announced four new retailers to its dealer network in Cork, Dublin, Galway and Waterford, writes Trish Whelan. This brings the number of its retailers across Ireland to eight.

The growing CUPRA range includes the Leon, Leon Sportstourer, Ateca and Formentor models. Formentor (launched in January), Leon and Leon Sportstourer are now also available as e-HYBRID models.

The current CUPRA retailers - Bright Airside (North Dublin), James Barry Motors (Limerick); Johnson and Perrott, Mahon Point (Cork); and McCoy Motors, Lucan (West Dublin) - are this month joined by Finbarr Galvin Ltd (Cork), George Corbett Motors (Waterford), Spirit Motors (South Dublin), and Monaghan & Sons (Galway).

Each retailer will provide an exclusive CUPRA area which will display the brand’s product range and each will have a dedicated CUPRA Specialist, a brand expert who has received specialised training from the CUPRA factory in Martorell, Spain. This dedicated Specialist is the only point of contact throughout the sales and aftersales process for the customer, providing a bespoke and premium personal service. 

CUPRA’s Born will be the brand’s first 100pc electric model when it comes to the Irish market later this year. The CUPRA Tavascan EV will join the range in 2024. 

Niall Phillips, Brand Director for CUPRA and SEAT Ireland is pictured above with the recently launched CUPRA Formentor model.


Pre-registration option for latest Audi electric SUV

Audi Ireland has set up a pre-registration service for potential buyers of the new Q4 e-tron electric SUV, to provide priority access for the first batch of cars when they come to Ireland later this year, writes Brian Byrne.

A €950 refundable deposit is taken at the pre-registration, which will be deducted from the overall price of the car at sale confirmation. The Q4 e-tron will have a starting price of €41,465 including deduction of grants.

The car will offer ranges from 335km-5112km depending on variant chosen. Powertrain choices offer outputs of 170hp-300hp. Two styles will be available, including a Sportback.

Preregistration is available at audietron.ie/en. The Q4 e-tron follows the original e-tron, the e-tron Sportback, and the e-tron GT that has recently gone on sale in Ireland.


10 May 2021

Kia Ireland reveals EV6 prices

Pricing for the new dedicated electric car from Kia, the EV6, will start at €55,000, writes Brian Byrne.

A GT Line grade will be available priced from €59,345. This will have styling details, as well as larger alloys, non-animal leather seats, blind spot view monitors and an augmented reality head-up display. Both prices are before application of the €5,000 SEAI grant. First deliveries are expected in October of 2021, and both versions have a range of over 510km.

Buyers will get a 12-month subscription to the Ionity fast charging service — there are the moment six sites in Ireland — which adds 100km of range in less than 4.5 minutes, and at a reduced electricity cost.


New Qashqai now on sale in Ireland

Nissan's new generation Qashqai is now available to order at a starting price of €30,500, writes Brian Byrne.

The latest version of the crossover first launched in 2007 comes with mild hybrid electrification which provides acceleration boost, extended idle stop and power towards the electrical systems, thus helping to reduce fuel consumption. Two power outputs are available, 138hp and 156hp, the latter offering the option of an automatic transmission.

Specification includes full LED headlights and auto high beam dip as standard, along with active cruise control and emergency braking that recognises pedestrians, cyclists, and junctions. There's also automatic braking with an automatic cross traffic alert system.

The new Qashqai is also easier to enter and exit, notably in the rear with wider-opening rear doors.


New concept from Mercedes-Benz previews electric 7-seater

Mercedes-Benz has revealed a concept of a new electric small family van which will have space for up to seven occupants, writes Brian Byrne.

The Concept EQT is the electric variant of a new van in the Mercedes-Benz range called the T-Class. The vehicle will come with the normal premium interiors and interfaces that are familiar details across the Mercedes-Benz models range.

The new T-Class will be launched in 2022.


Special 212 offers from Cupra

A sales offering from Cupra Ireland for the 212 registration period includes 2.9pc PCP financing across the brand's range, writes Brian Byrne. Online discount vouchers of €1,000 are also available, which can be used against the purchase price of any Cupra model.

The range includes Leon, Leon Sportstourer, Ateca and Formentor (above) models. The Formentor and Leon vehicles are also available as e-hybrid versions.

Buyers of 212 registration Cupras will also get their first three services free.


5 May 2021

SEAT Ireland's 212 offers

SEAT customers’ who purchase a new 212 model can avail of 0pc finance and online discount vouchers of up to €2,000 across a selection of their 212 models which can be used towards the purchase of a new SEAT car, writes Trish Whelan.

Available to download from the www.seat.ie website, the vouchers allow for a discount of €1,000 on the Leon, Leon e-Hybrid, Ibiza and Arona. The company is offering customers who wish to purchase the Ateca, Tarraco or Alhambra, a €2,000 discount off the purchase of their new 212 upgrade. A discounted 3-year service plan is also offered for €9.99 per month. Tarraco is the brand’s largest SUV and is available in SE, Xcellence and FR trims starting at €38,890.

Earlier this year, SEAT launched the new Leon e-Hybrid five-door hatch (pictured above) which handles most commuters’ everyday needs in EV-mode as it is capable of up to 64km on battery power alone twinned with the potent 150hp 1.4 TSI petrol engine to offer a combined 204hp. Prices start from €35,570 for the Xcellence five-door hatch and €37,075 for the Xcellence Sportstourer, dropping to €30,570 and €32,075 respectively for private customers who can benefit from the SEAI grant of €5,000.

Niall Phillips, Brand Director at SEAT Ireland says “While showrooms remain closed due to ongoing restrictions, we are encouraging customers to access our virtual showroom on the website and avail of the online services to help them choose their new SEAT model. All our retailers are offering a click and delivery service.”


1 May 2021

Ford unleashes growling Puma ST

Ford has unleashed a high performance version of its Puma ST which introduces Ford Performance driving dynamics to the compact SUV segment for the first time in Europe, writes Trish Whelan.  

The ST version offers heart-pumping thrills with its 200hp 1.5 EcoBoost engine that can deliver a 0-100km/h time of 6.7 seconds, a top speed of 220km/h (137mph) and 320Nm torque. This is the same turbo petrol engine as in the Fiesta ST.

An optimised chassis features bespoke twist-beam, anti-roll bar and damper configurations. Steering responses are 25pc faster and brakes 17pc larger than the standard Puma. Specially-developed Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres also help deliver the most agile Ford SUV driving experience yet.

The Puma ST is the only small performance SUV in Europe to be offered with an LSD which optimises front-end traction to enhance cornering ability and minimise understeer, in particular on exiting corners.

Drive Modes include a Sport mode, and - for the first time on a Ford Performance car- an Eco mode. The high door line emphasises the sportiness of the car and the bolstered Recaro sports seats hold the driver and front passenger firmly, but comfortably, in place.

This is also a practical car and comes kitted with the Ford MegaBox for best-in-class loadspace of 80 litres of storage beneath the boot floor. This ‘box’ can hold two sets of golf clubs standing up. The total loadspace is 456 litres.

Ford anticipate 6.0 L/100km fuel efficiency and 134g/km C02 emissions (6.9 L/100km and 155 g/km WLTP).

Standard items on the car we drove included 19-inch Magnetite machined alloy wheels; fixed LED signature headlamps; black painted contrast roof; dual chrome exhaust; red brake calipers; the selectable driver modes’ ST suspension; the engine sound enhancer, the Recaro sports seats, an ST flat-bottomed steering wheel and alloy sports pedals.

The ST Performance Pack, at €1,172 was an additional option as was the Driver Assistance Pack at €1,456. The new Puma ST is available from €41,813. The entry price for the standard Puma is from €26,069. (Prices exclude delivery and related charges).

“Real driving enthusiasts aren’t going to settle for less excitement just because life demands a more ‘sensible’ car, so our number one priority was that the Puma ST had to be as exhilarating and capable as every ST model, without sacrificing any of Puma’s practicality,” said Stefan Muenzinger, Ford Performance manager, Europe.

"We believe that we have the best-handling small SUV in its segment. It really does feel connected and has the true ST feel. It is a joy to drive.”

We can endorse that having enjoyed a short introductory test drive in the Puma ST during the past week taking the car through Dublin suburbs and out on to the M50 motorway and really enjoyed hearing enhanced throaty growl of the 3-cylinder engine when we revved it up. The six-speed manual was a pure joy to use but an automatic is available. 

This is a car that can deliver hot-hatchback thrills when appropriate yet behaves perfectly when driven through city suburbs, towns and villages.