6 December 2019

New Renault Captur gets top marks

Renault’s All-New Captur SUV has been awarded the maximum 5-star Euro NCAP safety test rating, writes Trish Whelan.

Based on the new modular platform of the CMF-B Alliance, the New Captur joins the New Clio (also 5 stars) on the list of the safest vehicles.

It benefits from an optimised body structure, revised seat structures and seat belt fasteners designed to provide optimal support for all occupants with pyrotechnic pre-tensions and force limiters.

New features include the option of a 360-deg camera and active emergency braking with cyclist and pedestrian detection, which are both firsts in the Renault range. The highlight is the Highway & Traffic Jam Companion which is rare in the small SUV class and provides significantly improved comfort and tranquility when driving. This advanced driver assistance system constitutes a first step towards autonomous vehicles.

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) available on the New Captur include Driving, Parking and Safety which together form the Renault Easy Drive system. Their settings are easy to adjust from the Renault Easy Link multimedia system touchscreen.

Renault claim the New Captur offers the best in safety for the market-leading urban SUV.

Adams of Glin’s Peugeot lifetime achievement award

Adams of Glin, Main Peugeot Dealer for Co Limerick, has been presented with a Peugeot lifetime achievement award in recognition of 50 years with the Peugeot franchise, writes Trish Whelan.

The presentation was made to father and son, Sean and Shane Adams, at a black-tie event to mark Gowan Distributors (Peugeot Importer in Ireland) 50 years in business.

Held at the Intercontinental Hotel Dublin on 30 November, the celebrations were attended by 222 staff, shareholders, the Smith-Maughan family and board members, representatives from the PSA Group from Paris and the Peugeot Dealer Network of Ireland.

Des Cannon, Managing Direction, Peugeot Ireland said: “On the occasion of our 50th anniversary, it has given me great pleasure to see Adams of Glin presented with this lifetime achievement award to mark the 50 years we have shared together as partners. Gowan Distributors has thrived for half a century, thanks to the loyalty, tenacity and passion of our Dealer partners and I thank Adams of Glin for their unwavering support and the crucial part they have played to build a strong Peugeot profile in Co Limerick over five decades.”

He added that Shane Adams and his team have demonstrated continued drive and energy to bring the lion-brand to new heights in the county. He congratulated them on another ‘incredible performance’ in 2019.

Peugeot holds a steady 6.4 per cent of the total new car and van market in Limerick in 2019.

On behalf of his father and himself, Shane Adams thanked Gowan Distributors for their support and encouragement and congratulated them on ‘their wonderful history thus far in Ireland’. He added: “I would also like to take this opportunity to thank each and every customer who came through our door this year without whom we would not be celebrating this award. I thank my entire team at Adams of Glin who work so hard to put our customers first every time.”

Sean Adams served his time as a mechanic in his youth before starting the Adams of Glin business in the 1940s as a motor service operation. It soon developed into a second hand car sales outlet and following a period of rapid success, Sean was aptly appointed to the Peugeot Dealer Network in 1969. The dealership has carried the blue flag for the lion-brand in Co Limerick ever since.

Pictured above at the celebration were Shane Adams, Dealer Principal, with Nodlaig Adams; and Marie and Sean Adams.

4 December 2019

VW Crafter sees huge rise in sales here

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles are celebrating the success for their Crafter van on a number of fronts, at home and abroad, writes Trish Whelan.

In Poland where the Crafter is produced alongside its MAN TGE sibling, the plant has just produced its 200,000th vehicle since the autumn of 2016. Here at home, the sales of the Crafter have increased by 84 per cent compared to the same period in 2018.

Since September 2018, the Wrzesnia plant in Poland where Crafter is produced has been running three shifts per day with daily production of 420 vehicles.

Volkswagen Crafter
Alan Bateson, Director of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles says he isn’t surprised by the success of the new model which is offered with two different wheelbases, three lengths, three roof heights; with front-, rear, or all-wheel drive; as well as an endless number of conversion solutions.

To celebrate the production milestones and the van’s success in Ireland, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles are offering a €4,000 upgrade bonus on orders placed by 31 December and HP finance is available form 0pc and PCP finance from 3.9pc. There are also lease options from €350 per month.

Shown below is an aerial shot of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle’s plant in Wrzesnia, Poland, where a workforce of more than 3,000 produce the Crafter and MAN TGE, as well as custom vehicles based on the two models. 

3 December 2019

Alcosense Lite 2 breathalyser for ‘morning after’

Christmas is the season of office parties and catching up and celebrating with friends and family. However, over-indulging the night before can mean it is easy to have alcohol in your system the next morning.

Over 1,000 arrests for drink driving were made over the Christmas period last year and the new laws which came into effect over a year ago mean that first-time drink-driving offenders will be automatically banned from driving for three months if caught with between 50 - 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, equivalent to 0.22 - 0.35 milligrams of alcohol per litre of breath. Previously, drivers caught at these levels received three penalty points and a fine … but no driving ban.

Now you can test yourself the next morning with the AlcoSense Lite 2 digital personal breathalyser.

Designed in the UK by racing driver and businessman Hunter Abbott, it gives you clear results in seconds. All you need for a reading is to turn the unit on, wait for it to count down to zero, then blow until it beeps (about 6 seconds).

The AlcoSense Lite 2 brings increased levels of reliability and precision thanks to an upgraded sensor, sampling system and simplified operation.

Using the company’s latest semi-conductor sensor technology, it boasts an industry-leading accuracy in this price bracket. It has an adjustable warning system that features a ‘Don’t Drive’ alert, both on screen and audibly.

The life of the Lite 2 breathalyser is extended by a cleaning system that removes oxidisation and contaminants from the sensor. 

Sleekly designed in white, the pocket-sized AlcoSense Lite 2 is available priced at €53.00, from Halfords or online at www.alcosense.ie.

Opel’s Vivaro goes electric

Opel continues its electrification offensive with the Vivaro van to also be offered in a pure battery electric version as of 2020, writes Trish Whelan.

The Vivaro-e extends Opel’s range of particularly efficient light commercial vehicles.

Customers can then choose between two sizes of battery, depending on their needs: a 50kWh battery for a range of up to 200kms or a 75kWh battery for up to 300km (according to WLTP).

With emission-free deliveries becoming increasingly important in urban areas, the demand for purely electric light commercial vehicles will increase accordingly. 

The Vivaro-e is based on the group’s variable MP2 platform which enables the use of conventional as well as electrified powertrains.

The Opel Vivaro No. 3 is available in three lengths instead of two (4.60 metres, 4.95m and 5.30m); has a 200kg higher payload of up to 1,400kgs and can pull half a ton more (trailer load up to 2,500kg). Most versions of the new Vivaro are also only 1.90m high and can therefore access underground parking. 

Numerous top technologies and assistance systems, from IntelliGrip adaptive traction control and 18-degree panorama rear view camera to multimedia infotainment are available as options. Features such as sensor-controlled sliding doors and the FlexCargo load-through make an operator’s working day easier. 

The next electric LCV, the Opel Combo-e, will arrive in 2021.

Electrified versions of the Opel Combo Life, Combo Cargo and Zafira Life will arrive in 2021.

All Opel models will be electrified by 2024 when customers can choose an electric variant of each model. 

New VW T-Roc due here in early 2020

The Volkswagen R range is set to grow in early 2020 with the arrival of the new T-Roc R, writes Trish Whelan.

With 300hp and 400Nm of torque from the 2.0 TSI engine, the T-Roc R can accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 4.8 seconds and on to a top speed of around 250 km/h (where permitted!).

The brand says the T-Roc R compact SUV is every bit the R model following on from the Golf R. It features many of the styling cues of its performance sibling with bumpers in R styling, air intakes with black fins and R logo in the black radiator grille. There are also LED headlights. Daytime running lights are now integrated vertically into the front bumper and have been specifically designed for the T-Roc R. LED taillights are glazed in dark red, typical of R styling. The two tail pipes have been chrome plated and there’s the option of an ‘R’ Performance titanium exhaust system which adds a more distinctive sound and cuts weight by 7kg.

The T-Roc R comes with a 7-speed DSG transmission, with paddles, as standard and 4MOTION all-wheel drive. It also gets a sports suspension with driving mode selection and an optionally activated traction control system.

Cutting-edge driver assist systems include the standard Driver Alert System and the automatic Emergency Call Service as well as the Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control. Also standard is Adaptive Cruise Control, Front Assist Autonomous Emergency Braking and Lane Assist. Optional items include Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Traffic Alert.

The T-Roc R can now be ordered from Volkswagen dealerships. Deliveries will start in early 2020 priced from €53,750. 

29 November 2019

Ford VR project gives van drivers a cyclist’s eyeview

Delivery drivers have tried a unique virtual reality experience that allows users to see the world from either a cyclist’s or a driver’s point of view in a virtual space, writes Trish Whelan.

The aim of the award-winning WheelSwap virtual reality experience - part of Ford’s Share The Road campaign - is to encourage people to make a few small changes to the way they drive or cycle so that everyone is a bit safer on the road.

More than 35 drivers from consumer delivery firm Hermes took part in the training at tone of the firm’s London depots. Hermes delivers 390 million parcels a year and employs thousands of drivers across its network.

The exercise provided an opportunity for drivers to see the road from a different perspective, with 88 per cent agreeing that the experience would encourage them to change their behaviour.

There are more people on our roads than ever before, and an increasing number of them are cyclists. Share The Road is Ford’s campaign aimed at improving road safety for everyone whether they’re travelling on four wheels or two.

New Subaru Forester e-BOXER now on sale

Subaru Ireland have launched their all-new Forester e-BOXER, with prices starting at €45,545, writes Trish Whelan.

The Forester e-BOXER features custom-built horizontally-opposed powertrains combining motor-assist with two of Subaru’s core technologies: Boxer engine and Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive as standard, and an improved X-Mode system.

Since its first launch in 1997, the Forester has proved popular very among customers. The fifth generation model continues the brand’s lineage and heritage in this new model which is built on the Subaru Global Platform.

Subaru say it offers ‘new dynamic values that result in superior handling and stability, improved hazard avoidance performance, more responsive steering, exceptionally low vibrations and driving comfort’.

Forester e-BOXER incorporates a direct-injection 2.0 horizontally opposed, four-cylinder engine, featuring 80pc new components, paired with an electric motor within the customised Lineartronic transmission. The electric motor and the battery pack are aligned longitudinally. The heavy motor is placed near the car’s centre of gravity while the battery and other components are arranged above the rear axle. 

Depending on the vehicle and battery condition, it can drive on EV-Mode for distances ranging up to about 1.6km and reach speeds up to 80km/h. Fuel consumption can be reduced by up to 11pc compared to the outgoing 2.0 petrol version. 

Drivers can choose between ‘Intelligent’ and ’Sport’ modes. 

Subaru claim towing capacity of 1,870kg is best in class. With 220mm of ground clearance, along with the widest possible approach and departure angles, the Forester e-BOXER is well suited for off-road adventures.

This new Forester -BOXER is the most technologically advanced Subaru to date equipped with a host of new Advanced Safety technologies as standard such as EyeSight Driver Assist and Driver Monitoring System.

Standard items for the XE model include LED Headlights, Keyless entry, Electrically adjustable driver’s seat. The XE Premium edition (at €49,245) includes 18-inch alloys, a sunroof, leather seats, satellite navigation, heated rear seats and heated steering wheel.

28 November 2019

New Mercedes-Benz GLB 7-seater on the way

New Mercedes-Benz GLB SUV

Mercedes-Benz has raised its SUV range offerings to a new level with the launch of their new GLB to the compact SUV segment, writes Trish Whelan.

It is one of 22 newcomers from the luxury carmaker set to arrive here in 2020. 

It’s likely to appeal to families with children to transport as it gives the option of seven seats.

While it stays within the current eight-strong Mercedes-Benz compact car family (alongside the A-Class, A-Class Saloon, B-Class, CLA Coupe, CLA Shooting Brake and GLA), the brand says this new GLB blows open the definition of a compact car by offering exceptional levels of spaciousness and passenger capacity not naturally associated with its category. 

New GLB is the first Merc in its class to offer a third row, seven-seat option. The additional two bucket seats are fully retractable and provide seating for small passengers. The second row seats split 40:60.

The GLB has the longest wheelbase of the brand’s current compact generation. Rear legroom in the five-seat version is said to be ‘especially comfortable’.

The new GLB is powered by updated four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, all with increased power, improved efficiency and reduced emissions.

Petrol models - all with 7G/8G automatic transmission, are: GLB 200 (1332cc), GLB 250 (1991cc), and GLB35 4MATIC AMG (1991cc).

Euro 6d diesels models - all 1950cc with 8G automatic transmission - are: GLB 180d, GLB 200d, GLB 220d 4MATIC (Nm 320), and GLB 220d 4MATIC (Nm 400). 

The distinctive exterior points to the off-road focus of the GLB’s design, with its upright front section, headlamp design, and short front and rear overhangs. Optional is 4MATIC all-wheel drive and a special off-road light which helps detect obstacles in front of the car at low speeds.

Three design and equipment lines are Style, Progressive and AMG.

An exclusive boldly coloured Edition 1 model is also available but only in the first year after market launch.

Inside, GLB will have a high-quality interior, with off-road design influences reflected in its instrumentation and controls, steering wheel, aluminium-look dashboard, doors and centre console highlights.

Left hand version of GLB
With the BMUX user experience system, its other features include two 7-inch instrument cluster and media displays with touch screen facility, a sports steering wheel with touch control buttons, a USB port and Bluetooth connection for telephone and audio. 

Numerous driver assistance systems include camera and radar systems that can scan the road up to 500 metres ahead and drive in semi-automated mode. In certain situations, speed can adjust ahead of bends, junctions or roundabouts aided by map, navigation and distance information data.

GLB models and prices will be announced closer to arrival date.