20 July 2017

Range Rover Velar goes on sale

The fourth model in the Range Rover lineup has gone on sale in Ireland at a starting price of €62,240, writes Brian Byrne.

The Velar is available with 2.0 and 3.0 diesels and 2.0 and 3.0 diesels, with power outputs between 180hp-380hp, all with automatic transmission.

There are four grades, and all are 4WD with JLR's Terrain Response system.

It is the first Land Rover to use the Lightweight Aluminium Architecture that underpins the Jaguar XE and the F-Pace. It has the same wheelbase as the F-Pace and is built on the same assembly line in Solihull.

The Velar gives Range Rover its first mid-sized SUV and will target the Porsche Macan and BMW X4.

19 July 2017

New Fiesta here at end of the month

The seventh generation Ford Fiesta is arriving in Ireland in two weeks' time at a starting price of €16,550, writes Trish Whelan from the international launch in Valladolid in Spain.

Larger and more roomy than the current car, and targeted at a more upmarket buyer profile, it offers a range of engines including 1.1 normal aspirated and 1.0 turbo 3-cylinder petrol engines, and a 1.5 turbo 3 with 200hp.

Two version of a 1.5 diesel are in the powertrain mix. Five- and 6-speed manuals, and a 6-speed automatic are transmission options.

Active cruise control, lane-keeping assist, road sign recognition, and active parking assist are among the technologies available. These include an enhanced Pedestrian Detection system that for the first time can help prevent collisions at night, and the first Ford Active Park Assist system that can deliver brake interventions to prevent low-speed bumps when parking hands-free.

Grades include Zetec and Titanium which will arrive in showrooms before the end of the month. The ST-Line and Vignale versions will arrive at the end of October, and there is a crossover variant called Fiesta Active due in 2018, as will be a new ST performance version.

"We now have a Fiesta option for every driver, with advanced technologies and features that small-car customers could only have dreamed of just a few years ago," says Ciaran McMahon, chairman and MD of Ford Ireland.

Ciaran McMahon, chairman and MD of Ford Ireland, with the new Fiesta in Valladolid.

Irish Ferries supports Spraoi again

As Waterford gears up for the annual Spraoi Festival, which takes place in the city over the August Bank Holiday Weekend from 4-6 August, Irish Ferries has announced it will once again be lending its support to the event.

Now in its twenty-fifth year, Ireland’s oldest city will host hundreds of performers, an array of street theatre entertainers and countless live music acts likely to create a three-day carnival atmosphere that is unique among Irish festivals.

As the official travel partner for the event, Irish Ferries will assist organisers in attracting participants from overseas by providing transport to all of the acts travelling to Waterford from Britain, France and further afield.

On the Irish Sea, Irish Ferries operates up to 16 daily crossings between Dublin and Holyhead and Rosslare and Pembroke. On its French routes, the Oscar Wilde cruise ferry operates sailings from Rosslare to Cherbourg and Roscoff with the vessel Epsilon operating a weekend return sailing from Dublin to Cherbourg.

Bookings can be made online at irishferries.com or by calling 0818 300 400.

Pictured are Spraoi Festival performer Shauna Farrell and Mark Stuckey, Chief Purser on board the MV Oscar Wilde, at an event to announce Irish Ferries support of this year’s Festival.

Power Insignia to revive Opel performance designation

A new GSi performance version of the Opel Insignia will be available to order in Ireland soon after its debut at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show, writes Brian Byrne.

The designation revives one which has a history going back 33 years to the Manta and Kadett GSi variants.

The new car will have a 260hp 2.0 turbo petrol engine and there will also be a diesel variant. An 8-speed automatic transmission will be used.

The new GSi will be AWD.

Much 'scaremongering' on PCPs is 'unjustified' — Motorcheck.ie

A lot of 'scaremongering' about Personal Contract Plan finance is unjustified, according to one of the main car history checking services, writes Brian Byrne.

Michael Rochford of Motorcheck.ie says PCPs are useful for consumers because they allow many people to enter into flexible car financing with low monthly repayments. "Like any finance agreement, however, the consumer must ensure they fully understand the terms and conditions before they enter into the agreement," he notes in a statement today on car finance statistics.

He adds that the current investigation of PCPs by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission is to be welcomed by the motor trade. "Anything that will help the consumer to fully understand PCP as a finance product will also help to strengthen the confidence of those customers who are suitable for this type of product. There is no doubt that PCP won’t suit everybody, but it’s actually a very good product for people with a predictable budget who want to change their car every three to five years."

The Motorcheck.ie statement reports that overall new car finance has increased by 139pc in three years to the end of 2016, and figures for 2017 to the end of June show that there is a 4% increase in cars being sold on finance for the first six months of this year.

"In 2014 a little under one third (32pc) of all new vehicles sold were financed.  Three years later in 2016 that figure has risen to 51pc of all new vehicles sold are under finance.  This has risen again slightly in the first six months of 2017 where we see that 54pc of vehicles sold have been financed."

Tuscany holiday offer from Travel Department

Travel Department is offering €150 off an amazing trip to Tuscany until 28 July.

Regarded as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, many famous artists including Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci have called Tuscany home throughout the centuries. The area is not only rich in art and culture but is also world renowned for its medieval hill towns, lush vineyards, olive groves and the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa.

On this 7-night holiday you will visit the beautiful city of Florence with its famous Piazza Della Signoria and travel to Lucca, a walled city that was the birthplace of Puccini. You will also visit Siena (above), a city famous for its remarkable sloping square, Piazza del Campo, and the small medieval town of San Gimignano.

A highlight for many is the trip to Pisa, which is home not only to the tower, but also to some magnificent cathedrals and baroque buildings.

The holiday will be based in beautiful Tuscan town of Montecatini with a full day excursion to Florence, an excursion to Siena and San Gimignano as well as an excursion to Pisa and Lucca.

Prices start from €779pp including seven nights 4-star half-board accommodation, return flights from Dublin, transfers and all taxes & charges, with flights departing in August, September and October 2017.

To book call 01 6371600.

Road deaths down, but cyclist fatalities rise

Overall road deaths are down, but the number of cyclists killed in traffic incidents so far this year has doubled to 10 compared to the same period in 2016, writes Brian Byrne.

The provisional figures for road fatalities for the first half of the year by RSA/Garda indicate a total of 77 deaths, among them 34 drivers of vehicles, 11 passengers and 16 pedestrians. Six motorcyclists have died.

The report projects that a further 78 people could die on Ireland's roads to the end of the year.

Of the 34 drivers killed, 29 were male and five were not wearing a seatbelt. Over half of fatalities happened from Saturday to Monday in 2017 and one third of fatalities occurred between 4pm-8pm.

MUTEC opens state of art commercials showroom

Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles dealership MUTEC has brought its all-new, state-of-the-art showrooms on the Long Mile Road into operation, making it one of the most modern commercial vehicle sales centre in Europe at this time.

With indoor space sufficient to display a truck alongside other vehicles, the brightly lit, glass-fronted 400 sq m showrooms presents an impressive front on to the Long Mile Road.

Stylishly finished in subtle tones of grey and black, in accordance with latest Mercedes-Benz corporate design guidelines, its numerous features include a comfortable customer seating areas, customer Wi-Fi facilities and complimentary tea and coffee service.

Marking a further expansion of the MUTEC dealership — whose original building opened in June 1996 within the adjacent Mercedes-Benz complex — the new sales showrooms creates a high-profile presence for the brand at what is one of Dublin’s busiest intersections.

Mercedes-Benz Ireland chief executive Stephen Byrne said the showroom 'is a further indication of our commitment to Mercedes-Benz and of our willingness to support the brand at all levels'.

“This is reflected elsewhere within our organisation through new sales appointments and in dealership developments that are currently in the pipeline,” Mr Byrne said.

British Rallycross back to Mondello

Top Line Rallycross is back at Mondello Park on the weekend of 22/23 July with the return of the British Rallycross Championship following a year's absence, writes Fergus Brennan. The Toyo Tyres British Championship will combine with the Parts for Cars Irish Championship for a festival of Rallycross in a unique double header that will see competitors from the two series compete side by side.

Rallycross is on the up worldwide and the return of the burgeoning British Championship will create the biggest Supercar line-up seen at Mondello Park since the circuit's European Rallycross heyday in the 1980s. Seventeen four wheel drive Rallycross monsters will line-up to do battle in two separate championship rounds over two days.

Over the course of the weekend drivers and their fans will be treated to racing on two very different circuits. Day one will see the drivers tackle an anti-clockwise track lay-out which features a start line right under the main straight Grandstand and a very long fast run to turn one, Southside Motor Factors corner. Other features are the fast left hander onto the main straight, again in full view of the Grandstand, and a Joker Lap which runs from the exit of Southside corner to Irish Ferries on the tarmac race circuit.

Sunday's event will revert to the more familiar clockwise Rallycross Track which has provided so much fantastic action over the years. Spectators in the Grandstand will this time have the best seats in the house for the Turn 1 sort out as well as being able to see the run up to the 'Hole in the Hedge' and across to the loose surface at Rallycross 2.

The Supercar entry list is headed by Irish European Rallycross Championship front runners Ollie O'Donovan and Derek Tohill in a pair of Ford Fiestas. Joining them on their home turf will be a strong line-up of British Championship drivers, many of who have extensive European and World Rallycross experience, including an old Irish favourite, Tony Bardy, who will race at Mondello Park for the first time since 2005.

The two wheel drive Modified Division will push the Supercars hard to be the top entertainers over the weekend with twenty five drivers entered. Competition between the Irish and British Championship will be hot, and with many of the visitors having previous track experience, the locals will not have it all their own way. Lotus Exige driver Paige Bellerby has won all three races in the British Championship so far and will come to Kildare looking to continue that run. To do so she will have to get by the top three from the Irish Championship, Willie Coyne and Padraig Leeson with their Opel Corsas and Lloyd Spendlove with his Lotus.

A fantastic entry of more than 100 racers will compete at Mondello Park across a number of divisions, including the one make BMW Mini, Suzuki Swift, and Fiesta classes, alongside Production Cars, Super 1600, RX 150 Buggies, Rallycars and separate divisions for British and Irish Junior drivers.

Tickets for the two-day Festival of Rallycross can be purchased from the Mondello Park web site and are available at reduced on-line prices. Camping packages are also available and details of these can be found on the event page on the Mondello Park web site, along with information on all of the weekends entertainment, which includes music and a Barbecue on the Saturday evening.

18 July 2017

Daimler to recall 3m diesel cars in Europe

Daimler, parent company of Mercedes-Benz, is to recall 3m diesel cars in Europe to adjust them for nitrogen oxide emissions, writes Brian Byrne.

The recall will cost around €220m and the adjustments will be carried out at no cost to customers.

It relates to almost all Euro5 and Euro6 engines in Europe. In a statement today, the company added that the new 4-cylinder diesel engines launched in the new E-Class last year will be introduced across its complete models range.

In May, police and state criminal authorities searched Daimler sites in Germany following allegations of possible manipulation of exhaust gas treatment systems in diesel cars.

Classic Tuscany for less

Montecatini
Travel Department is offering €150 off an amazing trip to Tuscany for a limited time only, specially chosen by Travel Department Product Executives who are experts on Italy and responsible for organising Travel Department’s ever-popular Italian getaways, writes Trish Whelan.

Tuscan landscape San Gimignano
Regarded as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, many famous artists including Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci have called Tuscany home throughout the centuries. The area is not only rich in art and culture but is also world renowned for its medieval hill towns, lush vineyards, olive groves and the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Cathedral Santa Maria Del Fiore
On this 7-night holiday you will visit the beautiful city of Florence with its famous Piazza Della Signoria and travel to Lucca, a walled city that was the birthplace of Puccini.

Sienna
You will also visit Siena, a city famous for its remarkable sloping square, Piazza del Campo, and the small medieval town of San Gimignano. A highlight for many is the trip to Pisa, which is home not only to the tower, but also to some magnificent cathedrals and baroque buildings. Join this Italian adventure which has the perfect mix of culture, relaxation and history. The holiday will be based in beautiful Tuscan town of Montecatini with a full day excursion to Florence, an excursion to Siena & San Gimignano as well as an excursion to Pisa & Lucca.

Prices start from €779pp* including 7 nights’ 4-star half board accommodation, return flights from Dublin, transfers and all taxes & charges, with flights departing in August, September and October 2017.

*The special offer runs until 28 July. Call 01 - 6371600