18 February 2021
Nissan's latest generation of the Qashqai crossover was unveiled globally this morning in a virtual presentation, writes Brian Byrne.
First launched in 2007, more than 3m units of the nameplate have been sold across Europe. In Ireland, some 50,000 owners have driven Qashqais. The car had first been designed in a concept sketch in 2002 looking at the possibility of a mix between SUV and hatchback and Nissan is credited with starting the compact crossover segment. A second generation debuted in 2013.
This third generation has a much stronger look from all angles. There are clear cues from the current generation of Nissan's Leaf, especially at the rear section. It comes with a longer wheelbase, and 20-inch wheels for the first time, and the overall car is longer, taller and wider than before. The cargo space has been increased by more than 70 litres. Lighting is by enhanced matrix LEDs. A new interior includes a more upgraded finish and materials The digital instrumentation can be widely customised to suit an owner's preferences.
Two electrified powertrains are offered, including a mild hybrid available from launch. The second one will use a hybrid system, dubbed e-Power, by which the wheels are driven by electric motor and the petrol engine is used to charge the battery energy source.
Power outputs of the mild hybrid versions will be 138hp and 156hp, with AWD available on the latter. The e-Power hybrid offers 187hp combined from the petrol motor and the electric one.
Pricing for Ireland will be announced in the summer.
17 February 2021
Ford is to invest $1 billion in a transformation of its vehicle assembly plant in Cologne to be the company's European manufacturing centre for electric vehicles, writes Brian Byrne.
In a virtual press conference this morning, Stuart Rowley, president, Ford of Europe, also said that all of the company's passenger vehicles in Europe will be zero-emission capable, all-electric or plug-in hybrid by mid-2026, and will be completely all-electric four years later. The first European-built, volume all-electric passenger vehicle for European customers will be produced at Cologne from 2023, and the company is considering a second vehicle for the facility.
Ford's commercial vehicles range will be zero-emissions capable, all-electric or plug-in hybrid, by 2024, and by 2030, two-thirds of its commercial vehicle sales are expected to be all-electric or plug-in hybrid. Last year Ford achieved its sixth successive year as the leading commercial vehicle sales brand in Europe.
Rowley said that the pandemic had reinforced the critical part commercial vehicles play in the world, and that Ford is also investing heavily in connected solutions for fleets so businesses can serve customers in a different way. He also noted that the company is investing $7 billion in autonomous technology over the next four years.
Globally, Ford is investing at least $22 billion in electrification through 2025, which represents a doubling of its previous commitments to the technology.
Mitsubishi yesterday unveiled its new generation Outlander, but we won't be seeing it on this side of the world, writes Brian Byrne. This is despite the fact that the current Outlander is one of the most successful PHEV cars in sales across Europe.
But Mitsubishi is pulling out of Europe to concentrate on the US and South East Asia markets.
The new version, which will include a PHEV variant, has very strong styling in front, and a brand new interior.
15 February 2021
Jaguar has committed to produce only electric models from 2025, writes Brian Byrne.
In a statement this morning, Jaguar Land Rover said that all models from the two brands will be offered with an electric version by the end of the decade. The first all-electric Land Rover vehicle will be on sale in 2024.
By 2030, the company anticipates that 60pc of Land Rover sales will be electric, with six EV models available. JLR CEO Thierry Bolloré also said the company, owned by the Indian Tata Motors group, will be a 'net-zero-carbon' operation by 2039.
11 February 2021
Skoda has released a teaser for its new Fabia, the popular supermini model which will have its new generation premiere in the spring, writes Brian Byrne.
It will be the fourth generation of the car, and will be roomier than the current model because it will based on the Volkswagen Group's Modular Transverse Toolkit MQB-A0 for the first time.
The teaser shows the roofline, which hints at the new proportions.
The latest petrol engines from the VW Group will power the new car.
Ford is introducing hybrid versions of its S-Max sports activity vehicle to Ireland in May, writes Brian Byrne.
The 7-seat car is claimed to offer a 10pc CO2 emissions advantage over the diesel equivalent, which translates also into a fuel economy advantage.
There will also be a hybrid version of the Galaxy MPV, using the same 190hp powertrain as the S-Max. Pricing and grade details available closer to launch.
10 February 2021
Whether we get the levels of snow and ice forecast, it's still a potentially dangerous time for driving, writes Brian Byrne. SEAT in Ireland has issued a reminder to all drivers about basic safety tips which anyone can make a habit, and should do.
They include making sure your tyres are safe, with tread that's more that the legal minimum of 1.6mm. Check pressures, and for any cuts that could mean a blowout.
Visibility is important when driving at any time, but be sure to remove any snow and ice BEFORE you drive off, including snow that might be gathered on the roof. If you're driving in fog, SLOW DOWN and keep your distance from other cars. Also switch off foglights when you're in the clear again.
Make sure you have enough fuel before starting a journey, and pack emergency supplies of torch, water, a bar of chocolate, warm clothing including boots in case you have to walk through snow.
Generally, just have a think before starting a journey in poor conditions, is the trip necessary? If it is, be prepared.