13 December 2018

Kia Race Series 2019 details

Kia Ireland is running its road race series again in 2019, in association with Pop Up Races, writes Brian Byrne.

It's hoped that the Kia Race Series 2019 will add more records to the eight set by the 2018 series.

The male and female winner of the Kia Race Series will get to drive a brand-new Kia Stonic for one year and there is the added incentive of €9,000 bonus funds on offer for course records. Kia will also be offering a “Masters” (O40 in year of series) prize of a trip for two to the European Masters for both male and female winners.

There are nine regional races in seven counties across Ireland in this year’s series which will start in March with The Streets of Portlaoise 5K. It is open to all abilities and is encouraging runners to #runyourrace, be it for fun, to set a personal best or to take on your first 5k. For more details and to enter on-line go to popupraces.ie.

The Calendar of the series is:

1. Streets of Portlaoise 5k: 17th March, 11am

2. Streets of Kilkenny 5k: 18th April 7:30pm

3. Bob Heffernan (Enfield, Co. Meath) 5k: Tuesday May 21st 8pm

4. Braveheart 5k (Trim), June 14th 8pm

5. Dunshaughlin (Meath) 10k Road Race: Saturday June 22nd, 7:30pm

6. Roscommon 10 Mile: July 6th, 10:30am

7. Edenderry (Offaly): 10 Mile, July 21st 9:30am

8. Castlepollard 5k (Westmeath) Wednesday Aug 14th, 8pm

9. The Lakes 10k (Blessington/Wicklow) September 7th, 11am

The 2019 series was launched by Olympians Kerry O’Flaherty and Mick Clohisey.

Toyota plans January hybrid roadshow visits

New Toyota Camry hybrid.
Toyota's 2019 range of hybrid cars will be rolled around the country in January in a roadshow visiting dealerships, writes Brian Byrne.

The convoy will include the Camry Hybrid, Corolla Saloon Hybrid, RAV4 Hybrid, Corolla Touring Sport Hybrid and Corolla Hatchback Hybrid. They will be visiting two dealerships a day during weekdays and one per day on weekend days, starting in Dublin on Thursday, January 3rd and travelling county by county until January 30th.

Entertainment and appearances from local celebrity brand ambassadors will be part of the dealership visits. Toyota's 191 offers include three years' Servicing as standard on all new models, three years of free 24hr Roadside Assistance, and Trade In-Trade Up Booster of up to €3,000.

Honda mulls autonomous fire-fighting ATV

This is a prototype autonomous work vehicle from Honda that could end up in production for applications ranging from agriculture to fighting forest fires, writes Brian Byrne.

Honda is reported to be seriously considering production of the vehicle, which is based on its existing and highly respected all-terrain vehicle chassis. For the prototype, the company has integrated GPS and sensor-based self driving technology.

It is on test in a number of real world scenarios in various parts of the US.

Details of Skoda Kodiaq RS

The first SUV from Skoda to carry the RS performance livery is now available to order in Ireland, writes Brian Byrne.

The Kodiaq RS will be arriving shortly in dealerships priced at €62,295. It is powered by a 240hp diesel and 4x4 and dual-clutch automatic are both standard.

External style cues include gloss black details on the grille, window frames and mirror housings, as well as anthracite coloured alloy wheels.

The interior of the 7-seat car includes as standard the Volkswagen Group's 'virtual cockpit', Alcantara leather seats and carbon and red detailing.

Skoda Ireland expects to sell 50 Kodiaq RS units next year as part of a total number o f2,200 Kodiaqs.

11 December 2018

BMW 3 Series prices, details

The seventh generation BMW 3 Series goes on sale in Ireland in March, and its plug-in hybrid version will have a extra 10km of electric only range, writes Brian Byrne.

The company says the latest version will have sportier handling and better steering, and innovative technology will include more advanced autonomous driving systems.

Three grades will be available at launch, SE, Sport and M Sport. From the lowest grade, specification will include extended LEDs, a reversing camera, and park assist, as well as 3-zone air conditioning and acoustic glazing.

The top end M Sport gets a 'digital cockpit' instrumentation and a larger central screen.

Nine of the eleven offerings at launch will be diesel powered, with petrol reserved for automatic Sport and M Sport models.

The price range will be €42,770-€53,460.

10 December 2018

First Drive: Revised Renault Kadjar

A revised version of Renault's Kadjar SUV will be appearing in the brand's Irish dealerships over the next couple of weeks, writes Brian Byrne.

The car, which has been highly successful globally for Renault since its launch in 2015, now looks a little stronger, and has been tweaked inside to provide a bit more of a premium feel.

A pair of new petrol engines will give the Kadjar more traction in the growing shift away from diesel, while the diesel engine offering is now both more powerful and efficient.

With the revisit, the car takes on the trim names and specifications already rolled out in other Renault models in the Irish and British markets. There are four for the Kadjar — Play, Iconic, S-Edition, and GT-Line.

Kadjar continues to be available in both FWD and AWD formats, though in the Irish market the latter only represents around 2pc of the model's sales.

The new turbocharged petrol engine is the result of a joint venture with Daimler and comes at the moment in 140hp and 160hp forms, with substantial torque available from as low as 1500rpm in the smaller power version. The diesels are a 1.5 115hp, and a 1.7 150hp.

Transmissions are six-speed manual or Renault's EDC dual clutch automatic.

Prices for the revised car have not yet been revealed, but a starting price is expected in the region of €27,000 which lines with the opening prices of main competitors. This represents an increase on the outgoing Kadjar's base price of around €25,500.

Renault Ireland says new fuel economy levels under the WLTP regime are a significant factor in price rises, while a VRT increase on diesel cars also comes into effect from 1 January.

During a pretty substantial drive at the international launch event in Sardinia, the company showed its trust in the ability of the Kadjar by sending us on some quite difficult mountain trails in the south of the island. Even though the cars were only FWD, they were more than able for the conditions. From this driver's perspective, I felt absolutely confident in the car's ability in occasionally extreme conditions.

The updated Kadjar has a solid place in the brand's SUV offering, between the Captur and the new this year Koleos. Given that the SUV element of the C segment has quadrupled in size since 2007, the model looks well set to build strongly on the 450,000 units sold since it was first launched.