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The Fiat 500S

New sportier Fiat 500S launches

In the aftermath of the recently launched 500L, the Fiat 500 family continues to grow with the introduction of a new 500S, which brings a sportier look to the range. Inspired by Abarth editions of previous Fiat’s, the new car is designed to appeal to those who want the look of something a bit out of the ordinary, combined with affordable running costs. The 500S gets new front and rear bumpers, new side skirts, a boot-lid mounted rear spoiler, dark chrome detailing, chrome exhaust, rear privacy glass and new alloy wheels. A total of eight body colours are available now, with matt black available soon. The interior features new sports seats, a flat bottomed steering wheel and red detailing on the seats, wheel and gear lever. A matt silver dashboard also makes an appearance. Powering is provided either from the 69 bhp 1.2 petrol or the 85 bhp TwinAir turbo petrol. Both models come with air conditioning, Blue & Me …

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The Fiesta ST is a real pocket rocket

Fiesta ST brings back joy of driving

I was driving up to the All-Ireland last Friday and as I passed a Cork car on the motorway, I thought ‘Ha! In 24 hours we’ll have the beating of ye.’ Then I was struck with a horrible thought. My test car that week was a Ford and Ford being a  Cork firm, the car was registered in Cork. For a good Bannerman like myself it was almost unthinkable to be driving a flame-red Cork registered car at a time like this. I hate those little flags that attach to car windows with a passion but if you offered me one that night I’d have snapped your arm off. At least by way of compensation, I was driving something rather special. The Fiesta ST is a hot hatch from the old school, with a simple philosophy of a stiff chassis, meaty wheels and a powerful engine driving the front wheels. As part of the never ending drive for efficiency, downsizing …

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Honda CR-V

Honda announces pricing for new CR-V 1.6 diesel

Honda has confirmed launch pricing for their CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC 2WD SUV. Arriving in Honda Dealerships nationwide from October 21st, the CR-V will offer class-leading fuel economy and CO2 emissions from €31,995. The CR-V is powered by the 1.6 litre diesel engine already employed in the Civic. The lightest engine of its type in the world, it offers impressive emissions of just 119 g/km, resulting in annual road tax of €200. Fuel economy is aided by Honda’s stop start system and claimed fuel economy of 4.5 l/100 km means a theoretical range of 1280 km from a full tank of diesel. The CR-V is a proper family sized SUV, with 1,669 litres of luggage available. Standard equipment includes dual-zone climate control, 17″ alloy wheels, cruise control, folding rear seats, electric windows, alarm, usb audio and daytime running lights. The new CR-V brings Honda straight into the family car market with a well priced offering. The full fat 4wd version is …

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Alfa Romeo 4C

4C brings Alfa Romeo back to sports cars

Alfa Romeo’s breathtaking 4C sportscar has been launched although it will be a short while before it hits these shores. Styled in the same vein as the larger 8C Competizione, it has to be one of the best looking cars to be introduced by any marque. The mid-engined car is powered by a new, aluminium turbocharged petrol engine. Although it might seem small at just 1750cc, it develops 240 bhp and 350Nm of torque, both records for specific power for this size of engine. The engine is twinned with the latest TCT twin clutch semi-automatic gearbox and Alfa’s DNA driving mode selector, which in this application also comes with a race mode. The chassis is made of carbon fibre, endowing the car with great strength and light weight. The weight of the chassis is a remarkably low 65 kgs, while the car as a whole has a dry weight of 895 kg and a 40:60 front:rear weight distribution. 0-100 km/h …

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SsangYong Rodius

Rodius new to Ireland

SsangYong are making a comeback in Ireland. They have already launched the Korando, earlier this year and that model has now been joined by the Rodius, which is being launched at the National Ploughing Championships this week in Co Laois. The Rodius is a full seven seater and this time around, it’s powered by Ssangyong’s own diesel engine, a 2.0 litre unit producing 155 bhp. At this stage, let’s deal with the elephant in the room. The old Rodius – in fact all Ssangyong’s – were hideously ugly. They looked ungainly from all angles and faces that not even a mother could love. Happily, the first time I saw a Korando, I didn’t know what it was until I got closer and I thought it was a very good looking design. The same can be said for the Rodius, which has a distinctly upright, almost American inspired look. It’s going to be one of the largest MPVs on the Irish …

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Suzuki SX4 S-Cross

Suzuki’s new Crossover is on the way

Suzuki are bringing a brand new Crossover onto the Irish market. The SX4 S-Cross goes on sale in mid October, priced from €19,995. The new car is available in a choice of two or four wheel drive and with either a 1.6 litre petrol or diesel engine. In 2WD trim, the diesel engine emits just 110g/km of CO2, equating to 4.2 l/100 km. All models get seven airbags, ESP, tyre pressure monitoring, DRL, bluetooth, cruise control with speed limiter, air conditioning, heated door mirrors and a space saver tyre. GL+ trim gets spoked alloy wheels, dual zone climate control, front fog lamps, rear privacy glass, silver roof rails and silver skid plates. Top of the range GLX gets front and rear parking sensors, ALLGRIP 4WD, leather upholstery, a world-first double sliding panoramic sunroof, electric retractable mirrors, 17” alloys, HID projector headlamps, headlamp washers and LED DRL. Both 1.6 litre engines, whether petrol or diesel, produce power of 120 bhp, although …

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Peugeot 308

All New Peugeot 308 guns for Golf

Another car aimed squarely at our January market is Peugeot’s brand new second generation 308. The last few models from Peugeot have subtly moved the marque upmarket, with better interiors and higher quality materials employed to enhance showroom appeal. The new 308 is up to 140 kilos lighter than the model it replaces, a saving of over 10% and the claim is that it’s now the lightest car in the class. Peugeot are embracing the trend of downsized petrol engines, with a 1.2 litre triple producing 82 bhp in base trim, although power outputs up to 130 bhp are also available. We don’t yet know whether these variants will make it to these shores however. Inside, there’s a minimalist look to the dashboard, with major controls accommodated on a large 10″ touchscreen. This and the eye-level instrument panel are referred to collectively by Peugeot as ‘i-cockpit’ and we can expect similar designs on future models from the French manufacturer.

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Opel Insignia

New Insignia takes the stage at Frankfurt

Although the star of the Opel stand at Frankfurt was their gorgeous Monza concept, back in the real world, we had the Insignia. Although described as a new car, it really is more an extensive facelift. It’s recognisably an Insignia but in every way it has been improved – dramatically in some areas. Inside, you’ll find a refreshed interior, with an impressive 8″ touchscreen to control various systems in the car, including audio and communications. The touchscreen is joined by a mousepad affair between the seats and I’m told that this advanced tech will be standard on all bar the base model when the car reaches Ireland before the end of the year. Next month, we’ll have a chance to drive the car on Irish roads and experience the new 1.6 litre turbo, which delivers a very impressive 170 bhp and is said to have exceptional fuel economy. A 70 litre tank makes this an ideal choice for company drivers …

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Opel designer, Mark Adams at the launch of his creation, the Monza. Looking on is Opel CEO, Dr Karl-Thomas Neumann.

Opel Monza reincarnated

Opel revealed their latest concept car, the Monza, at a pre-show conference on Monday. Taking its name from the Opel back catalogue, the Monza is an interpretation of how future Opels will look. The interior, too, is a statement, using LED projection technology for the instrument panel and infotainment systems to create one of the most advanced cabins ever seen on a car. 18 LED projectors create an infinitely variable environment and given that they are controlled by software, it’s theoretically possible to introduce an entirely new theme with a simple firmware upgrade. For power, the Monza relies on an electric powertrain, but with a natural gas powered range extender, much like the Ampera in principle. Opel acknowledge that the gull wing doors are fiendishly difficult to engineer and produce, so they will never make production, but this is the car that will inspire Opels to come. Even the phone connection is well thought out, with three modes available: Me, …

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Golf Sportsvan Concept to be unveiled at Frakfurt

New Volkswagen concept takes on Golf Plus mantle

Volkswagen will unveil their Sportsvan concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show next week. It’s the successor to the Golf Plus. At 4,338 mm long, the new Sportsvan is 134 mm longer than the Golf Plus, and 83 mm longer than the Golf.  Its 2,685 mm wheelbase is 48 mm longer than that of the Golf, helping to generate more interior space, while the Sportsvan is also 80 mm wider, at 1,870 mm, and 126 mm higher, at 1,578 mm (excluding roof rails).  Inside, the rear seats (60:40 split bench) can slide forwards and backwards by up to 180 mm, to increase either passenger or luggage space as required. Boot capacity is increased by 74 litres to 498 litres (Golf 380). Moving the rear seats increases the luggage space to 585 litres, while folding them down releases 1,512 litres. Powering the Sportsvan will be a range of petrol and diesel engines, all of which conform to Euro 6 emissions standards and …

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