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Motoring

Budget disappointment for hauliers

THE Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) has expressed its deep disappointment that no change to commercial vehicle road tax was announced in this year’s budget. Commenting after the budget announcement, president of the IRHA, Eoin Gavin stated, “The association and its members are dismayed as to why Government has totally ignored the HGV road tax differential between Ireland and the rest of Europe. There was not even a mention of the importance of the sector in the Minister’s comments.” In order to prevent a further increase in the number of vehicles ‘reflagging’ to other jurisdictions, the IRHA is now calling on the Minister for Transport, Paschal Donohoe and the Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly to immediately intervene in order to protect jobs in the sector. Mr Gavin went on to state, “It is extremely disappointing and this will result in a significant number of vehicles registering to other jurisdictions where operating costs are more favourable. The available data over …

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This handsome Toyota C-HR concept has a possible production future.

Paris Motor Show highlights

It’s often the case that Geneva shows the concept cars, while the two larger shows, Paris and Frankfurt, have more of an emphasis on production cars that we will actually see in showrooms. So it proved to be at Paris this year anyway, with a huge amount of new product on display, even if some of it won’t reach here until next year. Seeing as we were in Paris, I thought it appropriate to start with Peugeot and besides, they were the first stand I hit in Hall 1. An updated Exalt concept was the highlight, which incorporates trim made from recycled newspapers. This high-tech design was complemented by a beautifully styled sofa, made of Onyx and carbon fibre. Believe it or not, you can buy this now. More prosaically perhaps, we also saw the new 108, which will be here for January. It’s one of the trio that also comprise the Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo. Another car I …

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Garda tyre safety operation

As part of Road Safety week, An Garda Síochána will be conducting a national targeted tyre safety operation for a 24 -hour period from 7am on this Thursday until 7am on Friday. Many drivers are increasing the risk of a collision for themselves and others by failing to replace excessively worn, defective or damaged tyres, a senior garda cautioned. Assistant Commissioner John Twomey, head of the Traffic Corps, said, “Although the minimum legal tyre tread depth is 1.6mm for cars and 1mm for motorcycles, the simple fact is the more tread depth you have, the more grip you have on the road. Considering we are moving into wetter weather, this fact is all the more relevant. We appeal to all drivers and riders to specifically check the tread depth and condition of their tyres, and if necessary arrange for them to be changed. In support of this initiative, the Irish Tyre Industry Association are inviting motorists to drop in to …

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The new Ford Focus introduces some new technologies and goes on sale in November.

Ford Focus on technology

A newly updated version of the best-selling Ford Focus will be here in November and will start from €20,295. Engine choices include the familiar 1.6 litre diesels in 95 bhp and 115 bhp forms and a 2.0 litre 150 bhp diesel will also be offered. Petrol options consist of the 1.0 litre Ecoboost engine, which can be had with either 100 or 125 bhp. This is a cracking little engine and has been voted International Engine of the Year three years in a row. It could be a canny choice for anyone not doing enough miles to justify a diesel. An entry level Focus will be offered and the range also includes Style, Zetec and Titanium trims, all familiar to Ford buyers. Bodystyles include a five door hatchback, four door saloon and five door estate. All Focus models come with ESP with Hill Launch Assist, MyKey Gen 2, body colour bumpers and spoiler, electric front windows, tyre pressure monitoring, power …

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The new Jaguar XE

New Jaguar XE launched in London

Jaguar revealed their brand new XE sports saloon at a spectacular launch event at Earl’s Court, London, this evening. The scene was more akin to a West End Show than the usual exhibitions normally seen at the venue. The 90 minute spectacular was narrated by actor, John Hannah and featured performances from Emili Sandé, The Kaiser Chiefs, Eliza Doolittle and what appeared to be half the actors currently appearing on the West End. The story brought us through scenes from Jaguar’s illustrious history as a 16 year old boy, aided by a time traveller, attempted to create a new Jaguar for 2015, distilling the ethos of the brand in the process before the final, spectacular reveal. It was certainly an enjoyable, at times breath-taking performance and really brought home how important the success of the XE is to Jaguar. I’m sure there were many celebrities attending, but I don’t write for Hello and I didn’t recognise any faces, beyond Sir …

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New Volkswagen Passat

New Volkswagen Passat announced

Details of Volkswagen’s highly anticipated new Passat have just been released in advance of the model’s introduction in time for the 151 sales rush. Preorders are being taken now and a National Roadshow will showcase the car in November. Two petrol and three diesel engines will be offered initially, with a starting price of €27,295 for the 1.4 litre TSI petrol model, which produces 125 bhp. A 1.6 diesel with 120 bhp starts at €28,940. Estate models will also be available from the start, attracting a premium of around €2,000. The other petrol engine is also a 1.4, but produces 150 bhp and also employs Active Cylinder Technology to shut off two cylinders when the car is under light loads. It’s amazing technology. In the Golf, I’ve often cruised at motorway speeds on two cylinders and you genuinely can’t tell the difference. This version will start from €35,145 in Highline trim. Two 2.0 litre diesel engines join the 1.6, developing …

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John Cusack, Ian's father and organiser of the Ian's Trust To The Moon and Back cycle and run at Kilkee last Saturday, John Galvin, The Clare Champion and Gerry O'Brien, Hyundai Limerick (sponsors) awaiting the start of the 60 km cycle to Loop Head and back in aid of children with acquired brain injuries. Pic Munsterimages.ie

To the Moon and Back

I agreed to do the cycle before I even thought it through. A 60km cycle less than two weeks away was going to be a tall order, given that I haven’t done much on a bike for years. The To the Moon and Back cycle was in aid of Ian’s Trust, a charity set up to help children with acquired brain injuries, so I felt honour bound to give it a go. In the intervening fortnight, I managed to do a few 10km runs but I felt in no way properly prepared when I lined out in Kilkee last Saturday for the jaunt to Loop Head and back. I didn’t feel any better when I saw what surrounded me. Lycra-clad bodies on carbon fibre bikes were everywhere and I felt distinctly out of place on my vintage, 20 year old Raleigh racer, with its steel frame and only 12 gears. The day was dry and fortunately, not too warm. The …

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The Alfa Romeo 4C in action at the Irish launch at Mondello Park on Monday.

Alfa trio launched

Alfa Romeo chose Mondello Park to launch three new models this week. The reason for the venue chosen is that one of these cars is very, very special. We’ve been waiting a long time for the arrival of the 4C, a car that has tantalised us at various motor shows seemingly for years. With styling robbed from the exotic 8C Competizione, the 4C could be described as the ultimate modern sportscar, with its emphasis on performance through light weight. With a kerb weight of only 895 kg, it’s lighter than most superminis. How did they achieve that? By building it from carbon fibre, the first time this material has been used in a car anywhere near this price point. Some may lament that the 4C isn’t powered by a sonorous V6, but to keep weight down, a 1750cc turbo four cylinder is used instead. Producing 240 bhp, it’s an engine with a very high specific output and it’s mated as …

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