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Battery and tyre check warning

With the severe dip in temperatures over the past few days, the Automobile Association (AA) has issued a timely reminder to  motorists to ensure batteries and tyres are in order. Drivers being assisted with jump lead starts in the morning is a common sight in cold winter conditions, such as we are having now. According to the AA’s annual breakdown review, worn out or faulty batteries are still the number one cause of breakdowns in Ireland. A review of their extensive data highlights how flat batteries accounted for nearly one quarter of all the AA’s call outs in the last 12 months. The countrywide analysis of over 100,000 AA rescue assignments also revealed that tyre failures top the agenda for distressed Irish drivers. Over 15,000 road users experienced defected tyres, up one percent from the last commissioned review, which according to the AA, is often avoidable. “Tyre failures can arise for any number of reasons such as poor road surfaces but …

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Gardaí join European campaign on drink and drugs driving

Police Officers across Europe begin a week-long campaign on Monday to raise awareness of the dangers of drink driving and drug driving. The campaign is co-ordinated by TISPOL (the European Traffic Police Network), and involves officers conducting alcohol and drug checks at any time of the day and night. TISPOL President Garda Chief Superintendent, Aidan Reid said, “Driving after consuming any alcohol is dangerous. Driving while over the drink drive limit is against the law. Drivers will experience slower reactions, poor judgement of speed, reduced co-ordination and concentration with much lower levels of alcohol in their system. “That’s why our message this year is simple: your ability to drive safely is impaired by even a small amount of alcohol. So if you have had a drink, do not drive. If you need to drive, then do not drink.” Chief Superintendent Reid said it’s also important to be aware of the continuing effects of alcohol the day after an evening of …

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Jeep's new Cherokee is available with front or four wheel drive in two power outputs.

New Jeep Cherokee launched

Jeep have launched their Cherokee Jeep here and it’s all new from the ground up. Power comes from a choice of 2.0 litre diesel engines with either 140 or 170 bhp. The cleanest version, with front wheel drive comes in with emissions of just 139 g/km, making it among the cleanest in the class. We had a chance to test the new Jeep’s off-road abilities on a short off-road course at Mondello and it proved to be very capable. On road, the drive is smooth and the cabin ambience has been significantly enhanced over the outgoing model. Four wheel drive models switch automatically between front and four wheel drive as needs dictate and there’s a choice of five transmission modes for use in various conditions. The standard gearbox is a six speed manual but a nine speed auto is fitted as standard to 170 bhp models. Inside, there’s plenty of tech, with a TFT screen for the instrument cluster. A …

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Audi's A3 e-tron is a full hybrid.

Starts ups asked to pitch their idea in an Audi e-tron

Could you pitch your new business idea in 90 seconds while being driven around Mondello race rack? That’s what Audi Ireland asked start-up companies to do this week. As part of the Web Summit, taking place in Dublin this week, Audi Ireland offered start-ups the opportunity to take the elevator pitch challenge and pitch their idea to a venture capitalist. The only catch is they had to do it in the back of an Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, and complete their pitch in the time it takes to finish a lap of the Kildare track. The all-new A3 Sportback e-tron is Audi’s first plug-in hybrid model. This new car has the ability to cover up to 50 kilometres in electric mode and its TFSI petrol engine offers a range of over 900 kilometres in combined mode. Audi Ireland is the official car sponsor of this year’s Web Summit and are showcasing their adavanced technologies under the banner of “Audi Innovative …

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The carbon fibre Alfa Romeo 4C.

Alfa Romeo are back

Ask any car nut to name their favourite marques and the chances are Alfa Romeo will come close to the top of most lists. Unfortunately, a lot of that is down to nostalgia and remembering past glories like the Alfasud. In truth, in recent years Alfa have lost their way, with too many bland and uninspiring designs. Happily there are signs that Alfa Romeo are on the rebound, with a plethora of new product on the way, including the long anticipated rear wheel drive 3 Series rival, the Giulia, which unfortunately we won’t see until 2016 at the earliest. In the meantime though, there’s hope in the form of the gorgeous 4C, a truly brilliant mid-engined car that does an inspired job of showcasing Alfa Romeo’s talents. With styling loosely based on the larger, more expensive 8C Competizione, the 4C is a striking car on the road. A strict two seater, it’s roughly the size of a MiTo, in other …

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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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