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Eighth generation of popular Volkswagen Passat has both style and substance



The new VW Passat.

Before the 1970s, Volkswagen were almost totally reliant on the then-dated Beetle for attracting sales. However, it was then running out of steam and Volkswagen needed a couple of cars that would entice more family buyers – cue the Golf and the Passat.

Thanks to their acquisition of Audi in the ’60s, Volkswagen now had the expertise and the know-how to develop a front-wheel drive saloon with a water-cooled engine. While the first Passat, called Dasher in the US, didn’t set the world alight, it was the forerunner to what we know today as one of the most successful car ever built by the German giant.

Now in its eighth generation – it went through many years of being rather boring – Volkswagen has upped the ante with a car that is much sleeker looking with a much improved interior too.

You can see what the designers were after with this new model. Straight lines and a low slick profile defines the new look. It has a better balance of glass and metal than any other Passat and that should result in this car aging much better than what they have produced over the years.

While the exterior is much classier, it is inside that is most enlightening. I have often been a bit circumspect about the interiors of many of the Volkswagen group’s cabins. For me they have, at times, favoured functionality over style.

Here, the designers splash out a bit more and while they do hold on to many of the traits of the previous mode, they have streamlined the dash with elongated air vents and added a better touchscreen to give it a more premium look. It looks like Volkswagen designers have been given their heads and we now have a car with a lot more panache. In this car the styling is now modern and swish while still being as functional as ever.

I have been driving the Passat saloon with a 2.0-litre TDi engine. Having driven the 1.6 in the old model, the 2.0-litre proved to be a much more spirited drive. The additional power makes this one the car to be considering if you are doing a sizeable amount of driving. It has more punch and the car does not work as hard on the open road. In Comfortline trim it will set you back €32,990. Your annual road tax will be €190 with108g/km coming from the 150bhp engine. Fuel consumption came in at 6.7L/100km.

On the road all Volkswagens offer a special driver feedback. The new Passat continues in this vein and while they have smoothed off some of the hard edges, they have maintained that response that owners love and make driving them so rewarding. The steering is carefully weighted and the gearbox is precise and slick.

Few will have issues with the Passat’s manners on the road either. Cornering is accurate and very stable and when out on the motorway, it is surefooted and feels like a more expensive sedan. And, thanks to Volkswagen’s all-round soundness on the road you can have a certain amount of fun on the twisty bit too. It can be firm but, it is essentially solid in every department.

When Volkswagen produced the outgoing Passat, they also built the Passat CC, which is a stunning-looking car. This new model has many of the design cues of the CC. For that reason this car is now rather more handsome and would adorn any driveway. They have been fairly uncompromising with the interior too, making this car far better than anything that has gone before. You also get that Volkswagen spirit when you drive it.

Connacht Tribune

Western Motors to host EV information day



The Volkswagen ID.7.

Recent registration figures released at the end of last month show that the Volkswagen’s ID.4 is the best-selling electric car in Ireland. Since it arrived in 2021 there has been nearly 6,000 registered and it now leads the charge to electrification here making it officially Ireland’s number one electric EV.

Even more exciting for the brand is the arrival of their new ID.7, the brand’s first global electric model for the upper mid-size class. It was launched globally last month, and Volkswagen chiefs are promising a battery range of 700km. This is massive step up for Volkswagen and will be a game changer for the brand.

Volkswagen Ireland are saying that it will arrive here later this year, and prices will be announced closer to that Irish launch date.

“With the ID.7 we are taking the next step in our electric offensive,” said Thomas Schäfer, CEO of Volkswagen Passenger Cars.

“The saloon offers a high level of comfort and long ranges. Already by 2026, we will offer the widest electric range of all manufacturers in Europe. Our goal is to achieve an electric car share of 80% in Europe by 2030. As from 2033, Volkswagen will produce only electric vehicles in Europe.”

Galway Volkswagen dealers, Western Motors are holding an electric vehicles information event on Thursday May 25 where they will have information on hand for potential buyers of any of the Volkswagen EV range.

The Western Motors sales team and service team will be able to provide information on along with additional information on the grants available and application for same and electrician to talk about the EV Charging Boxes and so forth.

For more information, call Western Motors on (091) 709970.


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Connacht Tribune

Award-winning IONIQ 6 is set to rock the Irish market



The Hyundai IONIQ 6.

Following the success of the Hyundai IONIQ 5, we now have the IONIQ 6, a completely different kettle of fish with the same running gear but a completely different design.

Both have been lauded at world level as the IONIQ 6 follows the 5 by winning the 2023 World Car of the Year title.

Not only did it pick up this gong, but it also won the 2023 World Electric Vehicle as well as the 2023 World Car Design of the Year awards.

This is the second consecutive triple win for the Hyundai Motor Group – the Hyundai IONIQ 5 was last year’s winner in the same three categories. A jury of 100 international automotive journalists from 32 countries selected the winners by secret ballot based on their evaluation of each eligible vehicle as part of their on-going professional work.

Up to now, the majority of electric vehicles have been SUVs. It’s the most popular shape of our times as buyers go for taller features and practical family characteristics. It might be strange that Hyundai would bring out the IONIQ 6 which is more like a coupe styled sedan with a lower, striking silhouette that they describe as a ‘streamliner’.

It certainly looks pretty special and while it uses the same battery, motors and platform. There are indications however that it is somewhat offers better range than the IONIQ 5. It is lower to the ground and has a lower drag co efficiency meaning reduced resistance and hence, better distance from a charge.

Under WLPT measurement the car has been tested to return 614km on a full charge. And, it can be charged at a much faster speed than other cars on the market; 315km in just 15 minutes.

There’s also a host of clever technology on board. Of course, a lot of what’s on offer these day are just toys and are not needed for everyday driving but, it is what the customer wants and he/she is always right! You can even opt to have the door mirrors on screens inside the car with cameras outside taking the pictures.

Prices for the Signature version with a 53kW battery starts at €48,295 rising toe €71,250 for the top-of-the-range Finesse all-wheel drive model with a 77kW battery.

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Connacht Tribune

Alfa Romeo making a comeback with the stunning new Tonale Plug-In Hybrid Q4



The Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV Q4.

By Gerry Murphy

There is always a flutter of expectancy when a car company like Alfa Romeo brings out a completely new car. Since the heady days of the Alfa 156, the fortunes of the manufacturer have been slowly eroding and they now need their new Tonale to be loved more than ever.

Launched a couple of weeks ago, the Tonale Plug-In Hybrid Q4 is truly a landmark for the Italian brand. In what they call the Alfa Romeo’s “zero to zero” process, which will take it from being a 0% electrified brand at the start of 2022 to being a zero-emissions, 100% electric brand by 2027 it will start off a complete conversion in just five years.

Indeed Alfa Romeo has positioned itself to be one of the fastest automotive brands to reach carbon neutrality.

Alfa bosses tell us that the Tonale Plug-In Hybrid Q4 combines maximum efficiency and Italian sportiness; the all-electric range (AER) is 56km, up to 80km all-electric range city, 600km in the total cycle and emissions reduced from 29g/km.

I have had the pleasure of taking the new Tonale for an extended test drive on the day of its official launch recently. The best compliment that I can give the car is that it is a ‘proper’ Alfa. Those who have history with the brand will fully understand what that means and why it is important that it lives up to its heritage.

The interior especially wraps itself around the driver just as in the days of old. It is a wonderful place to be, and you are completely at one with the vehicle. The quality is right up the in the premier league; dark and moody with clever details and the right amount of new technology.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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