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Good looking Mégane only let down by complicated dashboard technology



The new-look Renault Megane.

By Gerry Murphy

All dressed up in a new suit and a hungry for the fare, the new Renault Mégane looks rather dashing in the metal and has enough substance to satisfy what most compact hatchback drivers are after.

For starters, designers at Renault have continued along the same lines as the Clio and the Kadjar with an exterior that is both eye-catching, and has a substantial kerbside appeal.

Distinctive from every angle, the front and rear lighting signatures are permanently lit when the engine is switched on. In particular at the back, the always-on rear lighting strip adds a unique safety value and cosmetically adds significantly to the look.

The car itself is lower, with a longer wheelbase than the last model, and that gives it even more balanced proportions.

Inside, there are characteristics to admire too. The seats in the tested 1.5-litre dCi GT-Line NAV model are sporty, snug and support the body really well. Internal materials are of a good quality and the layout is typical Renault. There is a drawback though – neither the design nor the functionality of the infotainment system is simple enough.

Every car maker is offering touch screens and buckets of technology these days. Renault has, in my opinion, over complicated their version and it takes too many processes at times to operate the primary functions. It draws the eye away from the road when trying to navigate your way through it which is supposed to be one of the reasons why these systems improve safety. Fine, you get lots of technical functions but, basic controls should not be so complex.

In GT-Line NAV specification, Renault have a car here that can match anything in the segment with confidence. You can set it up to suit your driving style, and the furnishings give it a sporty image and feel. You get a better response from the steering in sport mode; however, it is still fairly sharp in other modes too.

On the road, while it may not be as taut as the market leaders, the Volkswagen Golf or the Ford Focus, it is still a precise car that is at home on the twisty terrain as it is on the motorway.

Renault is using this 1.5 dCi turbo charged engine in most of their current range of cars and also share it with Nissan. It has proved to be ultra reliable and in its latest guise it offers decent power and CO2 emissions of 96g/km which equates to an annual road tax bill of €180. Over a test run of 980km, I achieved a fuel consumption of 5.3L/100km, not a bad figure under test conditions.

Prices for the range start at €19,490 with the GT-Line NAV as tested here coming in at €25,990. That specific price is great value for money for the additional specification that you get and the little embellishments that make it look so good.

You got to hand it to Renault for taking the brand to new heights in the past couple of years. There is a new refreshing approach from the brand here in Ireland in terms of pricing and marketing and it is delivering dividends in the sales figures. Already they are ahead of the industry curve and with the prices quoted, the Mégane has now become a serious contender in the segment.


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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