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Mercedes Benz van will be attractive to both the private and fleet sector



New Mercedes-Benz Vito Van

By Gerry Murphy

On days like last Friday when we suffered incessant rain, the ventilation system in the Mercedes-Benz Vito van that I was testing began to act up and life in the vehicle was a bit of a chore with windows fogging up and no air going to the windscreen to clear it. The only solution was to let down the driver and passenger window to clear the glass.

I’m sure it was only a small thing, but it was a new van and you expect everything to be working perfectly. I suppose these things happen and are sent to test us, but enough said about that, everything else about the Vito was pretty decent.

As a load carrier, the Vito is right up there with other mid-sized commercials with easy access to the cargo compartment through two sliding side doors and a rear-end tailgate. As you would expect, there are an array of bulkheads and customer needs, as far as layout requirements available. The load area is well-lit and comes with plenty cargo anchor points to handle any size or shape of cargo.

Amongst the many features likely to give Vito a market edge is the choice of rear-wheel or front-wheel drive formats. Available in two wheelbases, it is the only model in its class produced in three lengths, all 140mms longer than its predecessor (4,895mm, 5,140mm and 5,370mm). It has the highest payload in its class at 1,369kg and up to three permissible gross vehicle weight variants (between 2.8 and 3.2 tonnes).

Power comes from two, 4-cylinder turbo-diesel engines in five power ratings. In FWD guise, power comes from a transverse-mounted, compact 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine delivering two power ratings – an 88bhp 109 CDI and a 114bhp 111 CDI.

Where performance demands are high, the 2.15-litre rear-wheel drive unit is the recommended choice, available with three power outputs – a 136bhp 114 CDI, a 163bhp 116 CDI – the version on this test drive – and a 190bhp 119 BlueTEC version – the first Euro 6 engine in this class.

Six-speed manual transmission is standard as are long service intervals of up to 40,000 km or two years. The gearbox is very sweet and with a flick of the wrist it engages each gear smoothly. It is also well spaced and through smart gear selections, the torque is there when asked.

Up front in the driver’s cabin, you get a car-like presentation and while the centre console could be a bit prettier, the functionality is right as are the seats and the storage areas in the cab.

Apart from my battle with the ventilation system, visibility is spot on with large door mirrors and a reversing camera with parking sensor to make parking and reversing both safe and accurate, I also applaud the new electromechanical power-assisted steering and the new safety features that include 17″ disc brakes all-round with Adaptive ESP as standard.

The new shape and the press metal of the Vito offers any business a handsome van where a clever sign writer could make it the best form of advertising for a business.

While the number of vans on our roads are increasing with the upturn in the commercial world, the Mercedes-Benz Vito, air conditioning problems aside, should make the shortlist of any potential buyer, fleet or private.

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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