By Gerry Murphy
Flame red fenders, double twin tailpipes, side skirts, spoilers and big black alloy wheels with glowing red brake callipers tell only a small part of the story about the new Honda Civic Type-R. It is harder, faster and stronger than any Type-R so far and it is a true hot hatch that will blow your socks off if you take it to its limits.
I have just celebrated 40 years since doing my Leaving Cert, and for Galway International Rally week this car wiped 30 years off my age in a way that I had thought had gone forever. This is a serious piece of kit that has a price tag of 50 grand and, in my view is worth every cent.
Honda designers have pushed the boat out with a look that is futuristic, athletic and head turning at every level. Some will love it, some will have their reservations, but nobody can ignore it.
There is so much more to this car that makes it so special. Under the bonnet there is a 2.0-litre i-VTEC turbocharged power unit that delivers 310 horsepower, is itching for road and handles the most severe conditions with guts and sheer sportiness.
It will blast from a standing start to 100km/h in an eye-watering 5.7 seconds and has a maximum, limited top speed of 270km/h. The turbo is beautifully smooth and when it engages, there is the sweetest, smooth kick that pins back your ears and sucks you into your seat.
Forget the rapidly falling fuel gauge when you are full tilt although, you can get reasonable returns if you drive it with a light right foot. They claim that it can reach 7.3L/100km; my test week returned 10.5. I should mention at this stage that my licence remains intact in terms of penalty points, but I did have a whole lot of fun when the opportunities allowed.
Inside, the furnishings come with fighter-jet proportions. The red and black suede rally seats with integrated head restraints are body hugging and the array of dials, displays and switch gear are as informative as they are complicated. On the negative side, the seats could deliver a lower driving position for my liking, and the visibility is limited by the external design, especially through the split rear screen.
Somehow, all that doesn’t matter, though, and if you are into you sports hatches you are looking at a car that has few peers. It is a five-door hatch and is in the same realm as the Ford Focus RS, the Opel Astra OPC and the Volkswagen R.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Western Motors to host EV information day
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.
Award-winning IONIQ 6 is set to rock the Irish market
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.
Alfa Romeo making a comeback with the stunning new Tonale Plug-In Hybrid 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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