By Gerry Murphy
Skoda has produced a curious combination of the bog standard and brashness with their sportiest car, the Octavia RS. Here is a car that offers the functionality of a family saloon-shaped car and the sportiness of a hot hatch. It is a mix that would keep and old man feeling young and a young guy fully satisfied with power that impresses and looks that are almost conservative.
It is fair to say that the Octavia is a rather ordinary car to look at in its regular form. The discreet three-box shape is run-of-the-mill and the form lends itself to big boot space and reasonable leg room.
However, there are a few tell-tale details that make it stand out from the regular car. It is fitted with 19” alloys – the styling will generate debate – red brake callipers, a black painted rear spoiler and door mirrors and a gloss black grille specially designed for this car. My test car also came with an optional panoramic glass roof that adds to the image.
This one, though, is something different, with 230bhp from its 2.0-litre TSI engine under the bonnet. It has a turn of foot that will leave many sitting with a 0-100km sprint time of 6.8 seconds and a limited top speed of 249km/h.
That’s pretty quick in any language, and while at the push of a button you can select it to be economical, normal or to suit your own driving style, in RS mode it takes off like a bolt when asked to do so.
Thankfully, the RS delivers handling to match the power for the most part. The ride and the steering weight also adjust to the driving mode selected and while it is a little harsh at its ultimate performance setting, it is never giddy and the cornering and sharpness is there to match. That’s what makes it so good to drive.
Inside, the cabin is tastefully designed to give a sporty feel. The quality of the red stitched, leather sports seats is outstanding. That sportiness is continued throughout the cabin with a tactile leather steering, gear knob and alloy foot pedals.
The five door configuration will seat four adults with comfort. The rear seat consists of two moulded rear seats separated by a centre spacer. Access to the gigantic boot is through a big rear tailgate offering 590 litres of space with the rear seats in place and up to 1,580 litres with the rear seats folded.
Buyers of the RS will enjoy the punch that the 230bhp delivers and the slickness of the six-speed manual gearbox. Fuel consumption will depend on how hard you drive it. Overall I managed 7.8L/100km on a rigorous test throughout the week that I had it in my possession.
It should be noted that this figure can be reduced substantially when driven with a lighter right foot, but the car invites you to drive it on. CO2 emissions for the RS come in at 142g/km giving you an annual road tax bill of €390.
There is something quite smug about owning a car like the RS. It might look like a normal Octavia for the most part, but knowing that you have the clout underneath you gives a confidence that you get from any hot hatchback. It has a price tag of €35,995, which seems reasonable to me for what you get. The fun factor is evident with every squeeze of the accelerator and that is why enthusiasts will love it.
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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