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‘SMART’ NEWCOMER TO IRELAND’S EV MARKET

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smart – one of the most iconic and fondly-remembered names in motoring history – has returned to the market with the arrival here of the all-new, all-electric smart #1 – as its name suggests, the first model in a sequence of EV models that its manufacturers say is destined to be ‘the new premium intelligent all-electric auto brand’.

Bearing the intriguingly new and trendy ‘smart #’ hashtag branding – as will others that will begin to follow shortly – the new smart #1 edition takes its place in what is a vibrant EV market in which emotive factors such as model choice, design and comfort features rank alongside specifications, technical attributes and value are influencing factors.

With the additional element of ‘prestige’, the smart #1 comes on the market in a choice of four versions: an entry-level Pro, followed in turn by a Pro+ and Premium editions, and by an exclusive smart #1 BRABUS edition designed to attract the eye of owners who enjoy their motoring with added pzazz.

In the case of Pro, Pro+ and Premium editions, all share the same attractive appearance, outside and inside, with some slight feature variations that extend the choice available to customers. In the smart #1 BRABUS edition – styled by the renowned German ‘luxury mobility brand specialists’ of the same name – its unique bespoke styling points to the ‘difference’ that the smart #1 BRABUS has in store for buyers – reflected in its unique badging and appropriately finished bodywork trim and sports styling, in its distinctive interior in harmony with its exterior allure, and in its ‘zero-to-wow’ acceleration.

Destined to have an across-the-board appeal, not least amongst those attuned to the technology and peer-to-peer connectivity that comes as a built-in part of the smart model offering, the smart #1 range will be marketed through a number of dealer outlets within the Mercedes-Benz passenger car network and will enter the market at €37,479 for the Pro design line.

Visually engaging, the smart #1 emits a ‘big car’ feeling of outer size and interior spaciousness.

Standing 4.2m long, 1.8m wide and 1.6m high on a 2.7m wheelbase, its frameless doors, generous  glasswork, 19” alloy wheels and panoramic glass roof all contribute to create a sense of openness and all-round visibility.

Inside, a floating centre console combines with a superior use of space and the absence of unessential elements to create an ambience of luxury and prestige. A high-resolution touch screen display houses a fully integrated infotainment system on which passenger comfort, driver assistance, radio and entertainment features can be operated.

Other interior elements include a premium audio system with 13 speakers, ambient lighting with 64 colour choices and 20 illumination levels, a 9.2-inch HD digital instrument cluster, and a 10-inch head up display. Luggage space is 273-litres, increasing to 411-litres. Rear seats split 60:40 with 13-cms forward adjustment and slide feature for variable cargo space. Additional is 15-litres forward storage space.

Powered by an all-electric engine with rear-wheel drive, it delivers 200 kW (272 PS) performance with max torque of 343Nm and a maximum speed of 180 km/h (112 mph). Battery is a 66 kWh NCM unit delivering a maximum range of 420-440 kms (WLTP) with maximum charging capabilities: 22 kW (AC) and 150kW (DC) with charging times of 10-80% in under 3 hours (AC) and 10-80% in under 30 mins (DC).

Safety and security features include Matrix LED headlights, Y-shaped front and rear light bands, 7-airbags, and an extensive driver assistance package, dedicated app and customisable infotainment, AI-based voice control, connectivity, and 3D user interface features. 

Being marketed under the tagline ‘All electric. Never silent,’ and pursuing what smart calls ‘an exciting new path with operations moving at full speed’, its arrival here is said by them to ‘fit within a global-wide smart expansion plan that includes an objective to establish some 300 sales and service outlets across 13 European markets’.

For more information, please visit www.smartelectric.ie

THE NEW MINI COOPER

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Following the launch of the all-new MINI Cooper Electric, the Cooper family today expands with the introduction of two new petrol models: the MINI Cooper C and the performance enhanced MINI Cooper S. Like its all-electric counterpart, the MINI Cooper combines minimalist design, traditional brand values and iconic go- kart handling.

“At MINI, ‘Power of Choice’ means that in addition to all-electric MINI models, we also offer models such as the new MINI Cooper with petrol engine. The car is ideal for all those people who want to drive a classic MINI 3-door and appreciate the traditional performance and characteristic sound of a combustion engine,” says Stefanie Wurst, Head of MINI.

The new MINI Cooper will be built at MINI Plant Oxford and is available in three well specified trim levels – Classic, Exclusive and Sport. Priced from €31,280 RRP, first customer deliveries will take place in spring 2024.

A choice of two powerful petrol engines
With an increased output of 204 hp, the four-cylinder engine of the MINI Cooper S (combined fuel consumption: 6.7 – 6.1 l/100km, combined CO2 emissions: 150 – 138 g/km according to WLTP) accelerates the vehicle from 0-100km/h in just 6.6 seconds, with a maximum torque of 300 Nm. While the MINI Cooper C (combined fuel consumption: 6.5 – 5.9 l/100km, combined CO2 emissions: 146 – 133 g/km according to WLTP) is equipped with a 156 hp, three-cylinder engine, which delivers a torque of 230 Nm and is capable of completing the 0-100km/h sprint in just 7.7 seconds. Adding to the overall driving experience, both models are equipped with a suspension and damping system designed for precise handing and powerful brakes.

New Ford Puma: Cool, Calm and Connected

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Ford today revealed the new Puma – a stylish, high-tech evolution of the car that is a firm favourite with drivers across Europe.

A compact crossover that makes city driving easy – and with space for five people and their gear – new Puma makes journeys more enjoyable and relaxing with an all-new interior, large digital displays, cutting-edge connectivity and advanced driving technologies.

Inside, a new sports car-style cockpit wraps around the occupants with screens mounted high and angled towards the driver, while physical buttons are at a minimum for a calm environment. Customers can use 5G connectivity 1 to take charge of their day – whether to avoid unexpected traffic jams on the school run or ask Alexa Built-in 2 to add coffee to the shopping list.

Sophisticated technologies make driving using cruise control more natural, slowing down for junctions and bends, helping drivers see into corners more clearly at night, and providing a bird’s eye view on the centre screen to make parking a breeze in busy streets. 

Ford also today announced that the fully electric Puma Gen-E will be revealed later this year – the first Puma to deliver zero-tailpipe emission driving. 

Life-simplifying technology

Two large screens keep drivers up-to-date and in control. The crisp 12.8-inch digital instrument cluster can be customised to show the information each drivers finds most helpful, while the high-definition 12.0-inch centre touchscreen makes it easy to view and control maps, infotainment and functions like climate and seat heating.

New Puma’s SYNC 4 connectivity and infotainment system 6 has twice the computing power of the previous version and adapts to make it easiest to access the features drivers use most. Voice recognition understands everyday language and smartphones can be easily integrated using wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto 7 – and recharged via wireless charging. 8,9

Even without a smartphone connected, drivers can ask Alexa Built-in 2 “What’s on my calendar today?”, “How’s my commute home?” or “Play my driving playlist” – either through the soundbar or optional 10‑speaker B&O audio system.8 Style and comfort are improved with a new sliding armrest and a sporty, two-spoke steering wheel with a flat bottom, like in a race car.

New Puma makes driving easier. Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go and Lane Centring 9,10,11 accelerates and brakes smoothly to feel more natural, and can use Predictive Speed Assist 9,10 to adjust cruising speed for curves in the road, roundabouts, and when entering or leaving highways. In the city, a 360-degree surround-view camera system 9,10,12 can display a bird’s eye view, to help avoid scrapes when parking.

There’s more to the new headlamps than a fresh design and distinctive light signature. Optional Dynamic Matrix LED technology uses Predictive Dynamic Bending Light 9,10 to monitor the road ahead and shine light into corners to help drivers see more clearly. 

New Puma has the practicality of a big car. An 80-litre MegaBox in the boot floor is big enough to swallow the contents of a small supermarket shopping trolley. Two sets of golfclubs can stand upright in the boot, and even with five people onboard there’s more than 450 litres of space for luggage, shopping or a dog cage. 13

Customers can choose from Titanium, ST-Line and ST-Line X models, each with Puma’s now iconic coupe-inspired exterior style and unique front bumper, grille and alloy wheel designs. Six colours – including new-to-Puma Cactus Grey – and puddle lamps that project the Puma logo onto the ground8 are also sure to turn heads.

New Puma models are powered by Ford’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost Hybrid engine that uses 48‑volt mild hybrid electric power to help save fuel or boost performance.  A quick-shifting seven-speed automatic gearbox is also available.

Designed and built in Europe, Puma is manufactured at Ford Otosan’s state-of-the-art Craiova Assembly Plant, Romania.

Ford Reinvents Bestselling Kuga SUV

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Ford is inspiring drivers to embrace the electric future and new Kuga – Europe’s bestselling Plug-in hybrid in 2021, 2022 1,2 and on track for 2023 according to the latest available data – will play a key role on the journey. Bold and assertive new Kuga offers surprising performance from hybrid powertrains, the convenience of seamless connectivity, and a full range of latest-generation driver assistance systems that make it the ideal companion for everyday adventures.

The new Kuga range – built in Europe and designed for European drivers – offers up to 69 km 3 of pure electric driving for Kuga Plug-In Hybrid customers who can take advantage of home or public charging.

Kuga Plug-In Hybrid significantly improved acceleration, with the reduced emissions of an electrified driving experience. Offering up to 2,100 kg of towing ability, pulling power beats all rivals and means new Kuga is able to take everything from a large caravan to a horsebox in its stride.

“The Ford Kuga has been a hit with customers since it was first launched in 2008. The new Kuga is our best ever, moving the game forward with new levels of capability, connectivity and comfort,” said Jon Williams, general manager, Ford Blue, Europe.

Fresh design and seamless connectivity

New Kuga has evolved both inside and out, with a fresh, confident design. The smart Titanium and sporty ST-Line models have unique design features and distinctive personalities. An eye-catching full-width LED light bar is available as part of the optional Technology Pack and frames the new front grille design, which proudly displays the Ford Blue Oval, underlining its strength and purpose.

Inside, new Kuga features Ford’s latest-generation SYNC 4 5 infotainment offering twice the computing power of the previous system. Integrating seamlessly with smartphones, it has 5G connectivity for fast access to information, cloud-connected navigation to help stay ahead of the jams, with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto 6 for cable-free access to key apps and information. Alexa Built-in is also standard, so drivers and passengers can ask questions or make commands even without a smartphone connected.

SYNC 4 also supports drivers in making the most of new Kuga’s towing ability, with the Trailer Connection Checklist helping to support safe and secure connections. Trailer Tow Navigation enables drivers to enter the dimensions of their car and trailer so that SYNC 4 can select a route to help avoid tight turns, low bridges and other obstacles.

Cutting-edge tech from factory to driveway

Advanced driver assistance technology supports an effortless, comfortable drive in even the most challenging conditions. The new generation Adaptive Cruise Control 8 can now apply the brakes automatically for curves and junctions as well as other traffic, while the 360-degree camera system 9offers an aerial view so that parking, preparing to hitch up a trailer or even using an automatic car wash are a breeze.

Practicality is at the heart of new Kuga’s interior, offering comfort and convenience ready for adventures in the city and beyond. Sliding second row seats can boost legroom to over 1 metre for rear occupants or create up to 140 litres 10 of extra boot space. Optional comfort seats approved by a leading spinal health organisation deliver support where it is most needed.

Advanced lighting technology helps to improve comfort and confidence for the driver, with full LED headlights including Automatic High Beam Control 10 as standard. Optional Dynamic Pixel LED headlights 10 use navigation data and a windscreen-mounted camera to read road signs, altering the light pattern at curves, junctions and roundabouts to better illuminate pedestrians and cyclists.

New Kuga is built in Europe at Ford’s advanced Valencia plant in Spain, where 3D printing of parts delivers highly accurate and sustainable manufacturing. Artificial intelligence works hand-in-hand with engineers to ensure the highest standards of quality and production.

BMW i7

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The BMW 7 Series has often been the model that showcases the latest in technology, innovation, ultimate comfort and upmarket desirability for the German automaker. The i7 is a luxury saloon with a sizable footprint. Its length is a substantial 5.4m and width is a shade under 2m, but more importantly for those on the inside, the i7’s wheelbase measures 3.22m.

At the front of this upmarket saloon the upper daytime running light strips are embellished with Swarovski crystals that gleam as you walk by them. A sporty bumper with a contrast black surround for the grille and main headlights adds more flash, and there’s no missing that grille even at night – it comes outlined by an LED strip; ‘Iconic Glow’ in BMW terms.

The i7 is conventional in profile. It’s got a traditional three-box shape and that’s down to its underpinnings. The i7 is built on the same platform as the 7 Series with only badges and subtle blue details distinguishing the EV versions. It has the same hard points as its petrol/diesel siblings. Mercedes’ EQS, for reference, is based around an EV-only architecture. The 5.4-metre-long i7 has a stately air about it, a look helped by a block-like and flat surfacing all around. A high-deck boot, wide-sweeping tail-lights and diffuser-like element at the bumper lend the i7’s rear some distinction too. 

The i7 in the xDrive60 version, comes with 544hp, all-wheel drive and a 106kWh battery. At the base of the range is the €140,175 Excellence model, which includes 19-inch double spoke alloy wheels, an electric boot lid, auto-dimming mirrors, the ‘Iconic Glow’ light-up grille, soft-close doors, the curved dashboard display that joins the 12.3-inch instrument panel and the 14.9-inch infotainment screen together, front and rear heated seats, Merino leather upholstery, panoramic glass sunroof and four-zone climate control. As standard, you also get a Bowers & Wilkins sound system, active cruise control with braking, the ‘BMW Interaction Bar’, a head-up display and adaptive LED headlights.

You can upgrade to an M Sport model for €5,540 more. That costs €145,715 and includes 20-inch ‘M Aero’ alloy wheels, black exterior trim instead of chrome, BMW’s ‘Iconic Sounds Electric’ sound effects, an M leather steering wheel and M Sport brakes with dark blue calipers. You can add as an option BMW Individual Two-tone Oxide Grey Metallic Paintwork for €14,217. You can also add a technology pack for €7,108 which includes Driving Assistant Professional, Parking Assistant Pro, Bowers and Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound. A Rear Comfort Pack adds Front and Rear Heat Comfort System, Multifunctional Rear Seats, Rear Massage Seats, Ventilated Rear Seats, Rear Side Window and Windscreen Electric Blinds. The Rear Comfort Pack is priced at €6,462.

The i7’s interior is a spectacular achievement and backs up design director Adrian van Hooydonk’s claim that his team crafted the car from the inside out. BMW has managed to harmonise the elements, make the technology user-friendly, and create an environment that feels wholly modern—connected, mindful, and hugely comfortable. It’s also impeccably put together.

The cockpit is a work of art, with beautiful leather, chrome and crystal glass interior. Wide use is made of Swarovski crystals, including in a full-width “Interaction Bar” on the instrument panel, which lights up in different colours and incorporates the air-conditioning vents. The touchscreen and infotainment system are gently curved and crystal clear. As mentioned BMW combine a 12.3-inch instrument display with a longer 14.9-inch main infotainment glass touchscreen. The screens are controlled by a mixture of voice, touch, steering wheel buttons and the iDrive click-wheel down on the centre console which is now presented in crystal in the i7. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are integrated. The rear seats are sumptuous, have wireless charging pads, and speakers that allow you to conduct your phone calls via Bluetooth, and although it wasn’t fitted to our test car, there is the option of a 31.3-inch widescreen in the rear that folds down from the roof. You can connect video sources to it via HDMI or USB-C cable or stream video via a dedicated eSim data connection and Amazon Fire software. The Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround hi-fi system is superb to accompany widescreen viewing. There is 860mm of rear legroom in the car, so more than generous.

The boot has a capacity of 500 litres which is adequate, but not huge. There’s also a handy under-floor storage area. Front seat occupants get two USB-C sockets in the armrest storage box, those in the rear get USB-C sockets built into the back of the front seats, under a little sliding cover.

Even if the back is the best place to be to relax, the i7 proved an engaging driver’s car. It was surprisingly nimble through some very twisty terrain and made for an excellent motorway cruiser, sitting comfortably at the speed limit but with plenty more power should you need to overtake at lower speeds. 

The two motors deliver a total of 544hp and 745Nm with a 0-100km/h time of 4.7 seconds, figures which are impressive for such a large vehicle, yet will be surpassed by an even more potent version known as the i70 M70 released in the second half of this year in Ireland. The regenerative braking is great, allowing one-pedal driving around town, and just the right amount of slowing to handle many country corners without having to touch the brakes

By virtue of the i7’s big battery (106kWh), the range is up to 625 kilometres, with the ability to add 170km of range in 10 minutes on an ultra-fast charger. The i7 will go from 10 per cent to 80 per cent charge in 34 minutes on a 150kW charger. 

Conclusion

The BMW i7 xDrive60 represents a significant leap forward for BMW’s flagship luxury saloon. Thanks to its impressive suspension, noise isolation, and material quality, the i7 is not just a tremendous full-size luxury saloon but it’s poised to be a proper segment leader. 

Model tested: BMW i7 xDrive60 M Sport
Price: €140,175

Engine: 400kW from two electric motors ,106kWh battery

Transmission: Single-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Power: 544 hp

Torque: 745 Nm
0-100km/h:  4.7 seconds

Top speed: 240 km/h

Combined Economy: 18.4-19.6kWh/100km

CO2 emissions: 0 g/km

Motor Tax: €120 per year

Our test model: €145,715

BYD DOLPHIN – NEW ARRIVAL IN IRISH WATERS

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The new BYD DOLPHIN – first model in what its Chinese automaker calls their ‘Ocean’ series – has arrived in Ireland and can be seen at BYD dealerships in Dublin and Cork.

Taking its place alongside the BYD ATTO 3 SUV (which launched here last April), the battery powered DOLPHIN is a compact C-segment hatchback whose wide range of standard features and competitive price offering will likely appeal to eco-friendly Irish motorists keen to embrace lower-cost, emissions-free, all-electric motoring.

Soon to be followed here by the new SEAL – second model in BYD’s ‘Ocean’ series – the DOLPHIN is at first distinguishable by its visually-appealing European good looks – the leader of BYD’s design team being a distinguished veteran of the German auto industry.

Built on BYD’s state-of-the-art e-Platform 3.0, and powered by their highly efficient 60.4 kWh LFP Blade Battery, DOLPHIN boasts a range of 427km (WLTP) with a 30% to 80% fast charging speed of 29 minutes.
Available in a choice of four trim levels – Active, Boost, Comfort & Design – each DOLPHIN comes equipped with a wide range of standard specifications tagged to a competitive price offering that – in the case of first-arrivals Comfort and Design models – begins from €29,318 after state subsidies. Information regarding Active and Boost models will be announced nearer to their market entry early next year.

Combining BYD’s game-changing EV technology with an abundance of standard equipment and its playful ‘Ocean Aesthetics’ design concept, DOLPHIN represents what BYD says is ‘the epitome of safe, efficient and practical eco-friendly motoring, priced to make high-tech electric mobility accessible to more consumers’.

Eye-catching features are its rounded profile and side silhouette resembling what its designers call ‘the graceful lines of a leaping dolphin’. Inspired also by the dolphin’s own natural characteristics, designers have given DOLPHIN a two-tone body available in seven colour combinations, echoing the colours inside and out to create a feeling of exclusivity.
Measuring 4,290 mm long, 1,570 mm high, and 1,770 mm wide, with wing mirrors unfolded, its long 2,700 mm wheelbase and short front/rear overhangs combine to give it a more spacious appearance, optimised for space and passenger comfort.

Inside, DOLPHIN has a light and airy feel with space for five occupants. Ergonomically designed sports seats and headrests are made from vegan leather. Front seats have 6-way electric adjustment for the driver and 4-way electric adjustment for the front passenger. Seats have shoulder and back support, optimised with body-hugging wings for a more comfortable, wraparound ride. Rear seats provide generous legroom for passengers.
Rear seats split 60:40 allow its 345-litre boot to expand to 1,310 litres when both seats are folded flat – space sufficient to carry four standard 20-inch suitcases, enlarged by over 20 tucked-away spaces for knick-knacks and the like. One standard element is a 3.3kW external discharge ‘vehicle-to-load’ facility which can be used to charge accessories and power external devices.

Standard across the board is an abundance of safety and advanced driver assistance features. Cutting-edge lighting technology provides a broader beam of light to enhance visibility when driving at night, with High Beam Assist, Adaptive Front Headlights and Follow Me Home lighting as standard.
All models come equipped with Forward Collision Warning, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Rear Collision Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Brake, Lane Departure Prevention and Emergency Lane Keeping Assist. Adding to the enjoyment of driving DOLPHIN is Adaptive Cruise Control and Intelligent Cruise Control. A panoramic camera gives the driver 360-degrees visibility for safe vehicle manoeuvring. Additional driver aids include Blind Spot Detection System, Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control, Hill Decent Control, Automatic Vehicle Hold, and Traffic Sign Recognition with Intelligent Speed Limit Control.

New Renault 241 Offers

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With New Clio and New Arkana now arriving in dealerships ready for 241 registrations new offers are now available across both models and the ever-popular Captur.

For 241, New Arkana is available with 0% APR HP finance or a trade in booster of  €1,500, so customers can get New Arkana TCe 140 Evolution for €389 per month over 48 months, with a trade in/deposit and the New Arkana E-Tech full hybrid Evolution for €399 per month.  With no interest to pay, customers can save up to €3,500 in interest compared to high street bank rates, on a €25,000 loan financed over 4 years. 

New Clio which has just landed in dealerships available to test drive and order for 241 with an updated offer of 0% APR HP finance or a trade in booster of €1,000. The New Clio TCe 90 Evolution is available at €349 per month for 48 months with trade in/deposit and New Clio E-Tech full hybrid Evolution is available at €427 per month

The popular updated Captur TCe 90 Evolution is available also with 0% APR HP finance or a trade-in booster of up to €1,000 at €379 per month for 48 months and Captur E-Tech full hybrid Evolution is available at €479 per month.

The 0% HP APR finance available from Mobilize Financial Services is based on a maximum finance amount of €25,000, 48 months term and 30% deposit.  

Customers looking to move into Megane E-Tech electric who are eligible for the SEAI grant of €3,500 can benefit from a matching €3,500 electric bonus from Renault to get €7,000 when they purchase a Megane E-Tech electric. Renault is offering a €3,500 electric bonus to all private and business customers.

In addition, customers can avail of a low-rate finance offer with monthly payments from €225 per month on the road, based on 4.9% APR.  This offer from Mobilize Financial Services (MFS) is available across all 30Renault car dealerships.

Customers looking to get into the multiple award-winning Austral E-Tech full hybrid can drive away in the model from €379 per month. 

The Renault 241 updated offers are available on all orders taken and registered by 31st January 2024.

www.renault.ie

New Kia Sorento arrives in Ireland this April

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Kia Ireland have today announced details of the facelifted 7-seat Sorento model which will arrive in Ireland early next year. Available in diesel and petrol plug-in hybrid (PHEV),diesel models will arrive in Ireland this April, while PHEV models will arrive in July in time for the 242-registration period. The new Sorento features a strong design refresh including new technology, colours and sustainable materials while the new frontend design features vertical headlights and new logo placement, emphasising a bold SUV look.

The new Sorento features a strong exterior design refresh for striking on- and off-road appearance. Inspired by Kia’s ‘Opposites United’ design language, the Sorento features an updated exterior design that embodies futuristic boldness for a more premium look. At the front, a new bonnet design implements an upscaled SUV design where the Kia logo has been moved to the top of the hood. Unique vertical headlamps and star map DRLs emphasise a progressive and high-tech image, as does a new radiator grille design with a 3D mesh pattern. Together, the vertical headlamps and taillamps create a visual harmony and emphasise a capable and solid SUV look while the sequential front turn signals complete the high-tech look. The redesigned front lower bumper exudes robustness and confidence, with a wide skid plate, redesigned fog lamps, and a vertical air intake garnish underlining a strong image. The rear of the vehicle, meanwhile, features a refreshed taillight design with diagonal LEDs, while the updated rear bumper and exhaust garnish give it a more rugged look.

On the inside, the horizontal design is emphasised by a minimal strip of interior mood lighting to create a sense of infinite wideness while the curved display creates a high-tech and modern feeling. The redesigned model features a clever multi-mode touchscreen panel, as seen on the Sportage and EV6 interior, giving quick access to climate and multimedia controls. The new Sorento also features power adjustable, heated & ventilated front row seats, as well as heated second row seats, ensuring maximum in-vehicle comfort for everyone on board. Offering the perfect balance of rugged and sustainable elements, the interior of the new Kia Sorento also reflects the sustainability credentials of the brand by featuring artificial leather and recycled plastic (PET) cabin materials.

The new Kia Sorento is a symbol of balance, offering a safe, reliable, and relaxed drive. The Sorento will offer two drivetrains in Ireland, a 2.2 diesel engine coupled with an eight-speed dual clutch transmission while the petrol plug-in hybrid comes with a 1.6 T-GDI engine and a 13.8 kWh battery paired with a six-speed automatic transmission which also features 4WD as standard.

The new Kia Sorento is equipped with the latest technology to increase safety, reliability, and comfort. Dual panoramic integrated displays grace the interior: a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen and another 12.3-inch digital driver instrument cluster. The infotainment system has been designed so that Kia can send software and map updates to the car over-the-air which removes the need to make a special visit to a dealership. The new Sorento is available with wireless phone charging, multiple USB-C charging ports throughout the cabin and fingerprint recognition which allows the driver to link the user profile and individual driver set up preferences. In addition, the new Sorento has a unique Digital Key that allows owners to unlock and start the vehicle with only a smartphone or smartwatch.Drivers can remotely share the Digital Key with other drivers for convenient and easy access.  Using Kia Connect telematics, drivers of the Sorento PHEV can also view and control vehicle charge status, plan a route and access onboard features such as charge station proximity, live weather, and real-time traffic alerts.

The new Sorento also features Kia’s Advanced Driving Assistance Safety (ADAS) features including Highway Drive Assist 2.0 (HDA2) with lane change assist and Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist 2 (FCA2), which is upgraded to include junction turning and crossing, evasive steering assist, lane change oncoming, and lane change side. The new Sorento is available with Navigation-based Smart Cruise Control (NSCC), Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA), Lane Keep Assist (LKAS) and is fitted with up to seven airbags: dual front airbags, dual front seat-mounted side airbags, side curtain airbags with rollover sensor, a new second row rear thorax airbag, and a front centre airbag. The front centre airbag provides additional head protection for front-seat occupants and is designed to prevent their heads coming into contact during a collision.

The new Sorento will go on sale in Ireland from April 2024, with pricing and specification to be announced early in the new year. As with all Kia models, the new Sorento comes with Kia’s seven-year, 150,000-kilometre warranty as standard.

NEW MERCEDES-BENZ E-CLASS ARRIVES

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Mercedes-Benz E-Class (AMG Line)

Latest Mercedes-Benz newcomer to launch on the Irish market is the new E-Class, for over 75 years the mainstay of the Mercedes-Benz model range.
As with every new E-Class, ‘evolution, not revolution’ are the words that best describe the approach taken by Mercedes-Benz in reaching out to a new generation whose choice is influenced by modern trends and technology whilst retaining the loyalty and affection of traditional E-Class customers.

Transformed in a host of different ways, those most evident are the subtle shifts taken to move E-Class even further up the luxury ladder in terms of its visual appeal, passenger comforts and interior appointments.
Retained in its latest interpretation is the classic, three-box proportions, albeit in a visually more dynamic form. Stand-out features are its sporty appearance, elegant character lines, elongated bonnet, and well-proportioned rear, all fronted by a new generation facia and grille. Standard are high-performance LED headlamps, all with a distinctive day and night design.

Improvements to watch for – made possible by its slightly longer wheelbase – are its increased interior headroom, greater rear leg and knee space, and a 25mm increase in elbow width. Luggage capacity has also increased up to 540 litres.

Mercedes-Benz E-Klasse | 2023: Große Glasfläche mit neu gestalteten Icons. ( Displayinhalt kann von Serienstand abweichen. Die Funktionen auf dem Beifahrer-Display sind teilweise zum Marktstart der E-Klasse noch nicht verfügbar und dann abhängig vom jeweiligen Fahrzeugmodell, der individuellen Konfiguration und dem jeweiligen Markt. )Mercedes-Benz E-Class | 2023: Large glass surface with newly designed icons. ( Display content may differ from series status. Some of the functions on the passenger display are not yet available at the market launch of the E-Class and then depend on the respective vehicle model, the individual configuration and the respective market. )

Attractive to younger owners ‘at home’ with technology, are its added tech and a more software- driven approach in which the performance and speed of data streams enables a greater use of ‘intelligent ‘functions. In practical terms, new E-Class owners can access an enhanced menu of driver assistance features, better communications, a superior music and entertainment package, and a more extensive use of third-party apps. An available feature is one that allows the driver to participate in online video conferencing.

An imposing element is its latest MBUX Superscreen through which information, communications, entertainment and guidance systems are managed.

Using its ‘Just Talk’ function and ‘intelligent voice control’ drivers can call-up assistance without using the ‘Hey Mercedes’ keyword. A red microphone symbol on the display indicates that the vehicle is ready and waiting for commands. Additional enhancements available as options are AIRMATIC air suspension and rear-axle steering.

E-Class is available in three petrol versions (E200, E300 e, E450 4MATIC) and three diesel versions (E220 d, E300 de and E450 d 4MATIC) – two equipped with fourth-generation plug-in mild hybrid electric power. A new battery increases electric motor power from 15 to 17 kW and boosts torque to 205 Nm. Models most likely to appeal to Irish motorists are E220 d Saloon and E 200 Saloon whose prices start from €80,525 and €82,130 respectively. (PHEV production will begin in mid Q1 for customer orders and pricing will be released next month on both diesel and petrol plug-in hybrid engines prior to their launch).

MOTOR DISTRIBUTORS LIMITED (MDL) TO DISTRIBUTE ALL-NEW SMART RANGE OF ALL-ELECTRIC, ZERO-EMISSIONS CARS IN IRELAND

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In a statement released today, Irish motor vehicles distributor, Motor Distributors Limited (MDL) has announced its appointment as distributors in Ireland of the smart range of passenger cars, described in documentation as ‘the new premium intelligent all-electric auto brand’.

The appointment by smart Europe GmbH – a 100% subsidiary of smart Automobile Co., Ltd., the global joint venture company formed by Mercedes-Benz AG and Geely Automobile Co., Ltd.– takes immediate effect, and allows time for MDL to make appropriate arrangements in preparation for the arrival of smart models on to the Irish market.

Pursuing what is referred to as ‘an exciting new path with operations moving at full speed’, the appointment of MDL fits within a Europe-wide smart expansion plan that includes an objective to establish some 300 sales outlets across 17 European markets.

Welcoming the appointment, MDL Chief Executive, Paddy Finnegan said: “as distributors of passenger cars, vans and heavy commercial vehicles in Ireland, we look forward to applying our very considerable experience and resources to the introduction and on-going sales and marketing of smart vehicles as models become available here from early next year onwards.”

Commenting on the appointment, Dirk Adelmann, CEO smart Europe said: “We are pleased to announce our collaboration with MDL in Ireland as a competent authorised retail partner and distributor. Partnering with MDL ensures that our smart customers in Ireland will enjoy an exceptional customer experience and service.”

Range

Initially two models will be available – smart #1 and smart #3 – the latter having made its European debut in September at the IAA auto exhibition in Munich.

Strikingly Modern

Branded with an intriguing ’hashtag’ motif and a numerical model designation, the new electric smart range has a strikingly premium design and advanced technology, emerging as a larger in size and spaciousness range of four-door, five-seater models.

Arriving here in early 2024, customers wishing to view and reserve a smart model before year-end and in time for 241 registrations can do so through sales outlets whose appointments will shortly be announced.