Opel Astra 1.6 CDTi – Collection

Some of you may be observant enough to notice that I’ve already had an Opel AstraDSC_0036 in the past few weeks and you would be right. However, this week I am driving the 1.6 diesel whereas 3 weeks ago I was in the 1.4T petrol. You can read my collection of the 1.4T petrol here.

A Few Facts:
Model Tested: Opel Astra SC
Engine: 1.6 Diesel  – 134hp and 320Nm
Transmission: 6 Speed Manual, Front Wheel Drive
Price: The Astra range starts from €19,995 with the SC starting at €21,495. As tested – €23,245, including options.


The Astra I have this week is specced in the SC trim level. This is one trim level up from the basic one, Astra S. SC includes 16 inch alloys,DSC_0040 7 inch IntelliLink touch screen infotainment system, cruise control, multi functional steering wheel and electric front and rear windows. My test car is also fitted with front and rear parking sensors (€250), IntelliLux matrix LED headlights (€1,350) and a spare wheel (€150).


This Astra is finished in Cool Beige and grey/black cloth interior. It doesn’t quite “pop” as much as much as the 1.4T did in Emerald Green with black leather though.


The Astra range starts from €19,995 with the SC trim level started at €21,495. My test car is fitted with €1,750 worth of options bringing it to a total of €23,245.

Opel Adam S – Collection

Continuing on with my stream of Opels, I introduce the Adam S. DSC_0048The Adam is a hardcore and hotter version of Opels funky city car, the Adam.

Powered by a 1.4 petrol engine producing 150hp and 220Nm of torque, the Adam S can throw you from 0-100Km/h in just 8.5 seconds. DSC_0056From first impressions, it really is a punchy engine and definitely sounds great.

My test car is finished in Forgotten About Grey with a Red’n’Roll roof, it looks very good indeed!DSC_0053 Also, it is sitting on 18 inch alloys with red brake calipers. Inside, the dash follows the same colour scheme and the optional Recaro leather seats are fitted.

My first impressions are good for the Adam S and I am looking forward to spending the week listening to that class exhaust note.


Opel Astra 1.4T – Collection

This week started off with catching up with an old friend, the Opel Corsa OPC. After I had my fun hooning around the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains and after emptying the tank, I went to collect a more sensible car. This week I am driving the new Opel Astra.


The new Astra is available in many guises, the one I am testing this week is the Elite with the 1.4 Turbo petrol engine.


This engine packs in 150hp and 245Nm of torque. My car is finished in Emerald Green (which I love) and has optional 18″ Twister Alloys. The seats are black leather which are not only heated but also have a massage function.

The pricing of the Astra range starts from €19,995 with my test car priced at €30,695, this includes €4,700 worth of options. The Opel Astra is European and World Car of the Year so has quite a big name to live up to. A full review of it will be coming shortly.

Opel Karl – Review

Not a lot of people know about Karl, Karl is Opel’s rival to the Toyota Aygo, Hyundai i10 and Volkswagen up!. Karl is simple, cheap and easy to live with.IMG_7301 Think of Karl as your low maintenance friend, the one that will always be there for you and never let you down. He’s the sensible one.

A Few Facts:
Model Tested: Opel Karl SE
Engine: 1.0 Petrol  – 75hp and 95Nm
Transmission: 5 Speed Manual, Front Wheel Drive
Price: The Karl range starts from €11,995 with the SE starting at €14,695, as tested – €16,065, including options.

From the outside, Karl is easy on the eye. There are no vicious lines or curves like that of the Corsa or funkiness like Adam. No, Karl is simple. In this case, less is more. IMG_7284My friend Karl is finished in Titanium Grey with 15 inch alloys wheels, which are standard on the Karl SE. The front lights, grill and rear lights are the only features from the outside that hint that it comes from the Opel lineup.

Stepping inside Karl (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d say), the humbleness continues. Karl SE has leather/cloth seats with slight bolsters on them to give you that extra bit of comfort. IMG_7351The heated leather multi functional steering wheel and heated seats are part of the Winter Pack, a €200 option. Up front the cabin is a nice bright place to be, thanks to the optional sunroof (€660), if this was not equipped he would feel quite claustrophobic to be in. Which then brings me to the rear of the car. There are three seat belts meaning you can fit three passengers in there but please, for their sake…don’t! IMG_7361He is quite cramped as he is a narrow car. It also doesn’t help that there are tinted windows as standard. It makes for an unpleasant experience for rear occupants.
There is enough head and leg room for a 6 foot person, like me.IMG_7356 But you would not want to do any long haul journeys. They even have to put up with wind up windows, rather than electric ones. Your poor rear passengers!

Being a city car, Karl should be easy to see out of with good visibility. This is not the case, the A pillar and C pillar are quite large for such a car and the rear window isn’t exactly generous either. Although, this chunkiness means good safety. Karl scored a 4 star rating in the NCAP.

The storage space in Karl is basic. Starting with the boot, it is 206 litres and with the 60:40 split rear seats folded, it is increased to 1013 litres.IMG_7354 This is not class leading, in fact it second last compared to the i10, up! and Aygo with the Aygo coming in last place with only 168 litres. But moving into the cabin, the driver and front passenger are spoiled for choice of where to store their tablet, phone, coffee/water bottle in all the cubby holes and have a average size glove box. Although rear passengers have to do without door pockets. IMG_7266Yes the interior could be of better quality but this does not come as a surprise when paying this price. Although Karl’s rivals are finished a little bit better.


Driving Karl isn’t going to overly excite anyone, like many of it’s city car rivals. Although, Karl is very easy to drive. IMG_7402He has a 1.0 litre petrol engine producing 75hp and 95Nm of torque. He is perfect for negotiating small, narrow city streets due to his small size and the 1.0 unit is quite lively at low speeds. My Karl was equipped with rear parking sensors (€360) so he is easy to park also. IMG_7490He has speed-sensitive power steering so at low speeds, the steering is light. When you pick up speed, like out in the suburbs, the steering becomes heavier and is suited to that style of driving. He also has City Mode so once this button is pressed, the steering will be light.

Like being easy on the eye, Karl is easy on your pocket. The Karl range starts at €11,995 with the SE coming in at €14,695.IMG_7388 My friend Karl was priced at €16,065 including extras. For that price you do get a lot of equipment. The Toyota Aygo is priced from €13,360,  the Hyundai i10 from €12,745 and the VW up! from €12,325. As you can see, Karl takes the lead here.

Karl emits just 104 g/km of CO2 meaning you only pay €190/annum to tax him, again similar to his rivals. Although, a downside to Karl was the fuel economy. I averaged 7.2l/100km, 2.7 litres over what Opel claims.

Overall, Karl and myself became good mates during our week together. IMG_7298Given the opportunity, I’d definitely go for a beer with Karl. Although, I could see myself slowly drifting off after while as Karl rambles on in his monotone voice. You catch my drift? He isn’t the most interesting person but does the job. I would consider inviting Aygo or up! along too, just to be safe.


Photography: Darragh McKenna

Opel Karl – Collection

This week, I am driving the Opel Karl, Opel’s rival to the Toyota Aygo, Hyundai i10 and the Volkswagen up!.

Opel Karl 1

The Karl’s styling is simple. It has hints of its older brother, the Corsa. My test car is finished in Titanium Grey with Black Leather/Cloth interior. The interior is, again, simple but not too cramped. My car has the optional sunroof which helps brightens up the cabin.

Opel Karl 2

From first glance, the Karl has plenty of storage with two cup holders up front, lots of small cubby-holes and a decent sized glove box.

Opel Karl 3

The price of the Karl range starts at €11,995 for the S, the SE (My test car) starts from €14,495 with my test car priced at €16,065, including options. The Karl emits just 104g/km of CO2 so costs €190/annum to tax.


Photography – Darragh McKenna

Mitsuoka Roadster

Do you know or remember Mitsuoka? That ghastly Mark II Jag lookalike based on a Nissan Micra, yes? Well, it has launched its new Roadster to the UK and Irish market. Thanks to a London Mazda dealership, T.W White and Sons, Mitsuoka will be selling its Roadster Classic, Roadster Brooklands and Viewt to UK and Irish customers.

Set up back in 1968, Mitsuoka Motors started off as a second hand car dealership. Susuma Mitsuoka, the CEO then, had a passion for classic cars but felt it cost too much to run them. It was in 1982 that Mitsuoka decided to produce limited quantity cars. The Viewt is the company’s best-selling car to date with over 15,000 units sold.

Mitsuoka Viewt

The Roadster is based on the third generation Mazda MX-5 and has the same 2.0 litre petrol unit driven by either a manual or automatic gearbox. The Mazda engine produces 160hp and 188Nm of torque. The CO2 figures range from 181 g/km to 188 g/km so will cost, a hefty, €750 per year to tax.

Roadster rear

In theory the car should drive well, being based on an MX-5 but it is also the previous generation MX-5 so won’t have the agility of the new one. Although, I shall reserve judgment on that until (if) I drive one.

Roadster Interior

The pricing on the Roadster starts at £53,800 for the Classic and £56,700 for the Brooklands. Options include Metallic/Pearlescent Paint (£620/€784), Upgraded Alloys (£1,056/€1,336), Wire Wheels (£2,372/€3,001), Burr walnut veneer dashboard (£972/€1,230), parking sensors (£720/€911) and a bespoke leather interior crafted to your specification. Roughly converting the Pound Sterling price to Euro and adding the price of VRT of a 2015 MX5 (Mitsuoka isn’t on the VRT system…), the starting price would be over €74,000. Need I ask the question, a Porsche Boxster or a Mitsuoka Roadster?…

Looks Good to me

Audi SQ7

Have you ever thought that your Audi Q7 just isn’t powerful or baller enough? Well you’re in luck so. Audi’s SQ7 will soon be available to buy in Ireland.

Dynamic photo, Colour: Sepang Blue
Dynamic photo,
Colour: Sepang Blue

From mid-May, You may be able to see the worlds most powerful diesel SUV on Irish roads. The first S model in the Q7 range, Audi claims the 435hp and the 900Nm diesel engine is the worlds most powerful SUV.

Static photo, Colour: Sepang Blue
Static photo,
Colour: Sepang Blue

The new electric turbo, known as an electric powered compressor, is the first of its kind for Audi. The SQ7 is worthy enough of being Audis first car to have this electric turbo. Audi claim that the new turbo will reduce power lag. Audi have also introduced electromechanical active roll stabilisation to the SQ7 to give it sportier handling and to reduce body roll.

Static photo, Colour: Sepang Blue
Static photo,
Colour: Sepang Blue

The starting price of the SQ7 is €119,900 and comes with the same standard equipment as the regular Q7. This is includes; LED headlights, Audi connect, Audi MMI navigation plus, virtual cockpit, and a larger 85-litre fuel tank and 24-litre Adblue tank.

Making the SQ7 stand out, electrically adjustable, heated Valcona leather sport seats with S Logo embossing, 20-inch wheels, and flat-bottomed sports steering wheel will come as standard.