Red Volkwagen Polo

Volkswagen Polo Beats – Review

With Volkswagen’s success of the Golf and Passat, its next most recognised product is the Polo. The Volkswagen Polo has been the go-to car for young drivers in Ireland due to its small size and affordability. But has Volkswagen made the ultimate socialite’s car with the Volkswagen Polo Beats?

Red Volkwagen Polo

A Few Facts:
Model Tested: Volkswagen Polo Beats
Engine: 1.0TSI petrol, 75hp and 95Nm.
Transmission: 5-Speed manual, front-wheel drive.
Price: Prices start at €15,705 for the Polo range. Price as tested – €21,194.

Volkswagen Polo Red Rear scenary

The Volkswagen Golf Mk7.5 was recently launched in Ireland giving the Golf a much fresher face. Spy shots of a new Polo have been seen online and, from what can be made out from the mule shots, it looks a lot more mature; like a grown-up Golf. The most up-to-date Polo is a car that was facelifted in 2014. Other than the black and grey side decal running along the bottom of the doors and the Beats branding on the B-pillar, the Polo Beats is just a regular Polo. The test car I had was painted in Flash Red which was complemented by 16-inch “Syenit” black and chrome alloy wheels. Black trim bits, like the grill, B-Pillar inserts and wing mirror housing give the Beats a meaner look, especially paired with Flash Red.

Red Volkswagen Polo wheels

The Volkswagen Polo Beats Interior is like Stepping into a German Nightclub, in Ireland.

The interior is quite a significant difference from the outside. Its grey and tan two-tone dash and seat upholstery is a nice variance from the usual black cloth seats and black-plastic dash. The bi-tone seats are cloth and alcantara with red piping. They are sophisticated but also have a youthful aspect.

Volkswagen Polo Interior

The centre console is nicely laid out with the infotainment system taking centre stage. The 6.5-inch touchscreen is what is typically found in Volkswagen. An option specced on this car was the 171 Pack. This optional package offers a reversing camera, folding mirrors and Light and Vision package.

Volkswagen Polo Interior

What is the Volkswagen Polo like on Irish Roads? 

The Polo has an array of engines including a 1.0TSI, 1.2TSI and 1.4TSI petrol engines. A 1.4TDi diesel is also available. Unfortunately, the Beats is only available with the 1.0TSI 75hp 3 cylinder. I say unfortunately in relation to the combination of the car and engine. On its own, the 1.0 is characterful little engine. You can read what I thought of the 90hp output version in the Up!. But 75hp is not powerful enough for the beefier Polo.

Red Volkwagen Polo

In second and third gear, its fun to throw around but it is slow and sluggish. When entering a motorway, prepare to sit with your foot on the floor while you get up to cruising speed. The combination of 75hp and 95Nm is not enough to give it the grunt to get it 100km/h quickly, it takes 14.3 seconds to be exact.

Red Volkswagen Polo Beats Night Front

Body roll is most definitely present but in saying this, the liberty of the chassis means it adds comfort to everyday driving. Besides, the Polo Beats is not what you want if you after a track day dog or backroad hooner.

Practicality/Boot Space:

The little Polo has 280l of boot space on offer but this can be expanded to 952l by folding the rear seats. To put this into perspective; the Suzuki Baleno offers 355l and the Mazda2 offers 280l too. In the cabin, the door pockets are of sufficient size for a small water bottle, the centre armrest is the perfect place to put your phone and the glove box is of normal size.

Volkswagen Polo Boot

Equipment:

Throughout 2017, Volkswagen Ireland are offering a 171 package (€299). This includes folding mirrors, reversing camera and a Light and Vision package. Standard equipment in the Polo Beats include cruise control, sports seats, Bluetooth and, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Volkswagen Polo Beats Dr. Dre

The Beats sound system is the main attraction to the Polo Beats. It, as you can tell, is a sound system by Beats by Dr.Dre. The system has 6 speakers and the sound quality is in a league of its own. It’s clear and when turned to much higher volumes, the sound is not distorted or crackly, which can be evident from cheaper sound systems.

Running costs:

The 1.0TSI petrol emits 108g/km of CO2 so is €190 per year to tax. It’s frugal too with the Bluemotion technology engine returning a figure of 5.6l/100km. Comparing this to the Mazda2, I averaged 6.5l/100km and in the Baleno a rather mediocre figure of 6.1l/100km.

Volkswagen Polo Beats Red at Night

Pricing:

The Volkswagen Polo price starts at €15,705 with the Volkswagen Polo diesel price starting at €19,105. The Polo Beats starts at €20,120 with the test car costing €21,194.

Competition:

The B-Segment is a competitive and rather overcrowded one. With strong competition from the likes of the Ford Fiesta, Opel Corsa and Peugeot 208, the Volkswagen puts up a tough fight. Some other alternatives to the Polo include;

Suzuki Baleno: The Baleno offers a lot of ‘bang-for-your-buck’ in terms of standard equipment for the price. It is not a bad steer either. The 1.0 Boosterjet engine also offers the same nostalgic 3-cylinder grunt and 110hp while also being frugal. It has a larger boot than the Polo but cabin space is on par.

Mazda2: Mazda takes a proud place in the segment with the Mazda2. The nicely finished but rather pricey Mazda2 is good to drive while also being frugal and practical.

Alfa Romeo Mito: While the Alfa Romeo Mito has the sex appeal of an Alfa Romeo 8C, it does not offer the best overall package. The Polo offers a better quality interior and the 1.0TSI is miles ahead of the 1.3 diesel unit on offer in the Mito.

Skoda Fabia: The Skoda Fabia has the same underpinnings as the Polo so, in essence, is the same car just with a different badge. However, it does not have a Beats option. All in all though, it offers a similar package for a starting price of €14,500.

Volkswagen Polo Red Rear scenary

Would I buy a Volkswagen Polo Beats?

Wholly, the Volkswagen Polo is a decent package for younger drivers, as a first car or a cheap-to-run runabout. The Polo Beats is the one to have if you are an audiophile. The Beats system is good and is worth the €20,120 price tag the Polo Beats commands. Although, hold off a little longer and see what Volkswagen have in store with the new Polo.

Red Volkswagen Polo side at night

Blue Tesla Model S 90D front

Tesla Model S P100D – Review

Increasingly over the years, Tesla has been creeping not only onto roads globally but into Ireland too. Its a rare site but there are a few 2015 and 2016 Tesla Model S electric cars floating around Ireland. But today marked the official launch of both Tesla Motors cars onto Irish roads and also the first Supercharger in Ireland. I went along to have a little drive.

Blue Tesla Model S 90D front

Welcoming the Tesla Model S and Model X to Ireland

Model Tested: Tesla Model S P100D
Power: 603hp and 967Nm
Transmission: Automatic, four-wheel drive.
Price: Prices for the Model S range start at €83,581 for the 75. Prices for the P100D start at €177,289. As tested – €209,035.

Blue Tesla Model S 90D front

When you think of a Tesla you think of an electric car, right? Well, its more appropriate to think of it as a driving computer or tablet. This car is so elaborate. I don’t think I have attended a car launch ever where I have gone away thinking to myself how on earth they managed to fit so much cleverness and tech into a single car! From the moment you press the door handle of the Model S and it glides out of the bodywork; you are smirking and shaking your head in disbelief.

But before I get to the tech, let me introduce its artistry and sleekness. The current Model S is a facelifted version that was introduced along with the Model X, both of which share the same chassis. Replacing the faux-grill at the front is a clean, smooth and rounded bumper giving the face of the Model S a more streamlined look. This streamlined design is continued down the side with the door handles popping out once prompted to do so by pushing on them. Around the back, it is very previous generation Jaguar XF-like with the shape of the lights and the chrome trim breaking up the boot lid.

Blue Tesla Model S 90D side

Open up the sportscar-like rimless glass door and you sit into leather sports seats. Everything is built around the 17-inch touchscreen, off of which everything is controlled. Everything being; the climate control, your phone connectivity, sat nav, the car’s settings, etc. The system includes a 4 year subscription to Spotify through a 3g and 4g connection. The only two buttons that are housed on dash are the hazard lights switch and button to open the glove box. Its all so sleek and, well, streamlined. This all sounds very normal for a modern day car, yes? Well can your Audi A8 close its doors from a button on the infotainment screen? Yeah, didn’t think so…

Tesla Model S P100D touchscreen

When you think of white leather you think of disaster but the white leather that was specced on the Model S suited it perfectly. It all felt very much like a designer kitchen; contemporary and modern. Pair the white leather with carbon trim, Red Multi-Coat paintwork and 21-inch Grey Turbine alloy wheels and you have got yourself a stealthy yet in-vogue sportscar. Oh and if you are a worried vegan, don’t be; Tesla have a vegan leather option.

Tesla Model S 90D rear blue

The Tesla Model S? A Supercar?

Yes, a Supercar. As practical and as comfortable as it is, the Model S P100D is a seriously quick and agile car for it’s class. Let me explain the name; P100D. P stands for Performance, 100 stands for 100kW, the combined power of the batteries, and D stands for Dual-engine; four wheel drive. Throw all of this into a pot and its a recipe for thrills! In Ludicrous Mode, the Model S P100D can launch the car from 0-100km/h in 2.7 seconds. If you don’t know what this feels like think of being on a roller coaster; when you creep over the crest and then it just falls, the butterflies in your stomach going 90! THAT, is what the sensation feels like. But let me compare the numbers; a Ferrari LaFerrari does 0-100km/h in 2.6 seconds, a McLaren 570S does it in 2.7 seconds and a Porsche 911 Turbo does it in 2.8 seconds. Yeah, the Tesla Model S P100D is quite brisk!

Tesla Model S 90D rear blue

But not only is it as quick as a Supercar, it handles like one too. Get a nice twisty and quick-cornered road and the Tesla does not disappoint. The throttle response has two modes; Sport or Ludicrous. The ride height can be adjusted to High, Standard, Low or Very Low. Although, these modes are only suspension height so do not enhance the rigidity of the suspension. But just for good measure, I put it in Very Low to maintain the stealthy look. Body roll was kept at a minimum in the Model S, it was all very complete. Whereas in the Model X, body roll was very much present. The two cars are like night and day to drive.

Tesla Model S P100D and Model X

But the million dollar question is, how much does all this cost? Well, you wouldn’t be far off guessing a million dollars… The Model S range in Ireland starts at €83,581, including the government incentive. If you want the full whack and go for the P100D, including a few options, you can expect to fork out €209,035. Ok, ok, yes it is super expensive but lets do a slight comparison. The Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, the closest competitor from Porsche, starts at roughly €115,000. The equivalent Audi S8 starts at €133,000. So unless you want the full package, the Model S is not looking that bad.

Blue Tesla Model S 90D front

Tesla Model S P100D Range

What you will save in petrol costs from choosing the Model S over its competitors is quite enticing. The Tesla Model S range can vary between roughly 300km and 600km depending on your driving style. But, Tesla have a nifty calculator on their website which allows you to measure how much it will cost to charge the car and how often you will need to charge it. For example, based on an average speed of 70km/h, an outside temperature of 10 degrees and with the 21-inch alloys, the 75 is capable of 564km and the P100D is capable of 681km. Try and achieve those kind of figures in your Panamera!

Tesla Model S Interior with touchscreen

Tesla’s First Supercharger for Ireland

This week marked the unveiling of Tesla’s first supercharger in Ireland too, located at Junction 3 off the M8. The Supercharger can charge the Model S and Model X from 0-50% in 20 minutes and up to 80% in 40 minutes. Tesla say that the Supercharger is used just to get you enough power to get you home. There, you can use the Tesla Wall Connector to charge the car overnight.

Tesla Model S P100D at Supercharger in Ireland

Verdict: Would I buy a Tesla Model S?

Before I even stepped foot inside the Model S or Model X, I had it in my head that I was not going to be sorry driving home in my supercharged MINI, the little pocket rocket that it is. But that was very wrong of me. The Tesla Model S and Model X are both extremely capable cars, even if they will cost you a pretty penny. But I truly believe that the future is here. Welcome to Ireland, Tesla. You are more than welcome.

Blue Tesla Model S 90D front

Skoda Kodiaq – Launch

The Skoda Kodiaq, or the Skodiaq as I have been calling it, is the Czech brand’s answer to the Nissan X-Trail and Hyundai Sante Fe. This week marked the launch of the SUV into Ireland and I have been driving it. Firstly, Skoda; you have done well.

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The Kodiaq’s design has been inspired by a Czech Republican-crafted crystal, the Bohemia Crystal. Bohemia Crystal is known for its high quality, craftsmanship, beauty and innovative design; all of which I believe Skoda have been representing over recent years. The Skoda’s design has bold, sharp and contemporary design features making the SUV stand out from the crowd. Soft, curved lines are hard come-by on the Kodiaq. The SUV measures in at 4.7m long and 1.9m wide and weighs 1,795kg allowing a 2,500kg towing capacity.

I hopped into the Kodiaq, firstly, as a passenger. I immediately noticed the generous leg room that the middle row offers, much like the Superb and Superb Combi. Although unlike the Superb, the Kodiaq’s middle row can be moved forward or back giving the third row passengers more legroom.

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This brings me to the Kodiaq’s variants; it comes in both five seater and seven seater forms. Three trim levels will be offered from launch; Active, Ambition and Style. Active starts at €28,795, add €1,900 for Ambition and €3,900 on top of that for Style. Each trim level offers more spec. Add €1,000 for the seven seat option.

Two engines are available; a 1.4 TSI petrol and a 2.0TDI diesel. Power output ranges from 125hp to 190hp. Both manual and DSG, and two-wheel-drive and four-wheel drive are on offer. Skoda Ireland reckon that 70% of Skodiaqs will be 4×4, leaving 30% of buyers opting for 2WD. They also say that only 15% of buyers will opt for petrol.

At the launch, I drove the 2.0TDI 150hp 4×4 Manual. It felt good on the road despite the noticeable length. Although you could still see the rear of the car leaving the corner as you were on the road, it did not feel as if you were driving such a large car. The gearshifts were smooth from the 6-speed manual and power delivery was good from the 150hp unit.

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Skoda are on target for 1,000 Skodiaqs to be bought this year with 1,500 next year. They say that 50% of the allocated 1,000 have already been ordered/purchased. The brand have been doing well for themselves over the years. In 2004, the brand achieved a 2.21% market share. In 2016; this was increased to 6.50%. Registrations for the former were 3,416 vehicles and 9,510 for the latter. They hope to break 10,000 units this year. So far, the brand have registered 4,878 units this car.

So, are Skoda being too ambitious with the 1,000 unit target for the Kodiaq? Based on my first impressions; no. It seems to be a well sorted car at a keen price. However, I have yet to drive it for more than 20 minutes. Watch this space for the full review coming soon.

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Audi Q2 – Review

As soon as I social media-ised the Q2, it was acknowledged with confusion and disapproval. While the Q2 does not fit directly into a segment, I appreciate Audi’s thinking. Is the Q2 Audi’s answer to the hipster phase?

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Audi Q2; A Few Facts:
Model Tested: Audi Q2 S-Line
Engine: 1.4TFSI Petrol, 150hp and 250Nm.
Transmission: 7-Speed S-Tronic automatic, front-wheel drive.
Price: Prices start at €30,100 for the Q2 range. Price as tested – €46,369.

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What is a Hipster? Well according to the trustworthy source that is Urban Dictionary, “Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20’s and 30’s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter”.

Moreover, Hipsters reject mainstream consumers and often wear tight-fitting jeans, neat looking loafers, and sometimes thick rimmed glasses. There are types of hipsters and I have come to the conclusion that the Audi Q2 falls into one particular category; the Trendster. A Trendster does things that have never been done before & setting new trends with effective use of creativity in an inspiring manner. In essence, they did it before it was cool.

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When Audi launched the Q2 in 2016, it wasn’t the first manufacturer to make a petite-urban SUV/Crossover, I would say Nissan can take that title with it’s Juke. But unlike the Juke, the Q2 is more upmarket. Its done right. It has the desirability of ownership.

Audi Q2; Styling

Audi have given the Q2 a unique look. A lot of manufacturers try to make certain models look more youthful and targeted towards a younger generation, the Nissan Juke or Fiat 500 for example. Audi have successfully done this with the Q2.

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Much like the new Audi Q5 TDI and TFSI, It has a reoccurring hexagonal motif which can be seen a long the door panels, the front grille and the shape of the wing mirrors, for example. Stern lines define the front bumper, lights and bonnet giving the Audi a new look for the brand. The test car I had was painted in Coral Orange, and with the other one on the fleet finished in Vegas Yellow, they certainly stand out. Think of the eccentric metallic paint as the skinny jeans and the interchangeable C-Pillar blade, which can be specced in White, Silver, Black, Light or Dark Grey,  as the non-prescription thick rimmed glasses.

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Audi Q2; Interior

The interior is typical Audi, to extent. Ok, so maybe the Q2 is wanna-be hipster. I always find myself comfortable in an Audi cabin. Not just physically but also in the same way as you would go into your best friends house and make yourself a cup of tea. Everything in the cabin is familiar but also up to date. The virtual cockpit, taken straight from the A4 and TT parts bin, is optional as part of the Technology Pack (€2,450). Virtual Cockpit too much of technical toy? Well, the air vents certainly keep you entertained in traffic. Don’t believe me?Go drive an A3 or Q2…

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As part of the S-Line trim, you are seated in familiar cloth and leather seats. As familiar and as comfortable as the couch in your usual off-the-beaten-track pub. Its all very inviting and cosy.

What is not so much welcome and enjoyed in the use of scratchy, low-quality plastics used on the door cards. Alright Audi, we get it. You’re trying to be hipster but just tone it down a bit. Incorporated into the centre console side panels are Orange/Red panel lights . It adds to the ambiance.

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As for the rear, space is hard come by.  I had three, self-proclaimed, “fat chaps” in the back. It wasn’t the most peaceful journey, what with the complaining and Bon Jovi impersonations. They may have had a beer or two on them…

Audi Q2; On The Road

The Q2 continues to feel familiar. The first thing you notice when you jump behind the wheel of the Q2 is its similarities in driving style to the A3. Yes you are aware of the extra ground clearance, but steering feel and gear changes from the 7-Speed S-Tronic is recognisable. The Q2’s weight of 1,280kg is somewhat comparable to the 1,240kg in a similarly specced A3 Sportback. Although not as driver focused as the Audi Q3 RS, it still is a good steer.

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Audi’s Drive Select comes as standard on the Q2 range. I found myself mostly driving in either Comfort or Dynamic. Eco is too lurchy when in stop-start traffic or at traffic lights. Individual allows you to customise the driving settings to your own style.

Audi’s efforts of trying reduce body roll through the use of the S-Line suspension were lead astray somewhere throughout the project. The S-Line sits 20mm lower than the SE which gives the Q2 a more aggressive stance. But even in Comfort mode, ride can be quite harsh from the suspension; not thanked by our authentic Irish roads.

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While at the launch of the Audi A5 and Audi Q5 TDI, I drove the Q2 with a 6-speed manual and the 1.0TFSI. This should not be overlooked if you intend to use the Q2 mainly around the city.

So yeah, the Q2 is different. Therefore, hipster.

Audi Q2; Practicality/Boot Space

The Q2’s 405l  of boot space can be expanded to 1,050l when the 40:60 rear seats are split. 10l and 50l, respectively, are lost when equipping the Q2 with Quattro.

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Up front, the compact-crossover has sufficient door bin pockets and glove box. The armrest boasts a phone box when specced with the Technology Pack.

Audi Q2; Equipment

Typically Audi, to get any geeky technology, you have to rummage deep in your pockets. The Technology Pack equipped on this Q2 is priced at €2,450. This gives you the Virtual Cockpit, Phone Box (which allows your phone to be charged wirelessly), Audi Connect and MMI Navigation. As standard comes Drive Select, Audi Pre-Sense (emergency braking) and Cruise Control.

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Audi Q2; Running Costs

Throughout the week, the Q2 returned 6.1l/100km. Comparing this to the A3, it returned 7.1l/100km.

With the 1.4TFSI engine, the Q2 is €270 per year to tax.

Audi Q2; Pricing

Prices for the Q2 range start at €30,100. Price for this test car is €46,369, including options.

Audi Q2; Competition

Audi A3 Sportback/Saloon – As you tell from my review of the A3 range, I’m a big fan. It ticks so many boxes regarding the styling and driving ability. Would I have a Q2 over an A3? I just don’t know. Even though they are very similar, they are also completely different. A bit like an IPA and a Blonde Ale…

Nissan Juke – The Nissan Juke seems to be the go-to car in the segment if you want a young, frugal small-crossover. Comparing the Q2 to the Juke and the Q2 offers a better package overall. But, this is reflected in the price. The Q2 starts at €30,100 whereas the Juke starts at €19,995. 

Opel Mokka – The Mokka doesn’t offer the same uniqueness as the Q2 but it still shouldn’t be over looked. Receiving a face-lift (and name change to the the Mokka-X), the Mokka is a practical, comfortable and good-looking crossover. It is bigger which means it offers more practicality.

Audi Q2; Conclusion

Much like the hipster lifestyle, it is not one chosen by everyone. It suits some people and others, not so much. As it is becoming a more popular phenomenon, it is becoming a more expensive lifestyle. Much like the Q2; its a unique choice, not chosen by everyone. Which, in a way, is why it comes at a price. But all the same, its a good path to take. The Q2’s personality is one of that you need in your life. Its quirkiness brings good vibes.

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