Tag Archives: Crossover

2018 Renault Captur Review

Somewhere in history, car manufacturers in Ireland started realising that young buyers want something fun, quirky and different than the usual car purchase. This lead to smaller and more affordable models in manufacturer’s line-ups. But, also to retro designs like the MINI Cooper, Fiat 500 and Volkswagen Beetle. But, pair this quirky, funky styling technique to the modern day fad of the SUV and you will get the 2018 Renault Captur.The Renault Captur is nothing new to the French manufacturer’s line-up now being on sale since 2013. Having received a makeover in 2017, the Clio-based Renault Captur facelift crossover is one that should not be overlooked. From the outside, the tall yet equally hunkered down stance of the 2018 Captur ticks the boxes of a young person’s SUV. Finished in Amethyst with Platinum roof, purple with a silver roof to you and I, the Captur’s looks definitely tickled my fancy. The facelift adds a more grown-up and muscular front end to the B-segment SUV.The Captur is based off the Renault Clio so, naturally, it shares some of its components. Most of that being evident on the interior. In Signature S Nav trim, the Captur gets a 7-inch touchscreen with Renault’s R-Link infotainment system. You can read from my previous reviews of R-Link that it’s not the best however it has been seriously improved for the Captur. First of all, my phone actually paired with this one and worked every time. It’s easy to navigate and with sat nav from TomTom, it’s well equipped. Black leather seats also come as standard on Signature S Nav trim. These are comfortable, look good and come with bum warmers. Mmm, toasty!Although, the quality of the finish was still what Renault is recognised for. Scratchy plastics galore, even if the two tone dash did look good. Also, from the rear bench was an annoying creak that wouldn’t go away. On the passenger seat, the button for the heated eats, or at least the fake button in its place, had fallen into the base of the seat leaving just a hole. Not a great result quality-wise for a car with less than 5,000km on the clock.Also carrying on from my review of the 2018 Renault Megane, you will get my hatred for Nissan Renault’s 1.5 dCi engine. To my dread, this Captur was fitted with it. Although, it made a good combo on this occasion. My week of mostly urban and suburban commuting translated to a fuel economy of 7.2l/100km. This just backs up my point of my lack of a need for a diesel. So if you don’t do many motorway miles, consider opting for the TCe 90hp 3-cylinder petrol. Although, strangely, this is not available in the Signature S Nav, only diesels are available in the highest trim level.

The cabin was averagely refined in terms of road noise and engine noise but the comfortable seats made up for this. Steering was good from the tall crossover but body roll was present so don’t be getting any ideas. Although my test car sat on 17-inch “Emotion” alloys, ride comfort was good.Boot space equals 377 litres with the seats up and 1,235l with them down, taking advantage of the two tier boot floor too. Taller rear passengers might not be the most comfortable when it comes to head room but if they have long legs, they need not worry.

Overall, the Captur is good buy. Comparing it to the 2018 Opel Crossland X I tested a couple of weeks ago, the Captur is a no brainer. It is miles ahead in terms of refinement, looks and drivability. In Signature S Nav trim, this 2018 Renault Captur will set you back from €27,390. Spec it up correctly and you’ll be one happy urbanite. Renault, you did good!

2018 mazda cx-3 ireland

2018 Mazda CX-3 – New Car Review Ireland

My parents are in the market for a new car. The car they’re replacing? A 2.0TDI 2008 Audi A4. But, along with the rest of Ireland, they are being persuaded towards a compact SUV. The compact SUV in question? The 2018 Mazda CX-3. As we know the crossover market, particularly in Ireland, is overcrowded. Can the Mazda CX-3 cut the mustard?

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It’s no secret that I think Mazda is a hugely under-rated brand, especially for their design efforts. The CX-3, along with the rest of the line-up, has the magic touch of KODO design. This is Mazda’s design language which makes all of its cars seem a more grown-up than they actually are. The 2018 Mazda CX-3 measures just 4.2m in length but the wide face with indented grill makes it look a lot larger and more full than it is.

2018 mazda cx-3 ireland front

The compactness of the CX-3 plays in its favour in terms of driving but not for the interior, from the rear passengers point of view anyway. For once, I had a lot of back seat time in the Mazda CX-3 as the ‘rents chauffeured me around. Head room is good for someone like me, 6 foot-ish, but leg room was not on my side. Up front, it’s a typical Mazda affair. Mazda’s infotainment, Mazda Connect, s in full swing with Bluetooth connectivity and sat nav. The iDrive-esque system is easy to use but I think the CX-3 could be the complete package if they offered Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. As you might have gathered from some of my other reviews, brown leather wins every… single… time! So, thank you Mazda Ireland for the comfortable brown leather and alcantara supportive seats.

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As for the drive, I honestly already had it in my head that the Mazda would drive well. Every Mazda product I have driven before has not disappointed – from the Mazda MX-5 all the way to the 2018 Mazda CX-5. If I was to describe the CX-3’s drive in one word it would be tight. The 6-speed manual’s notchy gearshift compliments the weighty and precise steering well.

Although you might expect a car like this to have vague steering, you point the CX-3 in the right direction and it will bring you there. The 2.0 petrol’s song sounds familiar to the MX-5. It is surprisingly raspy. The naturally aspirated 2.0 petrol produces just 120hp and 204Nm but never did I feel as if the crossover was underpowered. On the motorway, it isn’t the cream of the crop when it comes to steadiness but I couldn’t see a long journey to Cork, which my parents would regularly do, being much of a chore. The cabin is also quiet so don’t expect to arrive fatigued. As for boot space, it is 350 litres which is down 80l on the 2018 Nissan Qashqai and almost on par with the 2018 Opel Mokka X.

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The petrol engine returned an average score of 7.4l/100km throughout my 10 days with the car. The SUV covered almost 500km between my parents and I.

So the burning question – Did my parents like it enough to buy? Well put it this way, my Dad has been on Mazda.ie speccing up CX-3s ever since I handed it back. Yes, I would like the Mazda CX-3 to have a better infotainment or possibly more power from the 2.0 petrol if I found myself in the situation of a good hoon. However, my parents don’t need or want either of them. There is the right level of luxury and comfort there for them to enjoy without spending money they don’t have. All €28,595 and brown leatherness of the CX-3 is 100% worth it.

2018 mazda cx-3 ireland rear

2018 Nissan Qashqai Exterior

2018 Nissan Qashqai Review – New Car Review Ireland

There’s a reason the old generation Nissan Qashqai dominated its segment – It was practical and cheap. Exactly what consumers look for when buying in its segment. The Qashqai has been given a makeover for 2018 and I’ve been driving it. Does it live up to its predecessor?

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I’m a single, 23 year old who has no kids so thankfully I have no need for the Qashqai but I can see why it sells so well. From the outside, the old bubbliness of the first generation has been replaced with a sleeker, muscular body painted in Vivid Blue on my press car. The B-Segment SUV sat on 19-inch black and chrome alloy wheels, standard on SVE trim. Due to the nature of larger alloys, road noise is noticeable at higher motorway speeds. I respect the fact that Nissan tried to sound proof the cabin but the reason I know this is because I could see the material used behind some exterior body panels. The grey Styrofoam material could be seen behind the wings when you opened the driver’s door. This and the fact that a lot of the interior plastics are of questionable material, it’s known that Nissan cut corners in terms of quality.

Welcome Into The Interior Of The Nissan Qashqai

Inside this highest spec car, Nissan equipped these super comfortable and great looking Nappa Leather quilted seats. Both the front two seats were electrically adjustable with the driver’s one having memory functions. This interior oozes practicality with the centre console’s armrest doubling up as a two tier cubby hole. The top part is the perfect size for a phone and wallet while the bottom part holds a couple of 500ml bottles of water. Although, the cup holders are massive, my little flat white was lost in them. Still, if you’re a fan of massive take away mugs of coffee in the morning, you’ll be more than happy to know that there are space for two up front.

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This week’s coffee spot – Ebb and Flow, Clontarf.
Said flat white came from my local – Ebb and Flow. The shop, fronting a hairdressers, has been in business since 2015 and is owned by Dave Smyth. But the faces that greet you as you walk in are what I come back for, not only the coffee. The Baristas are always full of chat and are there to brighten up your day.

Ebb and Flow stocks the Irish owned Full Circle Roasters coffee. In the grinder that day was Full Circle’s Single Origin. This fruity coffee makes the perfect flat white. It has strong tones from blueberries, cacao and violet  softly complimenting the flatty nicely.

Ebb and Flow charge €3.00 for a flat white and €2.50 for an espresso.

As For The Infotainment?

I criticised the new Nissan Micra for its infotainment system. To my despair, the system has not been updated for 2018. Although it works just fine, it’s messy. Too many buttons feature on the sides and the graphics look as if Nissan are only discovering colour screens now. There is an upside to the abundance of buttons, however. For someone unlike me who is used to the newest tech, the old school system is easy to navigate with each button doing exactly what you want it to.

 

Do You Even Practicality Bro?

Space to the rear is good. In my driving position, there was plenty of leg and headroom and the outer passengers benefit from a central arm rest. If you pull the short straw and are plonked in the middle, fear not – the transmission tunnel is small so leg room isn’t compromised too much.

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The boot features a false floor split in half so you can decrease or increase the depth of the boot. With it on the top setting, the load lip is minimal so you can slide larger items in and out with ease. To my surprise, the Nissan Qashqai had a full sized spare wheel in the boot. However, this is chucked out if you opt for the Bose sound system.

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Let’s Take to the Road

The Qashqai was never about the drive so look away now if you are looking for something more engaging. The 1.2 DIG-T is a 115hp, 190Nm turboed four cylinder petrol. The petrol makes much more sense to the style of driving I did. I mainly did city runabouts with the odd scoot down the motorway. This resulted in an average fuel consumption of 6.6l/100km over almost 400km. The peak torque of this engine arrives at 2,000rpm. This means that at lower revs, there is little power and the car feels sluggish. However, the reason I would want the petrol over the diesel is because the cabin is quieter than that of the diesel. If the joy of driving matters more to you when it comes to a family car, then lean more towards the Mazda CX-3 or CX-5.

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What Do You Get For Your Money?

The Nissan Qashqai starts at €26,070 for the XE. For this test car, expect to part with €34,320. As standard on SVE is Black Nappa Leather seats, electrically adjustable front seats and Driver Assist Pack including Intelligent Park Assist. The park assist is very intelligent, indeed. The bird’s-eye view is extremely accurate and much more convenient than just the regular parking sensors.

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Would I Buy One?

Will the 2018 Nissan Qashqai be as successful as it’s predecessor? Yes, no doubt. Although its build quality is dubious, its an overall impressive package. With competition from like likes of the Opel Mokka, Skoda Yeti (Soon to be the 2018 Skoda Karoq) and Mazda CX-3, it has a lot to live up to. If €34,320 is too strong, there is plenty of value in lower trim levels.