Tag Archives: Volkswagen

2018 Volkswagen Amarok V6 Aventura – Irish New Car Review

A car is more than just a car now. It’s a lifestyle choice. As an example, I’m currently trying to sell my MINI Cooper S because I now do more motorway miles rather than back road jaunts, unfortunately. So now I need a frugal diesel. As for the 2018 Volkswagen Amarok Aventura, someone who buys this is more likely to be the outdoorsy type, lives in the country and needs to haul large loads a lot. This is why the Amarok is in my dream garage.When I picked up the Amarok Aventura, I immediately smirked. This was down to the Indium Grey Matte paintwork. Originally I thought that it had been inspired by an early 2000s supercar, in today’s terms that would be considered tacky. However, the colour grew on me as the week went on. The Amarok gets so much attention, on the road and parked up. I brought it to Cars and Coffee, where I parked it in the far corner of the car park. Even then, it attracted crowds. Although it looks menacing and rowdy, people still have a soft spot for it.Not only does it look good, but being a pick up, it’s practical too. Conveniently, I was moving house the same week. I managed to fit my stuff, along with my two housemates boxes between the loading bed and rear seats of the Amarok. While this might be convenient for you, your friends will definitely take advantage and use you and your pick-up for those dreaded Ikea trips…

But for more regular use, the Amarok isn’t as useful as you’d hope. As standard, the loading bay is uncovered. While some rivals offer a basic cover, Volkswagen don’t. However, if you are a buyer knowing that it will be used mainly around cities, there are plenty of options of covering for the rear.Inside, the Amarok is still a Volkswagen Commercial product. Hard, tough and black plastics line the interior and the 6.3 inch, non-touchscreen infotainment is far from that found in the likes of the 2018 Volkswagen Touareg.The 8-speed DSG automatic is mated to the 3.0 litre V6 diesel. This is my favourite improvement to the Amarok range. No, it isn’t frugal with an average of 9.5l/100km but with 550Nm and 224hp, there is enough poke for what the Amarok is made for. I also have a reputable source that can confirm that the manual V6 is just as fun as a Golf GTI, albeit in a different way. And, I can confirm that the Amarok, even with the 4Motion four wheel drive system, can drift…For all of the reasons above, the Amarok has a special place in my heart and in my future garage. Personally, I have no need for a pick-up but the Amarok V6 has so much appeal. However, at a shade over €60,000 for this particular Aventura specced Amarok, I would also consider its rivals. These include the Toyota Hilux, Nissan Navara and Mercedes X-Class.







2018 Volkswagen Arteon vs. 2018 Skoda Superb – Twin Test Review

Back in 2016 when I drove my first Skoda Superb in Ireland, the Superb L&K, I thought Volkswagen had shot themselves in the foot with it. It was far superior than the Passat, and still is for that matter. However, is it better than the Volkswagen Passat CC’s replacement, the 2018 Volkswagen Arteon? I conduct a twin test on Irish roads between the Skoda Superb and Volkswagen Arteon to find out.I start on the most obvious point and that goes to the Arteon. The sheer beauty of this four door coupe is not to be overlooked. Volkswagen really worked their magic with its smooth, elegant and swooping lines. The elongated saloon almost pays homage to the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia of the 50’s. Especially painted in, one of my favourite colours on modern Volkswagens, Turmeric Yellow. It really makes this five seater saloon pop.As for the Skoda, the Superb is the Czech Republican company’s Flagship model. The lights are more angular, front and rear. In this Sportline trim, it gets black accents throughout; a subtle lip spoiler, the door surrounds, the grill and 19-inch alloys. What the Superb doesn’t have though, that the Arteon does, are frameless windows. This feature gives the Arteon’s already elegant design more suppleness and classiness. Although, pairing the Moon White Metallic paint of the Superb to the black trim details, it really stands out in Sportline trim. Enough to put it on par with the Arteon.Moving inside, both cars are alike. Both cars get similar tech, similar comfort features and similar novelties. But the Skoda takes the biscuit this time. The Superb now has an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Skoda Connect, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This is a Volkswagen unit so unsurprisingly, the Arteon also has the same system. But while the Skoda didn’t have Sat Nav on the infotainment, the Arteon did. This seemed quite pointless to me. This was because each time I got into the Arteon I connected straight to Android Auto, which has Google Maps.Although the Superb had adaptive Cruise Control, the Arteon had this and predictive speed control. This is self-explanatory. The car recognises speed zones while connected to adaptive cruise control and adjusts the car’s speed to that zone. This might seem convenient going from an 80km/h to a 100km/h zone without having to touch the steering wheel controls, it would also be convenient if the system actually worked as it should. When travelling along the motorway, the system would regularly pick up the 50km/h speed zones on the slip roads and begin harshly brake. This is not good when you are travelling at 100km/h and the cars in your review mirror get frighteningly closer. I didn’t see the advantage of the Arteon’s extra tech for the extra price, I am sticking with the Superb for the moment.As for space and comfort, both saloons are comfortable. Nothing has changed for the Superb’s excellent rear passenger leg room and the Arteon has taken this on board. The Arteon’s sloping roof takes a small hit on taller rear passengers compared to the Superb but really isn’t all that noticeable.As you might have grasped before even starting to read this new car review, the Skoda Superb and Volkswagen Arteon drive very much the same. I covered 1,100km behind the wheel of the Superb and 670km in the Arteon. Both were predominantly motorway kilometres so I got to put the 2.0 TDI 150hp diesel engines in their natural environments. I was very impressed by the Skoda Superb’s average fuel economy of 5.5l/100km, even though it is missing 1 gear on the DSG compared to the Arteon. The 7-speed DSG mated to the Arteon helped return an average of 6.1l/100km.

Both test cars I had were optioned up with 19-inch alloys giving both cars loud-ish cabins while on the move. I say “ish” because it wasn’t so loud that I couldn’t have a conversation with my passengers.Up to now, both cars seem to be on par with each other, in my books. So in this case, it all comes down to price. The Skoda Superb range starts from €28,150 with the Sportline starting at €36,500. The Arteon starts from €38,270, with R-Line starting at €43,270. Both cars optioned up cost €43,908 and €53,553, respectively. Particularly with both of these cars, I couldn’t justify spending the extra €10,000 on the Arteon. As standard on Skoda Superb Sportline, buyers get the 8-inch infotainment system, 19-inch alloys, Alcantara sports seats and driving mode selector (Eco, Comfort, Sport and Individual). As for the Volkswagen Arteon R-Line, it gets predictive cruise control, the 8-inch infotainment system, 19-inch alloys and high beam headlight control.So really it comes down to whether you want to spend the extra money on a re-bodied Volkswagen Passat or the Skoda Superb. Yes, the Superb is based off the Passat but the interior is different. Sitting inside the Passat and Arteon you don’t notice a difference. It doesn’t feel as special. And frankly, this means a lot. Besides, you’ll be spending most of your time behind the wheel. Based on this, I’ll have the “Made for Ireland” Skoda Superb Sportline.

Skoda Superb Sportline

Skoda Superb Sportline – Review

It’s no secret that the Irish love a good hatchback or saloon. The Volkswagen Passat is one that is a popular choice. But in recent years, the Skoda Superb has been winning customers over, and too right! But the Skoda Superb Sportline has the potential to be the best sleeper in it’s class.


A Few Facts:
Model Tested: Skoda Superb Sportline
Engine: 2.0TSI Petrol – 280hp and 350Nm
Transmission: 7-Speed DSG Automatic, four-wheel drive.
Price: Prices for the Superb range start at €27,500. Price as tested – €50,156.


I’ve always said it, and I have no shame in admitting it either, but the Skoda Superb is miles ahead of the Volkswagen Passat. In terms of styling, practicality and value for money. This leads me to the love of the Skoda brand. Skoda will do the weird and wacky stuff, along with SEAT, that Volkswagen feels it cannot afford to do. The Superb Sportline is one of these. Who ever thought putting a 280hp 2.0TSI in a family saloon would be a good idea only Skoda? Well, for Ireland anyway. The same engine variant is available in the Passat in other countries.  The Superb Sportline is what Nissan and Toyota used to do with their V6s, only the Superb is actually quite “sporty”.


However, other than the oddball Dragan Skin Yellow Metallic paintwork, which I dig much like that of the VW Up!, the Superb Sportline would make the ultimate sleeper. But more on that later.


The Superb Sportline, similarly with the regular Superb, is a lengthy, elegant looking family saloon that happens to be effortlessly classy. The whole car measures 4.9m in length and 1.9m in width. This is almost on par with the Passat, but the way it is proportioned, it looks much more elongated.


Inside, not much differs from a regular Superb. It oodles alcantara and the black headliner is a generous touch. As for rear space, I could rant and rave on it for days on end but that would just be boring. Lets just say, the Skoda could give a  BMW 7-Series a run for its money.


However, I did find the driving position to be awkwardly high. I forever found myself adjusting the driver’s seat position trying to find a lower position. It feels like you are sitting on the car rather than in it.

On The Road

To start, if someone was to ask me to explain the Superb Sportline in one word I would have to say; BRAAAP! The Skoda Superb Sportline can sing and chant all day long, or until the tank is empty, and leave you smiling every time. The four-wheel drive system, much like on the Skoda Octavia RS, is super grippy. 0-100km/h can be achieved in 5.8 seconds, which is brisk I can tell you that.


Although the name suggests that the car is a sports one, it is not a full blown sports saloon. The suspension is wallowy and body roll plays a part when hard cornering. However, 350Nm comes in handy when taking off from the lights leaving some motorists in disbelief.

This leads me to the conclusion that the Skoda Superb Sportsline would make the ideal sleeper. It’s suspiciously quick, makes a nice sound and, with the exception of the Dragon Skin Yellow paint, looks just like a regular Skoda Superb.


Practicality/Boot Space

Just because the Skoda Superb Sportsline has added performance does not mean practicality is compromised. Boot space equals 625l and can be expanded to 1,760l.


Skoda being Skoda, they have added some simply clever features to the Superb Sportline. These include space for a tablet holder in the rear armrest, umbrellas in the doors and easy-open cup holders. All which can be found in the Skoda Kodiaq.


The Skoda Superb Sportline adds Interior ambient lighting, sports seats, Gloss Black boot lip spoiler and black headliner, which makes all the difference.


Running Costs

I will admit now that I had a bit of a heavy foot with the Superb Sportline and only managed to average 10.6l/100km. However, Skoda claims that the Sportline is capable of 7.1l/100km. However, this would be near impossible for any driver getting behind the wheel of it.

It costs €570 per year to tax down to the emissions figure of 132g/km of CO2.


The Sportline comes in two body styles; a hatchback/saloon and estate. The Skoda Superb Sportline Estate with the 2.0TSI 280hp engine price starts from €49,050; a €1,800 premium over the saloon.


Back in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, hot saloons were very much popular with some popular examples including the Ford Mondeo ST220 and some quick variants of Peugeot’s 406 and 407.

Opel Insignia OPC – The Insignia is due an update this year so a new OPC should be on the cards. However, steer clear of the current Insignia OPC for the rate of tax alone; €2,350. If the Corsa OPC is anything to go by, it’s not worth its price tag.

Audi S4 – Although they are in different classes as eachother, the Superb and S4 are the same concept. The S4 is a recent addition to the A4 line-up, as is the Superb Sportline. However, the S4 has a starting price of €69,000. But, it does have more power on tap.


Spec the Sportline right and you will have yourself one of the ultimate sleepers on the road. Spec it in Dragan Skin Yellow and you will have yourself one of the most respected cars on the road. Either way, you will defintely not have made the wrong choice. If you are to take one quote away from this review, let it be; “Brap” (Skoda Superb Sportline, 2017)


Volkswagen Beetle front

Volkswagen Beetle – Review

From the people’s car to a style icon, the Volkswagen Beetle has come a long way. Since the New Volkswagen Beetle was introduced into Ireland in 2000, VW and MINI have been battling it out for the most retro ride. But what gives the Beetle the edge?

Volkswagen Beetle front

A Few Facts:
Model Tested: Volkswagen Beetle R-Line
Engine: 2.0TDI diesel – 150hp and 340Nm
Transmission: 6-Speed DSG automatic, front wheel drive.  
Price: Prices for the Beetle range start at €25,075. Price as tested – €35,350

You Want a Retro Ride? Say No More…

This is the Volkswagen Beetle’s party piece. Subtle retro touches compliment the coupe’s bubble yet masculine-lined Sandstorm Yellow body. Such as, the retro “duck-tail” spoiler, the chrome and black 17-inch Spin alloy wheels and Beetle font. Up front, the big innocent yet focused-eyed headlights take dominance over the two front wings. The thin-mouthed grill breaks the front end. The only thing the New Beetle is missing on the clam-shell bonnet is the chrome handle, otherwise it pays perfect homage to the original car.

Volkswagen Beetle features

Volkswagen Beetle front

Around back, the Volkswagen Beetle features a bubble-butt much like the Volkswagen Touareg. The rounded, bubbly arches give the car the extra bit of uniqueness. Seeing them in the wing mirrors from inside the cabin gives you the feels.

Volkswagen Beetle rear


Inside, the Sandstorm Yellow theme continues specifically on the dashboard. The old school panel stretches across the whole width of the dash housing an Original Beetle-style glove box. Above the dash are three dials; an oil gauge, turbo boost gauge and a clock/stopwatch.

Volkswagen Beetle glovebox

Volkswagen Beetle gauges

The interior helps the driver to come to the realisation of the sheer size of the car. The interior is spacious and bright, thanks to the optional panoramic sunroof. The Comfort cloth seats come as standard and are flexible so it is easy to get into a comfortable position for long journeys.

Volkswagen Beetle interior

Although, due to the “bubbliness” of the Beetle, the A, B and C pillars are chunky meaning blind spots are a problem. While the retro, gloss Sandstorm Yellow plastic panel on the dash breaks up the interior, it is surrounding by some cheap, scratchy plastics.

Volkswagen Beetle interior

Do the Beetle’s Bubbly Characteristics Translate Well onto the Road? 

The Beetle can be powered by both petrol and diesel engines ranging from 1.2 to 2.0 engines. The test car I had was the 2.0TDI with the 6-speed DSG. Although the Beetle has a sport mode and is equipped in R-Line trim, it is far from sporty. The 6-speed DSG is hesitant to change gears at times making the 150hp unit feel more sluggish than it is. Throw it into a corner and the body roll holds back your giddiness.

Volkswagen Beetle front

But rather than labeling the Beetle as a sports car, categorise it as a GT cruiser and it becomes a whole different car. The Beetle feels comfortable and composed in normal driving mode. While in this mode, the suspension is giving even with the 18-inch wheels specced. The DSG gearbox lacks responsiveness; up and downshifts can be slow. It would benefit from a seventh gear.

Volkswagen Beetle side

All of this aside, the Beetle is all about the image. The retro looks beat that of the rather dated-looking Fiat 500 and is on par with the MINI.

How Practical is the Volkswagen Beetle?

Up front, the Beetle has enough storage in the glovebox, door pockets and space for a phone in the centre console. The beefiness of the Beetle comes with benefit though as it has a 310l boot. This can increase to 905l with the rear seats folded.

Volkswagen Beetle glovebox

Is the Volkswagen Beetle Well Equipped?

As part of R-Line trim, the Beetle comes with a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with parking assist, cruise control and gearshifter buttons on the steering wheel. Options on this test car included the 171 Pack (€1,217). This includes a panoramic tilt and slide sunroof, 18″ Twister alloys, app connect, discover media and a reversing camera. The Discover Media pack adds Apple Car Play and Android Auto along with a reversing camera, which is built into the rear VW badge.

Now for the Numbers

Throughout my week with the Beetle, I averaged 6.7l/100km. This was mainly based off city, suburban and faster country road driving. The Beetle emits 126g/km of CO2 so costs €270 per year to tax.

Volkswagen Beetle rear

Pricing for the Beetle range starts at €25,075. The test car, including options, costed €35,350.

What Else is on Offer?

The Beetle is a strange one. Obvious competition would be the Fiat 500 and MINI Cooper. But based on practicality and size, that rules the 500 out.

Audi TT – The Audi TT has set quite a trend since it was first seen back in the late 1990’s. It has been a successful coupe for the Volkswagen owned brand but the premium status and badge comes at a price. From €44,500 to be exact.

MINI Cooper – The MINI and Fiat are the go-to-cars in this retro segment. Being an R53 Cooper S owner, I can say that MINI do produce a fun car. Although, they have been making some brave moves lately with the introduction of the 5-door Hatch and Countryman, the latter of which I actually quite like. Plenty of choice from the Brits it seems.

Fiat 500 – Has it been done to death at this stage? Yes. But the 500 still wins over buyers in this segment. Much like MINI, the 500 has expanded it’s horizons with variants like the 500L and 500X. But for me, it’s getting old now. How much life is left in the 500?

Would I Buy a Beetle?

The Volkswagen Beetle is a good Summer cruiser. The 6-speed is sufficient for bopping around town or nipping down the coast. There is also no doubting the coolness of the Beetle. Spec it in a far-out colour and you’ll have the best smile factor car around.

Volkswagen Beetle front