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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Mitsubishi Outlander – The 124mpg SUV

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STRAIGHTAWAY we’d better clear up what the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV really is because those strange letters might be confusing.

 

The Outlander, as you know, is a mid-size SUV. It has been around, mostly as a diesel, for a while.

 

But this PHEV creation is a different proposition altogether. PHEV stands for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle. Mitsubishi claim it is a world first.

 

Effectively it means you get an SUV that:

* Is a hybrid using two electric motors/battery bank and a 2-litre 4cyl (121bhp) petrol engine.

* Has means to charge the battery from a three-pin plug at home or on the run so that it gives you 52km on its own – without using a drop of petrol. Think of that element as an urban-range electric vehicle (EV) in its own right.

 

And think of the tank of fuel, the battery bank and two electric motors (they normally drive the front and rear axles) as the hybrid element.

 

Put them all together and Mitsubishi says they will cover more than 824km. And manage 1.9litres/100km – or a remarkable 124mpg.

 

Emissions are so low (44g/km) that road tax will be just €170 a year.

 

It gets here in June, possibly May, and will cost in the region of €44,000 after grants and VRT rebates. That is about €4,000 more than the existing 4WD 2.2-litre diesel automatic.

 

A central element is the Twin Motor 4WD system – basically two electric motors drive the front and rear wheels. There is no propeller shaft.

 

Now, I have just driven the PHEV (indeed I am writing some of this from the back seat). I wanted to see if it did what Mitsubishi claims is the best of three worlds: the low-emission performance of an electric vehicle (EV), cruising range of your ordinary motor and the power on-and-off-road of an SUV.

 

Depending on driving conditions and battery charge, the control unit decided which of three modes best suited my demands at any one time.

 

* It could pick Electric Vehicle Mode. Indeed the system tried to use this as much as possible (the engine kicks in a lot quicker in some hybrids). In this mode, the front and rear motors drive the vehicle using only electricity from the battery bank. No petrol used; zero emissions.

* It could pick what they call Series Hybrid Mode where the petrol engine worked as a generator for the battery to power the electric motors to drive the wheels. This happened when the battery charge dipped below a certain level and/or when I wanted acceleration or more power.

* It could pick what they call Parallel Hybrid Mode where the petrol engine joined the electric motor in powering the front wheels while the rear motor worked away behind. That happened when I drove the PHEV hard and harshly.

 

I liked the idea, too, where I could manually switch to ‘battery charge mode’ – the engine acted as a generator to boost the level of charge which I could use later if I wanted to go electric-vehicle mode only.

 

The great thing about electric power is that you get instant torque (pulling power). So in this case the motors gave full blast from the get-go – the sort of acceleration you’d expect from a big-engined conventional car.

 

We got up a fair head of steam. On sweeping motorways it powered on; around quiet, narrow suburban streets it slipped quietly by, using only electric power.

 

Remarkably, the fuel gauge barely moved despite some hard driving. I don’t know about 124mpg but there is no doubt it’s extremely easy on the juice.

 

Yes, price is a factor and there won’t be a mad rush to buy one.

 

But I think we’ve got a glimpse of something that, in part, will shape our thinking on what is possible to reduce fuel consumption and emissions well into the future.

 

Source: Eddie Cunningham – independent.ie

 

For more information on the Mitsubishi range for your fleet or for any other queries call us on 01 419 8373 or fill out our Contact Us form.

 

 

 

New Peugeot 308 SW Revealed

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Peugeot has revealed the first photos of its all-new Peugeot 308 SW estate, at a time that sees the first of the new Peugeot 308 hatchbacks being delivered to customers in Ireland.

 

The new Peugeot 308 SW estate, as with the hatchback, has been completely restyled to a high standard of quality finish and features Peugeot’s new ‘iCockpit’ interior.

 

Scheduled for unveiling at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show this March, the new Peugeot 308 SW will go on sale in Ireland in July.

 

As with the new 308 hatchback, the new Peugeot 308 SW is built on Peugeot’s new Efficient Modular Platform (EMP2).

 

Peugeot says this guarantees increased efficiency and excellent build quality, once again confirming the marque’s move up-market.

 

308 SW is 140kg lighter overall than its predecessor, to ensure reduced fuel consumption and low-CO2 emissions.

 

Peugeot goes on to say its new Euro 6 petrol and diesel engines will ensure remarkable levels of performance.

 

A ‘BlueHDi’ version, producing only 85g CO2 per km, will establish a new benchmark in the segment.

 

With 308 SW, Peugeot’s designers have created a sporty estate car with a wide stance, measuring 4.58m in length and 1.47m in height.

 

Its internal dimensions allow excellent passenger room; they also will enjoy a bright and airy cabin.  The boot is among the largest in the segment. Seats are folded with a single action from inside the boot, to offer a perfectly flat floor when needed.

 

Built at Sochaux, the new Peugeot 308 SW will be fitted with power units produced at the Peugeot Trémery and Douvrin plants in France.

 

Full pricing and specification details for the Irish market will be announced closer to the launch.

 

Source: RTE.ie

 

For more information on having Peugeot as part of your fleet contact Windsor Fleet on 01 419 8373 or click here.

 

 

VW Commercials Plan Strong 2014 Performance

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After what the division says has been ‘a very good year’ for it, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Ireland is developing its marketing thrust for 2014 with a new tagline, ‘Why Buy Anything Else?’, writes Irish Car + Travel’s Brian Byrne.

 

This will supplant its ‘Let’s Go to Work’ theme of the last couple of years, and will be accompanied by a number of new offers across its core commercials range of Caddy, Transporter, Crafter and Amarok.

 

In the January-September period of 2013 the division achieved a 25 percent market share in its core commercial vehicles, excluding car derived vans, leading Ford with 22.8 percent and Renault with 12.3 percent. 

 

To help achieve that, the subsidised 4.9 percent APR rate by Volkswagen Bank will remain, which the company claims is less than half the rate offered by the normal banks. Brand Manager Alan Bateson says the focus in 2014 will be to reach a 33 percent Volkswagen Bank penetration amongst customers.

 

Volkswagen Commercials Ireland is bullish about the market over the next few years, forecasting unit sales to reach 15,000 by 2018 — a 75 percent increase on 2013 volumes.

 

A Trendline trim is being offered for 2014 in the Caddy, at €1,140 plus VAT. Introduced last year in the Transporter range, it resulted in 60 percent of private buyers going for the option and 40 percent of fleet orders. As a package including Bluetooth, Colour Coded Bumpers, Park Distance Control, Air Conditioning, Upgraded Radio and new more hard-wearing upholstery, it represents a saving of up to 50 percent if the individual elements were bought separately.

 

A SWB version of the Crafter, the Crafter 30, is being offered at €21,817 plus VAT, as a ‘bridge’ between the Transporter and the full-sized Crafter.

 

And in an extended warranty offer, all Transporters will have a 3-year unlimited mileage warranty for 2014, and all Crafters will have a 4-year warranty. 

 

Since May, the number of dealers selling vans has been reduced from 35 to 24, with dedicated van specialists in these Van Centres being trained in an 8-month programme.

 

Alan Bateson says the division has ‘moved from selling vans to selling solutions to customer’s needs’.

 

By Brian Byrne

Source: Irish Car + Travel

 

To talk to Windsor Fleet about the Volkswagen Commercial range, or any other vehicles, contact us on 01 419 8373 or click here.

 

 

Award Winning Qashqai Gains New Crown

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The all-new Qashqai, the car that redefines the crossover sector, has been honoured with one of the motoring industry’s highest accolades – the What Car? Car of the Year Award for 2014.

 

Like its multi-award-winning predecessor, the all-new Qashqai has been designed, engineered and will be built in the UK. It saw off strong competition to win both the Small SUV category and the overall 2014 What Car? Car of the Year title. The What Car? judging panel selected the Qashqai 1.5 dCi Acenta 2WD (UK spec) as its favourite model in the new range, praising its refinement, agile driving experience and low running costs. The panel also highlighted the new Qashqai’s comfort, refinement and space, along with its clean engine range and sub-100g/km CO2 emissions.

 

What Car? Editor-in-Chief, Chas Hallett added: “The new Qashqai brings excellence and polish to a class of cars that was already brimming with talent and tempting buys. It has an interior worthy of its stylish looks, and it makes a fine family car. It’s fantastic value for money and a very worthy Car of the Year.’

 

Jim Wright, Nissan Motor GB Managing Director, commented: “We’re thrilled that What Car? has named the new Qashqai as its 2014 Car of the Year. A huge amount of effort has gone into the design and engineering of the new car, and we’re all extremely excited about creating the template for the second-generation crossover. “As the What Car judges discovered for themselves, the new Qashqai is an unbeatable package with high equipment levels, great refinement and comfort and incredible attention to detail.”

 

Building on the strengths of the ground-breaking original, the new model features a sector-best suite of technologies that bring maximum convenience, comfort and driver engagement to the crossover segment. This success comes as Nissan’s Sunderland Plant celebrates its latest industry benchmark after making more than one million cars in two years. The 2013 annual volume of 501,756 vehicles follows the 510,572 production in 2012 and means that, in total, 7,463,187 Nissan vehicles have been manufactured in Sunderland since 1986.

 

More than 286,000 of the cars built in Sunderland in 2013 were Qashqais, now in its eighth year of production and still the best-selling crossover in Europe. Total Qashqai production in the UK now stands at 1,752,232. The new Qashqai can now be viewed at various Nissan dealerships and is set to rival the previously unparalleled popularity of the original Qashqai.

 

 

Latest Weather Update – Icy Conditions

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The Road Safety Authority (RSA), is advising road users to take extra care on the roads, as Met Éireann forecast plummeting temperatures overnight. 

 

Turning cold after dark, widespread frost and icy patches will form this evening and overnight. 

 

The RSA has issued the following advice:

 

  • Check local and National weather forecasts before setting out on a journey. Clear your windows and mirrors before you set out, carry a screen scraper and de-icer.  Do not use hot water on the windscreen as it can crack the glass.

 

  • Use your dipped headlights so that others will see you. Make sure your headlights and taillights are all in working order, replace broken bulbs.

 

  • Watch out for “black ice.” If the road looks polished or glossy it could be, black ice” one of winter’s worst hazards: Black Ice is difficult to see! It is nearly transparent ice that often looks like a harmless puddle or is overlooked entirely. Watch out for black ice, especially in sheltered / shaded areas on roads, under trees and adjacent to high walls.

 

  • Check tyres, including spare wheel, replace them if the tread depth falls below 2mm and make sure they are inflated to the correct tyre pressure. Lack of grip can occur even on treated roads so drive slowly in the highest gear possible, manoeuvre gently and avoid harsh braking.

 

  • In icy conditions manoeuvre gently, slow down and leave extra distance between you and the vehicle in front. Too much steering is bad and avoid harsh braking and acceleration. Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin. Select a low gear when travelling downhill especially if through bends.

 

  • Watch out for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and allow extra space.

 

For more information on safe driving in a  range of weather conditions, contact Windsor Fleet on 01 419 8373 or click here

 

 

Smartphones on Wheels?

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Engines, power, style, comfort remain the bulwarks of motoring but they are increasingly being overshadowed by how well ‘connected’ a car is.

 

Indeed carmakers are emphasising the interplay between driver/passenger and the digital world to such an extent they could be accused of nearly glossing over the more traditional elements of a new car.

 

I have had the experience of being ‘connected’ and there is no doubt it puts the world at your fingertips as you drive. On one experiment in a BMW, we got directions to the nearest tennis club. Ford’s SYNC system is now the talk of the town at launches of its cars. They keep adding more and more bits to it.

 

Google is reported to have joined up with Audi so that a version of android could be built into the cars’ systems.

 

In other words, new models would have the system built into the dashboard, allowing users to listen to music, open apps and use Google Maps in the car. That’s not a big deal any more.

 

That won’t stop a lot of hoohaa if, as reported, the new ‘deal’ is unveiled at next week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

 

Apple has partnered with BMW and General Motors to run a similar system.

 

The strange thing is that progress has been so rapid in this whole area that much of what was almost unbelievable is now taken for granted.

 

People talking to cars, and telling them what to do, used to be cutting-edge stuff, the vision of a future that seemed so far away.

 

Now cars ‘talk’ to each other out on the road as the day nears when they will drive themselves. We’ve had several instances of it over the past year in particular. The Mercedes S-Class can drive itself at 60kph in heavy traffic. Google has cars with mega-miles up driving themselves in the US.

 

But ‘connectivity’ remains the new marketing tool. The possibilities seem endless. It is to today’s cars what standard airbags were to the Ford Mondeo in the 1990s.

 

Nearly anything is possible. The only danger is the risk of distraction. It can be disorienting to be confronted with an army of buttons. We have been warned by experts that there is a real danger of accidents in that.

 

Increasingly carmakers are turning to one central control button as a sort of gateway to the myriad applications that lie in wait behind it.

 

In many ways the challenge now is to funnel all that can be done through a simple, intuitive channel that leaves the driver in total control and concentrating on just one thing — driving.

 

That is the ultimate connectivity and can never be undermined by the advances in technology that place so much information and choice at our disposal while we hurtle along at 120kph.

 

To find out about the most suitably connected vehicles for your business, contact us on 01 419 8373 or click here

 

By Eddie Cunningham

Source: Irish Independent

 

 

Toyota Auris Van A Winner

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The Toyota Auris was among the category winners at the Continental Irish Van of the Year 2014 Awards run by the Irish Motoring Writers’ Association (IMWA).

 

Ian Corbett of Toyota Ireland accepted the award for Car Derived Van of the Year.

 

The jury members took into account such attributes as load capacity, reliability, overall versatility, cost of ownership and drive comfort.

 

Brian Byrne, Chairman of the IMWA van jury, said: “In assessing candidates for the Continental Irish Van of the Year category awards, our jurors pay close attention to how the vehicles meet the particular requirements of the Irish market – that is why these recommendations are so useful to Irish van/commercial drivers and fleet managers. “

 

The Car Derived Van of the Year title category award is under the umbrella of the Continental Irish Van of the Year.

 

The overall Continental Irish Van of the Year award for 2014 was won by the Mercedes Benz Sprinter.

 

To find out about adding the Toyota Auris Van, or any other commercial vehicle, to your fleet call us on 01 419 8373 or click here

 

Source: RTE.ie

 

 

In Review – Skoda Yeti

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Four years after the launch of the very distinctive Yeti, Skoda has given its crossover vehicle its first major facelift, and brought in a new addition to the range.

 

Gone is the edgy, love-it-or-hate-it look that had a strong following, with over 280,000 sales worldwide. It is replaced by a more toned-down look that should broaden the fan base. Still very much in crossover ‘recreational’ vehicle vein, it will now attract those who want a more grown up look that will blend in better with conventional urban transporters.

 

Skoda believes it has struck a good balance, but, just in case, has cleverly introduced the Yeti Outdoors, for those who still hanker for the ‘great outdoors’ look.

 

The Outdoors joins the Active, Ambition and Elegance versions which, when combined with the big choice of engines, now gives over 80 Yeti options from which to choose.

 

The Outdoors’ specification includes full-length panoramic retractable sunroof, off-road and exterior aluminium design features for skirts, wing mirrors, roof bars and front and rear spoilers. There is the option of two-wheel or four-wheel-drive and manual or DSG automation transmission.

 

The exterior changes include a new grille, bonnet, headlights, new foglights, a new tailgate and new paint and alloy wheel choices. There is now the option of a reversing camera and a new advanced parking assist system. A VarioFlex switch tips rear seats into the floor for more rear space and there is a double-sided carpet/rubber boot floor covering to cater for dirty cargo.

 

Skoda has very much held the line on prices, with marginal increases at entry level. Prices start at €24,490 for the 1.2litre 105bhp TSI petrol model which rises to €26,820 with DSG automatic transmission. The most popular choice will probably be the highly economical 1.6TDI 105bhp ‘Greenline’ version at €25,320. Other popular choices will be the 2-litre TDI 110bhp entry level version at €25,320 which costs €28,520 with the four-wheel-drive option. There are also 140bhp and 170bhp 2-litre diesel engines on offer. The Outdoors version prices start at €26,195.

 

Skoda sold 400 Yeti models last year and has expectations to increase this figure to over 500 in 2014.

 

Reliability is excellent right through the Skoda range but since its launch to rave reviews four years ago, many other manufacturers have come up with some excellent crossover models so Yeti will have tough competition in the future.

 

By Martin Brennan

Source: Independent.ie

 

To find out more about the Skoda Yeti, or other suitable vehicles for your fleet, call us on 01 419 8373 or click here

 

 

Mercedes Benz Sprints Ahead In Van Awards

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The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has been voted the Continental Irish Van of the Year 2014 by the Irish Motoring Writers’ Association (IMWA).

 

The announcement was made at an awards ceremony in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Santry, in front of the leading figures from the Irish motor industry.

 

Sprinter was adjudged the winner following the IMWA van jury vote, which was based on a range of criteria, including safety, driving quality, reliability, versatility and value-for-money.

 

Presenting the award to Stephen Byrne, Chief Executive of Mercedes-Benz in Ireland, Tom Dennigan of Continental Tyres Ireland said: “The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter brings a new level of comfort, driving dynamics and economy to the commercial sector and it is no surprise that the members of the IMWA have voted it the best van in Ireland. Well done to Mercedes-Benz.”

To find out about adding the Mercedes Benz Sprinter, or any other commercial vehicle, to your fleet call us on 01 419 8373 or click here

 

Source: RTE.ie

 

 

 

2013 – The Stats

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With 2013 just behind us, the official statistics of the Irish Motor Industry for last year have been released and make for some interesting reading.

 

Sales of passenger vehicles were down some 6.6% on 2012, whilst in contract, sales of light commercial vehicles rose by an impressive 27%.

 

In the passenger vehicle sector, Volkswagen led the way once again with a 13% market share. Toyota and Ford followed in 2nd and 3rd place respectively, whilst Hyundai took 4th spot with an 11% increase on units sold in 2012. This figure looks even more impressive alongside Toyota who, despite being the 2nd most popular brand, saw their unit sales drop by 23% from the previous year.

 

Dacia made an impactful entry into the Irish market in 2013, selling more units than many established competitors including Citroen, Honda and Volvo. Audi just about edged out BMW once again, although BMW’s 4.3% increase in sales compared to a 0.4% increase from Audi means that the gap is getting ever narrower.

 

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The top three selling models in 2012 remained in the top three for 2013, but the Volkswagen Golf knocked the Ford Focus off the top spot and the Nissan Qashqai rose from 3rd place in 2012 to 2nd in 2013. The Ford Fiesta, Toyota Auris and Opel Astra all saw good increases in the number of units sold, whilst in contrast, the Toyota Avensis saw their sales figures decrease by a startling 47% in 2013.

 

Renault’s Fluence and Megane models suffered decreases of 48% and 53% respectively, whilst Hyundai’s i30 and Audi’s A3 both saw sharp increases. The BMW 5 series sits pretty in 10th spot, with sales figures almost doubling that of its Audi rival, the A6, which sits in 29th spot. Its other main German competitor, the Mercedes E Class, suffered a 36% decrease in units from 2012 to 2013 and as a result dropped to 40th place in the top selling vehicle list.

 

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Despite the passenger vehicle market being down, the standard SUV market increased by 12%. This was highlighted by the Kia Sportage’s growth resulting in a 1.94% market share and both the Hyundai Santa Fe and the Toyota Rav 4 performing very well. Dacia’s SUV offering, the Duster, finished in a notable 28th spot, only 2 units behind the 27th placed Skoda Superb and ahead of the Volkswagen Jetta, Kia Cee’d and Nissan Juke.

 

Of the passenger vehicles bought in 2013, the public took note of the government’s banding system and the ‘CO2 emissions below 120g/km’ band saw a 6% increase. This was combined with an increase in petrol models sold, which is suggestive of a realisation that the newer breed of small, low emission petrol engines are a real alternative for many drivers.

 

In terms of light commercial vehicles (LCVs), despite sales in the first quarter of 2013 being down by an average of 12.5%, a huge increase in July (which may be largely explained by the split registration system) was followed by steady increases in August and September and a whopping average increase of 39% in October and November resulted in a good year for LCVs.

 

Ford overtook Volkswagen as the best selling make, increasing their unit sales by almost 11% whilst Volkswagen figures reduced by the same number. Renault and Toyota both took hits in 2013 but Hyundai came up trumps with a 205% increase which saw them gain a 4.43% market share, ranking them above Opel, Mercedes and Fiat.

 

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The Ford Transit was the top selling LCV in 2013, as a 19% increase in sales saw them take a near 13% market share. In contrast, the 2012 best selling Volkswagen Caddy took a 2.5% hit in terms of market share as sales dropped by 15%.

 

Landrover’s Discovery Commercial proved a popular option in 2013, ranking 4th with a 40% increase on 2012 figures whilst Ford’s Kuga Van was hit with a 29% drop in sales compared to 2012.

 

The stats relating to vehicle weight amongst LCVs also showed developing trends, as vehicles at the lower (under 2001kg) and upper(3001-3500kg) ends of the scale both saw increases whilst vehicles sitting in between these figures took hits averaging about 11%.

 

Overall, it appears that the split year registration plate, combined with a cautiously renewed optimism in the Irish economy in the latter half of 2013, has led to something of a recovery in the LCV sector in 2013.

 

*All information analysed using SIMI Motorstats

 

To talk to Windsor Fleet about the best stats for your company vehicles in 2014, please call us on 01 419 8373 or click here

 

 

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