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incorporating Volume 10. No. 2. Summer 2012


Newsletter for Approved Driving Instructors.

Volkswagen up!

Kia cee'd

Audi A6 allroad

Volvo V40

Interview: Simon Elliott, M.D., Volkswagen Group Ireland Motorsport: Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally 2012 On Test: Kia Optima / Mazda 3 / Skoda Superb Combi / Toyota Avensis

From just ¤349 per month with Volkswagen Contract Hire. (Looks even more attractive now, doesn’t it?)

For more information please contact Das Auto. Example based on a Volkswagen Passat 1.6 TDI Trendline, BlueMotion Technology, over 48 months with mileage allowance of 20,000km per annum. Available at participating dealers.

contents Summer 2012 Fleet Car Magazine D’Alton Street, Claremorris, Co. Mayo, Ireland. Tel: +353 (0)94 9372819/ 9372826 Fax: +353 (0)94 9373571 Email: ISSN: 1649-9433 Editor: Jarlath Sweeney - Contributors: Gerry Murphy, Cathal Doyle, Paul White, Rob Van Dieten Photography: Jarlath Sweeney, Gerry Murphy, Cathal Doyle, Rob Van Dieten, Paul White, Dylan Vaughan, Newspress, Patrick Bolger Administration: Orla Sweeney, Denise Vahey Advertising: Mary Morrissey Design: Eamon Wynne

4 News • Renault’s attractive EV Offers • Business as Usual for Corporate Travellers throughout London Olympics – Europcar • New Autoglass Safety Training Centre • Making 3 an E could boost car sales PLUS Junction Box 6 Fleeting Shots • Hyundai Campervan • Hertz offers McLaren MP4-12C for Rental • Reading Matters 8 Launch Pad • Volkswagen’s up! • Mazda CX-5 • Chevrolet Volt• Mercedes-Benz M-Class • Peugeot 208 • Kia cee’d • Audi A6 allroad quattro • Volvo V40 • Citroen DS5 • BMW 3 Series 12 Interview One-to-One with Simon Elliott, M.D., Volkswagen Group Ireland 14 Direction/adi • TIPSPOL supports EU Transport Commissioner • Driving in the Country • RSA International Conference, Dublin Castle • Safety Matters – Driving for Work in Summer 18 Test • Kia Optima 1.7 CRDi Platinum Automatic • Mazda 3 Sport 4-door Saloon • Skoda Superb Combi 4x4 2.0 CDI Elegance • Toyota Avensis D-4D 125 Strata Saloon 22 Motorsport Skoda scoops 1-2-3 at Donnelly GroupCircuitof Ireland Rally 2012 Fleet Car Magazine’s website




New Citroën DS5, TopGear Magazine’s Family Car of the Year 2011 has arrived. Sweeping chrome exterior features and supple leather interior seats give a clear expression of exclusivity and luxury. There’s a wide choice of efficient diesel engines and coming soon, the world’s first full diesel hybrid system.* With 200hp, four wheel drive and an amazingly low 99g/km CO2 New Citroën DS5 is the pinnacle of the award-winning DS line, elegantly fusing cutting edge design and innovative technology. New Citroën DS5 starts from €32,500 including three years’ complimentary servicing.◊ Text DS to 51444 to arrange your test drive today. CRÉATIVE TECHNOLOGIE

MODEL SHOWN: NEW CITROËN DS5 HDi 160 6-SPEED MANUAL DSPORT (MRRP €39,300 with optional Dark Chrome Pack inc. 19” Cairns alloys at €800). *New Citroën DS5 Hybrid4 200 Airdream available from mid 2012. ◊All Citroën DS5 models purchased 1.05.12 - 31.05.12, excluding fleet and car hire, come with a manufacturer warranty extension and roadside assistance to 3 years or 100,000km (whichever comes first) and include 3 years’ or 45,000km (whichever comes first) Real-Drive service contract. Official Government Fuel Consumption Figures (Range): Combined cycle (litres per 100km/mpg) and CO 2 emissions (g/km); Highest: New Citroën DS5 HDi 160 6-speed automatic DStyle 6.1/46.3, 158. Lowest: New Citroën DS5 HDi 200 Hybrid4 Airdream DSign 3.8/74.3, 99.

FLEETCAR | Summer 2012 3


Renault’s attractive EV Offers *2 years free battery rental * Extended Test Drives


n order to add spark to the electric vehicle market, Renault Ireland has an att ractive launch offer for the Fluence Z.E. and Kangoo Z.E. which includes two years free battery rental and a five year unlimited mileage warranty. On purchasing a Renault Z.E. customers will also have a free wall box fitted at their home or place of work. Renault Ireland has also launched a new Extended Test Drive Trial, where those interested in purchasing an EV, commercial or passenger, can test-drive the Fluence Z.E. or Kangoo Z.E. for up to one month extended test drive from local dealerships. At the end of the trial, the customer will have the choice to either purchase the Electric Vehicle, or hand back the vehicle to the Dealer.

The Kangoo Z.E has three versions available: Kangoo Z.E.: €16,400 (ex. VAT and including €3,800 Government grant) and battery rental €75 per month (ex. VAT, for a contract of 4 years and mileage of 15,000 km). Kangoo Maxi Z.E. 2 seats: €17,600 (ex. VAT and including €3,800 Government grant) and battery rental €75 per month (ex. VAT, for a contract of 4 years and mileage of 15,000 km). Kangoo Z.E. Maxi 5 seats: €18,200 (ex. VAT and including €3,800 Government grant) and battery rental €75 per month (ex. VAT, for a contract of 4 years and mileage of 15,000 km). The offer is available for a limited period. Interested customers can contact their local Renault Dealership for further information.

‘Business as Usual’ for Corporate Travellers throughout London Olympics - Europcar


Businesses in the Capital are going to feel the impact of the Olympic Games, with anticipated road closures and pressures on all transport creating testing conditions. Europcar is, however, busy behind the scenes, preparing for London 2012 to ensure businesses can keep their people and goods on the move. “Europcar has the la rgest ca r h i re network in the UK and the whole team is working to ensure 4 FLEETCAR | Summer 2012

The Audi Ireland dealer network transition process is well underway and will see the roll-out of state-of-the-art facilities across the country, creating in the region of 260 jobs as well as supporting the creation of other jobs in spin-off industries. Andrew Doyle, Managing Director of Audi Ireland said, “Th is €80 million project will enable our dealer network to superbly showcase the award-winning Audi model range and provide a world-class service that will continue to excite and delight our customers”. Audi Ireland unveiled the first ‘Audi Terminal’ last December at Audi Sligo. Next up is Audi North Dublin which is due to open in June, closely followed by Audi Waterford in July.

The Fluence Z.E. Expression is retailing from €21,610 and the Fluence Z.E. Dynamique version will start at €22,710, approximately the same as the Fluence Diesel (with Government incentive of €5,000). The battery rental starts from €82 (including VAT) a month. Two years free battery rental saves the customer up to €2,300.

ar hire services provider Europcar has confirmed its commitment to keeping businesses moving throughout the period of the London Olympics and Paralympics. The company is implementing a number of initiatives to ensure its cars and commercial vehicles are available for hire from accessible locations throughout the Games, as well as making pick-up and returns for customers as easy as possible.

Audi Ireland Invests

we can keep UK commerce moving during the Olympics and Paralympics this Summer,” said Ken McCall, Managing Director, Europcar Group UK. “We are reviewing opening times and fleet availability for all our locations likely to be affected by road closures and diversions during the Games. We will also be proactively contacting all our business customers to ensure they know how they can access our services during this time. Plus we are implementing processes to maintain our high levels of service and turn-around of vehicles. It will be a tremendously exciting time for London and the surrounding areas – but we know it will also be very challenging for businesses who need to keep on the move. We are therefore putt ing foc used resou rce to ensure they can continue to access our high quality car hire services.”

Merc Limo Site Mercedes-Benz UK has a chauffeur website – as part of a new campaign with support and specific offers, designed for the professional driver market. The new dedicated chauffeur section, which sits within the Mercedes-Benz Fleet site is designed to be an easy-to-use tool to highlight useful information on vehicle and finance offers, service packages, accessories and even a photo service option that enables chauffeur companies to source high quality images of Mercedes-Benz models for their websites and brochures.


International Electric Vehicle Summit Dublin is to host Fully Charged 2012, an international Electric Vehicle (EV) Summit, taking place on 11 July, 2012 in the Convention Centre. The event, hosted by ESB ecars, will bring together thought leaders and policy makers from Europe, US and China as well as other experts at the cutt ing edge of EV technology. In addition, fi rst year results from Green eMotion, the largest EU funded transport research project in Europe with a total budget of €42 million and 43 partners, will be discussed. A range of electric cars and related EV products and solutions will be on display in the exhibition area. There will also be an Ecar Test Drive Zone whereby the public will also have the opportunity to test drive electric vehicles in Dublin that day. Interested parties should register online @

Dervla O’Flaherty, ESB ecars and Reg Plunkett owner of the 1899 Sperry Cleveland at the launch of Fully Charged 2012.

Ford & PSA Future Diesels Ford and PSA Peugeot Citroën who together have produced more than 20 million engines in two displacement families (1.4-litre to 1.6-litre, and 2.0-litre and above) over the past 12 years, are going their separate ways for phase two. Concerning the second generation engine family, the two companies have decided to independently develop and manufacture their larger diesel engines (2.0-litre and above) to meet their future needs as well as new regulations. Th is decision has no impact on the current production of the existing jointly-developed engines, or the derivatives planned for Euro 6 emissions legislation which comes into effect from 2014.

New Autoglass Safety Training Centre in Waterford


utoglass has unveiled its new Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA) centre at its Waterford facility, the first of its kind in Ireland. It will be used as a location for the comprehensive training of Autoglass staff to meet the internationally recognised standard. The ATA demonstrates to customers that the technician who has fitted their replacement glass has achieved the highest levels of technical competence and professional responsibility in the repair and replacement of vehicle glass. The ATA process is monitored independently by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) who oversees practical skills tests and knowledge based exams that must be retaken every three years.

for ensuring that all their technicians achieve the highest possible standards of training” Quality Manager of Autoglass, Alun Donnelly added, “Autoglass has voluntarily developed this centre and the ATA Autoglazing process in an attempt to proactively introduce a proper level of vehicle glass repair and replacement qualifications into the Irish market. At present, the sector is largely unregulated and anyone can start-up a windscreen fitt ing business without any qualifications and standards. "Th is is a potentially very serious situation given that a properly fitted windscreen accounts for up to 30% of the structural integrity of a vehicle. Autoglass is embarking on a campaign to highlight the importance of properly fitted windscreens and will be bringing our findings to industry partners and relevant authorities in the coming weeks."

Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority, Noel Brett, who officially opened the ATA Autoglazing Assessment Centre, commented, “Autoglass is to be congratulated for opening this ATA centre and I am delighted to be here on behalf of the Road Safety Authority. While much progress has been made in recent years to reduce the number of deaths on Irish roads, we have still some distance to go to meet the best international standards. Clearly i mprovements i n vehicle safety are an Heiner Herz, General Manager Autoglass Ireland, Eamon Duff y, Autoglass technician important part of this, and Ireland’s first recipient of the ATA accreditation and Noel Brett , CEO of the Road and I applaud Autoglass Safety Authority

Making 3 an E could boost car sales


irst noted by Gerry Murphy, Chairman of the Irish Motoring Writer’s Association and regular contributor to Fleet Publication’s titles, the issue of the 13 numbered registration plate will put some people off buying a new car next year. From 1 January next, Ireland’s car buyers will have no choice in their new car having the number 13 on the plate — for every day of its life! But Mark Grainger, founder of Clearmotors. ie - the free car sales website - has a suggestion that could turn the problem into a real opportunity for buyers and sellers alike. The Kildare businessman who has been working in the motor trade for the past 25 years and is also Sales Director

and co-owner of Dunleas of Kilcullen, believes that if we turned around the digit 3 in the 13 plates we would end up with a once-off ‘1E’ registration that would not only solve the problem of the unlucky 13 — it would make the 2013 registration a collectors’ item and, in fact, boost sales next year. Cleverly, he also suggests that only the number plate would have the 1E designation, as in 1ED-1234 — with all the car’s paperwork and registration details carrying the normal 13-D-1234 designation. Th at way there’s no extra administration needed — just a general consensus that all 13-registered cars will have the 1E plate. | Summer 2012 5


Hyundai Campervan from Montana people carrier


y undai ’s 8 seater Montana H1 people car rier can be transformed into a top class campervan crafted by Wellhouse, one of the UK’s leading compact campervan manufacturers. As featured in sister publication Caravan Cruise Ireland magazine, the Hyundai i800 Campervan is a stylish, high-spec leisure vehicle that can accommodate up to 4 people (or 2 adults and 3 children) in comfort.

Euro 5 CRDi diesel and fully kitted out, the i800 ‘Camper’ is not only ideal for family holiday breaks at home and abroad but also can be used as a family car. And at under 2 metres in height, there are no restrictions on its use, from navigating busy streets to fitt ing under car park barriers (with the pop-up roof folded down).

Powered by a 2.5 litre 136 bhp


The i800 Campervan will be on sale in Ireland soon. More details on w w w.wellhouseleisure.

Hertz offers McLaren MP4-12C for Rental


ffered exclusively by Hertz / Premiere Velocity in the UK, the famous McLaren MP4-12C sports car (12C) is now available for hire for the fi rst time ever. The 12C features a 3.8-litre V8 twin turbo engine, and produces 592hp/ 600Nm torque.

Customers will be able to experience McLaren’s Formula 1 technology for the fi rst time in a road car with rates starting at £1,134.30 for a single day mid-week, which can be booked on

Reading Matters: - Book Review The Donegal Experience by Ivan Fuery


t is not too often that when reading a book that one spends more time looking at the photographs than reading the text. Such is the case with ‘the Donegal Experience’ by Ivan Fuery, who more than most, has become synonymous with the Donegal International Rally. Every true rally fan has been to Ireland’s North West in June for the annual Summerfest of rallying on a few occasions at least. This book will rekindle those pleasant memories from the event’s inception in 1972, carefully and enthusiastically put together by the author, with contributions by well-known journalists and former/ present day competitors. Chapter by chapter, each step of the Donegal Rally’s 35 year history is described in detail, and with the list of International stars mentioned throughout, one appreciates the vast contribution the rally has made in terms of tourism to the local economy. Former winners such as Ari Vatanen (1978), Jimmy McRae (1980), Sebastian Loeb (2007) and our own ‘Billy Coleman (on numerous occasions including a three-in-a-row from 1984–86) were big att ractions, as were the cars from Porsche, BMW, Lancia, Subaru, Toyota and of course Fords of various models.

involvement there would be no rally. Ivan, likewise dedicates the book to the thousands of volunteers “for their collective selflessness and giving spirit.” Subtitled ‘Welcome to the hills’, the Donegal Experience reopens a path of memories associated with the event wonderfully complimented by anecdotes and humorous moments relayed by the contributors all linked to the rally’s success. From the line-up of Top 10 finishers from 1972-2007 listed at the rear of the 200 page hardback, just one year was missed due to Foot and Mouth disease (2001). Well-done Ivan for opening up our memory banks in this manner. Credit must go to the photographers for adding such life to the book, with pictures often taken from precarious positions out on the Special Stages. Th is is a special book that records the many stages in the life of Donegal International Rally.

National and local heroes get fair coverage too, and deservedly so, as without their 6 FLEETCAR | Summer 2012

Text: Jarlath Sweeney -

Continental Tyre Group Ireland, Clyde Lodge, 15 Clyde Road, Dublin 4, Tel. (01) 660 7633


Volkswagen’s up! and Running!


acked by a clever marketing c a mpa i g n , t he ne w Volkswagen up! is set to invigorate the city car sector. To date this sub-compact category has been dominated by Fiat with the 500 and Panda. Th rough this Volkswagen up! 3 door model, four adults can be transported in comfort while offering best in class luggage capacity. With a starting price of €10,995, the Take up! trim level comes with ESP and City Emergency Braking System as standard. Th rough its 1.0 litre 3 cylinder 75 PS petrol

resides in the lowest motor tax band, Band A with an annual motor tax of just €160.

engine, the up! is impressively frugal returning 4.7 l/100 km (60.1 mpg) on the average cycle and with emissions of just 108 g/km it

Previously Volkswagen had the Polo Fox in this segment but with the up!, it will lead the group into another level backed by a strong and creative communication plan. The up! is the first of three versions of the same platform to come from the Volkswagen Group as the Skoda Citigo and Seat Mii are to follow later this year. Target market encompasses the young progressives, mobile middle-aged and other traditionalists. Jarlath Sweeney

Mazda CX-5 brings new standards to Compact SUV segment


azda’s new CX-5 arrives in Ireland promising to shake up the compact SUV segment, with class leading fuel economy and CO2 emissions. The CX-5 is the fi rst new model to fully embody Mazda’s SKYACTIVE TECHNOLOGY, an umbrella brand for a combination of driving, environmental and safety performance technology that will form the basis for all future Mazda products.

Two diesel offerings and a 2-litre petrol unit will be available to Irish customers. The 2.2 diesel has power outputs of 150PS or 175 PS. The former has CO2 emissions of 119 g/km putt ing it in tax band A, making it the only car of its direct rivals to achieve this says Mazda. Official fuel economy figures of 4.6l/100km (61.4 MPG)

Th ree equipment levels are offered – Executive, Sport and Sport SE, with the mid-level Sport expected to account for volume sales. Th is model comes well equipped with a TomTom satnav, Bluetooth, and parking sensors with rear camera. Also standard on the Sport and Sport SE is Smart City Brake Support. It automatically brakes the car to a halt at speeds of up to 30 km/h if the driver does not take collision avoiding action. Prices start from €25,195, with the150PS 2.2D Sport retailing for €29,495. are also among the lowest in the category. Although two wheel drive models are expected to predominate, the CX-5 will also be available in 4WD, while there will also a six speed automatic gearbox option.

See for our initial test drive review of the new CX-5 Cathal Doyle

First Drive in the Chevrolet Volt


lectric motoring, no matter what they say is still shy of being the perfect alternative to diesel or petrol. General Motors, through the Opel brand and under the Chevrolet banner seem to be gett ing closer to the right formula. While still in its infancy the electric Ampera (Opel) and Volt (Chevrolet) make a lot of sense. On a single battery charge, the car is capable of covering 25-50 miles (40 to 80kms) using solely its internally stored electrical energy. Our test drive near Milton Keynes (GB) recently had the Volt covering 29.8 miles before the petrol assistance kicked in. That assistance will allow for another 250 miles to be completed removing the fear of running out of charge or fuel on extended journeys. That extra mileage comes as a result of the

8 FLEETCAR | Summer 2012

car isn't disimilar in terms of the quality either. Another deciding factor will be the resale value. Pioneering technology like this will be bought by trend setters and those wanting to make a statement.

small petrol engine re-charging the battery rather than driving the car itself. The price is expected to be announced soon at over €40,000. That’s not far away from BMW 5-Series money and sounds expensive but the

On the evidence of our fi rst drive in the Volt, you would be satisfied that Chevrolet and Opel are on to something here. Certainly they have the range built in, something that other electric car manufacturers have yet to master. Even if you cannot fi nd a re-charging point for a top-up, you can still fi ll the small tank with petrol and carry on your way. Gerry Murphy


More class from Mercedes-Benz with new M-Class


alled the ML-Class in other markets, the large SUV from Mercedes-Benz termed the M-Class here is now in its third generation. As you see from the photograph the new model’s appearance is more defined, yet forceful with more space and comfort for the driver and passengers inside than the outgoing model (left).

It’s easier on the pocket too, as the cost of the entry level version, the ML 250 CDI BlueTec 4-Matic now retails at €71,060 ex-works (down 11%) and due to the new 204 bhp 2.1 litre turbo diesel engine fitted, annual road tax is €481 with lower CO2 emissions of 158 g/km. Fuel economy has improved by up

Other features of the new M-Class include a new on/off road package that provides six transmission modes, depending on road conditions.

to 25% across the range of diesel and petrol engines available.

With the BlueTec drivelines, Selective Catalytic Regeneration has been applied to ensure that the required Euro 5 engine emissions are met. Th is technology requires AdBlue (which is a liquid urea) which is injected after combustion and stored in a separate tank with the nozzle placed alongside the fuel filler. Th is will only need to be refi lled at the time of service. Jarlath Sweeney

Peugeot 208 to stir up small hatch segment


hat a pity the weather didn’t match the car at the European launch of the Peugeot 208 in Lisbon last month. Rain fell for two days in contrast to the sunny disposition of the new 208. Peugeot will launch it on 30 June in Ireland with genuine confidence that it will restore the brand as a leader in the small hatchback segment. Using the style lines as seen on the new Peugeot 508, this car comes with Peugeot’s signature floating grille, newly sculpted lights and boomerang rear lamps. Overall it is less aggressive than the car it replaces which Peugeot hopes will gain buyers from single and female consumers as well as traditional buyers that like their cars to be sporty and athletic. Despite being smaller on the outside than the 207 (7cm shorter and 1cm lower), there is more room inside for rear passengers

(+5cm at the knees) and a more generous boot (+15dm3 in volume). However it is the interior that will wow buyers. An elevated instrument panel positioned directly in front of the driver provides information at a glance whilst a small steering wheel adds to driving enjoyment. It also has superb seats that are far more

supportive and comfortable than many of its opposition. Available in both 3-door and 5-door hatchback and with a choice of three trims, Access, Active and Allure, all 208 models will come equipped with ESP and six airbags. 80% of sales are expected to be Active level two models. The 208 engine range for Ireland will include a 1.0 litre 68bhp petrol model (99g/CO2), a 1.2 litre 82bhp petrol model (104g/CO2), a 1.4 litre 68bhp HDi diesel model (98g/CO2) and a 1.4 litre 68bhp eHDi diesel model (87g/CO2) with Stop Start technology. 65% of sales are expected to be petrol models. Achieving average CO2 emissions of 34g/km lower than the 207, the 208 will take the lead in its segment for lowest CO2 emissions. Prices and standard specification will be announced closer to the launch. Gerry Murphy

New cee’d to continue KIA’s upward momentum


he second generation of the Kia cee’d, the family hatchback and estate widely credited with transforming the Korean brand into a mainstream contender, goes on sale this month. Since its launch in 2007, the cee’d has proven to be a popular choice with Irish motorists, recording just under 5,000 sales in what is a highly competitive sector. The new cee’d retains many of the mechanical underpinnings of the original car, but features an entirely new body and interior design. Equipment levels are quality of materials are focal points, with the new cee’d offering levels of refi nement and sophistication on a par with the best of its European rivals. Th ree engine versions are coming to Ireland starting with a 1.4 litre petrol with 99bhp in

Buyers can opt for three trim levels. The base spec TX is available with the 1.4 petrol or diesel engines, but Kia expects the EX model to account for the majority of sales. Available with the diesel engine options only, it includes alloy wheels, cruise control, flex steering system, LED lights and front and rear parking sensors over TX trim levels. The top of the range Platinum includes advanced features such as Smart Park Assist and heated leather steering wheel. Tax Band B. The two diesel options both fall comfortably into the lowest tax category. The 1.4 diesel develops 89bhp and 109 g/ km of CO2 , while the 1.6 diesel is even more impressive, with 126bhp, but emitting a measly CO2 ouput of 100 g/km.

Prices start at €18,995 for the 1.4 petrol TX model with a two grand premium to the similarly equipped 1.4 diesel. The 1.4 diesel EX retails at €22,495 with the 1.6 diesel costing €800 more, while the range toppping 1.6 diesel Platinum costs €29,495. See for our initial test drive review. Cathal Doyle | Summer 2012 9


New Audi A6 allroad quattro – the complete car?


ith the fi rst two generations of the Audi A6 allroad quatt ro, launched in 2000 and 2006 enjoying considerable success, Audi hopes to build on this with this latest offering by combining outstanding versatility with even greater efficiency. Many regard the A6 allroad as the complete car – it’s an estate, has all-wheel-drive and the appearance to make it fit in comfortably in town or country.

At 4.94 metres long, 1.90m wide and 1.47m tall, the new A6 allroad quattro sits six centimetres higher than the Avant. Due to its ultra lightweight construction, total vehicle

weight has been reduced by as much as 70 kilogrammes compared to the previous model. Four engines will power the Irish market – 3.0 litre TDIs and one 3.0 litre TFSI petrol. Power outputs stretch from 204 bhp to 313 bhp. The 7 speed S-tronic auto transmission will be the popular gearbox choice and all variants are fitted with SE equipment as standard as does the push button adaptive air suspension. Jarlath Sweeney

New Volvo V40 enters premium hatch class


ith characteristics taken from larger Volvo’s the all-new Volvo V40 hatchback launched at the recent Geneva Motor Show is a 5-door sibling to the Volvo C30. Designed primarily for European markets, pricing starts at €26,995 for both the 1.6 litre petrol and diesel ES models. Topping the range is the 150hp SE LUX 2.0 litre Geartronic diesel at €35,995. The fi rst day the new V40s goes on sale in Ireland will be at the beginning of July to coincide with the grand fi nish of

V40 is the right car at the right time for the Irish customer. The C Segment at 30% of the Irish car market is the largest segment. We are certain that a 5-door Volvo hatchback in this segment will be a really att ractive car for Irish buyers,” said David Braddeley, Managing Director, Volvo Car Ireland. the Volvo Ocean Race in Galway. “With the great looks and class leading sub100g D2 diesel engine, the all new Volvo

As expected with today’s Volvo cars the V40 is loaded with safety features along with class leading driving dynamics. Jarlath Sweeney

Citroen DS5 set to have a wide appeal


he third model in Citroen’s offshoot DS range, the DS5 has gone on sale in Ireland with prices starting from €32,500. Targeting a broad market from traditional D-segment saloon drivers to compact SUV and crossover owners as well as drivers of premium brand compact executive cars, the DS5 is likely to appeal to people looking for a car with distinctive styling both inside and out, but retaining the practicality of a five door, five seater car. Among the engine offerings is a full diesel hybrid version with four-wheel-drive capabilities producing just 99 g/km of CO2

Two other HDi diesel engines are also offered including a 110bhp Airdream version using the EGS6 ‘manual automatic’ gearbox that keeps the DS5 fi rmly in Tax Band A with emissions of 114 g/km, while a 160bhp version is available with either a six speed manual or conventional six-speed automatic gearbox

emissions. The DS5 Hybrid4 joins Peugeot’s 3008 Hybrid4 as the fi rst production car to combine a 163bhp diesel engine with a 37hp/ 27kW electric motor fitted on and powering the rear axle.

Th ree trim levels are offered to Irish buyers – DSign, DStyle and DSport, with the DStyle model expected to be the volume seller. It includes items such as colour satellite navigation, part leather upholstery and reversing camera as standard equipment over the base DSign model. Cathal Doyle

New BMW 3 Series a benchmark setter again


MW’s 3 Series Saloon has long set the standard for compact executive cars, and the arrival of the latest sixth generation model code-named F30 looks set to extend that reputation. Styling cues from the current 7 Series and 5 Series such as pronounced wheel arches, combined with wider tracks and a total length 93mm longer than the outgoing car give the new 3 series a well proportioned appearance that retains the characteristic silhouette of its predecessors, while bringing it right up to date with the latest models in the family. Inside there is noticeably more space than before, while even entry level models now

10 FLEETCAR | Summer 2012

come with very respectable levels of equipment as standard – not always the case in the past. BMW is offering a total of six specifications levels starting with the familiar ES, SE and M Sport versions, but also including Sport, Modern and Luxury models. BMW has built a stellar reputation in recent

years for powerful, yet clean and frugal engines, and both petrol and diesel versions in the new 3 Series continue to set benchmarks in this respect, with all engines now featuring TwinPower Turbo technology. Notably there is a new 2.0 litre four cylinder petrol engine, which in 328i form developing 245bhp replaces the previous 3 litre six-cylinder unit. There is also a less powerful 184bhp variant in the 320i. Diesels though are expected to account for the majority of sales with four Tax Band A versions of the renowned 2.0 litre diesel unit on offer, ranging from the 116hp 316d and 143hp 318d, through to the 320d EfficientDynamics and 320d models with 163hp and 184hp respectively. Cathal Doyle


The new 2012 Avensis. The 2012 Avensis adds further refinement to the car that already defines its class. With a powerful 2.0 litre diesel engine it now delivers over 60 miles to the gallon. There’s also an enhanced level of specification across all grades, with features such as Bluetooth, Cruise Control and Reverse Camera now available. Call 1850 200 724 or text Avensis to 51500* for a brochure or test drive. *Minimum 2 texts, at standard rate. Avensis 1.6 Valvematic from RRP €24,995. Prices exclude delivery and related charges. Model shown is the Avensis 2.0 D-4D Aura RRP €26,500. Fuel Consumption L/100km Urban – 5.6, Extra-Urban – 4.0, Combined – 4.0. Co2 emissions g/km - 120g. Avensis comes with a 3-year or 100,000km parts and labour warranty and 3 years Toyota Eurocare emergency roadside assistance. SMS SP: Púca, 01-499 5939. Toyota Ireland is a 100% Irish owned company.


One-to-One with Simon Elliott,

Managing Director, Volkswagen Group Ireland, with Jarlath Sweeney JS. With regard to fluctuations in the Irish market, it’s not very transparent about what’s happening, are you concerned about that? SE. It’s certainly quite un-balanced. The first thing I would say is that the seasonality of the Irish market is fairly unique. To have just one registration change in January, straight after Christmas and generally when the bad weather’s around is a bit bizarre, quite honestly. What it actually means is that manufacturers and dealers have got a massive amount of stock that they have to carry through the November/December period to sell in January, February and March. They spend a disproportionate amount of their marketing at the end of the year when people are gearing up for Christmas and everything else, and for me it seems a bit strange. And what happens then, is if the natural market isn’t there the manufacturers and dealers have still got their stock, so they have to shift it. That’s great for consumers because it means there are some good deals around but what it also means is that potentially the market size is not natural. We were forecasting the market this year for example at 75,000 and looking at where we are at the moment it could get to 80,000 but such a large proportion of that is being registered in the last two or three days of each month and there are so many manufacturers now advertising pre-registered 12 plated cars that it is a bit of a concern. I’m talking to SIMI and I’m also talking with Minister Noonan and John Perry the Minister for Small Business individually to explain that we need a second registration peak in the market, exactly the same as the UK. I even quoted the same registration numbers because what that will then do is takes the pressure off the front end of the year and gives consumers an opportunity for the second time. JS. There’s a new impetus in the fleet sector and Volkswagen as a car brand is homing in on this market big time now. SE. Volkswagen is doing very well in fleet, doing very well in the small fleet segment. We don’t focus on the big single badge opportunities, we deal with the smaller type of opportunities where we can involve our dealers. We do very well in the leasing sector as well where people are looking for a value for money product on a monthly budget. The fleet market seems a lot more stable than retail but it’s unfortunate that we don’t get data any more as SIMI don’t produce fleet statistics, and neither do we now get the daily rental statistics because of the VRT. 12 FLEETCAR | Summer 2012

JS. The association with Leaseplan is a big advantage to you. SE. We have a great relationship with Leaseplan for the simple reason we respect the job that they’ve done. They’re very professional in what they do, but they like us, we don’t distress our brand. You know you can buy a cheap car today but it’s a cheap car tomorrow as well and what we tend to try and do is protect our brand. We protect the assets of our customers and our products are sought after in two and three years time and therefore they have a value in the market. JS. Also there’s a durability in your product, it goes to a ‘second life’ as we call it, that the customer has value. SE. Absolutely, not only is the product fantastic – as you know a 100,000 mile VW is only just run in, but also a 100,000 mile Volkswagen still has a value, it’s not for the scrap heap. The other thing is that we know that’s true because all the other competitive brands want our part exchanges, they want to take a Golf, a Polo, a Passat, whereas we can say there are some brands that our dealers steer away from, because actually customers get quite annoyed when they get told their vehicle isn’t worth anything.

JS. Mentioning brands and brand awareness, since you’ve come on board, we’ve seen investment in football, in TV sponsorship programmes and other events? SE. They say that the brand seems to follow what the Managing Director is into and I’m into my football as you know and actually I’m now getting into rugby, which I never thought I would, but you know about Volkswagen's involvement with Leinster and the Irish rugby team as well. What I sensed was that we’d been fairly quiet on the outward sponsorship and brand awareness. Whilst everyone knew what Volkswagen was, there was more that we could do so therefore we looked at opportunities within the market with our dealers. Clearly as Shamrock Rovers was the first Irish football team to make it into Europe was a ‘no brainer’, so to be involved with a club like that was great. That was with Seat because Seat sponsor the Europa League, so there was a natural relationship there. Then Sligo Rovers was again something that was brought to our attention by our local dealer Connollys. They’d lost their original sponsor and we were looking just to help really and then obviously when you look into a club like Sligo it’s got quite a big coverage actually right across Ireland and a friend of mine is now their manager as well, Ian Barraclough. And Bray Wanderers has been a big

Simon Elliott pictured with Neil Connolly and members of the FAI Cup winners Sligo Rovers FC

INTERVIEW team and needed some support and I live quite close to Bray and it has a great catchment area for our customers. Synott Auto again wanted to get some expansion of their awareness locally so it just seemed to be the right thing to do. JS Looking at each individual branding Audi has really taken the Irish market by storm at the premium end. Volkswagen has been steady increasing all the time as you bring in more products such as, the ‘up!’ which will come in the city segment. Skoda, as regards the value that it offers the customer, is second to none. Can we also talk about Seat, is it seen as your weakest link? SE. You’re absolutely right with Audi. Audi is obviously number one in the luxury segment. Again it’s not besotted with being number one. We sometimes feel that being number one is the most important thing but I don’t know too many people who would necessarily buy a car just because you’re number one. Audi has got there with brilliant products, an investment in marketing again with sponsorship like the O2 and the Canal Theatre. It’s achieving great things with it’s dealer network as well and there are some huge investments in new dealerships being built in key locations in North and South Dublin, a beautiful new dealership being built in Waterford, a superb one just opened in Sligo and further investments committed to around the country. We’re achieving great things with good residual values and good value for money and of course we’ve got a bank, a Volkswagen owned bank who’ve lent over €100 million last year and a reasonable proportion of that was for Audi products. It’s a positive recipe and I think that will continue to do very well. There’s something in there for everybody, so it’s a great brand really. JS Volkswagen then? SE. Volkswagen obviously is the largest brand we’ve got. It continues to grow its market share. We’ve got two percentage improvement points this year already. We’ve got new products that are going to drive us with the ‘up!’ which has the sponsorship of The Voice, which I think is a huge brand awareness exercise, other than just a new product launch. We’ve got the new Beetle, the Cross Polo and we’ve just launched the CC. So again exciting new products from Volkswagen. JS. Are you looking for family loyalty as well? With the ‘up!’ for example attracting the young generation of a family coming into a Volkswagen brand. SE. Exactly right and there are two other things that we are doing there to help that. One is we’re looking at developing our own driving school and the second thing is we’ve now launched free insurance which is fairly unique to the Irish market to try and attract a younger type of consumer to the brand and then obviously when they’ve got an ‘up!’ and move on to a Polo and

then to a Golf. So we’ve got a really nice stepped effect and some of the new Volkswagen products as well that are coming are equally as exciting, so I think Volkswagen has got a good future in Ireland. This time last year we were 1200 units behind Toyota and this year we’re 200 units behind, so again we’re not besotted about being number one but we’re getting closer!

Volkswagen and Sinnott Autos announced as Bray Wanderers New Club Shirt Sponsor

JS. With regard to Skoda you’ve got a few new products in the pipeline. SE. Skoda is a fantastic brand for Ireland. It’s got a good dealer network. When the economy tends to go a little bit sticky people don’t want to be ostentatious with their purchase, and I think the success of Skoda is where people have been coming out of more luxurious perceived brands into the Skoda Superb and been blown away with the quality of the products. With vehicles such as the Yeti, Top Gear’s World Car of the Year, no longer is the Skoda brand a joke. It has got brilliant value for money products, it has got over 6% market share this year so it’s doubling its market share, doubling its volume but doing that so naturally. Out of all of my brands the Skoda franchise is the most sought after. JS. From what we witnessed at the IRC Circuit of Ireland, you’re doing quite well in the motor sport sector. SE. Skoda is doing very well in Rallying – first, second and third of course and Robert Barrable came a close run sixth. We’re quite big sponsors in Skoda with Tipperary hurling. So again another brand, and we think hurling is great for that type of product. With Hyundai, Skoda is going to be the fastest growing brand in Ireland. Commercial vehicles enjoy 20% plus market share. We are segment leaders with the Amarok and the Caddy, but we’re very pleased with the commercial vehicle activity. If I was a small or large company operator Volkswagen commercial vehicles would be at the top of my list. JS. Don’t forget about the camper van business as well! SE. We’re looking at our life-style products and again it was something that we couldn’t get into historically because the VRT just killed it. But now with the California, it’s a stunning bit of kit. If people are looking for a way of staying home for their holidays and seeing a bit of Ireland, or seeing Europe taking the family with them, then the California is brilliant. Also the other people carrying Volkswagen commercials are just brilliant value.

JS How are you going to achieve that with Seat? SE. We’re going to do it with having new products, very exciting products. We’ll be doing it with an increasing level of commitment to marketing, sponsorship and tactical activity but we’ll also be doing it with a pricing structure of our products that is right for the market. Today the products have been a bit too expensive against our competitors. As a result of that our volume had gone down and the commitment of our dealer network had reduced, but now we have a completely re-vitalised group of dealers who we’ve taken under our wing. We’ve communicated effectively with them, what our plans are and they are very excited and have bought into the growth strategy. But not only have our dealers bought into the growth strategy, what has actually happened is our colleagues in Barcelona have also bought into it and we are now a benchmark market for the production of what we call a ‘turn around plan’ for the Seat brand. JS. With the Volkswagen hybrid due in 2013, what’s that going to be based on, the next generation Golf? SE. It’ll be the next generation A7s as they call it, the next Golf. I’ve seen it and I’ve driven it and it’s fantastic. JS. Petrol? Diesel engine? SE. It will be petrol and diesel. That’s what they’re working on at the moment.

I would put a bet on with you now that within the next two years Seat will be the fastest growing car brand in Ireland. | Summer 2012 13


Newsletter for Approved Driving Instructors

Volume 3, No. 2 Summer 2012

TISPOL supports EU Transport Commissioner’s ‘wake up call’ as progress in reducing road deaths stalls


ISPOL, the European Traffic Police Network is concerned that progress in cutting fatalities on Europe’s roads has significantly slowed in 2011. The organisation also pledges its support for EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas’ ‘wake-up call’ to ensure swift progress in reducing the number of people killed on Europe’s roads. The overall figure shows a reduction of just two per cent in the total number of people killed on Europe’s roads, according to figures published by the European Union. This is in stark contrast to the yearly average of six per cent throughout the last decade. Even more worrying is that there has been a significant increase in road deaths in some EU Member States with traditionally strong safety records. Other countries, where fatality rates were never among the best, have also seen rises in road fatalities in 2011. EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas stated that although much has been achieved in recent years, the latest figures were ‘unacceptable’. “These figures are a “wake up call”. 85 people

more information on national road safety enforcement plans and initiatives foreseen for 2012. In tough economic times, I want to be reassured that national cutbacks will not damage this important work.”

still die on Europe’s roads every day. It is not acceptable. We have made good progress since 2001 and have cut road deaths by almost 45%. We have saved more than 125,000 lives. But we need to do more,” he warned. Mr Kallas emphasised what he saw as the vital role of police enforcement. “I am concerned about enforcing rules at national level. The three big killers have not changed: drink driving, not wearing seat belts and speed. Tackling them has to be our priority. But rules only work when they are enforced. That means constant checks and controls on the ground. And that takes resources,” he added.

Responding to Mr Kallas’ announcement, TISPOL President Pasi Kemppainen said: “The Police have a key role to play in helping to change road user behaviour. We can do this through education, backed up by enforcement for those who ignore the warnings. Mr. Kallas is absolutely right in stating that laws must be effectively enforced.” “We cannot do this on our own. Enforcement is one of the core elements but we also need the support of other road safety stakeholders – in particular our politicians – who must give strong leadership. We need strong political willingness in all countries to make things happen, as we cannot tolerate the unnecessary loss of life and suffering on our roads. TISPOL is fully committed to working with others to reduce road deaths and to achieve the European Commission’s objective of cutting road fatalities in half by 2020.”

“I am writing to Member States to ask for

Driving in the Country

river training specialist IAM Drive & Survive is offering the following 6-point motoring advice to drivers from its head of training, Simon Elstow, on driving in the countryside.


isolated houses and buildings, in case people or vehicles are around.

Always ensure you can stop within the distance you can see to be clear on your own side of the road. This will mean you probably need to slow down approaching bends. Accelerate when you can see through the bend.

• Don’t swerve uncontrollably if a small animal darts out in front of you. It’s better to have a broken fog light or a dented bumper than a loss of control or a serious accident.

Be aware that vulnerable road users including cyclists and horses are more likely to use these roads, and give them plenty of space when you do come across them.

14 DIRECTION | Summer 2012

• Mud on the road may means that farm vehicles will be moving around. Look out for vehicles emerging from field entrances.

Rural roads can be windy and twisty. Use the line of hedges, trees or telegraph poles to show you which direction the road goes in.

Drive with extra care past apparently

Simon adds: “Driving on rural roads requires different skills than driving on urban roads. The unexpected hazards, twisty roads and high speed limits make rural roads tricky, so take extra care and adjust your speed to match how far down the road you can see. Text: Rob Van Dieten -


Recidivist Behaviour - Lock them up or give them another chance? RSA International Conference - Dublin Castle


n the continuing effort to reduce the numbers killed on Irish roads, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) hosted a Conference at Dublin Castle on ‘Recidivist Behaviour’ with presentations from a number of high profi le speakers from Belgium, Germany, the UK and Sweden.

Swedish 0.2 ‘blood alcohol concentration limit’ (BAC), will automatically have their licence suspended for 1 to 2 years, can apply to engage in the programme, and if accepted can receive a ‘conditional drivers licence’ for that period. Th roughout the conditional licence period they must adhere to stringent criteria regarding their behaviour, and be subject to continuous medical assessment. If successful the licence is returned after the monitoring period.

The Conference was opened by the Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar T.D., and he addressed the topic by saying “that we need to fi nd new ways of addressing the problem of repeat offenders.” The Minister noted that this issue is currently being analysed and he looked forward to receiving recommendations on alternative measures to reduce recidivist behaviour on our roads.

Not all offenders register for the programme and not all who register are accepted, for example those who are drug dependant are excluded from applying. Also there is a surprisingly high number of approximately 40% of those who fail to complete the programme. However the combined benefits for those who stay the course are significant, and arguably the benefits to society outweigh what could appear to be a soft option.

While immense progress has been made throughout the majority of European Member States, the problem of drivers repeatedly offending is one which appears to be especially difficult to resolve. Standard deterrents appear not to dissuade the hardened offender from continuing to offend. On this basis the idea of rehabilitation may prove more beneficial for both the individual and society as a whole. The detailed and interesting presentations viewed the subject Mr. Olof Stenlund, Swedish Transport Authority from all possible angles, which demonstrated that the topic is immensely complex and most certainly deserves further investigation. In its simplest format the principle of rehabilitation allows for a percentage reduction of monetary fi nes or periods of disqualification, once the driver fully engages with some form of approved driver awareness or training programme, often under medical supervision. Another key element of rehabilitation is that the vehicle is fitted with an ‘Alcolock’ device to prevent the vehicle starting if the drivers breath Ms. Beth Fylan - Brainbox Research UK sample is above a specified tolerance. Various programmes have been trialled, with a number some noteworthy facts of particular interest. currently in place in several countries, and Of particular interest because the presentation it would appear that the benefits for all detailed the pros and cons gained from over concerned are generally positive. ten years experience of the concept, whereas most other countries are only sett ing out on Mr. Olof Stenlund (Alcolock Coordinator) the rehab road. Mr. Stenlund explained the of the Swedish Transport Agency presented process whereby a driver found exceeding the

The Swedish experience found that when a person loses their ability to drive, it invariably affects their employment status, and many will lose their jobs. In such cases the loss of employment can lead to an increased level of drinking, which has been shown to lead to marital and family difficulties, with a resultant increased demand on healthcare and social services. The argument that the offence of ‘Driving Under the Inf luence’ merits a severe punishment is of course valid. However, while current penalities deter the vast majority of drivers from gett ing behind the wheel, and brought about a seismic shift in Irish social culture, it is the group of persistent offenders who when caught are significantly over the limit, and who even when banned continue to drive and re-offend, that the programmes target. We must conclude that these offenders are aware of their ‘crimes’ and the consequences. If this cannot deter them then maybe the problem is a more complex one and something deeper in the person, in that case the solution may need to be more complex.

Event Speakers Sir Peter North - CBE DCL FBA QC Ms Simone Klipp Ph.D - German Federal Highway Research Institute Professor Oliver Carsten - Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds Mr Olof Stenlund - Swedish Transport Agency Ms Beth Fylan - Brainbox Research UK Mr Mircea Stereo, Communications Officer, European Transport Safety Council Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health Ireland Driving under the influence Text & Photos: Paul White -

Event Chairman - Judge Michael Patt well (retired) | Summer 2012



Driving for Work in Summer


ith summer just around the corner, and driving being a major part of many worker’s day to day activities, now is a good time to focus employers attention on safe driving for work during the summer months. The good weather brings more people out onto the roads and the driving landscape changes greatly over the summer months and particularly during school holidays. Are you as an employer aware of the key school holidays and how they might impact on your workers? There are more children, cyclists, pedestrians and vulnerable road users about. So, those who drive for work need to be extra mindful of these seasonal changes and modify their driving and work practices accordingly. By applying some simple guidelines before travelling, en-route, and at premises and public areas driving for work in summer should be safe, stress-free and result in employees returning home safe at the end of their working day. • •

• •

Make sure vehicles are roadworthy before undertaking any work related journey: even the slightest doubt about vehicle condition and performance, needs checking. Refer to the Road Safety Authority (RSA) guidance at for detailed information. Make sure vehicle daily checks are done as they are a simple and effective way to spot potentially dangerous issues or defects before vehicles are used. Employers and self-employed people should have a system of routine checks in place to ensure that vehicles are in good working order, safe and fit for purpose at the start of each working day or work shift. The Health and Safety Authority, Road Safety Authority and An Garda Síochána have developed FREE resources to help you perform checks. They include vehicle check posters and check sheets and videos. They can be accessed at Vehicles_at_Work/Driving_for_Work/ Vehicle_Safety_Pre-checks/ Make sure that vehicle maintenance is up to date, and if in doubt have it serviced. Make sure that only authorised passengers travel in vehicles driven for work. Vehicles and Workplaces are dangerous places for children and employers should have clear rules on carrying passengers for work. Make sure that necessary vehicle safety equipment is available for the driver, (especially if the vehicle is hired or loaned) such as torch, warning triangle, first-aid kit and maps/navigation aids. Make sure that personal protective equipment for the driver such as hivisibility clothing is available in the vehicle cab. Make sure routes are planned beforehand

16 DIRECTION | Summer 2012

• •

and leave ‘more than enough’ time to negotiate journeys and routes. Check the weather forecast and travel news before and during journeys. Refer to route and traffic information from websites or on national and local radio stations. Make sure vehicle is not overloaded and that goods and items are stowed and restrained correctly on the vehicle. Take extreme care reversing. Especially if driving a van, truck or four-wheel drive vehicle during deliveries and collections in built up areas and public areas. Check carefully for obstacles and vulnerable road users such as children and elderly. On the road, make sure everyone is buckled up, including front and backseat passengers. Take regular breaks on journeys. Those who drive for work often travel long distances. Don’t give in to the temptation to ‘push on’! Make sure to take breaks when tired. Rest breaks every 2 hours keep drivers alert by promoting blood circulation, make trips more pleasant for passengers and let the vehicle cool down. Make sure you drive defensively by :

• • • • • •

Being prepared for unsafe actions by others or for poor driving conditions. Driving at speeds appropriate to the road conditions and speed zones. Obeying the road signs and signals. Making allowances for urban or rural variation in roads and rules. Being extra careful in the early morning or at dusk and during the night, when animals are most likely to be on the road. Make sure you are seen and keep out of others’ blind spots. Don’t let larger vehicles hide yours from view and use daytime running lights.

Enjoy the good weather, but please put safety first on when driving for work. New Information on Vehicle Incidents at work The Health & Safety Authority has just published new reports on work related vehicle incident for 2009 and 2010 and these can be downloaded from Work_Related_Vehicle_Safety/Work_ Related_Vehicle_Statistics/

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Test 1

Kia Optima 1.7 CRDi Platinum Automatic incorporating a large percentage of ultra hightensile steel and advanced structural engineering techniques enabling it to achieve a 5-Star safety rating in Euro NCAP crash tests. Every Optima comes with a four wheel disc braking system supported by ABS (anti-lock braking), ESC (electronic stability control) and VSM (vehicle stability management) systems as standard. To alert other motorists to emergency braking manoeuvres, ESS (emergency stop system) is also fitted. Every Optima model is also fitted with front, side and curtain airbags, plus front seat ‘active’ head restraints to minimize whiplash injuries.

Test Drive Report:


ia Motors Europe chiefs are very optimistic that the Optima, their new, long-awaited D Segment car will create quite a stir in the fleet market and the family sector. Following the success of the Rio, cee’d and Sportage, there is an expectation that the Optima can follow in their footsteps and become a serious player in its own right. Being largely absent from the segment in recent years and because it is an extremely competitive sector, the Optima would need to be a good car, so it was with much interest that I took the car for a week recently. And what a pleasant surprise it was. Indeed, few cars that I have driven of late have generated such attention from my colleagues and passers-by in general. Its standout looks are a breath of fresh air in a class that has become predictable. Longer, lower, wider and with an extended wheelbase compared to previous D-segment offerings from Kia, the new sedan embodies what Kia’s Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer, calls “a bold, athletic and visual sporting energy”. There are two standards of the Optima on sale here since the end of last month; the EX and the Platinum, both powered by Kia’s U2 1.7 Euro 5 diesel engine. Fitted with a Variable Geometry Turbocharger (VGT) the new engine produces 134 hp at 4,000 rpm and 325 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm for a CO2 output of just 133 g/ km, placing it in tax band B and annual road tax of €225. The entry level EX priced at €26,995 includes 16” Alloy wheels, cruise control, voice activated Bluetooth, power lumbar support on the drivers’ seat steering wheel audio controls and full size spare wheel. The Platinum model at €28,995 comes with a luxurious spec that adds 17” alloys, panoramic

18 FLEETCAR | Summer 2012

sunroof, leather upholstery with heated front seats, reversing camera, driver memory seat, UV reducing glass, rain sensing front wipers and much more. The Platinum model is also available in Automatic at €32,695 and also with 18” alloy wheels at €29,495. It was the top-of-the-range Automatic that was made available to test. Most Irish buyers will opt for the Platinum manual which delivers a specification far beyond that of many of the opposition.

On the road the Optima is an engaging drive. Not quite as sharp as the Ford Mondeo for example, but you get decent feedback from the chassis, the steering and the suspension setup. Cornering is precise and the ride is comfortable without being too harsh. You get the sense that the car will happily cruise along the motorway and handle the twisty stuff safely. The 18” wheel on the test car do remind you every now and then that Irish roads still remain in poor condition and that our city streets with broken surfaces need attention. Space is generous too. Elbow and knee room is ample for five adults with a good sized boot – 505 litres with the seats in place - that can be extended by dropping the rear seat. Navigation of the cabin is made simple by the clear controls and the sensible layout with the panoramic sunroof providing extra light when the electric roof blind is open. I also like the tactility of the materials and the size of the steering which is covered in leather with a polished arc at the top. It also comes with audio, phone and cruise controls fitted. As with all Kia models sold in Europe, the newcomer will be offered to consumers with the manufacturer’s unique 7-Year / 150,000 km Kia Warranty, which is fully transferrable to subsequent owners. This should ensure that resale values for the Optima remain up, but this is the unknown that will be questioned as there is no history available just yet. However, when you stack it up beside the opposition in terms of specification and the price, you will see that you get a whole lot of car for your money.

You might think that a 1.7-litre engine would be a bit underpowered for a car of this size but that is far from the case. This engine, the same as that used in the Sportage and by sister company Hyundai in its i40 is more than adequate for the job at hand. Of course it won’t blow your socks off, but with an achieved figure of Speck Check 6.2L/100km for the Make /Model Automatic (the manual Engine should be better) it Power didn’t disgrace itself in the fuel economy Torque stakes. Kia claims a Transmission combined fuel figure Acceleration of 5.1L/100km. Achieved Fuel Consumption Generous levels of passive and active safety equipment are built in,

CO2 Emissions Tax Band Price

Kia Optima Platinum 1.7-litre Diesel CRDi 134hp 325Nm @ 2,000rpm 6-speed Automatic 0-100km: 10.2 seconds 6.2L/100km 133g/km B €225 Road Tax €28,995 (Automatic @ €32,695)

Text & Photos: Gerry Murphy -

Test 11

Mazda 3 Sport 4-door saloon Test Drive Report:


lthough Mazda Ireland is now effectively controlled through Mazda Motors UK, it is very much business as usual from the Japanese manufacturer here as product upgrades and new additions to the model line-up continue. In his new role as Director Market Support for Ireland, Steve Jellis has the responsibility for all aspects for Mazda affairs in Ireland. Commenting to Fleet Car, “Mazda is committed to re-energising the business in Ireland. The strength of the Mazda brand, reputation for building extremely highquality cars and a professional Dealer Network provides us with a solid platform for future growth. Working with the existing team in Mazda Ireland, our priorities include capitalising on our existing product strengths, optimising both sales and profits for the Dealer network.” Looking to the future, he added, “We look forward to fully exploiting the opportunities which will be presented by the introduction of our SKYACTIV technology platform, commencing shortly with the launch of the exciting new Mazda CX-5.” One of the current offerings, the Mazda 3 remains the company’s most popular model with over 3 million units sold globally. The current second generation model introduced in 2008 and refreshed for 2012 has built up a strong reputation across Europe as one of the sportiest compact saloons in the marketplace. Mazda 3 comes in two shapes - the 4-door saloon and 5-door hatchback. Both got Mazda’s dynamic family front-end look (from the facelift), which not only stirs the emotions and broadens the appeal, but functions to improve aerodynamic performance. New materials and colors enhance the improved quality feel, while changes to the dash and switchgear makes this aspect of driving the

Text: Jarlath Sweeney -

car easier and better. As a family car or from a business user perspective, the Mazda 3 Saloon cannot be overlooked. With a price structure starting from €19,795 and topping at €23,895, the initial cost is competitive (and can be bought through Mazda Finance) while the running costs are low. Th is is assisted by the 115ps 1.6 litre Diesel engine mated to a short-throw 6 speed normal gearbox. CO2 emission levels

of 115g/km are low which keeps the annual motor tax rate below Band A. Mazda states that 4.3 l/100km (65mpg) is achievable but after 1300 kilometers test run over a week last month the best result averaged 5.2 l/100km.

provides excellent visibility all-round) the first thing noticed is the improved power steering that provides better feedback, then there’s the quieter cabin due to better sound proofing and modifications to the chassis. Ride quality and stability are also better thanks to changes to the suspension attached to a more rigid body. Found the gearshift indicator quite handy as the low revving engine and impressive torque levels may leave the driver dawdling along in 5th when it should be in 6th. With saloons still commanding almost one-third share of new car sales in Ireland, the future of the Mazda 3 is strong. To date it outsells its bigger family car compatriot, the Mazda 6 by 2:1 (according to with diesel being the preferred fuel choice. Interestingly grey (as in metallic silver) is the most popular colour. Ford with the Focus and the Volkswagen Golf dominate this arena between them, accounting for almost 8,400 units last year – that’s nearly 10% of the total market in 2011. Mazda with the 3 offers a suitable alternative from the norm and will provide the owner with an exciting sporty drive with plenty of extras fitted to enhance the pleasurable experience.

Speck Check At €23,895 the Mazda 3 Sport is at the top end of the price range but it does contain a ‘good piece of kit’ to compensate. Standard equipment includes 17” alloys (new design), aircon, Bluetooth, cruise control, rear-lip spoiler, side skirt and front fogs. From the comfortable driving position (that

Make /Model Engine Power Torque Transmission Acceleration Achieved Fuel Consumption CO2 Emissions Tax Band Price

Mazda 3 Sport 4-door saloon 1.6 litre DOHC Euro 5 8 valve 115ps@3600rpm 270Nm@4000rpm 6 speed manual 0-100kp/h = 11.0 seconds 5.6 l/100kms 115g/km A €160 annual fee From €19,795 - €23,895 | Summer 2012


TEST 111

Skoda Superb Combi 4x4 2.0 CDI Elegance


’ve thumbed through the specification a dozen times, double and triple checked the price and still find it hard to believe that you can get so much car for the money. The Skoda Superb Combi 4x4 (Estate) is a phenomenal motor car – the complete car, almost. Skoda’s regularly surpass expectations but this one blasts all preconceived notions out of sight. The car tested is the Elegance specification and if you drive it you just won’t want to part with it. From every practical viewpoint this is the complete car if you can manage its size. As an unapologetic Estate fan, I would much prefer a good estate to an MPV or an SUV any day of the week. This is a big car in every sense of the word. You won’t believe the huge space inside, which translates into an enormous amount of legroom and in the back particularly. While the boot space doesn’t quite match the cabin for sheer volume, it is big enough for most families’ needs - 633 litres. It will carry a lot more cargo when expanding to 1,865 litres with the seats folded. Throw in a combination of clever luggage nets and sliding aluminium partitions to secure both bulky and loose loads. Skoda’s designers has thought of everything down to a boot light that can be removed and doubles as a handy LED torch. All this is accessed through an electrically operated rear tailgate. It might not be the prettiest motor car out there; there is a lot metal and that makes for many flat surfaces and few creative curves. However, the Superb is designed to push parameters and its success in that endeavour is what makes it such a great all-rounder.

Skoda 4x4’s employ a fourth-generation Haldex inter-axle clutch. The Haldex electrohydraulically controlled multi-plate clutch is located at the rear axle in the same housing as the axle drive and rear differential. The rear-axle connection is controlled by the Haldex clutch control unit on the basis of signals from an engine control unit that measures the engine speed and accelerator pedal position sensor, the ABS/ESP control unit through wheel speed sensors, the brake light switch and lateral and longitudinal acceleration sensors, It also uses steering 20 FLEETCAR | Summer 2012

Test Drive Report:

wheel angle sensor when driving in difficult conditions. As a result, in normal driving conditions the majority of the drive is delivered through the front wheels, while when the grip is poor on the front wheels, traction is improved by

delivering drive to the rear tyres. Where grip is challenged on all four wheels, drive is transmitted to all wheels to provide best possible traction. And, even if one wheel is spinning, the system transmits the power to the other three to provide grip. As with all its 4x4 cars, Skoda uses the Volkswagen Group’s 2.0 litre TDI 170bhp that performs the job in all those conditions. It does a more than adequate job in the loose and in grassy conditions as it does on the open road. My week long test run returned 7.1L/100km and with 163g/km of CO2 emissions the annual road tax is €481.

The Elegance trim has an interior that car smacks of quality if a little on the conservative side. You get a complete leather package interspersed with highly polished wood panelling and the ambience of a top quality car. The base Surperb Combi alone comes with generous equipment levels with items such as dual–zone climate control, leather combination interiors, colour touch screen sound systems, Bluetooth phone connection and cruise control offered as standard from the middle of the range Ambition model.

(Electronic Stability Program) and seven airbags including a driver knee airbag are standard across the range. Skoda even supplies a handy umbrella, which is tucked into the rear door armrest. Because of its size and the extra amount of overhang back and front, you might anticipate a certain amount of boatiness from the drive. Skoda, because of the excellent chassis and the right amount of stiffness in the suspension this has been eliminated mostly, which makes this car a pleasure to drive, offers comfortable, stable handling and sufficient grip to make it both solid and sharp on the road. To be honest, I can’t remember when I got this much satisfaction from a car that I got from my week-long test in the Skoda Superb Combi. Yes, there are more luxurious Tourers, Estates and Sports Wagons out there with more sought-after badges. Others will offer many of the goodies that the Superb provides, but few offer the range of features as the Elegance version of this car. And most of all, none will give it all at the price. At €31,055, this is the best value family Estate on the market today.

The test car, the range topping Elegance adds satellite navigation, adaptive bi-xenon lights and Spec Check a park assist system that will actually Make /Model control the steering Engine of the vehicle during Power tricky parallel parking Torque manoeuvres. In fact Transmission it almost parks itself; Acceleration all you have to do is Achieved Fuel Consumption select the right gear. CO2 emissions The extensive safety Tax Band package includes ESP Price

Skoda Superb Combi 4x4 Elegance 2.0 TDI common-rail diesel 170bhp (125 kW) 349 Nm@4,2000 6 speed manual 0-100km: 9 secs. 7.1 L/100km 168g/km D €481 (annual fee) From €26,025 to €31,055

Text: Gerry Murphy -


Test Drive Report:

Toyota Avensis D-4D 125 Strata Saloon


ccording to the March edition of Fortune Magazine, Toyota is ‘Back on Track’. The auto giant got slammed by the recession, vehicle recalls, and the tsunami. Now with the founder’s grandson in charge, Toyota is ‘rollin again’. The comprehensive article entitled ‘Toyota’s Comeback Kid’ details how Akio Toyoda, has the Japanese company back on track after a spell of bad luck and breakdowns. As outlined in the article, Toyota Corp President, Mr. Toyoda is very much a hands on man – whenever a new car is launched he has to drive it before it is signed off. Looks like he will be busy behind the wheel this year as Toyota is launching a big product offensive with 19 new or redesigned models due in 2012. Production is set to increase by 20% over that period also. His ultimate goal is achieving higher standards with the mantra of ‘always better cars’. From what we see here in Ireland with the latest Toyota Avensis, his objectives ring strong and true. With 3569 unit sales last year the Avensis is not only Toyota Ireland’s best selling car but No.2 to the Ford Focus in the total sales league. Interestingly and yet unsurprisingly, less than 160 of these were sold with petrol engines (according to Motorcheck). As engines go, few can beat the 2.0 litre D-4D turbo diesel. For 2012 it has been extensively revised to deliver significant improvements – 13% improved fuel consumption (614 mpg from 53.3 mpg) and 14% reduction of CO2 emissions to just 120g which brings it into Band A. Torque levels remain at 310Nm but now have a wider band between revs. Key changes to the Avensis exterior make it more aggressive looking with its shaded headlamps, sportier upper and lower grille and daytime running lights. New finishes inside include a two-tone dash, new design fabrics and more supportive seat cushions. On a more technical nature, the rear anti-roll bar is thicker (from 22/23mm) and suspension settings revised for added comfort and steering accuracy. An auto-on function has been included to the electronic handbrake mechanism when the ignition is turned-off in other words auto-on, auto-off function can be disabled. Prices start from €24,995 for D-4D 125 (2.0) Terra Saloon and progress to €31,250 for the Luna Tourer. A 150 hp 2.2 litre D-4D version is also available at a more premium cost. Built exclusively at Toyota’s Burnaston factory in Derbyshire, England, the new Avensis is actually 15mm longer than its predecessor. Interior space is generous as always for Ireland's most popular Text: Jarlath Sweeney -

family car. A reduction in total running costs have been achieved with the modifications to the drivetrain, but are not evident until out on the road and in operation for a while. The best we got was 5.4 l/100 kms and 52.3 mpg, but hats off to two fellow motoring journalists in the UK who managed to eek out 71.5 mpg on average over the 904.9 trek from Lands End to John O’Groats via the Toyota Burnaston factory. The high efficiency of the engine allied to the 6-speed gearbox aided their eco-conscious driving style to achieve the result on one tank of fuel over the 3 day run. “The Toyota shrugged off the mileage with ease and showed such frugality for fuel that we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it highly. That it is also comfortable, roomy, bursting with kit and beautifully built are simply bonuses,” said one of the drivers Joe Clifford. Of the 4 grades available in Ireland – Terra, Aura, Strata and Luna, the Strata version driven had all that one would need for everyday living on the road. One of the most advantageous installations is the rear-view camera displayed on a 6.1 colour screen in the centre console. We also like the silver lower console finish and new audio system with USB connection. Toyota’s D-4D has always been frugal and even with lower emissions, fuel consumption has not been sacrificed. There is no compromise in performance or driving pleasure either. Some say that Toyotas are very predicable to drive, which is true. But there is nothing wrong with a solidly built, pleasurable drive for the driver and passengers. It’s a good load carrier too as the boot is substantial. I n accord a nce Spec Check with Mr Toyoda’s policy, Toyota has Make /Model made the highly Engine acclaimed Avensis Power even better which Torque will keep it at the top Transmission of the D-Segment Acceleration Achieved Fuel Consumption leaderboard. CO2 emissions Tax Band Price

Toyota Avensis Strata 2.0 D-4D DOHC 16-valve 124 bhp 310 Nm @ 1600-2400 rpm 6 speed manual 0-100kp/h 9.7 seconds 5.4 l/100km 52.3 mpg 120 g/km A €160 (annual fee) From €24,995 - €31,250+ | Summer 2012



Skoda scoops 1-2-3 ... Robert Barrable

Ireland's Craig Breen being chased by Skoda's Jan Kopecky in the Titanic Super Special Stage

Andreas Mikkelsen

... at Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally 2012


he Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally, Round 3 of the 2012 Intercontinental Rally Challenge, got off to an exhilarating start with three different stage winners, three overall leaders and a mere 0.6 seconds covering the top two drivers after a day of high drama that began with the spectacular Titanic Super Special Stage in Belfast on Good Friday afternoon.

the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally as a counting round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

Driving a Skoda Fabia S2000, Juho Hänninen 2010 IRC Champion held the overnight lead having batt led ahead of current title-holder Andreas Mikkelsen in a similar car with the fastest time on Special Stage Four. Jan Kopecky who led after the opening stage was third overnight with Garry Jennings heading the race for IRC Production Cup honours, in a Mitsubishi Rally Art Lancer. Marty McCormack topped the IRC 2WD Cup section.

Hänninen, who is co-driven by Mikko Markkula, started day two locked in a close fight with SKODA UK’s defending IRC champion Andreas Millelsen. They traded stage times – and positions – throughout the day and began the final loop of four stages with Hänninen leading by 2.3s.

Irishman Craig Breen, making his debut for Saintéloc Racing-Mister Auto, reached the end of stage three in fourth overall only for his Peugeot 207 Super 2000 to develop a fuel pump on the road section heading to the fi rst service halt in Armagh. Although he eventually made it to service, he picked up 1m30s in time penalties and languished in seventh position starting day two. “It’s very disappointing, but this can happen,” he said. Robert Barrable was sixth for SKODA Ireland after spending the opening stages developing a suitable set-up and rhythm on what could be the fi rst of several IRC appearances this season. He conceded to being too cautious in the heavy rain on stage four. Saturday’s action featured 10 stages over a competitive distance of 142.26 kilometres. At the end of day two Juho Hänninen made history when he became the fi rst driver to win 22 FLEETCAR | Summer 2012

In doing so, the SKODA Motorsport ace clinched his ninth victory in the series and his fi rst IRC triumph of 2012. He also follows in the wheel tracks of his fellow Finn Pentt i Airikkala as only the second overseas winner of the asphalt event.

Pushing to close the gap to Hänninen, Mikkelsen got caught out in rain on the Lisburn town centre stage and slid into a silage bale. He inflicted damage to the side of his Fabia S2000, but also banged his head and was left dazed, ending his hopes of his fi rst victory on Tarmac in the IRC for the second event in succession. He was able to recover to the runner-up spot, more than 40s behind Hänninen. Garry Jennings won the IRC Production Cup with fellow Ulsterman Marty McCormack clinching the IRC 2WD Cup spoils and the Colin McRae IRC Flat Out Trophy following a determined drive and amid a host of setbacks. Renault heads the IRC 2WD Cup manufacturers’ table for the fi rst time. Having worked his way into a secure third position, Jan Kopecky spent day two consolidating the fi nal podium spot in the second factory Fabia to ensure a one-two-three fi nish for SKODA, which extends its lead of the IRC manufacturers’ standings. The Czech, who won the previous round in Gran Canaria, was fastest on the Titanic Super Special Stage in Belfast on Friday but was unable to replicate

Sam Moffett 's GpN Lancer who finished 10th

that form thereafter. Craig Breen won the batt le to be the top Irish fi nisher by overhauling Robert Barrable for fi ft h position on Stage 11.

About the Donnelly Group: Title Sponsors of the Circuit of Ireland Since 1947, the Donnelly name has been synonymous with the motor trade in Northern Ireland. The business was established by Peter Donnelly as a vehicle repair workshop and local taxi in Caledon on the Tyrone/ Armagh border. Today, what started off as a family business has grown into one of the largest independently owned automotive companies in Ireland with a turnover of €210 million and a workforce in excess of 530 people. The Donnelly Group has formed partnerships with 15 brand manufacturers, selling over 15,000 vehicles per year from 28 showrooms across 7 locations across Northern Ireland. Sales and service points are situated in Dungannon, Eglinton, Enniskillen, Ballymena and Belfast. Recent additions to its portfolio include the creation of the Motorstore brand which focuses exclusively on quality used vehicles. By way of going back to its roots, TBC – Taxi Bus Conversions was created to offer fi rst class wheelchair accessible vehicles and taxi and bus conversions. “Keeping the customer central to everything we do,” Peter Donnelly’s motto over 60 years ago, still rings true within the Donnelly Group to this day.

Text & Photos: Jarlath Sweeney -

There’s An Easier Way To Please Everyone.

Order Ĺ KODA Superbs as part of your business fleet and your colleagues will love you, plus with a monthly nett cost of just â‚Ź366.58 they‘ll think you’re a financial genius too. Here‘s the figures to prove it. Superb Ambition GreenLine 1.6 TDI (105 BHP – Tax Band A) On The Road Price


Total (including VAT)


Total (excluding recoverable VAT)


Annesley Williams, Old Airport Road, Cloghran, Co. Dublin. Call Cian Bennis today on 087 2355003 Pilsen Autos, Crosslands Business Park, Ballymount, Dublin 12. Call Con Gough today on 087 2202501 Autostation, 40 Heather Road, Sandyford Business Estate, Dublin 18. Call Donal Dougan today on 087 2438928 Emissions from 114g/km, annual road tax of â‚Ź160 and recommended retail price starts from â‚Ź26,145 (excluding delivery and dealer related charges). Combined fuel consumption from 4.4 litres/100kms. Ĺ KODA Contract Hire applies to business users only. Typical APR - 6.9%. The monthly repayment Ă”p~{nz~x}nmr|kj|nmxwjwxyn{j}rwpunj|n}n{vxoÄ™Ä?xw}q|€r}qj}x}juvrunjpnurvr}xoÄ?Ä•Ă–Ä•Ä•Ä•tvĂ•qr|r|jČ–~|rwn|| nj|nČ—p{nnvnw}jwm}qn pxxm|{nvjrw}qny{xyn{}‚xo}qnx€wn{j}juu}rvn|Ă•~{{nw}y{rln|vj‚kn|~ksnl}}xlqjwpnĂ•U Č—xw}{jl} r{nr|~wmn{€{r}}nwk‚x~{y{non{{nm nj|nxvyjw‚yj{}wn{|jwmjjrujkunj}yj{}rlryj}rwp{n}jrun{|xwu‚Õxmnu|qx€wox{ruu~|}{j}rny~{yx|n|xwu‚Õ

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