Nov 19 2013

Nov 13 2013

All New Nissan Qashqai – Launched in Ireland

Nissan’s Qashqai was launched in Dublin last night and is long established as the leader in the crossover market, with more than 20,000 sold in Ireland since 2007. It appeals to both C-segment drivers looking for additional style, technology and excitement as well as downsizing buyers seeking greater efficiency. The all-new Qashqai is set to enhance Nissan’s crossover leadership position when it goes on sale in Ireland in January 2014. With pricing starting at €24,495 – the all new Nissan Qashqai incredibly maintains its competitive postioning within its segment.

Premium technology, second generation crossover design and enhanced dynamics all combine to form the backbone of the new Nissan Qashqai. The striking new Qashqai is 49mm longer than the current model and fractionally lower and wider, giving it a sleek, poised stance while maintaining the crossover style, compact dimensions and raised driving position. Distinctive features – including a clamshell-style bonnet which lends a premium appearance while retaining the Qashqai’s strong visual DNA.

The Qashqai is packed full of innovative technology. It offers drivers a comprehensive suite of advanced technology features enhancing every aspect of driving. Nissan’s Safety Shield technologies now incorporate Front Collision Avoidance, Driver Attention Support and Traffic Sign Recognition along with several other vital driver aids, while Intelligent Park Assist takes the stress out of urban manoeuvres. The new Qashqai is designed to make premium technology more accessible than ever.

The innovation continues with the new Qashqai’s powertrain range, which is wider and more efficient than ever. Every engine uses a turbocharger to reduce capacity, emissions and fuel consumption while maintaining excellent performance with class-leading CO2 emissions – from only 99g/km and class leading fuel consumption from only 3.8l/100km.

While front-wheel-drive variants will account for the majority of sales, four-wheeldrive ALL-MODE 4×4-i versions will also be available.

Inside, a dramatic rise in material and design quality adds significant interior appeal to the Qashqai package. Versatility also remains a core crossover attribute; Nissan’s engineers have devised innovative ways to make the new Qashqai fit into drivers’ lives. Delivering greater occupant space and a larger luggage capacity enhanced by a variable boot floor system, the new Qashqai even offers space to store the parcel shelf when not in use.

Designed and engineered in Europe, for Europe, the new Qashqai has been created by Nissan’s experts at Nissan Design Europe (London, UK) and Nissan Technical Centre Europe (Cranfield, UK and Barcelona, Spain), and it will be built in Sunderland, UK. Extensive input has also come from Nissan’s designers and engineers in Atsugi, Japan.
The new Qashqai goes on sale in Ireland in January 2014 and orders are being taken now.

Nov 8 2013

2014 Range Rover Sport Driven

On test with in County Wexford Ireland

On test with in County Wexford Ireland

The first thing we noticed on taking delivery of the latest Range Rover Sport was just how very big it is compared to the outgoing model. Indeed parked beside a previous generation full size Range Rover the new Sport looks as big if not bigger from the front. While in every respect the new sport beats the out going model it’s the rear passenger space that will be most welcomed by so many users. We suspect many owners of the full size Range Rover will opt for this model now rather than spend the additional money.
The model we tested had a price tag of €124000 here in Ireland so certainly not cheap and with prices starting at around €95000 for the entry level model we don’t expect the new arrival to be a common sight.
The interior quality is superb and there is a real sense that you are in something special. As we set out a heavy shower had created a glass like sheen on the road. So we pressed the rotary Terrain Response controller and rotated it all the way to the left and Dynamic mode was engaged. This gives extra weight to the steering, particularly when moving the wheel off centre, and the most aggressive response from the throttle and gearbox. The diesel engine is a great performer, pulling strongly from low revs and giving the 20-inch wheels plenty to deal with, particularly in these wet conditions. The Brembo brakes are impressive at shedding speed, too, and have a progressive, confidence-inspiring pedal feel, even after plenty of hard driving.
The firmer setup for the air suspension rounds off lumps and bumps in the road and keeps you connected to, rather than cosseted from, the road surface. Despite this being a large, luxury SUV, the body control is impressive, even with the heavier diesel V8 in the nose – dive under braking is minimal, while roll is well contained so passengers don’t get thrown around the cabin. Indeed on our initial run one of our team was driving while I was sending an email via my iphone. It was only when it was pointed out to me that it became apparent just how swift we were traveling….I’ll say no more.
The stiffer setup means turn-in is very sharp for a big car, too, and approaches a level of dynamism that only the Porsche Cayenne has offered so far. Dynamic mode gives the power-train a rear-wheel-biased feel, which is particularly noticeable when accelerating through tighter bends or aggressively away from junctions. This makes the Sport a surprisingly engaging drive that’s not unlike a larger, faster version of the smaller Evoque.
The gearbox is a good match for the engine, too. It’s the ZF eight-speeder used by BMW to great effect, and shifts quickly and smoothly, barely interrupting the passage of power from the Sport’s new engine to all four wheels. Manual shifts are very swift, too. These can be done by pulling the gear-knob across to the left, then back for up and forward for down, just like the sequential box of a racing car, or via steering wheel-mounted paddles. The latter are the most practical, but it’s a shame that the paddles themselves are made of thin plastic, as they are right across the Jag Land Rover line-up, rather than some nice, tactile metal as they are on a Porsche.
Switch the Sport back to Auto and it becomes a luxurious, quiet cruiser. It’s a different animal to a full size Range Rover and will appeal to a larger group of buyers than the outgoing model. Overall an impressive car but in the current economic climate in Ireland we suspect the Discovery Utility is likely to be far more appealing, practical and acceptable to those that can actually afford to not only drive one but be seen to be driving one.

Nov 7 2013

All New Qashqai launched

This is the all-new Nissan Qashqai, which promises improved quality, new, high-tech specifications and a version that will emit less than 100g/km of CO2.
The new Qashqai goes on sale in Ireland in early 2014, but orders will be accepted later this month we understand.
The new Qashqai’s look is similar to the all new X-Trail’s, with a more pointed front end with Nissan family LED running lights on every model, a clamshell-style bonnet, swooping creases along the side, a kick up in the rear side window and a rounded rear end with a sporty spoiler at the top. Most of the styling work was done at Nissan’s Paddington design centre in London, lead by Nissan’s Chief Creative Officer, Shiro Nakamura.
He told reporters today: “The new Qashqai is more sporty, more emotional and with more quality. It’s sportier and more agile looking than the X-Trail, which is more functional and roomy. The Qashqai is like a four-door coupe”.
The inside of the Qashqai is similar, too, dominated by a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system in the centre of the dash and a TFT screen that sits between an analogue speedometer and rev counter.
But as well as an improvement in style, interior quality has taken a huge step forward with plenty of plush plastics and nicely finished knobs and buttons. Even the seats have had a rethink, using techniques inspired by NASA researchers.
The new car is 49mm longer and 20mm wider, meaning more leg and shoulder room. And in spite of being 15mm lower than the old car, there’s more headroom in the new Qashqai thanks to repositioned seats.
Boot space, at 430 litres, is 20 litres bigger than the old car’s, and there’s now a reversible, wipe-clean floor that can be adjusted to sit at two levels to ensure a flat floor when the rear seats are folded. There’s also somewhere for the parcel shelf to hide underneath if you need to remove it – an example of the handy thinking that’s gone into the car.
There’s also room for big bottles in the doors, while there’s a USB socket in the central cubby box with a channel for your device’s lead to go through so it doesn’t get shut in the lid.
Tech plays a big part in the new Qashqai, and according to Andy Palmer, the new car has “the technology for autonomous driving already embedded in the car.”
Nissan’s Safety Shield includes city braking, a driver fatigue detection system, traffic sign recognition and lane departure warning.
Top spec cars also get full LED headlights with automatic high beam activation, plus there’s automated parking and a 360degree view through Nissan’s Around View Monitor.
There’s the expected smartphone connectivity via NissanConnect, with a range of apps that’ll eventually be available, plus Send To Car functions, allowing you to plot a route at home that’ll automatically appear on the car’s nav system.
The tech extends to the driving with a Chassis Control system used to mimic a limited slip differential to improve handling.
There’s a choice of steering settings for drivers, too, with sport mode providing a heavier feel than normal, which is lighter and more suited to town driving.
Four turbocharged engines, all with stop/start, will eventually be offered. Most popular is likely to be a revamped version of the existing 109bhp 1.5-litre diesel that’ll be road tax free at just 99g/km of CO2. It’s been tweaked to counter criticism of its smoothness and refinement, while mpg also improves to a claimed average of 74.3mpg.
If you want four-wheel drive, you’ll have to go for the 128bhp 1.6-litre diesel that in two-wheel drive form claims 64.2mpg and 115g/km of CO2. This engine can also be ordered with the new Xtronic CVT auto gearbox.
Petrol-wise you can go for the new 113bhp 1.2-litre turbo. It offers similar power and performance to the outgoing 1.6 petrol, but with 50.4mpg and 129 g/km.
The most powerful version will feature a 1.6-litre turbo with 148bhp,