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  • Nissan Leaf wins Car of Year 2011

    November 29, 2010 @ 11:36 am | by Michael McAleer

    It’s a good time for Nissan as the firm’s new electric car has just secured the prestigious Car of the Year title in Europe. The Nissan saw off competition from the likes of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta and Opel Meriva to take the coveted title.
    The 58 members of the Jury – including this writer representing Ireland - gave the title to the Nissan after several months of testing the 41 candidate models for this year’s title.
    After whittling the list down to seven shortlisted finalists, each judge allocated a total of 25 points between the cars. The total final scores were: Nissan Leaf: 257 points, Alfa Romeo Giulietta: 248 points, Opel/Vauxhall Meriva: 244 points, Ford C-Max/Grand C-Max: 224 points, Citroën C3/DS3: 175 points, Volvo S60/V60: 145 points, Dacia Duster: 132 points.
    My votes went as follows. Nissan Leaf – 8 points; Opel Meriva – 5 points; Ford C-Max – 4 points; Volvo S60/V60 – four points; Alfa Romeo Giulietta – 3 points; Citroen C3/DS3 – 1 point.
    Judges also have to provide written justification of their votes and this Wednesday’s Motors will contain a summary of my points justification.

    Nissan's Leaf electric car: Winner of the prestigious Car of the year 2011 title

  • Nissan Juke wins 2011 Irish Car of the Year

    November 25, 2010 @ 3:20 pm | by Michael McAleer

    Nissan’s Juke has claimed the 2011 Irish Car of the Year, beating off competition from the likes of the Skoda Yeti, BMW 5-Series and Peugeot 5008.

    The Juke had been hot-favourite coming into the competition. I had given the Nissan Juke my number one vote.

    Nissan Juke: Winner of the 2011 Irish Car of the Year

  • Irish Car of the Year Preview

    November 24, 2010 @ 10:18 pm | by Michael McAleer

    Irish Car of the Year Preview

    The Continental Irish Car of the Year will be announced tomorrow in Dublin. From 39 eligible cars, selection of the shortlisted vehicles is based on votes from the 27 voting members of the IMWA of which I am one of the jurors, taking into account such factors as value for money, style, engineering and performance.

    The shortlisted models are as follows (in alphabetical order):

    BMW 5 Series

    Kia Venga

    Nissan Juke

    Nissan 370Z

    Opel Astra

    Peugeot 5008

    Peugeot RCZ

    Renault Fluence

    Saab 9-5

    Skoda Yeti

    A surprise absentee from the list is the Opel Meriva, which would have been in my personal top three, but not all of the jurors drove the car, which prevented it from being considered in the final shakedown.

    Categories were introduced to the Irish Car of the Year a couple of years ago, so there is now not only an award for overall winner, but there are now awards for Small Car, Compact Family Car, Family Car, Luxury Car and Performance and Sports Car.

    BMW 5-Series

    This car has been a massive seller since it arrived this year, even in our troubled times because there has been pent up demand for a new 5-Series and also because the new one is so good and such good value. The 520d is obviously the big-seller in Ireland and was the biggest selling car in August and best of all, you pay just €156 to tax one per year, which we imagine wasn’t what the government had in mind when it introduced an emissions based car tax system.

    Kia Venga

    The Venga was a surprise package for many as few expected it to be quite as endearing as it turned out to be. There was a time when these sort of small, high-roof cars were awful to drive and that isn’t the case with the Venga. It makes an ideal car for a small family.

    Nissan Juke

    This car got my number one vote for this year as it was a total surprise. Having seen the initial photos it seemed that Nissan might have dropped the ball with the Juke, considering they were so successful with the Qashqai, but once we drove the Juke we loved it and this is a car I would buy with my own money because it is practical, fun and great value.

    Nissan Juke

    Nissan 370Z

    This is a great muscle car but sadly is doesn’t really stand much of a chance in Ireland of 2010 because the road tax is horrific and few people will be willing to buy a car with a 3.7-litre V6 petrol engine. It is great fun to drive but now totally out of place.

    Opel Astra

    If there were a car that left me underwhelmed this year it would be the 5-door Astra. It does everything well, but I expected more from Opel after the Insignia and for me the Astra was just another car and did nothing special.

    Peugeot 5008

    After I first drove this in September 2009 I said this was the best MPV on the market for the money and I stand by that. It is a sign of how good Peugeot have got, nicely built, a great diesel engine and cheap to run and laden with kit.

    Peugeot RCZ

    Probably the best real-world sports coupe of 2010, the RCZ is in my mind better looking than the Audi TT that it is always compared with and it drives really well. Most in Ireland will buy the diesel but you are missing a trick here, because the petrol one is genius.

    Peugeot RCZ

    Renault Fluence

    There is a strong chance this could win Irish Car of the Year on the basis that is it extremely good value. We like the Fluence, but it really isn’t that remarkable a car and a car shouldn’t win an award because it is temporarily cheaper than it might be under difference circumstances, but this might happen with the Fluence. We will see.

    Saab 9-5

    I think most commentators were delighted to see Saab come back from the brink and while the 9-5 is and feels very much like a GM product it is quite a nice car. It doesn’t have enough in its arsenal to worry the BMW 5-Series but it is a nice alternative choice.

    Skoda Yeti

    Further proof if it was needed, that this was a good year for cars. The Yeti is a little gem of an SUV and could and probably should have been a Volkswagen because it is good enough to wear a VW badge in terms of styling and quality.


    Here is my voting slip for Irish Car of the Year:

    My final voting paper for Irish Car of the Year

  • The Motoring Week: Wednesday Nov 10th

    November 10, 2010 @ 12:16 pm | by Michael McAleer

    Tuesday November 8th:

    Here is a car that we collected today that will probably sneak in under the radar but we reckon is pretty significant. This is another 2wd SUV, but this time it is a Hyundai Santa Fe and it comes with a new 2.0-litre diesel engine with 150hp and Band D emissions. Plus, it costs €33,495 and that makes it brilliant value if you want a seven-seater SUV.

    Hyundai Santa Fe: Now from €33,495

    Monday November 7th:

    Spent the day in Barcelona for the launch of the new front-wheel drive Land Rover Freelander, which is the company finally showing that you don’t really need 4wd in half of the vehicles they sell and that by removing this heavy addition you can save a whole lot of fuel and a lot of CO2. At €29,995 for the new model it will start to worry the likes of the Nissan Qashqai because the badge still carries a lot of weight.

    YouTube Preview Image
  • The Motoring Week: Monday 1st November

    November 1, 2010 @ 10:05 pm | by Michael McAleer

    Monday 1st November:

    We spent the weekend partially driving the new Volkswagen Passat. This is a new, 7th generation Passat but the debate is as to whether you can really call this an all-new car or is it just in fact a facelift?

    You can read Michael McAleer’s review of this important car in this week’s Motors on Wednesday but until we did do some video from the event and this will give you an idea of what you can expect to read this week.

    YouTube Preview Image

    Elsewhere there are rumours around about a new Porsche dealer to be appointed this week in Dublin, we will bring you more on that when we get it and most of the Irish motoring community is waiting to see what Renault is set to announce on Tuesday night regarding their pricing policy for 2011.

    This follows on from news that Renault were the top-selling brand in October and that they also dominated the model sales with the top three best-selling models in October.

    Renault Fluence: Top-selling car in October

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