Wheels and Deals

Here’s a quick summary of all the latest motoring news.

All-new Baleno

Suzuki has announced that its all-new Baleno will make its world premiere at the Frankfurt Show. Developed using the company’s compact-car expertise, the new Baleno has an elegant and strong design, a spacious interior and luggage space along with new technologies.

These include a rigid, lightweight new-generation platform, highly responsive 1.0-litre direct-injection turbo Boosterjet engine, and smart hybrid vehicle by Suzuki featuring engine assist by an integrated starter generator. All of these contribute to a fun yet efficient driving experience, giving the Baleno much more than just good looks and convenience.

The all-new Baleno will go on sale in Ireland next spring.

Student design

A team of four transition year students from St Muredach’s College, Ballina, Co Mayo, will fly the flag for Ireland at this year’s ‘F1 in Schools’ World Finals taking place from September 13-16 alongside the Formula One Grand Prix in Singapore.

Having fended off competition from 20 million second-level students representing more than 40 countries, Aaron Hannon, 16, Robert Grimes, 17, Paul Flynn, 16, and Enda Flanagan, 17, — known as Team AIB Racing — will be one of three teams from Ireland competing against over 130 international teams in a competition final that sees the world’s brightest and best young engineers, innovators and executives design, construct and race their own miniature Formula One car.

Partly made with a 3D printer, the team’s miniature car is an exact 1:20 scale replica of a real F1 car and, with the help of compressed-air canisters, can reach speeds of over 100kph down a purposely-built 20m track.

Having competed in regional and national finals earlier this year, the team broke this year’s Irish record for the fastest time in the competition.

Judged on performance, engineering, marketing and social media campaigns and their presentation skills, first prize is a full scholarship to City University London for each member along with the Bernie Ecclestone World Champions trophy to boot.

Confident in their ability and proud of their success to date, team manager Aaron Hannon, said: “We are extremely excited and honoured to be representing Ireland on a world stage. Although we have enjoyed great success so far, our main focus for the finals is to perfect our car design, manufacturing and presentation content.”

Designed to encourage students towards careers in science, technology, engineering and maths, the ‘F1 in Schools’ competition was first introduced in the UK in 1999 and is held at different locations each year.

Toyota hybrid

Toyota Ireland has launched a new hybrid service programme for Toyota hybrid customers across Ireland.

The programme is designed to maintain hybrid vehicles to the highest standards and help them retain residual values, ensuring that customers have the full benefits of owning a hybrid. The programme has two main components: hybrid health check and hybrid battery extended care.

Hybrid health check is a five-step annual service undertaken by specialist Toyota hybrid technicians using unique tools and computer diagnostics to test the complete hybrid system.

At the end of the process, the customer is presented with a detailed report by Toyota’s hybrid service advisor. It’s the ideal way to make sure your hybrid system is operating as it should.

Toyota hybrid drive components are covered by a five-year or 100,000km manufacturer’s warranty (from date of registration) as standard. Following a successful hybrid health check, customers will benefit from a further one year’s (or 15,000km) hybrid battery extended care cover.

Should an issue arise with the hybrid drive components, the cost of a repair is covered where the car has hybrid battery extended care cover. This cover can be renewed annually for up to 10 years from the first date of vehicle registration by completing another hybrid health check, giving customers the assurance that the hybrid components on their vehicle are operating to manufacturer’s specification.

A Toyota hybrid health check is now included with any hybrid service which is priced at €160.

Kia Sportage

Wheels and Deals

Kia Motors Europe has revealed the first official exterior images of the new Kia Sportage, which will make its global debut at the Frankfurt Show on September 15.

Entering its fourth-generation, the new model features a bold, progressive design, with the vehicle’s designers creating a sense of power and agility from every angle.

The ‘face’ of the all-new Sportage represents the biggest change to the car’s design, with the car’s headlamps no longer integrated with the grille for the new model, instead sweeping back along the outer edges of the more sharply-detailed bonnet and bolder wheel arches.

Immediately recognisable as a Kia, the Sportage’s lower, wider ‘tiger-nose’ grille adds more volume to the lower half of the car’s ‘face’, resulting in a more imposing appearance and a more stable-looking stance.

The design of the new Sportage has been led by Kia’s European design studio in Frankfurt, Germany, with input from the brand’s Namyang, Korea and Irvine, California design centres.

The company has also revealed details of the new Optima, which will also be unveiled at the Frankfurt Show.


The fourth-generation Optima, which will go on sale across Europe this month, boasts a modern, new exterior, a bold interior design with more space for all occupants, an array of new technologies and a wide choice of efficient powertrains.

The new model will offer greater refinement and improved ride and handling over the outgoing model, while retaining the sporty image that has helped Optima become one of Kia’s best-selling models worldwide.

The Optima plays an important role in the Kia Motors Europe product line-up, introducing the brand to an increasing number of new customers.

Since the third-generation model launched in 2011, with its distinctive look, high quality interior and hi-tech image, the Optima has offered buyers something fresh and different in the D-segment.

Michael Cole, chief operating officer, Kia Motors Europe, said: “When the current Kia Optima arrived on the global stage in 2010, it acted as the catalyst for the five-year, design-led transformation of Kia’s product range. Its combination of technology, design and refinement added greater depth to our model line-up and fundamentally changed the way people saw the Kia brand.”

Bad habits

Bad singing, nose picking and swearing are some of the habits mums and dads get up to in the car that drive their kids mad.

A survey by Ford shows these three habits are not only the most annoying for children, but parents were also named the most disruptive in the car on long journeys.

More than a third of children (39%) cited their parents’ singing as the worst thing they do in the car, while 61% said their parents became angry at other drivers and used ’naughty’ words.

Parents in France are the worst for swearing and getting angry, while Italy is the only country in Europe where fewer than half (39%) of parents are guilty of this.

British parents are most likely to offer a snack (29%) to get the children to behave. The best behaved children are in Germany, where 38% claim their parents don’t need to make them behave in the car.

Dads are reckoned to be the better drivers by their children, especially by boys, while parents say the most irritating habit of children is asking ’Are we nearly there yet?’

Mini surfboard

Mini has launched its own surfboard with help from surf experts Channel Islands Surfboards. The design aims to offer surfers all of the same attributes of a Mini car, but on the waves.

Called The Mini, the new surfboard has been developed with Kalani Robb, a professional surfer and US Open surfing champion.

Just like Mini’s car range, anyone buying the Mini surfboard can personalise it, thanks to a wide variety of colour choices and combinations. Robb said: “To create the feeling of agility and speed, we’ve developed the board with a little extra tail volume. The board’s wider outline and low rocker really make it fly.”

New Avengers

The Jaguar XJ12C driven by John Steed in The New Avengers is being sold at auction and expected to fetch €13,000.

Played by Patrick Macnee, John Steed was regularly seen on screen driving the modified Jaguar, which has a full broadspeed body kit and extra wide wheels for the television show.

Broadspeed ran racing versions of the XJ12C, powered by a 5.3-litre V12 engine, and the roadgoing version was adopted by the programme’s makers as the ideal car for Steed’s suave character. This car was only the eighth example built.

Finished in Racing Green, the Jaguar is complete but in need of a full restoration after being stored in a barn for many years. It’s being sold at auction on October 14 by H&H.

Damian Jones, sales director of H&H, said: “Who remembers The New Avengers and did not at one time or another fancy ourselves at the wheel of this car? Now there is a chance to make that fantasy a reality for a very nominal amount. And who knows, maybe the chance to find a modern-day Purdey in the passenger seat?”


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