Tuesday 6 December 2016

10 of the best car models coming to Ireland for 2017 (and we've test driven them all!)

Motoring Editor Eddie Cunnningham's selection from a busy year at home and abroad

Published 23/11/2016 | 02:30

BMWx1
BMWx1
Skoda Superb Combi
Audi Q7 e-tron
Hyundai Tucson
Ford Mustang
Mercedes E Class

It was appropriate that the first car I drove this year was to be the best seller for 2016: the Hyundai Tucson. But would it be good enough to make the Top 12 from a huge list of cars driven since? Here's most of what I drove at some stage or other since January:

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Volkswagen Touran, Ford Mustang (US, Europe, Silverstone, Ireland); DS 4, KIA Optima saloon, SW; Ford S-MAX, BMW 225xe and 330e, Jaguar F-Pace (off-road in Wales, on-road Montenegro; here), KIA Sportage, Octavia RS 4x4 diesel. Then there was the Lexus RX 450h, Toyota RAV4, Toyota Prius; BMW X1, Lexus RC 200t, Mercedes E-Class, BMW 7-series, MINI Clubman, Mercedes GLC 4Matic, several Porsches: Carrera 4 S (420bhp), 911 Carrera Targa (370bhp), 911 Turbo S (580bhp, 2.8 seconds to 100kmh), Panamera Hybrid, Macan SUV V6 twin turbo (400hp), Cayenne GTS, 911 Carrera rear-wheel-drive (370bhp).

I drove the Volvo XC90 T8, Volkswagen Tiguan, Mercedes C-Class Coupe, Skoda Superb Combi, Audi A6 Avant, Peugeot 2008 SUV, BMW X5 xDrive 40e, Focus RS 2.3 EcoBoost, Volvo S90/V90, Suzuki Baleno, Opel Adam S, Ford Edge, Toyota Hilux (Namibia and here), BMW 320i Sport, Peugeot 508RXH, Jeep Cherokee, Renault Megane, Audi Q2, Mercedes GLC Coupe.

Then came the Kia Niro hybrid, Renault Clio, BMW M2, Dacia Duster, Alfa Giuiletta revise, VW e-Golf, MINI convertible, Toyota Proace, BMW Gran Tourer 220i, Renault Scenic, Skoda Octavia 1-litre 3cyl, Opel Mokka X, Mercedes C-Class Cabrio, Suzuki S-Cross, Audi Q7 e-tron, Citroen SpaceTourer, Megane Grand Coupe/saloon; Peugeot 3008SUV, Fiat 500 Sport, Ford Kuga revise, Hyundai IONIQ, Suzuki Vitara S, Opel Zafira Tourer.

Whew! even I'm surprised at how many there have been (and I've probably forgotten a few).

In no particular order here are the ones I remember best.

Yes, the Hyundai Tucson has to be in. It's the country's biggest-selling car by a mile. It's not a world beater but it has to get into my Top 12 cars tested this year.

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The Ford Mustang was exhilarating especially with the V8. Pity they upped the prices so much.

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The Ford Mustang

The new BMW X1 is a much better car than anyone is prepared to admit, I think. Great balance and plenty of poke.

Read more: Eddie Cunningham takes a first drive in BMW’s new compact SAV, the X1

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BMW X1

 

The Mercedes E-Class is as good as people say it is. So is their exceptional GLC - Top 3 of SUVs around.

 

I loved my stint in the Porsche 911 Turbo S (580bhp, 2.8 seconds to 100kmh)

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For real advancement on many fronts the Skoda Superb Combi gets my vote.

Read more: Superb idea: now Skoda pitches for BMW buyers

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Skoda Superb Combi

 

Suzuki are in too, for packing so much into their small/roomy new Baleno.

Read more: Suzuki Baleno: 'It's is nearly there but it isn‘t quite the overall package it should be'

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Suzuki Baleno

 

One of the highlights was my drive in the BMW M2 Coupe; it was a sizzler; great fun.

Read more: Racing debut for BMW’s M2 in California

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BMW M2 Coupe

 

I was impressed too with the Volvo XC90 T8 plug-in

Read more: Cars: Volvo XC90 - Plugging into electric dreams

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Volvo XC90 T8

 

The Audi Q7 e-tron

Read more: Facts and fantasy of Audi's Q7 plug-in

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Audi Q7 e-tron

 

Even more with the Peugeot 3008 SUV - I make it one to watch for 2017.

Read more: Sassy Peugeot 3008 changes the SUV game

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Peugeot 3008 SUV

 

* DISAPPOINTED: The two most disappointing cars for the year were the DS 4 (overall performance) and Ford Edge (mad pricing).

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