Tuesday 23 April 2019

Sorting out World Car vote, electric chat, Octavia surge, opening windows, Haiti rally

Bentley Bentayga
Bentley Bentayga
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

I'm in the middle of voting for the World Car of the Year awards and I'm struggling a bit with the overall winner.

The finalists for that overall title are the Audi A5, Q2 and Q5 - yes three from the German maker, Fiat 124 Spyder, Honda Civic, Jaguar F-PACE, Mazda CX-9, Skoda Kodiaq, Toyota C-HR and Volkswagen Tiguan.

The World Luxury car is easier but I'm not saying a word yet: Bentley Bentayga, BMW 5-Series, Genesis G90, Mercedes E-Class and Volvo S90/V90.

The World Performance car will come from the Aston Martin DB11, Audi R8 Spyder, Honda/Acura NSX, McLaren 570s and Porsche Boxster Cayman.

The new Urban Car category includes the BMW i3 (94 Ah), Citroen C3, Ford KA+, Smart Cabriolet and Suzuki Ignis.

And the World Green Car will emerge from the Hyundai Ioniq, Tesla Model X, Toyota Prius Prime, Chevrolet Bolt and Honda Clarity Fuel-Cell.

Finally there is the World Design Car of the Year: The Audi A5, Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet, Mazda CX-9, Jaguar F-PACE, Toyota C-HR.

I'll let you know how I voted as soon as the winners are announced but I'd love a bit of feedback on what single car you would pick for the overall award (ecunningham@independent.ie).

* Fair dues to Alan Nolan of the SIMI. We were talking about electric cars last week at the SIMI quarterly review. I think he summed up our current predicament in a couple of sentences: "The only place where you will get a big take-up of electric cars is Dublin. But as long as Dublin County Council stays 'negative' there will be the current haphazard system."

* Volkswagen are being sued by the first major German customer over the diesel scandal. The fish distributor company Deutsche See claims its fleet of Volkswagens were bought on the promise they were the most environmentally friendly option.

* BMW Motorrad is to introduce its new 2017 models to the Irish public for the first time at the Carole Nash Irish Motorbike and Scooter Show at the RDS (from March 3-5). There will be three new versions of the hugely popular GS.

* SsangYong says it has designed the world's first touch-window system. It would allow you to open and close windows simply by touching them.

Expect to see the technology before the end of the year.

It's not the first time this technology has been mooted but SsangYong seem nearer to market with theirs.

* Skoda are pushing hard. They have increased peak power and torque on their rebadged Octavia vRS 245 (245bhp) which replaces the 230 (and before that the 220). It will come in hatch and estate. Look forward to that.

* Toyota and Suzuki have agreed to start serious discussions about collaborating in environmentally friendly technologies, safety systems, information etc.

* Best of luck to former championship rally driver Ronnie Foreman as he plans a 'Rally for Haiti' fund-raiser for Haven around Ireland (April 3-7).

Ronnie is coming out of retirement to do so.

He will start in Lisburn, take in Belfast, Derry, Donegal, Sligo, Galway, Limerick, Cork, Kilkenny, Swords, Dublin and finish back in Belfast.

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