Friday 24 May 2019

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The Volkswagen Touareg

VW battleship out to sink its rivals, but at what cost? 

The Volkswagen Touareg, which was first produced in 2002, is not for me and frankly I have been put off by its size in the past and the spelling of its name. It's even more of a beast of a vehicle in its new form, right, and swamped my garage, with my partner reckoning her Hyundai i10 would fit in its boot. However, there is no doubt it is a massively well-constructed piece of SUV art with a great, confident presence that stands out in the car park, wonderful technical innovations, incredible comfort and some brilliant design that almost leaves you gasping with appreciation.

JOYFUL: Neville Matthews at Leinster Rugby Referees’ dinner

Obituary: Raising a glass to Subaru boss 

Neville Matthews, the ever-enthusiastic and immensely likeable, head of Subaru in Ireland eventually succumbed to the brain tumour that had laid him low over the last year but which he fought with great courage and humour. He was cared for at home by his loving wife Avril and their children Jennifer, Sam and Evan with support from the Carlow Kilkenny Home Care Team. His funeral service was suitably held for a fine Wesleyan amid the splendours of St Canice's Cathedral, Kilkenny, before a private cremation.

Anger: The disclosures sent shockwaves across the world

Lifting the bonnet on the VW emissions scandal 

It's less than 21 months since the news surfaced that one of the most trusted and popular car brands ever had deliberately misled millions of their customers. Faster, Higher, Farther: The Inside Story of the Volkswagen Scandal presents a shocking and incredibly compelling expose of one of the great corporate scandals of all time, revealing a gripping tale of executive arrogance that led to the downfall of one of the world's most prestigious brands.

Moving nicely up-market: The Peugeot 2008, a more rugged and upright version of the well-loved 208

The Peugeot 2008: Getting a grip on options 

The household is seriously beginning to think about the next car. In truth I would rather it be an old Saab, vintage Riley or that rather lovely Lagonda that seems to inhabit my dreams. But as always my way will not be got. The Hyundai i10, which is the house's main runabout and portable dog kennel, will be five-years-old next year, and we should start making preparations for when I won't be in the enviable position of having a host of lovely cars to test drive.

Happiness and friendliness: The BMW X1 and Roscommon Castle proved the perfect match

Go west to discover nature and yourself 

Heading west has always been the default position when faced with a few days off, just as going south into the Dublin and Wicklow mountains is our routine Sunday drive and car test. I remember more than 15 years ago, when testing the BMW Z4 and I was owed a couple of days' holiday. I had decided to go out to Howth but the steering wouldn't let me. The heart took over, the roof was down and instead of turning right, I went left and didn't stop until I reached Galway. It was glorious.

'The fall-out from the emissions scandal is really beginning to hit Volkswagen in some major markets'

Keep it clean and well-oiled 

The dividend from looking after your car well was spelled out for me by a taxi-driver on a very blustery Friday night. He was driving a 2005 Toyota Camry which was immaculate inside and out with lots of veneered wood and leather. He proudly told me that the big saloon, which Toyota no longer sells over here, had done 320,000 miles and never given him a moment's trouble. He put it down to an oil and filter change at least 11 times a year. Fuel consumption for the big petrol engine was great and the car sounded sweet.