The first car I ever test drove was Toyota’s GT86 back in early 2013, the reincarnation of the classic AE86 and the 2000GT which helped to establish Toyota’s reputation as a sports car maker. I was interviewing Dave Shannon, then the managing director of Toyota Ireland, about something else entirely, when I asked him about the brand’s model range. Shannon mentioned the GT86, which had only recently landed, and the sheer joy that came from barrelling around the roads in Glendalough in this new beast. One thing led to another, and several weeks later I found myself behind the wheel of the new model.
For those who work Monday to Friday, 9-5, hunting for a new car can be a difficult. As most dealerships are closed on Sundays, and finish early on Saturdays, the window for finding your next set of wheels can be a little small.
Skoda, however, has opened its first digital showroom, allowing people to view cars from the comfort of their couch. Currently running as a pilot project in Spanish dealerships, Skoda consultants can use video calls to speak to customers and take them through their vehicles. It’s a nifty idea – twelve stationary and four mobile cameras can show the vehicles from different perspectives both inside and out, demonstrate features or answer specific questions.
There are a few cars that have made a lasting impression over my few years of motoring reviews. The Audi R8, for obvious reasons. The outlandish electric BMW i3 and the fantastic Toyota GT86. And now the Skoda Octavia RS has joined that list.
There is the possibility that I may be a little biased when it comes to the Octavia. My first car, the car in which I learned to drive, was a Mark I Octavia, which I quickly came to appreciate for both its simplicity and its cavernous boot during my college years. And the latest Octavia RS is a great example of how much the brand has evolved.
For those of us who are less technically minded than others, the internal combustion engine is something of a mystery. You do know that air goes in, fuel is added, and the result is an explosion that makes you go faster. But you can’t actually see it happen. You simply press the accelerator, magic happens, and you shoot forwards.
Warped Perception, however, has made a glass head for a Briggs and Stratton engine so the rest of us can witness the magic. And it’s suitably mesmerising.
I recently got the itch to swap my car for a newer model, and as a result spent several Saturdays travelling from one dealer to another around Dublin, hoping to find the perfect combination of condition, mileage, style and price – no easy task. There are a few tips and tricks you can employ, however, to make the search for your new car a little easier.
Dealer or private?
The age-old question – do you buy private or trek along the forecourts? It’s definitely a tricky one. Dealer cars are generally more expensive but usually come with a warranty and hopefully a service, and you can rely on your consumer rights should you realise they’ve sold you a lemon. However, just because it’s a dealership doesn’t mean they’re reliable. Always do your research beforehand – search forums like Boards.ie for other peoples’ experiences.
If you’re thinking about changing your wheels and you’re in the hunt for something powerful and sporty, you probably won’t look for a Kia. Granted the South Korean firm has come on leaps and bounds in recent years (style wise at least), much like Hyundai or Skoda, but it’s more of a family brand than anything else. Until now.
Technically we’ve known about the Kia Stinger GT (not to be confused with the Grand Theft Auto version) for a few years now, but Kia has officially debuted its efforts at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, a very tasty rear wheel drive, four door saloon, which looks like a combination of an Audi, Jaguar and just a little pinch of Maserati.