Limerick Life recently took an in-depth look at some of the main players in the electric car market. However, the move towards fully-electric cars is still quite slow in this country, and for many Irish motorists, the option of a hybrid is proving a popular compromise for those wishing to get away from purely diesel or petrol cars. The appeal of a hybrid is that it can give drivers the benefits of both an electric motor and a fuel-powered engine.
In this edition, we examine some of the best hybrids currently available to Limerick car buyers.
The world’s biggest selling hybrid received a significant makeover a couple of years ago for its fourth-generation model. Toyota have been manufacturing the Prius for two decades now, and their latest version uses even less fuel than its predecessors and emits fewer emissions than before.
It was also the car that comedian Larry David drove for a number of years in the hit television series ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ (although the recent season has seen him switchover to a fully electric BMW i3), giving it some sort of cultural kudos beyond the eco-conscious driver.
The Prius comes in a hatchback version and also as a 7-seater MPV (Prius+), and is available in standard and plug-in hybrid versions. Prices start from €31,450.
For a test drive, contact Brian Geary Toyota, Raheen (061 225225).
Volkswagen Golf GTE
The German manufacturer’s GTE range offers options for the Passat and Passat Estate also, but we are focusing on its plug-in Golf hybrid. The Golf GTE combines a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine with an electric motor and batteries that can be charged at home. So, the maximum electric-only range might not be that huge (approximately 50km) but a tank of fuel could get you in the region of 800km.
It takes some of the sporty style of the GTI, although not quite the power or speed. Coming in a 5-door option, the Golf GTE starts at €47,550.
For more information, contact Frank Hogan Volkswagen (Dublin Road, 061 416000).
We don’t necessarily associate BMW with cutesy environmentally friendly little hatchbacks. Instead, we think of cars with big engines and big power. However, they have bucked the trend somewhat with the BMW i3 (which is also on the market as a fully electric vehicle). The i3 first appeared in 2013, and is a nippy and fun car that is perfect for city driving.
On top of all that, it’s a pretty darn futuristic looking car. A flat floor and back doors that hinge from the rear are complemented by a hi-tech and carefully-designed interior. What it lacks in space, it clearly makes up for in other ways.
For more information, contact Conlans BMW (Tipperary Road, 061 422600)
Just because you are thinking green, does not necessarily mean you have to think small, as there are a number of bigger hybrid options on the market. Step forward the Kia Niro, a SUV crossover that is bigger than a hatchback and is a real practical family car. Herein you find the appeal of the Niro – Kia market it as a great family car, with the added bonus of hybrid technology to give its drivers great fuel economy. Cheap to run and spacious, Kia have also just started to sell a plug-in hybrid version of the Niro as well.
For more information, contact Hinchy Motors (Ennis Road and Garryspillane, 061 321500)
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
For even more space, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV ticks a lot of boxes. The four-wheel drive Outlander uses a 2.0-litre petrol engine and a powerful electric motor. Even with that big petrol engine running, the PHEV version is quiet and refined, and has loads of room for five passengers and plenty of luggage.
There are six different trim levels, but even the basic Kotu is quite impressive, coming with 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights and wipers, LED running lights, rear parking sensors, DAB digital radio, a reversing camera, climate control and Bluetooth. Prices start at €49,900.
For more information, contact James Barry Motors (Dock Road, 061 224000