Motoring News

Opel Antara, elegant looks for everyday and leisure use With its stylish looks and high ground clearance the Antara has all the attributes demanded by customers and yet its external dimensions are only fractionally larger than an Astra estate. The interior offers plenty of room too, thanks to its car-like monocoque body structure, transversely mounted engines and a compact four-wheel drive system.  The Antara’s interior styling and quality is also a pleasant surprise to buyers in the sector. Sporty contoured seats, large, well-designed instruments and a centre console with easy-to-read info display give the cockpit a driver-oriented layout. The Antara comes with high specification across all trims; with technology such as satellite-navigation and Bluetooth phone connectivity available as standard in the Elite model.  Sophiscated active four-wheel drive system And with July 1st approaching, now is the right time for customers to buy with savings of up to €3,000 on VRT and €500 on road tax to be made before the tax bands change.  All versions of the Antara feature a sophisticated active four-wheel drive system, which combines the fuel economy and handling characteristics of a front-wheel drive car with the grip and stability of all-wheel drive when it is needed. It features an electronically controlled electro-hydraulic differential which ensures optimal torque distribution between the front and rear axles in all situations. The drivetrain is fully integrated into the ABS and ESP systems, enhancing vehicle control and active safety. To further improve performance on rough terrain, the Antara features an electronic device to enable the car to be driven safely on steep descents at a constant speed. ‘Sorry mate – I didn’t see you’ The joys of motorcycling – including more predictable journey times and better fuel consumption – have encouraged a recent revival in biking, especially in urban areas. But according to Irish Advanced Motorists, commuters on two wheels have to cope with a host of hazards – not least, car drivers who for various reasons fail to see the motorcycle coming towards them. In the jargon, too often car drivers look, but fail to see, motorcycles. This problem is particularly acute at junctions and that is why it is the subject of an advertising campaign. ‘Sorry mate I didn’t see you’ is for too many bikers the last words they hear before they are put in the ambulance. Don’t forget to check carefully at junctions when you are emerging. An older slogan had the same affect: ‘Think once, think twice … think bike’. Apart from giving bikers a ‘second glance’, there are other things that drivers can do to ease the passage of motorcycles, particularly in heavy congestion, that in turn will mean a safer journey for everybody. If you are stuck in dense traffic, keep checking your mirrors for bikes. These days they nearly all have their headlight on to make them easier to see. If the biker is trying to ‘filter’ – make his way through the traffic by riding slowly between stationary vehicles, or riding on the white line in the middle of the road – make a point of creating space for them if you can do so in safety. By pulling over slightly, to one side or the other, you can make the difference between letting the biker past, or adding to the congestion. Remember to check all your mirrors first: you don’t want to compromise the bicycle making its way along the nearside in order to allow passage to a biker. Never be tempted to vent your frustration with the traffic by getting in the way of a motorcycle on purpose. You won’t go any faster and you may just contribute to a collision which of course will add to congestion rather than alleviate it. If you are the biker – don’t be aggressive, the car driver you upset today won’t be inclined to help tomorrow. And all this applies for pedal cyclists as well – both from car and cyclists’ point of view. Scoda benefits under new VRT tax reductions Skoda is one manufacturer that stands to benefit more than most from new VRT regulations due to come into force soon. From an Irish range consisting of some 160 model variants, two thirds will come down in price, some by very significant amounts. Amongst models set to benefit most is the Fabia range, all of which reduce in price save for one model with automatic transmission. Typical of these is the 1.4-litre TDI, 80bhp Ambiente version at €16,605 ex works – which benefits from a reduction of €2,045 and band ‘A’ road tax of just €100. Another winner is the 170bhp Octavia which comes powered by a newly-introduced RS common rail diesel engine and, for the first time, with optional DSG gearbox. With road tax of just €290, this new model has a band C rating and comes with a price reduction of almost €4,000. In Combi estate form, its new RS engine brings it from Band D to Band C with a corresponding price reduction of €4,060. Overall, changes affecting the Octavia range give it an attractive price proposition of €29,285 (hatchback) and €30,330 (estate). So too in Octavia Tour versions with its price down by €2,040 to €19,555 and road tax of just €150.