It has been one of the most exciting years for a long time in the Irish motor industry and here is the pick of the bunch...
And 2022 was a year of some of the most exciting car releases we have had for years.
While a lot of the newbies are fully electric there are still some combustion-engined doozies out there with a whole host of amazing USPs to whet the appetite.
I calculate I got behind the wheel of 90 different models over the last 12 months. Here are the pick of bunch (in chronological order) I drove in 2022.
Suzuki Jimny You won’t find a single negative review of the insanely-brilliant Suzuki Jimny. The only snag is that it is a commercial vehicle and won’t be out as a passenger vehicle any time soon. Still though. If you are in the market for one of the best looking and best value commercial jeeps in Ireland then look no further.
Mercedes EQB I said it in June and I will say it again…how can they charge so little for a full-electric seven-seater and have a Merc badge on the front. This is the answer to so many people’s question. And if anyone was in any doubt about Mercedes’ commitment to the world of EVs they just need to look at this beaut.
Dacia Jogger Another great value seven-seater is the Dacia Jogger. Easily the biggest shock of the year, this car won over the hearts and minds of every motor journalist who got behind it’s wheel. From as little as €24,590 it can be sitting in your driveway.
Opel Astra My favourite car of the year was the latest version of the classic Opel Astra. Upgrades and tweaks to established models rarely have such an impact but this 7th-gen Astra is mind-bogglingly good. I took it from Dublin to Dingle to Rosslare and back to Dublin in 48 hours and it soaked up every single inch of the 1000km I stuck on the clock. I would buy it in a heartbeat.
Polestar 2 New car. New model. New option. Up until this year the Tesla has dominated the €70-80k corporate EV market but now there are a few disrupters in the game and Motormouths are loving it. The Swedish offering is this Polestar 2, which was phenomenal and worth every penny. The company now has a lovely showroom designed out of refurbished freight containers in Sandyford if you fancy a look around.
Nissan Ariya Another EV disrupter is the Nissan Ariya which is going up against the likes of the ID.4, Ioniq 5 and EV6 and has taken a decade of trial and error in the all-conquering Leaf and catapulted the Japanese manufacturer back to the top table. Spacious and slick, comfortable and unique, fun and safe…it’s got it all. And the price tag too with an early 50s price tag.
BMW i4 Another all-electric is the BMW i4 which has the prestige and finesse of a BMW saloon with the quirkiness and tech of a ground-breaking EV. Unusually for the premium badge this actually looks like a combustion engine car. And therefore it will attract a lot of customers here in Ireland who aren’t willing to take the plunge into the Wacky world of EV designs just yet.
Range Rover Sport I spent most of my week in November telling people that this wasn’t the full Range Rover and only the ‘Sport’ version. This new Plug-In Hybrid iteration comes with all the bells and whistles and will cost you north of €110k even for the entry level model but it is truly fabulous in every way. If money was no option, this is on my new ‘fictitious’ car list.
VW ID.Buzz Yes, it is bonkers looking. Yes, it costs more than €70k and yes…it is just a five-seater. But dear VW just take my God damn money. In a modern twist on an old classic, Volkswagen have finally given us the ID.Buzz. A full-electric version of the old 13-windown campervans that are now automotive icons. Expect every single one of these that lands in Ireland to be sold already. So get in quick.