Searching the garage last Monday I found a small spiderweb box on one side under a broken window. I knew immediately what was in it.
Over the different car launch years, I was given tons of boxes that contained small, dinky-like, models.
Mostly I gave away to charity shops, friends, relatives or sometimes even strangers driving that new model. But I kept it. This was a car that I loved. But it was of its time and changes were bound to come. So let’s step back for a moment.
This is where the endgame begins. Nearly 125 years after the first successful tests of the diesel engine, the exit doors have grown.
As of the year to date, it has lost nearly 30 percent of its share of the Irish new car market, falling in third place, with electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and straight hybrids in first place at 44pc, pure petrol at 27.2 and diesel. is bringing. Back at 26.4pc.
This time last year, diesel led the pack with 36.5 per cent. At this rate, the name would soon become better known for a clothing brand that was the leading car propeller.
Of course, much of this was the fault of a few major vendors of diesel vehicles. He got a “gate” of his own. A vast range of vehicles, especially in the context of lethal NOx, had a higher order of cynicism and deceit on declared emissions.
While Volkswagen was the major Dieselgate player, it spread throughout much of the auto industry.
Here, there was confusion.
As in many countries, sales of diesel cars in Ireland began after 2008 when a full fleet of “clean diesel” cars were announced and a tax system based on CO2 emissions (but not NOx) was implemented.
Many found that they could tax diesel SUVs on a larger scale than smaller petrol cars. However, in 2014, when the European Protection Agency, along with officials in the United States, began investigating discrepancies in on-road testing, against those carried out in manufacturers’ laboratories, cans of worms began to be discovered. Messy splendor.
Unfortunately, for a lot of buyers it was too late; They were prompted to buy diesel cars, which were by no means suitable for the low mileage they were driving. Increasingly, authorities around the world began to ban diesel vehicles entering certain areas.
While the tide turned for much of the developed world, it is only in the final year that this country’s love affair with Rudolf Diesel’s engine began to wane. What started out as a slow walk has turned into a rush of panic, which is no fun for the man or woman in the street.
Reducing emissions is an absolute necessity. Living on a major road in Fybsboro, I know how dirty the air can be. Also in the 1970s, I was proud to work for a newspaper that campaigned against the use of lead in petrol because of its widespread harmful effects on children. It was a terrible indictment on the developed world and a weakness in the face of the fuel and vehicle lobby until 2000 before it was withdrawn in Europe.
But even then while everyone wants to go green and switch to EVs and hybrids, most cannot afford it; And for the average Josephine soap across the country, which has to deliver high mileage every week, diesel is the cheapest method – even at €2 a litre.
Just as we were prompted to use diesel after 2008, it is important to put the drive results in context for EVs. The harmful effects of mining lithium and other metals for batteries for EVs and hybrids have to be taken into account, and only slowly are we trying to get manufacturers to own the real cost of producing EVs. Polestar, Volvo’s all-EV off-shoot, is one of the first to promise this kind of openness.
In the meantime, let’s go back to that little trap box in the garage. It was probably 2009 when Skoda launched the Yeti as its first real entry into the SUV market, and I loved it.
So I kept the smaller model. The rugged look of the Yeti reminded me of my old Saab 95 Estate and the incredibly venerable Subaru Forester. It looked tough in a fairly compact body with plenty of adaptable room inside.
As was the way of the world then, most sales in Ireland were for the diesel version.
Yeti showed true character just like its name. Sadly, unlike the fictional monster in the Himalayas, it had a short life and, at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, it was announced that it would be replaced by the Karoq, a more finely soft-looking SUV that would so intimidate horses No .
By some almost divine coincidence, there was a new version of the Karoq in the garage a yard from the tiny cobweb-encrusted Yeti. Initially it took me time to warm up to the car but now I see it as a worthy successor.
Well, it may look like a lot of other SUVs, especially from the Volkswagen stable, a little smaller than the VW Tiguan and the seat a little bigger than the Arona. It offers incredibly good family motoring with plenty of easily accessible rooms. It’s a thoughtful car, with excellent storage solutions.
Even with the optional large sunroof on the test car, I had plenty of headroom both at the front and rear.
Most importantly it drives well. This is a car not for the thrill but for the potential.
We went with the dogs on Sunday to our lovely Donadia Forest for two hours of quiet, thoughtful time amidst 40 shades of greenery. After a few turns on the way, we had done over 100 kms and the consumption was less than 5 litres/100 kms.
I forgot to mention that while there are plenty of good petrol versions of the Karoq, the test car was a diesel. But you really didn’t notice. This shows how much the diesel has improved. Prices for the Karoq start at €33,750 but this will be their last iteration.
No hybrid or EV variant is planned. This is a very honest car and a nice way to say goodbye to diesel.
If it’s goodbye to Diesel, welcome back to Bloom in Phoenix Park this coming weekend, though I’m annoyed that my favorite walk with Ziggy and Dooey is a month away with all the preparatory work How does it get interrupted?
Nevertheless, I am going down to see the new Kia Niro on display. It will be worth watching in the form of EV, PHEV and hybrid, it has a good future.