Renault teams with Irish Restaurant Awards 2017

Renault Ireland and The Restaurant Association of Ireland have announced Renault Ireland as the official car partner of the Irish Restaurant Awards 2017, writes Trish Whelan . The Irish Restaurant Awards (RAI) will travel around the country driving new Renault models for a series of regional events this March to announce county and regional award winners across 15 different categories. County winners will be announced at four regional events with over 600 guests expected to attend each. This year’s host counties for the events are Kilkenny, Fermanagh, Limerick and Sligo. This year over 80,000 individual nominations were cast online from 11-25 January. Pictured above are Ciara Doyle (Business Development & Sponsorship Manager, Restaurant Association of Ireland), and Liz O’Gorman (Marketing Manager Renault Ireland) with two chefs from The Radisson Blue St Helen’s, Stillorgan Road, Dublin. Speaking on the quantity of nominations received, CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland

Review: Citroen Spacetourer

Right, vans aren’t really sexy as cars, writes Brian Byrne. But they can make very good cars, and ones which are very enjoyable to use as well as having practicalities not available in the normal passenger field.

Such is the latest medium MPV from Citroen, the SpaceTourer. A challenge to the key players in this field, Ford’s Transit-based Tourneos and Volkswagen’s Transporter Shuttle. And it’s a good challenge.

Based on the new generation Dispatch van, it’s actually rather more than a mere conversion. The front underpinnings are those of the platform which carries the highly successful C4 Picasso and Grand C4 Picasso, so the driver accommodation and the powertrains are well designed. From there back, it’s all SpaceTourer, with the heavier duty rear axle and other important pieces which make vans rugged and able for much heavier work than cars generally have to deal with.

In the latest Dispatch-based MPV, there are three lengths, a new shorter 4.6m entry level which nevertheless can still seat up to eight people in plenty of space. This is the one I had for review, and an advantage of the size means it’s a very easy vehicle to use in tight traffic and narrow streets. It also makes it a family carrying alternative that doesn’t feel big as a bus. The style is good too, a very definitive front end and neat windows designs which limit that ‘vanny’ look.

The eight seat spaces adds value as a people- or family-carrier, each passenger one individual and all slidable and foldable, to allow for a variety of capacity formats. In fairness, there’s not a lot of cargo space behind the third row in this version if you’re transporting a full house of people, but in other situations you can deal with a fair bit of luggage, and long things are manageable with judicious use of the folding seat-backs.

From the driver’s perspective, this latest cabin is a significant jump up from the previous one. Better materials, really bright and clear instruments, and lots of space. Good visibility too, from a highish seat point.

The driving itself proved to be a really pleasant experience, and when you think of it, these days there’s no getting away with poor conditions for a van driver whose vehicle is his or her office and place of work for the day. So the SpaceTourer version would be really good for what its name suggests, a long tour.

Fine, it’s not for every family, but there are those ones which join together for shuttling kids between schools and activities and if you’re in that space, the SpaceTourer is a consideration. Definitely there is business to be done in the executive shuttle area, and in hire operators who get small groups of tourists who want to travel the country for a week or ten days.

In the technical department, the review car was powered by a 115hp version of the excellent 1.6 diesel available in other PSA Group vehicles. Well managed with the smooth 6-speed manual gearbox, it doesn’t do speed records, but is an easy drive that won’t tax the spirit or the body in any driving conditions. The claimed fuel consumption is in the order of 54mpg equivalent, and that’s respectable for the size of the vehicle.

My review car was the entry Feel BlueHDi XS, with stop and start, and at base price comes in at €38,000. The metallic paint added €760, and park assist another €950. Total of €40,010 is not cheap, but if kept for the 5-year period of the warranty, there should be still enough residual value to have made it a viable purchase, should you have need for what it can so excellently provide.


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