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Any automatic diesels in Ireland?

I've recently moved back to Ireland from Central Europe and can't believe the Irish motor trade's attitude to automatic cars. I've heard various salesmen say stuff like "they give trouble", "fuel consumption is very high" and "sure why would you want one of those?"

I had a deal almost done on a Toyota Avensis diesel until I asked for it with an automatic gearbox. 'Not available in Ireland' I was told. My questions are as follows:

What automatic diesels are available in Ireland? What would you recommend for a family of four? Can automatics be in a different tax band from their manual brothers?

Stuart Foley (Malahide)

Apr 2010 Filed under: automatic

Expert answer

Firstly, there are probably more diesel automatic cars in Ireland than you might think, but they tend to be executive models rather than mainstream family cars because it seems that there still isn't a huge demand for them.

Toyota does in fact sell an automatic version of its Avensis. It is a 2.2-litre 150bhp diesel and that costs €35,530. Since you mentioned the Toyota Avensis we must assume that you are after a family saloon or hatchback so for a start you could have a Ford Mondeo 2.0-litre TDCi Style Auto for €32,225 - that comes as a saloon, hatchback or estate.

For you a few quid more you can have the run out version of the Jaguar X-Type 2.2 Diesel Auto for €32,995 or you could have the Mercedes-Benz B180 CDi Auto from €33,640.

There are loads of versions of the excellent Opel Insignia available with a choice of 130- or 160bhp diesel engines in saloon, hatchback or estate body styles. There are 24 different Insignia diesels available in total. Prices start at €30,380. You can have a Renault Laguna 2.0-litre dCi 150 TomTom Edition for €36,890.

A Volkswagen Passat 2.0 TDI with the excellent DSG gearbox will cost you from €35,960 and Skoda will sell you something with DSG for even less. How about an Octavia RS 2.0-litre diesel with 170bhp and DSG for €31,195? For us, that last car is the top choice. However you could stick with Skoda and go much bigger and that would be the Superb. You can have that with DSG and 170bhp for €31,195.

There is a fuel economy penalty in some cases and that is because the traditional automatic transmission has a torque converter. Automatic cars are generally a little heavier too, to the detriment of economy. Saying that, the latest generation of dual-clutch automatics and some of the newest conventional autos have massively improved.

Fuel economy and CO2 emissions are directly linked, so often the manual version of a car can be in a lower tax band than their automatic siblings, but this is starting to change as mentioned above.

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