We drove the new Renault Scenic 110 dCi Hybrid Assist: French genius

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Cleverness is not lost on French automakers. And when it comes to making a hybrid with diesel power, the Renault engineers had something up their sleeve…The new Scenic Hybrid Assist exactly fills the bill, as it responds ideally to what the average buyer is looking for today when it comes to integrating E-power into its everyday mobility. Of course, Renault is on the forefront in EV technology, and has introduced its all-electric Zoé already in 2012. But it also knows that there is more, last but not least to offer affordable and clever hybrid propulsion.

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As the Scénic is now after 20 succesful years in its fourth generation, it was a good occasion to introduce this technology on this bestseller. Just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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We drove the Porsche Macan 2.0 L Turbo : excellence was expected…

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When one slides behind the wheel of a Porsche, you are looking forward to something special. Our heart was always throbbing when we saw the big round rev counter of the 911 in front of us and turned the ignition key with our left hand. In the Macan, things were hardly different. We were also faced with the big rev counter, with virtually the same lettering and the big, slim needle. The ignition key finds its slot also on the left side.

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Of course, one does not hear the hissing sound of the flat six, but nevertheless one is treated to the sporting yet civilized growl of a thoroughbred inline four. The same impression of absolute quality and workmanship remains, and one cannot but admire the beautiful steering wheel insert showing the iconic Porsche emblem. The rounded contours of the dashboard and the door panels also embody this timelessly purposeful Porsche styling language, and one is literally engulfed with the pride and fulfilling pleasure the careful ownership of a Porsche brings you. Indeed, also this Macan is a car to cherish and to own, so much is certain. It is also beautifully proportioned and it size is for us “just right”. Just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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The new BMW X2 has ever more character…

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A bright star in the BMW range has got a makeover, which makes it a Sports Activity Coupe with added personality.

The new BMW X2 will celebrate its market premiere in March 2018, and will be shown for the first time on the Detroit and Brussels shows.

The new BMW X2 appeals primarily to a young and young-at-heart, urban and active target group who are keen to see their personal character reflected on the road through an emotionally-engaging car.

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As well as the standard BMW X2, customers can also choose from the BMW X2 M Sport and M Sport X models. The latter brings together design elements from BMW M and the BMW X family. Separate lines are not available for the BMW X2.

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A host of design details underscore the distinctive character of the BMW X2. These include the BMW roundel on the C-pillars and the styling of the kidney grille, whose outline is wider at its base than at its top (for the first time on a modern BMW).

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Colorful…

Available for the first time on a BMW are the exterior color shades Galvanic Gold metallic and Misano Blue metallic, plus perforated Dakota leather in Magma Red and the Micro Hexagon fabric Anthracite/Alcantara combination in Black with M piping and yellow contrast stitching.

A wide choice of drivetrains…

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Three engine/transmission variants are offered from launch: the BMW X2 xDrive20i petrol model with 141 kW / 192 hp (fuel consumption combined: 5.9 – 5.5 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 134 – 126 g/km)*, plus the X2 xDrive20d diesel variant with 140 kW / 190 hp (fuel consumption combined: 4.8 – 4.6 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 126 – 121 g/km)* and as top of the range the X2 xDrive25d diesel with 170 kW / 231 hp (fuel consumption combined: 5.3 – 5.1 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 139 – 133 g/km)*.

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Both diesel cars come as standard with xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive and the eight-speed Steptronic transmission. The petrol model is fitted with the sporty seven-speed Steptronic dual-clutch transmission.

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Further model variants will be added to the Sports Activity Coupe line-up in early 2018 – in the shape of the three-cylinder X2 sDrive18i and the four-cylinder X2 xDrive20i, X2 sDrive18d and X2 xDrive18d.

The outputs of the petrol models range from 103 kW / 140 hp in the X2 sDrive18i (with manual gearbox, fuel consumption combined: 6.3 – 6.0 l/100 km, CO2 emissions combined: 144 – 138 g/km**; with seven-speed Steptronic dual-clutch transmission, fuel consumption combined: 6.2 – 5.9 l/100 km, CO2 emissions combined: 141 – 135 g/km**) up to 141 kW /192 hp in the X2 xDrive20i (fuel consumption combined: 6.2 – 6.1 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 142 – 138 g/km**). The diesel X2 sDrive18d (with manual gearbox, fuel consumption combined: 4.6 – 4.5 l/100 km, CO2 emissions combined: 121 – 119 g/km**; with eight-speed Steptronic transmission, fuel consumption combined: 4.7 – 4.5 l/100 km, CO2 emissions combined: 124 – 118 g/km**) and X2 xDrive18d (fuel consumption combined: 5.2 – 4.8 l/100 km, CO2 emissions combined: 137 – 128 g/km**) have 110 kW / 150 hp. We think the latter versions will be quite popular in our country…

The options list for the BMW X2 includes the latest generation of BMW ConnectedDrive and the most recent update of the BMW Connected App. Optional functions such as Apple CarPlay and an array of driver assistance systems serve up a connected driving experience. Among the optional equipment features offered exclusively by the BMW X2 in this segment is the full-color BMW Head-Up Display.

Needless to say that we are very keen to see the new X2 in the flesh and get a driving experience  behind the wheel…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

 

We drove the Lexus IS 300h: your stylish sedan with a bright green future…

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E-power looks to become the mobility solution for the coming decades, and indeed manufacturers are eagerly developing a complete range of electric cars. They will be fit for the megacities of this planet, but when you want to cover long distances in less populated areas and in countries where the charging infrastructure is not yet up to scratch, the (plug in) hybrid layout seems to be the solution with an immediate and bright future.

Toyota and Lexus have been producing hybrids now for years, and have acquired a vast experience and know how in making these cars. The Lexus IS 300h impressed us greatly again. It is synonymous of excellence, and we can hardly find a sedan with is more fitting for our times, and this for years to come.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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We drove the New Beetle Peace & Love 1.2 TSI : an icon of pure joy…

Abesel1smWe all love icons, as they are part of our times. The beetle is such a four wheeled icon. Volkwagen gave it even a new life with the New Beetle, which appealed also to many new drivers who never owned the original one. And now it has coupled this New Beetle, which is in its second generation already, to another iconic era, when flower power and its lifestyle conquered the world. The result is a car which turns heads, and wins your (and our) hearts… Just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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With the new Koleos, Renault brings a high end SUV

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Stylish, lavishly equipped with state of the art infotainment, driving aids, chassis, engines and transmission, Renault has left nothing untouched to make this Koleos really stand out. Of course Renault has big ambitions in this upper segment of the booming SUV market. We tell you here more about the Koleos, and are of course keen to get behind the wheel of it soon, as it hits the European markets now…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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The new Koleos, was unveiled at China’s Beijing Motor Show in 2016, and is already available for sale in Australia, the Gulf States and certain South American and Asian countries.

It  tops the brand’s crossover range alongside Captur and Kadjar. It is also the fifth Renault model after Clio, Espace, Talisman and Captur to be offered with the Initiale Paris signature.

It has many qualities up its sleeve: Acclaimed four-wheel drive technology, off-road capability thanks to high ground clearance, a lavish interior equipped with the segment’s very best journey-enhancing appointments, generous cabin space thanks to a wheelbase of 2.71 metres and a total length of 4.67 metres, and last but not least the connected experience with the R-LINK 2 multimedia tablet

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Finally, New Koleos features a selection of proven powertrains and technologies, with a choice of two diesel engines mated to either X-Tronic automatic transmission or a manual gearbox.

Bold Renault styling language

New Koleos bears far more than just a passing family likeness to Talisman and Talisman Estate, which were also designed by Alexis Martot in-line with a strategy for all three models to complement one another. The most striking similarities among the three vehicles are their front-end designs, which all feature a prominent, vertically-positioned Renault logo and a chrome grille.

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Distinctive for the Talisman and New Koleos are their muscular haunches and proportions, including short overhangs, which share the same ratio between overall length and wheelbase. The new Koleos’ dynamic stance is further emphasized by its large tires (overall-diameter: 730mm) and low roofline (1.68 metres).

The C-shaped lighting signature extends beyond the head light units, which themselves to create an even more forceful gaze.  Depending on the version, New Koleos is available with Pure Vision Full LED main- and dipped-beam lights. The Daytime Running Lights provide a unique, piercing light signature.

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The Koleos rear passengers benefit from class-topping knee room (289mm), plus particularly generous headroom, shoulder room and elbow room.

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This record cabin space combines with a large configurable boot and numerous practical storage

solutions. The 498dm3 VDA boot (equivalent to 579 litres) features a clever removable floor positioned at the same height as the sill to form a flat floor. Thanks to handles located in the boot, the Easy Break system allows the 60/40-split rear bench seat to be folded in an instant to free up a total carrying capacity of 1,706dm3 VDA (equivalent to 1,795 litres).  New Koleos’ cabin is particularly bright thanks to a large opening glass sunroof (0.80m2) that extends over the rear seats.

The interior and overall equipment breathes refinement, certainly in the Initiale Paris version, where 19-inch diamond-cut wheels are also available. These models are distinguishable with grille badging, beneath the Renault logo. Full-grain Nappa leather is a key feature of the Initiale Paris signature.

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Off road qualities…

In keeping with the Renault design strategy introduced by Laurens van den Acker in 2010, New Koleos is covered by the ‘EXPLORE’ design pillar, which stands for robustness and a taste for adventure.

This is immediately evident in the model’s ground clearance (up to 210mm) which is amongst the highest in the market. New Koleos’ go-anywhere ability is boosted by approach and departure angles of 19 and 26 degrees respectively.

Efficient, easy-to-use 4×4 technology

The ALL MODE 4×4-i transmission available for New KOLEOS features technology that has been proved on millions of Renault-Nissan Alliance vehicles worldwide. This all-wheel drive system permanently monitors grip levels to guarantee optimal traction whatever the conditions. Unlike many rival models, New Koleos continues to feature a control switch that allows drivers to choose the transmission mode. Very easy to use, it is situated to the left of the steering wheel and enables the driver to select one of three modes, namely 2WD, 4WD AUTO or the exclusive 4WD LOCK.

Trusted common technical architecture

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The new Koleos is built on the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s CMF-C/D architecture that is shared by several other models, including Renault’s Espace, Talisman and Kadjar, and Nissan’s X-Trail and Qashqai.

The range comprises a choice of two diesel engines, which deliver 130 and 175 horsepower respectively.  These powerplants can drive through either X-Tronic automatic transmission or a six-speed manual gearbox.

Unlike former CVT transmissions, New Koleos’ X-Tronic transmission performs more like a multi-ratio automatic whenever the driver needs to accelerate briskly. At the same time, this continuously variable transmission ensures seamless gear shifts when accelerating gently, as in heavy traffic, for example. So clever!

The driver has the option to select a seven-speed sequential mode when he wants to benefit from engine braking.

Renault typical state of the art infotainment

The new Koleos is fitted with Renault’s R-LINK 2 multimedia system from its second equipment level up. This connected tablet can be found across the brand’s high-end range and coordinates the majority of the vehicle’s functions such as infotainment, navigation, hands-free telephony, radio and driver aids. We liked it already so much on the other Renaults we drove recently, thanks to the following features: An intuitive interface offering the same tactile functions as a personal tablet courtesy of capacitive technology (two-finger zoom, page scrolling, drag and drop), availability of two screen formats (depending on version): 7-inch landscape or 8.7-inch portrait, both seamlessly integrated into the dashboard design.

Of course, the new Koleos offers a new smartphone replication feature, which is compatible with both Apple CarPlay for iPhone users and Android Auto for Android.

Last but not least there is inside New Koleos the Bose© developed and tailor-engineered system that takes into account the acoustic properties of the cabin. It comprises 13 high-performance loudspeakers…

New Koleos’ raft of standard equipment – traction control, latest generation electronic stability control (ESC) electronic brake force distribution and hill start assist – is complemented by a palette of state-of-the-art driver aids (ADAS). These are all accessible via the R-LINK 2 tablet.

Taking care of the owner…

In a first for a vehicle of this type, New Koleos can be fitted in accessories range with a motorised tow bar, for a fully automatic and manual-free installation. With a simple action on a button inside the boot, it appears and is ready to use in just 15 seconds. A blocking system automatically prevents its deployment in the case of an obstruction.

Its tailgate incorporates a smart, hands-free electronic opening mechanism. Even with arms fully laden and the keyless entry and ignition card buried deep in a pocket, the boot can be opened with a simple swipe of the foot underneath the rear bumper.

All by all a quite impressive car, this Koleos. We are keen to drive it soon!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Volkswagen unveils the new Polo…

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When Volkswagen is rejuvenating the most popular car in its segment into a new generation, the world is watching.

The new Polo is now wider, longer, rolling on the big MQB platform which is also seen in other models of the group, up to the Passat no less. It has grown to the size of the Golf IV, and it looks indeed a lot bigger than its predecessor.

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It has more room for passengers and luggage, and this sixth generation comes with multitude of driver assistance systems, and is now definitely entering the digital age. It comes to you in a wide array of versions, which will include soon a Polo GTI1 and Polo Beats. The Polo is now for the first time also available with a natural gas engine. Just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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Kia introduces a new compact crossover: the Stonic

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B-segment crossovers are all the rage, and Kia quite understandably wants also to have a slice of the cake. Its baby will be called the ‘Stonic’, combining ‘Speed’ with ‘Tonic’. The tonic pitch in music is what we refer to as the beginning and ending note of the scale used to compose a piece of music. it’s not only a center for the compositional process, but it’s also the pitch name that is the key.

Well, judging from the first drawings, the Stonic truly sets the tone…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

A sweeping roofline and originally styled roof rack create a sporty look. The tail lamp graphics evoke a young and futuristic appearance.

The car has sharp horizontal feature lines combined with softer sculpted surfaces, has compact dimensions and a low centre of gravity.

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The European-designed cabin echoes the appearance of the exterior, with straight lines, smooth surfaces and geometric design forms. The Stonic’s interior places technology and ergonomics at its heart, with smart packaging maximizing space for all occupants, and a ‘floating’ HMI (human-machine interface) blending smartphone access with the car’s many functions.

On sale in the second half of 2017, the Stonic will also be the most customizable Kia ever, inside and out. We are anxious to see this car in the flesh, and drive it for you towards autumn…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Recalculate your life, but never lose Compass…

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The ink of our latest post on the new Jeep Compass was just dry, when we heard about a gripping TV commercial, starring the new Compass. We could not miss this, and give here some further info and the link…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Today, Saturday June 3, hundreds of millions of TV viewers worldwide will watch the final of Europe’s top competition, as Juventus takes the field. The Jeep brand has been supporting the team all the way to the big match and uses the occasion to show to the  main European markets their  new  “Recalculating” commercial, starring the new Jeep Compass immediately after the digital preview on June 2.

“Recalculating” is a 60-second commercial that offers a creative take on the sat-nav voice applying it to the important decisions and tough challenges encountered in one’s real life instead of road directions.

The characters are shown making headway and tackling the obstacles that come their way – be it professional opportunities or game changing events tied to family.

Life is unpredictable and throws many a curve, but in the film this offers the characters an opportunity to strengthen their spirits, further work on their identity and grow as a person. Indeed, wherever life leads you, in the new Compass you would never miss the right path to reach your goal…

We insert the spot here… enjoy!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Taking a peek at the new Jeep Compass with augmented reality

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The all-new Jeep® Compass made its debut at the latest Geneva Motor Show, and arrives at the  dealers showrooms this summer, at a starting price of 25,000 Euros in select markets. This new Compass  enters the compact SUV segment, which is the largest SUV segment in Europe.

But before you actually can see the car in the showroom, Jeep has brought in an innovative customer experience through augmented reality, thanks to Google’s Tango technology.

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So clever, we wanted here to present it here in a special report… besides telling you more about this new Compass, which we will hope to drive for you soon!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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