Nissan previews Brussels Motor Show 2019 and introduces new engines and model versions…

Nissan will show its model range in palace 5 on the Brussels Motor Show 2019… 

Nissan has been putting forward intelligent mobility for more than a decade now, and its latest Leaf amply proves the point. It is now the number one in full electric vehicles sold on our Belgian market. Another bestseller, in the crossover segment this time, is the Qashqai.

The Alliance is now also stepping into another era of petrol engine mobility with the introduction of a new 1,3 liter petrol engine family, which the Alliance has co-developed with Daimler. Besides the Qashqai and X-Trail, it will find also a home in a larger range of Group Renault vehicles such as Captur and then Mégane Hatchback. It will also be used by Mercedes for its compact models. In Europe, the new 1.3 TCe, as it is dubbed by Renault, will be produced at Valladolid in Spain, Sunderland in the UK and at Daimler’s Kölleda plant in Germany. Worldwide, it will also be produced in China at two different plants. Vehicles powered by the engine will be sold in Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Near East. The objective of Daimler and the Alliance is to produce not less one million units a year…

A model of this new engine, in the Qashqai as the DIG-T gasoline engine, was shown at the press conference, and of course we show you here the photos…Just read more here below!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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We drove the new Toyota Aygo II: iconic and young as ever…

We took “our” Aygo to Paris, to the charming 7th Arrondissement, Rive Gauche, and were not disturbed by the “Yellow Vests”, who had then their first weekend of demo’s in Paris… a lot of asian people admired the Aygo: we parked it here in front of a Korean restaurant! 

We told you already many times in these columns: (sub)compact cars are so cleverly designed and built, that they are stunning examples of what (modern) automobiles can do, and they offer unique qualities when it comes to economy, agility, performance and sheer driving pleasure. When one also considers that they cost and depreciate less than bigger cars, then you will agree with us that one is well advised to take a (very) close look at them. One of these formidable cars is the Toyota Aygo. It has been with us since 2005, but has been updated in 2008 and 2012, and now its iconic X design has been made more three-dimensional, to add still more liveliness and character to the car. But also the interior and the mechanics have been revised. Just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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We drove the new Fiat 500X in Turin

The second generation Fiat 500X stands proudly here in front of the administrative buildings of its 1919 Fiat Lignotto factory, a noble and unique setting for its iconic crossover…here painted in beautiful matte finished metallic light blue, officially dubbed Matt Jeans Blue 

Fiat is going from strength to strength with its elegant compact crossover, ranking in the top 5 in Europe and leader in Italy, and you have undoubtedly read our test report of the latest generation 500X with its marvelously efficient 1.0 litre “Firefly” petrol engine. We were very impressed by its mechanical refinement, its liveliness and frugality. This time we had the opportunity to try out the second “Firefly” engine in the range, notably the 1,3 liter 150 HP four cylinder version, mated to the 6 speed DCT dual clutch automatic transmission.

It proved to be also marvelously smooth and well up to the task. Power delivery was quite impressive indeed as was mechanical refinement and last but not least economy.

We stayed for the presentation in the NH Hotel, magnificently integrated in the original Lignotto factory building… full of elegance, history and character. 

We visited at this occasion also the original Lignotto Fiat factory building, and stood eye to eye with the grand and noble architectural and automotive tradition of the Turin brand. More about this in a following report soon, and early next year a specific visit to Turin and the Fiat factories will follow, not to forget the Agnelli’s art collection…

Just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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We drove the Nissan Micra IG-T 90 Tekna: your stylish urban companion…

The fifth generation Nissan Micra is not only elegant and good looking, it is also packed with state of the art technology to appeal to modern urbanites. We tested for you the top of the range Tekna version equipped with the 90  HP three cylinder turbo petrol engine coupled to a five speed manual box. A recipe for very entertaining driving, just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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We drove the Alfa Romeo 2.2D Stelvio: reaching (for) the top…

Alfa is indeed entering absolute heights with her new SUV. In this wildly popular segment, it makes its unique mark with this Stelvio. Because exclusive and unique Alfa’s always were and still are: being just that bit more curvy and better proportioned, just coming with that little added touch of drama and panache under the bonnet and in the interior, offering just that bit more agility in throttle response and handling… and all that’s now available in a SUV, which actually wants to translate all the good Giulia qualities into this SUV segment. They seem to have succeeded. Just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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We drove the Nissan Leaf: turning the page towards E-power…

In today’s mobility, new leaves are turned. The fully E-powered car is coming of age. Just take a look at the second generation Nissan Leaf. Improved range and power, presented in an even better looking package. We were again completely charmed by the completely “zen” mobility which this latest Leaf is offering you day in day out, and tell you here more about it… 

Hans Knol ten Bensel 

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We drove the Dacia Duster TCe 125: your true friend on all roads…

We all love a car which is a faithful companion to all places you want to go in this magnificent world. A car which fulfills your dream of mobility no matter where or what. Without costing you an arm and a leg, giving you rather the freedom to spend your money on those long voyages and travels you always wanted to do, of course with your four wheeled companion.

Well, such a car is the Duster, now in its second generation, aptly named Duster 2. It now comes in a most attractive package, as it has been expertly restyled, undergoing also a state of the art makeover of the mechanics. We took it through its paces for you here. Just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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We drove the Mercedes CLS 450 4MATIC Edition 1: the star shines more than ever…

Lovers of elegant, sleek four-door coupés have found since 2003 their superlative mount with the Mercedes CLS. This elegant car is now in its third generation, and the fluent lines are the logical evolution of the Sensual Purity design idiom: sharp edges and lines have been significantly reduced; the car is indeed more rounded, yet breathes the same sleek elegance of its predecessors. It is brimming with state of the art electronics, driving assistance systems and infotainment. But also it’s heart is rejuvenated: the engine range is completely new. It is available with three six-cylinder engines, 2 diesel engines and a gem of a petrol engine, a 3 liter six, which we drove for you here. The sound and fury of this velvety engine has the unmistakable Mercedes aura and character, and yes, it is a 3 liter, like in the 300 SL Gullwing… but of course, this is a car of another age, and edges marvelously close to absolute perfection. Just read further!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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Quantum leap in Turin: the new generation Fiat 500X gets a new heart…

The redesigned and rejuvenated 500X, Italian’s Crossover bestseller, starts also a new epoch in state-of-the-art petrol engine engineering, with a new generation of so-called “FireFly” engines. This is innovative engine design at its best, and we will very probably see this new generation of engines soon in other models of the FCA group.
The engine was a true revelation for us, but this is not all. The 500X has gained in style and character, has now even more original “Cinquecento” content. It now carries an impressive standard equipment in driving aids and infotainment, and has more style than ever.
Just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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Renault ARKANA show car unveiled in Moscow

At the 2018 Moscow International Auto Salon, Renault unveiled the ARKANA show car as a world premiere, a coupé-crossover announcing a new global vehicle.

According to Laurens Van den Acker – Senior Vice President, Corporate Design of Groupe Renault – is the ARKANA show car a distinctive coupé-crossover, making a striking balance between the elegance of a Sedan and the powerful stance of an SUV. He continued: “We have dialed in specific Renault cues, with a strong design, strength and sensuality with a French touch”

Laurens Van den Acker unveils the Arkana…

Judging from the photos, Laurens Van den Acker and his design team have succeeded. This new production vehicle will be produced and marketed in different countries throughout the world, beginning with Russia in 2019. Renault ARKANA will be later manufactured and sold in Asia and other regions, with this same unique design but adapted also to local customers’ expectations.

All this is part of Groupe Renault’s “Drive the Future” strategic plan, by which it intends to step up the pace of international growth, expanding its product range to increase sales volumes up to 5 million units by 2022. ARKANA will play a key role in achieving this goal.

You might be interested to know that Groupe Renault claimed almost one-third of the Russian market in 2017 (448,270 vehicle sold / 28% market share). Russia today ranks as Groupe Renault’s number two market and is set to become the group’s leading market by the end of plan…

For the time being, just have a look at the photos…

Hans Knol ten Bensel