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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We drove the Volkswagen Arteon 2.0 TSI 280 4Motion R Line: the fine art of car making…

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Volkswagen has acquired a vast experience in the art of designing and building cars. When they decide to launch a top of the range four seater coupé, it is guaranteed to turn heads. And this the Arteon certainly does. It has stunning, well balanced looks, and the beauty of it is that it also delivers. When it comes to performance, mechanical perfection, economy and build quality, this car certainly reaches for the sky in its class. We had an extended drive in this superb VW… Just read on.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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The VW designers and stylists have translated the angular, clear cut and well proportioned styling language of the present VW range in a very well balanced manner into their top car. It shares the roomy MQB platform with the Passat, and therefore there were enough inches or centimeters to really go for an impressive, finely and elegantly stretched design. Also in the front and rear treatment the emphasis is on this discreet elegance, and this Arteon is never too imposing, too bold, yet evokes very well its premium character. Our test car was sprayed in Oryx White, and this suited the Arteon very well.

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It has also beautiful light alloy wheels, especially in the R-Line equipment version we drove. They were so called Rosario 8J x 20 wheels, in matte dark graphite, which formed a nice contrast with the white bodywork.

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This premium elegance is continued in the interior, where finely carved accent lines throughout dashboard and door panels evoke space and grace. “Silver Rise” aluminum inserts were found in door panels and dashboard surfaces. The seats were clad in Nappa leather.

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Looking more closely one finds many familiar knobs and handles, with icons and virtual digital instrumentation also found on other VW’s and group products. But that does not spoil the pleasure. The materials used are top notch and the clarity of the instruments, dials and the intuitive way things work make you feel very good behind the wheel.

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A good seating position was soon found, as the so-called “ergComfort” drivers’seat can be adjusted in not less than 14 directions with memory and massage function for the driver.

The clever use of the available space is also a craft the VW engineers truly master. This means that there is ample, if not massive legroom for the rear passengers, and the boot space is nothing short of cavernous. Its minimum volume is 563 liter…

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Our test car came with the two liter TSI petrol engine, delivering not less than 206 kW or 280 HP. Don’t expect a nervous, hissing and roaring sports machine. In slow urban traffic, it is docile as a lamb and barely audible or noticeable, as it moves the Arteon smoothly forward, helped by the silky 7 speed DSG transmission. When you feel in a sporty mood, just choose the desired driving mode, and things really start to happen.

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What to think of a 0 to 100 acceleration of 5,6 seconds, and then storming further in a wonderful thoroughbred four cylinder throb to a (regulated) top speed of 250 km/h? All this happens without any noticeable mechanical strain, and this makes the Arteon really a top notch driving machine.

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Torque is plentiful, with 350 Nm available throughout a very wide rev range from 1700 to 5600 rpm, with peak power being developed between 5100 and 6500 rpm.

Moving a big powerful sedan through urban traffic can costs energy, if you let it. This means a lot depends on your driving style. We stayed around the 9 liter mark, which makes the manufacturer’s quote of 9,2 liter on the EC cycle quite realistic . On the open road, with more constant (legal) speeds, engine efficiency and high gearing come into play, and consumption figures between 6 and 7 liters can be achieved without effort. Of course, with the impressive stream of power being available, one tends to use it rather more, and this drives the consumption up… CO2 emissions are quite reasonable with 164 g/km.

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Agile and predictable handling

All this means that this impressive four seater coupé with a total length of 4862 mm feels totally agile and nimble, despite its 1,7 ton kerb weight.

The MQB platform and superb suspension are of course a condition sine qua non to handle all this drivetrain power and provide premium level driving pleasure.

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The Arteon handles quite benign and predictable, will never get you in trouble and can be driven with spirit on winding stretches. Of course, it is a true master on the Autobahnen, with superb straight line stability and spotless high speed handling. Predictive ACC completes the picture when cruising… Of course, the 4Motion 4WD helps stability when roads are slippery, and helps tp master the power of this Arteon…

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Comfort is also of very high order, especially when one chooses the comfort mode. One is also soothed with beautiful sound, coming from the “DYNAUDIO Conference” sound system with 700 watt 10-channel digital amplifier, driving a subwoofer and 10 speakers…

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Driver assistance systems also make your life more pleasant and safe, what to think of Area View and Rear View camera’s for instance. Our test car also came with the large 9,2 inch screen and the “Discover Pro” navigation. With the digital instrumentation, your chosen route can also be displayed within the instrument cluster, so your eyes can stay focused in line of the road, and don’t need to hover to the centre of the dashboard and back.

Of course there are media connections galore, like Discover Media, App Connect, etc.

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Conclusion

If you want a timelessly elegant four seater coupé with plenty of panache, embodying the state of the art engineering and production skills of a global automotive master manufacturer like the VW group, then this car is for you.

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It has a discrete elegance and grace, which will complement you for years to come, and is build with all the technical solutions which make it up to date for years, if not decades, as it combines its outstanding performance with an excellent environmental score.

Just enter its space, and let you be moved… as we did

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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We drove the Volvo V90 D5: an icon embraces graceful modernity…

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The Volvo estates have carved a unique niche in our car world, and are more than ever geared to continue this grand tradition. Just look at the latest stylish V90. It embodies a unique Scandinavian panache with its beautifully proportioned curves and contours, and continues the legendary Volvo estate car tradition with uncanny and timeless elegance.

A beauty it is, but of course state of the art technology is also omnipresent, with abundant drivetrain power, safety features and driving aids, all wrapped in a package which offers supreme comfort. Just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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We drove the Kia Pikanto 1.2 ISG GT Line: the spicy delights of life…

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We all know it: small is beautiful. Some even say more: “a master needs few tools”.  Indeed, the true master really shows himself in the little materials he needs for his craft, or to exert his masterful skills.  For the designer or the painter, this means that only a few strokes of pencil or brush are needed to create a masterpiece.

Well, the Kia engineers and designers only needed a 3,595 mm to put on wheels a delightful car that fulfills all your driver’s dreams. Just read further!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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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 Peugeot 3008 2.0 BHDI 180 EAT6 GT: “en marche” with style and space…

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This car bearing the proud lion has already reached the summit, as it has been applauded car of the year 2017. Deservedly so. It not only looks stunningly good, it also drives and handles masterfully. We put the posh GT version through its paces, and we were spoiled by the 180 HP Diesel and smooth auto box and superb drivetrain and chassis. Just read on…

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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We drove the BMW 520D: combining sportiness and refinement to perfection…

 

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The BMW 5 series have a long tradition of being formidable driving machines, being equally at home on urban boulevards as well as fast Autobahnen. They offer comfort, driving pleasure, style and elegance, and last but not least spoil you with superb build quality, excellent workmanship and frugal longevity. All these qualities we find back with even more purity in the latest edition of the BMW 5 series. Honed to perfection, this new 5 series is a proud pleasure to drive and own. Just read further.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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We drove the Kia Optima GT: the delights of sportiness

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If you think that in today’s traffic and driving conditions not much fun is to be had with a car that has a zest of sportiness, than just get behind the wheel of this Optima GT. The Korean designers have made their homework to put a broad smile on your face…

Just read further!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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