We drove the Abarth 124 GT: Gran Turismo pure

What makes a two seater roadster a thoroughbred Gran Turismo? A difficult question for all of us, but the men at Abarth have the anwser. On the basis of the Mazda MX-5 they got to work, and added all the unique ingredients to make a sporting masterpiece.  It is built in Hiroshima, but finished in Turin, to give it that special Abarth zest and look, for all of us who love Italian four wheeled panache. Just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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We drove the new Fiat Tipo 1.4 MultiAir Turbo 120 hp: a world class car…

The latest generation Fiat Tipo is conquering our globe. Again Fiat shows with this world beater how much know it has acquired in creating and building compact five seaters with panache. Everything is “just right” about this Tipo, whether we talk about its proportions, timeless styling, drivetrain, platform and suspension, you name it.

Moreover, it offers excellent value for money. We drove here for you the smooth and frugal 120 hp petrol engine, coupled to a slick six speed manual gearbox. Just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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We drove the Skoda Fabia III Estate 1.0 TSI 110 hp: how truly big small can be…

The Skoda Fabia Estate or Combi is one of those compact cars which are true champions in offering space. Mind you, this car offers with its 530 liters even more standard boot space than a Mercedes B Class for instance. But there is more: premium level mechanical refinement, excellent workmanship and build quality are also yours to enjoy, together with excellent performance and economy offered by its impressive 3 cylinder 1.0 liter TSI engine. Our test car had the Style equipment level to please us even more, and show us how compact cars like the Fabia have come off age. Just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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We drove the Toyota Mirai: part 2

Driving is believing, the saying goes. And at first, we almost couldn’t believe it: this Mirai just drives as smoothly and zestfully as an electric car. Which, actually, it is. Only, it does not take its electricity from batteries, but from a fuel cell. That is indeed, the major difference. This means, that you can refuel it in minutes, and then drive for another 340 kilometers or so. Just like an ordinary petrol engined car. Only it emits water, and nothing else.

Driving it was a refined and thoroughly enjoyable experience, just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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We drove the Toyota Mirai: the future has truly arrived…Part 1

What better automotive adventures than to spend the last days of the year behind the wheel of a Toyota Mirai? None, we would say. After having enjoyed the smooth and refined qualities of this Mirai – which is Japanese  (未来) for future-  we are truly convinced that Toyota has fully succeeded  to build a thoroughly stunning, reliable, useable fuel cell vehicle, which offers everyday practicality, comfort and a unique driving experience. In this first part, we show and explain its stunning technology.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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We bought a used Lexus CT 200h…

We bought a 2012 Lexus CT 200h… for future-proof “green” urban transport! 

Faithful readers know that our sturdy 23 year old Volvo 850 cannot enter the capital of Europe anymore from January 1st 2019 onwards, and that we therefore were looking to replace it with a quality car with a truly future proof propulsion, i.e. in this time and age a hybrid.

We all know that Toyota and last but not least Lexus are building very impressive hybrids for decades now, and therefore this was what we were looking for.

After some thorough market research we discovered that compared to used Priuses, the Lexus CT 200h is offering comparatively good value, and so this is the one we bought ourselves. Just look at the photo above, where it proudly stands in the showroom of Toyota dealer GMAN.

This Lexus was built in 2012, and the odometer reads 82.233 km. It comes with navigation, rear view camera, cruise control, automatic temp control, etc. Soon, i.e. within a few weeks, we will hit the road with it, so stay tuned for regular reports on the (very) “long-term” test of our Lexus, as we are planning to keep it for years to come!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

We drove the Alpine A 110: The pinnacle of French sporting panache

Alpines have always been iconic cars for us. How we loved the Berlinette rally cars of the 60’s and 70’s with their fluent contours, their growling sound, their speed, indeed, their panache. Building a modern successor with the same look, qualities and character is no small challenge. But Alpine, conceived as a standalone business unit within Groupe Renault, has succeeded, and how…

We already enjoyed this formidable thoroughbred at the latest Zoute Grand Prix GT Tour, where your servant had the privilege to be invited by Anja Van der Borght to be her co-driver at this event. You can read about this exhilarating experience in our columns. You can easily imagine our delight when the dynamic PR people of  Renault Belux offered us a regular test drive in their French racing blue Alpine. Just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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We drove the VW Touareg Tiptronic III 3.0 V6 TDI: a very impressive flagship…

State of the art technology is more than ever the hallmark of Germany’s largest automaker. Its Touareg opened more than a decade ago the era of the luxury high performance SUV brimming with sophistication and avant-garde mechanics. VW wants to maintain this tradition, and indeed, its latest generation Touareg has what it takes to set again new standards in its segment. This new flagship is now amongst us, and it is a formidable car, sharing its platform with the Bentley Bentayga and the Lamborghini Urus… Need we say more?

We drove for you here the version with the supersmooth and velvety powerful 3 liter V6 diesel engine, which again proves brilliantly how good modern diesels have become. It is coupled to an equally superb 8 speed Tiptronic and features as standard equipment the 4MOTION all wheel drive. All this warrants a delightful driving experience, and indeed that’s what it proved to be… Just read on.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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We drive the Toyota Mirai into 2019…

The future has begun. We were therefore quite delighted when the dynamic PR department of Toyota Belgium offered us a test drive of its revolutionary Mirai into the new year. The first acquaintance was already quite promising, the first kilometers were enjoyed behind its wheel in utter refinement and comfort, with the Mirai being a breeze to cruise, drive and park.

Soon you will read more about our experience with this car, which is making a totally ‘mature’ impression, and brimming with new technology.

More news about long-term hybrid driving might be coming in these columns, as we are looking to replace our faithful 23 year old Volvo 850 with a (used) Toyota Hybrid, and report to you about our findings in long-term daily use.

Stay tuned!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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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