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

Continue reading “We drove the new Toyota Aygo II: iconic and young as ever…”

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

Continue reading “We drove the new Fiat 500X in Turin”

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

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

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

Continue reading “We drove the Alfa Romeo 2.2D Stelvio: reaching (for) the top…”

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 

Continue reading “We drove the Nissan Leaf: turning the page towards E-power…”

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

Continue reading “We drove the Dacia Duster TCe 125: your true friend on all roads…”

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

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

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

Continue reading “Quantum leap in Turin: the new generation Fiat 500X gets a new heart…”

We drove the Mazda CX-5 194 HP AWD: Sportiness, style and refinement…

Introduced in our market in 2012, Mazda launched a second generation of its SUV bestseller in 2017. The styling is further improved, the car has more power and handling is now even more inviting than ever. The CX-5 is besides this sportiness also a very refined SUV, with very low interior noise levels and offering roominess and comfort. We drove the top Skycruise equipment level with AWD, 6 speed auto and a very impressive 2.5 liter SKYACTIV engine, and needless to say, this CX-5 proved a very charming companion indeed…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “We drove the Mazda CX-5 194 HP AWD: Sportiness, style and refinement…”