Kia introduces a new compact crossover: the Stonic

YB BCUV Rear sketch Rear Fston2sm

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.


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…


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


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.

slider 12

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

Continue reading “Taking a peek at the new Jeep Compass with augmented reality”

Our 850 Volvo visits the Swedish Torslanda factory, and is driven on the assembly line!


Editor and Press manager of Volvo Car Corporation Annika Bjerstaf photographs our Volvo 850 on the Torslanda plant assembly line…

The trip to Sweden with our faithful Volvo 850 proved to be a wonderful, comfortable and restful experience, and leaves us with many sweet memories, which we will present to you in various reports. But first of all, the highlight of our trip: the visit to the Volvo Torslanda factory, near Gothenburg. We were received by Editor and Press manager of Volvo Car Corporation Annika Bjerstaf and her colleague, communication manager of the factory, Anneli Ericsson. They had prepared a magnificent surprise for us…

Hans Knol ten Bensel


The new XC60 is now rolling off the assembly line in Torslanda…

They showed us proudly the facilities and the finishing line of the cars built in Sweden’s largest workplace. The production now includes for instance the second generation XC90 and the latest XC60, which rolled off the production line for the first time in April 26 this year. The XC60 is the fourth model based on Volvo’s in-house developed SPA vehicle architecture, following the introduction of the top-of-the-line 90 series in recent years. SPA actually stands for Scalable Product Architecture. No doubt, we will tell you more about this and present and drive the new models for you soon.


…and so was our 850! 

Production shows state of the art techniques, as you can expect. Bodywork welding is of course fully robotized. The paint shop is one of the most modern in the world.


Here you see Ms. Anneli Ericsson on the left, introducing Lena Nihlmar to the right, one of the factory employees having worked two decades ago in Torslanda on the 850. Soon more about her working experiences then and now in a following report…

Miss Annika Bjerstaf and Anneli Ericsson had organized meetings with factory colleagues who had worked in the Torslanda plant at the time the 850 was built. We will present them soon in a following report, where we will tell you also more about Volvo’s human centered production techniques. They will appear as proud premieres in our new series “men, women and cars”, shaping and creating our automotive world.


But this was not all. “We will take your car inside the factory”, said Anneli Ericsson, with a meaningful smile on her face. She asked me for the keys, and drove it inside. “Sorry, you will still have to wait a bit here, as the car is very wet and dripping. Just a few minutes patience.” But soon enough she asked me to sit on the passenger seat of my faithful Volvo, only to see a charming Volvo employee getting behind the wheel, and… drive it on the production line behind a sparkling V90!

We just show you the film below, as indeed, we did not believe our eyes: our 22 year old Volvo on the production line in the Torslanda plant! Here follows the link:

Actually, this was also a first for the Swedish plant, as the station wagon version of the 850 was exclusively built in Ghent. Only the sedan version of the 850 was being built in Torslanda.


It brought sweet memories to the older employees on the production line, and awe and surprise to the younger ones, with one of the younger women on the line responsible for inspection of the flush fitting of the doors also performing a quick checkup on our 850!


As the car was then carefully driven off the line, we met with Lucinda Dimiz, one of the women who was responsible for finishing the doors on the 850 at the Torslanda plant. As one of the covers of the illuminated reflector lights inside the rear doors had gotten loose, this was a job miss Dimiz could tackle with ease, we thought. I quickly grabbed the loose cover out of the centre console where I had carefully kept it, and yes, and she installed it again on our Volvo 850 in the proverbial few seconds. “When I took the cover in my hand, I immediately remembered again how to fit it”, she said with a broad smile.  Thumbs up, as you see on the accompanying photos…

Soon more about the Torslanda plant and is people, which I will present further in the new series. But the tale of this wonderful production line experience surprise had to come first!


Our Volvo in front of the Torslanda factory, ready for a further thrip through Sweden, before heading home…

Hans Knol ten Bensel


We start the trip with our 1995 Volvo 850 from Ghent to Torslanda…


We start our trip in front of the doors of the Ghent Volvo car factory…

We begin on our journey to Sweden with our faithful 850, and first of all we drove to the birthplace of our still quite pristine 850. We met at the Ghent factory with Marc De Mey, Manager PR and Communications. He showed us around the factory, which impressed us greatly indeed. We stood eye to eye with Volvo workmanship and excellence, and tell you a lot about it soon. Mr. De Mey handed me also two interesting books, one about the history of the factory and a second one about the men and women who make the cars.


Amongst the 50 personal portraits, there is one of Filip Goedertier, who works at Volvo Ghent since 1885, who governs the quality of the welding and fitting of the body parts. He is the guardian of the welding parameters, so to say… well, it shows clearly on my Volvo 850, which has perfectly flush fittings!

More to come, about the men and machines which build Volvo’s, both in Ghent and Torslanda, and of course also about the exquisite joys to drive a superbly engineered youngtimer…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

We drove the Kia Optima Sportswagon 1,7 CRDI: your elegant and able companion


Kia goes from strength to strength, and impresses not only with stylish design, but also so with state of the art technology. Indeed, the Kia design department under the expert management of former Audi stylist Peter Schreyer, produced with this midsize Optima range some very good looking automobiles, with the Sportswagon version showing elegant and fluent lines. But as said, there is also the technical side of things. Here the vast resources of the Hyundai group truly tell. Engine, transmission, suspension and platform are totally up to the mark in its D segment. Just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “We drove the Kia Optima Sportswagon 1,7 CRDI: your elegant and able companion”

A timeless icon on the roads in France: the new limited edition Fiat 124 Spider Europa steals your (and our) heart…


It is the dream of every car enthusiast: driving a stylish two seater roadster on the legendary roads of Europe. This time it was a journey from Paris to Deauville, along the banks of the Seine…

Yust dream away with the pictures…as we do, as surely we would like to take one in the second half of September to the Maserati factory and an unforgettable trip in the Italian Modena surroundings…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “A timeless icon on the roads in France: the new limited edition Fiat 124 Spider Europa steals your (and our) heart…”

We purchased a Sony A5100: our compact camera collection grows…


For travel photography, the small cameras are getting ever more attractive. We fell in love with them already quite a while ago, with the Sony Cyber Shot DSC-H3 and the DSC-W170 with its Zeiss lens. We used them very often on our first website, where you can still admire them and the photos they shot. Of course there we show also the Hasselblad, and our other workhorses, the Canon and Nikon cameras. Just look at this site, on

But quite a lot has happened since then. Just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “We purchased a Sony A5100: our compact camera collection grows…”

We drove the Kia Niro 1.6 GDi Hybrid DCT6: hybrid all the way…


In our day and age, “green” mobility is becoming a must. Downsized petrol engines are doing already a quite remarkable job now, but there is a propulsion solution which really stands out in this age of transition where fully fledged e-mobility still meets practical barriers due to hitherto insufficient (re)charging infrastructure.

Indeed, the hybrid car is not only here to stay, but has a very bright future ahead. No small wonder that also Kia is adding a very refined and remarkable hybrid to its range. It does it also with a “crossover” body, which strikes an ideal balance between a hatchback and a SUV. We tested it for you, just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “We drove the Kia Niro 1.6 GDi Hybrid DCT6: hybrid all the way…”

We drove the Mitsubishi Outlander 2.2 DI-D 4WD: engineering excellence with style


The latest generation of the Outlander truly convinces. Its 2,3 liter diesel engine embodies the latest technology, the styling and proportions since the last facelift in 2015 please many. An impressive car, roomy, powerful, refined and quite frugal. Just read further

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “We drove the Mitsubishi Outlander 2.2 DI-D 4WD: engineering excellence with style”