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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Enjoy a virtual drive in the BMW Vision iNEXT…

At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the BMW Group will showcase the future of driving pleasure and the potential of digital connectivity in a variety of different ways. From January 8-11 2019, visitors will have their first chance to take a virtual drive in the BMW Vision iNEXT, accompanied by the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant. In this way, the BMW Group is underlining its innovative capabilities in the fields of design, automated driving, connectivity, electrification, and services (D+ACES), which are all defined as key areas of future activity in its corporate strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT.

The vision vehicle will be displayed alongside a sophisticated mixed-reality installation that, for the first time, provides a virtual and immersive impression of what it is like to drive autonomously, emission-free, and fully connected in the BMW Vision iNEXT.

To begin the simulation, the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant suggests an agenda for the day and plans the activities for the trip perfectly. See the photo here above.

With virtual reality goggles and a specially-designed spatial concept, visitors are able to immerse themselves in this virtual world: Initially, they drive the BMW Vision iNEXT themselves, but the vehicle soon takes over the driving function. In autonomous “Ease” mode, the driver interacts with the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, which makes suggestions and controls various digital services for the driver – from videoconferencing, to shopping, to smart home functions.

You don’t have to steer this wheel all the time: soon the vehicle takes over…

Quite an experience! For the moment, we can only show you some photos…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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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Renault is at the Brussels Show in 2019, and looks further into the future…

The recently appointed CEO of Renault Benelux, Jerôme Pannaud, commented on the commercial results of Renault in Europe.

At its annual press conference prior to the Brussels Motor Show, Renault looks back at a very successful year, lifts the veil on new and improved models, and paints a bold scenario on how it sees the future.

All this in a beautiful and stunning “art déco” setting at the villa of the institute Bruno Lussato & Marina Fedler, which is an outstanding venue for conferences and presentations for corporates and groups.

Just read further…

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

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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