Kia takes a very bold look at its electric future…

The upcoming Geneva Salon is as always a festival of creativity, with car manufacturers pulling all the stops when it comes to design and new visions. So concept cars abound, and Kia is no exception. Its European branch has unveiled new images of its bold new all-electric concept car, which is to be presented on the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show.

Gregory Guillaume, Vice President of Design for Kia Motors Europe, comments his design here. Just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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A new benchmark in the C-segment: the new Toyota Corolla model range

Time goes fast: the iconic Corolla now rolls into its 12th generation…and this is again important news.

It will be a strong contender in the C-segment for two reasons: firstly, its newly adopted Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) GA-C platform not only equips it with very good driving dynamics and safety levels, but has also gave Toyota’s designers the freedom to give each body type a visually distinctive and individual look.

The all-new Corolla model line-up has a wider, lower stance with a more dynamic design which differentiates more strongly between the Hatchback, the sleek, the versatile Touring Sports and Sedan.

Secondly, the new Corolla model range further expands the brand’s hybrid line-up. The Hatchback and Touring Sports are the first models to offer a choice of two self-charging hybrid powertrains –an improved 1.8 litre with 122 DIN hp or a brand new 2.0 litre unit developing 180 DIN hp- marking the debut of Toyota’s dual hybrid strategy.

And for the first time, the Sedan is available with the 1.8 litre self-charging hybrid powertrain. Rightly so, as we have experienced in our Lexus CT200h how well engineered this hybrid drivetrain concept is, achieving top notch consumption figures…

Reflecting the brand’s continued focus on self-charging hybrid technology, all new Corolla models will offer customers just one conventional engine; a 114 DIN hp, 1.2 litre turbo petrol unit for Hatchback and Touring Sports models and a 132 DIN hp, 1.6 litre for the Sedan.

All new TNGA-based vehicles are of course prioritising high active and passive safety standards.

The new Corolla line-up meets of course the independent crash testing programmes and provides increased active safety levels through the  functions and systems of the latest Toyota Safety Sense technology.

We will soon tell you more in detail about the range, and the dynamic PR people also provided us with interview material of the designers and engineers and managers behind the new Corolla, so stay posted!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Exquisite glass art in Hasselt: Monica Guggisberg and Philip Baldwin have an exhibition in Schiepers Gallery

An almost summer-like February month lets us travel, and visit some art galleries… fit for our lifestyle column!

Every art lover knows the unique expressive qualities of glass, and we again got a taste of this in an intriguing exhibition of artists Monica Guggisberg and Philip Baldwin in the only gallery in our country which specializes in modern, contemporary glass art: the Schiepers Gallery in Hasselt.

The exhibition runs until April 20 and the address as well as exhibition hours are found below. Just admire the photos of their creations, and read our and comments…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Monica Guggisberg next to her work “Species Novae” #Q72, 97 and #Q96…in Hasselt.  

The two artists Monica Guggisberg (CH) and Philip Baldwin (USA) have been working as a team since 1980. For twenty years their studio was in Switzerland, and in 2001 they moved to Paris. But since 2015 they have been based in rural Wales, with a view over the hills; a third act in a long nomadic journey, which inspires their art ever more intensely.

Their stunning creations breathe a combination of Scandinavian and Venetian glass techniques. It has been a kaleidoscopic journey through every aspect of glass as a medium: purely as a craft, design, art, sculpture, architecture, warm and cold, both simple and pure, as well as complex.

Baldwin and Guggisberg have always been searching for the limits, within the boundaries of a few encompassing themes: love for the material, a profound feeling for art as an expression of beauty, and the desire to put their art in the centre of their daily life, to find pleasure in what they make. The pure clarity of the line is the thread which characterizes their work. They see their work as brief moments of these imaginary lines, solidified in glass.

“Species Novae” #Q68 and #Q82

Their exhibited creations, “Species Novae”, are springing from an older history and tradition. It is light and aims high, as well in form as in spirit. There is pleasure found in the form and shape, the beauty and poetry of these works. Baldwin and Guttisberg use the Venetian incalmo technique in combination with battuto cutting, so characteristic for their creations.

We were also very much smitten by their “boat” creations, which we found both aesthetic and meaningful.

“Black and White Voyager” date 2017, 28 x 110 x 22 cm, Blown, Incalmo, cut, metal and sand. 

“We are migrating beings.” explained Monica Guggisberg. “The history of our humans is about travelling, leaving, departing, arriving, in a never ending cycle. We are no exception to this rule. Our new work is both cultural and personal. It is an autobiographic touch in a reflection on our civilisation. Wherever men goes, he builds, defines cultural lines and frameworks which evolve over time into artefacts and relics. Urban landscapes and complex designs grow and fall into decay. Then on we go and we take our memories of our heroic acts with us to build the following story. We have always tried to find pleasure in what we do. But life is not always this pleasure. Although our “boat” series is conceived as a tribute to all what is best and valuable in humanity, everything which is hopeful and full of admiration about the world, her mysteries and friendliness, we see today our migrations in a somewhat darker light, as the daily tragedies around us clearly show.

“Multicultural Festival” date 2017, 65 x 150 x 50 cm, Blown, Incalmo, cut, metal and sand. 

We have to embrace these darker sides, take responsability for them and realize that sorrow and misery, darkness and cold intermingle with joy, warmth, light, hope when we travel further. It is a voyage of struggle, give and receive and above all, love.

Sue Schiepers: a story of passion for glass…

Sue Schiepers posing next to “Species Novae” #Q89, #Q84 and #Q85. 

Sue Schiepers (1973) made exhibitions for six years on behalf of the Kunstforum Würth in Turnhout. She has organized solo exhibitions of great musicians such as Christo & Jean-Claude, François Morellet and Stephan Balkenhol, as well as thematic exhibitions on Abstract Graphics, Contemporary Glass, Contemporary Still Life, etc. Her fascination for glass art has actually arisen in a casual way, when composing the glass exhibition ‘Fragile’ for Kunstforum Würth Turnhout.

“Species Novae” #Q10 and #Q09. 

The GlazenHuis in Lommel asked her in 2018 to make an exhibition. Schiepers took up the challenge to set up the exhibition in a very short time. The result was so good that she soon got a proposal for an exhibition in Tel Aviv (exhibition at the end of 2019) and in the United States (exhibition at the beginning of 2020).

Because she noticed that there are many good glass artists in our country and abroad, but in Belgium – in contrast to France, the Netherlands or Germany – was not a gallery specialized in glass, she decided to open her own gallery in 2017. Two years later she looks back with satisfaction on this adventure that has evolved faster than she could dream.

“Species Novae” #Q87

The choice to establish her gallery in Hasselt was no coincidence:

“My most customers come from outside Hasselt. Most of them from abroad. Hasselt was therefore a strategic choice due to its location in the Meuse-Rhine Euregion. The Netherlands, Germany and France therefore have a larger glass past than Belgium. Even though I am pleasantly surprised. There are real glass collectors in our country. ”

Her choice to exhibit contemporary glass art in her gallery is done with good reason. She has acquired a considerable expertise in the art market, and nurtures a true passion for contemporary glass, which she finds is still underrepresented in Belgium. She seeks to change this, everyday again…

Sue Schiepers continues therefore her exhibitions: for this year, she plans further from 11 May to 3 August Kait Rhoads (USA); and from September 28 to December 21, she hosts in her gallery the work of Christine Vanoppen & Wouter Bolangier (BE & BE).

Address: Schiepers Gallery / Contemporary Glass

Dokter Willemsstraat 30, B-3500 Hasselt Open from Thursday to Saturday, 14h-18h, or by appointment.



Hans Knol ten Bensel


We took our Lexus CT200h for a maiden trip through Holland…

Our Lexus proudly shines on its maiden voyage before chateau “de Essenburgh” in Dutch Hierden… 

Nothing better when you get a new car than to take it for an extended trial or “shakedown” run. This magnificent sunny weekend in February proved an excellent occasion to do so. We had driven our Lexus so far only on short distances on mostly urban errands, and so we wanted to see how it performed on longer trips the open road and motorways and how its economy would be.

To tell you right away, our Lexus passed the test with flying colors, and its economy truly surprised us.

It proved to be restful on motorways, with the so easy to use cruise control always a pleasure to use. The car is also remarkably silent, which lets you enjoy the sound system even more.

We took our Lexus near Amersfoort, where my father was born, and stayed at a magnificent small “chateau” between the Ijsselmeer and the Veluwe.

On the trip towards our destination, we averaged 5,5 liters/100 km, but then the earlier urban runs had to averaged out. On the evening return run, heavy traffic made us cruise around 110 km/h or so, but then our Lexus rewarded us with an astonishing 4,4 liters/100 km. Needless to say, this first longer trip now puts a broad smile on our face…

We now await the bodywork repair quote from Lexus Wijnegem, and keep you posted!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

We visited Lexus Antwerp with our CT200h

The joy of owning and driving a quality car stands or falls with excellent and prompt service, and so we decided to pay a visit to our local Lexus dealer, in Wijnegem, Antwerp. As our new mount has some minor scratches on its bodywork and alloy wheels as a result of prior usage, we decided to let them have a look at it and ask them for a quote to bring our Lexus again in mint condition.

We were very kindly received by Service Advisor Saskia De Moor, who immediately took photos of the scuffs and scratches, and promised us to send a quote, which we are presently awaiting.

She proudly showed us the recently redesigned sitting area of the showroom, where we enjoyed a coffee, and admired the stylish surroundings.

We also asked her about the difficulty we experience when completing our owner’s profile on the “My Lexus” app, where we hitherto are unable to register the VIN number of our CT200h. She promised us to come back to this issue.

Soon we will hear more, and we will keep you informed!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

We drove the Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2.0 TB 280 HP: “La Superba…”

There is now a superb SUV which is stealing the heart of car lovers all over the world, and that is the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. The men and women of this iconic brand born in Milan have long waited to launch a SUV, and with good reason, as Alfa Romeo stands for a unique driving experience. The stunning “Giorgio” platform of the Giulia provided a sound basis for a SUV with extraordinary driving qualities, and the result is this Stelvio. Not only its name is synonymous for panache and character, the car itself scores, and how… Just read on further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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The Nissan Micra gets brand new petrol engines…

The Citadela Art District in the posh coastal Portugese riviera town Cascais proved the proper setting for the Nissan Micra to present its new petrol engines… 

We drove the stylish Micra in scenic Lisbon and the winding roads historic Cascais to test the new generation of very impressive three cylinder petrol engines, which will give the Nissan Micra a high tech trump card in the B segment for years to come.

Central place is taken by a totally new developed 100 HP 1 litre unit which embodies all the engineering and production knowhow of the alliance Renault/Nissan/Mitsubishi, a smooth and frugal performer which can be mated to either a 5 speed manual or an excellent CVT auto box.

But there is more, as together with Mercedes a different version was developed using the same block, but adopting a different cylinder head with double overhead camshaft and centrally placed direct injection. See this photo here…

All this results in an altogether sportier engine delivering 117 HP. This engine is coupled exclusively to a 6 speed manual. More on the driving impressions of the Micra with these future proof petrol engines soon…

Hans Knol ten Bensel


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

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