We drove the Kia ProCeed GT Shooting Brake: the power and the beauty…

When we first stood eye to eye with this Kia, we were convinced. This shooting brake has what it takes. Just look at the fluent lines of this Shooting Brake, which seems to move even when standing still. And then we say nothing about the dynamic 204 HP heart of this car, and the way it handles and rides.

Just some extra info here to complete the picture: the popular and very European Kia Ceed range has been designed in Kia’s European Design Centre in Frankfurt under the guidance of European Head of Design Gregory Guillaume and President of Design and Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer, and is manufactured at the Zilina plant in Slovakia. It has sold 1,3 million cars in Europe since its début in 2006, and is indeed going from strength to strength. Just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Well proportioned and pleasing…

Indeed, the design team in Frankfurt know what they are doing. We rarely saw in this class – taking into account its wheelbase of 2.650 mm – a car which looks so sleek and elegant. Indeed, the ProCeed is only 5 mm longer than the Ceed, and shares its “K2” platform. No surprise that the ProCeed actually won the Australian Red Dot Design Award, and we must admit that in the black colour scheme which we found on our test car, this Kia has style and panache. The GT version we drove also runs on 18 inch alloys, which don’t hurt either.

The cabin follows through on the elegance shown outside. Matte chromed inserts, nice round dials, a well positioned “floating” 8 inch touchsreen above the heating / ventilation commands, all very inviting and intuitive. This is one of the cars where one is not overwhelmed by too much futurism and where one finds its way in seconds. The design and execution of the door panels is also showing excellent taste and has a distinct premium touch. The central fascia panel is now finished in a high quality, anti-scratch gloss black…

Driving is believing

A gentle push on the matte chromed starting button and “Drive” is soon selected on the excellent 7 speed dual clutch transmission. A docile 1,6 litre petrol engine hums to life.

But this is no sleeper, even when it sounds very refined and subtle when idling. This machine is the Hyundai Gamma GDI series unit, with four valves per cylinder and D-CVVT or dual continuous variable valve timing. Wow! Turbocharged, it delivers a solid 204 HP at 6000 rpm, and offers a healthy 265 Nm of torque over a wide rev range between 1500 and 4500 rpm. Yes, you understood. This means zest, and indeed it will shoot away from 0 to 100 km/h in merely 7,7 seconds, hurtling further to a top speed of 230 km/h. If this is not super car performance, it comes really close.

The GT pilot is treated to an even more sporting experience, not only with extra engine sound coming from the speakers, but also with the possibility to select different driving modes. In the “Sport” mode, steering response is different, and the gearbox will let rev the engine markedly higher. The ProCeed has in standard version already all what it takes to cling to the road. Electronic Stability Control, ESC is standard, as well as Kia’s Vehicle Stability Management (VSM). This means Torque Vectoring by Braking-technology can be included.

The ProCeed GT was developed under the guidance of Albert Biermann, President Vehicle Test & High-Performance Development for Hyundai-Kia. Six months of additional tests have improved the handling even further, and this really shows. Agile and precise, this ProCeed feels utterly at home on mountain passes, winding roads, city boulevards and Autobahnen. A true, well handling GT, with thoroughbred character and panache.

The handling does not come at the expense of comfort, and indeed this ProCeed handles even quite uneven roads without trouble. For spirited as well as long distance driving, the recaro-type front seats provide excellent support. Consumption is reasonable, and we stayed in the 7 to 8 liter/100 km range without effort.

Practical

The name shooting brake says it already. You can expect passenger and luggage space, and indeed, this ProCeed delivers. Luggage space is plenty, with 594 liter, and of course, the rear backrests can be folded in 40:20:40 fashion. Our test car came with the Smart Power Tailgate, and the loading floor is completely flat.

There is also a net for small luggage and a rail system. A last word about the infotainment system: combined with the 8 inch screen the navigation and Kia Connected Services are steered by TomTom®. The system has full smartphone-integration with Apple CarPlay™ (for the iPhone 5 and newer) and Android Auto™ (for Android-phones which run on version 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher).

Our test car was also equipped with a marvelous ‘Premium Sound System’ from JBL with the restoration technology Clari-Fi.

Conclusion

A very endearing, stylish shooting brake with a marvelously willing and pleasant drivetrain, which invites you for a very engaging drive as well as a smooth stroll on urban roads. The available space is quite sufficient, the styling, choice and quality of materials and sheer workmanship and finish are quite worthy of a premium segment car. When considering a roomy hatchback with a beautiful rear end, certainly do have a long look (and drive) of this one…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

We drove the new Mercedes B-Class 200d: a three star bestseller with a sporting and futuristic touch…

The B Class is everything a Mercedes stands for, and embodies it admirably: space, superb finish and workmanship, a high quality drivetrain, high level comfort and refinement for its class, longevity and economy.

It is quite versatile with its wide choice of drivetrains and engines, and has in its recent facelift received a sportier stance externally, combined with a futuristic dashboard makeover, sporting the latest trends in driving info, connectivity and (info)entertainment. 

The B Class stays also young at heart with new state of the art diesel and petrol engines, and this time we opted for diesel propulsion, and discover with you what it has to offer presently in terms of economy and environmental qualities. Just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

On the Widescreen you can even choose your experience worlds…

A new user experience in front of your eyes…

Besides the altered exterior, which is clearly more dynamic, and sporting, certainly in the AMG version, it is the new avant-garde interior makes for a unique feeling of space, with the distinctive design of the instrument panel. The intuitive user interface of the adaptive MBUX multimedia system is quite impressive, and its strong points include brilliant graphics, “Hey Mercedes” voice control, a standard touch screen and functions such as MBUX Augmented Reality.

The standard display…

The almost endless features and possibilities fitted in the premium, “chique” designed clusters and screens impressed us. Many features are taken from the S Class, and the user experience is quite stunning.

The sporting one…

The cutout in front of the driver houses the fully free-standing display unit, which comes in three different versions: with two 7-inch displays (17.78 cm), with one 7- and one 10.25-inch display (26 cm) and, in the Widescreen version, with two 10.25-inch displays. A head-up display is optionally available.

And the one who tells you how you have been driving…

We chose for our test driving the map display on the screen in front of us, with map/music info on the central screen. But a wide array of functions are available, last but not least the voice command. The system is called MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) multimedia system, its ability to learn thanks to Artificial Intelligence makes the system unique.

It can tell you every second the power developed by the engine…

It has touch screen control as standard as well as, depending on equipment, a high-resolution Widescreen cockpit, navigation display with Augmented Reality technology plus intelligent voice control with natural speech recognition, which is activated by saying “Hey Mercedes”. The touch screen is part of the integrated MBUX touch control concept – a trio consisting of touch screen, touchpad on the centre console (optional) and touch controls on the steering wheel.

A Blackberry feel…

The latter feel like your faithful old Blackberry or early Samsung smartphones, soon you get again used to this somewhat “vintage” touch.

You can play endlessly on the screens, and as the photos show, choose for example in which emotive environment or “theme world” you want to be in: to travel, to experience, drive economically and efficient, etc. You can check every instant of your drive how much power and torque your engine delivers, you can see in front of you your (city) driving score, choose your driving modes, Individual, sport, comfort or eco…

State of the art diesel power…

The transverse-mounted version of the two-litre OM 654q diesel engine with 110 kW and 140 kW celebrates a clean début: It is the first engine to fulfil the Euro 6d norm, which is only mandatory for new models as of 2020. It has an aluminium crankcase and stepped-bowl combustion process. It meets this Euro 6d standard thanks to extended exhaust after treatment with an additional underfloor SCR catalyst. With a cylinder spacing of just 90 mm instead of 94 mm, the new engine is more compact than its predecessor thus allowing the exhaust after treatment components to be installed directly on the engine, where the exhaust temperature is higher, making for more efficient after treatment.

It is a very smooth unit, unobtrusive also when cold, and offers not only utter docility, which is ideal in urban traffic, but also plenty of zest and power. It develops 110 kW/150 hp between 3400 and 4400 rpm, and has a healthy torque of 320 Nm between 1400 and 3200 rpm. Put it in the dynamic mode, and you will know what we mean. This B 200d is certainly no sluggard: 0 to 100 km/h is absolved in 8,3 seconds, and top speed is a very impressive 219 km/h.

The new B-Class is initially available exclusively with dual-clutch transmissions. New here is the eight-speed 8G-DCT, which is used in combination with the diesel engine. It is, in good Mercedes tradition, smooth, alert and efficient.

This translates also in very good (urban) consumption figures: the manufacturer quotes between 4,2 and 4,5 l/100 km combined, and we had no trouble to stay within the 5-6 l/100 km range. CO2 emissions are also quite reasonable with values between 112 and 119 g/km.

The pleasant high seating position make the B Class a very nice car to drive in town, and certainly female and older drivers appreciate it. It is of course also very well at home on the Autobahnen, an excellent Gran Turismo car it certainly is, with seating comfort also beyond reproach. If you are in a hurry on winding roads, the B-Class is also an excellent companion. Its chassis copes well with the kinetic forces of spirited driving, and handling is utterly stable and totally predictable.

In all versions of the new B-Class, the front wheels feature McPherson struts and forged-aluminium wishbones, to which are attached cast-aluminium steering knuckles. In combination with the more powerful engine variants or if the customer opts for one of the optional suspension systems, use is made of a sophisticated four-link rear axle.

The new B-Class comes as standard with extended Active Brake Assist, which can help mitigate the severity of rear-end collisions with slower-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles ahead – and now even with crossing pedestrians or cyclists – or prevent them altogether. Of course, a host of driving assistance modes and functions are available, last but not least our test car was equipped with park assist, for instance.

Practical

The rear seat backrest comes as standard with a 40:20:40 split. Depending on version, from mid-2019 it will be possible to slide the rear seats forward by 14 centimetres and to move the backrest into a more upright position to vary the capacity of the luggage compartment behind the rear seats between 455 and 705 litres. With the rear seat folded down and luggage loaded to the roof, the luggage compartment, which is flat thanks to the adjustable load compartment floor, can accommodate up to 1,540 litres behind the front seats.

It can also just show you the road…

Stylish sportiness

The B-Class is now also more dynamic on the outside. The slightly lowered roof line and larger, 16- to 19-inch wheels making for dynamic proportions. The relatively squat, progressive front end marks the second generation B-Class visually. Low-profile headlamps, the inside of which is already high-grade, detailed and precisely designed on the basic model with H7 headlamps and LED daytime running lights. When ordered with LED headlamps or higher, the B-Class comes with its own daytime running light signature in the form of a double torch.  

At the back, the width of the vehicle is accentuated by two-part lamps, reflectors integrated in the bumper and a distinctive black bumper bottom section. The large roof spoiler, along with high-gloss black spoilers at the sides of the rear window, add also an air of sportiness. We liked it!

Conclusion

The B-Class breathes harmony and indeed offers all the intrinsic superb qualities of a Mercedes. It brings you also the future world of infotainment, combined with the electronic cleverness and safety and comfort which we only expected from top range (S-Class) models of the brand.

Combine this with practicality, future proof economy and reliability, and you will agree that this B-Class is indeed the most clever choice you can make when you want to spend your motoring life behind a three pointed star. By the way, I bought the previous generation B-Class for my wife, two years ago. And it continues to put a broad smile on her face…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

We drove the Mazda 6 Skyactiv-G 2.5, 194 HP: a flagship with style and panache

Mazda styling is reaching top levels nowadays, and the Mazda 6 clearly shows it. Just have a look at the fluent contours and the ideal proportions and balanced surfaces of this large sedan, and be convinced with us. The Mazda 6 body has recently been revised and has gained further in maturity and elegance, with also the interior having had a stylish make-over. Under the hood, the G 2,5 and other SKYACTIV powertrains have been further perfected, and driving dynamics have also been improved. We took this elegant sedan for a test, and it showed its many qualities. Just read on…

 Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “We drove the Mazda 6 Skyactiv-G 2.5, 194 HP: a flagship with style and panache”

We drove the Jaguar F-Pace: a thoroughbred feline fit for all roads and uses…

We all know that SUV’s are all the rage, and are becoming ever more popular. No small wonder then that this stylish Jaguar SUV, launched in 2015, is the bestseller of the iconic brand. But then, you may ask with us, is this popular SUV still remaining a true Jaguar, combining pace (performance) with grace and space? Will the growl of its powerful engine lift your spirits, will its chassis seduce you with its graceful handling and comfort, will the beautiful body and interior put you in the exquisite mood and ambiance which only a Jaguar can convey? Just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Feline contours

Looking at the photos you will agree, this F-Pace has the looks so unique to Jaguar. The waistline which ends in a higher tail contour, reminiscent of the rear end of the Jaguar E-type, where its high mounted rear bumpers also followed the waistline, the well rounded curves, the proportions of the wheel arches, well integrated in the fluent lines of the whole body, the subtle central bulge on the engine hood, all this is well and truly Jaguar.

In the interior, the digital age and the utmost attention to passive safety has put its own boundaries and accents, and so, alas, you will not find a wood rimmed steering wheel, nor does it lay thinly rimmed in your hands, the trend of times has commanded otherwise. But once the digital instrumentation lights up on the screens, one sees the familiar big round dials, and the classic lettering in the instruments, white on black, of, well, vintage Jaguars. As readers know, your servant is the proud owner of a Mk II 3,4 litre Jag, and yes, I felt well at home in this one.

The latest generation digital infotainment screens and functions are also intuitive and the proverbial breeze to use, and rank among the very best you will find in any car nowadays. The centre console is wide – again a celebrated Jaguar tradition- and houses the ergonomic rotary gear selector of the excellent 8- speed ZF auto box, and one just has to turn the column to choose the right function, and it will discreetly descend into its mount when you stop the car and engine, so neat and practical, and (luck has it) so unique to Jaguar. Going from “D” to “R”everse is just a short twist on the column selector, and that is soo clever!

Abundant, smooth, growling power…

The heart of any car is its engine, and in a Jaguar it simply HAS to be powerful, with abundant torque and pulling power, from low revs onwards, and on top of all that it has to develop that deep, feline sound. No small feat for a Diesel engine. But then, this is a V6 (yes, to me, a Jaguar is only a Jag with a SIX cylinder engine, sorry…) and it has 3 litre of displacement. So there are 300 HP available, at 4000 rpm. Of this, the Jaguar E-Type could only dream. With on top of all that 700 Nm of torque in store for that necessary feline punch, and this at merely 2000 rpm. So the outright performance is truly Jaguar, and indeed, the classic E-type could hardly match its 0 to 100 km/h acceleration of 6.2 sec. It would also have needed the right rear tyre size and final drive ratio to reach the same top speed of 241 km/h which this F-pace is capable of.

The thermal efficiency of a (large) Diesel is legendary, and shows abundantly here too that they belong into the larger SUV’s when there is no electrified or hybrid propulsion present in the drivetrain. It took just a restrained driving style with the engine humming along around 1000 rpm at urban legal speeds, to reach consumption averages between 7,4 and 7,8 liters/100 km in dense urban traffic. A petrol engine of similar size and power does not come even close to these figures in such a 4,7 metre SUV with a kerb weight of 1884 kg. The ingenium technology in these all aluminium engines offers low friction, and all this truly pays off.

We couldn’t resist making this line drawing version of the inconic Jaguar badge on the front grille. This F-Pace is indeed a true Jaguar…

Handling like a thoroughbred

As shares some of its architecture with the XE and XF, it handles very car-like. Of course, you can choose between driving modes that stiffen the suspension and boost steering response, but even in normal settings the F-type handles like a dream, displaying also very little body roll for an SUV of this weight and size. With the larger engines, the F-type offers standard 4WD, and this sends all the power to the rear wheels most of the time, with occasionally 20 pct sent to the front. On slippery surfaces, up to 50 % of the pulling power can be sent to the front wheels.

 A key ingredient to these impeccable road manners is its lightweight construction. Don’t forget that 80 pct of the body, excluding the doors, bonnet and plastic tailgate, is made of aluminium. Then there is the near perfect 50/50 weight distribution, an integral link rear suspension, and the aluminium double wishbone suspension at the front which is closely following the F-type setup. Electronics will analyze steering movements up to 500 times per second, body movements up to a 100 times per second. Do we need to say more? This Jaguar is in all its sportiness graceful and comfortable, never too hard, even in this sport mode.

Everyday practicality

The F-type is an SUV, and that means born and built for the modern day mobile couple and family. It easily seats five adults, has a minimum trunk volume of a very decent 650 liters, space for ski’s, toddler isofix seat anchors, electric tailgate, you name it. All thinkable driver assistance options can be had, the infotainment supports Apple and Android Car Play, the sound system is nothing short of superb.

Conclusion

The F-Pace is Jaguar’s bestseller, and for all the right reasons. It has feline, beautifully curved and timeless looks, both inside and out, displays uncanny panache behind the wheel, handles well balanced and displays all the growling Jaguar power you could ever wish for. Don’t forget also, this car is voted World Car of the Year 2017 en World Car Design of the Year 2017; Thi year, the model range has been extended with the
300 SPORT and Chequered Flag. In the diesel version it is as frugal as modern times command it, and if you decide to go green all the way, then Jaguar as the latest I-Pace, which is also a formidable looking car with many (E-) promises.

Needless to say we are very keen to lay our hands on one, but for the time being, and indeed for many years to come, this F-Pace will fulfil everything you could possibly wish of a Jaguar, and this better than ever.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

We drove the new Audi Q3 Advanced 35 TFSI 150 hp: four quality rings for excellence…

In the segment of premium compact SUV’s, the Q3 has always been a solid contender, and with the major improvements introduced in the latest generation, it looks it’s to stay very much on top. It has been voted first in the “compact SUV/off-road vehicles” category in the readers’ choice of “Best Cars 2019” by German technical magazine “auto motor und sport.”Indeed, the confident styling, the superb workmanship, impeccable finish and build quality will already convince you, even before driving it. But also behind the wheel, it has lots more in store, just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Clean and sharp contours

The Audi styling language has been sharpened up lately and the rounded contours have now been superseded by more angular surfaces and edges. It makes the whole car more elegant and lighter, and altogether more lively.

This added dynamism is also found in the available colour palette, and indeed our test car was sprayed in an attractive pulse orange, a new color, which suited it well.

The ‘new generation’ angular styling language is boldly continued in the interior, with as a highlight the suede finish of the dashboard surface panels, repeating the body colour. Led lighting is now introduced in door panels and throughout the cabin, and a large central screen running across part of the instrument panel makes abundantly clear that the digital age has well and truly arrived at Audi.

The digital instrumentation is an example of clarity and elegant design, and the large round dials for speed and revs can be made smaller to allow other information to take central stage in the line of sight of the driver.

Infotainment is of course top notch, and we enjoyed the DAB radio along with the premium sound system. The navigation also leaves little to be desired in terms of intuitive usability and accuracy. Of course there are also a host of driving aids to be enjoyed, of which more later.

Refined drivetrain

Under the hood purrs a state of the art 150 hp 1,5 litre gasoline TFSI unit, coupled to a smooth and alert 7 speed auto S Tronic gearbox. In terms of smoothness and liveliness, this entry level engine earns top marks. It develops ample pulling power at low revs, is vibrationless and silent, and is willing to rev beautifully under a marvellous staccato when you floor the throttle.

The engine embodies the latest techniques. What to think of for instance its cylinder linings, which  have an iron coating that is applied via plasma spraying and significantly reduces friction. The cooling module allows efficient thermal management, assisted by the exhaust manifold integrated in the cylinder head. The turbochargers generate up to 1.3 bar of (relative) charging pressure. The common-rail system injects the fuel at up to 350 bar – the high pressure results in spraying, even distribution of the flame front and low particulate emissions. Combined CO2 emissions are between 134 – 130 g/km.

The gearbox is utterly responsive, and has a well balanced gearchange behaviour according to the chosen driving mode. Because – noblesse oblige – the Q3 driver can choose how his car behaves according to his driving mood. Indeed, customers can order the Audi drive select dynamic handling system as an option. This system allows the driver to choose between auto, comfort, dynamic, efficiency, offroad and individual mode.

One has the choice between and together with engine and gearbox responsiveness steering and damping are also adjusted accordingly. When one has chosen the “dynamic”mode, pure driving pleasure is to be fully enjoyed, and indeed in terms of agility and steering precision, this Q3 truly scores very high indeed in this premium compact SUV segment. Even the standard steering system of the new Audi Q3 is sporty and direct with a ratio of 14.8:1. With the optional progressive steering, this ratio applies to the central position – the further the driver turns the wheel, the more direct the ratio. At full lock, it is 11.4:1.

In Audi drive select offroad mode, in which the adaptive dampers are set to soft, hill descent control can provide assistance (see illustration). Activated at the touch of a button, it constantly maintains the speed specified by the driver (up to a maximum of 30 km/h) on a steep downhill gradient of more than six percent through automatic brake interventions. The driver specifies the preferred speed by accelerating or braking. This allows the driver to concentrate fully on the terrain. In addition the MMI displays the tilt angle accordingly.

A few words more about this gearbox: In the entry-level gasoline version we tested, the two dry clutches manage without their own oil supply on account of the lower torque of 250 Nm (184.4 lb-ft). This improves efficiency even further. Oil is supplied to the gearwheels via a small, mechanically driven gear pump. In conjunction with Audi drive select, the seven-speed S tronic provides a freewheel function that becomes active in many situations if the driver takes their foot off the accelerator. It is deactivated in dynamic and offroad modes. We remind you here that the the Audi Q3 35 TFSI exclusively uses front-wheel drive.

Performance with this 150 hp version is more than adequate, with a 0 to 100 sprint time in 9.2 seconds, and a stable and effortless top speed of 207 km/h. When truly put through its paces with panache, this Q3 really shows what mettle it is made of, and indeed, in the true German tradition we would say, this Q3 feels totally at home on high speed outings on the Autobahnen, displaying the superb qualities of its chassis and suspension, and the thoroughly tested and proven quality of its (drivetrain) engineering.

In terms of economy, we remind you that the engine has the cylinder on demand efficiency system. Actuators on the camshafts temporarily shut down the second and third cylinders at low and medium loads by closing the inlet and outlet valves. The engine management system suppresses fuel injection and ignition. All this is totally imperceptible to the driver.

Despite all these technical refinement, the fuel consumption of a petrol engine car depends largely on your driving style. The very best we could achieve was an average of 7,3 liters/100 km, on a longer open road and motorway drive, with admittedly some 35 pct urban traffic thrown in. The manufacturer quotes a consumption between 5.9 – 5.7 l/100 km.

Suffice to say that a choice of three gasoline and two diesel engines, combined with front-wheel or quattro drive, is available for the Audi Q3. Their power outputs range from 110 kW (150 hp) to 169 kW (230 hp).

Infotainment, instrumentation and driving assistance: the digital age is with us…

The Q3 is manufactured at the Győr plant in Hungary, and is standard fitted with the digital instrument cluster, MMI radio including Bluetooth, multifunction leather steering wheel, air conditioning and LED headlights. In terms of assist systems, along with the Audi pre sense basic and Audi pre sense front safety systems, the Audi side assist lane change warning system and the Audi active lane assist lane departure warning system are fitted ex works. The light/rain sensor and the adjustable speed limiter also come as standard. We must say that this adjustable speed cruise control has decidedly come of age, and works is stunningly smooth and progressive.

Audi has done away with the analog instruments. Even with the standard MMI radio, they are replaced by a digital instrument cluster with a 10.25-inch screen diagonal, which the driver operates using the multifunction steering wheel.

First option: MMI radio plus. This first configuration level is called MMI radio plus – here, the customer can upgrade the digital instrument to the Audi virtual cockpit, which they can configure in many areas. In addition to the usual data such as road and engine speed, it also displays information on music tracks and Audi connect services.

If the customer has specified navigation, the display also includes the navigation map. The MMI radio plus also includes an MMI touch display with an 8.8-inch screen diagonal. It is integrated into the high-gloss black glass-look surround in the center of the dashboard. Then there is a still higher level: MMI navigation plus. Here, the MMI touch display measures 10.1 inches. In addition, the Audi virtual cockpit is available as an option in a plus version with a 12.3-inch screen diagonal. The driver can call up three different views on the screen, including a “dynamic” screen. Here, the engine and road speed are shown in square instruments with red graphical elements – a really sporty look. In all displays, the graphical user interface is so clear that the information can be read quickly. The menu structure is streamlined and easy to understand, as on a smartphone

Practical with more boot space

The luggage compartment has also benefited substantially from the growth of the new Q3 –it is the largest in the premium compact segment. Depending on the position of the rear seats and backrests, its capacity totals 530 or 675 liters (18.7 or 23.8 cu ft) With the backrests folded down the figure rises to 1,525 liters (53.9 cu ft) The loading floor can be adjusted in up to three levels; the low loading sill of 748 millimeters (29.4 in) makes it easier to stow heavy luggage. If the parcel shelf is not needed, it can be stowed under the loading floor.

Conclusion

The new Q3 has decidedly matured to a top contender, as we said before. Thoroughly engineered and built carefully to reach perfection, in terms of styling, quality, performance, handling, comfort and economy and longevity. It is in this segment of compact SUV’s a benchmark, without any doubt, by which others will be judged. Needless to say it will top the charts in the fleet segment, and win also the hearts of many private Audi enthusiasts and followers…

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

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

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

Continue reading “We drove the Abarth 124 GT: Gran Turismo pure”

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…”

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

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

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

Continue reading “We drove the Toyota Mirai: part 2”