We drove Seat Ibiza FR 1.0 TGI: The power of nature…

OLYMPUS E 510, ISO 100, F 8, 1/160 sec.

We were keen to lay our hands on Did you know that Compressed Natural Gas has a higher energy density than petrol? That it emits almost no small particles? That it brings CO2 emissions down by a good 30 pct? That there are no NOx emissions to speak of? Indeed, nature has some very good things in store…

So it is only logical that the VW group has taken a long hard look at CNG and puts it in their cars. The fifth generation Seat Ibiza therefore also has a “dual fuel” car in its range, which runs happily on both CNG and petrol. Just to give combustion engine followers a “green” alternative.

an Ibiza in the sporting FR version, with under the hood a 90 HP “CNG/petrol” version of its well proven 3 cylinder 999 cc engine, and put it through its paces for you. Just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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Stepping into this aptly styled Ibiza, one hardly notices any difference when pushing the starting knob. The smooth 1 litre unit eagerly springs to life, emitting its typical pleasant efficient sound when revving up. One is running on CNG, so the instruments tell you, as a green CNG symbol lights up and the content of the CNG fuel tanks are displayed. Actually, this display doubles in the rev counter cluster also as an engine coolant temperature indicator. On the right hand, in the speedometer cluster, the gauge of the petrol tank is placed.  

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That’s it really. One doesn’t notice anything further in particular when driving. The engine is utterly smooth, docile and willing. It revs beautifully through the gears, displaying more than decent pulling power and punch once the revs are above 2000 rpm. The consumption indicator tells you how much CNG is flowing through the injectors, and it displays it in… kilograms instead of liters.

One should know that 1 kg of CNG is the equivalent of 1,5 litre of petrol. This puts everything in perspective when you are seeing a consumption of 2,9 kg/100 km for example when driving smoothly with low revs in a high gear, adjusting to a slower urban traffic flow.

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Indeed, this engine has wonderful smoothness and elasticity, and will not protest when you select a higher gear at 1500 rpm , and then cruise along at 1300 rpm or thereabouts, when just driving along with the traffic flow is what you want to do. This will lead to astonishingly low consumption figures, and even when driving in petrol “mode”, the (instant) consumption then drops to around 4 litres/100 km. So remember, small throttle openings and low revs will get you very far indeed.

But substantial pulling power is only to be had above 2000 rpm, as we said before. When you decide to rev it up and really put your foot down, the 1 litre unit shows its mettle, and will let this Ibiza sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 12,1 seconds under a sporting staccato. The six speed manual is a delight to use with slick and fast changes, so there is some good driving pleasure to be had. This Ibiza also stands very well its own on the Autobahnen, as it has a top speed of 181 km/h and high speed cruising is an effortless affair.

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Turning back to consumption, Seat quotes a combined CNG consumption in the region of 3,3 kg/100 km, with combined petrol consumption boiling down to around 5 liter/100 km. Our consumption was some 20 % higher than this.  

The stability and excellent qualities of the platform, shared with the Polo and the A1 Audi come into play here. One is indeed spoilt by the precision of the steering, the very predictable road holding and the ideal compromise between agility, stability and comfort.

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Seamless CNG/Petrol transition…

This CNG powered Ibiza doesn’t take any further attention from your part in daily use. Not only is CNG refuelling a breeze, with the openings of both CNG and petrol tanks sitting neatly next to each other under the tank lid, but also when the CNG tank runs empty, the system will automatically switch to petrol and you don’t notice anything at all. Only the gauges and tell tale lamp will tell you that you are now running on petrol.

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Price differences between CNG and petrol vary of course depending on the EU countries, but it will typically take something between 40 to 50,000 kilometres to recoup the price difference between the normal petrol or diesel and the CNG version of the Ibiza. Note that Seat Belgium offers the CNG version in March at the same price as the petrol version(!).

We also discovered that Belgium has now 135 CNG stations and found one about 1,5 km from our home. Let it also be said that with the CNG Ibiza, you can drive in all underground parkings and have of course accession to all urban Low Emission Zones.  

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Practical

The fifth generation of the Ibiza has a stylish and roomy body, with a slightly reduced boot space when compared with the other versions, to make room for the extra CNG tanks. It varies between 355 liters and a quite reasonable 1072 liters when seats are folded. The car we tested had the luxury pack with velvet textile “FR” seats and dashboard panels covered in artificial leather.

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The car also had 18 inch alloys which certainly added to the car’s appearance. With the premium pack came also the big touch screen with excellent infotainment. Last but not least we enjoyed the keyless function as well as the adaptive cruise control.

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Conclusion

Environmental responsibility abounds, and using natural gas as energy, something which millions of European households and citizens are doing in their homes, is a very clever solution. The style, solid VW Group workmanship , the excellent road qualities and superb willing engine are further solid arguments to convince you to take this CNG Ibiza for a spin. You might decide to make it into a drive which lasts a very long time…

Hans Knol ten Bensel            

We drove the Skoda Superb Scout 2.0 TSI 200 kW DSG 4×4: stylish panache and sportiness…

Whatever the wheater and road conditions, this Scout is your ideal companion…Shot with our second hand Olympus in bad light conditions, ISO 400, F 6,3, 1/125 sec.

Classic recipes will always stay superb. This top end Skoda literally embodies it, and its badge tells it all…

It was a unique and refreshing experience to sit behind the wheel of this well engineered break and enjoy to the full what a modern, state of the art combustion engine can accomplish in combination with an equally top notch DSG gearbox . Push the starting knob and your ears already enjoy the humming sound of this thoroughbred four. This engine excels in smooth refinement, panache, pulling power and efficiency.

The rest of the drivetrain is up to the mark. The DSG seven speed box is alert, smooth, and always puts judiciously the right gear forward. The 4 x 4 drive consists of the state of the art Haldex system. Typically, 96 % of the total power is directed to the front, improving fuel efficiency. Depending on the road conditions, the electronic sensors redirect power to the wheels that have sufficient traction. The Haldex AWD has been seen on the Octavia since about a decade, but this is the first time it is coupled to a DSG gearbox.

This Superb has personality…

OLYMPUS E-510, ISO 400, F 5,5, shot at remarkably low 1/15 of a sec at 70 mm equivalent, showing how the image stabilizer does an excellent job…

This is a car with character. Inviting you to experience its punch and performance, yet remaining docile and refined in urban driving. It will respond beautifully when you push your right foot a bit further down, but will not protest when you subject it to endless stop and go traffic.

OLYMPUS E-510 F 5,5, ISO 400, 1/10 sec and 54 mm equivalent. Amazing sharpness due to stabilizer…

Performance leaves nothing to be desired. 200 kW or 272 HP see to that. It sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in merely 5,7 seconds, hurtling further to a top speed of 250 km/h. Pulling power is abundant over a very wide rev range, with 350 Nm being available between 2000 and 5400 rpm. Almost supercar performance, which is matched by excellent handling. This Superb will not protest when you decide to take it through its paces on winding roads, the judicious set up of the suspension clearly shows. Of course, the VW group and also even more Skoda borrows from a massive engineering and last but not least sporting rally experience of their cars, and they really know how to set up a decent handling car.

OLYMPUS E-510, ISO 400, F 4,9, 1/40 sec.

The straight line stability is also excellent, and high speed driving in this Superb is a relaxing affair.

Last but not least, the brakes are of course also up to the job.           

…and is immensely practical

Of course, fuel consumption is very much in function of how much power you use. Drive this Scout with some restraint, and it will quite naturally reward you with reasonable consumption figures.

OLYMPUS E-510, F 5,6, 1/20 sec at 65 mm equivalent. Image stabilizer working hard…

The manufacturer quotes 9 litres/100 km in urban driving, and this is easily surpassed in the region of 11-12 litres when the distances are very short and the engine has not reached its operating temperature. But keep the throttle openings small and the DSG will faithfully choose higher gears and keep the revs (very) low, and then this Scout will chalk up creditable figures. On the open road, the picture looks a lot brighter, with the manufacturer quoting 6 liters/100 km. On average, we reached 7,5 liters/100 km, with mostly relaxed driving.

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But as said, this Superb Scout is immensely usable. Not afraid of open terrain, it will transport five and their luggage.

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And, in the good Skoda tradition, boot space is plentiful. From 660 liters to 1950 liter. Head room and leg room for the rear passengers has also to be experienced to be believed.

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Of course, driving assistance systems and infotainment are up to scratch. The central display can be ordered from 8 up to 9.2 inches, and the top of the range Columbus system, found in our test car, offers 3D navigation, Skoda connect, gesture control and Wi-Fi hotspot. We enjoyed the Canton sound system too…

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Besides the usual driver assistance systems, like lane assist, adaptive cruise control, practical items include 2 USB ports in the front, 2 USB ports and 230 v socket in the rear, inductive charging of your phone, just to name a few. Then there is the cooled glove box, space for 1,5 liter bottles in all the doors, and space also for your coloured safety vest…

Conclusion

OLYMPUS E-510, ISO 400, F 5, 1/30 sec.

A formidable, sporting companion, this Scout, on all the roads you may take to any destination in this wide world. It has a formidable combustion engine, and one should not forget, this is what more than 90 pct of us all still drives. It certainly has its evident merits, if only one considers the CO2 footprint of making large(r) batteries, and depending on what car you need for your lifestyle and driving habits. It is beautifully built, solid and reliable, well equipped, offering tons of space. It looks (very) good too, and its sporting panache could put a (broad) smile on your face for a very long time…actually, every time you take its wheel, for years on end.

Hans Knol ten Bensel  

The Fiat Cinquecento enters the electric age…

The ever young 500 is now in its third generation, and incarnates as FCA’s fisrt fully electric car. It has more space, top notch E-technology, new styling but remaining a true Cinquecento.

Its range and charging times are what customers nowadays expect. The lithium-ion batteries with a capacity of 42 kWh give the New 500 a range of up to 320 km in the WLTP cycle.

Charging is indeed a breeze: the New 500 is standard equipped with an 85 kW fast charger system to charge the battery very quickly. For example, it takes only 5 minutes to build up a sufficient energy reserve to travel 50 kilometers, more than is needed for average daily use.

The fast charger can also charge the battery to 80% in just 35 minutes. The Combo 2 socket located on the rear right side panel of the car powers the fast charger, for both AC and DC charging.

Home charging solutions are also available. The launch edition of the new 500 includes the Easy Wallbox™, a home charging system that can be connected to a normal home outlet. ENGIE EPS developed this exclusively for FCA, and it will be marketed by Mopar in Europe to coincide with the launch of the model.

It is a simple, accessible “plug-and-charge” solution that can be managed easily via Bluetooth, letting you stabilize your energy load by charging your 500 immediately at home with up to 2.3 kW of charging power, with no need for any intervention by skilled personnel. Moreover, the Easy WallboxTM is ready for a power upgrade to 7.4 kW, providing a full charge at home in just over 6 hours. The model also comes with a Mode 3 cable for charging from the public mains.

A “sherpa” mode gets you home

The New 500 has three driving modes: Normal, Range and Sherpa, which can be selected to match your driving style. In particular, Sherpa mode optimizes the available resources to ensure that you will reach your destination. The “sherpa” mode adjusts various parameters: maximum speed, limited to 80 km/h; accelerator response, in order to reduce energy consumption; and deactivation of the climate control system and heated seats (the driver has the option of activating them at any time).

“Normal” mode is as close as possible to driving a vehicle with a normal combustion engine, while “Range” mode activates the “one-pedal-drive” function. By selecting this driving mode, you can practically drive the New 500 with the accelerator pedal alone.

Lots of (city) zest…  

The engine has an output of 87 kW, providing a maximum speed of 150 km/h (self-limited) and acceleration from 0-100 km/h in 9.0 seconds and 0-50 km/h in 3.1 seconds.

Level 2 autonomous driving and connectivity

The car of the future is not just an electric city car, but goes one step further: it literally goes to the next level by being the first car in its segment to offer level 2 autonomous driving, bringing all the associated benefits to urban mobility.

Front-facing camera monitoring technology monitors all areas of the car, both longitudinally and laterally. The intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control (iACC) system brakes or accelerates in response to anything: cars, cyclists, pedestrians. Lane Centering keeps the vehicle in the center of the lane when the markings are correctly identified.

Intelligent Speed Assist reads the speed limits and recommends applying them, while Urban Blind Spot uses ultrasonic sensors to monitor the blind spots and warn of any obstacles with a triangular warning light on the wing mirror. Then there is Attention Assist, which provides warnings on the display, recommending that you stop and take a break when you are tired. Finally, the 360° sensors provide a drone view to avoid any obstacles when parking or performing complex manoeuvres.

The third-generation 500 is the first FCA car equipped with the new UConnect 5 infotainment system. FCA uses the easy, intuitive and incredibly customizable Android Auto operating system. For example, you can use widgets to configure how functions and apps are displayed. Apple CarPlay is already available wirelessly. The system is also ready to offer the same functionality for Android Auto.

In short, the New 500 offers seamless integration with your smartphone, offering a 10.25” high-definition touchscreen, with a horizontal form factor that fits perfectly into the car dashboard, following its lines.

The launch version also boasts the Natural Language interface system, with advanced voice recognition, so you can talk to the car to control parameters, set the climate control and choose your favorite music.

Style, and then again

The New 500 has all the elements of style, just quieter, cleaner and crisper. The front is vertical as in the 1957 version, making it less elusive, almost facing the road, and the dynamic feel of the profile has been accentuated.

The substance of the new platform has given the third-generation 500 a strong presence: it is 6 cm wider and 6 cm longer, the wheelbase has been extended by 2 cm, and the wheels are larger and further apart, giving it a stronger personality and greater comfort despite its length remaining under four meters.

Inside, the electric 500 is completely new and elegant, with clear references to elements of the first generation. As for the Hybrid Fiat 500, including the electric version, some trim levels also have seats made using “Seaqual” yarn, derived from plastic recovered from the sea.

The new 500 debuts in the convertible version: the first open-air four-seater with zero emissions: all open, all electric, all silent. As an icon of La Dolce Vita, it had to be reborn to bring out all the charm of its forms and sounds. And on the subject of sounds, here is another unique feature of the new city car, which will become available later: the Acoustic Vehicle Alert System (AVAS), an acoustic warning for pedestrians that is mandatory at speeds up to 20 km/h; the chosen sound is not a common acoustic signal, but rather the music of Amarcord by Nino Rota, in pure Dolce vita style, an example of the most authentic Italian creativity.

The “la Prima” launch edition is available for pre-booking

A dream is coming true: the “la Prima” launch edition, a limited edition designed for the launch of the New 500, with its own distinct style, exclusivity, technology and connectivity.

From today, March 4, it can be ordered via an online pre-booking system on the http://www.fiat.com* website, by following a simple procedure of just three clicks.

To book the “la Prima” limited edition, simply browse to the http://www.fiat.com* website, and with just three clicks and a deposit of €500, you can become a part of the mobility of the future.

Needless to say that we are keen to get behind the wheel of this New 500, Corona virus protection measures permitting. The date is set, at the digital presentation: the 4th of July…

I will come back on the new 500 with a description of unique one-off versions created by Kartell, Bvlgari and Armani…

Hans Knol ten Bensel   

Volkswagen news to admire via webcast, and not in Geneva…



Ralf Brandstätter, Chief Operating Officer of the Volkswagen Brand, presents here the ID. CROZZ showcar

We are living in digital times. So even when the Corona virus limits (temporarily, as we all hope) our present mobility, and led to the cancellation of the Geneva Motor Show, we can still see all the automotive news via our PC’s, Phones, Tablets.

Volkswagen presents therefore its important news on a special webcast, for you to admire via the following link: https://www.volkswagen-newsroom.com/en/live-stream-5455.

Ralf Brandstätter, Chief Operating Officer of the Volkswagen Brand, presents here the ID. CROZZ showcar, which now evolves into its series production version, the ID.4.

Volkswagen is forging ahead with its electric mobility strategy by providing a detailed insight into the brand’s first all-electric SUV. The new ID.4 will be launched this year. Following in the tracks of the ID.3, the countdown has already begun for the second model based on the new modular electric drive matrix (MEB). “Just like the ID.3, the ID.4 will also come onto the market as a carbon-neutral vehicle”, explains Ralf Brandstätter, Chief Operating Officer of the Volkswagen brand. “We will produce and sell the ID.4 in Europe, China and the U.S..”

Just read on for more VW news…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

The ID. 3 started production in Zwickau, the ID.4 now follows…

The ID.4 will initially be launched with rear-wheel drive, while an electric all-wheel drive version will be added to the portfolio at a later date. The high-voltage battery is positioned near the center of the underbody to create a low centre of gravity and an optimum in terms of driving dynamics, along with an extremely well-balanced axle load distribution.

Also new mild and plug-in hybrid drives…

For Volkswagen, the ID.4 and ID.3 represent important milestones in the brand’s bid to become entirely carbon-neutral by 2050 – in line with the Paris climate agreement. Plans have been put in place to reduce the Volkswagen fleet’s CO2-emissions by a third by as early as 2025.

Dr. Frank Welsch, Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars Brand with responsibility for Technical Development, presents in the webcast the new Touareg R

Volkswagen is currently investing one billion euro to electrify its model range while also offering an increasing number of hybrid vehicles. This is based on the fact that, just like electric powertrains, new mild and plug-in hybrid drives in large-scale product lines such as the all-conquering Golf will significantly help to reduce fleet emissions in the future.

New Touareg R

This is why the company’s focus during the webcast is not only on ID. models, but also on new Volkswagen models with hybrid drive. Dr. Frank Welsch, Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars Brand with responsibility for Technical Development, presents in the webcast the new Touareg R with plug-in hybrid technology and the the Golf GTE 2 for the very first time.

The Touareg R,the most powerful Volkswagen model will in future also be powered by an efficient plug-in hybrid system. The alliance between an electric drive motor generating 100 kW (136 PS) and a V6 turbocharged petrol engine (TSI) with an output of 250 kW (340 PS) develops a system output of 340 kW (462 PS). The battery capacity of the Touareg R with a top speed of 140 km/h in all-electric E-MODE has been designed so that most average daily commuting distances can be covered with zero emissions.

Golf GTE with stronger battery…

The same applies to the new Golf GTE – its plug-in hybrid drive has been geared towards performance and consists of an electric drive motor with 85 kW (115 PS) and a four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine (TSI) generating 110 kW (150 PS). As a unit, the electric drive motor and the TSI develop a system output of 180 kW (245 PS). The new Golf GTE’s top speed in all-electric mode is 130 km/h.

Further Volkswagen highlights include the new Golf GTD, which generates significantly lower nitrogen oxide emissions compared with its predecessor thanks to innovative twin dosing technology, plus the eighth generation of the Golf GTI, produced more than 2.3 million times. The most recent version is powered by a 180 kW (245 PS) 2.0-litre turbocharged direct injection engine. The maximum torque is 370 Nm. The four-cylinder engine is coupled with a 6-speed manual gearbox as standard.

Last but not least, the eight generation of the GTI takes the central stage, presented again by Ralf Brandstätter, Chief Operating Officer of the Volkswagen brand. It is a formidable performer, this GTI, and A 7-speed dual clutch gearbox (DSG) is optionally available.

Digital instruments for the GTI for maximum performance…

We include here some screenshots of the webcast, and stay tuned for more!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

ŠKODA OCTAVIA RS iV: sporting and “green”…

Skoda launches its first plug-in hybrid in the performance-oriented ŠKODA RS family.

The new ŠKODA OCTAVIA RS iV has been fitted with a 1.4 TSI petrol engine and an 85-kW electric motor delivering a combined power output of 180 kW (245 PS). Featuring black details on the bodywork, the OCTAVIA RS iV can immediately be recognised as sporty top-of-the-range variant of ŠKODA’s bestseller, now in its fourth generation.

The Czech car manufacturer will offer the new OCTAVIA in three other electrified versions as well. The OCTAVIA iV is a plug-in hybrid delivering 150 kW (204 PS) and is available in the Ambition and Style trims. Two e-TEC variants producing 81 kW (110 PS) and 110 kW (150 PS) make use of mild hybrid technology for the first time at ŠKODA.

Christian Strube, ŠKODA Board Member for Technical Development, said, “By introducing the OCTAVIA RS iV, we are starting a new chapter in the success story of our RS portfolio. We are using plug-in-hybrid drive in a sporty top-of-the-range model for the first time. In the new OCTAVIA RS iV, this both increases performance and reduces fuel consumption as well as CO2 emissions.”

ŠKODA has fitted the OCTAVIA RS iV with a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine (110 kW / 150 PS) and an 85-kW electric motor. Together, they have a combined power output of 180 kW (245 PS) and offer a maximum torque of 400 Nm, which is transferred to the front wheels via a 6-speed DSG. The car’s CO2 emissions are approximately 30 g/km in the WLTP cycle*, meaning it already complies with the new, stricter EU6d emissions standard for all newly registered vehicles in the EU, which will come into force from 1 January 2021.

The drivetrain is mostly the same as we have found in the hybrid Passat we tested for you. Just look alos in our columns.  

The high-voltage lithium-ion battery has a capacity of 37 Ah equating to 13 kWh, thereby giving the car an all-electric range of up to 60 km in the WLTP cycle*.

As the 330 Nm of torque provided by the electric motor are available straight away, the RS iV can pull away quickly. In Sport mode, which allows drivers to make use of the car’s full power output, the OCTAVIA RS iV accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in just 7.3 seconds. Its top speed is 225 km/h. The progressive steering that comes as standard and dynamic tuning of the sports suspension that is typical for the RS range cater to energetic driving styles.

Sporty black accents provide distinguishing visual features

The ŠKODA OCTAVIA RS iV has specific LED fog lights and black 18-inch alloy wheels as standard; the brake callipers in RS-typical red catch the eye. 19-inch alloys are available as an option. The ŠKODA grille, air curtains, diffuser on the RS-specific front apron, aeroflaps, diffuser on the rear apron and window frames all come in sporty black. The hatchback sports a black RS rear spoiler; in the estate, the roof spoiler matches the car colour.

Oliver Stefani, Head of ŠKODA Design, explained, “We have given the already dynamic shape of the new OCTAVIA an even sportier appearance using familiar RS insignias. With its numerous black design details, such as the ŠKODA grille, front apron, rear diffuser and alloy wheels, the car is immediately recognisable as a member of our RS family.”

Dynamic, RS-style interior

Looking inside the OCTAVIA RS iV, the predominantly black interior stands out. The three-spoke leather multifunction sports steering wheel bears a vRS logo and features paddles for operating the DSG. The front sports seats are upholstered in black fabric, whilst the optional Ergo seats come with Alcantara and leather upholstery as well as seat-depth adjustment. The seats are adorned by an RS logo and coloured decorative stitching in red or silver-grey, which can also be found on the leather steering wheel, on the armrests and on the Alcantara-covered dashboard. Decorative strips in an RS look and pedals with an aluminium design round off the sporty impression.

OCTAVIA iV plug-in hybrid delivering 204 PS

In addition to the RS variant of the OCTAVIA iV, ŠKODA is also offering plug-in-hybrid drive for the Ambition and Style trim levels. Here, the 1.4 TSI petrol engine and the 85-kW electric motor provide a power output of 150 kW (204 PS) and a maximum torque of 350 Nm. This plug-in-hybrid variant can also cover an electric range of up to 60 km in the WLTP cycle* and is fitted with a 6-speed DSG, operated using shift-by-wire technology. Its CO2 emissions are approximately 30 g/km*. The OCTAVIA iV also complies with the EU6d emissions standard.

The lithium-ion high-voltage battery, with a capacity of 37 Ah equating to 13 kWh, used in both iV models can be conveniently charged at home using a standard household plug socket or a wall box. The charging port is concealed in the driver’s side of the front bumper. A regular 12-volt battery is located in the boot, which has a capacity of 450 l in the hatchback and 490 l in the estate. The fuel tank can hold 40 l – just five litres less than in OCTAVIAs that are powered purely by a combustion engine.

Two eTEC engines boasting mild hybrid technology

The two eTEC versions of the OCTAVIA are making their ŠKODA debut. They will be the brand’s first production cars to feature mild hybrid technology when they start to roll off the line this summer. When combined with a 7-speed DSG, the three-cylinder 1.0 TSI producing 81 kW (110 PS) and the four-cylinder 1.5 TSI outputting 110 kW (150 PS) make use of a 48-volt belt-driven starter motor and a 48-volt lithium-ion battery that is located under the front passenger seat and has a capacity of 0.6 kWh. Both models can be identified by a specific badge on their tailgate.

Mild hybrid technology enables energy to be recovered when braking so that it can be stored in the 48-volt battery. This energy is used to support the combustion engine by providing it with an electrical boost of up to 50 Nm and, depending on the situation, makes it possible for the engine to switch off completely, letting the vehicle coast. As soon as engine power is required again, the motor restarts the engine in a fraction of a second. The stop/start function also works faster and more conveniently thanks to the use of the belt-driven starter motor. In addition, the engine generates less noise and vibrations when starting and the 48-volt battery is able to charge the regular 12-volt battery using a DC/DC converter. In total, the mild hybrid technology used for the two ŠKODA eTEC engines allows for savings of up to 0.4 l of fuel per 100 km.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

E-power for all of us: the Dacia Spring

2020 – Dacia SPRING… will lift your E-hearts…

It was only a matter of time:Renault puts its massive experience in designing and building E-vehicles even more to the wide public with a full electric Dacia model.

And here it is: the Dacia Spring. It caters for the young at heart with a city car that has a distinctive SUV look and modest dimensions, making it the ideal car for everyday use.

2020 – Dacia SPRING has an appealing light signature…

The light and compact series version of Dacia Spring is aimed at a driving range of approximately 200 kilometers (WLTP).

It has also quite appealing looks and colours. What to think of a body in pastel Mouse grey with accents in Matt Fluo Orange, painted in the massive protective strips for the wheel arches, roof bars, and door sills…

The Dacia Spring has an increased ground clearance, integrated base plates in the front and rear bumper, to show its mettle in today’s city jungle…

2020 – Dacia SPRING rear lights with typical “Y” signature…

A lot of attention was paid to the lighting functions of the car. At the front the ‘full LED headlamps split into two levels: a horizontal line for the upper part and four graphics elements integrated into the bumper. At the rear, the four “full LED” lights form one double “Y”. These light blocks indicate the future light identity of the Dacia models will look like.

The Dacia Spring series version will be available in 2021. Of course we will be keen to have a closer look “in the flesh” and drive it!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Renault launches its electric offensive…

2020 – E-TECH Family: New Clio, Captur and Mégane Estate…

Renault has an ever wider choice of electric and electrified models in store now.

First of all the clever E-TECH, offering hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains on the new Clio, new Captur and new Mégane Estate. Renault drew on its vast Formula 1 experience as well as its know how in electrification to develop this E-TECH system. We will explain this very interesting system in a separate report.

2020 – Range E-TECH / Z.E.

There is also the new Twingo Z.E., also becoming 100% electric, and the new ZOE is now also available in a “Riviera” limited series.

Last but not least there is also A MORPHOZ electric concept car, of which more soon in a separate report. Renault announces here that it (re)invents the future of family mobility, with a car which adapts to the changing needs of everyday life and integrated into the electric ecosystem. Stay tuned!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Kia reveals first images of next-generation Sorento…

The concept of ‘refined boldness’ inspired Kia’s designers, and they came up with a more confident, mature and desirable exterior design. But that is not all. The cabin is also definitely upscale with premium material quality.

Of course, the new Sorento is crammed with progressive connectivity, driver assist and infotainment technologies. It makes its first public appearance at 2020 Geneva International Motor Show

More to come!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

A new Citroën C3…

It is high time that we start talking in our columns about the iconic brand of the “Double Chevron”with some important news…

Citroën has very recently unveiled its New C3, marking a further evolution of the Brand’s best-seller worldwide, a real success with 750,000 sales achieved by the 3rd C3 generation since its launch at the end of 2016.

Did you know that the C3 is sold almost 4,5 million times since its launch? It is the best-seller of Citroën range, belongs to the top 5 in Europe in its segment at the end of December 2019 and the 3rd best-selling car in France.

The new C3 has a proper look. It doesn’t look like any other vehicle. It builds on its differences with a colourful personality and very good comfort. It now stands even more out with new LED headlights, 97 exterior possible combinations, 3 new roof stickers, 2 new wheel rims and 3 interior colour ambiences. It now has new Airbump® designs and up to 12 driving aids, with a lot of connected services: Connect Assist for the SOS assistance, Connect Nav with its 7 “ touch tablet and Connect Play for smartphone duplication. Equipment, completely in the tune of the times, which makes everyday life easier…

New C3 will arrive at dealerships starting in June 2020.

Hans Knol ten Bensel