Curbside Travel: The Kleins Go To Europe – Day 4, Copenhagen

Aiways U5

On the road again…when we last left we were at the airport waiting for our next flight.  To Copenhagen, Denmark!  A city in a country that I have never been to but was looking forward to visiting.  Our flight was via EasyJet which was uneventful (how I prefer it) and the two and a half hour hop was over in the blink of an eye… Next order of business was getting into the city center for which we decided to take another cab as the public transportation options seemed a bit daunting involving a couple of transfers and we had bags.  And it was wet out.

I don’t think this is the first bar or airport that used a car as a display or advertising piece, but I’ll give it points for using a Land Rover Defender.  Or at least portions of it.  Or maybe reproductions of portions of it.  Whatever, it did the job of catching my eye but I was not in the mood to stop.  Perhaps on the way back.  Just one picture.

The taxi line was being run by an efficient lady who had us in a cab in no time, here it is after we got into the city and paid the man.  $38 or so isn’t too bad for four and luggage I guess.  That’s a Skoda Octavia of the previous generation to the current one, yet another Golf/Jetta wagon clone just like the SEAT Leon we took to the last airport a few hours earlier.  Also just like that one it was a diesel, rattle free, quiet, comfortable and again with familiar VW/Audi-like materials, but a touch over 300k kilometers on this one.

After dropping our bags in our room we decided to venture out and brave the weather.  Quite the change from Barcelona but then again it’s almost exactly the same distance as going from San Diego to Seattle so there you go.  The first noteworthy thing I saw was this new Audi A8 either being towed due to parking illegally, towed to the repair shop, or being repo’d.  I have no idea which but that flatbed looks a lot fancier than the ones running around here.  This was in the middle of a very large pedestrian-zoned shopping area.  The main impressions of Copenhagen are that it’s quite attractive, very clean, not particularly crowded, and very walkable as it’s basically flat.

More CC-worthy was this 2nd generation Fiat Punto, which debuted back in 1999.  Missing the hubcap and with some battlescars it would fit right in up in Eugene, but here in Copenhagen it stuck out like a sore green thumb.  It’s parked in front of a coffee place that we ravenously entered and ordered at, and then realized the four coffee drinks and a sandwich or pastry each cost the better part of $75.  It’s a little known fact that the word “Copenhagen” is actually a Viking term that roughly translates to “Hand over your wallet”.  Denmark is a little pricier than Spain.  However it appears that wages are higher too, so it all works out, unless you’re from somewhere cheaper and less prosperous.

Mk II VW Golfs aren’t super common anymore, and this later ’80s example looks like it’s seen a few things.  Still puttering along, I didn’t check but assume it’s a diesel.

Back in Spain I remarked on a white Peugeot 406 and how I liked the styling, well, this green Citroën Xantia is based on the same platform and I like these just as much.  It’s one of the more approachable Citroëns that straddles the line between outré and conformist with just enough character to make me find it fairly timeless (for a ’90s car).  These were released in 1992 and facelifted in 1997, I think this is an earlier car.  These were also liftbacks (like a Plymouth Sundance!)  and there was a wagon available as well.

While you may have gotten the impression that the core of Copenhagen is dominated by older cars, nothing could be further from the truth, I just avoided most of the newer ones.  But one thing I could not avoid is all the electric vehicles (EVs).  Now I know this is a touchy subject at CC and I will avoid being preachy, but just hang with me for a bit and go with the flow.  Copenhagen (at least the center part that we were in) has embraced EVs in a big way and while back at home there are a number of EV and PHEV choices, we have nowhere near the range of vehicles that are on the streets here.  This particular one is a Renault Captur, second generation, related to the current Nissan Juke, which is not sold in the US.  But what’s going on at the back?

Yes, Copenhagen has public chargers seemingly all over the place and this PHEV (Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle) is currently recharging.  It will presumably use the electrons to power it part or all of the way home or just use the battery in tandem with the regular engine to help it get stupendous fuel efficiency or much better than normal internal combustion power off the line.

This one’s produced by E-on Drive and apparently works via an app.

I don’t speak Danish but I’m pretty confident that there are three spaces for charging here. Looks like at least one of them is available too.

Here’s an EV taxi, in this case the Mercedes EQE, a model that just started rolling out towards the end of 2022.  It was far from the only one, most EVs that you are familiar with there were examples being used as taxis in Copenhagen, including the Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Tesla Models 3 and Y, VW’s ID cars, etc.  While I found (and still do find) the styling of the new EQS (electric S-Class) slightly off-putting, I like this one better, it just seems more approachable.

I know, two electric thingies in a row is bordering on having you click to something else, so I turned around and noticed this Jeep Cherokee (XJ) pulling into a side street.  This looks like one of our later “Country” trim versions but it was almost certainly sold new here in Europe as these were reasonably popular.  Which means they were about as popular in Europe as for example Peugeots were in the United States.  Not just for anyone, in other words.

And if a Jeep doesn’t pump your red, white, and blue ‘nads, well then here is The Heartbeat Of America, a Chevrolet!  A Chevy Spark actually, which carries the same brass bowtie as any Caprice ever did.  And lookit, it even has a trailer hitch! And roof rails, something I don’t think ours ever offered.  So you can tow your boat and carry a roof tent, who needs a Land Rover?  The white delivery van across the street is almost certainly an EV, I can’t make out the manufacturer though.

While we are on the subject of towing… A Tesla with a trailer.  Well, no, not quite, it’s just a Niedermeyer-esque illusion in this case.

But this BMW 3-series folding hardtop convertible was towing a trailer, albeit it a fairly small one.

Porsche Taycan

Turning back to EVs, here’s a Porsche Taycan in white.  And if that’s not your bag, perhaps the black one across the street is more to your liking.  Colorado is home to a decent quantity of these already, yet I saw more of them in Copenhagen than I have seen in total back home (no, not just these two, but literally dozens).

There’s a VW ID.3 (EV) parked in front of a Tesla Model 3 (EV) which is in front of a Renault Zoe (EV), and the odd man out, a non-EV Citroën at the rear.

Not the current generation, but the prior generation Mazda6 looks quite good as a wagon as well.  Those haunches front and back seem to work better stylistically on a wagon than on a sedan.

We started heading towards the river (which meanders through Copenhagen although it’s also pretty much surrounded by water), so away from the absolute city center and came across this Fiat Panda 4×4, thus the reason it sits somewhat higher than the FWD version.  I think Paul for one would love one of these.

Not far away sitting there Like A Rock was this Chevy Matiz, basically an older-generation Spark based on the Daewoo Matiz of course, never available in the US with any badge.

And inflaming the cockles of many a heart here at CC, a Volvo 240, and not just any old DL, this here is a GL according to the badge.  And in red, so only slightly slower than the turbo.  This was spied as we were about to cross the street in order to go up a set of stairs onto one of many drawbridges.

Those stairs featured something seen very commonly in Europe, and that is a rail for bicycle wheels.  While these are common, just as common is a small section of the stairway where it is shaped just as a continuous slope, at the edge, the idea of course being that you can push your bicycle either up or down it without any trouble whatsoever and you aren’t getting in anyone else’s way either trying to heft your 30-40 pound conveyance up or down the (sometimes slippery) stairs.

It’s basically just U-channel steel affixed to the steps.  Simple, cheap, and efficient.  This is really something that every condo complex should/could have on their stairs as well,

On the bridge a Nissan Leaf taxi was whizzing by in the cold.

And on the way back, this magnificent Alfa Romeo 164S from the early ’90s!  I was all set to take a series of shots as it was stopped at the light when a bicyclist decided to cross towards us.  She veered off from the zebra stripes towards the metal thing you see just in front of the Alfa’s rear wheel, where it all of a sudden became obvious that the expansion joint was not filled all the way across as her front tire plunged down to the hub and she flew over the handlebars while her bicycle stayed stuck upright.  I rushed to her aid (she seemed far more embarrassed than hurt) and helped tug her bike free while somebody had the audacity to honk at us.  Somehow nobody in our party was able to snap a picture or shoot a video (they could have been TikTok famous!), but when all was done I was able to still catch the Alfa as it roared off.  Excitement wherever we go!

Walking along the riverbank we came across a Mercedes W210 wagon, an ever-rarer sight these days, not being as long lasting as the W124, never mind the W123.  The owner was unloading something onto his tugboat and my phone camera was fogged I think from walking in the rain leading to a somewhat moody shot.  Or just a poor-quality shot, take your pick.

Perhaps a poor-quality Mercedes does in fact make a poor-quality photograph, however this one’s made it well over two decades, so it can’t be that bad after all.  Or it’s the exception that proves the rule or something like that…

Not a postcard this time, but the real deal, if you’ve ever seen pictures of Copenhagen you’ve probably seen this or one from down the road/river.  Hugely picturesque, only the sun would have made it better.

And my little guy doing his inadvertent clothing store model pose expression in front of the backdrop.

Pro-tip: When you own a Ford Fusion in the US and you happen to tell your friends from Europe that you drive a Ford Fusion, this is what they picture you driving.  Yes, this is the European Ford Fusion.  Your Fusion is their Mondeo.  Maybe if Ford ever sells a small car in the US again they can call it the Mondeo as payback.

The bar and grill in the airport apparently has several outlets and there is an actual Land Rover that drives around town, perhaps it’s the owner’s truck.  Someone took (or used) the spare tire from the hood!  This may be where Dodge got the idea for the Dakota convertible truck.

A Volvo V40 like the one that I as well as Mads Jensen, our Danish CContributor, used to drive.  These were built in the Netherlands in a Mitsubishi-Volvo joint venture factory.  In the background, two Fiat 500s AND a Mini, all within the span of four parking spots.  It’s just missing a Smart car.

I do not know what this is exactly, but it appeared like a ray of sunshine on this cloudy and somewhat wet day.  And just like that ray of sunshine, it was gone again…

More EVs!  This time an Audi in a shape that I don’t believe we get (yet?) in the U.S.  I’ll give high marks to Audi, they are managing to make their e-tron line of EVs look very much like their normal vehicles, not everyone wants to stand out in a crowd. Assuming this comes to the U.S., it’ll likely do quite well.

This one had me doing a double-take, never mind the color, I had no idea what it was and had to head around back to figure it out.

It’s an Aiways U5.  I know, that doesn’t help.  It’s another Chinese EV with competitive range and pricing that is being sold in Europe.  I saw several more of these, curiously all in this same color even though they do offer the more euro-norm white, gray, and black as well.  It’s a solidly mid-size SUV that didn’t seem to be put together any worse than anything else around it.  Here’s their website, later in our trip we’d see ads for their new sporty-ish coupe-like car/SUV (the U6), which is featured on their site currently, along with this U5.

The point is though that with stuff like the Lynk&Co that we saw in Barcelona, now this, and several other vehicles from the likes of Xpeng, Nio, the MG brand, etc, the Chinese and Europeans are FAR ahead of the U.S. producers (besides Tesla) in regard to vehicle choices.  From a purely technical perspective, EVs are far easier to sell in other countries than internal combustion engined vehicles as the emissions and fuel economy issues simply aren’t considerations to be engineered to (political considerations and manufacturing costs/location are two real factors though).  Sadly, beyond Tesla (which is a huge deal, admittedly, and no way to deny that) and the Mach-E, Ford and GM by themselves don’t have much going on yet, while Stellantis has a few glimmers thanks to their European brands.  Get too far behind and you’ll never catch up and be doomed to the all of a sudden relatively small North American market (relative to the entire rest of the world I mean).

This old Cayenne (introduced two decades ago, where did the time go!?) could probably use a bigger battery to power all those lights.  I’m not sure where he’s going, there aren’t any dunes in downtown Copenhagen, but I guess he could find some somewhere if he wanted to.  Adventure awaits!

Like a Volvo 240, there’s always a ’90s Corolla about too.  The 3-door hatch like we never got.  I rented one like this in New Zealand many years ago, it was fine.  And green as I recall the paint being.  Who says Corollas aren’t memorable?

This Ford Transit (full-size van) takes the cake for being the most beat-up vehicle we saw in Denmark.  The Europeans got on the square/straight sided van thing far ahead of us, this one’s a late 2000’s version.

Your typical Euro-CrewCab VW.  Or maybe this is a QuadCab, I think there are some with larger rear doors than this one.  It has the short bed too.

Back in the center of town, besides the masses of bicycles that were riding around everywhere, even in the rain (people here use good jackets and hats and the bikes have fenders!), it became EV-central again too.  In this picture there’s a white Polestar 2, ahead of that there is a Hyundai Ioniq, then another Porsche Taycan and a Tesla Model Y.  Across the street a blue VW ID.4, and a BMW i3.

Looking the other way a Model Y on the left and on the right a VW e-Golf and then two Ford Mustang Mach-E’s behind the Seat Leon wagon inbetween,

Behind that Tesla is a VW ID.3 which I found quite attractive not having seen one in the metal before, it’s a little larger than a Golf on the outside but a lot larger inside.  Across the street the two Fords, one of which is plugged into a street charger made by Clever.

Continuing down this street and then looking back (the two Mustang Mach-E’s are at the upper right on the left side of the street), in the foreground is a Mercedes EQC EV, then a Jaguar iPace EV, and another Tesla Model Y.  Across the Street the blue car is a Tesla Model 3.

Toyota Mirai Taxi

Heading back towards the hotel we stumbled on this, a Toyota Mirai Hydrogen Fuel Cell EV.  And as a taxi to boot!  I’ve seen one or two in California and there were actually two junked ones in a Colorado junkyard a while back, but I’ve never seen one as a Taxi.  We’d see this one again several times or it may have been several different ones, I couldn’t tell for sure.  I didn’t realize Copenhagen had hydrogen infrastructure, but apparently they must.

Toyota Mirai Taxi

My guess is that the same guy that designed the outgoing Prius designed this as well as it’s a little challenging to look at.  The current (new) version is far more attractive.  Overall it’s about the size of a Camry, larger than a Prius in other words.

The label on the box…

If you dig into the box and your favorite CrackerJack is a lot of piano black plastic and screenery then we have the car for you.  This is already not aging well visually, good thing there’s a new one…I would have loved to have gone for a ride in one though, but it was not to be.

Steps away though was this, the Honda E electric car.  This is the first one of these I’ve seen at street level and it didn’t disappoint, it’s quite attractive and obviously takes as inspiration the original Civic (though it’s larger).

My understanding is its range is a little short relative to its price which is hurting sales, but it’s quite cute and a handy size.

Black isn’t its best color but you work with what you have in front of you.  It’s a shame we’ll never get it (in more senses of the phrase than one), but Honda is likely correct in not bringing it to the U.S., at least in its present form.

I dig the mirror cameras though, as techy as they are aerodynamically efficient.

The wood inside harkens back to the original Civic as well, although that whole expanse above the wood strip is screen, very unlike the original… On that note, we’ll somewhat abruptly end today’s walkabout and be back for some more singin’ in the rain soon.  Time for a drink.  Skål!

If you’ve been gone too, here are the earlier installments of this travelogue:

Barcelona Day 1-2

Barcelona Day 3