I see what you mean and I am with you regarding the connotation of the English sentence. However, almost exactly the same construction as in Dutch exists in my native German, and there is very little if any connotation about the ownership of the car. Still not an ideal translation at all, but also not quite as bad as it may appear.
I put that, too, and got it wrong - but then thought, in normal speech, how else do I drive? If I were a bus driver I wouldn't say "I drive by bus" but "I drive the bus" so maybe we'd say "I'm driving the car to Belgium" - or "I'm going by car" - but that doesn't mean I'm necessarily doing the driving.
I'm originally from the southwest in the US. This is a minor point really, but in my dialect one would normally say "I am driving to Belgium." It is implicit in the verb 'drive' that I am driving a car. We normally would not specify what we are driving unless there is a question about what I am driving. I understand that in Dutch you can drive other things other than a car, like a bike. Thus it makes sense to specify.
Native English speaker here. I agree with this. The fact that you're driving a car is implied and one would only bring up the mode of transport if it was something other than a car or if they were asked explicitly.
So to piggyback off of this, I'm assuming in Dutch it's mandatory to include "met de auto" correct? We couldn't just say "Ik rijd naar Belgie"?
The official translation at the top of this page is currently "I am driving a car to Belgium". (Just saying this for context in the future in case it is corrected.)
This is a rather poor translation. Of course the literal translation is "I drive / am driving the car to Belgium". However, the Dutch formulation is an idiom that is often best translated as "driving/going by car". And for some reason this was rendered as "driving a car" in the official translation. It's not completely wrong but unnecessarily has a number of connotations not present in the original.
Because the infinitive verb is "rijden", so the root is " rijd".
The conjugation for the first person singular in the present tense coincides with the root of the verb -therefore, "ik rijd".
Remember that for the second and third person singular you have to add a " t" to the root in order to conjugate the verb in the present tense.
Duolingo courses normally have a strong bias towards American English and it takes a while until they accept other variants of English. In this case, the course creators were primarily Europeans, and as a result the course, while still trying to use American English primarily, has an unintentional bias towards European English.
As a native speaker of German who spends most of his spare time on the English internet and lived in the UK for a few years, I didn't know that some Americans use auto freely as a synonym for car, and Wiktionary says it's used chiefly attributively. (I.e. "auto mechanic" but not "I am going by auto".) I would have thought that more general use, as in this sentence, is just a Germanism. But of course some Germanisms such as fill out instead of fill in have become standard American English.
The course creators, being native Dutch speakers, probably have similar instincts concerning auto. If you are a native English speaker and are sure that it's normal in your dialect to say "drive an auto", use the form to propose the corresponding variant, and maybe mention in the free-text field that you are a native speaker, and from where.
Thanks, and yes, I am very much a native English speaker: Southern United States region but very close to an international port city. While "car" is far and away the preferred single noun referent to an automobile, the term "auto" is not unheard of. In fact it is quite common in some areas. "What kind of auto is that?" or "That is one nice looking auto!" while exceptions, are used. You are correct inasmuch as the chief use of "auto" is as a noun-adjunct, or attributive: auto transmission, auto dealership, auto care, auto mechanic, etc. Still, the use of the noun "auto" for car is acceptable English. That said, I guess I'll just have to go with the built in biases and strictly use car. Bedankt je well!