Quick! When you think of Comic Con — “the biggest and most exciting popular culture convention on the East Coast” — which automaker springs immediately to mind? Still thinking? Follow the jump for the answer you might not be expecting. Continue Reading →
MINI may not build the most reliable cars (at least according to our friends at TrueDelta.com, where the Cooper has roughly double the repair frequency of a Honda Civic), but since the brand’s rebirth under BMW’s ownership, it has been nothing less than a case study in brilliant, creative, clever marketing. Its latest foray has been into the Olympic games, where MINI has become nearly the only brand represented during track and field events – and despite a prohibition on advertising or promotion during the events. Continue Reading →
The Hyundai Veloster’s nontraditional styling, clever packaging, and cheeky driving dynamics impressed us when we first drove one earlier this year. Not quite a coupe, and definitely not a hatchback in the mainstream sense, the Veloster impressed us with its versatility and economy, as well as its ability to make an impact wherever it goes. Naturally, then, when Hyundai announced plans for a Veloster with the power to match its unique looks, our interest was piqued.
If it looks like a Mini, sounds like a Mini and drives like a Mini, is it truly a Mini? Last year, Autosavant tested this theory as implemented in the Mini Cooper S Countryman: the brand’s first true four-door crossover. Equipped with a six-speed manual, front-wheel drive and a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the Countryman proved a capable defender of the brand, albeit stretched several sizes. But could it stand up to its competitors that offer all-wheel drive and turn the focus to technology?
One of the worst-kept secrets in the auto industry is that the Fiat 500 was not going to hit its sales target of 50,000 units for 2011. Instead, Fiat sold just 19,769 cars in the US in 2011, falling short of its goal by more than 60 percent. While analysts have blamed the company’s slow rollout, tepid marketing, and lack of Fiat dealers for the car’s flop, I think I actually know the real reason. People literally laugh at big guys who drive these cars. Trust me – I’ve experienced this first hand.
By Chris Haak
Ah yes, the “good old days.” Remember when cars had names like Comet, Monterey, Nova, Tempest, Metropolitan, and Zephyr? Though there is more diversity in the auto market today than there has been in decades (though no longer thousands of boutique automakers in the US as there were in the early days of the industry), vehicle names that are actual words found in the dictionary are becoming more scarce. That is not news. Some automakers, though not all, have decided that rather than building better, more sophisticated cars, they might just trick the buying public into believing that a DTS is more upscale than a Deville, that an MKZ is more contemporary than a Zephyr, or that a G6 outshines a Grand Am. Again, this is all old news. Today I’m more concerned about model names that once described engine displacement. If you read on, I have some solutions too.
By Chris Haak
While Fiat’s 500 may be late to the party in some ways (it arrived in the US four full years after its overseas launch and it’s also coming in at what may be the tail end of a “retrofuturism” era), in some ways it’s also right on time. The car represents not only a beachhead for the Fiat brand’s return to the US, but also desperately-needed fresh product for Chrysler as the company awaits further reinforcements from its new owners across the pond in that boot-shaped country named Italy.
By Kevin Miller
The MINI franchise started with just one retro-styled small hatchback, and proved to be a success. But how to build on that success? MINI’s parents at BMW decided that the best way was to expand was by building bigger MINIs, first in the form of the extended-length Clubman, and now in the form of the Countryman crossover, which is MINI’s first four-door vehicle.
By Carl Malek
The 2012 Mini Cooper Coupe has just been revealed, but Mini has now taken the wraps off the official pricing for the upcoming two door, and the price of entry for one of these two door driving machines starts at just $22,000. That $22,000 USD price is of course for the base version of the Mini Coupe, with midrange S versions ringing in at $25,300 USD, and the top of the line John Cooper Works performance model which checks in at a wallet thinning $31,900 USD. While these final pricing numbers may seem a bit pricey – especially in higher trims of the new coupe – Mini is hoping that the coupe’s driving dynamics, bold styling, and two seat configuration will be enough to justify the high price of admission when compared to similar vehicles in its class.
By Carl Malek
BMW Group has released the official details on the soon-to-be-released MINI Cooper Coupe. The company claims that the MINI Coupe is a model that has been bestowed with “go kart like handling” which has become a signature selling point of the brand’s recent models. Unfortunately MINI chose to feature a prototype vehicle in the official photos that still sports a disguise in the rear, which makes any final judgments on the styling very difficult. Despite this final bit of camouflage, the majority of the design that is visible is quite handsome and it also makes the coupe look much more aggressive than its fellow MINI siblings. MINI also says that the new coupe is going to be a class leader in the sport compact segment, but whether the MINI Cooper Coupe can live up to this bold claim or help increase the brand’s slow sales remains to be seen.
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