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2013 MINI Clubvan Hits The Web

June 26th, 2012

2013 MINI Clubvan Commercial Vehicle Price Specs Release Date Header

MINI is all set to expand its lineup yet again this Fall with the new 2013 MINI Clubvan, aimed squarely at the small business market. The Clubvan is based closely on the MINI Clubman, with its passenger-side double door intact to aid in cargo loading, though ditches the rear seats in favor of a partition and flat carpeted cargo floor, with plenty of retaining hooks to secure whatever you might be hauling.

2013 MINI Clubvan Commercial Vehicle Price Specs Release Date Profile

Cargo capacity rings in at a smallish (for a commercial vehicle) 30.3 cu.ft., with maximum payload measuring 816 pounds. MINI says the Clubvan is a vehicle for fashion designers, photographers, caterers, architects and other smallbusinessmen who need an efficient yet stylish vehicle that will simultaneously handle work-a-day duties and help promote the brand. A Ford Transit Connect may be a more practical choice, but your high-class cupcake bakery’s name and logo sure will catch a lot of eyes adorning the Clubvan’s body-color side panels.

2013 MINI Clubvan Commercial Vehicle Price Specs Release Date Rear Quarter View

Base pricing will be revealed closer to the Clubvan’s Fall 2012 release date, but expect it to fall right around the base Clubman’s $21,200. Using the same 121-horsepower four-cylinder as that model, fuel efficiency should stay the same at a very business-friendly 27 city/35 highway mpg.


Lexus and MINI Top J.D. Power List

March 15th, 2012

J.D. Power Ranks Lexus and MINI Service Highest Header

J.D. Power and Associates have picked Lexus and MINI, in the luxury and mass-market categories respectively, as the brands with the best dealership service departments. This is the fourth time in a row Lexus has come out on top among all brands in the annual customer satisfaction study, while MINI takes home top honors for the second consecutive year.

Customers are more-satisfied with dealer service than in recent years. This comes as free scheduled maintenance programs have become commonplace. Brands that offer free scheduled maintenance are much more likely to retain customers for dealership service after the complimentary period ends.

GM can boast that all four of its brands scored very high in dealership service satisfaction. Cadillac was just behind Lexus for second place among luxury brands, while Buick, GMC and Chevrolet were second, third and fourth among mass-market brands.

Here’s the complete results:

Customer Service Index Ranking J.D. Power Circle Ratings
(Based on a 1,000-point scale) For Consumers
Luxury Brands
Lexus 861 5
Cadillac 852 4
Jaguar 849 4
Acura 838 3
Porsche 836 3
Luxury Brand Average 835 3
Audi 828 3
Mercedes-Benz 827 3
Infiniti 824 3
BMW 823 3
Lincoln 817 2
Volvo 811 2
Land Rover 796 2
Mass Market Brands
MINI 809 5
Buick 805 5
GMC 803 5
Chevrolet 801 4
Hyundai 791 4
Ford 786 4
Volkswagen 785 3
Kia 782 3
Honda 778 3
Mass Market Brand Average 778 3
Nissan 774 3
Mazda 767 3
Toyota 766 3
Chrysler 760 2
Subaru 760 2
Mitsubishi 759 2
Ram 754 2
Scion 752 2
Jeep 741 2
smart 740 2
Suzuki 740 2
Dodge 739 2
Power Circle Ratings Legend:
5 – Among the best
4 – Better than most
3 – About average
2 – The rest

Source: J.D. Power and Associates


Academy Award Nominees’ Cars

February 25th, 2012

The 84th Academy Awards Stars and Cars

It’s Oscar season again, and we thought it would be fun to take a look at the cars, trucks and bikes driven by this year’s Best Actor and Best Actress nominees. Here you’ll find some cars the celebs drive (or are driven in) in their Academy Award-nominated films, plus some of the stars’ real-life rides! Tune in to watch the 84th Academy Awards this Sunday, February 26th, 2012 at 7:00pm EST/4:00pm PST. Check your local listings for more.

Actor in a Leading Role

Demián Bichir – “A Better Life”

Demian Bichir's Ford F-150 in A Better Life

Ford F-150 (10th Generation) in “A Better Life”
“A Better Life” is a film about a father and son, the American dream, the struggle to survive… and a work truck just like the one millions of Americans depend on every day. Carlos (Bichir) buys the F-150 and the business it represents, only to have the truck stolen. Much of the rest of the film covers the quest to get it back (spoiler alert!).

Find your very own 2012 Ford F-150 here.

George Clooney – “The Descendants”

George Clooney's Car Tesla Roadster

Tesla Roadster
Best actor nominee George Clooney is a big proponent of the electric car, counting a black Tesla Roadster among his rides. Clooney used to drive an all-electric Tango, and is known to be a motorcycle fan as well.

*The Tesla Roadster is no longer available, but the bigger and better Tesla Model S is.

Jean Dujardin – “The Artist”

Jean Dujardin's Lincoln Model K in "The Artist"

Circa-1930 Lincoln Model K in “The Artist”
Jean Dujardin plays silent film star George Valentin in “The Artist.” Valentin is the type of man who is driven rather than drives, but then must give his chauffeur Clifton his Lincoln limo in lieu of back payment. The film was criticized for using cars that did not appear until after the time period it attempted to portray.

Gary Oldman – “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”

Gary Oldman's Car MINI Cooper Clubman

MINI Cooper S Clubman
One blogger claims to have seen Gary Oldman pull up and park in this late-model MINI Cooper S Clubman, though we haven’t confirmed this. Oldman appeared as the Devil in a BMW promotional short film also starring James Brown, Clive Owen and the BMW Z4.

Find your very own 2012 MINI S Clubman here.

Brad Pitt – “Moneyball”

Brad Pitt's Car Camaro SS

Chevrolet Camaro SS
Pitt is a motorcycle lover at heart, having been spotted riding numerous Ducati, BMW and other bikes as well as a custom chopper. As for cars, Brad prefers this Chevrolet Camaro SS with wild orange racing stripes.

Find your very own 2012 Chevy Camaro SS here.

Actress in a Leading Role

Glenn Close – “Albert Nobbs”

Glenn Close's Car Lexus RX

Lexus RX (2nd-Generation)
Ms. Close, one of the most prolific actresses in Hollywood and Broadway history, posted this photo on her official dog lover blog, Lively Licks. The pic clearly shows her two adorable pups in a second-gen Lexus RX, and we’re willing to bet it’s the hybrid model. Nice choice!

Find your very own 2012 Lexus RX 350 here.

Viola Davis – “The Help”

Viola Davis' House in Granada Hills

*Car Unknown

Davis and husband Julius Tennon live in this low-profile Granada Hills, Calif. home, shown here with 2 rides parked in the driveway. While we don’t know for sure who they belong to, the cars appear to be a 2000′s BMW and… a 1980′s Toyota Corolla? Davis told USA Today her car is “7 years old.”

Rooney Mara – “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

Rooney Mara's Honda Motorcycle Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Custom Honda CL350 in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
Rooney Mara’s Lisabeth Salander in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is not to be messed with, and her blacked-out, custom Cafe Racer-style Honda CL350 fits her perfectly. The bike was custom-built for this film.

Meryl Streep – “The Iron Lady”

Meryl Streep's Car Toyota Prius

2011 Toyota Prius
Streep has long been a champion of the Toyota Prius, BMW Hydrogen 7 and alternative-powertrain cars in general, once famously saying: “If everybody that had two cars had a Prius instead of an SUV, we wouldn’t be in the Middle East right now.” In 2009 Streep showed up at the Oscars in a 3rd-gen 2010 Prius, not even yet available to the public.

Find your very own 2012 Toyota Prius here.

Michelle Williams – “My Week With Marilyn”

Michelle Williams My Week With Marilyn Rolls Royce

1952 Rolls Royce Phantom Wraith Limousine in “My Week With Marilyn”
Expertly portraying Marilyn Monroe in “My Week With Marilyn”, it is only fitting that Michelle Williams’ Monroe would be driven about in a Rolls. The Phantom Wraith limo used in the film is a 1952 model, which won the gold medal at the 1953 Earls Court Motor Show.

The ’52 Rolls-Royce Phantom is obviously not available…but you can check out some of the new 2012 RR’s available here.


Comparison: 2012 Fiat 500 vs. 2012 MINI Cooper

October 13th, 2011

Fiat 500 Vs MINI Cooper

The 2012 Fiat 500 and 2012 MINI Cooper invite natural comparisons. Both are subcompact hatchbacks with a high cool factor, youthful features, better-than-par handling and higher base prices than similar-sized but more-pedestrian rides (see Kia Rio, Ford Fiesta, etc.).

Now Edmunds Inside Line has carried out a performance-heavy comparison test of the two cars that featured some corner carving through Los Angeles’s famous Mullholland Highway and instrumented track testing. The winner? The Cooper, but not by as much as you might think from a car built by BMW.

Both cars elicited quite a bit of praise, but the MINI exhibited more composed handling, faster 0-60 and slalom times and better braking. Testers liked both cars’ retro-inspired styling and found the interiors nice places to be. The MINI exuded interior quality, but the Fiat’s funky features are more interesting to look at.

While the MINI took the prize, it should be noted that onlookers were far more interested in checking out the newer and hipper Italian ride.

2012 Fiat 500

2012 Fiat 500

Price as Tested: $19,200
Powertrain: 101-hp 1.4-liter 4-cylinder, 5MT Transmission
Fuel Efficiency (Observed): 29 combined mpg
0-60: 10.4 seconds
¼-Mile: 17.5 seconds @ 76.6 mph
Braking (60-0 mph): 125 feet

2011 MINI Cooper

2011 MINI Cooper

Price as Tested: $23,600
Powertrain: 121-hp 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine , 6MT transmission
Fuel Efficiency (Observed): 27 combined mpg
0-60: 8.9 seconds
¼-Mile: 16.6 seconds @ 82.8 mph
Braking (60-0 mph): 116 feet



Top 10 Cars with the Best Resale Value Right Now

August 4th, 2011

The 2011 Acura TL carries one of the best resale values.

Everyone’s heard or experienced the ugly fact of life known as depreciation. You buy that shiny, retina-searing Montego Blue Metallic 2011 BMW 328i Coupe and as soon as its beefy 255/35 Bridgestone Potenza RE050A run flats roll you off the lot, the value of your $39k sled quickly drops in value by about $3000.  It’s a sad fact of life, but heavy lies the crown.

That being said, you can hedge your losses on purchasing a car that holds its value better than its peers, which is beneficial to car buyers who are on the fence between leasing and buying. Buying a car that holds its value better will allow owners to get the most money back should they choose to sell after 2-3 years.

It should be noted that most, if not all of the vehicles below rarely see big cash-back rebates on their current model years.  In exercising this option, manufacturers are helping existing owners to retain the values of their vehicles since new car buyers have little negotiating room for big price reductions.

Here’s our Top 10 list of new cars that hold their value the best.

1. 2011 Toyota Prius
2. 2011 Honda CR-V
3. 2011 Lexus RX 350
4. 2011 Nissan Maxima
5. 2011 Acura TL
6. 2011 Honda Fit
7. 2011 MINI Cooper
8. 2011 Subaru Legacy
9. 2011 Honda Odyssey
10. 2011 Hyundai Elantra