Category Archive:

Clubman: Super-Sized MINI



Continuing its tongue-in-cheek marketing party MINI USA unveiled the 2008 MINI Clubman at the Los Angeles Auto Show. In true self-deprecating MINI style, the diminutive wagon backed onto the stage, showing off its rear barn doors to the enthusiastic press. Vice President of MINI James O’Donnell led the tour of MINI’s latest model. (Look for VehicleVoice’s video podcast of our personal interview with James McDowell.)

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MINI Clubman adds Doors, Tech, Green


The newly announced MINI Clubman is more than an extension (literally) of the popular MINI Cooper REV 2. First presented to the public at Frankfurt nearly two years ago (as the Shooting Brake Concept), the Clubman incorporates a number of unique and interesting capabilities that may set it apart from the average vehicle in its class.


Overall, the vehicle is the same up front as the basic MINI hatch and remains so to the B-pillar. The large, bug-like headlights, hexagonal radiator grill, and hood design clue you in to the vehicle. From the B-pillar back, things change…
The Clubman’s body is now 9.45 inches longer than the standard MINI Cooper. The wheelbase is 3.15 inches longer. Color choices of the C-Pillar include silver, or black. The rest of the key data are very similar to that found on the standard MINI, except for some really neat new features, including:

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MINI Tops AutoPacific Rankings for Satisfaction With Dealer Experience


AutoPacific’s annual survey of new car and light truck buyers includes a question about the buyers’ Overall Satisfaction with the Dealer Experience. Dealer experience includes both the sales experience and service experience. Respondents to the survey have owned their vehicles for ninety days or more so they have had the opportunity to visit the dealership to handle issues with initial quality or get their first oil change.

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In AutoPacific’s 2006 Research Suite results, MINI is the highest scoring brand with 65% of MINI buyers indicating they are “Completely Satisfied” with their dealership experience. The ranking by brand is shown below:
1. 65% MINI
2. 60% Porsche
3. 59% Cadillac
4. 57% Lexus
5. 56% Jaguar
6. 55% BMW
7. 54% Lincoln
8. 53% Saturn
9. 52% Mercury
9. 52% Land Rover
The remainder of the brands are shown below the fold.

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VehicleVoice#56 – The All New Mini


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The more things change the more they stay the same. If there was ever a saying the sums up the launch of the brand new Mini, that would be it. Some might joke, “Where’s the new Mini?” while standing right next to it, but it’s important to remember that there is hardly a more difficult task for a automotive design team than creating an entirely new car, that looks the same as the old model.
That was the challenge put before cheif Mini designer Bert Hildebrand. When David Barrett met him for an exclusive interview at the North American Auto Show in Detroit this month, you couldn’t tell that he’d just finished a grueling redesign. In fact, Hildebrand is as cheerful and charming as the car he’s helped recreate. Barrett not only chats Hildebrand up about the new Mini, but gives you a first look at the all new John Cooper Works Mini and the new Mini Sidewalk.

Show Runtime – 13:59

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NEW MINI Cooper – Mechanically New Old Friend



Disclaimer, the author drives a 2004 MINI Cooper S. All commentary from this article should be viewed as suspect, coming from a mindless MINI disciple. Treat all materials henceforth as suspect, and possibly void of objectivity.

Whew! I dodged a bullet! Driving a car with a tendency towards trendiness is hard enough. Driving a vehicle that was trendy would be unbearable! Fortunately, no one will know the difference.
Penny pinchers who worry that their current MINI may start to depreciate with the launch of the 2008 model have little to worry about. The 2008 MINI looks remarkably similar to the one now on the road. The overall length of the MINI Cooper has been extended by 2.36 inches, while the new MINI Cooper S is 2.4 inches longer. The modest increase in size is due to the MINI’s new, larger engines and new European pedestrian safety rules.

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My Favorite Rides of the Year


At this time of year, everyone wants you to know about the best cars, trucks and SUVS of the year. AutoPacific has already taken a big step in that direction, but with a twist: Partnering with Intellichoice, AutoPacific shared the best vehicles of the year, as picked by you – and that’s saying something! The Awards are called the Motorist’s Choice Awards and this year included the Lexus LS430, The Chevrolet Avalanche 1500 4×2, the Infiniti QX56 and the Audi A6 4.2 Quattro. Where else can you go to get the best possible input from your own peers about the latest vehicles in the marketplace? Since you’re here, we think you’ve come to the right place.
Watch the Podcast: AutoPacific & IntelliChoice Motorist’s Choice Awards


My Personal Choices for Best Rides of the Year
It’s part of my job to drive a new vehicle nearly every week. In some cases, more than one vehicle at week gets the once-over, not only by me, but by a number of the analysts and experts at VehicleVoice and AutoPacific. As the resident speed-guy, I might have a slightly different take on things and while I do try to avoid going to court, I do need to put my foot down. And that’s part of what my list is about. The other things I’m taking into consideration are everyday drivability, cost, and return on investment. And as you know, everyone is concerned about fuel costs and gas mileage. Not me! Not yet… So, let’s get to it.

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New MINI Arrives at 2006 Paris Auto Show


At the 2006 Mondial de l’Automobile, MINI officially introduced the second-generation of the adorable and terrific-driving three-door hatchback and your VehicleVoice and AutoPacific correspondent was on-hand for the unveiling. North American buyers are set to get their first up-close look at Detroit’s 2007 North American International Auto Show in January, but we didnt’ want to wait that long to bring you what we know. Though four concepts in wagon form have been shown over the past year, the three-door is the launch product.



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Mini Cooper – Wins Motorist's Choice Subcompact (Also a 2006 VSA winner)


AutoPacific Take on MINI Cooper’s Win – Owner ratings of the MINI Cooper guaranteed its win of the Motorist’s Choice Award®. The MINI Cooper also won the AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award® for its class. Superior ratings by owners for attributes like interior and exterior styling, fun to drive, braking, handling, quality, reputation and reliability contributed to its class-leading position.
IntelliChoice Analysis – The MINI had to be a hands-on favorite for the inagural Motorist’s Choice award from day one. Not many other vehicles in the current U.S. market blend style, performance, value, reliability and perhaps more than any other fun, in such a perfect package. With a 5 Year Cost of Ownership of just $23,621, more than $3000 less than competitors, the MINI will delight the driver and banker in you!

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Mini Cooper Convertible – Wins Motorist's Choice Convertible



AutoPacific Take on MINI Convertible Win – The MINI Cooper Convertible wins the award for the Convertible Class hands down. Owners applaud its chic image and mixture of new-school technologies with some old school ergonomics. A kick to drive, the MINI delivers good handling and braking, while going topless only enhances the cool factor.
IntelliChoice Analysis – Building a drop top with performance, value, and reliability may not be an easy task but MINI proves it can be done. With a 5 Year Cost of Ownership of just $26,354 vs. the competitions $30,244 the MINI proves that good things do come in small packages.

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Motorist's Choice Awards – a New Benchmark Rating Automotive Excellence

Motorist's Choice Logo blog.jpg

– Awards Recognize Vehicles with Highest Driver Satisfaction and Lowest Cost of Ownership –
– Infiniti QX56 Wins Highest Rating Among All Classes/Vehicle Models –
AutoPacific, the industry source for automotive owner satisfaction ratings and, the online source for automotive ownership cost and value analysis, today announced the results of the newly established Motorist’s Choice Awards for the 2006 vehicle model year. and AutoPacific created the Motorist’s Choice Awards to determine the vehicles that delivered both the highest satisfaction and lowest cost of ownership. The collaboration between the two respected firms, who have each been authorities on the U.S. car market for the last 20 years, takes selected owner satisfaction data from AutoPacific’s surveys of new car and light truck buyers and combines it with’s rating methodology to create a new measurement that speaks to both the hearts and minds of car buyers.
“While the economic analysis of car ownership remains very important—it can save or cost you thousands of dollars over the life of the vehicle—it is also important to recognize owner satisfaction as another significant influencer in vehicle purchases,” said James Bell, publisher of “These are the two key benchmarks we think car buyers should be most attuned to.”
“Ratings of owners’ satisfaction with their new car and truck illustrates how well the vehicle is satisfying the emotional and practical needs of the driver. Satisfaction is more than simply how well a product is screwed together and there are many more dimensions to the equation. Combining AutoPacific’s satisfaction results with the value analysis from IntelliChoice provides the car buyer with an outstanding benchmark to use when selecting a new vehicle,” said George Peterson, President of AutoPacific.
For the inaugural awards, and AutoPacific identified 29 winning models by segment and class. The top-ranked vehicles in their respective categories are:
o Cars: Lexus LS430
o Trucks: Chevrolet Avalanche 1500 (2WD)
o SUV/Crossover: Infiniti QX56
o Minivans/Wagons: Audi A6 4.2 Quattro
In terms of overall rankings, the Infiniti QX56 SUV scored highest in both driver satisfaction and lowest cost of ownership, followed closely by the Lexus LS430 sedan.

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