AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
In a recent article, Automotive News praised the new Dodge Dart as an example of true synergies between Fiat and Chrysler, declaring, “the Dart uses savings from its shared Fiat platform and co-developed technology to give Chrysler a larger, more powerful and technologically advanced compact sedan at a lower price than its competitors.”
As these words are typed, the John Cooper Works (JCW) MINI Countryman has yet to be officially unveiled, though in an effort to bring you bang up-to-date, AutoGuide managed to capture these actual pictures (not press images) of it during set up day at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.
MINI hasn’t exactly been coy on the vehicle’s specs and at this juncture we know the JCW Countryman will come exclusively with the ALL4 all-wheel drive system, which under normal conditions powers the front tires, but when needed can transfer up to 50 percent of power to the rear ones. Suspension settings are very similar to the Cooper S countryman, though the 1.6-liter turbo four under the hood has been tuned to deliver more power (211 hp) and a similar amount of torque.
As an enthusiast oriented vehicle, the option of six-speed manual or automatic transmissions and a traction control system that can be turned off completely, should make it quite a ball to drive. Special front and rear fascias, along with standard 18 and optional 19-inch wheels are among the cosmetic enhancements.
European sales are slated to begin in the first half of this year, with North American availability sometime after summer. As for pricing, MINI is currently shy on this aspect of the Countryman JCW, though given the Cooper S AWD version starts at $27,750 and JCW models tending to command up to a 30 percent premium over their S trim counterparts for other MINI models, don’t expect a price tag of around $35-$36,000 to be out of the question.
GALLERY: MINI Countryman JCW
Out of all the current 2012 vehicles available, which would you think are the most suitable when it comes to winter driving?
Well, given that the snow, sleet, ice, hard rain and other glorious aspects of winter weather are now with us for the next few months, making motoring conditions rather dicey at times, that’s something the editors at Kelley Blue Book.com decided to investigate.
When all was said and done, the results of their findings revealed a rather diverse range of vehicles. From cars to minivans, trucks and SUVs, all which shared a common trait, namely a user friendly all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive system, designed to maintain traction under slippery conditions.
According to KBB.com executive editorial director Jack R. Nerad, the top 10 winter driving vehicles were machines that ”help keep you on the road, whether that journey involves a mundane commute to work or a well-deserved weekend getaway to a favorite ski resort.”
Ranked on the list from 10th place to number one were the following vehicles:
10th Subaru Outback; 9th, Toyota Sienna AWD; 8th, Acura MDX; 7th, Ford F-150 4x 4; 6th, Honda CR-V AWD; 5th, Audi A6 Quattro 3.0T; 4th, Chevrolet Traverse AWD; 3rd, Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2nd, Subaru Impreza.
And the winner? Well perhaps not surprisingly, considering the accolades it’s been receiving since launch last year, was the 2012 Range Rover Evoque.
According to KBB.com, the Evoque not only represents “the smallest, lightest and most fuel-efficient model to ever grace the Land Rover lineup,” it’s also a highly capable machine both on and off the tarmac thanks to its “intelligent all-wheel drive system, Terrain Response feature and Tri-mode Adaptive Dynamics suspension designed to maintain optimal ride and handling characteristics under all driving situations.”
[Source: Kelley Blue Book]