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Every vehicle seems to get bigger with each generation; it’s really news if something is lighter or more compact than its predecessor. Of course not even is MINI immune to this diabetic swelling; you could say it’s because they’re so sweet to drive. The company’s latest Hardtop is a good bit larger than its forebear. But the vehicle I’m standing next to takes the cake, and eats it all in one sitting.
As if right on cue, MINI has released not one, but two special edition packages for its Cooper and Clubman models. Dubbed Hyde Park and Green Park, both packages pay homage to the Royal Parks in the heart of London.
Both special editions are available worldwide, helping bring a little more British style to our favorite MINI models. The Hyde Park package comes with a Pepper White exterior combined with Hot Chocolate contrasting paintwork on the roof and exterior mirror caps. This is the first time that Hot Chocolate has been offered by the British automaker. Highlighting the Hyde Park package is hood and side stripes in Hot Chocolate further accented by transparent white indicator lenses.
On the interior of the Hyde Park MINI models, Pepper White accents find its way inside. Seats will come in cloth/leather or Leather Gravity with the Carbon Black or Polar Beige Colour Line with the MINI Yours dash lined in leather in a Black/Polar Beige combo.
The Green Park model’s upgrades are identical to the Hyde Park except that it trades the Hot Chocolate shade for a sportier British Racing Green color.
GALLERY: MINI Hyde Park and Green Park Special Editions
We reported on the first details behind this concept in early January, but at the time guessed it would be called the MINI Cargo.
Essentially, the car is a foray into the commercial market with an emphasis on businesses like pizza delivery and will compete with the Fiat 500 Giardinetta Wagon.
No further details are available now, but we’ll have coverage as more information becomes available.
[Source: In Auto News]
MINI will make its way into the commercial vehicle market soon when it releases a cargo-oriented version of the Clubman.
The car, officially called the MINI Cargo, is set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March and will essentially be the same as the Clubman (pictured above), but with the back seats replaced by a cargo bed and blacked out rear side windows. The release represents offers by parent company BMW to remain competitive and preempt the similarly-minded Fiat 500 Giardinetta Wagon.
Small commercial vehicles are already popular in Europe, other examples include the Ford Transit Connect, a compact panel van introduced in Europe in 2002.
While not particularly useful for large cargo, having small, efficient and delivery-specific vehicles is useful for small businesses that hinge on such a service. Expect more details to come on the 13-foot wheelbase bread truck soon.
Free Runners from around the world converged in Detroit last weekend to compete in the MINI-sponsored Red Bull Art of Motion competition. This international free-running competition has been held in cities around the world, and the event in Detroit was the only US stop, as well as the final one, for the 2011 series.
This hot sport is currently a YouTube favorite. Basically, a Free Runner’s goal is to complete a course in an urban setting that’s filled with obstacles of all kinds with as much creativity, style and skill as possible. It’s cool to watch these athletes defy gravity as they leap gorges between buildings and obstacles in awe-inspiring and gasp-inducing feats of lightness. MINI got in on the action, and the all-new MINI Coupe was part of the obstacle course at Russell Industrial Center, while a MINI Clubman was one of many obstacles at Detroit’s Hart Plaza during the final round. Free Runners flipped, vaulted and rolled their way over these cars during their routines in this competition.
Video of the competition after the jump
The boys and girls over at MINI have been busy bodies in the last few years. While the company originally started making just one body style of car with two engine options, MINI has now grown and offers a whole line of vehicles.
You still get the regular Cooper, but add to that the Convertible, the Clubman, the Countryman, the recently announced Paceman, plus the Coupe and Speedster versions planned for 2012, you’d think MINI has enough on its plate already. But you’d be wrong, or at least you would be if the latest rumors prove to be true.
The internet is buzzing with the news that a new version of the MINI Clubman will be launched at the upcoming Geneva Auto Show, dubbed the Hampton. It is said to feature a reef blue metallic paint job with red stripes and door mirror caps.
Along with the expected new badges for this model, also look for such goodies as bi-xenon headlights and new 17-inch alloy wheels as standard. Inside expect black leather with red accents covering seats and other surfaces.
There is no word on price or availability or if any power or chassis tuning is in the works also, but guess we just have to wait till March to find out.
MINI is also expected to debut a new Cooper SD model in Geneva, along with a range of more powerful diesel engines for all of its vehicles.
See AutoGuide’s complete 2011 Geneva Auto Show preview here.
Some rides are better suited for your dogs than others. From your dog’s point of view, all they need is an open window to stick their head out of, but the American Automobile Association (AAA) has put a bit more thought into compiling their list of the best canine-friendly vehicles.
“More than 45 million households in the U.S. have a dog, and many are taking Fido along for the ride on a regular basis,” said John Nielsen, AAA National Director of Auto Repair and Buying Services. “There several vehicles with features that can help keep pets safe, comfortable and easy to clean-up after while also addressing other driver desires such as sportiness, adventure or luxury.”
In order to put together the most through list, AAA Auto Buying’s team of experts test drove and reviewed hundreds of vehicles. The list was based on a wide variety of factors such as crash test ratings, safety features, fuel economy, ease of animal ingress and egress, cargo area size, availability of tie-down hooks and easy-to-clean interiors.
Broken down into six categories, see the winners after the jump:
Day 4 Of the MINI Takes The States Tour was an exciting one for me, as I was able to sample the all-new MINI Countryman before nearly anyone else. Saturday’s epic blast through two states left me exhausted, and I was expecting the Countryman to be a little more laid back than the Clubman S I drove yesterday. I was wrong. Don’t think of the Countryman as a MINI SUV, but as a MINI Cooper S for people with obligations.
Hit the jump to read more about the MINI Countryman
Day 3 of the MINI Takes The States Tour placed a big emphasis on driving. Not the kind of stop and go commuter traffic that we experienced in New York, Philly and Baltimore, but on the kind of high performance spirited driving that MINIs are known for.
Don’t get me wrong – as much as auto writers posture about blasting across twisty blacktop or exiting a corner on a road course with the wheel cranked at full lock, they know somewhere deep down they understand that their audience wants to know how the car does in the daily grind of traffic, gas mileage and all the unglamorous stuff left to plebian drivers. These are the conditions where we drive our press cars 95% of the time; stuck in a barely moving single file row of other cars, belching greenhouse emissions, A/C cranked and the same Lady GaGa song playing across the same 5 radio stations owned by one media conglomerate.
If you’re test driving a mid-size sedan, then the review will be centered on these conditions. But if you’re in something a bit sportier, you’ll go to bed a little earlier on a Friday night and maybe not go to the bar with your buddies. The alarm will be set for an ungodly hour, but you won’t need that double batch of morning coffee, because the urgency will be there. It’s like Christmas morning even though the August humidity is just starting to creep into your day. Today was one of those days.
Hit the jump to see how it all went down:
Fiat is taking dead aim at the MINI brand and is set to introduce two new versions, a three-door estate (a long wheelbase 500 modeled after the Clubman) and a proper five-door hatchback with more interior room. Not surprisingly, these versions will be offered in North America, where the increased space and practicality should broaden the appeal of Fiat’s hot hatch.
Fiat is set to introduce 34 models across all its model ranges by 2014, but the AutoGuide staff still have their hearts set on the Abarth model (above), complete with 5-point racing harnesses and a 170-horsepower turbocharged engine. No word on whether a five-door Abarth will be offered, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed.
The standard Fiat 500 3-door is set to go on sale in North America by the end of the year.