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All-New, 2017 MINI Countryman Is Bigger and Tougher, Offers Hybrid

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MINI has unveiled the all-new, 2017 Countryman, the biggest vehicle it has ever made. Not only is it larger than before, but the new Countryman also looks more like a crossover and offers MINI’s first-ever plug-in hybrid.

The new Countryman is now 7.8 inches longer than the previous-gen model and has a 2.9-inch longer wheelbase, meaning more interior room.

Although the British crossover’s proportions have changed little, it features a more chiseled and rugged look characterized by sharper headlights, beefier rear haunches, and a more upright rear end.

The interior is nearly identical to that of the latest Clubman, with the speedometer moving from the center console to behind the steering wheel, clearing up space for a 6.5-inch touch screen that comes standard.

The overall cabin offers more room for five adults and boasts 30-percent more trunk space, while the long list of standard features also includes keyless entry, parking sensors, a panoramic sunroof, and alloy wheels.

Buyers now have three versions of the Countryman to choose from: Cooper, Cooper S and the Cooper S E ALL4 plug-in hybrid. The base Countryman Cooper is powered by a turbocharged 1.5L three-cylinder engine that makes 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque, while the sportier Cooper S makes due with a notably more powerful turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder unit with 189-hp and 207 pound-feet.

Both models come standard with with a six-speed manual transmission and a front-wheel drive setup, but buyers have the option of all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox. A 2.0-liter diesel rated at 148-hp (150PS) in the Cooper D and 187-hp (190PS) in the Cooper SD will be offered in Europe but not North America.

The Countryman Cooper plug-in hybrid combines the 3-cylinder engine with an electric motor to produce a combined output of 221-hp. It is capable of driving up to 24 miles (39 km) on electric power only.

Interestingly, with a 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) sprint of 6.8 seconds, the plug-in Countryman is the fastest member of the family.

The all-new, second-generation MINI Countryman goes on sale in March 2017 after making its world debut at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show. The Cooper S E ALL4 plug-in hybrid arrive a few months later in June.

Will you consider any of the three variants for your next vehicle purchase?

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Buick

2020 Buick Enclave Brings New Sport Touring Package

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Buick’s big SUV also gets a new infotainment system and optional surround-view camera system.

The Buick Enclave has received a few updates for its 2020 model year, most notable of which is a new Sport Touring package that gives it a sportier appearance.

Available on the Essence trim level, the ST package adds a unique body-color grille and 20-inch bright machined aluminum wheels with contrasting Satin Graphite pockets.

The 2020 Enclave also benefits from Buick’s next-gen infotainment system that’s standard on all models, complete with an 8-inch touchscreen. It can also be equipped with a new HD Rear Vision Camera, an HD Surround Vision systems, and a new, four-way power lumbar seat adjuster with a driver and front passenger massage feature that comes standard on Premium and Avenir editions.

The 2020 model year introduces three new exterior colors: Champagne Gold Metallic, Rich Garnet Metallic (Avenir only) and Dark Moon Blue Metallic.

Sales of the 2020 Buick Enclave begin in late summer 2019, with prices starting at $41,195 (including freight).

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Crossovers

Kia Seltos Is A New Small SUV For The World

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It’s a global vehicle, but will it be sold in North America?

Kia Motors used an event in Delhi India to unveil the Kia Seltos, a new compact SUV that will be sold in several markets around the world.

Positioned at the bottom of the company’s expanding crossover and SUV line-up, the new Seltos goes after “youthful, tech-savvy buyers” with a sharp design inside and out, and the tech and practicality millennials expect in vehicle of its size.

The exterior features a tall, upright front end characterized by a wide rendition of Kia’s trademark tiger nose grille flanked by LED headlights and 3D indicators, while horizontal lines on both ends help make the crossover look bigger than it actually is. It looks like a Kia.

Inside, the Seltos can be equipped with a 10.25-inch screen for the infotainment system, a head-up display, and ambient lighting that pulses to the beat of the music. A split-screen function let’s users customize the infotainment screen and view up to three menus at the same time.

Power can be provided by a 1.6-liter turbodiesel rated at 136 horsepower, a naturally-aspirated, 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 149 horsepower, or a 177-horsepower, 1.6-liter turbo four, while the gearbox options consist of a continuously variable transmission (CVT), a six-speed automatic, and a seven-speed dual-clutch.

Manufactured in both India and South Korea, the new, 2020 Kia Seltos goes on sale in the fourth quarter of 2019. It’s not clear if it will be sold in the United States and Canada.

TRIVIA: The name Seltos comes from Greek mythology, particularly Hercules’ son Celtos. To make it appear sportier, Kia simply replaced the ‘C’ with an ‘S’.

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Crossovers

Toyota, Subaru Team Up To Develop All-Electric SUV

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Then makers of the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ are shifting some of their resources from sports cars to electric vehicles.

Toyota and Subaru are expanding their existing partnership to include the development of a new electric platform for midsize and large passenger vehicles. The platform will initially be used for a C-segment SUV that will be sold under each company’s own brand.

Subaru will provide its expertise in all-wheel drive technologies, while Toyota will bring its electrified vehicles know-how. By combing their respective strengths, they will be better be able to tackle market challenges surrounding electric vehicles, including development costs and battery supplies.

“The platform will be developed in a way that will make it broadly applicable to multiple vehicle types, including C-segment-class and D-segment-class sedans and SUVs, as well as to efficient development of derivative vehicle models,” the Japanese automakers stated in a press release.

Subaru and Toyota have collaborated on vehicle development since 2005, with their efforts resulting in the Toyota 86 / Subaru BRZ sports cars and the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid.

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