2014 Cute-ute Shootout: Buick Encore vs. MINI Countryman vs. Nissan JUKE

North Americans have a curious affinity towards SUVs, particularly shrunken down versions of them that seem to get smaller with each passing year. That’s why several automakers are now offering eye-catching models to cater to the younger, style conscious demographic. Here we look at three affordable and quirky tiny crossovers that don’t get as much attention as they should.

Buick Encore

Buick Encore

At a mere 4,278 millimetres in length, the Buick Encore is the definition of a cute-ute. Despite its small stature, the Encore is still able to carry 1,371 litres of cargo with the rear seats folded down. A 1.4-litre 138-horsepower EcoTec turbocharged engine powers this tiny SUV that was completely redesigned for 2013. Mated to a standard six-speed automatic transmission with optional all-wheel drive, fuel consumption is manufacturer rated at 7.9 L/100 km for combined city and highway driving. New features this year include the addition of safety features like Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Side Blind Zone Alert, and Siri Eyes Free technology that allows control of your iPhone’s Siri functions via controls on the steering wheel. Continue reading 2014 Cute-ute Shootout: Buick Encore vs. MINI Countryman vs. Nissan JUKE

MINI Countryman. Preview.

•  With the addition of the MINI Countryman as the fourth variant in its model family, MINI is taking the inimitable MINI feeling into a new dimension. The MINI Countryman crossover bridges the gap between the classic MINI concept and a contemporary Sports Activity Vehicle. Its broader range of abilities in both urban use and beyond paves the way for larger and evolving target groups with a greater need for space and flexibility to experience the driving fun that comes with a MINI. The brand’s first model to feature four doors and a wide-opening tailgate, the Countryman offers more space – which can be used in a wide variety of ways – to go with its raised seating position and optimised ride comfort. Plus, the “go-kart” feeling for which MINI is a byword has been preserved and takes on a new dimension with the optional MINI ALL4 all-wheel-drive system. The MINI Countryman expresses the defining virtues of the brand in terms of design, premium quality, handling, efficiency and the scope for customisation – and does so in an absorbingly individual way.

•  The MINI Countryman manifests an effective and assured development of the brand’s design language. The new model combines larger body dimensions, increased ground clearance and four side doors with the hallmark features of MINI design. Short overhangs, a high window line, a commanding over-the-wheel stance and the wrap-around look of the windows – extending all the way around the vehicle – create typical MINI proportions. The Countryman provides a fresh interpretation of classic MINI features, such as the roof line, hexagonal radiator grille, large headlights set into the bonnet, side indicator surrounds, capacious wheel arches and vertical rear light clusters.
Continue reading MINI Countryman. Preview.