The Mini Cooper Clubman is a stylish, fun-to-drive Mini that finally is big enough for mainstream consumers and luxurious enough for upscale buyers. It is a crucial new product coming at just the right time.
Along with its substantial footprint, the new Clubman is tasked with a more important role in the Mini hierarchy. Previously it was a slightly roomier variant of the Hardtop hatchback. The new Clubman is billed as the marque’s flagship and it is charged with taking the whole brand further upmarket in the premium small-car space. Mini officials say this segment is a key growth area. (See related story: Mini Launches Huge New Flagship).
WardsAuto editor Drew Winter has been a juror for the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards for well over a decade. In addition to evaluating the latest models for NACTOY, he also is a judge for the Wards 10 Best Engines and 10 Best Interiors competitions. Here is his take on the six NACTOY finalists. (See Related story:
the BUDD-e, is a nostalgically designed electric-powered microbus laden with all the latest technology, including a 101-kWh battery that provides up to 373 mile (600 km) of pure electric range on the optimistic European testing cycle.
In the past 18 months the company has assembled a staff of about 750 employees from BMW, Tesla, Apple and other top companies, but it does not discuss its business plan, who its customers will be or when it expects to be profitable.
The Voltec propulsion system already was one of the most innovative powertrains ever mass produced. Now GM has made it significantly better in every way. There was no way we could not put it on the list this year.
If EVs are to attract mainstream buyers in the absence of high fuel prices, they will have to be so appealing they do not require buyers to switch political parties or care about climate change. The ’16 Volt comes closest to solving that riddle.