The mid-cycle refresh is a proven way for an automaker to prop up flagging interest in a car that’s been on the market for three or four years. A nip here, a tuck there and a few new features, perhaps, are good at helping revive interest in an existing design that’s losing traction to newer models in the sales race.
Monthly Archives: November 2011
In 2007, the then-new Nissan Versa was a giant among subcompact cars, with interior volume that rivalled compacts and refinement that bettered some bigger cars. A lot has changed since then, and a number of the Versa’s competitors have caught up. Nissan’s response, for 2012, was to once again make the Versa the biggest small car there is.
I love the Mini Cooper hatchback. From its great proportions and stellar handling to its compact size, useful interior and great fuel economy, it’s just about the perfect choice for anyone who wants an economical and truly entertaining small car, providing you can swallow its premium price tag.
But a car brand can rarely survive on one model alone. That’s why Mini added a convertible (2005), the wagon-like Clubman (2008), the Countryman crossover (2011) and most recently, this car, the Cooper coupe.
The Infiniti M35h is this upscale brand’s first crack at the gas-electric hybrid market. Nice car, but its drive system doesn’t work as seamlessly as those in other, lower-priced, hybrids. Click through to read my review at Autos.ca.
The Saturn Astra was the GM brand’s last attempt at selling a small car in North America, before GM decided to cut Saturn as part of a 2009 restructuring plan. The Astra probably would have disappeared sooner or later anyway, as it never sold well, for any number of reasons. Click here for my opinion on buying one from your local used car lot.
In the past, upscale, stylish compact hatchbacks have, naturally, been the exclusive domain of upscale manufacturers. That changes, now, with the introduction of the Hyundai Veloster, a car that pitches the Korean manufacturer into the same arena as cars like the Mini Cooper and Volvo C30.
(Photo courtesy Michelle Siu/AJAC)
I was in Niagara on the Lake during the last week of October, along with other auto journalists from across Canada, to drive some of the new vehicles on offer for the 2012 model year. The event is called Testfest, and through it, the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) will eventually choose a 2012 Canadian Car of the Year and Utility Vehicle of the Year from a field of 56 entrants. Click here to read my Autos.ca piece on the best vehicles in 11 categories, and which of those I think are candidates for the overall awards, which will be announced next February, at the Toronto auto show.
If I were to spend six figures on a car, I’d want a vehicle capable of doing it all, from running hot laps on a racetrack in the morning to bringing home my groceries that evening. Looking great in the process would be a nice touch, too.