Archive for December 2018

2019 MINI Cooper 3-Door

MINI in its most classic form: 3-door, red with white roof

For the 2019 model year, MINI comes with a bunch of technological and design improvements such as:
* LED rear lights in Union Jack design.
* New MINI logo, new body finishes, Piano Black interior.
* New light alloy wheels.
* Extended range of leather trim.
* Unique individualization.
* Multifunction steering wheel and radio with a 6.5-inch color screen, USB and Bluetooth interface as standard.
* Optional radio and navigation systems with touchscreen monitor.
* Telephone with wireless charging.
* MINI connected and MINI Connected XL with new functions.
* MINI logo projection from the exterior mirror on the driver’s side

Our tester, the base model (with manual transmission) in Chilli Red and optional White Bonnet Stripes and White Roof and Mirror Caps had a great appearance (my subjective opinion) that very much reflected the character of this British icon.
As I had several test drives with earlier models, body styles and engines, there was no room for much of surprises.
The sporty, dynamic and go-cart like driving characteristics remain. And this was the first MINI I tested with manual transmission. Although not for everybody in North America. (with a preferred rate of less than 10 percent overall), it boosts your driving pleasure and gives you more control over the vehicle.

The turbocharged three-cylinder engine works well with the six-speed manual transmission. You never have the feeling of underpowered with 134 hp and 162 lb-ft, delivered at as low as 1,250 rpm.

The turbocharged three-cylinder engine works well with this six-speed transmission. You never have the feeling of underpowered with 134 hp and 162 lb-ft, at as low as 1,250 rpm.
Despite the short wheelbase, thanks to relatively vertical A-pillar and a non-sloping roofline, the room economy is very good for this class even for the rear-seat passengers.
You are surrounded by a lot of plastic inside, but it doesn’t feel cheap or boring due to classic and beautiful dashboard design.

For MINI fans as well as for those who want to join a brand with a lot of history and character, this model offers an affordable alternative.

And having BMW as the mother company is a big bonus in terms of technology and production quality. The British automobile industry is now in good, German hands.

Article and photos by Varol McKars

2018 Lincoln MKC 2.3T

A weekend escape to Bracebridge in Muskoka Lakes was an opportunity to enjoy an out-town test drive

Lincoln’s compact SUV, based on Ford’s well-selling Escape is a contender in the arguably most competitive class, compact, luxury SUV’s.
This model is somewhat aged (even if gracefully) and you should expect the next-gen MKC around 2021. From a fairer point of view, we should say that there are brand new and arguably better models on the market, such as Acura RDX and Audi Q5.

My tester had the optional 2.3Liter 4-cylinder turbo engine generating 285 horsepower and offering AWD.
During my testing week, (in the city during the week and cottage country at the weekend) the most memorable part of my experience was “range anxiety”, sort of. The tank is small and the average consumption is around 14 liters. So, it is not unusual to have another tank stop in less than 450 kilometers.

I drove this vehicle to Muskoka Lakes for a weekend escape. A nice, comfortable drive on the highway, without being too sporty (even if the MKC had a sports mode). Sportiness is not a Lincoln domain and nothing wrong with this.

The technology, from settled ride to well-functioning sync system, well-isolated cabin, and good brakes make a very good over impression.

Ford was a bit late to recognize the importance of having a luxury brand (maybe, they were too busy to reinvent the mother brand in the first half of this decade). Now more work is necessary to improve on finer details and continue to build the Lincoln image.

MKC versus Escape: FoMoCo has two strong contenders in the traditional and luxury compact SUV segment

Article and photos by Varol McKars