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    2017 MINI Countryman Grows and Brings A Plug-In Hybrid


    • MINI's largest model grows once again (Yes, we know it's an oxymoron)


    We can't help but wonder if MINI is kind of missing the point of their name. This thought came up as we were looking at the details of the second-generation Countryman that will be debuting next month at the LA Auto Show.

    Compared to the outgoing Countryman, the 2017 model is 8.1-inches longer, 1.3-inches wider, and rides on a wheelbase that 2.9-inches longer. MINI, you're supposed to keep your vehicles small, not making them bigger. But we have to admit this growth spurt does make the Countryman look more SUV than raised-hatchback.

    The increase in size also allows for a larger interior. Shoulder room increases by 2-inches for both rows and rear legroom jumps by 3.8-inches. Cargo space measures 17.6 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 47.6 cubic feet with the seats down - up 5.6 cubic feet in both measurements. Otherwise, the interior matches up with current MINI models with such details as an improved layout for the dash and the option of a 8.8-inch screen for the infotainment system.

    There are three powertrains on offer. The base Cooper features a turbocharged 1.5L three-cylinder with 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. Cooper S models get a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder producing 189 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. Both gas engines feature the choice of a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic, along with the choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive. New for this generation is Cooper S E Countryman All4 - MINI's first plug-in hybrid. This pairs the 1.5L three-cylinder with an 87-horsepower electric motor and a 7.6-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. Total output stands at 221 horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque. This makes the Cooper S E Countryman All4 the most powerful Countryman on sale (until the JCW version comes out). Electric-only range stands at 24 Miles. MINI hasn't released any details on how it takes to recharge.

    MINI says the 2017 Countryman will arrive in the U.S. next March. The plug-in hybrid will arrive in June.

    Source: MINI
    Press Release is on Page 2


    Introducing the Biggest, Most Adventurous MINI Yet: The New MINI Countryman

    - First ever plug-in hybrid available on Countryman as Cooper S E ALL4 variant 
    - World Premiere of all three variants at Los Angeles International Auto Show 
    - Cooper and Cooper S go on sale in March 2017, while Cooper S E ALL4 plug-in hybrid goes on sale in June 2017

    Woodcliff Lake, NJ – October 25, 2016 – MINI USA introduced today the biggest, most adventurous MINI ever, the all-new 2017 MINI Countryman. That’s not all. For the first time ever, a MINI model will be offered as a plug-in hybrid, combining the best of both worlds. The MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 will be powered by both a three- cylinder MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology gasoline engine and an electric hybrid synchronous motor. All three of the new MINI Countryman variants will make their World Premiere at the Los Angeles International Auto Show at a press conference on Wednesday, November 16th, at 11:50 am PDT.

    The all-new MINI Countryman has been completely redesigned and reengineered from the ground up, yet still is instantly identifiable as a MINI. Now incorporating BMW Group engine technology and vehicle architecture, the all-new MINI Countryman offers an all-turbocharged engine lineup with outstanding acceleration and the go-kart driving dynamics that MINI owners have come to know and love – especially when experienced with the added traction that comes from the latest generation of ALL4 all- wheel drive. At the same time, this new architecture delivers excellent ride quality and enables the most spacious MINI interior ever.

    “The new MINI Countryman is not only the largest MINI we’ve ever built, but it’s also the most technologically advanced and most versatile MINI of our product line up,” said Thomas Felbermair, Vice President MINI of the Americas. “The addition of the plug-in hybrid option is a major milestone for the brand and we look forward to bringing this exciting new vehicle into one of the top performing market segments.”

    Fun to drive

    The benefits from the BMW Group engine technology are evident across both the Cooper and Cooper S variants, with the new three-cylinder MINI TwinPower turbocharged engine on the MINI Cooper Countryman delivering 42 percent more torque than its predecessor, just shy of the outgoing Cooper S variant. The MINI Cooper Countryman can also hit 0 – 60 mph 1.6 seconds more quickly than did its predecessor, and for the first time, can be matched with ALL4 all-wheel drive. Meanwhile, with 207 ft-lbs on tap, the turbocharged four-cylinder engine on the MINI Cooper S Countryman nearly matches the torque output of the outgoing MINI John Cooper Works Countryman.

    As the most adventurous MINI ever built, traction and performance in all kinds of conditions, wet or dry, rugged or smooth, straight or curvy, the new MINI Countryman benefits from the all-new ALL4 all-wheel drive system. The fully automatic system seamlessly delivers power to the wheels that grip and reacts to road conditions in as little as .25 seconds, with no action required by the driver or passenger.

    Spacious interior

    The biggest MINI ever means more space for cargo, people and anything else needed for your next big adventure. Not only does the all-new MINI Countryman offer cavernous cargo space – an increase of 30 percent compared to the outgoing generation – but with sliding, folding rear seats, a high roofline, and an adjustable trunk floor, it offers an incredibly flexible, versatile one too. The new MINI Countryman now has more front and rear legroom, front and rear headroom and rear seat shoulderroom than many of the major competitors in its class.

    Pre-Outfitted with Premium Features

    Although the new MINI Countryman continues the MINI tradition of offering an incredible array of possibilities for custom configuration, some customers may find that the car is already loaded before they’ve added any options. Every MINI Countryman will come standard with:

    - an expansive Panorama Sunroof - Sensatec Leatherette Upholstery - Comfort Access keyless entry - MINI Connected infotainment system with 6.5-inch high-resolution display - Rear View Camera with guidelines - Rear Park Distance Control (parking sensors) - Bluetooth supporting Telephone, Audio Streaming, and Siri Eyes Free - Automatic Headlights and Rain-Sensing Windshield Wipers - Fore-and-Aft Sliding Rear Seats with Reclining and 40:20:40 Split-Folding Backrests - 17-inch light alloy wheels (Cooper) or 18-inch light alloy wheels (Cooper S)

    Models with ALL4 all-wheel drive also come standard with heated seats. Cooper S models (with and without ALL4) come with standard LED headlights and daytime running lights, bolstered sport seats, and 18-inch light alloy wheels.

    In addition to the standard features highlighted above, the new MINI Countryman features a number of options to improve the overall experience for the driver and passenger using a completely new generation of technology. A Technology Package includes a new 8.8-inch touchscreen navigation system, driven by MINI Connected 5.0, a redesigned and new-generation user interface and operating system, as well as Qi wireless device charging capability and MINI Find Mate Bluetooth tags.

    The option to plug-in

    The biggest, most adventurous MINI ever built will also be the most technologically advanced MINI when the brand launches its first ever plug-in hybrid model, the new MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4, in June 2017. Behind the scenes, a 3-cylinder gasoline engine works in tandem with a powerful electric motor to produce a combined peak output of 221 hp, with the e-rear axle enabling all-season ALL4 traction – but for drivers, Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 simply means high-tech Motoring fun.

    It’s the perfect vehicle for city dwellers who wish to enjoy the benefits of purely electric mobility when commuting between home and work every day, for example, while at the same time benefiting from unlimited long-distance suitability on the weekend.

    #FromWhereIMINI

    Later this week, drone photographer Dirk Dallas (@dirka) will be taking the new MINI Countryman on a cross country adventure to its World Premiere in Los Angeles. Fellow MINI fans and adventurers can follow the action @MINIUSA as Dirk shares some of his favorite adventure spots across the country. Additionally, fans will have a chance at winning limited edition MINI Adventure Series patches by guessing Dirk’s #FromWhereIMINI location.

    The new MINI Countryman will go on sale in March 2017 at MINI dealers across the U.S. with the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 plug-in hybrid following in June 2017. Pricing for the U.S. market will be announced at a later date.

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    it's just weird that a company historically built on efficient, fun vehicles couldn't be assed to make a proper EV in the year 2016...

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    2 hours ago, ocnblu said:

    Just goes to show that in 2016, electrification is still seen as a far-out fringe novelty that no one wants.

    On the contrary, I work on a university campus and the majority of students that I talk to want to actually own an electric or hybrid car.  Just because your close friends in the bingo and shuffleboard crowd really liked the six volt systems in their Studebakers, Packards and DeSotos does not mean that modern electric vehicles are unwanted.

    Edited by A Horse With No Name
    spelling
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    4 hours ago, ocnblu said:

    Just goes to show that in 2016, electrification is still seen as a far-out fringe novelty that no one wants.

    Sept. Mini Sales: 2,988

    Sept. Tesla Sales: 4,864

    lol

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    Bravo for going bigger so us big folks might actually fit and consider one. Boo for the piss poor Hybrid. They should have at least a 50 to 60 mile range in that battery pack. Pathetic.

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    So it is going to be ~170 inches in length (going by current model being ~162 inches, still shorter than a Mazda 3 or Impreza hatchback by a few inches.

     

     

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    7 minutes ago, frogger said:

    So it is going to be ~170 inches in length (going by current model being ~162 inches, still shorter than a Mazda 3 or Impreza hatchback by a few inches.

     

     

    They have lost their way from a marketing standpoint and will probably never re find it.  Imprezza much more closely matches what the market wants.  Subaru met its 2020 sales goal 4 years early....

    MINI is trying to re catch its sales goals from a decade ago.

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    1 hour ago, bigpoolog said:

    Sept. Mini Sales: 2,988

    Sept. Tesla Sales: 4,864

    lol

    Sept. Chevrolet Volt sales - 2,031  

    And that's a single model against an entire model lineup.

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    47 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Sept. Chevrolet Volt sales - 2,031  

    And that's a single model against an entire model lineup.

    Volt sales should go up with time.  Most owners are fanatical about how much they love their car, and as more are resold used to people the customer base rises. 

    Mini on the other hand has had their day.

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    Please help me out by posting the commanding percentage of the overall market that hybrids and full electrics represent in 2016.

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    http://redbullglobalrallycross.com/news/latestnews/red-bull-global-rallycross-add-electric-series-2018-season/

    This should show some of the interest with the younger generation in electric cars, Red Bull is adding an electric division for Rallycross.  given that the people into this are ninety eight percent under thirty...would they be doing this if it was not going to appeal to their target demographic?

    13 hours ago, ocnblu said:

    No I'm just a realist.  And you should keep your Jetta.

    Would love to keep the Jetta but it is pretty much a one year only engine and emissions system, and will be hard to get parts for in a couple of years. Plus they are going to pay me twenty five grand for a car that is worth maybe 11 grand with the scandal.

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    Look for example at a car like the 2004 Lincoln LS with the V8. Jaguar is no longer producing parts or tooling for the 3.9, and there is not enough enthusiast interest to support the car long term. Thus it pretty much is a unicorn.  same thing will happen with the 2015 Jetta I own.

    Shame because the car knocks down 50 plus MPG on the highway without much of an effort.  Will be a big shock if I actually buy the WRX I am thinking seriously of.

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    3 hours ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    http://redbullglobalrallycross.com/news/latestnews/red-bull-global-rallycross-add-electric-series-2018-season/

    This should show some of the interest with the younger generation in electric cars, Red Bull is adding an electric division for Rallycross.  given that the people into this are ninety eight percent under thirty...would they be doing this if it was not going to appeal to their target demographic?

    Would love to keep the Jetta but it is pretty much a one year only engine and emissions system, and will be hard to get parts for in a couple of years. Plus they are going to pay me twenty five grand for a car that is worth maybe 11 grand with the scandal.

    Red Bull rally is gonna be a hit with Millennials. It is amazing the interest in EV auto's by that segment.

    I agree with you take the money and run, VW had their day and the Diesel scandal has set them back in the public view about 25-30 years.

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    58 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    Red Bull rally is gonna be a hit with Millennials. It is amazing the interest in EV auto's by that segment.

    I agree with you take the money and run, VW had their day and the Diesel scandal has set them back in the public view about 25-30 years.

    Not sure why they are trying to bring in an under powered under engineered US market only SUV for the masses either.  They seem to have the opposite of the Midas touch. '

    Really, it is hard to match US car makers at their own game. Anyone who would buy this MINI SUV over a GMC Terrain needs to have their head examined!

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    12 hours ago, ocnblu said:

    Please help me out by posting the commanding percentage of the overall market that hybrids and full electrics represent in 2016.

    The more expensive electric car sells within 900 units of an entire "youth and sporty" brand that base prices about $10k less 

    Toyota sells more Prii in 2 months than Mini sells cars in an entire year. 

    Even a 20% take rate on the Fusion Hybrid would outnumber the number of Minis sold in a year.

    And that's just three models...

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    1 hour ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    The more expensive electric car sells within 900 units of an entire "youth and sporty" brand that base prices about $10k less 

    Toyota sells more Prii in 2 months than Mini sells cars in an entire year. 

    Even a 20% take rate on the Fusion Hybrid would outnumber the number of Minis sold in a year.

    And that's just three models...

    Does not answer the question there, skeeter.  And Horsey, that would certainly be a babe magnet!  Except it still basically depends on good ol' gasoline for motive power.  ;)

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    1 minute ago, ocnblu said:

    Does not answer the question there, skeeter.  And Horsey, that would certainly be a babe magnet!  Except it still basically depends on good ol' gasoline for motive power.  ;)

    Electric motive power is growing whether you like it or not.

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    We just fixed a '14 Jetta TDi this week.  I was talking to the guy about the so-called "scandal".  He says he is in love with his Jetta and he is keeping it.  So he gets a check from VW for his imaginary troubles and gets to keep his beloved car... "50 MPG!" he says.

    1 minute ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Electric motive power is growing whether you like it or not.

    I ASKED FOR THE TRUTH, MONSIGNOR!  NOT SOME DANCE AROUND IT!  ;)

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    MINI, as a brand, is junk.  Just like BMW.  I just think it's funny that so many hybrids have been introduced to great fanfare, then soon after, they are dead and no one misses them.  I could list them.  Wanna hear it?  :smilewide:

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    Just now, ocnblu said:

    MINI, as a brand, is junk.  Just like BMW.  I just think it's funny that so many hybrids have been introduced to great fanfare, then soon after, they are dead and no one misses them.  I could list them.  Wanna hear it?  :smilewide:

    About the same number of people who still miss Pontiac or Oldsmobile?

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      The 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, launching at dealerships nationwide later this year, is anticipated to earn an all-electric driving range rating of 42 miles1, the longest of any midsize plug-in hybrid. For longer trips, the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid can utilize its hyper-efficient 1.5-liter Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder engine to generate electricity and, under certain conditions, to act as a direct power source, resulting in an anticipated overall driving range rating in excess of 330 miles1.
      The vehicle's electromotive power comes from a 181-horsepower electric motor producing 232 lb.-ft. of torque and drawing power from both the gasoline engine and a 17-kilowatt hour (kWh) battery pack with a recharge time of 2.5 hours at 240 volts. The Clarity Plug-in Hybrid is anticipated to earn an EPA fuel economy rating of 105 MPGe1  (miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent) combined, at the top of its class. The Clarity Plug-in Hybrid features three selectable modes – Normal, Econ and Sport – allowing drivers to customize their experience, maximizing efficiency or driving performance. A fourth mode – HV mode – is provided to maintain the battery's state of charge and can be selected in conjunction with Normal, Econ and Sport driving modes.
      As the sales volume leader in the Clarity lineup, the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid will be offered in two premium-contented trims, standard and Touring.
      Honda Clarity Electric
      The 2017 Honda Clarity Electric is geared toward consumers who desire a spacious, comfortable and affordable sedan that suits their daily driving needs. The Clarity Electric is powered by a 161-horsepower (120-kilowatt) electric motor producing 221 lb.-ft. of torque and drawing power from a 25.5-kWh battery pack. The vehicle can by fully charged in just over three hours at 240 volts, and when using DC fast charging with the SAE Combined Charging System can achieve an 80 percent charge in just 30 minutes.
      The model is anticipated to have an anticipated EPA fuel economy rating of 120/102/111 MPGe (city/highway/combined)2. Like the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, the Clarity Electric features three selectable driving modes – Normal, Econ and Sport. The Clarity Electric will launch later this year, starting with an attractive lease program in California and Oregon.
      Honda Clarity Fuel Cell
      Honda views fuel cells as the ultimate zero-emissions vehicle technology and the Clarity Fuel Cell offers green early adopters the latest technology to be on the forefront of "what's next." Honda began deliveries of the 2017 Clarity Fuel Cell in December 2016 in select California markets, where a consumer friendly network of hydrogen stations continues to grow, and has already delivered more than 100 vehicles.
      Technological innovations to the Clarity Fuel Cell have created a fuel cell stack that is 33 percent more compact with a 60 percent increase in power density compared to its predecessor, the Honda FCX Clarity. The more compact fuel cell and integrated powertrain, now comparable in size to a V-6 engine, fits entirely under the hood of the car, allowing for a more spacious cabin with seating for five passengers.
      At 366 miles, the Clarity Fuel Cell has the highest EPA driving range rating of any zero-emission vehicle in America, including fuel cell and battery electric vehicles, and an EPA fuel economy rating of 68 MPGe3 combined. The Clarity Fuel Cell is available for the competitive introductory lease price of $369 a month for 36 months with $2,868 due at signing4. The lease terms include an attractive mileage allowance of 20,000 miles per year, up to $15,000 of hydrogen fuel, up to 21 days of an Avis Luxury Rental in California, 24/7 roadside assistance, and eligibility for California "White Sticker" single occupant HOV access. Lessees can also apply for the State of California $5,000 rebate5. The Clarity Fuel Cell is available in three colors: Bordeaux Red Metallic, White Orchid Pearl and Crystal Black Pearl.

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    • By William Maley
      Up until now, the Honda Clarity has only been able as a hydrogen fuel cell only sold in California since they have the infrastructure. But today at the New York Auto Show has expanded the Clarity lineup with the introduction of electric and plug-in hybrid variants.
      We'll begin with the Clarity Electric which comes with 120-kW electric motor delivering 161 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. A 25.5-kWh battery pack provides the juice and can be recharged within three hours when plugged into a 240V outlet. As we reported previously and has since been confirmed by Honda, the Clarity EV will have a range of around 80 miles.
      Next is the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid that uses a more powerful electric motor (181 horsepower electric motor producing 232 pound-feet of torque) and a 17-kilowatt hour (kWh) battery pack. A 1.5L Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder acts a range extender and direct power source (under certain conditions). Honda says the Plug-In can travel 42 miles on EV power alone. With the 1.5L engine, total range stands at 330 miles.
      Both Clarity models will be available later this year. The electric variant will only be available in California and Oregon as a lease-only program.
      Source: Honda
      Press Release is on Page 2


      Honda Electrified! Clarity Plug-in Hybrid and Clarity Electric Unveiled at 2017 New York International Auto Show

      Apr 12, 2017 - NEW YORK CITY
      "3-in-1" Clarity series provides unparalleled electric drive choice with premium midsize sedan capability and three advanced electrified powertrain options Plug-in Hybrid anticipated to earn 42-mile EV driving range rating and 330-mile extended range rating Honda targets five-fold increase in sales of electrified vehicles in next four years Honda today revealed its all-new Clarity Plug-in Hybrid and Clarity Electric alongside the already available Clarity Fuel Cell, saying it will target U.S. sales of 75,000 Clarity vehicles in the first four model years. The Clarity series will contribute to an anticipated five-fold increase in Honda's U.S. sales of electrified vehicles over the next four years as the company works toward its target that two-thirds of its global automobile sales will come from electrified vehicles by 2030.
      The two all-new electrified Honda vehicles will join the Clarity Fuel Cell, launched in December 2016, to make Clarity the first ever vehicle series offering customers an expanded array of electrified vehicle choices with fuel cell, battery electric and plug-in hybrid powertrains wrapped in a sophisticated, spacious and comprehensively equipped five-passenger sedan.
      "The Honda Clarity is aimed at accelerating the deployment of advanced electrified powertrain technology and bringing electrified vehicles further into the mainstream," said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., at the company's auto show press conference. "The Clarity series also heralds the advancement of our Honda Electrification Initiative, representing our investment in the full spectrum of electric-vehicle technologies."
      "Electrification is the future of mobility and the future of Honda, and it all starts now with this new Clarity series," added Steve Center, vice president of the Connected and Environmental Business Development Office at American Honda.
      Honda Clarity Series
      As the next progression of Honda's dynamic styling for electrified products, each Clarity variant has a low, wide aerodynamic body with unique design elements, including its own special hero color, and differentiated front styling, headlights, tail lamps and 18-inch alloy wheel designs. Combined with elegant and advanced exterior styling, each Clarity series vehicle has a spacious interior with comfortable seating for five adults, outfitted with premium, environmentally responsible materials.
      Offering Honda's "fun-to-drive" DNA, each Clarity variant provides a smooth, quiet and highly refined driving experience, aided by the smooth and seamless character of electric drive torque and acceleration. The Clarity series also features advanced technologies, including Display Audio with Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™, and the full suite of HONDA SENSING™ safety and driver-assistive technologies.
      With three different powertrains and luxury packaging, the Clarity series has wide appeal. This shared "3-in-1" platform strategy will enable Honda to respond to infrastructure and market developments, provide customers nationwide with an ultra-low carbon vehicle that meets their lifestyle needs, and takes Honda toward higher volume sales of advanced powertrain products that will help reduce CO2 emissions.
      The Clarity series is at the vanguard of Honda's commitment to address society's energy and environmental concerns as the company expects significant growth in sales of efficient, lower CO2 electrified vehicles. Honda has previously announced plans to introduce a dedicated new hybrid car to the U.S. market in 2018. The new Honda hybrid car will be made in America.
      Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid
      The 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, launching at dealerships nationwide later this year, is anticipated to earn an all-electric driving range rating of 42 miles1, the longest of any midsize plug-in hybrid. For longer trips, the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid can utilize its hyper-efficient 1.5-liter Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder engine to generate electricity and, under certain conditions, to act as a direct power source, resulting in an anticipated overall driving range rating in excess of 330 miles1.
      The vehicle's electromotive power comes from a 181-horsepower electric motor producing 232 lb.-ft. of torque and drawing power from both the gasoline engine and a 17-kilowatt hour (kWh) battery pack with a recharge time of 2.5 hours at 240 volts. The Clarity Plug-in Hybrid is anticipated to earn an EPA fuel economy rating of 105 MPGe1  (miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent) combined, at the top of its class. The Clarity Plug-in Hybrid features three selectable modes – Normal, Econ and Sport – allowing drivers to customize their experience, maximizing efficiency or driving performance. A fourth mode – HV mode – is provided to maintain the battery's state of charge and can be selected in conjunction with Normal, Econ and Sport driving modes.
      As the sales volume leader in the Clarity lineup, the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid will be offered in two premium-contented trims, standard and Touring.
      Honda Clarity Electric
      The 2017 Honda Clarity Electric is geared toward consumers who desire a spacious, comfortable and affordable sedan that suits their daily driving needs. The Clarity Electric is powered by a 161-horsepower (120-kilowatt) electric motor producing 221 lb.-ft. of torque and drawing power from a 25.5-kWh battery pack. The vehicle can by fully charged in just over three hours at 240 volts, and when using DC fast charging with the SAE Combined Charging System can achieve an 80 percent charge in just 30 minutes.
      The model is anticipated to have an anticipated EPA fuel economy rating of 120/102/111 MPGe (city/highway/combined)2. Like the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, the Clarity Electric features three selectable driving modes – Normal, Econ and Sport. The Clarity Electric will launch later this year, starting with an attractive lease program in California and Oregon.
      Honda Clarity Fuel Cell
      Honda views fuel cells as the ultimate zero-emissions vehicle technology and the Clarity Fuel Cell offers green early adopters the latest technology to be on the forefront of "what's next." Honda began deliveries of the 2017 Clarity Fuel Cell in December 2016 in select California markets, where a consumer friendly network of hydrogen stations continues to grow, and has already delivered more than 100 vehicles.
      Technological innovations to the Clarity Fuel Cell have created a fuel cell stack that is 33 percent more compact with a 60 percent increase in power density compared to its predecessor, the Honda FCX Clarity. The more compact fuel cell and integrated powertrain, now comparable in size to a V-6 engine, fits entirely under the hood of the car, allowing for a more spacious cabin with seating for five passengers.
      At 366 miles, the Clarity Fuel Cell has the highest EPA driving range rating of any zero-emission vehicle in America, including fuel cell and battery electric vehicles, and an EPA fuel economy rating of 68 MPGe3 combined. The Clarity Fuel Cell is available for the competitive introductory lease price of $369 a month for 36 months with $2,868 due at signing4. The lease terms include an attractive mileage allowance of 20,000 miles per year, up to $15,000 of hydrogen fuel, up to 21 days of an Avis Luxury Rental in California, 24/7 roadside assistance, and eligibility for California "White Sticker" single occupant HOV access. Lessees can also apply for the State of California $5,000 rebate5. The Clarity Fuel Cell is available in three colors: Bordeaux Red Metallic, White Orchid Pearl and Crystal Black Pearl.
    • By William Maley
      American automakers haven’t been known for building good compact vehicles. Previous attempts have faltered when compared to those from the likes of Honda, Mazda, and Toyota. But this perception began to change when Ford brought out the Focus in 2000. It seemed progress was being made in making a decent compact vehicle thanks to their European branch helping out. Seeing this, GM decided to follow the same path. They called in their Korean and European offices to help out with the development of a new model known as Cruze. The vehicle proved to be a massive improvement from the Cobalt as it got the basics right such as fuel economy and overall interior space. Yes, the Cruze was lacking in some key areas such as design and driving fun. But it was light years ahead of GM’s previous attempts at a compact vehicle.
      When it came time to work on the next-generation Cruze, Chevrolet knew they had a good starting point and only needed to make improvements to make the model a real contender in the class. Let’s see if that has panned out or not.
      Dare I say the new Cruze is a sharp looking compact? Yes, but to a point. It is clear that Chevrolet’s design team took a lot of inspiration from the Volt PHEV when working on the second-generation Cruze. The overall profile and certain lines of the Volt appear on the Cruze. The front end features Chevrolet’s new tiered-grille and a set of slimmer headlights. Where the Cruze’s design falls flat is in the back. It seems Chevrolet’s designers really couldn’t be bothered to do something special. There two ways you can fix this. You can either go with the Cruze hatchback which to our eyes looks so much better thanks to the longer roofline and tailgate, or opting for the RS appearance package which dresses up the back with a more aggressive bumper. The RS package also adds mesh grille inserts, and sporty looking wheels - 18-inch ones on our Premier tester.
      Moving inside, Chevrolet has put a lot of effort in making the Cruze a nice place to sit in. Many surfaces are covered with high-quality materials and feature some unique touches such as a curving character line on the dashboard. Making yourself comfortable is quite easy thanks to eight-way power adjustments for the driver and a tilt-telescoping steering wheel. The front passenger has to make do with manual adjustments. In the back, there is enough legroom for most passengers. Headroom is slightly tight if you decide to get a sunroof. One nice item for those sitting in the back is the option of heated seats.
      One area Chevrolet is using as a selling point for the Cruze is technology. All Cruzes get a seven-inch touchscreen with Chevrolet MyLink and compatibility with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi also comes standard across the board. Our Premier tester came with the optional 8-inch touchscreen with navigation. MyLink has been a source of frustration in many of Chevrolet vehicles we have reviewed, but it seems they are starting to get its act together. Overall performance has seen a slight improvement with transitions into various functions being snappy. The navigation system still has some performance issues as it slows down when zooming in or out. Chevrolet has also fixed some of the bugs with their Apple CarPlay integration. We saw no issues of slowdown or apps crashing whenever we had CarPlay up.
      Under the Cruze’s hood is a turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder with 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic is the only transmission choice if you get the Premier. Anything below and you have the choice of the automatic or a six-speed manual. A diesel engine is coming later this year. The performance figures for the turbo 1.4L will not knock the socks off of anyone - 0-60 mph time of just over eight seconds. But you won’t think the Cruze is a slowpoke thanks the engine having a lot of low-end grunt. The vehicle leaps forward when leaving a stop and doesn’t feel that it is going to run out of breath. It doesn’t hurt Chevrolet has dropped almost 300 pounds from the new model. The six-speed automatic is quick to upshift to maximize fuel economy, but the same cannot be said for downshifts. It takes a moment or two for the automatic to go down a gear when you step on the accelerator.
      The turbo 1.4 comes with an auto stop-start system as standard. The system is quick to start the engine back up whenever you take your foot off the brake. One item that will irk some people is that you cannot turn off the stop-start system.
      EPA fuel economy figures for the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze stand at 29 City/39 Highway/33 Combined for the Premier sedan. Our average for the week landed around 31.2 mpg. The L, LS, and LT sedan get slightly higher fuel economy figures of 28/39/32 for the manual and 30/40/34 for the automatic.
      It seems most compacts are trying to outdo one another in terms of offering the best driving experience. So it is a bit of fresh air that Chevrolet has decided to skip this and make the Cruze ride like a bigger car. The suspension provides a cushy ride with most bumps being ironed out. Road and wind noise are kept to almost silent levels. Handling is competent in the class as the Cruze shows little body roll. However, the steering is too light in terms of feel and weight when driven enthusiastically.
      Chevrolet’s previous attempts at a compact vehicle have ranged from the punchline to a bad joke to something that can be considered at competent. But with the 2017 Cruze, Chevrolet put their heads down into making a compact that could stand tall among competitors. They have succeeded as the Cruze gets the fundamentals right and offers some distinctive traits that help it stand out from others such as the big-car ride and impressive amount of tech. Yes, it would be nice if Cruze was a slightly sharper in terms of design and the steering tweaked a bit to make it a bit more fun to drive. 
      Since I have been reviewing new vehicles for almost five years, there have been only a few vehicles that I keep thinking about to this day. Chevrolet has two to its name. The first was the 2014 Impala and the Cruze is number two.
      Disclaimer: Chevrolet Provided the Cruze, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Chevrolet
      Model: Cruze
      Trim: Premier
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.4L DOHC VVT DI Four-Cylinder 
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 153 @ 5600
      Torque @ RPM: 177 @ 2000-4000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 29/39/33
      Curb Weight: 2,978 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lordstown, OH
      Base Price: $23,475
      As Tested Price: $29,195 (Includes $875.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Sun & Sound w/Navigation - $1,995.00
      RS Package - $995.00
      Enhanced Convenience Package - $865.00
      Driver Confidence II Package - $790.00
      Floor Mats - $140.00
      Wheel Lock Kit - $60.00

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