It was a festive crowd on May 23 for the official launch of the redesigned 2017 Mini Cooper Countryman.
“It was a good turnout,” says Tony Pedreira, Birchwood Mini’s primary sales consultant (also known as the product genius). “We provided music and wine for our guests. This was the first time we have had an official launch of a new model here at Birchwood Mini.”
Pedreira notes the 2017 Countryman has undergone a major realignment. While the overall look may resemble earlier models, the new edition is taller, wider and longer.
“It used to be that some of our customers would grow out of our Mini models,” he says. “When people begin having children, they need a larger vehicle. With our new Countryman, our customers now have the option of staying with the Mini family. Our new model can accommodate a family of four or five and still have room enough for luggage for trips to the cottage.”
The exterior of the new model has been made more attractive with the addition of piano black bumpers front and rear.
Pedreira reports the new model comes with a new engine — a 1.5L three-cylinder Cooper that puts out 134 horseower. Or you can opt for the Cooper S model with its two-litre four-cylinder engine that produces 189 hp. Both models also offer the option of front-wheel drive or Mini’s ALL4 all-wheel drive and the choice of a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.
The AWD system has been updated, so it is now proactive rather than reactive. The new system can sense when AWD is needed and adjust accordingly.
Pedreira notes the 2017 Countryman is available in a choice of four trims — the base model, the Cooper ALL4, the Cooper S ALL4 and the top-of-the-line John Cooper Works.
Standard features include a panorama sunroof, keyless entry, an infotainment system with a 6.5-inch high-resolution display, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth, automatic headlights, rain sensing wipers and sliding rear seats with reclining backrests. Pedreira adds that among first time options are power seats, a power lift gate for the rear and back-up camera (standard on some of the higher end trims).
“The response to the model has been very positive,” Pedreira says.
The cost of the 2017 Countryman ranges from a base price of $26,500 to a top rate of $38,500.
Ford hangover suit
Three years ago, Ford of Canada toured the country with its “drunk driving suit,” an outfit consisting of a series of weights and sensory deprivation equipment which simulated the experience of driving while under the influence. Last year, Ford introduced the drugged driving suit, which mimics what it feels like to try to drive while under the influence of narcotics.
The newest entry in Ford’s Driving Skills for Life program is the hangover driving suit, which was introduced at River City Ford on May 24 and 25.
The outfit, which was modelled by River City Ford social media manager Riley Aisman, consists of goggles that give you double vision, headphones playing pulsing music to mimic a migraine, a vest and ankle weights that affect balance and slow movements, all coming together to create a hangover simulation. In a vehicle, Aisman demonstrated difficulty adjusting dials, his hearing was impaired and his reaction time slowed.
“The suit is pretty cool,” says Ryan Monczunski, River City Ford’s general sales manager. “While people are aware of the danger of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, most people aren’t aware that driving with a hangover can also be dangerous. With a hangover, you have delayed reaction times, your thinking may be fuzzy and you just feel out of sorts.”
In a press release, Ford of Canada notes that “even when drivers are no longer over the legal alcohol limit they still present a risk that can be as high as for those who are drinking and driving, with drivers likely to be sleep deprived and their reaction times affected.”
As with its predecessors, the suit is intended to be used as an educational tool for young drivers participating in the free Ford Driving Skills for Life program.
With apologies to Murray Haukaas, in last week’s column it was reported Haukass had purchased McKay Chevrolet Buick GMC in Thompson and changed the name to Twin Motors. In fact, Haukass changed the name to Rock Country GM.