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2013 Mini Cooper Countryman (BMW)
2013 Mini Cooper Countryman (BMW)

Best of the Lot

He likes his Jaguar - because it's not a Bimmer. What should he buy next? Add to ...

I will soon start looking for a replacement for my Jaguar X-Type. This is my second X-Type, a 2006 3.0. Ideally, I would be looking at a new and improved X-Type replacement, but we are a few years away from that. I have a 1991 Miata that is parked in the garage in need of some TLC and a 2010 Land Rover LR2. I like my cars for what they are not: the X-Type is not a BMW and the LR2 is not a truck. As for potential car replacements, I have rented the Volvo S60 AWD and the Mercedes C300 4matic. I also rented a Mini Cooper a few times and enjoyed it. I could see passing that on to my teenager, but it can approach the price of the more refined S60 T5 FWD. How about a Range Rover Evoque? Or just wait to see what Jaguar has in store in a couple of years? – S.M. in Winnipeg

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Vaughan: Cato, this is a very confused man. In fact, he seems so muddled that probably the best thing for him to do is nothing. He should sit tight, organize his thoughts and wait for the new smaller Jag to be offered. There’s one coming isn’t there?

Cato: Yes, but the wait will be long. I think. I’ve asked the Jaguar people about the next small Jag and they say a couple of things.

First, it will not be a remake of the Ford X-Type. I know that’s a cheap shot, but it’s the truth. When Ford owned Jag, the company tried unsuccessfully to turn a Mondeo everyday sedan into a Jag and the results were an embarrassment.

Second, Adrian Hallmark, who heads the Jaguar brand, told me recently that Jaguar absolutely must have a car to compete against the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4. An absolute must. Reuters reports Jag is planning a compact saloon and crossover SUV for the second half of 2015. The Financial Times says a small station wagon is in the works, too.

Vaughan: So are you saying a small Jag is coming or not?

Cato: Patience, patience. Edmunds.com says the new 3-Series killer will be made of aluminum and will be called the Q-Type. Autocar in Europe says the next little Jag will be called the XS and will arrive in late 2014 and will have a “strong sporting bias.”

The point is, a small Jag is in the works. When it goes on sale is a matter of some confusion, however. I’d say S.M. might want to look elsewhere, at something more concrete. Like a Volvo V60 wagon – the one on the way – or even the S60 sedan. The S60 is a perfectly good sedan and it’s nicely discounted at the moment.

2013 Volvo S60 T5
 

Vaughan: Cato, you do err on the side of information overkill. But I’m interested in the V60 ($41,550 base). We’ve seen it at auto shows and when it arrives in Canada, dealers will surely be overjoyed.

The vanishing Volvo may yet re-emerge. Once the top import luxury brand in Canada… How Volvo has fallen.

Cato: Listen up, Vaughan. I have a number for you: 25 per cent. Volvo Canada’s sales are down 25 per cent this year.

Vaughan: But I still like its cars. Handsome, nice to drive, loaded with safety features and cheap. I like cheap and that’s exactly what the Mini he mentioned is not. He’d probably want the Mini Countryman if he went that way because it is the least mini-Mini. It’s almost as big as his old Jag. But too expensive.

Cato: The Countryman is pricey if you load it up. But the base version with all-wheel drive starts at $29,900. Although… the last one I tested was loaded up to around $50,000.

I am charmed by Minis in general and the Countryman in particular. This is an entertaining, amusing, emotionally pleasing car. And it would suit S.M. perfectly.

2013 Range Rover Evoque
 

Vaughan: At the end of his ramble, S.M. randomly throws in the Range Rover Evoque. Its full name is the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque ($46,995 for the base five-door) – so there’s another example of muddled thinking.

Anyway, the Evoque is selling like mad, so do not look for rich discounts, though there are some modest ones to be had. It certainly has a great interior and comfortable ride, and yes it will go through the jungle, mountain range, raging river or whatever, if that’s your thing. But if our man choked on the Mini prices, I don’t think he’ll bite at the Evoque.

Cato: Chew on this, Vaughan. S.M., is obviously a car nut. I say he’d eat up the Countryman.

Vaughan: I say do nothing. Sit quietly in a dark room, wait for the new Jag, and see if your befuddled mind clears.

HOW THEY COMPARE



2013 Range Rover Evoque Pure 5-door2013 Volvo S60 T52013 Mini Cooper Countryman ALL4 S

Wheelbase (mm)

266027762595

Length (mm)

435546284110

Width (mm)

196518651789

Height (mm)

163514841561

Engine

2.0-litre four-cylinder, turbocharged2.5-litre five-cylinder, turbocharged1.6-litre four-cylinder, turbocharged

Output (horsepower/torque)

240/251 lb-ft250/266 lb-ft181/177 lb-ft

Drive system

All-wheel driveAll-wheel driveAll-wheel drive

Transmission

Six-speed automaticSix-speed automaticSix-speed manual

Curb Weight (kg)

167016791455

Fuel economy (litres/100 km)

10.6 city/7.1 highwayN/A8.1 city/6.4 highway

Base price (MSRP)

$46,995$41,550$29,900

Source: car manufacturers

Jeremy Cato and Michael Vaughan are co-hosts of Car/Business, which appears Fridays at 8 p.m. on Business News Network and Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. on CTV

Send your automotive questions to globedrive@globeandmail.com

Follow on Twitter: @catocarguy

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