Summer’s officially here, & it’s time to drop tops, click the summer playlist and let in a little vitamin D, all in moderation of course. We’re heading to the beach, wanna come?
This is also a competition, because real life’s no beach.
Rules for this week are simple. Cars will be based on 3 things:
- Adaptability- That means trunk space and passenger room.
- Fuel Consumption- The good beaches are always a drive.
- Style- Self-explanatory and, remember, sun brings out dents…
Don’t get burned you kooks.
Beach cars must be versatile, everyday drivers, because it’s a day trip, not a permanent vacation. Let’s meet the crew…
First up, the bubbliest of them all, 2011 MINI Cooper S Convertible! The MINI was a late substitution because Volkswagen has pushed back the 2012 Beetle release to fall (September/October), forcing a forfeit. Good timing VW…
- Engine: 4 cylinder, 1.6L turbocharged with 181 HP
- Seats: 4
- Fuel Economy: 30 combined MPG
- Favorite Movie: Summer School
- Price: $29,050
MINI is just that, but it’s got style with unlimited color combinations inside and out and personality plus.
- Engine: 3.8L V6, 202 HP
- Seats: 5
- Fuel Economy: 17 combined MPG
- Favorite Movie: The Endless Summer
- Price: $25,545
Jeep’s simplicity and size are ideal, but gas woes are an issue.
Finally, there’s always a dark horse, it’s 2011 Chevy Cruze Eco!
- Engine: 4 cylinder, 1.4L Turbocharged with 138 HP
- Seats: 5
- Fuel Economy: 35 combined MPG
- Favorite Movie: Point Break
- Price: $19,175
Cruze Eco is definitely eco-friendly with superior economy, but will its hardtop and city image ruin any seaside chances?
Let’s find out.
The beach can be any beach, even if it’s in your mind. Picture lots of people, lots of sun, and little parking.
Appearance: Slow-cruising parallel to the beach, MINI draws the most attention with unique color combinations and top down. Jeep’s convertible hardtop is perfect for the setting while Cruze sneaks in unnoticed, windows up and A/C blaring.
Parking: MINI all the way. Simple physics. Cruze gets lucky and parallels across the street; Jeep parks in the marina a ½ mile away.
Luggage & Passengers: It’s Jeep. With 46.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats, Jeep brings the party to the beach. Cruze, with 4 passengers, manages 15.4 cubic feet for cargo, not bad, while MINI barely shows up at 5.7 cubic feet with all 4 seats taken.
Fuel: Cruze cruises with 42 highway MPG, MINI averages just over 31 with little luggage, and Jeep slogs in at 16.4, filled with people and things.
Overall Style: It’s MINI, with easy access to front seats, convertible top and small but personable exterior. Jeep merits its own summer adventure story, though it’d be costly with fuel consumption. Cruze proves capable of quick jaunts to the coast, then seamlessly going back to work in the morning.
Winner: It’s Cruze. 2011 sees a new contemporary beach cruiser. No convertible, but everything else is spectacular. MINI and Jeep tie for opposite pros & cons.
But really, at the beach we’re all winners. See you next time.