Friday, 24 September 2010

Mini Countryman

The largest Mini yet has four doors, roomier rear bucket seats, available all-wheel drive, and the look of an SUV. The cargo area has generous underfloor storage, folding rear seatbacks, and a pass-through. Powertrain choices include the 1.6-liter naturally aspirated or turbocharged four-cylinder engines found in other Minis, matched with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Both engines get a slight horsepower increase for 2011. The Countryman is expected to sell for about $30,000.

Bottom line

With extra room and AWD, the Countryman will be more practical and versatile than other Minis, but it seats only four. We hope it won't lose the agility and sportiness that make Minis fun to drive.

Nissan Juke

Aimed at young buyers, the Nissan Juke is a sporty crossover based on the Versa hatchback and is meant to combine attributes of a small car and an SUV. The U.S. version has a direct-injection, turbocharged, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that will deliver 180 hp. It is matched with either a continuously variable automatic transmission or six-speed manual. Front- or all-wheel drive will be available. Pricing is expected to start at less than $20,000. Standard features include six air bags, antilock brakes, and ESC. Optional features include leather seats, push-button start, navigation system, and power sunroof.

Bottom line

The Versa did well in our testing, which gives the Juke a good starting point. Although the Juke is big on style, the interior is snug, especially the backseat.

Most intriguing cars for 2011

Chevrolet Cruze

The compact Cruze is headed to the U.S. after making its debut in Europe and Asia. Buyers can choose from three trim lines and two four-cylinder engines, including a new 1.4-liter turbocharged version that Chevrolet says will achieve as much as 40 mpg on the highway with a manual transmission. Either engine is available with a six-speed automatic or manual transmission. Ten standard air bags, electronic stability control with rollover sensing, and OnStar are among the safety features. The Cruze will be priced between $17,000 and $23,000.

Bottom line

We've had a chance to drive early prototypes of the Cruze, and it looks like a great leap over the mediocre Cobalt. The Cruze is much quieter and has a more spacious and refined interior.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Astrological sign for 2010

Year 2010 Overview

A lot of last year's difficulties, if you think about it, boiled down to a lot of fiddly little details getting in the way of you realizing your dreams. Let's be honest about it, Aries: struggling with the small stuff just isn't your style. In the next year, you'll find that a lot of these pressures ease off, to the point where your biggest issue may be other people's ability to keep up with you!

The months surrounding your birthday will bring more than the usual amount of Spring Fever. You'll be facing an urge to bust loose from your limitations and, properly handled, that energy will push you to new highs as far as you General satisfaction with life. The summer will find you speaking your mind more with those who are closest to you. You may not have been shy about expressing yourself before, but it's as if you needed to find just the right words.

In the past, knowing what you want out of life and getting the co-operation of those closest to you haven't always gone hand in hand. That theme will carry on throughout much of the year, and will come to a peak again in December. At times there may be frustrations, but if you keep a level head, you'll probably find that those around you really are on your team, ultimately.

Year 2010 Career

Brace yourself for big changes in your work and money life, Aries! This is the year when a lot of your past potential and promise come out. Two eclipses in your career sector (one in January and one in July) will set the stage for a major shift. Some of this will be the fulfillment of things you've been working on quietly for some time, and part of this will simply be thrust on you by circumstance.

Either way, change is good, and will lead to a greater sense of long-term fulfillment on your part. Pluto also continues its long-term travel through your job zone. Pluto is a planet that demands a deep and committed response, whether you thought you were ready for it or not. This isn't at all necessarily bad or difficult news. No one is every 100 percent happy with their work and money life, it seems, and that basic sense of mild ongoing dissatisfaction can be what propels you towards greater career heights. June and July may see you seriously contemplating a change in direction as far as what you do for a living. Keep your eyes open for new opportunities.

As far as actual cash on hand, the news appears to be more good than bad -- especially in September and October. The last year probably wasn't too comfortable (but lacked any serious shortages). The next year will provide stability. No big lottery wins, in other words, but lots of chances to get smaller expenses in line. Keep an eye on the pennies, and the dollars will take care of themselves.

Year 2010 Romantic

There's a lot of activity in your love life this year -- you'll be a little like a Ram in springtime! Most importantly (and regardless of what state your romantic life is in now), Saturn in your house of committed relationships is going to have you closely questioning and examining any partnerships you may currently have. If you have nothing on the go like that now, you will still find that your attitude towards long-term commitments is likely to undergo a lot of change. You will likely find you take the entire subject more seriously -- or the subject will take you more seriously!

If there is an existing committed relationship, your partner is going to be a valuable source of grounding for you this year. Old issues will be bubbling to the surface (especially in September and October) that may prove to be a challenge. More likely, though, what will be challenged are your preconceptions about that other person in your life, what they mean to you, and what responses this should draw from you.

As far as the potential for new romance (or injecting new life into an existing one), July and August bring new life. If there was ever a year to find new love on summer vacation, this is it!

Regardless of the state of your love life, you'll certainly be drawing a lot of attention this year. The first three months of 2010 will find your stock rising with others. Iif you're looking to develop something new, January through March is your best time to be in circulation. Chances are excellent that love will find you.