Thursday, November 13, 2014

Bucket Seat: Mini 5 Door - First Impressions

Mini have done it again, just when you think they ran out of ideas of creating variants to their long line up of cars they sprung this one. Earlier this year I tested the new 3 door Cooper Hatch,  essentially a coupe with its long doors and coupe style entry for rear passengers, it proved to be a hit amongst the youngsters or "younger generation" but like I said in my review,  whilst it is a cool car and tons of fun to drive,  it isn't practical.  Seems like Mini have also noticed this and hence created a grown up version of the hatch,  it's longer, has a bigger boot and most importantly has 2 extra doors.

Yesterday I was invited to the official media launch held in Johannesburg,  the perfect environment to test this nifty car. The course included some town driving, freeway driving and a lovely meander through the Magaliesberg mountain pass. Getting into the car, you'd notice not much is different from its 3 door sibling. The car is spacious , whilst still a bit tight at the back it is much more roomy for the passengers, put it this way, normal people can fit in the back and not midgets, albeit a tight squeeze if you have a tall driver. It has some pretty awesome optional extras like Mini Connect which includes a 6.5" screen in the centre, bluetooth telephone connectivity and audio streaming. 

Although longer and heavier, the car still pushes out 100\kw, 220Nm of torque and the top speed is only 3km slower than the 3 door. The car is just as much fun to drive, it's sharp around corners, the gear box is very smooth and the tone of the twin scroll turbo engine just makes you want to go faster.  The car comes in two engines, the Cooper with ta 1.5l twin scroll and the Cooper S with a 2l twin scroll turbo that produces 141Kw and 280Nm of torque.

I honestly couldn't find a difference in driving this over the 3 door, if anything I'd say this car is overall a better buy seeing that 217,460 hatchbacks were purchased in 2013 majority of which being 5 doors, so there is definitely a demand for it. The Mini 5 Door will compete against the likes of the Audi A1 5 door, Golf 7 and perhaps even it's sister company's 1 series. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to have a go in the Cooper S so hoping I get one 5 test for a little longer next year. Overall the 5 Door Mini hatch will bring out the inner child in you with its Go kart like driving experience but at the same time being a bit more practical than its smaller variant. 

The base model Cooper starts off at R305,000.00 for the manual whilst the base Cooper S starts off at R372,000.00

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