A few weeks back I got to spend time with the face-lift Mini Cooper hatch, it's always exciting to get a Mini because its an exciting car to drive. I always find myself telling people who have judgy comments about car that they need to experience what the car offers before slating it. It's come along in leaps and bounds ever since BMW took over the famous British manufacturer, apart from keeping the look of the car, they also embodied much of the heritage. How so? Well let me tell you.
As mentioned already, the general shape of the Mini has remained the same over the years with it evolving and growing ever so slightly, it's still in essence Mini in size and has that dinky look to it. With the face-lift, not much has changed in terms of shape but there are some noteworthy changes to the lights, the front headlamps now feature a rectangular shape lamp which sits in the large oval shell. The is more chrome details around and in the grille, moving to the back, the rear lights now feature a luminous Union Jack, adding to its British Heritage. Mini have also brought out a range of various designs and options for customization, again nailing that individuality that each car can have. From side mirrors, door panels, decals, Union Jack on the roof, the variations are endless and can be quite fun for a prospective buyer when building their Mini.
The Cooper comes with the 1.5L Twin PowerTurbo engine which is the smallest in the range still has plenty of performance to deliver. 100kW with 220Nm of torque, the car propels it self from 0 to 100 kph in 8.1 seconds. The 8 speed sport automatic gearbox allows for smooth transitions and optimal changes when driving any of the modes. With the cars low center of gravity and perfect weight distribution, it's hard to get yourself to stop driving! When flicked into sport mode, the go-kart feel really kicks in with the steering loosening up and the exhausts get a bit more vocal, though it does tend to drink faster but it's all worth it in the end. The car is quite heavy for it's size but the engine does cope well and doesn't let you feel that weight, even with a full load.
The car came with the Mini's connected sat-nav and infotainment screen which is touch and really easy to use thanks to the navigation wheel. There are voice commands for most functions and the car comes with Mini Connect. Big thing on the interior for Mini is the mood lighting, with quite a few colour options, you can set the mood for any occasion in the inside. Dual-climate control is also standard in the new Mini and while not so much a technology talking point, but an aesthetic one, the gear selector has changed to a flat long head which has a better feel and very similar to the BMW's. The car came with Mini's extended light package which illuminate the car beautifully at night and has the Mini logo projected onto the floor, very stylish if you ask me. Fog lights are also offered in LED variant now, which makes the car visible from further in heavy misty conditions.
Here's the common misconception about a Mini, people think the interior is quite small and cramped, with the 5 Door variant you have the added door which makes the car longer and adds more space but the front passengers still have as much space as the 3 door hatch has to offer. The seats which come in both leather and cloth are extremely comfortable and can come in electrically adjustable with memory seating as well. While you are sitting low to the floor with quite large rims on the car, the general ride quality is great and comparable to some German sedans. The 5 Door hatch comes with a decent size luggage trunk as well, enough for a few cabin bags or a golf bag.
I'm sold by the brand, while the car has flaws which are mainly minor and driver related, it really is a great car to drive. This even being the Cooper offers so much to put a smile on the drivers face, every time they go for a spin. It will have you offering to do the most mundane of errands just so you can go around for a spin. While pricing may seem steep for the car, the build quality of the Mini is second to none in the premium hatch segment. The car still feels solid with great quality material used on both the interior and exterior. If I had the money and dream garage to fill, you bet there would be a Mini or two in there.
15L Twin PowerTurbo
8 Speed Automatic