MINI has been in the hearts of people since it was first released in 1959. The brand was taken over in 2001 by BMW, and even though they changed the look of this machine, they managed to do it in a very clever way and they maintained the same type of following as before. Here we look at the MINI 3-door and 5-door Hatch. It is also available as a convertible, a roadster and a coupe.
The MINI Hatch comes with a selection of 3 and 4-cylinder engines. The 1.5 litre 3-cylinder petrol engine gives 136 bhp and will get you from 0-100km/h in 7.8 seconds. The 1.5 litre Cooper D gives 116 hp and will cover the same distance in 8.2 seconds. If you want a bit more poke, you can opt for the 4-cylinder, 2 litre, Cooper S (192 hp) petrol which gives 0-100km/h in 6.7 seconds or the diesel Cooper SD (170 hp) which covers the same distance in 7.2 seconds. The 3-cylinder MINI One offers 102 hp and will get you from 0-100km/h in 10.2 seconds.
Driving a MINI really makes you feel at one with the road. You are low down and you get to enjoy the well-weighted steering around every bend. It is a fun drive. Surprisingly (at first), the automatic gearbox is exceptional. This front wheel drive car has optional adaptive dampers which make the ride even better. The standard suspension is good, but bumps can be a bit shaky.
Since BMW took the helm of MINI the car has been ever-improving in terms of refinement. The JCW version is exactly as loud as you'd want it to be. The rest of the models are muted enough. There is a bit of wind noise that slips in, which can get loud at higher speeds.
This is certainly a comfortable machine if you are sitting up front. Leg room to the rear is not amazing, but two adults will get in there. The materials inside the car are of typical BMW standard. I like the retro-futuristic dash/centre console. There are some clever apps that can be used to get internet radio too.
MINI achieved 4-stars in the Euro NCAP in 2014 for the Hatch. It scored 79% for adult safety, 73% for child occupancy and 66% for pedestrian safety. Its safety assist systems scored 56%. It is surrounded with interior airbags.
The MINI Hatch is not the most practical car in the world - nor is it designed to be. It's a great car to drive around town in and it'll even bring you across the country in comfort - however, pack light because it only has a boot space of 211 litres.