The go-kart feel of the original Mini is retained and the car is great fun to drive, steering is responsive and the car turns on a sixpence. The rigid body shell and relatively stiff suspension mean that the car behaves well when cornering with limited body roll. An optional sports package is available that includes an up-rated suspension, anti-skid system and increases wheel sizes to 17″ on the Mini Cooper S and 16″ on the standard model. The sporty set-up of the Mini Cooper has two downsides; firstly the ride can be jolting on rough surfaces, particularly on the Mini Cooper S fitted with 17″ wheels and secondly the car can become ruffled when taking bumpy corners at speed. Both cars are pretty quick around town, however the base Mini Cooper lacks punch at higher speeds, the Cooper S has no such issues. The drivers cabin is an interesting blend of retro 60’s design (round centrally mounted speedometer) and BMW’s modern, high-quality detail (chrome and mock-aluminium finishes). The combination works well and the interior of the Mini should prove resilient to daily wear and tear. Excellent visibility combined with the cars manoeuvrability instils driver confidence when overtaking and parking.
Front passengers are well catered for in the new Mini Cooper, headroom is good and seats are firm and supportive. Rear passengers get a rougher deal, headroom is reasonable but legroom is limited. Cabin noise is probably not helped by the use of hard plastics in the cabin but in general wind noise is limited. Tyre noise does become evident on cars fitted with larger tyres.
Boot space is very limited although the rear seats are split and fold forwards (although folded seats do rest a few inches above the boots floor). In the front large door pockets provided some storage capacity but otherwise cabin storage is limited.
The standard Mini Cooper comes with a good radio/cassette, height adjustable steering and electric windows. The options list is extensive and includes satellite navigation and climate control.
Safety & Security
The new Mini Cooper comes with a barrage of technology that makes this car one of the safest in its class. The standard safety package include anti-lock braking, brake force distribution and four airbags. Additional safety options include dynamic stability control.
Quality & Reliability
The new Mini is more expensive than its rivals and it shows, the new cars finish and BMW’s attention to detail is clearly evident in both the interior and external finish.
Mini Cooper residual values should hold up well, helped in no small part by the strength of its parent’s brand. BMW has also promised that servicing costs will be competitive with the cars more mainstream competitors.
Review ©2009 New-car-reviews.co.uk
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