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Back to Listers MINI
BY ANDY ENRIGHT
Added 31st October, 2006
, updated 5th September, 2013
In case of the MINI Cooper, the market has rewarded an excellent product with stellar sales. The hatchback versions with manual gearboxes remain the pick of the crop with our choices being an entry-level Cooper or a range-topping Cooper S Works. It's hard to go too badly wrong but there is a lot of choice out there so take your time and don't get tucked up by a seller looking to command top book for an average car. Those days have long since passed.
It's pretty hard to take exception to MINI's MK3 model Convertible. It delivers surprising space for passengers and luggage, a stylish roadway demeanour and a customisable fabric roof. This revised version has been usefully updated with fresh technology, smarter connectivity and an advanced dual-clutch automatic gearbox. As before, buyers can pick petrol, diesel and performance versions.
The styling of this revised MK3 model doesn't look all that different, but close inspection will reveal the addition of standard-fit LED front and rear lights, plus there's now extra scope for all-important personalisation. When the folded fabric roof is down, it forms a wrap-around collar around the back seats, rather than disappearing completely. It encroaches slightly into the boot area but despite this, the luggage capacity is these days a reasonably acceptable 215-litres with the roof closed and 160-litres with it folded down. The roof is customisable and retracts in 18 seconds.
MINI's second generation Clubman makes a lot of sense in entry-level One D diesel guise, a premium Focus-sized family hatchback at an affordable price. Jonathan Crouch reports
Third time round, BMW's modern era MINI turned out to be a much more sophisticated thing. This three-door Hatch version is slightly more practical than its R56-series predecessor and feels considerably better built. It's far more efficient too, with the bulk of the range using a punchier range of eager three cylinder engines. And its more sophisticated underpinnings are better suited to longer journeys. In short, this car came of age in third generation form. But does it make sense as a used buy?
It's ironic that in two unexpected areas - practicality and running costs - this MINI Coupe is so damnably sensible because overall, this is the kind of car in which sense and sensibility should matter very little in the purchase decision. Leave the supercars to lottery winners: this is the kind of way that enthusiast buyers in the real world can reward themselves and buy something selfish, fun and very, very fashionable.
We're aware that not everyone will see it like that. Some will stare down the unconventional looks of this car in abject horror - but then, maybe that's why we like it. A personal purchase should be just that: personal. Individual. Bespoke. And able, when used as intended, to plant a very wide grin across your face. This MINI can do exactly this. And in that respect, it's everything the brand should be.
This improved third generation MINI Cooper Convertible looks usefully more appealing. The experts at Car & Driving check it out.
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