Mini Reviews

The cute little car was born as the '60s kicked off and came to symbolize the swinging era along with the Beetles and Carnaby Street. Now owned by the German giant, BMW, new life was breathed into the classic with the new generation MINI launched in 2001. Range now includes hatches, a convertible, a wagon, and a crossover model.

The sun shines as we have a good run in the latest hot Mini hatch. That's what you do in Spain in May when the temperature is nudging 30, and Mini has a tasty all-new John Cooper Works car ready for action. There are even track laps behind 1966 Bathurst winner Rauno Aaltonen, who is now 77 but still as fast and full of finesse as he was as a kid in an original Mini...Read more
Not to labour the point too much, but many original Mini owners, their families and friends, while not exactly in their dotage, can be physically challenged getting into the back of a three-door hatchback. At the other end of the scale, young families with kids to accommodate in the rear seats face an awkward lift, especially with a squirming toddler or two. It makes sense, then, to ease both burdens by adding a couple of...Read more
Launched to an amazed world in 1959 the Mini became a huge success worldwide as well as in Australia, with it being built in Sydney for years. It faded from the 1980s onwards though some variants were still being made overseas till the year 2000. The British motor industry was in serious trouble for many years and eventually BMW bought out major sections of the failing business - and decided to build an all-new Mini...Read more
Mini purists have long since given up looking away when instructed, so a five-door Mini is just another in a long line of abominations that fill the internet with bile. But, when your arch-rivals have a five-door to pull in the punters, you have to compete on level terms or you lose customers and anger dealers who care nothing for history or internet forum rage. And so we now have a five door Mini hatch...Read more
Performance and luxury come in pint-sized packages these days. How does Audi's smallest hot hatch compare to the new Mini Cooper S?Read more
We turn the spotlight on the car world's newest and brightest stars as we ask the questions to which you want the answers. But there's only one question that really needs answering would you buy one? What is it? A bigger Mini with five doors and a diesel engine. Believe it or not until now they've had three doors, because the original Mini had only three doors - but they're way past simply reinterpreting the...Read more
We never warmed to the Mini Countryman and can't nail the reason why. Perhaps it's too big for a Mini, too puffed up, plain ugly. Whatever the reason, it's not on our wish list but drive it we did last week - the Cooper S automatic front-wheel drive version with a few options (of which there are too many). VALUE It comes in at $45,000 plus on roads which is a fair old ask for...Read more
They were iconic times. I celebrated starting uni by purchasing my first pair of Levi jeans; my first Ben Sherman button-down-collar shirt; and the up-and-coming Rolling Stones headlined an all-nighter at Wembley Pool. At the same time, Mini Coopers were buzzing around London leaving behind the titillating odour of cooking Castrol R. More than a whiff of nostalgia came back recently when Mini introduced its first five-door hatchback to complement the three-door variant of the...Read more
Would you be happy to pay $850 up front for a five year/70,000km service plan on a new car? Think about it...for a nanosecond. That’s only 160 bucks a year, giving you certainly on a major part of the cost of car ownership - no shocks when you get a scheduled service. Mini has introduced such a scheme on the new five-door hatch that arrives this week, and it flows through to all new Gen...Read more
The most sensible Mini to date goes on sale in November delivering the traditional values of great handling and a rorty engine, backed by five-door practicality. It's a physically bigger Mini that still loses very little to its smaller three-door sibling through the twisty bits. For those who have always hankered for a Mini but been put off by the lack of rear doors - and room in the back - the BMW-owned outfit has...Read more
Trim, taut and terrific: okay, that’s old hat, but nothing could better describe the new Mini Cooper. A member of the 2014 Mini Hatch family, the Cooper, carries the famous name with aplomb. The new hatchback comes in three versions – Cooper, Cooper D and Cooper S – with the choice of two petrol (three and four-cylinder) and one diesel engine (three-cylinder) attached to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The new Mini...Read more
Introducing a car as well-known as the Mini Cooper S brings back images of twin-tank bricks-on-wheels sliding across the top of Mount Panorama or slithering down the Col de Turini. With the all-new model Mini has come a new, beefed up Cooper S, powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four cylinder. Which is one cylinder and a half-litre up on the three-cylinder Cooper, not to mention a $10,000 price increase. VALUE The Mini range starts at...Read more
Talk about a car that polarises the neighbourhood! The Mini is a bit kitsch, says square-edged trendies who like crisp German-influenced design. But those with a bit more of an arty bent, a desire to be left-of-centre and prepared to noisily declare that to anyone listening, loves the whole Planet Mini thing. It's all about the style, the cabin materials, the lift-up hatch (for shopping) and the distinctive shape. Not one person – of a...Read more
The Mini hits fifty-five years of age this year and it's only partially coincidental that there's a brand new model fresh out of the Oxford factory. The three-door hatch is the first of the now-traditional onslaught of new models to be spun off the Mini's platform. For the first time, the Mini is powered by a three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine, available in both the One and Cooper trim levels. We took the 1.5-litre Cooper for a...Read more
Dispatched and now matched - Mini and VW build two of Europe's favourite hot hatches.Read more
Gotta say we weren’t all that interested in the new Mini Cooper once we found out it had a three pot, 1.5-litre petrol engine. That’s what the horrible old Daihatsu Charade and other cheap, nasty little piles of junk had back in the day. Didn’t go, sounded awful. We jumped too soon. Mini offered us a drive of the base Cooper hatch starting at $29,000 with optional six-speed auto and we grudgingly went to get...Read more
Designing a new Mini isn't easy. As with the Porsche 911, Fiat 500 and VW Beetle, a new Mini must not stray too far from the original. Yet it's also required to be different enough to make buyers fall in love with it so they desperately want to hand over their hard-earned and stay at the head of the automotive fashion scene. Bigger, and definitely better, than ever before, the fourth generation (if you count...Read more
Despite sceptics having serious doubts about the new Mini when it was launched in the UK and Europe 2001, it has been a big success. It arrived downunder in March 2002 and local car enthusiasts immediately joined in the fun. Fun, which has continued to this day, has been further enlivened by the fact that an all-new model is due this year. Meaning that quite a few older Minis will appear on the used-car scene...Read more
A slightly squarer nose and new headlights and LED taillights are the main exterior styling to the 2014 Mini Cooper , but looking inside the cabin will give trainspotters clues, with the speedo and tacho moving from the massive 8.8-inch circular gauge in the middle of the dash to a more normal position in the instrument cluster behind the steering wheel (with heads-up displays for upper spec variants). The Mini Cooper is powered by a...Read more