Pains & Gains: 2018 Mini Cooper
I spent a day with a Mini Cooper, a car I've been a long time fan of... So what were my thoughts?
Recently whilst my car was in for a service, I was given the keys to a 2018 Mini Cooper Hatch courtesy car (let's just call it a Mini Cooper). This particular model was red, with a black roof, matching black wheels… oh and those infamous union jack tail-lights (which I love by the way).
There’s just something brilliantly likeable about Mini Coopers, isn’t there? So much so they never fail to get my attention on the roads. With an array of options they’re hugely personable, every time I see one I get lost in thought about how I’d spec my own.
Mini’s, especially Mini Coopers evoke a sense of pride, if it’s yours, you want to show it off like a prize horse. I couldn’t wait to park up somewhere scenic and take pictures of it… it fits so well with the English country side!
As you can see, I could talk about my love of Mini Coopers for hours, but instead I want to cover a few things I’d suggest you consider if you’re looking to buy one. Let’s call it useful consumer advice… well you can be the judge of that.
I drove an automatic which for me, particularly on downshifts felt a little sluggish. This is mainly because there’s a short delay between input and the gearbox actually kicking down. That being said, once you get past this the car feels nippy, especially at lower speeds when driving around town (which will be the main cars use after all!).
Beyond that, I found it agile, very responsive and great fun to drive. I even liked the synthetic gargle of its little petrol engine… it all adds up to make for quite an addictive car to shoot out of junctions with, never failing to put a smile on your face… even if that smile comes after the slight wince of you waiting for the gearbox to kick down.
For me, I prefer a low, slightly angled seating position, not something which was possible with the Mini Cooper. However, it’s not the type of car you’d expect, or it’s buyers would necessarily want that seating position in. It’s small and squat, and as such you sit fairly upright… which is perfectly fine for city driving, but less relaxing on a long journey, although you’ll likely not get any different from other cars in its class.
Now I’ll fully admit I’m being picky here, but it’s worth a mention. The interior design looks great, that big infotainment screen in the centre console with the changing LEDs is smart and functional. However, I do have two little niggles. Firstly, the speedometer, I don’t like that it’s fixed to the steering wheel (reducing visibility) and it’s in need of an update. If you’re getting this car on a PCP any longer than 2 years, it’s going to look pretty outdated at the end of its contract (to be honest with the digital displays available on other cars, it’s already looking fairly old).
Secondly the cabin. Granted this is spec dependent, but even with those lovely changing LEDs, the model I had felt quite dark on the interior, so it’s worth bearing that in mind if you’re spec’ing one up.
To summarise, I love this car. It looks fantastic and the interior experience certainly doesn't lack behind its competitors. The Mini Cooper is a car you'll be proud to own and with the new personalisation options, you can really make it 'yours'. There are a multitude of reasons why you'd want to own one but if you're in the market for a small hatchback, I'd highly recommend you consider it in your search.
So... what do you think? Are you a fan of the Mini Cooper or does another small car take your fancy?