A lot of people like to think that our love of mini-coopers was born after the car was so prominently featured in The Italian Job about a decade ago. Really, though, these cars have been around for a while.
A Brief Bit of History
The best selling car in British history (at the time of its release anyway), wrote the Telegraph last year, while always small, hasn’t always been called or even really considered a “mini” (at least, not the way we consider them now). Invented by Sir Alec Issigonis, the founding vehicle in this family was called “Morris Mini Minor” and the “Austin Seven.” A couple of years later it was rebranded as the “Austin Mini” and then almost a decade later was granted its own marquee.
Production size and style remained relatively unchanged for the next few decades until production on the “original” Mini was stopped in 2000. This doesn’t mean, though, that the company had given up on the car. Far from it! In fact, when the last of the “original” Minis rolled off the line, developers were already working on new models and designs for the car that they felt fit better into the new millennium’s style. (You can read the Telegraph’s full history here).
Super Duper Safety Ratings A recent review by US News and World Report gave the most recent Mini release, the 2014 Mini Cooper, a safety rating of 8.6. It has all of the important airbags–even for the passengers in the backseat (though how there will be enough space for them to deploy if there are actually people sitting back there in the event of an impact is anybody’s guess). It also has disc brakes, traction and stability controls and auto-leveling headlights.
An Over the Top Personality?
The new Minis are highly customizable–there are more than ten million possible options for colors, graphics, wheels, etc. Even so, the overall personality of the Mini’s product line is likely to overshadow anything you could pick out for yourself (which is probably good if your tastes trend toward the garish). Some reviewers, like Dan Niel in his article “2014 Mini Cooper S is a Nifty Little ‘Personality’ Car”, lament the attempts BMW is making to stretch the Mini Cooper’s distinctive small and personality laden
exterior over a stock BMW “interior” (meaning guts of the car, not the color of the leather you choose for your seat covers). Even so, reviewers agree that the spirit of the Mini is alive and well as they take their test drives.
The Benefit of a Roaring Comeback
With Mini Coopers becoming so popular here in the US, it’s easy for auto enthusiasts to sneer at them–much the same way that hipsters sneer at, well, everything. And to be sure, you’ll often hear the purists insisting that they loved Mini Coopers long before they were cool. Even so, the prevalence of these cars is definitely a good thing. Why?
It means that people are itching to hop on to the newest models, freeing up the older models for tricking out. It means that parents who are and buying for new drivers (or helping new drivers buy) can find cars that still allow their new drivers to score some “cool” points while ensuring that the car they drive is safe.
It means that it is easier than ever to do your own maintenance and repairs. With rare cars, as you all know, finding the parts you need for maintenance and repairs is a huge and expensive pain. With the Minis, though, you can order Mini Cooper OEM parts online relatively easily and you don’t have to spend your life’s savings to get them.
Basically, what we’re saying is that the Mini Cooper is cool. And safe. And gets good gas mileage. If you’re looking for your next car? This is definitely a car you’ll want to consider…you know, as long as none of your passengers will ever be super tall or gangly.