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Rivervale Review - The MINI Cooper

Rivervale Review - The MINI Cooper

The Mini is a British icon that received a major makeover when BMW brought it into the 21st century in 2001, so how does the new generation MINI cope with modern life?

The MINI still provides maximum fun, the centre of gravity has remained low to keep the go-kart like feel and from the outside it’s a cute a package with the circular headlights we all associate with MINI and wide grille still smiling at you.

Inside you are instantly hit by the amount of character the MINI has, every small feature has been crafted to create the MINI’s own personality.  It was refreshing to take a seat in a car and feel like you are seeing something different to the usual interior.  As my teenage daughter would confirm, I am neither young nor trendy in my everyday life, but the MINI’s fresh and modern interior made me feel that way for a few minutes … and I liked it!  Every detail helps build character, push buttons are chrome switches adding a retro feel and even the air vents and door handles are a circular design.  A real nod to the iconic mini of the 60’s is the circular display on the centre of the dashboard.  This was once home to a large speedometer, but now provides access to car information such as tyre pressures, DAB radio and mobile connectivity.  Surrounding the circular display are lights which change colour and move as music is turned up or down adding more quirkiness to the already unique interior.  A word of warning here for all those who, like myself, still own CD’s … you will find nowhere to put them in this car, I checked everywhere I could think of!  Apparently, CD’s are going the way of cassettes now, so to stay bang on trend the MINI equips you with Bluetooth and a USB point so you can play your music from your phone.

The MINI is not quite as mini as it once was, it needs to be practical for everyday life so you can choose to have 5 doors and I even managed to fit in the weekly shop in the boot.  It is still a hatchback though, so if you need to travel with a double buggy and a set of golf clubs, it’s probably not the car one for you.

One major difference from the 60’s is the technology available, the modern-day MINI has it in abundance.  The car I was driving was the MINI Cooper D which comes with all the following as standard; Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, Isofix, DAB Digital Radio, Intelligent Emergency Call, Bluetooth, Cruise Control, Manual Air Conditioning and Keyless Start.    

Engines have also come a long, long way since the original Mini.  The 1.5 litre diesel engine in this model is capable of up to 78.5 mpg, 0-62mph in 9.4 seconds and a top speed of 126mph while emitting a respectably low 95g/km of CO2.  All engines across the Mini range are Euro 6 compliant and are around band 15E for insurance so not wildly expensive.

There are several packs you can add to your MINI; the Pepper Pack, Chili Pack or the John Cooper Works Chili Pack.  At Rivervale we recommend you add a little spice to your Mini with the Pepper Pack!  This provides you with; a Sports Leather Steering Wheel, Front Fog Lights, Interior Lights Pack, Automatic Dual Zone Air Conditioning, Rain Sensor with Auto Headlight Activation, the MINI Excitement Pack and a whole extra 1“on the size of your alloys taking them from the standard 15” to 16”. 

It was very difficult to find something I didn’t like about the MINI.  The only thing was this, to keep the proportions mini the roof is low, this means the windows feel a bit smaller than any other hatchback.  Less window means less light.  I did feel the interior of the mini was a tad shady and dark for a sun lover like myself, but thankfully for all sun worshippers out there you can order your mini with a sunroof!

Even though the MINI is already one of a kind, you can make your MINI uniquely yours with multiple personalisation options such a different colour roof or even union jack side scuttles!

The MINI may be small by name, but it’s huge on character!    

The comments above do not necessarily reflect Rivervale's views unless clearly stated.

Car leasing reviews
15 February 2017
Written by Natalie Faughy
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