BEDFORD, N.H. – There are plenty of vehicles that stray from the automotive status quo, but Motor Trend magazine recently decided that none of them tick all the right boxes like the MINI Cooper. The popular automotive publication brought together six funky cars with starting prices under $20,000 for a comparison test and found that the current-generation MINI Cooper, sold at MINI dealerships since 2006, is still the eccentric ride to beat.
Motor Trend’s comparison test included the Fiat 500, Honda CR-Z, Hyundai Veloster, Volkswagen Beetle, Scion tC and the MINI Cooper. Though its current generation was the oldest in a class full of fresh faces, the Cooper proved that age can be an asset, beating the field with its unique mix of dynamic handling, fuel efficiency and usable rear-passenger seats.
“The MINI Cooper may seem small, but you can easily fit four adults inside,” said Marshal Cabot, general manager of New Hampshire MINI dealer MINI of Bedford. “There’s a lot of car packed into the Cooper design, which is why Motor Trend and New Hampshire drivers like it so much. It’s fun to drive, cheap to fill up with gas, and it stands out from the crowd during the daily commute.”
A big part of the MINI Cooper’s appeal is its engine and transmission, which makes the most of the base model’s available 121 horsepower to provide speedy acceleration. The MINI was the second-fastest accelerating car in the test, yet still managed to finish a very close second in observed fuel economy. Motor Trend also noted that the Cooper had the shortest stopping distances in the group, and it easily posted the best skidpad performance.
MINI hopes to improve upon its winning formula when it brings the next Cooper to market in 2013. Set to replace the currently six-year-old model, the third-generation Cooper was designed under Gert Hildebrand, who has led the styling of every MINI in the lineup thus far. The upcoming Cooper will take the look of the MINI family in a bolder direction, according to MINI news publication MotoringFile.
MotoringFile also claims that the next-generation Cooper will use a similar suspension design to the current model, but new engines will push performance and fuel economy to new levels. Displacement is rumored to be dipping down to 1.5 liters from the current 1.6-liter engines, and the cylinder count could also drop down to three from four. To make up for the reduced displacement, sources say the new engines will make use of turbocharging technology to maintain the lively acceleration that MINI fans have come to expect.
“The Cooper has always been about getting a thrill on the road without consequences at the gas tank, and the next-generation Cooper will take that cause to a higher level,” Cabot noted. “The iconic MINI styling is what gets our models noticed, but it’s the driving dynamics that keeps our customers coming back for more.”
Filed under: Lyon-Waugh News
, MINI News