The Mini Hatchback was not well received by serious fans of the brand. Many complained about the car not being among the brand’s promise of providing economical means of transport to the majority. Today’s Mini Hatchback has a range that’s more diverse, including the entry-level First and the top of the range John Cooper Works. If these extremes don’t work for you, then there are the Cooper SD, Cooper S, and Cooper models. If you want to go electric, there’s the Mini E available as a trial.
The second generation Mini Hatchback experienced many changes despite the subtle inclusion of these improvements. The latest Mini Hatchback or the Mk2 Mini, is a new car that’s much bigger than the previous one. The nose is 55mm more; the windscreen base 18mm higher. Although the new model isn’t as compact as the first BMW Mini, the bluff front does away with the curvature around the lights. This feature added to the manufacturing costs.
The Mk2 Mini Hatchback retains some classic features, such as the same front and floor bulkhead. The structure’s stiffness is also considered as unchanged, but one will notice that impact protection has been improved on the Hatchback cars’ sides. Significant changes include the chrome surrounding the front grille, the LED rear lights on all variations, and the revised front bumper for better performance on pedestrian impact tests.
The interior sports significant changes. The central speedometer gives the cabin a unique design focus, and also bulges out of the dash to emphasize the hatchback’s larger space. The bespoke type appeal this car is known for, however, is still in tact and stands out among other small models. Another attractive feature is the centre console that’s intuitive for anyone to learn. The plastics used don’t appear cheap at all and give your hands a premium feeling. The bi-xenon headlamps come highly recommended as an additional option. Other new revisions to the interior include seat upholstery colours, a revised stereo that includes MP3 compatibility, new audio systems and air con controls.
The latest Mini Hatchback features a wider range engine range. The One model has the 1.6-litre petrol at 97bhp, the Cooper another 1.6 byt at 121bhp, the First a 1.6 petrol unit at 74bhp, and the Cooper S at 181bhp. The JCW features the strongest 1.6 unit at 208bhp. Diesel engines include the 110bhp 1.6-litre for the Cooper and the One having a 1.6 at 89bhp. The Cooper SD has the strongest diesel engine, the 2.0-litre BMW at 141bhp. The mid-range Cooper has a smoother engine than the old Mk1 Cooper and also has improvements on emissions and the economy. Expect to rev the engine hard, however as the six-speed gearbox requires constant stirring.
There are some not-so-welcome changes, however, to the Mk2 mini. The doors close loudly with a thunk; the standard fit two-spoke steering wheel is oversized. The headlights are also of poor quality. And although the centre console is easy to learn, the audio controls seem misplaced and are rather frustrating.
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