Mini’s aren’t so mini anymore. Like a nervous freshman at a new college, they’ve gained a few pounds. That’s not the only change Mini has seen since their debut as a part of BMW in 2000. But has Mini strayed too far from the lovable little car that took the world by storm?
The 2018 Mini Cooper has a 1.5L inline 3 cylinder engine and a cvt transmission. Normally I would be hesitant over a full size car having a 3 cylinder engine, but this actually surprised me. The 1.5 felt competitive with other 4 cylinder engines, and that’s saying a lot. The CVT is smooth, but I would have preferred a manual transmission. I’ve driven a different Mini with a manual, and I loved it.
The interior is nothing short of huge. It felt roomier than most other 4 door cars, and that included the BMW M550i I drove. The dashboard features the signature circular gauge, except this time around the circle is filled with a screen for the infotainment center. Color changing lights complement the screen and change when you change settings on the car. While the car is a 2 door, the rear seats are actually surprisingly useful and accommodate people with heads and necks.
The one thing missing from the Mini, was the quirks. The 2018 Mini Cooper wasn’t weird. The door handles were normal, the keys were normal, the cup holders were normal. So to the average person, it’s good that there are no unusual things a new owner has to get used to. But to the die-hard fans who love Mini and it’s long hand-changing history, it seems like Mini has gone soft.