We’re big fans of the Mini hatch – and who could blame us? It’s hard not to fall in love with this quirky little car, as it manages to mix a cute, retro design with seriously impressive driving dynamics and wrap it up in a package that’s been a steadfast bella since release in 2001.
Now in its third generation since 2014, Mini’s seen fit to give the Hatch and its related Convertible model a little nip-tuck to ensure it still feels contemporary enough to compete with box-fresh rivals such as the Volkswagen Polo.
So what’s new? Here are the main changes…
New Mini logo and branding
Mini’s aim with the facelift is to give the car a more premium feel – essential when you’re competing in a class with talented rivals from top brands, such as the Audi A1. To that end, the new simplified logo has been designed to be ‘more clean and precise’ and features inside and out.
New head- and tail-lights
Up front, the Mini gets full LED headlights, with the daytime running lights forming a complete ring rather than the previous broken circle. It’s round back where the most eye-catching additions are, though. The new LED taillights ditch the previous car’s rounded design for a totally unmistakable Union Jack theme. It’s bright, bold, sharp and premium – and definitely stands out, in a good way.
Entry-level One cars no longer get a 1.2-litre turbocharged engine ‘borrowed’ from PSA Peugeot Citroen – instead, a detuned version of the 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo from higher up in the range features. It produces 101bhp and makes the car capable of doing 0-60mph in just under 10 seconds.
New automatic gearboxes
A more significant change is the addition of bang up-to-date dual-clutch automatic transmissions on all but the highest-powered cars. The new ‘box shifts very smoothly and far more quickly than the old unit, while the crackles and pops it it helps the high-powered Cooper S achieve are plain old hilarious.
More personalisation than ever before
Want your name on the door sills of your new car? How about on the indicator repeaters, or even in the door mirror puddle lights. That’s right, the Mini Yours program allows you personalise all of these areas and more, including a vast swathe of dashboard. There are also new wheel designs and paint colours.
The Mini gains LED front and rear lights, as mentioned before, but inside there’s a new infotainment system with DAB and Bluetooth connectivity fitted to every model. A multifunction steering wheel also comes standard. Pick the Navigation Plus Pack and you’ll get a larger infotainment display with an improved sat-nav lifted straight from BMW’s range of cars.
… but the driving hasn’t changed one bit
Mini hasn’t fiddled with the car’s chassis, steering, brakes or suspension at all, which means the hatch is still incredible fun to hustle down a back road – especially in Cooper S form. This is definitely a good thing, and makes the Mini the car to beat when it comes to putting fun in front-wheel drive form.Find great MINI deals today