Wednesday, 2 February 2011

A Mini disappointment

When the new BMW Mini came out it was advertised as 'a Mini Adventure.' I've had the chance to drive one a few times recently, and I'm afraid it was more a Mini Disappointment.

There is nothing wrong with the car. In fact it's an excellent car - smooth, sophisticated and with a luxury car feel. To be accurate, there is one thing wrong with it, one ridiculous design fault. In a burst of nostalgic style over substance, the speedometer is plonked right in the middle of the dashboard, well out of the driver's line of sight. This is so bad that there is actually a second, digital speedo in the middle of the rev counter, which is situated where the speedometer should be. But that's a minor niggle.

Excellent though the Mini is, though, as a town car it isn't a patch on my usual Toyota Aygo. Over 45 miles per hour, the Aygo is pretty useless. At high speed it's sluggish and noisy. But for nipping around town it's wonderful. It's little engine is peppy and loves being pushed. The car is nippy, it's very lithe, and most of all it is great fun to drive. By comparison, the Mini feels big, fat and dull. Safe, absolutely. Luxurious, certainly. But it wouldn't recognize fun if it bit it on the bum.

Bearing in mind also that new the Mini costs twice as much as the Aygo to buy, it drinks half as much petrol again, and it's road fund licence costs over seven times as much, you can begin to see why I would say that, lovely though Minis are, I wouldn't consider swapping my Aygo for one.

Picture from Wikipedia

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