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MINI COOPER

Mini Countryman a mad ride

Is the Mini Countryman as angry a car as it looks? Well, no. But what is? After all, this Mini looks pretty mad. (click the image to the right to open a slide show)

It's a bit strange, because minis are traditionally cute little things. Judging by the look on the Countryman's face, er grille, however, with its unhappy-looking downturned ends, the Countryman looks as if it's quite PO'd. Is it saying "back off, I don't want to be driven?"  

The Mini's mean mien is a mite mystifying. After all, it's a Mini, so it's designed to be driven and to be enjoyed. On the other hand, the "Countryperson" appears to be meant more as practical Mini for everyday use than the typical, er, "mini-Mini" fun and sporty car line. I can't wait to see their take on the "Mini-Van." more...


Mini Clubman Adds Room, Doesn't Subtract Fun

It's cute as a bug's ear and a lot of fun to drive – even though its base version isn't that powerful. Yet somehow, BMW has managed to make its Mini Clubman not only engaging, but also reasonably practical.

That's quite a balancing act!

The Mini Clubman is a little longer than the garden variety Mini Cooper, with a clamshell-type rear door that opens to both sides, rather than the conventional upward-opening panel you see more often on hatchbacks and wagons. It also features a rear-hinged "suicide door" on the passenger side to help facilitate entry and exit to the surprisingly roomy and comfortable rear seat. more...


Mini Cooper S – "S" is for "Smile"

It may be called a Mini, but the driving pleasure is nothing short of Maxi.

This flatulent little road rocket provided the most fun I’ve had behind the wheel in quite a while, is cute as a bug’s ear and can actually seat four people in a pinch – no pun intended.

When BMW brought back the long dead Austin Mini a few years ago, they weren’t just joining the retro car fad; they were exhuming an innovative little car that started a revolution with its transversely-mounted engine and front wheel drive configuration. Its low weight, low center of gravity and delightful power to weight ratio made it a favorite at race tracks and rallies, as well as in the daily commute.

The new Mini takes that revered base and builds it into a modern car that brings the joy of the old Mini back and is surprisingly practical if you aren’t hauling sheets of plywood. more...


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Jim Bray is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. His columns are available through the TechnoFile Syndicate.

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