Whilst MINI is undoubtedly a very cool brand, they have sometimes struggled for traction in certain markets. Family being one, and whilst the Countryman has helped, the all new 5 door MINI is anticipated to be a game changer. Box ticked. The other, is of course, the male market. A preconception of a lack of space means they just haven’t been quite as desirable to the male audience, us included. However after varying members of team have been behind the wheel of 5 different models this year, perhaps the tides are beginning to change. We decided to take that even further and headed to the deserts of Dubai to put a few of the new MINIs through their paces and then some.
The very first original MINI back in the 50’s and onwards was even smaller, but size was never an issue. It was a classic, it was different, and no matter what your size or sex you wanted to be seen in one. Since the re-introduction in 2001 though, something changed, and whilst a hugely popular car, most man’s experience of such a thing is through their mum or other half.
The challenge was set, we would head to Dubai for a weekend (Wales was booked, sorry) and MINI would be a mans best friend. Carting kit, luggage and ourselves through the never ending heat, sand and sun. The first thing that strikes you is the surprising amount of space up front, either driving or in the passenger seat. At 6 foot 4, space is never easy to come by, but everything was more than comfortable, whether it be riding dunes or napping on the long drive finding a hotel, space was always there.
The sheer number of body styles on the new MINI means that nearly anything is possible. We had a 3 door Paceman for something a little sportier and the 5 door Countryman for something a little more 9 to 5. Both had the All Wheel Drive option. Now I am not going to sit here and pretend that it took everything in it’s stride and never getting stuck. We did get stuck, beached and bogged, a few times in fact. But so did the ‘leading’ 4X4’s that were our guides, even the tractor like Tundra!!!
Of course sand drifts aren’t a common issue back here in the UK, but wet weather, ice and snow very much are, which make the All Wheel Drive option a serious consideration. Don’t get me wrong, its no 4X4, but the auto select does give you additional traction when needed. Sliding across the grass at the country fete and whatnot!
The latest incarnation of all of the MINIs are as good as they have ever been. Whilst the interior may not suit all tastes, the function of everything, drive and exterior aesthetics are all there in abundance. The drive is particularly good no matter what the terrain or type of road. The new MINI carries the bumps as well as it does eating up the miles on longer roads. And although the eternal changes may only be minor, they are just enough to make this car a little bit different.
With 7 different body styles, there will also be something to suit your tastes:
Ultimately a timeless classic. 2 doors, still with space and a silhouette that never seems to grow old.
A surprise feather in the MINI cap. First introduced during 2012, many couldn’t see the Countryman working and where it would fit. The Countryman is now the second best selling body style of all MINI sold round the globe.
MINI 5 Door
Set to take the family market by storm. Watch out Focus and Astra, as we are very sure that your market share is about to take a nosedive!
Spending the best part of 72 hours living and breathing MINI whilst in the desert, we couldn’t be more on board. Versatility is at its heart and that heart beats 24/7. Space in abundance for such a small car and the ability to take pretty much anything you can throw at it gives the MINI as an extra option for any self respecting male looking to purchase a new car.
Causing a surprise to pretty much everyone when launched in 2011. The MINI Coupé was bold and different with an even lower roofline. Possibly our favourite MINI. Ever.
The sports and perhaps more desirable version of the MINI Convertible. It’s low stance and sweeping lines make it one of the best softtops of any city car out there at the moment. The Coupe just went topless.
The softop version of the original 3 door MINI. No frills, just a full canvas roof. Still one of the popular changes to the standard MINI, this car will just never get old.
The hidden gem perhaps? A 2 door body style with a slightly lower back for a more sporty look. In the right colour this car turns heads, and after playing with it in Dubai we couldn’t appreciate it more.
Spending the best part of 72 hours living and breathing MINI whilst in the desert, we couldn’t be more on board. Versatility is at its heart and that heart beats 24/7. Space in abundance for such a small car and the ability to take pretty much anything you can throw at it gives the MINI as an extra option for any self respecting male looking to purchase a new car. Go and find the right one for you now.