MINI Cooper 1.6 Review
(M)ore (M)ini for yer (M)oolah

Amery Reuben
18 Mar 2007

Do you remember the old MINI? It was designed as a small, supercompact front drive (at the time, FWD was relatively new) and it was 100% British. Despite that, it created a huge crowd of followers. This cult car is now in its 3rd generation, but does it really feel new?

Desirable, very identifiable and a car that has its customers returning time and again, the MINI has sold by the hundreds of thousands in the short 5 years that it was launched.

Three times the original estimate, a very identical 2007 model should sell even better than before, considering the dramatic improvements made, but you know what? I couldn’t tell it apart from the pre-facelift variant at first glance, and that, to me, is a real disappointment.

Where side-by-side comparisons are concerned, it can be quite hard to distinguish the minute adjustments done to its cute little face. On close inspection, you’ll notice that the car has a revised front grille, and that it forms a taller, beefier outline.

On paper, the basic things like wheelbase and track widths remain the same. The overall height and width however, does change, with the measurements being the same as the longish tip of my fingernails that desperately need trimming.

The gruesome videos we got our hands on demonstrate the need for compliance where European pedestrian impact standards are concerned.

The nose has been brought forward by 38.1mm while the bonnet was lengthened by a shade over 20mm. This heightens the crumpling ability and volume in a bid to protect the brain of that jaywalker that you might inevitably, kindly put, nudge.

Good news? You’re more likely to escape from the charge of manslaughter. The bad? There’s a high chance that your front end's going to be more mangled than the pre-facelift variant in the event of a similar impact.

The headlamps now stick to the car instead of going up with the bonnet when it is opened.

If you look closely enough, you’ll see where those figures on paper count. That lengthening of 20mm has been carried down the entire stretch of the car’s waistline. A similar length was added to the rear overhang.

The tail lamps are slightly different and are by far, the best indication of the facelifted variant

Yes, it might not look like a radical makeover, but it still looks like a Mini. THE Mini. All of you iconic fans can rejoice now.

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