MINI One 1.6 Review
MINI One - Makes you want to push all the right buttons

Text by Andy Hum, Photos by Amery Reuben and Andy Hum
3 Jul 2007
 

So, the MINI One isn’t like a "proper" Mini of the old and is far from what the fans from the era of leather-cap helmets and suspenders-and-berms would expect. It isn’t even, by most people's standards, the modern day’s “minimal requirement” of a MINI, which is the Cooper. If you were to drive around in one, any Tong, Teck or Ali with even the slightest clue of what a Cooper is would be curious as to why you did not get yourself a “proper” MINI.

Bottom line impression is… you really wanted a MINI, but just couldn’t afford one.

But is it really that much of a death trap for those who admire its cute looks and the charm of its slightly cheeky smile from its big puppy eyes and huge front air intakes?

After all, times have changed and the purists’ had spent those early years in simple leather helmets, compared to today’s high tech carbon composite world. And suspenders-and-berms with tee-shirts have lost out to fireproof racing suits.

The MINI of today has become more of a fashion icon than the original designer Sir Alec Issigonis’s Mini was. It is a little like iPod vs the Walkman. To put things into an easier perspective, quoting the words of many local wise men, “Last time policeman wear shorts!”

So, still a death trap? Hardly at all.

And there’s a very simple reason for that.

As much as the regular Joe would like to try and take the piss on you for not getting what some consider the “minimum acceptable standard”, the Cooper, he probably would not even be able to tell you what the difference between the two are. Apart from the badges.

A little more luck and he might also be able to point out that the One utilizes a 1.4 litre engine which puts out 95 bhp at 6,000 rpm, with a healthy 140 Nm of twist from 4,000 rpm. With an unladen weight of 1175 kg, it propels itself to a less impressive-sounding 12.6 seconds.

By comparison, the Cooper has a 1.6 litre block with 118bhp at also 6,000 rpm and 160 Nm of torque at 4,250 rpm. More power, definitely, but at some expense of gaining mass as well – 1195 kg unladen, to be precise.

But, more importantly, during normal road use, the One doesn’t feel like it’s gasping for air or short on power. It accelerates aptly and gives you a sense that it is going pretty quick and even sounds a teeny bit like the Cooper S, minus the louder whine.


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