The cheeky Mini is growing up and is set to muscle in on the five door hatchback market.
Mini is the tongue-in-cheek branch of the BMW group, they are portrayed as quirky and funny but there’s a very serious business that goes on behind the scenes. We were told that 42% of the total car market in Ireland are hatchbacks and 92% of those are five door and that’s where Mini are targeting their new car.
The segment is dominated by Ford, Toyota and Volkswagen with many others trying to push in for a piece of the pie.
The new five door is bigger than its three door version, 161mm longer and 11mm higher. The boot space goes from 160ltrs to a large 211mm all of which goes to make the car look big on the outside, actually is looks bigger than the competition like the Fiesta, Polo, Yaris and Clio to name but a few.
The inside isn’t as big looking though, there’s enough room for four so long as they aren’t big men as I found myself rubbing elbows with my passenger on the test drive.
There’s plenty to like on the interior, it’s got that Mini layout with the big dial in the middle that houses the radio and if you pay for the optional sat nav you’ll get a big screen. The materials used are good and in line with the segment.
The boot space is now a very useable 211ltrs, there’s no boot lip so it’s flat and when we dropped the seats there was plenty of room for two bicycles and our bags which is quite a feat for a car in this segment.
On the road it’s quiet and refined, it feels like a much bigger car than it is mostly because you can see the bonnet out in front of you. The suspension is a little hard over the bumpy stuff but that makes the handling brilliant, even mini like to compare themselves to a go-kart.
Our drive took us from Bray all the way down to Wexford but via most of Wicklow so we got to experience every kind of road surface that Ireland has to offer. Apart from the worst of it the Mini handled it perfectly even down to playing the right music from the USB port.
Adding two doors has made the car a lot bigger but it’s the right move for Mini as more Irish buyers are seeking something with a little style and plenty of options. With the Mini One starting at €21,210 it’s competing in the right area and for another €1220 you can have the diesel version with good torque and better fuel economy with a return of 80mpg and a tax of €180 a year.
You’ll see the five door in showrooms right now and it’s worth a test drive.