Buy/Drive/Burn: The Cheapest Convertibles in America for 2021
One Mini Special Edition Points to Heritage, Another Aims for Value
No brand is immune from putting out special editions to honor its heritage, and so it is with Mini. The company is launching two – the 2021 Mini Cooper 1499 GT and 2021 Mini Countryman Oxford Edition.
The former is meant to be a homage to the classic Mini 1275 GT, while the latter does not, as far as we know, come with a tweed blazer with elbow patches.
Mini Introduces New Cooper SE Electric With Lackluster Range
A few short years ago, there were very few players in the electric vehicle marketplace, with cars like the first-generation Leaf topping out with 73 miles of range. Since then, we’ve seen EVs like the Tesla Model 3 that are rated with 310 miles of range and some models can go even farther between finding a charge point. In this growing and competitive market, Mini introduced an all-new electric Mini, called the Cooper SE.
The Cooper SE is an all electric car with a 135 kW electric motor good for 181 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque. Mini doesn’t cite U.S. EPA estimated range numbers, but they are claiming a range of 235 to 270 kilometers. A direct conversion to miles would be — checks notes — 146 miles. Since the European testing cycle is optimistic, the EPA range is likely to sit around 114 miles according to Automotive News.
That’s missing the mark. By a lot.
Ace of Base: 2018 Mini Cooper Hardtop 2-Door
The rebooted Mini brand was launched nearly 20 years ago, an alarming reminder of the relentless march of time and my own rapidly disappearing hairline. Since its introduction, when it competed for customer cash during the retro boom, the brand has grown into a full line of cars, ranging from the original Hardtop to plug-in hybrids and the oddly lumpy Clubman.
Far from its humble roots, it is now possible to spend north of $50,000 on a Mini in 2018. How does the base model stack up at less than half that price? Let’s find out.
Ace of Base: 2017 Mini Cooper Hardtop 2-Door
Sometimes a manufacturer churns out a base trim that — all things considered — just might be the primo choice for that particular model. Here’s an example.
When the new Mini was introduced way back in 2000, some saw it as a means to cash in on the burgeoning niche of retro-themed cars, then populated by the New Beetle, PT Cruiser, and — erm — Ford Thunderbird. Oh dear.
Since then, the Mini brand has grown into a full line of cars, ranging from the original Hardtop to the jacked-up Countryman. It’s shockingly easy to spend upwards of $40,000 on a Mini today, but how does one stack up as a base model at half that price?
Let’s find out.
Mini Clubman Shows Just How Maxi Brand Has Become
Mini unveiled its newest Clubman this week and the car, which is one foot longer and nearly 5 inches wider than the outgoing model, is now longer than a Jeep Wrangler.
The 14-foot-long four door will be four-inches shorter than a Mazda CX-3 and will sport the Hardtop’s duo of engines for Clubman and Clubman S models. The turbocharged I-3 will produce 134 horsepower in the Clubman, while the turbo four will bump up to 189 horsepower for the Clubman S. According to Mini, the Clubman S will sprint up to 60 mph in 7 seconds.
The Clubman is 10.9 inches longer than the 5-door Hardtop, with a 4-inch longer wheelbase and is nearly 3 inches wider. Rear passengers in the Clubman will get 2 more inches of legroom over the five-door Mini (34.3 vs. 32.3).
(And the five-door Hardtop exists, why?)
Piston Slap: Run Flat Tires and Parties A, B, C
TTAC commentator WheelMcCoy writes:
With MINIs, fun is directly proportional to repair bills. A couple with a 2009 MINI Cooper S bought an extended warranty which expires in February 2015. They hope to sell their MINI around then, but the run flat tires are worn down to their wear bars. To tide them over for 6 or 7 months, I suggested they buy some good handling low tread wear all season tires (they are in the Northeast) and an air compressor with goo. With normal tires, I’d argue they’d enjoy their MINI even more and might even want keep it after the extended warranty. But they are inclined on getting expensive run-flats to not hurt the resale value. Most likely, they will trade-in rather than sell on their own.
Appreciate your input and any alternatives we haven’t considered.
Vellum Venom: MINI Cooper Hardtop (2012)
The end of the year, the end of an era for a famous British Marque. Let’s get crackin’ before the ink on the vellum dries for the (all new) 2014 model.
Los Angeles 2013: MINI Unveils 2014 Cooper, Cooper S
Review: 2012 MINI Cooper S Countryman All4
MINI is the most unlikely successful new brand in America. Why? Because the brand’s “tiny transportation” ethos is at odds with America’s “bigger is better” mantra. Of course, these contradictory philosophies explain why the modern MINI is nowhere near as mini as Minis used to be. Still with me? Hang on to your hats because the German owners of the iconic British brand have decided American domination hinges on making the biggest MINI yet. Enter the MINI Countryman. Or as I like to call it, the MINI Maxi.
Review: 2011 MINI Cooper S
Ever since I test drove the original Honda CRX a quarter-century ago I’ve been a big fan of small cars. In everyday driving I’d rather have a small car with limited power than a large car with a lot of it. And yet I’ve never quite connected with the MINIs I’ve driven. Perhaps I just needed more time in the seat? To find out, I recently spent a week with a MINI Cooper S—a small car with plenty of power.
What's Wrong With This Picture: MINI's Growing Family Edition
MINI’s new six-model lineup gets an early preview, as the Cooper, Convertible, Clubman, Countryman, Coupe and Roadster meet up outside MINI’s plant in Oxford, England. The Countryman SUV won’t arrive in the states until February 2011, with the Coupe and Roadster following by six and 12 months respectively.