The MINI has been voted the “Greatest British Car Ever Made” by Autocar readers. The
classic version has therefore eclipsed the Jaguar E-Type, McLaren F1, Morris Minor,
and Caterham 7 in terms of popularity. The MINI was launched in 1959 to take-on small
vehicles such as the Bubble Car. These were popular due to the fuel shortage caused
by the Suez Crisis. As such, the MINI was only about ten foot long but had space for four
adults. This was achieved – in part – by mounting the engine transversely, sharing its oil
sump with the transmission, and fitting front wheel drive. Whereas this concept was not
immediately popular the sport trims, rally success, and celebrity buyers boosted credibility.
This helped the marque evolve and expand. As such, motorists can now choose from a
wide variety of vehicles. Highlights include the current MINI Hatchback, which has the
style of its predecessor mixed with twenty-first century refinement. This complements the
Clubman which is more practical than the Hatchback thanks to its larger boot - plus the
stylish Convertible and Coupé. That brings us to the forthcoming MINI Clubvan. Strengths
include the 860-litre cargo capacity, 500kg payload allowance, and the 115cm load length.
And, importantly to some, it is one of the most fashionable and attractive vans in the world.
The all-new MINI Countryman John Cooper Works is even more enticing. Why? Because
this rally-bred predator has a 1.6-litre 218hp petrol engine that propels it to 62mph in 7
seconds with either manual or auto transmission. Compared to its siblings it also has
stronger brakes, a lower ride height, and stiffer suspension. Great for handling. The MINI Countryman JCW also has four-wheel-drive. As such power is sent 50/
50 to the front/rear in normal circumstances, then to where it is most needed in slippery
conditions. As importantly, it reduces the steering “tug” many powerful front-wheel drive
cars send through your wrists. Plus, of course, it is a Countryman so it has five doors, a
spacious boot, decent equipment specification, and striking looks. All for £28,595. Rejoice.
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