By Joe LaMuraglia
Ever since joining the ranks of the gay-friendly brands on Gaywheels.com, MINI has become one of the more popular brands researched on the site. Taking that data into consideration, we made sure we were able to spend time in the newly designed MINI Cooper.
Our white MINI Cooper arrived at the Global HQ for Gaywheels.com in NashVegas, TN and it was quickly put into service around town. To say that my partner was excited about it would be an understatement. Despite his much publicized disdain for the convertible version (not an opinion held by me for the record), he couldn’t wait to get some time in the MINI and I was happy to oblige. Additional items were added to the usual weekend errand list and we set off to conquer the normally mundane tasks that seem to consume the little spare time we have left.
The MINI’s light weight, small size and new high-revving four-cylinder proved to be entertaining from the get go. Tapping into the 118 hp via the standard 6-speed manual transmission is downright fun. The power numbers may not sound like a lot but with a sport mode that modifies the throttle response, it is entertaining. While not nearly as quick as its turbo-charged sibling, it is a wonderfully engaging experience. I can’t imagine getting the base engine with anything but the manual transmission though. It is just powerful enough but an automatic may sap the fun quotient a bit.
Our errands took us to the usual places; Target, Kroger etc but getting there was a lot more fun in the MINI Cooper. Funny how we managed to find longer routes when behind the wheel of this car. The most impressive feat the the MINI delivered was the ability to handle a grill purchase from Home Depot. We didn’t think twice when rolling the large box out to the parking lot but when the rear of the MINI came into site our doubts began to brew. It is a small car and the box seemed to grow in proportions as we got closer. A few folded seat backs later and with minimal maneuvering, the MINI swallowed that box with ease. Impressive indeed!
As our MINI was so impressive in the city we decided to take a road trip to test it’s manners over the hills and through the woods – literally. We didn’t go visit Grandma but the trip from Nashville to Asheville, NC was a perfect test of long cruising, twisting mountain passes and the hills and dales of Asheville. At one point we even tested it with four adults running around town.
The verdict is that the new MINI Cooper is a wonderful, entertaining vehicle that is best suited to zipping around town and putting a smile on your face while doing it. It rode well on the highway and handled the mountain roads easily but the comfort quotient maxes out at about 4 hours. It is a perfect car for two adults and in a pinch can handle another couple but keeping anyone north of 5 ft in the back longer than an hour would be cruel. Its hatchback design gives it versatility but schlepping anything larger than a breadbasket with passengers in the back would be difficult. MINI’s solution for more cargo space and easier rear ingress is the MINI Clubman, a longer more versatile vehicle with the same styling and driving experience. We’ll have a review up soon.
– Size and handling
– Ambient lighting that changes colors at the flick of a switch
– Overall design that communicates fun
– Fantastic MPG – as tested average of 38 MPG
– Confusing audio controls
– Seats aren’t suited for long-distance driving
– Overly done design elements in the interior that seem to include the MINI logo EVERYWHERE
MINI is a gay-friendly MINI.
Read other MINI reviews by Gaywheels.com’s writers