For the 2019 model year, MINI comes with a bunch of technological and design improvements such as:
* LED rear lights in Union Jack design.
* New MINI logo, new body finishes, Piano Black interior.
* New light alloy wheels.
* Extended range of leather trim.
* Unique individualization.
* Multifunction steering wheel and radio with a 6.5-inch color screen, USB and Bluetooth interface as standard.
* Optional radio and navigation systems with touchscreen monitor.
* Telephone with wireless charging.
* MINI connected and MINI Connected XL with new functions.
* MINI logo projection from the exterior mirror on the driver’s side
Our tester, the base model (with manual transmission) in Chilli Red and optional White Bonnet Stripes and White Roof and Mirror Caps had a great appearance (my subjective opinion) that very much reflected the character of this British icon.
As I had several test drives with earlier models, body styles and engines, there was no room for much of surprises.
The sporty, dynamic and go-cart like driving characteristics remain. And this was the first MINI I tested with manual transmission. Although not for everybody in North America. (with a preferred rate of less than 10 percent overall), it boosts your driving pleasure and gives you more control over the vehicle.
The turbocharged three-cylinder engine works well with this six-speed transmission. You never have the feeling of underpowered with 134 hp and 162 lb-ft, at as low as 1,250 rpm.
Despite the short wheelbase, thanks to relatively vertical A-pillar and a non-sloping roofline, the room economy is very good for this class even for the rear-seat passengers.
You are surrounded by a lot of plastic inside, but it doesn’t feel cheap or boring due to classic and beautiful dashboard design.
For MINI fans as well as for those who want to join a brand with a lot of history and character, this model offers an affordable alternative.
And having BMW as the mother company is a big bonus in terms of technology and production quality. The British automobile industry is now in good, German hands.
Article and photos by Varol McKars