The MINI One is like a Mini Cooper, only not quite, it’s been trimmed down a bit.
In its way closer to the original Mini than any of the other modern Minis. So on one level it is a winner. It has a certain stylistic integrity and nostalgic feel to it.
But then you look at what else you could buy and keep a bag full of change and you wonder.
What do I really get in the package MINI calls One?
The engine you get is a three cylinder twin turbo 1.2 unit delivering 75kW and 180Nm. Not too shabby. They claim a very optimistic 4.9litre/100km. I got just under 7 L/100km, which is not bad, but its not even close to 5.
You get a really pleasant driving experience. It’s fun and feels sure footed. I think it sounds fabulous. I just loved the roar of the three cylinder mill being fed by the two turbos.
You get a funky looking car on the outside.
You get a ‘nice’ interior, but nothing to write home about.
You get to drive a MINI. Nice badge.
That’s what you get.
You do not get climate control, onboard computer with consumption figures, front fog lights, multi-function leather sport steering wheel, and so on as standard. You have to buy additional expensive Chilli and Wired accessory packages.
You do not get a big boot or rear doors or windows that can open or that children can see out of.
I am a little ambivalent about this ONE. So I got a second opinion, from my wife, Danita.
I grew up with Minis when they were still King- of- the road on the racetrack and the fast forest stages in the Monte Carlo rally.
I fondly think about them as cute, fast and very “agile”. I was extremely excited when we signed for the funky looking tomato red test car.
The outside is still a chubby road clinger look and a real eye catcher. I just love the headlights that “stay behind” when you lift up the bonnet.
Unfortunately I was quite disappointed with the interior of the car. The speed dials and layout of the dashboard looks outdated and just too basic. It just did not keep up with the hightech look of the outside. The armrest on the console and inside of the doors are way too high in comparison with the very low bucket seats. The safety belt is not easy too reach, it is too far behind you.
Surprisingly the legroom at the back of this two door car is good. A real pity that the back windows cannot open at all, quite claustrophobic!
But then…we hit the road….Yes yes yesssss!!!! I just love it – fast and footsy, oh man! So…yes you pay big time for the Branding and yes, there are many other options in this price range but oh man if I had that kind of money to spend on toys THIS would be it for sure!!!!!
So there you have it.
The manual costs a whopping R272 000 and the auto an eye watering R290 000. That’s a lot of money for a quite basic little car. But it is different and may be worth a bit of a premium.
Also look at the Mazda 2, Suzuki Swift Sport, Audi A1, Ford Fiesta, VW Polo GTI, Renault Clio, Opel Adam and Fiat 500.
Warranty is 2 years, with no distance limit but 3 years for the paintwork. A service motorplan is available at extra cost.