TOWN & COUNTRY: MINI COOPER (HARDTOP 4-DOOR)

Negril, Jamaica

Negril, Jamaica

What’s new

While the name is about the only thing that's actually Mini on the 2016 Mini Cooper, the philosophy behind the car remains the same as it was so many decades ago when the first (truly) Mini appeared on the scene. Today, a new Mini Cooper gets you a high-end subcompact as either the 2-door Hardtop, 4-door Hardtop, or as the new Convertible. All Minis come with any one of three different turbocharged engines and offers a fun-to-drive feel, high style and nearly infinite customizability. If you're willing to spend extra money, a new Mini Cooper makes a compelling high-fashion option against more common subcompact cars like the Honda Fit.

In convoy with a few of my favorite people I had a fantastic time dillying and dallying through the Island Routes organised tour in my very own Mini Cooper (hardtop 4 door)... for the day. From jelly stops on the coast to breathtaking vistas by the Negril Whitehouse, mini got me there like a champ. Thanks ATL Automotive for taking me along for a sweet ride on Jamaica's wild wild west coast. Back to the machine…

 

DRIVING THE HARDTOP 4-DOOR

the Mini makes the most of its front-wheel-drive chassis (The frame/shell of a car) with a corner-carving ability (to smoothly transition around corners) that has to be experienced to be believed. On the highway or on rough pavement, the ride is on the rough side, it's definitely loud inside, and the quick steering can make the car feel a bit nervous. Three turbocharged engines are available, from the 3-cylinder in base models, to the 4-cylinder in the Cooper S models, to that relative powerhouse in the 2-door John Cooper Works Hardtop and Convertible. Whether you choose the manual or quick-shifting automatic, I believe every Mini Cooper is fun to drive. They're also great on fuel economy (gas usage). After being on the road for over 7 hours between Montego Bay and Negril we utilized only 3 bars from the fuel meter.

 

INSIDE

There's an odd dichotomy between the 2016 Mini Cooper Hardtop and Convertible interior's blend of modern tech and retro styling. There's the huge circular center display, which houses either the speedometer or the infotainment system depending on options. The various toggles look decidedly retrograde, but are in charge of modern functions like the keyless ignition. There's nothing retro about the comfortable seats, clever packaging and slick head-up display on the windshield. The 4-door offers reasonable room for two, with a center seating position if you absolutely must cram five people in the car. The Mini Cooper really is just as fun to look at as it is to drive. There are clever details everywhere, from the classic bug-eyed styling to the use of toggle switches inside. Even the ignition switch is a big red toggle in the middle of the dash.
 

OUTSIDE

The "bulldog" stance of a 2016 Mini Cooper means it's low and squat, not furry and drooling. Beyond giving them the distinctive look we've come to love, it also directly contributes to why these little cars handle so well. Beyond the different trim levels, there are contrasting color schemes, racing stripes and a number of other personalization touches owners can request. Dimensionally, the Mini Cooper 4-door is only about 10 inches shorter than the VW Golf, but still managing to look sharp. The John Cooper Works edition adds special badges, wheels and brakes. Mini Convertibles manage to look good top up or down.


In general, the Mini Cooper Hardtop 4-door (or any other model as a matter of fact) is a good buy once you can afford it. It won’t be priced similarly to other cars of its size but its offerings won’t leave you wondering why for very long. The value is clear. The driving experience is as advertised and your little coop will surprise you with its fuel efficiency, user friendliness, terrain management and style. Book your test drive today at ATL Automotive and see for yourself.

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