More Press on the Idea of a MINI SUV

Get your snappy one-liners ready, we’ve got another story on the potential of a MINI SUV. Here’s an excerpt (via

At the beginning of May, BMWs DesignWorks studios, the facility responsible for many of BMWs modern interpretations, concepts and designs, released a preliminary sketch of a road-biased compact SUV. Known across the globe as “soft roaders” for their limited capabilities off the paved path, the MINI SUV (or SAV, in BMW terminology) would provide an economical, stylish and fun alternative to the current crop of cute utes, such as the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Mitsubishi Outlander.

The sketch depicts a slightly longer, taller hatchback version of the familiar MINI shape. Heavily rolled wheel arches that are finished in matte plastic (like todays Cooper), the trademark floating roof, minimal overhangs, blacked-out pillars and MINIs traditionally cute, smiling face will definitely be key features to link this to the brands other models. Elsewhere, the design team began to play with shapes and details that are foreign to the heritage-rich British classic. A side sketch depicts a four-door body with high-mounted round tail lamps on the rear pillars, and bulbous front and rear glass.

[ MINI to Make Cooper SUV ]

MF Analysis: As I’ve said before with these MINI/SUV rumors – three words: grain of salt. Don’t expect MINI to sell-out and create something like a MINI RAV4. BMW is all too aware of how important the MINI brand and it’s aspiring values are to future sales. It’s my guess that the four door MINI will be more MINI like and less SUV.

  • IGoDayGlo

    I think this looks pretty cool, but there’s no way an automaker can get away with overhangs that short (as cool as they are). Current safety laws demand the front and back of new cards be bulbous and bloated.

    I’m so happy with my Mini that I wouldn’t mind seeing a variation on the theme that maintains the values of the original (compact size, small engine compartment, similar wheelbase-to-track ratio, good gas mileage).

  • njpaguy

    As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, a MINI SUV/SAV/whatever is simple: increase the size of the current MINI proportionally in all directions, say 40% larger. Exterior physical shape is identical. Interior would need the major redesign due to the increased size. Think of it as a MINI on steroids.

    You gotta admit – having those two side-by-side in your driveway would be rather cool.

  • RB

    All wheel? WRC? Could it possible be heading there?

  • mcswrks

    hopefully they will do that with the 4 door or next generation.

  • RB


  • RB

    I think the layout shows a 4 door…..suicide rear doors to be exact.

  • RB –

    WRC… that’s the first thing I thought of when I saw this… here’s hoping…

  • CA

    I don’t this that it would be selling out. Many thought the same when BMW released the X5. It is a demand that can be filled. There are customers who are willing to purchase a 4WD MINI. Think of gas prices rising and the American’s love for SUV. Put the 2 into a blender and you might get a future MINI SAV.

    I like the idea, put me on the list.

  • Erik

    Wow, I don’t hate the idea. I wonder if this Mini wold take away sales from the X3?

    My Forester is going to need replacing at some point, why not another Mini?

    -Erik ’05 MCS

  • CJ

    I think it could be good for MINI. As long as it’s small, fuel efficient and fun to drive… then they’re not selling out, just expanding the line.

  • Bill Lawrence

    Maybe we could trade in my wifes Ford Explorer. They should make it sort of a rally ready car, with some cargo space. It could compete with the WRX wagon, without compromising MINI’s character.

  • DCE

    I personally think that a MINI SUV is a true bastardization of the MINI concept. On the other hand, exploring variations and different concepts for designers is a very good exercise in keeping the MINI line fresh and unique. There’s nothing wrong with stretching the envelope, just don’t turn it into a box.

  • Franz

    All these positive comments mystify me! I can’t think of anything more repugnant than Mini making an SUV. I was previously a long time VW buyer and when they released the Toureg, the first thing I did was send them an email that I would not be buying their products again. The SUV is useful for off-road, but very few that own them ever take them there. It is an atrocity that these vehicles are allowed on our roads (fuel-economy, safety, etc). I had to leave VW in disgust. I hope that I don’t have to leave my beloved Mini. It is bad enough that the parent company makes the X3. Please Mini don’t do this! If Mini diversifies, make a four door, make a moke, hell why not an electric, but not this SUV thing.

  • I like the idea even perhaps as a boutique offering of less than 500 total.. I do think they could easily have that front end …look at the Caterhams and the Lotus 340R .. plus BMW pays enough every year in non compliance fines that they could just eat a bit of that in the price and limited avalaibility. That way they may even be able to garner short term waivers for some areas of non compliance.

  • IGoDayGlo

    Franz –

    To be clear, is it correct to say that you stopped by VWs altogether because they released a vehicle that you had no interest in buying?

    Isn’t that like cutting off your nose to piss off your face? If VWs were good enough for you to purchase before the Toureg, why not after?

  • Hunter

    I thoroughly HATE the idea of a MINI SUV…isn’t MINI (and all of us here at MotoringFile) against SUV’s in any and every form?! I also agree with Franz that they could expand with a four-door, or elcamino-like truck, or an electric, or a hybrid…”No” to the SUV….


  • X3 Lover

    Franz, Get a grip. I like my X3 and if you really feel that way you should put the “For Sale” sign on the MINI now. If my next MINI could be all wheel drive I would sell my current MCS to get it. MOTOR ON!

  • RB

    FRANZ…..I think the Toureg did quite well in the Telefonica Dakar!!!!

    And Bill I don’t see how a MINI, no matter what configuration, could compromise itself!

    Mini has had a history of wagons, sedans deliveries and so on why not a off road type? Anything to get it into WRC.

  • Bill Lawrence

    My only question is when does a car become an SUV?

    If MINI made a wagon like vehicle that had all wheel drive, a taller greenhouse and four doors, but was still much smaller and handled much better than a RAV-4, Escape or Freelander, could it still be an SUV?

    If MINI made a small wagon that handled well, held some stuff, had all wheel drive and had all the coolness of a MINI, it would be hard for me to complain, even if someone called it a MINI SUV.

    SUV has become such a dirty word, that we are in danger of hating some really good SUV alternatives, just because the word “SUV” is attached to it!

    Looking at the picture above, only the lolipop kids on the Yellow Brick Road would consider that a real SUV.

  • Agreed.

    I don’t think this thing can be classified in the Armada/Navigator league of useless bloated gas guzzlers. I think it’s much more in the league of your Volvo CrossCountry, Audi AllRoad or Subaru WRX wagon. Looking at that rendering has me thinking rallycar more than SUV or crossover.

    At least I hope this is where it’s going.

  • Edge

    I think that a MINI SUV would be a big mistake. It’s an oxymoron, for crying out loud. Leave the SUVs to the parent company.

    Besides, it would totally destroy the meaning behind my license plate (SUV2BIG). That doesn’t mean a car LIKE a MINI-based SUV wouldn’t sell well… it probably would. I just don’t think it should be badged as a MINI.

  • Chad

    When I start procreating in a few years, I don’t want a big SUV, I don’t want anything the current cute-ute segment has to offer, and I can’t convince my fiancee that the Dodge Magnum is cool (which eliminates the S4 wagon or anything else that resembles a station wagon). A mini-on-steroids that captures the spirit and style of the “true” mini would be very intriguing to me. I like the concept as well as the sketch. I don’t think this example of “sports-car company strays from its roots” has to be analagous to a certain red-pepper inspired monster spawned by that other German sports car maker. I believe mini can create something sporting yet efficient that will strengthen rather tnhan reduce the Mini brand.

  • Looks to be more of a competitor for the Audi Allroad Quattro and Subaru Outback, if you ask me. I’m all for it–factory MINI rally car, anyone? 😉

  • mataku

    i currently plan to be a lifetime owner, but if the MINI ever goes against what I feel is the idea of the MINI, by making an SUV, I will not get another MINI.

    understand that this is not a wagon, it’s an SUV. I am for the idea of a pick up or a wagon. They provide enough space for anything you would ever need without increasing the vehicles overall height and adding tremendous unuseful, gas wasting weight. The things I hate most about SUVs are the wastefulness of the extra height, larger wheels, and unused 6 passenger capabilities. They waste gas and make it harder for everyone else to see what is going on around them.

    So I’ll say it once again, if the MINI ever comes out with anything untrue to the idea of EFFICIENCY at its finest, I will not get another MINI.

  • RB

    Mataku….Now there is some brand loyalty for ya…..And you’ll get WHAT kind of car???A 1967 VW, maybe????

  • RB

    GIVE ME A BRAKE!!!!!!!

  • This would be fantastic. As Ivan said, more like the All Road.

    I would have much rather seen MINI UPGRADE it’s Service before releasing New Ideas, Models, varients.

    But there’s NO money in a service upgrade!

    The All Road MINI would be a lot of fun for anyone who didn’t care much about their paint.

    If it’s all wheel and the chassis is extened a bit, which with AWD it might need to be, as well as lifted a bit, then you’ll have a crazy little rally car!

    Speculations are a lot of fun!

  • mataku

    brand loyalty?.. PLEASE! it’s an english car aquired by a german company to make money. It’s not as if they are making the cars out of love or respect or anything to the car’s heritage.

    anyways, sorry if it sounded dramatic earlier, but it’s merely a statement: if they make a SUV I will just go somewhere else.

    One big problem is that the SUV will still have the MINI distinctive look. I oppose SUV’s that have no real purpose besides some wierd craze that people have to have big cars that tend to tip over and block other people’s view. I don’t want people to look at the car I own and associate that with an SUV.

  • Evan

    As I know someone out at MINI reads this…

    Do NOT build a SAV/SUV- that is the antithesis of MINI. It was bad enough BMW succumbed and did the X5 (alright) and the X3 (awkward).

    That’s it.

  • TSizemore3

    I know this has been said many times before in the MINI/SUV debate, but for those who are rabidly anti-SUV may I remind them of the Mini Moke? There were many varients of the classic Mini, including commercial vans and trucks, and a light-duty off-roader known as the Moke.

    I feel that if the proper respect was paid to the classic formula in the design stages, we could have some interesting and usful additions to the current MINI family without them being ugly or garish.

  • Edge


    The Moke was a completely different thing than an SUV. It wasn’t a tall, oversized, overweight fuel hog, for starters. And it was still very small, classic Mini style. My Dad had one when I was growing up. A new MINI Moke would be great. And it wouldn’t be an SUV, either. Totally different things, not a valid comparison at all.

  • a carrera gt? sodding suv peddling piece of crap!

  • Rob

    I’d buy one! You can’t look at it like another SUV. It would be SAV MINI-style. Why do so many think MINI would blow this? I trust them and the direction they take. BMW has done it right all along anyway.

  • Wasnt the MOKE used as an off road/dune buggy/jeep type of car on the islands a lot??? I rememebr seeing those a long time ago on St Thomas. kinda reminded me of the Thing (VW) a version of a Jeep.. wait.. all jeeps are 4 wheel drive 9usually0,, does that make a General Purpose vehicle (GP=Jeep) into a Sport Utility Vehicle??(SUV).. or not? Jeeps are rather small but go anywhere..

    here is an idea of an evolution of the Moke.. the MINI version of a GP.. light off road.. but MINI.. I dont see it as an me the SUV is like those adds in the movies.. EssUVEE..big tipping over.. and thirsty. would this be it??? nahh would we say no to an AWD or 4WD MINI??? hmm.. it would be a nice thing for certain uses… oh.. but they would have to raise it to get a drive shaft to the rear.. ok.. so it gets a LITTLE taller.. or a LITTLe higher.. but basically the same size.. does the drawing look like a MINI on steroids??? not to me.. bigger wheel wells. for larger tires.. (I have the 15’s on mine) ..but wait.. the original was 10″ and grew to 13″.. do 17″s look bad?? or maybe 20″s?? not for AWD.

    I would like to see it… maybe a limited run.. but the price would skyrocket the car! it’s not just that it’s cute and drives great and has a following.. Beemers made a car that could be sold for $17000 US (to start with) and even at that it’s a blast..

    would I look at a MINI costing $45K?? nahhh couldnt afford it.. but an economical 4WD… maybe at the $24K… maybe
    hey. none of this might happen anyway!!!

  • riky

    I’d sell my mitsubishi pajero/montero immediatly if i could buy a mini 4×4.

    I’ll look cool next to my mcsc.

  • PaulK

    A solution in search of a problem.

    Is the problem that MINIs don’t do off-road? That off-road vehicles can’t be raced on a track? That Mini isn’t selling out their production capacity? No, no and no.

    Suicide doors to ease access to the back seat make sense, jacking a Mini up to the point it no longer handles like a Mini does not.


    I sell MINI for a living and have to say that two out of every ten customers that have walked through my showroom door have expressed the need for a four door car with a flatter loading bay, now I am not about to give my blesssing for an SUC, I would just like to say that with the extra selling opportunities I could put both my kids through college and my wife through an extreme makeover!!! So spare a thought for the lowly salesman serving your every whim when you start lobbying BMW.

  • Hamilton Ross

    I hate rav 4’s, so if this gets people who buy them, to take them to the dump and get an actual nice car then GO MINI SUV!