When the R50 MINI came out in 2001 there was a sizable amount of older auto enthusiasts that were dissapointed in the lack of engineering ingenuity evident. Where the original Mini was a watershed moment in automotive engineering, they claimed the new MINI was nothing but a derivitive (no matter how good) of all the other front drive hatches out there. Car Magazine writer Gavin Green is still preaching that same gospel six years later about the small car industry as a whole. Here’s an excerpt from the latest entry on the car Magazine blog:

>Meanwhile, the latest version of the Mini is a marketing miracle, winning buyers from San Francisco to Shanghai. The upwardly mobile like its cheeky retro-ish style and the premium BMW family connections. It’s a fine and entertaining premium small car and in Cooper S trim, at any rate, it’s a hoot to drive. But it’s not a Mini (it isn’t even that small). The old real Mini was a brilliant engineering achievement, studded with originality and masterful thinking. It was also fabulous value. The new one innovates in absolutely no way whatsoever, apart from its marketing. I just wish BMW had done something — anything — that would have put a sparkle in old Alec Issigonis’s eye.

You can read more (including his take on the new Beetle) below:

[ Why small cars have lost their way ] Car Magazine