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Section: MINI Competitors

Motor Trend Chooses MINI Over Quirky Rivals

MotoringFile Sections: In the Press, MINI Competitors Dec 31st, 2011 10 Comments

We love a good comparison test here at MotoringFile, especially when the MINI gets its due as a driver’s car – especially the Cooper. While MINI doesn’t always come out on top in these small car shoot outs, it’s always interesting to see how the automotive press compares the Cooper to its rivals. This month, Motor Trend published a story pitting the MINI against the Scion tC, Honda CR-Z, Volkswagen Beetle, Hyundai Veloster, and of course, the Fiat 500. These, as the misfit group of the automotive world — the odd balls. Spoiler alert, MINI came out on top. continued →

Fiat Officially Releases the Abarth 500 in the US

MotoringFile Sections: MINI Competitors Nov 16th, 2011 25 Comments

Is this the first credible competitors to the MINI Cooper S? We won’t know until we get behind the wheel of the US specific Abarth, but we can take a quick look some of the more important stats.

  • 160 hp / 170 lb.-ft
  • Upgraded suspension with (FSD) Koni front-shock absorbers and a .6 lower ride height
  • 10% quicker steering rack
  • Larger single position brakes with 11.1-inch rotors
  • Abarth-tuned ESC system
  • Optional 18.9 lbs 17″ wheels
  • Heavy-duty five-speed manual transmission
  • no weight given

Promising no? Yet it’s hard for us to forget our less than stellar experience in the 500 Sport earlier this year. Here’s a quick excerpt to remind you: continued →

VW’s new New Beetle

MotoringFile Sections: MINI Competitors Jul 19th, 2011 29 Comments

Teased during the Super Bowl, the New Beetle is now even newer, making its first big evolutionary leap since the car debuted in 1997. The new New Beetle is squashed and stretched and feigning aggression from most angles — reflecting VW’s desire to re-masculate the Beetle franchise. Because honestly, not enough of the car market is aimed at young men. Am I right, fellas? Now we here at MF haven’t gotten any wheel time in the new New Beetle just yet, but here are two first impressions worth checking out:

Jalopnik’s First Drive of the VW Beetle

Autoblog’s Review of the VW Beetle Turbo

If you really want to dive head first into all things new New Beetle, head on over to VW Vortex and catch their in-depth coverage of the Beetle launch.

MF Review: Fiat 500 Sport

MotoringFile Sections: MINI Competitors, Reviews Jun 30th, 2011 51 Comments

Let’s get this out of the way up front. The Fiat 500 Sport does not compare favorably to the MINI Cooper in ways an enthusiast would appreciate. The steering is light and the clutch lighter. The manual transmission is vague at best and any propulsion out of the highly acclaimed 101 hp Multi-air Fiat 1.4L four cylinder feels like a happy coincidence. Within a half block behind the wheel of the 500 I was in ‘leisure’ mode whether I liked it or not. Yet it didn’t take long to really come to appreciate the meandering quality of the performance and the confident (and unfortunately cheap) ambiance of the Italian style inside and out.

But let’s not lose focus on what this car is. Clearly Fiat isn’t trying to out-do the MINI in terms of driving dynamics. Instead it’s focused on bringing costs down to deliver a stylish small car at an affordable price. Case in point the Fiat 500 Sport we tested came to $19,500 with Rosso Brilliante exterior paint, sunroof and the safety and convenience package. It’s a pretty impressive value proposition when you consider a standard Cooper with no options in the US can’t be had under $20k these days. And the Fiat 500 Sport comes with eight airbags, a better than good Bose Stereo and the cutest little red painted brake calipers I’ve ever seen. continued →


Winding Road: MINI Cooper vs Fiat 500

MotoringFile Sections: In the Press, MINI Competitors Jun 29th, 2011 9 Comments

The MINI gets compared to a lot of other cars, both here and in Europe. The comparison de jour for the Cooper is the newly stateside Fiat 500. The MotoringFile review of the Fiat 500 goes live in a few hours. In the meantime, we wanted to share this fantastic comparison from Winding Road. Unlike many surface-level, mostly sensationalized comparisons we’ve read in the past few months, Seyth Miersma does a great job of comparing the two cars objectively, on their actual merits. I like the conclusion, because for once it’s not about one car “beating” the other.

Drive both, buy one, be completely satisfied, no matter which you chose; that’s the prescription here. We can’t wait to see if the upcoming Abarth version of the Fiat 500 has got what it takes to finally top the Mini, in Cooper S form, too. Here’s to the delicious pain of waiting, and some great small car driving in the meantime.

The full article is definitely worth a read.

NYT on the Fiat 500 Soft Top

MotoringFile Sections: MINI Competitors Jun 13th, 2011 23 Comments

With a small fleet of press vehicles out for review at the moment, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing more and more reviews of the Fiat 500 online. This one from the New York Times caught our attention because of their take on the inevitable MINI comparison. Read their excerpted summary after the jump. continued →


Weels.ca Pits Countryman vs. Juke

MotoringFile Sections: In the Press, MINI Competitors, R60 (Countryman) May 26th, 2011 26 Comments

The Nissan Juke one of the more obvious cross-shop vehicles for the MINI Countryman. It’s small. It’s sportish. It’s funky. It’s got a turbocharged engine. It’s got all-wheel-drive. So it’s inevitable that the two cars would go head-to-head in the automotive press. John Leblanc of the Toronto Star gives the edge to the Juke, but upon reading his review, I almost can’t tell why. continued →

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MINI Model Cheat Sheet

1st Gen MINI
R50: One & MC Hatch
R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt.
R53: MCS Hatch
2nd Gen MINI
R55: Clubman
R56: Hatch
R57: Convertible
R58: Coupe
R59: Roadster
R60: MINI Crossover
R61: MINI Crossover Coupe
3rd Gen MINI
F54: Clubman
F55: Five Door Hatch
F56: Hatch
F57: Convertible
F60: MINI Crossover
F58: Traveller

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MotoringFile Reviews

Reviews:
'12 JCW Coupe
'11 Fiat 500 Sport
'11 Tesla Roaster 2.5 '11 Countryman Comparo
'11 Cooper S Hatch
'11 Countryman MCS (FWD)
'11 Countryman MC (auto)
'10 Mayfair MCS (auto)
'11 Countryman MCS (ALL4)
'10 MINI E
'10 Tesla Roadster Sport
'09 Cooper S Convertible
'09 JCW Hatch
'09 JCW Clubman
JCW Stage I vs JCW Stage II
'08 Clubman S (Auto)
1st Drive: '08 MINI Clubman
'08 Smart Fourtwo
Comparison: '08 BMW 135i
'06 R53 MCS vs '07 R56 MCS
'07 R56 JCW (Stage 1)
'07 MINI Cooper S Long Term
'07 BMW Z4 M Coupe
'07 MINI Cooper & Cooper S
Audio: '07 MC/MCS at the Track
'06 JCW GP Long term
Reader Review: JCW GP
'06 JCW Cooper S Long Term
Comparison: '06 Lotus Elise
Comparison: '06 Mazda MX5
Comparison: '06 UK Focus ST
Comparison: '06 Civic Si
Comparison: '04 TVR T350
Comparison: '06 Nissan 350z
Comparison: '06 VW GTI w/DSG
Podcast: Cooper S Auto
Podcast: BMW 325i
Podcast: JCW MC Soundkit
'04 JCW MINI Cooper Tuning Kit
'05 MCS: One Month Review
'05 MCS Auto
'05 JCW S 1st Drive
'05 MINI Cooper
'05 MCS Conv. Long Term
'05 MINI Cooper S
'05 MCS Cabrio 1st Drive
'04 JCW MCS First Drive
'04 MC w/JCW Tuning Kit
BMW M3 SMG Vs. MCS
'04 MINI Cooper CVT
'02 MCS 3 year Review
Autocrossing the MINI Range


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