Section: MINI Competitors

Businessweek: MINI Wins Big Over Smart

MotoringFile Sections: In the Press, MINI Competitors Feb 4th, 2012 14 Comments

2011 was a banner year for BMW and MINI. MINI sales were up 22%, making for its strongest sales year ever. With sales, came profits. Smart on the other hand, not so much. Recently Businessweek did a comparison piece contrasting MINI’s success against the dismal, -$100M loser that is the Smart car. Even though the Smart debuted several years earlier, and at a much lower price point, the MINI has managed to out-sell the Smart three-to-one. In their analysis, Businessweek sites growing model diversification as a key part of MINI’s success over the Smart. continued →

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 →

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Reader Review: JCW GP
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Autocrossing the MINI Range