Road and Track does what seems to be the hot comparison testing these days. They pit the MINI against the Volkswagen GTI, Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V, Honda Civic SI Sedan and the Mazdaspeed3.

>Yet all of our contestants worked far better than physics might dictate, as we found in an 800-mile odyssey that took us from our Newport Beach offices up Interstate 5; over California’s ultra-curvy Highway 58 connecting Buttonwillow and Santa Maria; past green, bovine-encrusted foothills inland of Atascadero; and on to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca near Monterey, where Mother Nature arranged both wet and dry lapping sessions on the same day.

Surprisingly, the MINI didn’t fare as well as one would expect, scoring 4th behind the GTI, Mazdaspeed3 and Civic. While is scored highest in handling and gas mileage, the reviewer was less than thrilled with the MINI overall.

>Quirky in its execution, the Mini may be a little too clever for its own good. Ergonomics? Wonky, as style steps on function. But when it comes to driving dynamics, it’s very difficult to find fault.

Full review, with videos of each car, below.

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