Autocar recently pitted the MINI Cooper vs Audi A1 and Ford Fiesta in a high-spec small car show-down. On paper things don’t look great for the MINI. Both the Audi and Ford are brand new fresh off of full redesigns while the current MINI is in its 5th year in the current generation. Yet such is the strength of the current F-series of cars that it showed rather well:

Next to the overly serious Audi and the Ford’s unconvincing blue-collar-playing-blue-blood act, the Mini feels like the most well-rounded and approachable car here. Not only has it got the pedigree, but it’s also got the looks – particularly in that Chili Red paint. Technophiles might not find it quite as appealing, but the sophistication of its infotainment is far superior to the Ford’s SYNC3 system. You sit lower down in the cabin, too, and it’s a cabin that has an overall aesthetic that seems more befitting of a premium supermini than that which you get in the Fiesta.

Mini Cooper vs audi a1
Mini Cooper vs audi a1

It’s not unexpected if you’ve driven these cars in the past. The MINI tends to hit all the right notes in terms of what you want to actually own. Engaging drive, enduring design and just enough of the latest tech, the current F56 is still a very compelling option. Ultimately it was enough for Autocar to award it an outright win as well:

The Mini’s ability to draw on aspects from both and fashion a coherent, desirable, stylish and, most importantly, fun over all package sees it succeed today. And had it come with a manual gearbox, I dare say that its victory would have been secured by an even greater margin.

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