MF Review: The MINI Paceman Cooper S All4

The Paceman lies in a space between expectations. Too large to be a proper MINI and too small to be a truly utility-focused vehicle. That's what I heard time and time again from friends and bystanders during my week with the R61 MINI. It's got two doors in the space of four and it's got mass in places that MINI's historically haven't had it. Yet why do I like it so much?

Photo Gallery: MINI Paceman vs the Countryman

With the Paceman, MINI has introduced a car that is approximately the same size as the Countryman, but with arguably less versatility. So what's the point? It comes down to style and positioning. Two doors vs four doesn't quite tell the entire story. Seeing the two in the flesh you're immediately struck by the proportion of the Paceman. It just feels right where the Countryman suddenly (especially sitting next to the Paceman) feels almost a bit forced. Yet there are very few examples in the automotive world of two cars sharing so much in terms of components and chassis, while driving and looking so distinctly different.