Classic Mini: A True Icon
Styling
Performance
Handling
Fuel Economy
Reliability
Value for Money
The Pros
  • Extremely fun & nimble to drive
  • Surprising amount of passenger space
  • Parts are readily available
The Cons
  • Not a terribly practical car
  • Bodywork is prone to rust
  • Smaller engine models are slow
4.2Overall Score

Now, before I even begin to write up a review about the Mini, I must admit I am biased toward this car. Not only do I drive a Mini myself, but it’s perhaps my all time favourite classic car. However it isn’t entirely for personal or sentimental reasons that I pick the Mini as number one in my personal top list. The Mini is a thoroughly brilliant car, and back in its day was way ahead of its time. Being so compact it’s perfectly suited to nimble city driving, but it still offers a very surprising amount of passenger space. Its designer, Sir Alec Issigonis, achieved this with a number of key innovations which are still copied to this day: transversely mounted engine with a front wheel drive layout, and wheels pushed out to the outermost corners of the car are just a few of the genius ideas embodied in this little car.

With that said, I shall try to objectively review the car and fairly judge its strengths and weaknesses, to determine its appeal as a classic car in today’s market. So what makes the Mini so bloody fantastic?

Styling

One of the cornerstones of the Mini’s overall design is simplicity. This is evident from the inside and out; although the silhouette of the classic Mini’s body shape is now iconic and instantly recognisable, it’s easy to forget that it’s merely a very boxy shape with a few simple curves added in for good measure. The Mini really embodies the concept of “form following function” – the style doesn’t set out to achieve anything more than necessary for the car to work. It’s this simple, utilitarian idea behind the design which seems to have breathed so much life into the car, as it isn’t trying too hard to look pretty or stand out on the road. And yet, it still manages to do just that.

The signature styling cues and simplistic shape of the Mini are highlighted in beautiful New Zealand summer sun.

The signature styling cues and simplistic shape of the Mini are highlighted in beautiful New Zealand summer sun.

The interior of the Mini is just as simplistic as the body shape. Inside you’ll be greeted by the most basic of seat designs, and an ultra minimalist dashboard fascia with all the instruments and gauges in the center of the car – this meant, of course, that BMC could save money by not needing to re-engineer much of the car for left hand drive markets.

PICTURE OF INTERIOR HERE

The simple, yet highly recognisable and iconic styling of the Mini may not be that of a sleek, slender sports car; but it doesn’t need to be. The body shape may be about as aerodynamic as a brick, and the interior sparse and devoid of creature comforts, but it is all these things which give the car so much character. It’s for that reason that the classic Mini gets a solid 4 stars for styling.

About The Author

Site Owner

I'm a huge fan of classic & vintage cars, originally born in England but now living in New Zealand. My almost-daily driver is a 1965 Morris Mini, which I love taking for a spin down the windy countryside back-roads whenever I get the chance. I've had the opportunity to work on several classic Minis, as well as my dad's two MGBs, which introduced me to the passion in the first place.

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