The new MINI does look pretty fresh in person, despite the extremely subtle workover for this full redesign. Considering that the car has an all-new, BMW-designed chassis and all-new engines -- you might expect the design to be a lot fresher than it is.
The three-door without these cool puppy-eyed LED rings (which are optional) is a pretty familiar sight indeed. It looks just a bit freakier and more bizarre in its details, like the oversized rear lamps that are comically huge. But the game must move on, and car companies need new models to keep the sales engine chugging.
But from where we stand, this third-gen MINI is a total design flop in two-door, "hardtop" form. Hardtop is the new way of describing the MINI range, by the way.
The one shining example of new and relevant MINI on the Houston Auto Show stand? The 4-Door Hardtop. This is a brilliant addition. The 4-Door looks great even on these hubcab-like, tiny wheels.
A four-door MINI. So smart, you wonder what took them so long to make it....
But it is here now. Yes, the back seat is still small. And yes, it will have a price premium over the two-door MINI's. But not nearly as much as the ridiculously overpriced Countryman and Paceman soft-roader versions.
The trunk seems respectable, and the back seat will make it easy to toss your backpack or shopping away quickly and easily. No silliness like the split coach door on one side -- just vaguely practical, but still MINI-cute looks from all sides.
Having the extra doors is a major addition. For those who do not like the extra doors of the 4-Door Hardtop, we would direct you to the 2005 models instead.
2015 MINI 4-Door Hardtop