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The new MINI arrived here now in Finland and I went to see it immediately. I have never driven a MINI before, but have sat in all the generations. The interior of the new one is an improvement over the old model. Definitely feels a little more the premium car it is. A and B pillar trims are cloth covered and there are soft touch plastics and nice little lighting details here and there. However, this particular Cooper D example had about 9,000€ worth of options on it. As we all know, you just can't avoid spending thousands on options when shopping for a MINI. After options this Cooper D was a 34,000€ car which is what a Golf 2.0 TDI (150 hp) with 6k€ worth of options costs. Pretty insane, if you ask me. For some reason the Cooper (3-cyl. gas engine) costs 5k€ more here in Finland than in Germany. Meanwhile the VW Golf 1.2 TSI is about the same money as the Cooper in Germany, but the Golf is only 800€ more expensive here.

Anyway, the car I sat in had the Pepper package and the leather wrapped sports seats. The seats felt pretty amazing. I could adjust a perfect seating position for myself. I'm 5'9" and skinny, so a car this size feels just right for me. My Golf already feels quite big for me. I loved the clutch feel. Short travel and quite stiff. It immediately reminded me of the clutch feel in the 991 I sat in. The shifter felt great and precise, too.

The base engine finally sounds interesting. Previously the N/A 1.6-liter unit really didn't make me want to buy a MINI and the diesel, I heard, was the noisy little car little diesels are. The Cooper S then was (and still is) incredibly pricey. Now with the turbo the base engine should finally make the Cooper the fun car it should be.

On paper this car makes no sense when compared to a Golf, for example. But even when just sitting in one, I can imagine it's a more involving and fun drive. I can't wait to finally take one for a test drive. The only issue for me would be the cargo space. When I opened the hatch, I was surprised by how small it still is. I usually drive alone, so of course I could just drive it as a two seater and keep the seats folded down and the trunk floor in its upper position to make loading easier. But the cargo area is still short which means I couldn't just throw a bike there after just taking the front wheel off. The rear wheel would need to come off, too, and that's always an annoying thing to do.

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