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MINI Ride and Drive

We all have some opinion of the MINI Cooper. Many people would just about die to own one and others think they are completely gimmicky and impractical. Most would agree, though, that should they drive one, they will not be a ‘star in a reasonably priced car’ as much as they may feel like one, as MINIs have always been on the more expensive end of the car spectrum in South Africa. My opinion was quite neutral with regards to the MINI: I thought it was cute but was put off by the price tag. Now, however, I have a very strong opinion. What changed my mind? Two revelations: actually driving a MINI and the release of the MINI One, priced from R198,000. Last week I attended a MINI Ride and Drive organised by Kirsten Hickey of Auto Umhlanga in Durban. After much excitement and haggling for the convertible, we set off in pairs from the fun and funky MINI showroom to travel to Hotel Izulu in Ballito for brunch. The MINI One was a dream to drive. Zippy with plenty of power, I couldn’t resist pushing her slightly over the speed limit! The interior is fresh and well appointed and the sound system would put a smile on any jaded teenager’s dial. The MINI One comes with a whole host of standard features such as a 6 speed transmission, air-conditioning and a radio/CD with AUX in function. To keep you safe, it has 6 air-bags, all round disc brakes, Dynamic Stability Control with ABS and CBC, an alarm system and central locking for your peace of mind. In addition to these features, you can add any number of optional extras - a fantastic prospect when you consider that MINIs are the most customisable cars in the world and that the possibilities for personalising your car are, literally, endless. The other concern many people have about buying a MINI is its resale value but MINI have put paid to this worry by promising a guaranteed buy back. The row of brightly coloured little cars parked outside Hotel Izulu attracted much attention and reminded me of how much people admire a MINI. Having driven one and realising that it is now very competitive within its price range, I would certainly be putting this on my list of ‘must test drive’ if I were buying a new car. In fact I have been waving a picture of me in the driver’s seat under my husband’s nose and hinting about how fabulous I look in one. He uttered a firm no, until he heard the price... mini.co.za/mini/one