“Downsizing” to a MINI just won’t feel like it

It’s OK everyone stating the obvious – and I count ourselves in this too – but with economic hardship and rising prices not going away anytime soon the motor trade will witness more and more buyers looking to get the maximum value from their car purchase.

What they will also want to do is get the running costs under control and many buyers will not be so worried about the badge on the front but more about what’s the absolute best value they can get.

The budget brands will clearly see some success but probably more towards used examples as buyers will find better value in a 1 year old example than a brand new one, but also with many of these manufacturers offering longer warranties and 0% finance on top of models which will often come with a higher spec on the more basic models, customers can certainly get their expenses under control and still retain some sort of comfort that they have a decent functional car that does exactly what it says on the tin.

OK well that’s fine for them but what about the badge snobs with an image to keep up and neighbours to impress? How can they save money and buy a more economic car which will enable them to proudly park on the drive without arousing the suspicion and scorn of others who may know that they have had to downgrade their car to save money?

If for example you are currently driving a big engined petrol car like a 5 series, Audi A5 or maybe an E Class, they might be comfortable and they might bring kudos but with fuel costs at an all time high they will potentially break the bank too. So what does our image conscious diver, who has only known the more prestige end of the market, buy in a downturn to weather the storm until the economic sun shines again? What can they buy that will help retain their self image and standing in life?

The simple answer could probably be the MINI, it ticks most of the boxes it looks great, it is iconic and classic and there is now a wide choice of model and engine to be had and while there are those drivers that aspire to own one there are many who would have one without losing a shred of credibility. How do I come to this conclusion? Because my daughter and her friends, who are all approaching 17, will entertain nothing else other than the MINI or possibly the Fiat 500 for the ultimate in coolness.Unfortunately for her she will have to make do with a Fiesta or Corsa or if she is really lucky, a Polo, but it just confirms that owning a MINI can work on many levels for badge snobs, first time drivers the old, the young the trendy and the square, it’s a car that virtually no one would mind getting out of with the possible exception of the 6ft 5 20 stone man who probably couldn’t (but then he probably couldn’t get in it either).

You could pick up a nice 10 year old example for as little as £2,500, that’s if you can find one.

Example: 2001 (51) MINI One 1.6 Auto 58k miles £2,495

MINI line-up:

MINI Hatch Price Range: £11,810 – £19,950
MINI Convertible Price Range: £15,805 – £22,345
MINI Clubman Price Range: £14,430 – £21,005
MINI Countryman Price Range: £16,345 – £24,440
MINI John Cooper Works Price Range: £22,330 – £24,780

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