The 2002 MINI Cooper, parent company BMW's take on the beloved British econobox, was - and is - a smash hit.
Loved by the public and automotive journalists alike, the re-imagined MINI Cooper came with a host of standard features that made it a relative bargain in its class.
A rebirth of a small, fuel-efficient, innovative car that first appeared in the late 1950s in Great Britain, the 2002 MINI retained the same basic looks of its iconic ancestor, with a boxy cabin and the wheels pushed all the way out to the sides to create more interior room, although the new MINI was larger and more powerful than its predecessor. Design elements, such as the taillights, fender, and roofline, all mimic similar elements in the 1960s-era Minis, while interior components such as the center console, instrument panel, switches, and air vents all draw inspiration from the classic Minis.
For all its retro charm, however, the MINI Cooper is thoroughly modern. The base model came with a
1.6-liter, 115-horsepower four-cylinder engine, 15-inch wheels, and dual front and side airbags, along with a host of other standard features, such as air conditioning, power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, and a CD player.
Drivers hailed the handling prowess of the MINI, and noted its relative roominess. Passenger room in the back is understandably cramped. Folding the rear seats down makes for a functional cargo hold. Some drivers took issue with MINI's funky instrument layout, which includes a large speedometer fixed in the middle of the dashboard, but most found it harmlessly quirky, if a distraction.
The MINI's small size and nimbleness opens up a world of parking possibilities, making it an ideal city car, complete with the punch to make it from red light to red light quickly. Drivers interested in even more "go" should look to the Cooper S, which pumps up the horsepower to 163.