MINI has launched some strange cars over the years as it attempts to broaden its range away from the core Hatch model.
The Coupe, which is a Hatch with a different roof? The Roadster, which is a Hatch without a roof? The Countryman was a sensible addition, if rather ill-conceived – but the Paceman? Really?
The Clubman’s asymmetrical ClubDoors never quite worked in practice as well as they looked on the drawing board either, not least here in the UK where the extra rear door was on the wrong side for safe egress… d’oh.
But at last, with the new 5dr Hatch, MINI has given the market exactly what it wants. And it’s going to sell oodles as a result.
MINI reveals 5dr Hatch – on sale autumn 2014, prices from £15,900
See, many people would love a MINI, but for the fact it only has three doors. In a nation where the five-door supermini dominates – and the five-door family hatch plays an able supporting role – three-door cars will always have a natural ceiling of sales. Once you’ve tried loading a baby and a toddler in one once, you’ll try never to do it again.
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So there’s a huge potential market waiting for MINI – one that would love a real MINI, not a MINI wannabe. The MINI 5dr Hatch is exactly that car. It’s a MINI supermini.
It’s not just ease of access that helps the MINI five-door, either. This one seats five, with a trio of three-point seatbelts in the rear to keep them secure; the three-door only seats four. The boot is 278 litres’ large, which is just a few bottles of pop shy of a Ford Fiesta. It even has loads of extra legroom in the back, meaning the three in the back shouldn’t feel too claustrophobic back there: the doors aren’t just for show.
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Prices start at £15,900, which sounds steep when you can get a basic Fiesta for just over £10k, but that’s for the whizz-bang Cooper: the 1.2 One should come in at £14,350. 1.0T Fiesta Zetec 5dr? £14,545. Hot cakes doesn’t begin to describe the potential of the MINI.
Throw in presumably brilliant retained values too, and you’ve all the makings of a marketplace hit. Indeed, I’d even suggest it will quickly outsell the 3dr Hatch it’s derived from.
And all from not being too fancy with the lifestyle ideas (and then finding the budget’s not there to support them), but by simply giving car buyers what they want: a real MINI, but with real world practicality.
That’s why this autumn’s launch of the new MINI 5dr Hatch could actually be one of the most significant new car introductions of the year – and certainly the most important since the new MINI Hatch launched back in 2001.
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