MINI is a model we moan constantly about – but only because of the endless Limited Edition models the company generates. In the last few months we’ve had the MINI JCW F1 50, the MINI Mayfair and MINI Camden and the MINI Graphite. But, if it works for them, then I suppose they’re going to carry on doing it. The only problem is that the MINI has become a victim of its own success. So prolific are MINIs now that they aren’t really perceived as special. But actually, the new MINI First is probably a winner. And it’s a proper model – not a Limited Edition.
With all things Eco the flavour of the month, and with budgets stretched in households everywhere, a cheap, entry-level budget MINI is a tempting prospect. You still get the iconic shape, and you still get a very good chassis – which translates in to good handling and a decent ride – but you’re not paying a fortune for the fripperies. After all, there are MINIs that will set you back £25k (the MINI JCW Cabriolet), but the new MINI First is a very tempting £10,950.
Not surprisingly, you do lose out on a lot of the goodies but – if economical motoring is the aim – you do get the same engine as the MINI ONE – 75bhp – with Auto Start-Stop, Brake Energy Regeneration, Variable Valve Technology and Shift Point Display. Which adds up to 53.3mpg. And with residual value estimates at 50% over three years this is going to be a cheap MINI to Lease or Contract Hire. MINI are quoting £99 a month with a £4253 deposit or £169 a month with half that deposit.
You can still add some of the MINI packs to this model if you want a few more comforts, such as the Design Pack at £525, the Tech Pack at £855 or the Salt Pack at £390. But that sort of defeats the object of a cheap MINI. What is worth having is the TLC pack at £185, which gives you 5 years service and maintenance.
The MINI First is now on sale in the UK