Mini / Cooper / 3-dr hatch
ACCEPTED wisdom seems to have it that the retro styling fad for new cars is over now that the New Beetle and PT Cruiser have made their limited splash.
But then there's Mini, a step forward from the accepted retro standard.
While its styling evokes its much loved predecessor, this is in fact a thoroughly modern, well-engineered and safe small hatchback - at somewhat of a premium price.
No surprise about any of that, after all it is a BMW - even if the 1.6-litre engine is actually from Chrysler and the car is pulled rather than pushed.
Here we're testing the Mini Cooper - Australia's entry level Mini and little brother to the supercharged Cooper S flagship.
Model release dates: March 2002 - February 2007
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THE original Mini, designed by Sir Alec Issigonis (pictured at left), was released in Australia as the Morris 850 in 1961 and by 1963 was the third best-selling car in Australia.
Local production began in 1961, the Mini Cooper was launched in October, 1962, and the Cooper S in 1965.
In 1971 the Mini was facelifted with the square-front Clubman treatment.
Mass production ceased in Australia in 1978 and in the UK in 2000.
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