It’s interesting to revisit this decision almost four years on, and with the F56-generation MINI now having been launched. Will we be saying the same thing in 2020? Okay, so MG Rover petered out in 2005, but it didn’t mean we couldn’t declare AROnline‘s Car of the Decade for the ‘noughties’.
In fact, we still reckon that our choice is pretty much on the ball, the way the industry is going right now. We can’t pretend that this was a popular choice, but there’s no doubting that the MINI has done wonders for the Oxford economy, as well as prove that it is popular to own a small, trendy car that can also command a premium price tag, both new and used…
But once it hit the showroom, there was no stopping the MINI. Along with serious sales in the UK and Europe, the MINI triumphantly returned to the USA, and proved a strong seller from the start. Across the world’s smartest cities, MINI became the car to be seen in – and also proved that eager customers would pay premium prices for small cars, when the conventional thinking at the time was that mini-cars should command mini-prices. As for the much-touted rivalry between BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi in the small car sector, the Oxford built car easily saw off its (far more intelligently packaged) Stuttgart rival, as well as the incredibly prescient aluminium bodied A2, which petered out unreplaced following an unexpectedly short production run.
But there’s no getting away from it – MINI made owning a small car cool again, and arguably became the first genuinely classless supermini since the original Renault 5 in 1972 or maybe, just maybe, the Metro during its honeymoon period in the spring of 1981. But because of that, it easily wins the AROnline Car of the Decade award, as it’s just as relevant now (if not more so) going into these tough times, as it was when it was launched in 2000.
The real tragedy, of course, was just how much of Rover’s work went into it, and how little credit the British have subsequently received… More on AROnline: Blog : MINI - Car of the decade, 2000-2010, four years on - AROnline