The Mini First is the most basic and cheapest incarnation of the new Mini, that’s still rather costly compared to the competition. Despite this, it’s aimed at the masses of people who wanted the iconic car more than anything, but couldn’t quite stretch to the price tag of the previously ‘entry level’ One. It offers all the characteristics that made the modern original a smash hit, minus some of the performance and extras. Has your day just been made?
Introduced in 2009, the First looks like any other modern Mini, which is where the appeal lies. With a 1.4 litre engine from the One that’s been reduced to 75 horsepower, it’s not fast in the slightest. In fact it takes 13.2 seconds to reach 60 mph. That doesn’t matter though because the fact is you can get one for less than £12,000, and even though other similar entry level cars may be better all around, they aren’t Minis!
To be honest only eagle eyed drivers would be able to tell the First apart. It has the same shape, the same front end and probably even smells the same too. The only real difference is inside where pretty much all the top end kit has been stripped out. It’s finished to a very high standard however, and you do get things like the lovely dash mounted speedometer and funky retro radio. Comfort is unquestionable, and overall practicality is the same as the others- good but could do better.
Take the Mini out on the road and it’s very lively despite its lack of power. Responsive and accurate steering, masses of grip in the corners and immense overall agility mean you can really have a good time. Back roads are fantastic, car parks are easy and city streets pose no problem at all. Motorways are less than enjoyable though.
Realists will immediately see that the First is actually rather poor value for money, after all you’re just paying for a brand name. Even the 3 optional extra trim levels- Design, Tech and Salt make it almost as expensive as the One. Buying second hand however can unlock the gates to a land where bargains grow on trees- you’ll be able to get a Mini for dirt cheap. Motors.co.uk is one of the best online sources of pre owned cars for sale, and a used Mini First will be a steal.
The clear fact is that the Mini First is perfect for those people who always wanted a Mini but couldn’t afford one. Offering pretty much everything you’d find on a higher spec version, save for quality cabin equipment and a decent engine, it’s the obvious choice. Buy second hand to get the best value for money, and make your once out of reach dream come true!