Driving this Mini is fun. It shifts and steers easily and it is certainly responsive when the driver stomps on the gas pedal. The ride is a little brittle, though, and noise levels on the highway are higher than I would have expected after seeing the price. The driver’s seat bottom cushion was a little too long for this shorter driver. It rubbed against the back of my knees.
I adjusted quickly to the uniquely Mini instrument panel, but not to the small switches on the lower center part of the dash that control windows and locks. Overhead, similar switches work the interior lights and power sunroof.
Also low on the dash are the climate control buttons that demand an inordinate amount of attention. Fortunately, there is an “Auto” setting that works well. The radio station presets are also small and fussy and the turn signal lever is unusual. It returns to the center position even when the blinkers are still on.
Minis are noted for their mileage. Here, the added weight and size, not to mention the all-wheel drive system, brought our fuel economy down a bit, to 28.7 miles per gallon. Premium is required.