MINI re­sponds to the will of the driver

The Hamilton Spectator - - WHEELS -

with ev­ery­thing in it. An­other her­itage de­sign cue is the tog­gle switches found over­head and on the cen­tre stack.

But this is 2017 and be­hind the retro styling JT B DFOUSBM JODI TDSFFO lUUFE JO UIF DFOUSBM

in­stru­ment clus­ter, as well as the MINI Con­troller with touch-sen­si­tive sur­face. It’s as quirky as it is com­pelling. One thing you also ex­pect from any MINI is the “go kart” han­dling that made the orig­i­nal such fun.

As much as I hated the orig­i­nal Mini with the plas­tic slid­ing side win­dows and the con­stant smell of gaso­line in the cabin, the Cooper S 5 Door tested here is com­pa­ra­ble to a near lux­ury car.

But the big thing, its raison-d’etre, is the way it re­sponds to the will of the driver.

Steer­ing in­puts are acted on in­stantly, while the throt­tle re­sults in a solid rush of power to the front wheels that re­ally adds the “squirtable” when mak­ing that lane change or merg­ing from an on-ramp. Adding to the han­dling is the Dy­namic Damper Con­trol sys­tem, part of the $1,200 Loaded Pack­age.

And an­other plus is its small size makes it ideal for in-city driv­ing and park­ing, although the lack of a backup cam­era seems odd in 2017.

This is not a car for long-dis­tance cruis­ing, but it’s great for just about ev­ery­thing else.

If you’re like me and no­tice that tech­nol­ogy and elec­tric­ity seem to be tak­ing over the sim­ple fun of driv­ing, take a MINI, any MINI, for a spin and just en­joy your­self.

There’s noth­ing in the auto in­dus­try quite like the in­te­rior of a MINI (Cooper S 5 Door model shown) with its retro mix of round gauges and tog­gle switches.

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