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LIFESTYLE: Motoring: Spaciousness style

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Mini Cooper 5-Door

History in the making, as Mini goes where no Mini has gone before, the five- door hatchback. This is either very smart or a long shot by Mini to take on the well-established five-door hatchbacks.

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The new five-door Mini has not just been given two additional doors, the overall size of the vehicle has increased too. From the front there is very little, if anything, to distinguish between the two-door and four-door Minis. The infamous two roundish headlights that are wrapped by the bonnet remain. They have just grown in size. The lower section of the new grill now is stretched to the point that only the fog-light cluster space is left on the side of the bumper. The rear end, too, is very similar to the latest two-door vehicle, with its bug-eye type of oversized rear-light clusters. To me, this has made the Mini lose some of its small sporty uniqueness, almost like a cute cub suddenly grown up.

The most notable feature is the two additional doors. The rear doors are smaller than the front ones, and so are the windows. This almost disguises the additional two doors as just windows.

This being said, by concealing the rear door handles Mini has not hidden the fact that there are two additional doors. On the contrary, they have kept the same handles as the front doors. I have to admit Mini has done a good job in adding these two doors.

Open the front doors and you are welcomed by the usual Mini dashboard. The large centre display that used to house the speedometer now has a larger infotainment screen. The multi-colour LED lights surrounding it can be customised to your preference of colour and if you want them to, dance to the music. The overall fit and finish is exceptional and right up there with some of the more luxurious vehicles. The speedometer and tachometer are now placed in their rightful place just behind the steering wheel. The leather-bound steering wheel is thick and sporty with very good road feedback. Opening the rear doors feels unusual for a Mini Cooper and the entry is a bit small, but much better than the two-door variants. Inside there is (surprisingly) a lot of space, even though leg room is slightly compromised. The boot space has also increased, but don’t expect it to compete with other five-door hatches in the market.

So to the question everyone has been asking: is the five-door Mini still as much fun to drive as the two door go-kart variant? The simple answer is, unfortunately not. The additional length has changed the overall dynamics of the vehicle and it does not feel as stiff and easy to manoeuvre. Road holding is excellent, but the go-kart appeal seems to have been partially lost. As you get more accustomed to the vehicle, you tend to push it a bit harder and the car does take this in its stride. So even though it’s not as good as the two-door Mini, it’s still a lot better than most (if not all) of the five-door hatchbacks in the market.

The overall drive of the vehicle is good, with the comfort levels increased from its predecessors. The ride too is softer, but the rear passengers do feel the ride more. This vehicle will be popular with Mini fans who have kids or need additional doors but do not want to buy the Countryman. History has definitely been made and I see a bright future for the Mini family.

 

Opel Corsa 1.4 Enjoy

Opel has launched an all-new Corsa into the South African market a few months ago and it is changing the way we look at entry-level vehicles.

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To begin with, the new Corsa has grown up in size. It is no longer the micro vehicle with just two doors and inadequate spacing that was launched many years ago. The new vehicle is longer, wider, and higher than its predecessor. The front end is in keeping with the new Opel family look. The wraparound bumper now incorporates a large grill that incorporates the Opel badge. The bumper is also extended higher so as to push the bonnet opening backwards. This is similar to the new Astra look as well. This gives the front end a fresh new look and looks better fitted than before.

The teardrop headlights with the LED driving lights look good and lend a certain exclusive look to the vehicle. The Enjoy model and above come standard with front fog-lights that are fitted to the bottom of the bumper. The overall shape is also in keeping with the Astra with its two crease lines on the side, one on top and one at the bottom of the doors. The top crease runs the length, adding to the sporty look of the vehicle. The rear end is a bit stubby looking. The rear-light cluster is neat and has a much less accentuated teardrop look. The Enjoy version also comes standard with 16-inch mag wheels that complete the sporty look.

Inside the vehicle, the dashboard is simplistic and neat. The centre section incorporates the touchscreen infotainment system. The lower section of the centre section also has the ventilation controls and just below that is a storage section that also houses the USB and Aux inputs. The multi-steering wheel is well balanced from a feedback and touch perspective, even though it is a bit large for the size of the interior. The lower section of the dashboard is pushed in so as to increase space and lends a more spacious look to the vehicle. This does have the effect of reducing the size of the glovebox. The seat material is of a high quality and looks good as well. The seats are comfy but lack lumbar support. The overall space is good and even though this is a small vehicle, it can take five adults comfortably.

On the road the car seems a bit under-powered for longer hauls but is brilliant in city driving. The electric power steering with the option to change to City mode means that the steering wheel is always light and easy to control.

The one feature that Opel is promoting is the self-parking feature that is standard on all the Corsa models. This allows you to find a parallel parking bay and then press the Park button. The driver then lets go of the steering wheel and selects reverse but has to keep the foot on the brake (auto models) or clutch (manual). The vehicle then takes control of the wheel and spins it accordingly to bring the vehicle into the parking bay. You will have to change to Drive, and the car completes the parking manoeuvre. This is a nice feature, especially if you don’t like parallel parking. This being said: it is slower than drivers who are used to parallel parking. Also, the automatic parking does seem to make pedestrians stare while you simply smile or maybe clap your hands.

In conclusion, the new Opel Corsa has definitely grown up to the point that this is now a more comfortable and sophisticated vehicle that also looks good. The drive is enjoyable but I would take the 1,0-litre turbo instead of the 1,4-litre purely for its overall zippy feel.

Manufacturer specifications

Mini Cooper 5-Door

Engine: 1,5 l 3-cylinder Turbo

Power: 100 kW

Torque: 220 Nm

0–100 km/h: 8,2 s (claimed)

Fuel: Average 4,9 l /100 km

CO2: 114 g/km

Price: From R312 500

Opel Corsa 1.4 Enjoy

Engine: 1,4 l 4-cylinder

Power: 66 kW

Torque: 130 Nm

0–100 km/h: N/A

Fuel: Average 6,0 l /100 km

CO2: 140 g/km

Price: From R185 500

AUTHOR | Torque Talk is a member of SAGMJ

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