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Mini Cooper

Mini Cooper

There is an overlying stigma that trying to buy a fun and sporty car will cost you an arm and a leg. We decided to set the record straight, and with a shoe-string budget of only $20,000 we have been able to come up with 10 brand-new cars that will make any enthusiast happy without breaking the bank. To make the list, each car must demonstrate a certain level of character, fun, and practicality. Cars were chosen based on weight, handling ability, and power. Also, every car chosen offers a manual transmission on the engine/trim level that we have chosen. So fun, practical and available with three-pedals. There isn’t much more that you really need when looking for a fun and cheap car.

Before you start frying about the great cars that are available for just a little bit more like the Mazda Miata and Ford Fiesta ST , or the amazing cars you can get used , we wanted to focus on the really cheap side of things. If you are already stretching your budget to get a $19-$20k car, buying something at $23k is just not an option. Also, if you are already stretching your budget to hit that $20k mark, the last thing you can afford is the cost of repairs and maintenance that comes with every used car. A full warranty is a very important thing for this market.

With all of that out of the way, let’s jump into this. As always, feel free to tell me how awesome and right all my choices are. If you think I left something off this list, let me know that too. Now hit that jump and enjoy.

See our top ten enthusiast cars for less than $20,000 after the break.

The Mini brand was resurrected for the 2001 model year, five years after the original Cooper ceased to exist. Initially available only as a three-door hatch and two-door convertible, the new Mini quickly grew into a lineup that included the Clubman , the Countryman , the Coupe and the Paceman . The first-gen model survived for only five years, being replaced by the second-gen in 2006. In 2013, the brand new, third-generation Mini was unveiled, this time riding atop BMW ’s UKL1 platform.

Mini already debuted a brand-new diesel engine for the Cooper 5-Door , and the Brits decided to give that same oil burner to the three-door version as well. We’re talking about the 2.0-liter four-banger that generates 170 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque, and enables the Cooper DS to become the most powerful diesel Cooper ever created.

Of course, it’s not overly fast from naught to 62 mph, but its 7.3-second second sprint is good enough considering the hatchback claims to return up to 58 mpg on the highway. The 0-to-62 mph figure drops to 7.2 seconds when the engine is paired to the six-speed Steptronic transmission. Sporty and efficient, a recipe that fits today’s demanding market like a glove.

Unfortunately, there’s no word as to whether this nippy fuel sipper will hit U.S. shores or not, but don’t expect to find it at a dealership near you this year. On the other hand, those of you who live in the United Kingdom can order one starting July 2014.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Mini Cooper SD.

The current Mini Cooper is no longer the small economy car that used to rule British streets beginning with the 1960s. Revamped under BMW ownership, the tiny vehicle that Mr. Bean used to haul armchairs and buckets of paint has grown into a fancy hatchback that’s not exactly affordable when packed with all sorts of amenities.

Nevertheless, the new Mini has become increasingly popular in the United States, where no less than ten iterations are available in showrooms. However, the German-owned company is expanding its lineup yet again by adding a five-door version of the familiar hatch , increasing the number of vehicle that have more than three doors to three. The other two are the Clubman and the Countryman .

The Mini Cooper 5-Door came a little later than expected, but it’s finally here to show off its longer body and additional rear doors. Longer and slightly taller than the regular three-door Cooper , the 5-Door’s main purpose is to satisfy customers that have been asking for a roomier Mini that provides easier access in the back and doesn’t feature bi-parting rear doors.

Set to go on sale in the summer of 2014, the Mini Cooper 5-Door is also an alternative to the Fiat 500L , as well as a thorn in the Clubman’s side.

Click past the jump to find out more about the 2014 Mini Cooper 5-Door

Previewed by a concept vehicle at the Detroit Auto Show in January, the next-generation Mini John Cooper Works has been spotted testing Northern Europe since February. More recently, though, the Brits have moved their trials at the Nurburgring track, the perfect environment for a beefed-up hatchback .

Although the spy shots we’ve just received from our paparazzi show a vehicle that has lost most of its camouflage, we’re actually looking at a mule that wears a Cooper S body with a John Cooper Works front bumper attached to it. Still wearing the yellow wrap, the bumper has a more aggressive design and it appears to be identical to the one seen on the concept car.

The lighter, 18-inch aluminum wheels also carry a new design, but the upcoming hot hatch will receive more distinct features, such as a new rear bumper with an integrated diffuser, roof spoiler and side skirts. These features are likely to find their way on the prototype as development continues this summer.

Motivation will be provided by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that’s expected to crank 231 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. That’s 13 ponies more than the outgoing model and just enough for the vehicle to reach 60 mph from a standing start in less than six seconds.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Mini John Cooper Works.

You know how our smartphones and tablets always needs to have distinctive-looking cases that make them stand out from our friends’ gadgets. It’s not just with phones and tablets. The same also holds true for surfboards, wallets, or really anything that we can attach our personalities, too.

In some respects, car customization has also been around for a long time. But while it always used to be in the hands of the automaker or tuners to customize our cars for us, StickOut is offering all of us a chance to do the customization ourselves.

Is all goes well with the company’s Kickstarter fundraising campaign, all we will need to do is go to its website and we are in charge of the design, color, and layout of our very own customization plan for our car. It’s an idea that’s been around for a while but not to the extent where we’re left to our own devices to imprint our personalities into our rides.

It’s a fascinating thing to check out, especially if you’re the type who’s down for dressing up your own ride to fit your personality. Do check out the video and hop on to their site if you think it’s worth looking into.

Check out more videos from the company after the jump.

Oh Mini Cooper and its infinite number of look-alike models. It appears from these spy shots, the BMW sub-brand is further expanding its lineup with this five-door version of the standard hatchback, yet not to be a replacement for the Clubman. We say that because it’s seemingly parked next to a new, third-generation Clubman five-door.

This blue model coated in a yellow, swirly wrap still has its hatch-like trunk area, while getting the two extra side doors. It’s not clear what exactly separates the two side-by-side cars except their boots, but they are definitely being developed together. The car itself also appears to have gained some extra width with, surely helping its interior volume and passenger comfort.

Of course this new Clubman hatchback will join the slew of other Mini products in the coming months. It’s possible the cars will debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show happening sometime in September, but that’s pure speculation. Just stay tuned to TopSpeed for any breaking news on Mini’s ever-expanding lineup of not-so-small cars.

Click past the jump to read more about the Mini Cooper 5-Door.

Not to toot our own horn, but we did call this , didn’t we? Mini has officially announced the winner of the "MINI Originals” design contest and like we predicted, that Tron-looking Cooper, dubbed "DeLux" by creator Alex Coyle, was announced as the winner of the competition.

The blacklight-influenced Mini Cooper beat out some worthy challengers, but in the end, none were as popular to the Mini community as Coyle’s design, whose name he explained came from the word "lux," the "root meaning of the word ’light’".

As the winner of the contest, the young sophomore student studying creative advertising and photography at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA will now have the distinction of seeing his creation come to life in the form of a limited run of Coopers carrying the ’DeLux" package.

Anybody interested in it can now place orders on MINIUSA.com and through MINI dealerships across the country. Be warned, though, Mini has indicated that there will only be up to 56 models of Coyle’s DeLux package so if you’re pining for one, better place an order before the units run out.

In the meantime, the DeLux Cooper will be in attendance at the New York Auto Show next week so that’s also a good a time as any to have an up-close look at this very unique Cooper.

Click past the jump to read more about Mini Cooper.

Mini owners, pack your bags, get your car serviced and then get your butt to San Francisco; the Mini Takes the States road rally is back! This biennial event is the largest official Mini road rally covering 18 states, 15 cities and more than 5,000 miles. The trip will begin on Saturday July 26 in San Francisco California and will end two full weeks later on Sunday August 10 in Boston.

Along the way, you will get the chance to see much of our great country as the journey winds West into Colorado, then cuts south into Texas. From there you head towards Memphis, Tennessee and up to Chicago finishing with a northern detour to Buffalo, NY and finally arriving Boston. There are several more stops scattered through the middle as well.

While the cost for the trip will be what you make of it, Mini has thankfully made the entry and registration fees decidedly affordable at $45 per person with kids under 12 and all pets being freebies. If you decide that a 14-day cross-country vacation is not quite your cup of tea, Mini happily invites you to join for any portion of the festivities you prefer.

Whether you own a Cooper Hardtop , Clubman , Countryman or any other member of the Mini brand, join in and have fun.

Click past the jump to read more about the Mini Takes The States Event.

Always leave it to Mini to offer some pretty zany add-ons as part of its new Original Accessorites line. In line with the arrival of the third-generation Cooper , Mini is taking its personalization to a whole new level with new design concepts for the exterior and the interior of the vehicle. Sure, the usual roof graphics, mirror caps, and floor mats are still there, but those now fall under the new Mini Design Lines, called Vivid Green, Speedwell Blue, John Cooper Works Pro and Essential Black.

If emphasizing the distinctive character of the new Mini is the objective of these new Original Accessories, then by goodness, the company succeed in doing that. If its not enough that these accessories reflect the youthful spirit of Mini, the add-ons are precisely matched in design and color.

Whether its Vivid Green (youthful and fresh look), Speedwell Blue (sporty flair and tradition), John Cooper Works Pro (passion for racing), or Essential Black (understated and elegant design), each of the four new Design Lines are about as unique to each other as they can get.

So when you want to dress up your new Mini, pay careful attention to what these new accessories, as they all will surely spice up your Mini with new door sill cover strips, exterior and interior mirror caps, roof and side graphics, side indicator surrounds, key lanyards, protective covers, among other things.

You can check out all of the insane options that the Mini Cooper has to offer in the Mini Configurator. It’s also a great way to waste a few hours of time!

Click past the jump to read more about the Mini Cooper Original Accessories.

World-record attempts always a pose a risk, especially when speed is added into the equation. By way of his job, French daredevil Guerlain Chicherit knew the dangers involved, but that still didn’t stop him from attempting to break the world record for the longest car jump. Unfortunately for Chicherit, not only did he not break the record, he ended up on the wrong end of a spectacular crash.

Using a heavily modified Mini Cooper , Chicherit was trying to beat the record of 101.91 meters set by Tanner Foust back in 2011.

The record attempt, which was held in Tignes, France , actually got off to a good start and he even got some good air underneath it. But from watching the video, it looked like it got a little too much air, causing the nose to dip around the time the car was about to land.

The Mini proceeded to slam nose first before barrel-rolling a number of times, much to the horror of those in attendance — and everyone of us who have seen the video.

The good news is that Chicherit is doing well, suffering only minor injuries from what was a major crash. Here’s to hoping he gets well soon!


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