Words by Jay Kana

For those who don’t know much about me, let me give you a quick rundown: I like chicken wings, chocolate milk (not together though), my small yet mighty collection of guitars and I really like practicality in cars.  And yes, I’m also partial to smaller cars.

Let’s jump back to the practicality aspect for a moment. It’s great to have a useful car that looks good, drives well, feels great, and one that you can use day to day like for groceries, moving friends, golfing, and storing your guitar (if you don’t have one, you should get one!).

I wasn’t a fan of the Mini when it first came out. It just didn’t look all that appealing to me. But as with some things in life, it grew on me. Probably because I dated a girl who had one and spent a bit of time driving her car. I know, I know, the power of women. But that was seven years ago.

In those seven years, the Mini brand had become increasingly attractive. A former co-worker migrated from a Toyota Matrix to a Mini and I had the chance to test out a 2014 model, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

So here we are in March 2015 and Mini has combined my attraction for small cars and good ol’ practicality. Jamming 189 ponies running around four shiny cylinders housed in a twin power turbo engine is a very intentional way of illustrating a bolded exclamation mark onto this incredibly fun to drive machine.

Giving me a six-speed manual gearbox to navigate it with was charming, especially since I had it for my birthday week. (Well done, Mini Canada!)

I can’t quite get over how smooth every shift was, up shifting, down shifting, left and right shifting—OK, ignore the impossible last point—but the transmission in the Mini 5S takes the car from “really fun” to “I never want to get out of this” in 0.039538 seconds.

But back to the usefulness. I teach guitar a few nights a week so having a set of rear doors makes lugging the guitar in and out of the car much easier than a two door. I suppose the same can be said for groceries and well, other passengers. Passengers who will appreciate their own door to enter and exit the car from. Passengers who will say “the sound system in this car is really good!” Well, it should be considering my tester had the $750 upgraded Harmon Kardon model.  They’ll say, “the centre console is full of info, has a great navigation system, lots of vibrant colours… Can I please sit in the front seat next time?”

They’ll notice the lightweight materials that will reduce fuel consumption and give the car extra pep. They’ll notice between songs that the Dynamic Damper Control can give them a smooth or sporty ride.
They’ll notice the heads up display and say, “Jay, I thought you’re not a fan” to which I’ll say, “I’m not but I don’t have to look at it. I can look above and below it to get what I need from my line of sight.”

In fact, they’ll notice a plethora of items regardless of where they’re sitting.

I noticed the brisk acceleration, the solid handling, the high “this is fun to drive” factor and the pure enjoyment of a well built functional vehicle. It’s kind of like that Christmas present you get in a small box beneath the tree that is one of the best gifts you’ve received. Like a “Mini” gift. Get it? Mini gift? Yeah, yeah I know… Work on my stand-up routine.

Overall, the Mini 5S is a great car for couples and even a couple of kids to accompany that couple. Or singles… Can’t exclude them. Young, mid-life, later in life… If you’re in the market for sensibility, sportiness, saving money on gas (the 44 Litre tank is great for a few hundred km), simple driving enjoyment from a company that doesn’t take themselves too seriously, spend some time in the 2015 Mini 5S.

Read more from Jay!