Though the MINI Cooper once sat in a class by itself, small hatches are becoming more popular, and some are even experimenting with premium options and equipment.
Some buyers might glance at the Volkswagen New Beetle, a modern spin on the classic Bug, with better everything, only no air-cooled engine and in recent years, no compelling powertrain option.
The Ford Fiesta, new for this year, is a perfect competitor, though it offers less power, no real sport variant, and somewhat funkier styling.
The Mazda2 is more budget than premium.
The Fiat 500 is even smaller than the MINI, but offers many of the same elements: European flair, sporty options, and compact size.
The Mazda Miata is a true rear-drive roadster in the British tradition, and as such merits consideration by MINI buyers, though some will opt for the familiarity of front-wheel drive and the extra cargo space afforded by the hatchback.
Ford's Mustang is an outlier in the alternatives group, offering roughly twice as much horsepower and less cargo space but more passenger room, plus much of the same fun for a similar price--plus the bonus of burnouts at will.
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|2011 MINI CooperBrowse Used Listings||2012 FIAT 500Browse Used Listings||2011 Ford FiestaBrowse Used Listings||2011 Mazda MX-5 MiataBrowse Used Listings||2011 Mazda MAZDA2Browse Used Listings||2011 Volkswagen New Beetle CoupeBrowse Used Listings|
|25 MPG City / 37 MPG Hwy||27 MPG City / 38 MPG Hwy||28 MPG City / 37 MPG Hwy||21 MPG City / 28 MPG Hwy||27 MPG City / 35 MPG Hwy|
|Gas 4-Cyl||Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas I4||N/A|
|Minicompact||Minicompact Car||Subcompact||Two Seater||- TBD -||N/A|
|2-Door Coupe||2-Door HB Pop||4-Door Sedan S||2-Door Convertible Manual Sport||4-Door HB Manual Sport||N/A|
|Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front-wheel drive||Rear Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||N/A|
|2 Door Coupe||Hatchback||4-Door Sedan||2 Door Convertible||4 Door HB||N/A|