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I Like the 4-Door MINI, and Here's Why

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author photo by Doug DeMuro May 2017

Something like a year ago, MINI came out with a 4-door version of its hatchback model, which was met with some skepticism from car enthusiasts. When I say "some skepticism," what I mean is that many car enthusiasts became enraged MINI would even think of such a thing, considering the original design philosophy of the car -- lightness, smallness and precision.

But I like the 4-door MINI -- and here's why.

The thing about the MINI, and all hatchbacks, is this: The entire point of a hatchback is practicality. You want to be able to carry around a little more than you can in a sedan, and you want to do it without compromising on a larger vehicle like a station wagon or a taller vehicle like an SUV. It goes double for a hot hatch -- you want it to be practical without being huge, which would start to limit your performance potential.

As a result of this, 2-door hatchbacks have never really appealed to me. Consider it: If I've bought the car to maximize practicality, why the hell would I want to get into a situation where the car's practicality has been compromised? Sure, I can get a lot of stuff in the cargo area of a 2-door hatchback ... but isn't all that moot if I can't really get anyone inside? And yeah, sure, maybe they can still climb inside, but I have to open the door very wide, pull the front seat all the way forward, and then watch them become contortionists just to fit inside my "practical" hatchback? Give me a break!

The thing about the 4-door MINI is that it eliminates all that stuff without really requiring people to give up very much. Yes, surely it isn't as precise or as exciting as the original MINI or the "new" 2-door MINI models. But it's not like this is some massive vehicle. The 4-door MINI is just 156.8 inches long, which makes it something like 6 inches longer than the standard version -- and still feet shorter than cars people consider "sporty," like the BMW M4 and Mercedes C 63 AMG. Is this thing really that compromised?

Of course not! In fact, it's the standard MINI that's compromised -- it's just not as practical as a little hatchback should be. The 4-door model, however, adds a dramatically enhanced element of practicality while only growing the car's size by a small amount. If I were buying a MINI today, it's the one I'd get -- and as the purists were complaining at the local 2-Door-Only Mini Meetup, I'd be having a blast on back roads ... with three other people comfortably sitting in the car.

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
I Like the 4-Door MINI, and Here's Why - Autotrader