Reuben van Niekerk
Mini are fast becoming the leaders in terms of giving the public cars that they never knew they wanted. Their latest introduction, called the Paceman, takes the Countryman one step further by dropping two doors and fitting it into designer clothing. Where the Countryman is practical, the Paceman is stylish.
In brief the Paceman offers 4 seats, 2 engine options, sports suspension and a lounge atmosphere for its occupants in a design that is stylish yet sporty while still staying true to the iconic Mini design elements
The Paceman will probably become a style icon, a fashion must have, similar to what we saw with the Range Rover Evoque, but does it have the guts to back this look up?
Under the bonnet is still the same, some say ageing, choice of powerplants that have become the backbone of the Mini range. The Cooper uses a 1.6 litre engine with 90 kW. The Cooper S is powered by a 1.6 litre turbocharged mill producing a lively 135 kW. Plans are to add the JCW model to the range later in June. After the Mini Countryman, the Paceman is the second model which customers can order with the ALL4 all wheel drive system as an option.
All variants come with a six speed manual or a six speed automatic (optional). The manual is probably the one to go for. The automatic does a good job under normal driving conditions but tends to drop a gear at the slightest touch of the accelerator, often over dramatizing a not so exciting event.
The combination of sporty suspension and run flat tyres means a firm ride on good roads but a bumpy ride as soon as the tarmac is sub standard. The gokart feeling is great and everything, but it gets a bit much, maybe I am just getting old. Make no mistake, it is fun to drive, but one can not have fun all the time and I feel that this Mini won’t do serious very well. Regular suspension and ride height are available as a no cost option, I think that is definitely an option box worth ticking.
The Mini Paceman has been designed as a four seater with individual seats for all four occupants while the high opening tailgate and its low boot allow the luggage area to easily accessed, load capacity is 330 litres or 1 080 litres with the rear seat backrests folded down.
Crash safety and specification is as always, top notch. A crash optimized body structure and extensive range of safety equipment, front and side airbags, side curtain airbags and Isofix Child seat anchors ensure peace of mind.
Standard equipment includes air conditioning, sports seats, Centre rail and radio CD player. You can also customize your Mini with optional equipment such as Xenon headlights, adaptive headlights, rain sensor, park distance control, comfort access, electrically operated glass roof and trailer coupling, large choice of exterior paint finishes, bonnet stripes and more.
But having said all that, it is still a Mini, its still fun to drive but it is a bit like looking after somebody else’s children, it is always nice to give them back at the end of the day.