Consider the Superminis

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THE Modern Supermini is a breed that has come into its own over the last 10 years. They are better than they ever have been, and the public love them. Since 2004 sales of Superminis have gone up 132 per cent, due to buyers switching from larger hatchbacks, the likes of the Opel Vectra or Ford focus, down to Superminis like the Ford Fiesta or Fiat 500.
Manufactures have been very shrewd to cater for this trend over that period by making their ‘smaller’ cars more spacious on the inside, giving more leg room to uncle big-bird, and offering options normally found on larger models such as five-door access, power steering, and folding seats for when hubby needs to squeeze the golf clubs in.
How have they achieved this you might ask? Some would argue that instead of harnessing Dr Who’s TARDIS technology, or mastering the age-old problem of squeezing a quart into a pint pot, they have simply made their mini, a maxi.
While we still hold the idea in our psyche of a mini being the smallest option available to us, those clever people in white coats at the motorcar shop have been swopping our cheeky little run-arounds for small family saloons without us noticing.
Case in point, the BMW Mini is a wonderful small car, and the choice of many new drivers that want a little car that’s easy to park. However, have you ever seen an Original Austin Mini parked beside one? The BMW looks like a giant!
In an age where the traditional lines defining car types are blurring more and more each year, we find it very difficult to tell where a micro car ends and a mini begins, where a family estate becomes a MPV, or where a sports car morphs into a 4×4, (Don’t do it Aston!)
In as far as the term ´Supermini´ is used to convince that we drive a modern version of the Hillman Imp or a bubble-car, as opposed to a cape-wearing, customised Mini Cooper wearing its blue trunks outside its tights, the truth is, vehicle definitions have changed beyond all recognition, and are likely to continue in the same direction until they all look equal.
In the same context as the woman’s liberation movement in the 70s tried to convince men that the maxi skirt was sexier than mini skirt, and that tights were far superior to stockings, we will have to live with the manufactures marketing descriptions and the choices available to us.
Suffice to say, and surely for the good, the range and scope of ‘Superminis’ on offer today give the buyer untold options to suit their own specific needs the best. Whether it be a one-litre VW Polo or a Range Rover.


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