MINI’s JCW (that’s John Cooper Works) name is older than you might think. Its heritage stretches back to John Cooper, the British racing driver and engineer who not only pioneered the rear-engined layout in single-seat racers, but also figured out that the Issigonis-designed BMC Mini would make a rather good race and rally car. A point that went on to be proved most famously by Paddy Hopkirk’s fabled win in the 1964 Monte Carlo rally.
When the original BMW 1 Series arrived on the scene in 2004 it stood out from rival compact executive cars for being rear-wheel drive. The same is true of the second-generation 1 Series, known as the F20, which arrived in 2011 and is the subject of our latest CarGurus Used Car Video review.
The Nissan Juke was at the forefront of the trend for supermini-sized crossovers that combined low running costs with tough, SUV-like styling. It’s no surprise therefore that it’s been a hit with buyers, whether they’re in the market for a new car or a used one.
The Fiat 500 demonstrates just how successful retro-themed motoring can be. When it was launched in 2007 (50 years to the day since the launch of the original Fiat 500), it showed just how successfully an old but much-loved design could be reimagined for modern buyers, combing vintage charm and cheekiness with the kind of safety features, comfort, fuel economy and running costs buyers today have come to expect.
Ask any car manufacturer where its performance models are most popular and the answer will almost always be the UK. We are a nation of fast car – and in particular hot hatch – addicts, a point well and truly demonstrated by the fact that Volkswagen UK’s director, Alison Jones, this week told us that the company has already sold out of its initial allocation of up! GTIs. Fear not, however, for if you are desperate to get your hands on one of these pocket rockets but can’t wait until the next build slots materialise (likely to be in the new year) the first approved used examples have just appeared on CarGurus.
Since being relaunched by BMW in 2001 the MINI brand has been an incredible success. For that you can thank the way it combines the sense of cheeky fun you’d expect of a classic Mini with modern standards of build quality, safety and reliability.
If you’re in the market for a small car there’s a good chance the Volkswagen Polo is on your shortlist. After all, alongside the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa it is a regular fixture in the list of the UK’s best selling cars, with a mixture of practicality, affordability and build quality that buyers find hard to resist.
It is no secret that the Seat Leon Cupra has long provided access to the same engines, gearboxes and technology as the Volkswagen Golf GTI, but for a heavily reduced price. So the story went when the third generation Leon hot hatch was introduced to the UK in early 2014, using the VW Group’s MQB architecture as also seen on the Golf. Difference was, Seat added a lot more power to the mix…
Having a car that is spacious and versatile is essential if you’ve got a young family to transport. And there are few that fit the bill better than the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, for here is a seven-seat people carrier that has been designed with families firmly in mind, from its comfortable ride and big boot, to the fact its second row features three individual seats each with Isofix mounting points.