MINI has been having a tough time with sales over the past year or so, with established markets like the U.S. and UK both carding negative numbers through August 2018. Whether or not these difficulties had any role in the motivation behind offering the new Oxford Edition isn’t known, but the fresh entry-level model seems like a well-crafted return to form for the brand.
Offered exclusively to students who are currently enrolled in an accredited two- or four-year college and to recent graduates who are within twelve months of their commencement, along with those who are enrolled in post-bachelor programs such as law, medicine, or other forms of grad school, the 2019 MINI Oxford Edition will be available in both two- and four-door variants. Both will be sold at no additional cost with a total of $6,900 worth of options, and pricing starts at $19,750 and $20,750 respectively, sans the $850 destination and handling fee.
Standard features making up the $6,900 option group include a dual-pane, panoramic moonroof, heated seats, and upgraded 17″ wheels. Students and grads will have a choice of six exterior body colors, while the wheels can be had in either black or silver. Other highlights include standard MINI Connected infotainment with a 6.5-inch high-resolution display, rear-view camera, and park distance control, and the entire array seems very well thought out. Specifying these individual options on their own quickly brings the MSRP of a MINI close to the $30,000 mark, and another important point is the standard automatic transmission. You can still get a six-speed manual, though, and British Racing Green is among the color options.
When freshly-acquired MINI launched the R53 hardtop hatch in the early 2000s, the car brought an array of tech, tossable handling, and unique styling to the market, all at a very attractive price point. Once early quality problems were dealt with, fit and finish were recognized as being among the best in the segment, and a MINI became a rather off-the-radar way to get BMW DNA in a practical, everyday package. A decade and a half later, styling has grown rather stale in the minds of many, while numerous other automakers have caught up in the wave of democratized technology, offering great performance and features at better prices than ever before.
The upcoming Oxford Edition seems like a good start in offering buyers a strong value proposition which takes the form of an attractive and fun package that costs less than a comparable naturally aspirated Volkswagen Golf, and we hope to see more similar offerings filter their way through the lineup.—Alex Tock
[Images courtesy of MINI USA.]