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I’m not a car aficionado, but I do love to drive. I grew up addicted to Mario Kart and Need for Speed as well as my fair share of action movies. After watching Italian Job when it first came out, I had an immediate affinity for Minis. Throw in the fact that they’re as cute as they’re sporty, and that affinity has grown over the years.

But until last weekend, I had never driven one. I didn’t know what I was missing.

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The 2016 Mini Cooper Convertible was everything I could have hoped for when escaping the city on a recent cottage resort getaway. Although made for tight streets and limited parking spots, it cruised along the highway with the confidence and style of a much bigger vehicle. Top down in only 18 seconds — my hair flying into a permanent bird’s nest — I couldn’t have been happier.

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Yes, this model is fitted, for the first time, with a fully automatic, fully electronically powered soft top that is as easy to use as pushing a button — literally. In fact, the whole Mini Convertible system is intuitive. Everything from its built-in GPS to bluetooth capabilities and, of course, driving assistant features (because I honestly still suck as parallel parking) was a cinch to use and follow.

Yet what I was most impressed by — even more than its soft top and smooth ride — was its gas consumption. For an entire weekend of driving, I still had gas to spare and it was half what I was used to driving around in an Audi A4 to fill up. This affordability even trumped the projection of the Mini logo that streamed from the exterior mirror on the driver’s side on the ground with the door was opened. And that little discovery was pretty dope.

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I always knew that a Mini Cooper was perfect for the city. I just never knew how perfect it was for getting out of the city as well. Yes, the convertible top makes a difference, but for a simple weekend away, it’s perfect. Groceries and luggage fit perfectly in the trunk and the seating in the back was great for some odds and ends. We even managed to sneak in a drive-in movie to cap off our relaxing cottage retreat.

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