What Can You Fit In A BMW Mini?

by : Catherine Harvey

There has been some debate about the practicality of using the Mini as a family car, particularly if a baby is involved.

A rear facing child seat in the back of a Mini, even the new BMW Mini, is very awkward to fit and virtually impossible to get your child into once the seat is secured. It also restricts adjustment of the front seats which is not good if you have to put the child seat behind the driver's seat. I am told there are one or two models that will fit ok but you do have to shop around.

This also brings up the question regarding the feasibility of getting a pram or pushchair in the boot of a Mini. Buggy type pushchairs, particularly the umbrella-fold type will fit. Most pushchairs suitable for children over 6 months will fit if folded completely flat.

In my own experience, one of those all singing, all dancing new baby travel systems takes a degree in origami to fold it down and then an articulated lorry to transport it anywhere! These are nice to push but a nightmare for getting in any car, let alone one of those gorgeous BMW Mini's.

Of course, the Mini Clubman has a quite a bit more space than the older version. Officially. I would like to cast doubt on that statement. My sister had an old style Mini, typically orange in colour and we went everywhere in it. Both heavily pregnant we had no problem fitting in.

I could never understand how she managed to hit the vicar when pulling out of a parking space but that was more due to her shrunken pregnancy brain than the Mini itself!

Anyway, after the babies were born my sister acquired a dog. It was a cross between an Irish wolfhound and something that looked like it was out of Hound of the Baskervilles. It was also very drooly and completely barking mad. We needed to get to the launderette one day and the old Mini was the only form of transport we had between us.

We packed two babies, a dog, two buggies and two families washing into this Mini and made our way to the launderette. Of course, this was in the days before they came down so hard on wearing seat belts as, if I remember rightly, our noses were pressed up to the windscreen.

This led me to thinking, just how many people could you get into a used Mini?

Officially, it's four. However, experiments by people I believe may have been slightly inebriated at the time have resulted in a total of 22 occupants in the Mini.

Does this not depend on whether it is a newer style BMW Mini, a Mini Clubman or an old style Mini?
And would it make a difference if it were a used Mini?

If you take into account the wear and tear on the inner surfaces of a very old Mini, surely this would gain you a few extra centimetres. But what if it was a cherished Mini? These have been brought back to almost original condition and can even be re-upholstered. Depending on the upholstery material, would you be losing centimetres?

Of course, this is all debatable as the size of the people you try to fit in would make a drastic difference. Imagine trying to fit 22 men in a Mini if they were all 16 stone. Something would have to give - probably the suspension, windows, doors and more.
Now try and fit 22 women in a Mini, all size 10 and a measly 7 stone each. Doesn't that fit better? Add to that the fact that you could be gaining centimetres with worn upholstery and it makes it look positively easy!

I would like to see how many people of average size and build could be fitted into all styles of Mini. This would surely prove whether or not the extra space BMW claim to have put into the new style Mini would be worth having.