Handling a compact

With all commercial vehicle rig test driving I've been doing of late, I was looking forward to trying out a Mini Cooper. My wife convinced me we should rent one on our recent vacation.

We got a red, two-door hardtop with sunroof - a nice touch for tooling around Northern California.

This Mini had a surprisingly peppy 121-hp engine combined with an automatic transmission.

For a big guy like me, the Mini is a small car, so I wasn't expecting much inside room.

While getting in and out took some getting used to, the interior - with its cockpit feel – had a nice feel to it.

Both front seats were comfortable (I did let my wife drive for a short period) and I had ample leg, head and belly room.

The acceleration was superior. I caught myself having to watch my speed.

So was the handling and cornering. The Mini, as racers are fond of saying, "devours" corners.

What a great driving experience. It was one of the most fun to drive cars I've been in in a very long time.