In this week's automotive adventures, Steve explains why a Mini is in the mix for the first car he wants to drive once lockdown finishes and shares a few of his favourite podcasts.


The arrival of Greg Kable’s cover tale of the maddest Mini yet, the long-awaited GP, feeds my desire to get out there, driving. Same for you, I’m sure. I was cogitating only yesterday on which machine I’d choose for that first, purely-for-fun sprint on favourite Cotswolds roads. I’m not talking about some supercar to be learned and feared; those can never be driven with the abandonment of small cars that always leave plenty of road to spare.

The family Mazda MX-5 would be a good option. Also the Morgan 3 Wheeler I’ve raved about. But the candidate that unexpectedly popped into my head was our long-term Mini Cooper S of recent memory, complete with 192bhp engine, manual ’box and JCW seats. It was one of those cars in which I always felt instantly at home. And enjoyed any journey. Turn the wheel, squeeze the throttle and you get precisely what you expect: I love that. Neither supercars nor classics – or even, by the sound of things, the somewhat wheel-fighty Mini GP – afford such ease. It’s one of the overlooked joys of good, ordinary cars.


3 Q7 van

One lockdown bonus is the humour that bobs up on Twitter, the only ‘social’ I bother with. One top-quality posting showed the back view of an artic with ‘Q7’ in large letters on the back doors. The line beneath, penned by a clever bloke called Andrew J Chapple, reads: “Spy shots suggest new Audi Q7 only a tad bigger than the old one.” Superb.