Inexpensive Mini Cooper, Truck Armageddon and best Small Truck for Towing [Ask Nathan]

  • Will they ever build an inexpensive Mini Cooper?
  • Cyber Truck Truck Armageddon?
  • Small Trucks that tow well?

The first question comes from Twitter (@Nathanadlen) about finding an affordable Mini Cooper.

(Via Twitter@NathanAdlen) Wazzup!? Du you know anything about Mini? 

I can’t believe how crazy expensive they are! I can’t even afford a base model. Are there discounts I don’t know about? Why are they so expensive?

A: That’s a great question!

I just came across a new trim-level that Mini is offering. It’s called the Oxford Edition and you get a reasonably priced Mini, loaded with several pricey options and giving you the choice of six colors.

A three-door Mini Cooper Oxford Edition starts at $19,750 and the four-door starts at $20,750.

For those prices, you get the standard Mini(s) along with:

  • Automatic Transmission (a manual transmission is available)
  • 17″ Cosmos Spoke Ally Wheels in Silver or Black
  • Heated Seats
  • Anthracite headliner
  • Panoramic Moonroof
  • MINI Teleservices and Emergency Call

There is a catch, you must be either a current or (very) recent college student. Check out the website (here) for more. 

It’s true, Mini is expensive, but for prices like these you could buy one for the same price as a slow, underpowered (well equipped) hatchback.




The next question comes from a truck owner who’s worried about our vehicles becoming so sophisticated, they bring about armageddon.


Q: Nathan. We are all going to hell in a hand basket! 

The automation of the modern pickup truck will soon become the cyberization of pickup trucks! Think about all of the robots already driving with us in cars and trucks. Now imagine them taking over all systems and becoming aware. Then think about what happens when they don’t like the way we driver or something.

You need too think about that next time you talk about automation!



Total Chaos Tacoma

A: Hi Lamont!

Thanks for the email. I wouldn’t worry about full automation and AI pickup trucks any time soon. While partially automated vehicles are coming, it’s doubtful they will allow any system the ability to hurt its owner.

Pickup trucks are the least-likely to allow full automation. The reasoning is simple: they are built rugged to go off the beaten path. They tow, plow through difficult terrain and are constantly working. It would be difficult to have any AI system take over driving duties over such a variety of terrain.

I look at automation this way: Imagine you’re completely spent after a full day of working a double shift. All you want to do is nap. Now imagine your truck taking over a majority of the driving while you rest. That’s appealing to me. Having a switch to prevent it from driving when I want to drive, yet having the ability to kick back and let it do its thing.

I think we’re safe – for now.


The last question comes from a viewer who wants the best towing small truck out there.



TFL truck and car! I want the best towing rig that can still fit in my garage!  
I tow about 5,000 pounds a day because I am a painter and my trailer is pretty heavy for a small one. I drive a 2005 Toyota Tacoma V6 and its been a very reliable truck. But I think it is straining especially on steep hills.
I now have a partner and between his gear and mine along with two people instead of one, the truck seems real sluggish. I have a small house from the 50’s and the garage is tiny. Just big enough for my Tacoma extra cab. The mirrors have to be pulled in each time I park.
Is there something out there that is a better tow vehicle? I’m willing to spend more to get the right truck!

A:  Greetings Marty!

The best all-around small truck currently on sale in the United States is the GMC Canyon 2WD diesel. The Canyon’s 7700-lb rating requires 2WD Crew Cab model with available Duramax 2.8L I-4 Diesel engine. That means the truck, as a bare-bone vehicle, starts at over $30,000.

Realistically, you will be near $40,000 for a well equipped pickup truck. Make sure you’re keeping within its maximum payload numbers (which vary based on your setup).


Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at: