Not since the Barnum & Bailey Circus had Americans seen as small a car as the original Mini Cooper. And though just a few trickled into the United States over the years, the Mini Cooper possessed a rabid and loyal following thanks to its ultra-small stature and go-cart handling characteristics. When BMW bought Rover and decided to develop an all-new Mini, big sales in the United States were part of the business plan. Wisely, BMW didn’t stray too far from the original design, and today’s thoroughly modern Mini Cooper is a huge hit. Although the new car is bigger than the original, the increase in size isn’t instantly noticeable because the car’s proportions are exactly right. BMW kept the original Mini’s cuteness factor, fun-to-drive handling characteristics, and design themes, and has been rewarded with increased sales every year. Add to that a price tag that starts well below $20,000, and you’ve got a car with mass appeal that just about anyone can afford to own.