During the early to mid 2000's, retro styling was big, especially in America. We had the PT Cruiser, the HHR, the SSR, the Thunderbird, the Prowler, and probably many more cars styled to look like they had just escaped the 1960s. However, this phenomenon was not limited to our shores. In Europe, the revolution started with the controversial New Beetle. In 2001, BMW dropped the Mini brand into the market and their cars quickly found a dedicated following. By 2007, Volvo decided it would play too, and designed a 3 door P1 platform homage to the P1800ES. Which of these Euro-replica coupe/hatches is your favorite?

The first contestant: 2003 Volkswagen New Beetle Turbo S 1.8 - $7,988

While the circular profile of the New Beetle combined with its bud vase might have suggested a particularly dainty side of Volkswagen, the Turbo S variants were anything but. With the 1.8 turbo-four capable of 180 horses through a six-speed manual good for a 0-60 time of 6.4 seconds, this was the next best thing to the limited edition RSi. While its looks may be off-putting, the VW chassis beneath this bubble probably means relatively good handling beneath that retro body. Is just short of $8K a fair deal for this lovely 81K mile coupe? Or is its reliability as bad as the reputation suggests?


The second contestant: 2008 Volvo C30 T5 - $8,750

Volvo’s C30 was late to the retro party when it debuted in 2005, but that didn’t stop loyal Volvoists from appreciating its heritage with the P1800ES and 480 turbo hatch. While the steering and controls have been derided as decidedly less precise than, say, Mini’s, the car does handle decently with its Focus chassis and spry turbo-5 making lovely sounds. This car has just under 80K miles and a 6-speed manual to match, is this little Belgian worth just under $9K?


The third contestant: 2010 Mini Cooper S - $8,998

While the Mini started a minor revolution when it was first introduced for being a lovely-to-drive FWD hatch which wasn’t too hot for daily use, many disliked its plasticky and toy-like interior. This one is a later second gen example with fewer reliability issues than the early ones, but it is the costliest in the group with the least horsepower. At 102K miles on its 6-speed manual, will you take home this Bavarian Brit?