MINI, Toyota working on entry-level hatchback?

Tentatively called Minor, the hatchback will slot under the Hardtop.

A new report finds BMW's MINI division is in the early stages of developing a long-rumored entry-level hatchback with input from partner Toyota.

MINI's upcoming entry-level model is tentatively dubbed Minor, a name that traces its roots back to the original Mini that was introduced in 1959. Loosely inspired by the Rocketman concept (pictured) that bowed at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, the Minor will feature roughly the same silhouette as the two-door Hardtop but its footprint will be truly minuscule.

Visually, the Minor will boast a look of its own thanks to a smaller trapezoidal radiator grille and tail lamps with the Union Jack motif, a styling cue borrowed from the topless Superleggera concept. A double-bubble roof panel will improve headroom for the passengers riding in the back, but there is no indication that the car is being designed with input from Italian design house Zagato.

Set to ride on a brand new front-wheel drive platform, the Minor will be offered with downsized gasoline- and diesel-burning three-cylinder engines, though technical details are still being finalized. Automobile Magazine speculates that the tiny hatch will be available with an all-electric drivetrain shortly after its debut.

Sources close to MINI have hinted that the Minor is at least three years away from hitting showrooms. When it lands, its base price is expected to lie between $14,500 and $16,000.

Read more!