after much advance publicity, it was the first British mass-produced car with the engine block and cylinder head cast in aluminium.
Being a direct competitor to the BMC's Mini, it used a space-saving rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout to allow as much luggage and passenger capacity as possible in both the rear and the front of the car. It used a unique opening rear hatch to allow luggage to be put into the back seat rest.
It was the first mass-produced British car with the engine in the back and the first to use a diaphragm spring clutch.
The baulk-ring synchromesh unit for the transaxle compensated for the speeds of gear and shaft before engagement, from which the Mini had suffered during its early production years.