I like my Mini 14 and like to think they were a good value before the panic. I managed to get an order in for a dozen 30rd mags a couple days before the panic buying hit full stride so I am locked into the platform for the long run. Mine is an older one that uses one of the bolt on accuracy enhancers. It cost me just over $500 for everything.
If there was a $700 piston driven AR that was reliable, long lasting, battlefield accurate and had a good company standing behind it when something goes wrong people would be standing in line to buy one and arguing online that it's flaws don't detract from the rifles intended use. Slap a wood stock on it, call it a Mini and suddenly it has lost it's luster.
New gun, same ol' shot.