With the arrival of the five-door Mini hatch, the Mini brand kicked on with its focus on the corporate sector. The car will overtake the Countryman as its biggest fleet player and it’s easy to see why.

It has performed admirably as a more practical version of the three-door hatch in its six months with us, while still maintaining Mini’s trademark style and excellent handling.

How well the five-door maintains its style is open to debate, however; from the front and rear it could be the three-door, but the side view  reveals a stretched-out body.

That elongated form provides more boot space and rear legroom compared with the three-door and it makes the Mini practical, even for a family of four, with the ability to fit two child seats in the back row and a buggy in the boot.

The interior has held up well over the past six months and is packed with individual little touches such as aeronautic-style switches for the windows and a little red switch for the ignition. The update to the Mini’s classic central dial was a welcome one, with loads of added functionality carried over from the BMW Group, but still retaining Mini’s own take on the graphics and interaction.

There are some missteps on the interior though, with the LED surround on the central dial [3] looking a bit cheap, to the extent that I actually turned it off for the majority of the Mini’s time with us. It’s a cost option, so those who aren’t a fan don’t have to spec it.

One of the vital aspects of BusinessCar taking a car to test for a half-year period is to properly track how it stacks up on whole-life costs.

BusinessCar’s running costs data provider KwikCarcost indicated a predicted cost per mile of 43.3p, and we’ve been pretty close to that over six months. It’s interesting that the car’s residual value percentage has been sliding over the past six months, from over 40% when it was first launched down to below 37% now. But that’s still good for the sector.

The main barrier getting in the way of reaching Mini’s CPM goal has been the fuel consumption. I’ve mentioned in previous reports that it’s been tough to bump up the average economy to 60mpg.

We generally hold anything above 70% of the official 78.5mpg as a good target, but we only broke 55mpg once during the Mini’s time with us. I even made a specific effort to switch the Mini’s driving mode into its most efficient ‘green’ setting in an attempt to improve matters, but it didn’t do enough to edge the numbers above 70%.

I’m sure though that the Mini would be able to boost its mpg with a company car driver doing more long trips than my daily stop-start in Lond

But despite that, the Mini has been really easy to live with. The weight and feel in the steering is a particular plus point for any employee going for this car, it’s an absolute pleasure to drive and that feeling never dulled, even when compared with more sports-focused or larger models.

There are a few niggles on the infotainment system in terms of how intuitive it is, but as a car to put some corporate sales hopes on, the five-door hatch should comfortably add 4000 additional fleet registrations as predicted.

Mini Hatch 5dr Cooper 1.5D 116

Mileage 8083
Official consumption 78.5mpg
Our average consumption 50.9mpg
Forecast/actual CPM 43.3p/45.5p
P11D price £20,830
Model price range £13,880-£25,105
Residual value 36.7%
Depreciation cost £13,182
Fuel £4020
Service, maintenance and repair £1918
Vehicle Excise Duty £0
National Insurance £1466
CO2 (BIK band) 95g/km (17%)
BIK 20/40% per month £59/£118