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Mini hatchback Test Drive Review

Date: 04 September 2014   |   Author: Jack Carfrae

This is the third Mini hatchback since the marque's 2001 revival and, unlike the last version, which was essentially a 2006 update, this model actually is new from the ground up.

The engines, transmissions and platform are all new, as is the styling. On its own it doesn't look that different to the outgoing model, and the cute, retro looks are still there, but put the two side by side and you'll see some differences, namely in the proportions.

The car has been lengthened by 98mm and has a 28mm-longer wheelbase. While it's no estate, there is actually more space in the back than there first appears to be. There isn't much room for rear passengers' feet, but head and legroom are surprisingly good for a supermini and a big improvement on the old car. The boot is 51 litres larger than before at 211 litres, but that's still a way off the class average of 250 litres-plus. The front of the cabin has also been updated - the big dial in the middle of the dash is still there but it's now purely an infotainment device rather than a speedometer - and you still get a familiar mix of chromed toggle switches and funky switchgear. There's also a suite of new connectivity and safety gear on offer.

At the business end, a new three-cylinder 1.5-litre diesel unit is available, among other new engines, with 95hp in the entry-level Mini One and 116hp in the mid-level Cooper D (the latter trim level is expected to account for 48% of sales across petrol and diesel models). With the lower-powered version,
you're looking at an official 83.1mpg and 89g/km, while the more powerful variant musters a still very respectable 80.7mpg and 92g/km.

You'd have a job to know it's a three-cylinder engine, too. BusinessCar tested the Cooper D, which didn't feel at all short on power and pulled well mid-range. More impressive is how much quieter this engine is than the last, rather rattly diesel, especially considering its smaller size. Wind noise makes itself known at motorway speeds though, and the ride, while better than the old car's, is still a little on the harsh side.

Mini is banking on 15% of the new hatchbacks selling to fleet customers, so it's still predominantly a retail car. That said, it has held onto the Supermini of the Year title in the BusinessCar Awards for 12 years running, so there's obviously a demand for it within the corporate sector.

Exceedingly strong residual values and the promise of new larger models using the hatchback's new platform - including the next Countryman and an all-new lower medium VW Golf rival - are likely to keep interest high among fleets.

P11D price £18,645
Model price range £13,695-£22,995
Residual value 45.2%
Depreciat¬ion £10,220
Fuel consumption 80.7mpg
CO2 (tax) 92g/km (13%)
BIK 20/40% per month £40/£81
Service interval variable miles
Insurance (1-50) group 17
Warranty 3yrs/unlimited miles
Boot space (min/max) 211/731 litres
Engine size/power 1496cc/116hp
Top speed/0-60mph 127mph/9.2secs
On sale March 2014


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