Our cars: Mini Paceman Cooper S - January

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  • Fuel economy from the Paceman has been a pleasant surprise

    Fuel economy from the Paceman has been a pleasant surprise

  • Road and wind noise intrude, so Emma finds herself edging the stereo volume towards max levels

    Road and wind noise intrude, so Emma finds herself edging the stereo volume towards max levels

  • The bonnet catch for the Paceman isn't in the most helpful location - it's tucked up inside the passenger footwell

    The bonnet catch for the Paceman isn't in the most helpful location - it's tucked up inside the passenger footwell

  • Paceman's screenwash managed to last nearly 10,000 miles before it needed to be replenished

    Paceman's screenwash managed to last nearly 10,000 miles before it needed to be replenished

  • Paceman had a starring - but brief - TV role this week, helping out on a consumer advice show

    Paceman had a starring - but brief - TV role this week, helping out on a consumer advice show

  • Mini Connected App offers plenty of interaction for technophiles, but it needs a USB connection

    Mini Connected App offers plenty of interaction for technophiles, but it needs a USB connection

  • Mini's firm ride isn't suited to typical British winter roads, says video editor Pete Brown

    Mini's firm ride isn't suited to typical British winter roads, says video editor Pete Brown

  • Paceman's high, bulbous bonnet makes judging distances at the front rather tricky

    Paceman's high, bulbous bonnet makes judging distances at the front rather tricky

  • Our Paceman comes with sports suspension, and at least one colleague would rather have the standard setup

    Our Paceman comes with sports suspension, and at least one colleague would rather have the standard setup

  • Hustler Coupe is hardly a dead ringer for our Paceman, but you can't deny the similarities.

    Hustler Coupe is hardly a dead ringer for our Paceman, but you can't deny the similarities.

  • Paceman is only suitable for two, plus luggage

    Paceman is only suitable for two, plus luggage

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Mini Paceman Cooper S

Week ending January 31
Mileage 9273
Driven this week 40


Read the full Mini Paceman review

Our typical British winter doesn't suit the Paceman at all. The morning-cold tyres on near-frozen asphalt transmit and amplify every bit of vibration through to the cabin. It doesn't help that the roads seem to be finished with shoddy temporary blacktop, with surfaces akin to a ginger nut biscuit, but the Mini really doesn't do anything to help relax a grumbly commute.

I've now downloaded the Mini Connected app and registered to use it. It looks good, and I'm still learning what's what with the software, but it's not as on-the-move intuitive as I'd want. I have managed to get the current car status from it, which doesn't quite tally with the dashboard readout - the app says 151 miles remaining, dash says 149 miles. Only a slight discrepancy, but how about the same info, eh?

It also doesn't help that my iPhone 5 won't accept a Bluetooth pairing request with the Paceman (it's not that it's a complicated set-up - just a 'Mini says "no"' situation), and when I've connected via the USB cable (with extra 'Dock-to-Lightning' adapter) and the stereo minijack (how primitive), I get no audio from the phone. Album art and info, yes, but no sound. Sorry Mini, my kids would call this a #fail.

By Pete Brown
Peter.Brown@whatcar.com

Week ending January 24
Mileage 9233
Driven this week 50


Read the full Mini Paceman review

The Paceman's bold, 'in yer face' styling and seemingly endless supply of infotainment focused gadgetry makes it easy to overlook a lot of its more demure, sensible driving tech.

One such 'behind the scenes' favourite of mine is Hill Assist, which is a clever feature of the car's standard Dynamic Stability Control, and stops the car from rolling back on slopes.

It really does make queueing on hills a much more relaxed experience: no need for clutch balancing or handbrake-off rev racing. Simply release the brake, press the accelerator and smoothly glide on up the road.

By Emma Butcher
Emma.Butcher@whatcar.com

Week ending January 17
Mileage 9183
Driven this week 13


Read the full Mini Paceman review

While the Mini Paceman can’t exactly be described as ‘mini’, it’s not an enormous car, which makes the difficulty in judging parking spaces and manoeuvring distances up front somewhat maddening.

The problem is the high bonnet, which seems impossible to see over even with the driver’s seat at its highest point. The bulbous nose - which gives the impression of protruding much more than it actually does when you're behind the wheel - doesn’t help matters.

More frustrating is that the generous standard rear parking sensors fitted to the Paceman aren’t actually necessary given its tidy flat hatch. That said, they do provide extra reassurance when reversing in busy supermarket car parks, where errant children and shopping trolleys can sometimes flit without warning across the car’s blind spots.

Still, I can’t help feeling that those sensors would be put to much better use to look ahead, rather than behind. Sadly, front sensors don’t even make the options list.

By Emma Butcher
Emma.Butcher@whatcar.com

Week ending January 10
Mileage 9170
Driven this week 16


Read the full Mini Paceman review

One of the brilliant features of the Mini Connected App is Internet Radio, which allows you to listen to pretty much any radio station in the world.

Nothing it seems is off limits, from UK favourites Absolute ‘80s and ‘90s, Classic FM, Kerrang, BBC Radio 4 and 5 Live, to stations in far flung corners of the globe such as kids channel Russian Lullaby, TSN Radio 1290 (with all the latest sports news from Winnipeg, Canada), and ‘A’ net Station in Antarctica, which plays folk music. There’s even a Greek channel dedicated purely to solo Harp music – called, err Solo Harp.

You don’t even need to be in the car to get down to some global tunes, which is good news indeed, considering that I haven’t yet managed to connect via the Paceman’s sound system.

However, I’ll have to be a little more careful what I tune into and where in the future. After switching to an obscure Blues station from somewhere in America’s deep south this morning, a track blasted out via my iPhone with what was described by someone else as a porn groove - drawing me some very suspicious looks and raised eyebrows.

By Emma Butcher
Emma.Butcher@whatcar.com

Week ending January 3
Mileage 9154
Driven this week 57


Read the full Mini Paceman review

The Mini Connected App is impressive and perhaps slightly disconcerting. The latter depends on whether or not you're resigned to the fact that whatever you do - unless it's retreat to a cave - someone, somewhere, if they be so inclined, can see exactly what you're up to.

So it is with the Mini App, and it's a pretty nifty tool. Logging in requires only a visit to the App Store, connecting to Bluetooth and entering a password and username of your own choosing. After that, your phone is transformed into a command centre for the car, telling you the mileage travelled, fuel level and how many miles you have before you'll need to fill up.

There are plenty of other features, too, including the ability to log into Twitter and Facebook via the car, and listen to internet radio. Lots of fun to be had, it seems, and more updates will follow.

By Emma Butcher - Emma.Butcher@whatcar.com

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Our cars: Mini Paceman Cooper S - December

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