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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For The Mini is fantastic to drive, with great handling; it also has peerless image and strong residual values.

Against Not very practical; limited rear legroom and a tiny boot; expensive on the used market.

Verdict Effortlessly cool and great fun: the Mini is a great supermini, and very desirable as a used car.

Go for… 1.6 Cooper 3dr

Avoid… 1.6 D Cooper 3dr

Mini One Hatchback
  • 1. Introduction of stop-start technology has improved economy by up to 8mpg on some models.
  • 2. The front passenger has enough head- and legroom, but the rear seats are still too cramped, for older children. The boot, although slightly bigger than the old car's, still isn't much use.
  • 3. There are reports of the six-speed manual gearbox failing and needing to be replaced, along with concerns about the clutch, which has been known to require expensive repairs.
  • 4. The cabin is an evolution of the previous model's styling, and is best described as faux-retro. It certainly looks the part, but the quality of some of the materials used is disappointing.
  • 5. It still handles like a grown-up go-kart, with accurate and well-weighted steering, and good body control in corners.
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Mini One Hatchback full review with expert trade views

A host of subtle tweaks have produced a car that looks just like its predecessor. Luckily this version of Mini has retained all the good points of the old car, while trying to address the shortfalls.

It still handles like a grown-up go-kart, with accurate and well-weighted steering, and good body control in corners. The ride is on the firm side, but it doesn't become uncomfortable. The Mini is refined enough to make motorway miles pleasurable, but there is some wind and road noise.

The front passenger has enough head- and legroom, but the rear seats are still too cramped, for older children. The boot, although slightly bigger than the old car's, still isn't much use.

The cabin is an evolution of the previous model's styling, and is best described as faux-retro. It certainly looks the part, but the quality of some of the materials used is disappointing.

Trade view

If economy is important, there's a 108bhp 1.6-litre diesel available, that's available only in Cooper trim. It's fun to drive and manages much better fuel economy than the petrols.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

The Mini doesn't come well equipped as standard. The One gets a CD player, electric windows and mirrors, and remote central locking, while the Cooper gets alloys and a sportier interior trim. Air-conditioning is an option on both. Salt is an essential option pack on the One, while Pepper is desirable, and Chili packs are worth looking out for on Cooper models. Mini encourages buyers to customise their cars with extras, so some come with loads of options. Don't get carried away and pay too much for extras that someone else has fitted.

Your choice of engine will depend on your need for speed. The 94bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine in the One is perky and likes to be revved hard, but it's the 118bhp 1.6-litre unit in the Cooper that really gets your heart racing. If that's not enough, however, then try the Cooper S with a turbocharged 175bhp 1.6-litre engine. If you really want to move, then it's got to be the John Cooper S Works version with an impressive 208bhp.

There is an automatic gearbox available on all Mini hatchbacks. It's well matched to the car's performance and fairly smooth, but the manual is more satisfying.

If economy is important, there's a 108bhp 1.6-litre diesel available, that's available only in Cooper trim. It's fun to drive and manages much better fuel economy than the petrols.

From August '07 onwards, Minis came with stop-start engine technology, saving fuel, cutting emissions and lowering the cost of ownership.

Trade view

It still handles like a grown-up go-kart, with accurate and well-weighted steering, and good body control in corners.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

Before the introduction of the stop-start system, the 1.4-litre managed an average of 49.6mpg, improving to 53.3mpg after the system was fitted. The 1.6 petrol Cooper went from 48.7mpg to 52.3mpg, and the Cooper S from 40.9mpg to 45.6mpg. The diesel Cooper jumped the most from 64.2mpg to 72.4mpg. Some models also dropped into a lower CO2 band, saving money on road tax.

The TLC service pack option is vital, so hunt down cars that have it. It prepays all scheduled maintenance for five years and 50,000 miles, and is transferable when the car is sold. You can also choose to extend this with TLC XL which adds a further three years and 30,000 miles of cover.

Strong residual values will stop you losing too much in depreciation, but the faster models are pricey to insure.

Trade view

If economy is important, there's a 108bhp 1.6-litre diesel available, that's available only in Cooper trim. It's fun to drive and manages much better fuel economy than the petrols.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

Most teething problems were dealt with under the original three-year warranty, but there are some issues that still crop up.

There are reports of the six-speed manual gearbox failing and needing to be replaced, along with concerns about the clutch, which has been known to require expensive repairs.

The stop-start system has also been known to malfunction and stall the car at junctions – and dealers often struggle to find the fault. The system has also been reported to stop working, leaving an error message on the dashboard, which can be fixed only by a dealer.

The cabin and dashboard have also suffered from rattles and creaks. Some owners have insisted on having new dashboards fitted, but this doesn't always solve the problem. The speakers can also rattle and distort, and in some cases can fail altogether and need replacing.

The windscreen is very susceptible to chips and cracks, so check it carefully.

Trade view

It still handles like a grown-up go-kart, with accurate and well-weighted steering, and good body control in corners.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor
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