The diesel Mini Cooper proves that it’s possible to minimise your transport impact on the planet, and have a lot of fun doing so.
According to Government figures, the Cooper will sip fuel like tea that’s still a bit too hot, and even our True MPG figures prove that it doesn’t have a particularly strong taste for the stuff. It’s reasonably priced at £16,180, which our Target Price team reckons you can knock around £800 off, and it’ll still be worth 53% of its new value three years down the line. That’s the hard-headed bit taken care of.
With a Mini, the fun begins even before your press the button to open it. For a start, just look at it; it’s impossible to remain untouched by the cheeky looks. The 1950s style continues inside, where there’s a comically large central speedometer, below which are a range of switches and dials that are a lot better to look at than they are to use.
Fire it up and the 110bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine chuckles away to itself, then revs quickly and smoothly up through the six-speed gearbox. Acceleration is more brisk than quick, but Minis have always been more about corners that straights anyway. The Mini steers quickly (almost too quickly sometimes), grips hard and always brings a smile. The ride quality is always on the sporty side of comfortable, but then that’s what fun cars are all about. That said, the Cooper is also a decent motorway machine.
There are compromises to be made when you own a Mini. Basically, the back seats are what you might call ‘intimate’, and the boot isn’t really that much bigger than the glovebox. Nonetheless, as long as you go into Mini ownership with your eyes open, there’s no more fun way to go green.