The Mini Paceman gives you a slightly elevated driving position, yet it resists body roll well and is far from uncomfortable. Residuals should be strong and you get a decent amount of equipment.
It’s neither as good to drive, nor as classy, as the best coupe and hatchback rivals. Also, it costs more than an equivalent Countryman despite its lower door count.
On the road
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Four engines are offered: 121bhp Cooper and 181bhp Cooper S petrols, and 110bhp Cooper D and 141bhp Cooper SD diesels. The S petrol and diesels are available with front- and four-wheel-drive, whereas the entry-level petrol is front-wheel drive only. So far we’ve driven only the front-wheel drive Cooper S, which feels a bit flat below 1500rpm, but delivers brisk acceleration beyond that.
Ride & Handling
The Paceman becomes a bit fidgety over pockmarked roads, but it doesn’t crash and thump over bumps in the way the Mini Countryman tends to. This is surprising given the Paceman’s supposedly firmer set-up, although we were driving the car in Spain and on the smallest wheels available; it remains to be seen how it will cope with the UK’s more challenging surfaces and lower-profile tyres. The light steering doesn’t offer much feedback, but body roll is well controlled.
There’s some irritating engine resonance in the cabin at motorway cruising speeds and wind noise is prominent, while road noise intrudes over coarse surfaces. The manual gearshift is a bit notchy, and it’s too easy to select reverse instead of first gear.