MINI One and Cooper

- Used Car Review

MINI One D, side
MINI One D, rear
MINI Cooper SD, front, action
MINI Cooper SD, side
MINI Cooper SD, interior
MINI Cooper S Clubman, dashboard

The BMW MINI has been a huge success ever since it was launched and demand is such that even some years down the line, prices are still very high.

So they are not cheap - but that's because they are great to look at, comfortable to ride in, fun to drive and stylish to be seen in.

The cheapest MINI One is only a little slower than the MINI Cooper, lively and responsive, with the same excellent build quality and quirky yet functional interior based on the original Austin Mini from the 1960s.

They all look great and the looks are carried through to the driving. The excellent chassis gives superb agility and the positive and direct power steering has loads of excellent feedback.

There are manuals and autos available and the manuals have a light clutch and a delightfully easy, slick gearchange.

The brakes are superb, and the roadholding, with a huge amount of grip up to phenomenal cornering speeds and a marvellously safe feel, is top notch.

In the One and Cooper ranges, the ride in the hatch and the Clubman estate is also good, and well up to every kind of surface and the inevitable speed humps!!

However, move up to the Cooper S or some of the other models and while the performance might be stronger, the ride quality suffers, with stiffer springs and a lower stance.

Reliability is excellent so you will rarely have any problems - and of course, the MINI is now one of the few cars still built in this country, so by buying one, you will be supporting home industries.

Until 2013, the One had a 96bhp petrol engine capable of 0-60 miles an hour in 10.2 seconds and 52 miles per gallon.

And there was also a diesel 1.6 with 90bhp capable of 0-60 in 11 seconds and 74mpg.

The Cooper has 1.6 or 2.0-litre diesels with about 110bhp that will do 74mpg, and a 1.6 petrol with 120bhp that can manage 52.

All the Coopers have very good acceleration and higher top speeds, with the base hatch managing 0-60 in a very good 8.8 seconds.

Inside, everything is sophisticated and special, with great seats, an excellent driving position and well placed controls.

There is a 50/50 split folding back seat, and a proper hatchback, but the hatches are two or three seaters, because with front seat back for a six foot driver, there is virtually no rear legroom.

Equipment in the One includes an alarm, traction control, remote locking, electric windows and mirrors, aircon, CD stereo, good seat and column adjustment and a service indicator.

But it doesn't come with alloy wheels, cruise or audio remote controls, which most other superminis have.

That said, almost every car available secondhand will have been fitted with extras from the vast MINI options list.

There is also a mind numbing variety of special editions with varying specs and all I can say is, make sure the one you buy has everything you want!

Pay about £9,300 for a '14 63-reg Cooper, or £6,400 for a '12 12-reg One.


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