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MINI Cooper SD vs rivals

With the new Cooper SD, MINI hopes to blend its brand of performance and fun with low running costs. We see if it can beat SEAT and Nissan rivals...

MINI Cooper SD vs rivals
Hot diesels are few and far between in the supermini sector – but MINI aims to remedy that with the new Cooper SD. It mixes the performance of the brand’s sporty models with fuel-sipping thirst. 
The car isn’t cheap, at £18,750, but with 141bhp and CO2 emissions of only 114g/km, it promises to redefine the sporty diesel sector. To see if it delivers, we’ve lined up a pair of tough rivals. First to take the MINI on is the SEAT Ibiza FR TDI – our favourite diesel model in the go-faster supermini segment.
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The Spanish flier is cheaper and comes better equipped than the Cooper SD, and should provide a stern test of its racy credentials. The second model in this double-twin test encounter is a very different proposition.
If you want fashionable looks and diesel economy, the Nissan Juke will be on your radar. The firm doesn’t offer a genuinely hot diesel version of the crossover, yet in flagship Tekna trim, its head-turning looks, vast kit count and economy will appeal to buyers who want to make a statement without destroying their bank balance. Is it enough?

Verdict

The MINI brand knows no bounds – but the new Cooper SD is just what the company should be doing. Not only is it small, highly desirable and very economical, this model has the retro appeal we’ve come to expect. Whether you’re in the market for a head-turning runaround or a diesel hot hatch, it ticks all the boxes. 
When lined up against the Ibiza FR, the new MINI was the winner, providing superior pace and lower running costs. 
The SEAT is a modern alternative to the retro-styled Brit, but cannot match the engaging dynamics and iconic image.
The supreme economy and hefty performance advantage helped the SD see off the Juke, too. Although the Nissan is more practical, buyers in need of extra space should bear in mind that 
a Cooper SD version of the more versatile Clubman is also offered. 
Whichever way you cut it, the go-faster diesel is one of the most convincing models in the MINI range. Few cars at any price provide so much performance and economy in such a desirable package.
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