MINI Cooper D

Super hatch or family flop? We load up to find out

Practicality has never been at the top of the MINI’s list of attributes. The hatch has long had a reputation for being well built, stylish and great to drive, but it’s also one of the smallest cars in the supermini sector.

So how hard is it to live with? If you never use the back seats and your shopping trips involve no more than a couple of bags, you won’t have an issue. But try doing a weekly family shop at the supermarket, and the limitations become clear.

The boot is easier to access than the Clubman’s, thanks to a more rakish tailgate, so you can lean over without banging your head. Yet at 160 litres, the space is less than half the size of the 207’s.

The seats feature the same one-lever folding action as the Clubman, although there’s no flat floor or useful storage areas. Passengers in the back also have a tough time – knee clearance is poor, your feet wedge in under the front seats and there’s no provision for a third passenger.

Getting our Britax 2-3 Isofit child seats into the back was tricky, although once in, the Isofix points were easier to use than the Peugeot’s.

Up front, the hatch is identical to the Clubman, but there are no such similarities under the bonnet. The diesel Cooper is a faster car in everyday use than the petrol Clubman, and it’s far more frugal, too. It doesn’t have the same sense of enthusiasm as the unleaded model, yet will cost less to run.

The heavy diesel unit fails to upset the MINI’s handling, and at 70mph was only three decibels louder than its rivals, at 73dB. The low-revving 1.6-litre helps to make the MINI a relaxed cruiser, although the firm ride undoes this good work.

It’s not very spacious, but the MINI can still hold its head high as a very desirable hatch.

Details

Price: £14,190Model tested: MINI Cooper DChart position: 3WHY: We’ve brought along a diesel hatch to see how much more versatile the Clubman is.

Economy

Exceptional – that’s the only way to describe the Cooper D’s economy figure. Not only does its 60.0mpg average mean over 500 miles between refills, but also an annual diesel bill of £907. Go for the petrol Clubman, and you’ll pay a hefty £1,214.

Residuals

The arrival of Efficient Dynamics is expected to boost the MINI’s popularity on the second-hand market. The diesel is predicted to hold on to 54.0 per cent of its costs, meaning it will still be worth £7,663 in three years’ time.

Servicing

Owning a diesel MINI will cost you roughly 1.5p per mile less than a petrol model. As with the Clubman, the hatch sits in insurance group eight, yet our quote was lower than for the group six 207. MINI’s £150 tlc servicing pack is great value, too

Tax

As it has low emissions of 104g/km, you would expect the Cooper D to be the cheapest model to tax. Yet the MINI hatch is actually the most expensive company choice, because diesel models still carry a three per cent tax penalty.

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