MINI Cooper D 5-door vs Fiat 500L & Audi A1 Sportback
We test the new MINI five-door against two of its key premium hatchback rivals to see how it measures up
The compact family hatchback class is one of the most closely fought and lucrative sectors in the UK car market, so it’s no surprise that the latest addition to the MINI range is a practical five-door version of the cheeky and desirable hatch. Featuring a stretched floorpan and a pair of extra doors, the stylish newcomer aims to steal sales from both premium superminis and bigger mainstream cars.
Yet the newest MINI hasn’t forgotten its roots, and promises to be just as good to drive, as easily customised and as cheap to run as its three-door brother. So has the five-door got what it takes to continue the incredible MINI success story? To find out, for its first test we’ve lined up the slickly styled Audi A1 Sportback and the roomy Fiat 500L.
Which of our three upmarket hatches delivers the best blend of practicality, fashionable kerb appeal, driving fun and low running costs?
Read individual reviews of each car by clicking the links below...
Read on to see which car came out on top in this triple-test...
The Fiat is way ahead of its rivals here in terms of practicality. Its vast 400-litre boot is far bigger than the MINI’s and Audi’s, plus it has handy cubbies, shopping bag hooks and a movable false floor.
The 500L also features a sliding rear bench, which frees up the kind of legroom you usually only expect in an executive car. Plus, the cabin is packed with useful storage, including large door bins and a clever double-decker glovebox.
Premium-badged models typically hold on to their price well, and the Audi is no exception. After three years, our experts predict the A1 will retain 55.1 per cent of its new value. And while they’ve yet to calculate residual values for the MINI, we would anticipate a figure of at least 50 per cent.
Despite its upmarket image and premium price tag, the new MINI should cost peanuts to run. CO2 emissions of 95g/km mean low Benefit in Kind company car tax and free road tax. MINI also offers a great-value, £299, five-year service pack, while we recorded an impressive 55.3mpg on test.
1st place: MINI Cooper D
With the addition of the five-door, MINI has given its hatchback a welcome injection of practicality without diluting the standard car’s fun-loving character. And as with any MINI, it effortlessly mixes an involving driving experience with bags of upmarket appeal and extremely wallet-friendly running costs. The fact that it also undercuts its rivals here is the icing on the cake.
2nd place: Fiat 500L
If you want a spacious family hatchback that’s just a little bit different, the 500L is worth a look. It’s easily the most versatile and spacious car here, plus it comes with just enough standard kit. It feels sluggish in a straight line, is a little sloppy in the corners and is unlikely to win any beauty contests, but this is a small price to pay for the roomy Fiat’s practicality advantage.
3rd place: Audi A1 Sportback
Make no mistake: the A1 is still a hugely desirable supermini. It looks smart, has one of the classiest cabins around and won’t cost the earth to run. But there’s no escaping the fact it’s cramped inside, and the agricultural diesel undermines its premium aspirations. Worse still, the old-fashioned engine isn’t even that efficient. We’d go for the smooth and eager 1.2-litre TSI petrol instead.
MINI Cooper D 5-door vs rivals: key specs
|MINI Cooper D five-door
|Fiat 500L 1.6 Multijet Pop Star
|Audi A1 Sportback 1.6 TDI
|On-the-road price/total as tested
|Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost
|Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel
|50 litres/space saver
|Boot capacity (seats up/down)
|Turning circle/drag coefficient
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery
|Service intervals/UK dealers
|20k miles (2yrs)/160
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.
|Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th
|50-70mph in 5th/6th
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph
|Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph
|Auto Express economy/range
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket
|Automatic box/stability/cruise control
|Climate control/leather/heated seats
|Metallic paint/LED lights/keyless go