2014 Mini hatchback review – What Car?


If you like the look look of the first
generation BMW MINI then you probably quite like the look at the second version as
well on the face things not a huge amount has
changed for the third generation but there are significant changes even if you can see them from out here Now although there are some really
fundamental changes to this car the most important thing remains completely unaltered and it is a really enjoyable car to drive the steering is very sharp to respond, there’s
loads of grip around corners and you can chuck it around with confidence and have a lot of fun doing so. And if you go for the two litre petrol version in the Cooper S
then it is a proper little hot-hatch – you get from 0-60 in under seven seconds and it sounds
fantastic too. The more sensible versions like this
three-cylinder 1.5 litre petrol are still fun to drive as is the diesel. More
importantly, thought, they are quiet as well. Three-cylinder engines
can be really thrummy and send a lot of vibration and noise into the cabin but that’s
really not the case here for either of those two engines. There is just one niggle with how the MINI
drives and that is the ride. It is a solvable problem though, if you go for smaller wheels or the optional adaptive suspension
then is much smoother and is much much better that MINIs of old. That sporty feeling continues in any even when you are sat still, because these seats are very comfy and supportive. There’s also a lot adjustment on them, even if it is a little bit fiddly in
some ways to do it and the dials on the steering wheel go up and down when you move it around so you should be able to see
them regardless of how tall or short you are. One quirk, though, is this armrest. It gets in the way pretty much no matter what size you are
so most people will spend most of the time with it folded
away. MINI is trying to keep the style of the classic Mini alive in its
modern cars hence this great big retro-looking dash. At first glance it
does look a little bit all over the place but, as
much as anything, that is to do with the loads of different types of materials on
display. All the really important controls are very easy to find, like these big chunky dials down here. All these materials do feel pretty good
though and MINI does justify its hard-earned
premium reputation in here. One absolutely brilliant thing about the MINI, though, is this infotainment system. It is about as good
as it gets on a car this size. The problem is you don’t get all this as standard. You get a much more basic orange-lit version on the entry-level
cars, and then there’s a six and a half inch color screen the next step up and
then at the top of the range you get this
eight-point 8 inch color version this comes with all the bells, whistles, lights when you play around with
the heating system sat-nav – even a 20gb hard drive to
store loads of your music. It is absolutely fantastic. You can also, as an
option, spec this iDrive style controller down here, which
means you can do everything without taking your eyes off the road. The only other issue with the front part of the MINI’s cabin is the view over your shoulder – that rear chunky styling means it is quite tricky to see out. Although drivers and front-seat
passengers should be able to get comfy in the MINI, that is not exactly the case if you end up in the back. Getting in is not something you can do very gracefully. Once you are back here – now there is a little bit more room than in previous
generations of the MINI and there is enough headroom and legroom but that’s about it. If you’re fully grown
adult then short journeys are all you’re really gonna want to do back here. The boot is slightly small when you
compare it to similarly sized cars like the Audi A1 and Citroen DS3, but is a nice even shape either side and it does have
a couple of tricks up its sleeve. You get this adjustable boot floor which
folds up to reveal a good amount of under-floor storage
and then it can be hauled up so that you get a nice flat
entry lip and, when you drop the seats, gives you a totally flat loading bay. The MINI hatchback is a desirable car
and MINI knows this and this means two
things. First of all it means it is quite expensive to buy in the first place and secondly it means you are going to struggle to get much in the way of a discount when it comes to haggling with your dealer. However, that does not mean that it
is an expensive car to run. It’s very competitive when it comes to CO2 emissions, which means is very affordable when it comes to all the
related taxes so it’s quite cheap to run as both a private car and as a company
car. Fuel economy does look good on paper, but the petrol versions haven’t done that well when it comes to our True MPG tests. Also, because it’s such a desirable car,
people are going to be willing to pay a little bit more for secondhand versions
so it’s going to be worth a bit more when you come to sell it. This also means
that lease rates will be a little bit cheaper. MINI has
made its engine and trim range really simple or really complicated depending on which
way you look at it. Every trim comes with its own engine, so the higher up the range you go the more performance you get. So most important thing to consider,
actually, is the option packs. We would recommend taking a look at the
Pepper pack – that brings a few crucial things climate control, auto lights and wipers,
variable boot floor and those funky little lights on the
dashboard. The Chili pack also looks tempting and
adds a load of visual tricks etc and sports seats
but it is quite expensive so adds a fair amount to that already hefty
price tag. So the MINI hasn’t changed huge amounts
visually over the years, but there is more than enough about it to make it a fantastic all-rounder. It is
superb to drive and that interior is really interesting
without being too much of a nightmare to live with or sit in. Yes there are more practical and cheaper
alternatives out there but that high list price doesn’t tell the whole story and it does a lot to justify your investment.
For more information search for MINI on whatcar.com, but while you’re here do
click subscribe and stay up to date with all the latest video road tests.

About the Author: Michael Flood

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