IF THE ORIGINAL Mini One D had a flaw when it slipped into the market early in 2003, it was its leisurely performance. The car wasn’t actually slow, and in any case it was extremely frugal: the engine delivered average fuel consumption close to 60mpg, with a touring range well over 500 miles. Nevertheless, its slightly stolid character didn’t compare too well with the built-in zing and zip of other Mini models. Now, the Toyota-sourced 1.4 litre diesel (from the Yaris) has been spruced up to offer around 20 per cent more power – 88bhp at 4000 rpm – with no reduction in fuel economy. Torque increases to 140 lb ft at 2000rpm, and the engine drives, as before, through the Mini Cooper S’s six-speed gearbox. The performance difference isn’t instantly noticeable: the Mini One D has a firm accelerator pedal and you need to give it a decent prod for serious action. Do so, however, and it’s now nearly two seconds faster on a 0-62mph sprint (11.9sec) while the top speed creeps up a little, to 109mph. The best thing about this car, however, remains the refinement and excellent integration of the quiet, smooth engine. That and the fuel consumption. Petrol-powered Minis aren’t noted for economy, but the One D is a terrific performer. The price, which moves up an excessive 4.8 per cent to £12,225, will be a hurdle to the many who regard small-capacity diesels as economy cars, but high prices haven’t done much to deter the enthusiasm of buyers up to now, and they probably won’t in this case. So it’s an appealing car, for sure, but you couldn’t call it great value for money. Steve Cropley

Driven this week