The lazy charge that all new cars are the same these days could never be levelled at the current Mini hatchback under the spotlight here or, indeed, any Mini before it. Despite being bigger, safer and better equipped than ever before, it retains its forebears’ cheeky charm.
There's a warmish Cooper with a 1.5 petrol or diesel, and the properly warm Cooper S with an unfeasibly large 2.0-litre petrol or diesel. The range-topping John Cooper Works (three-door only) got a more powerful version of the 2.0-litre petrol.
A used Cooper isn’t much more expensive than a One, and the better buy, but a Cooper S is a lot more fun and good value. Meanwhile, the John Cooper Works is not quite as on point as its high price would have you think. There are cheaper and more rounded but no less incisive rivals out there. High-mileage One Ds dominate the cheaper end of the classifieds. They’re economical but, if you’re a townie, the petrols are the way to go.
The biggest adventure most buyers of a new Mini ever had is navigating their way through the options list. Low on food and water, most wave the white flag and shout for the Chili pack. In 2016, this gained LED headlights, while two more, called Tech Pack (it has a head-up display) and Yours Pack (styling tweaks), joined the range. These and the other option packs can add visual and functional appeal but remember that, like most options, they depreciate faster than the Mini they’re fitted to.
Four years after launch, in 2018 Mini One and Cooper got a shot in the arm thanks to some styling and infotainment updates, chief among them being the adoption of Union flag tail-lights. And then later that year, new styles called Classic, Sport and Exclusive that helped simplify the selection process as well as, more pertinently, streamline the new WLTP testing protocol, came into play.