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Dashboard, infotainment, sat-nav and passenger space

It was all change for the Mk2 Mini inside, too, and invariably it was for the better. The seats are larger and more comfortable, and they site you low, in a much-improved driving position.

The central speedometer gives the cabin its unique design focus, but our testers found it redundant when faced with the digital speed readout below the revcounter. It also bulges upwards out of the dash, amplifying the feeling that this is one small car that isn’t so small any more. Nevertheless, it still has that bespoke, design-led appeal which trounces other small cars for showroom appeal.

Apart from a slightly suspect piece of plastic trim or two, everything feels very much the ‘premium product’

The Mk2 centre console is attractive and reasonably intuitive once learnt (though the oddly-placed audio controls can be extremely frustraiting) and the majority of plastics give off a suitably premium feel. The doors close with a resounding thunk and the cabin exudes a tightness that suggests it’ll resist the onset of rattles better than the old car. Pity about the oversized standard-fit two-spoke steering wheel and the miserable headlights, which are poor. The bi-xenon headlamps are a must-have option.

Despite the increase in the Mk2 Mini’s exterior dimensions, the rear is only marginally more accommodating than the first generation model – which is to say that it’s barely more than a 2+2. And the boot has only an additional 10 litres over the old car’s, so it’s still desperately small.

Mini Hatch 2006-2013 news

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Mini owners apparently don’t mind this impractical side, which is just as well because compared with the practicality of, say, a Clio, it’s severely lacking.

The mid-life facelift brought with it revised controls for the audio systems and air-con, new colours for seat upholstery and trim elements, and a revised stereo that offers MP3 compatibility and an aux-in connection in every model.