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It may be the entry-level option in the new Mini range, but the latest One feels anything but cheap
Mark Tisshaw
9 September 2014

What is it?

The least expensive way into ownership of BMW’s third-generation Mini three-door hatch.

The Mini One gets a new three-cylinder 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine, which replaces the old 1.6-litre naturally aspirated unit found in the previous-generation Mini hatch.

The engine is essentially a reduced capacity version of the new 1.5-litre turbo triple found in the Cooper hatch, retaining features such as direct injection and stop-start.

What's it like?

The One might be the entry-level Mini, but in its own way it feels just as special as the Cooper and Cooper S models higher up the range.

There’s no skimping on the quality of the materials in the cabin, and you’re not left with myriad gaps and fake buttons on the centre console. The story is the same for the exterior style; it doesn't look like a poverty spec car.

The engine is a belter. It sounds good, has strong in-gear acceleration, and feels quicker off the line than the 0-62mph time of 9.9sec suggests. It’s mated to a sweet six-speed manual gearbox, which is slick shifting and pleasurable to use both in town and when attacking your favourite B-road.

Economy falls short of the claimed 61.4mpg combined; we achieved just above 45mpg on our test route. With our experiences of a Cooper with more miles on the clock, we’d expect 50mpg to be achievable when the engine is properly run in.

All good so far, then, and there’s more good news on the dynamics front. Our test car was not fitted with the optional adaptive dampers the new Minis we’ve tested have typically come specced with, but it still had a nice ride. Firm, but never uncomfortable.

As with other Minis, we’re finding the Michelin Energy Saver tyres to be quite noisy, something we’ve experienced on 16-inch alloys on a Cooper and now 15-inch alloys on this One. 

The handling is also a joy; the front end is very pointy and the car feels light, agile and alive when changing direction, helped by tactile and well-weighted steering.

This was true of the previous generation Mini also, but where this new one scores extra points in its ability to be more civilised in everyday situations. It doesn’t feel as ‘on it’ when you’re popping to the shops, which is welcome and far less tiring than previous Minis.

Should I buy one?

Absolutely. This new Mini is proving to be a fine car in any flavour you choose, and this One feels more akin to a Cooper Light rather than a way to merely buy into the badge and the brand.

Mini One

Price £13,750; 0-62mph 9.9sec; Top speed 121mph; Economy 61.4mpg (combined); CO2 108g/km; Kerb weight 1090kg; Engine 1198cc, in-line three-cylinder, turbo; Power 101bhp at 4250rpm; Torque 133lb ft at 1400rpm; Gearbox 6-speed manual

A34

9 September 2014
Seemed some of the reviews of the new Cooper S were a little reserved - so its good news that going minimalist on your Mini spec makes the Mini experience more worthwhile. Strange to see a 1.2 engine after all the talk on 1.5 / 500cc cylinders - I would have thought a detuned 1.5turbo would be easier on the supply chain...

9 September 2014
Lipstick on a pig joke of a car.
Saw one parked beside an old Austin Maxi and it was the same size.

The engineering is superb, its the size and design that is wrong - oh for a 1.0 litre mini the size of the new Renault Twingo.

9 September 2014
Another reason not to buy the diesel version

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

9 September 2014
I like that. Is it not a little heavy for a 3-door car? Good to hear positive about handling and quality of materials.

9 September 2014
Hmm, nah, the relatively small £1550 saving isn't enough to make me choose this version over the Cooper. The One model doesn't actually include alloy wheels as standard, which are at least £300 to spec, which along with other stuff you'd want to add on, would narrow the savings even further to the point where you may as well get the Cooper instead.

10 September 2014
AHYL88 wrote:

Hmm, nah, the relatively small £1550 saving isn't enough to make me choose this version over the Cooper. The One model doesn't actually include alloy wheels as standard, which are at least £300 to spec, which along with other stuff you'd want to add on, would narrow the savings even further to the point where you may as well get the Cooper instead.

Or part leather sports seats..

9 September 2014
I knew there be a reference to the barge of car the mini has turned into, but maxi come on!!!! I agree it's probably wider (handling and safety understandable) but I can't imagine the modern mini is longer. And the sheer ugliness I think the maxi holds the crown still. Plus add the beige paint colour and you got one hell of an uglllllllllllllllllllllllllllly car.

10 September 2014
How can BMW have the cheek to call this lump a Mini. The original was far better. This monstrosity is an abomination

 

 
 
 

10 September 2014
Just as well really for it is indeed anything but cheap. However the example parked outside my house recently had cheap looking alloys which seem to go with the brand nowadays and would shame a motor accessories shop!

10 September 2014
It's a small car competing against other super'minis' so I have no problem with it being called MINI. I don't see why people get so hung up on the name. I love the retro designs at the moment like the new Beetle and Fiat 500 and feel the current 'carscape' would be a lot duller without them. So what if they are bigger and safer than their predecessors!

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