MINI One | Auto Express

7 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on MINI One | Auto Express
Mini One

Three months into our tenure of the MINI One and things are going great guns. In fact, the feisty three-door is well on the way to impressing the entire Auto Express staff – despite the optimistically named velvet red colour scheme, which looks more like chocolate brown to us.

Lack of rear cabin space means even child seats are a tight fit, noisy power-steering

Three months into our tenure of the MINI One and things are going great guns. In fact, the feisty three-door is well on the way to impressing the entire Auto Express staff – despite the optimistically named velvet red colour scheme, which looks more like chocolate brown to us.

However, there will always be dissenters in the ranks and in this instance I’m afraid to say I’m one of them. Don’t get me wrong, I love nearly every aspect of the car – I’d been looking forward to getting behind the wheel since I first saw the new MINI two years ago. And I wasn’t alone.

For the first time in years, my wife showed an interest in a test vehicle. My three-year-old son also seemed impressed as he spotted the shiny knobs to twiddle. Sadly, he’s also the reason I’m having trouble with the MINI.

Our road test team has long criticised the car’s small rear cabin, and I realised why when I had to transport my family for a weekend away. My son George loves the MINI, but slotted in a child seat behind my six-foot frame he spent most of the time with his legs akimbo either side of my chair. Even swapping him to the other side didn’t solve the problem completely, because we still had to find space for a pushchair.

Our buggy would not fit inside the boot, so we ended up jamming it in the footwell between the front and rear seats.

Mini One

In fact, it’s just as well it wouldn’t go in the load bay – that would have meant removing the four-piece fitted luggage set we specified for our car. OK, it was expensive at £365, but it maximises what little boot space the MINI has. And besides, the space problem will only affect those with young children. Whenever I’m on my own in the car, I have a whale of a time.

I fit neatly in the cabin, thanks to a height-adjustable seat and steering wheel, and love the view ahead through the panoramic windscreen. I’m surprised how comfortable and supportive the driver’s chair is, even on long journeys, and never tire of flicking the toggle switches on the centre console.

The One reminds me of an original Mini – I find myself leaving it in third gear because it sounds just right. Performance is relatively modest, but around town no supercar is faster. You don’t even miss the extra power of the Cooper or Cooper S. And people still turn and look – the MINI shows no sign of losing its street cred.

After 7,000 miles, there’s no hint of anything going wrong and we’d expect no less of a car developed by BMW. In fact, a light has just popped on to remind me that a service is due in 900 miles. As with many hi-tech modern cars, the MINI does not have set service intervals, but ‘decides’ for itself when it’s time to visit a dealership.

When the car goes in, we will also have the noisy electric power-steering system checked out. All new MINIs whine when you turn the wheel, but ours seems unusually loud.

From my experience, the MINI is impractical as a family’s only car. However, despite the limitations caused by its dimensions, the One makes a superb second vehicle. But what am I saying?

I like this motor so much that George simply might have to put up with life in the back.

Mini One
Mini One
Mini One
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