Grin-a-minute driving experience guaranteed
Retro styling is all well and good but there are too many fiddly buttons as well
Six airbags and ISOFIX child seat points as standard; stability control costs extra
Mini has a reasonable reputation and the car was rated average for reliability in the 2012 JD Power survey
Great up front but leave the back seats for kids or agile passengers
Standard kit is basic so we'd add the Pepper pack for alloys, foglights and Bluetooth
Both the petrol and diesel engine are eager to play, but the diesel's extra pulling power gives it the edge because it feels more powerful from the first touch of your foot to the throttle. A manual gearbox comes as standard and it makes changes smoothly but it's easy to confuse first and reverse. An auto gearbox is an option with the petrol engine. Often compared with a go-kart, the One is a hoot to drive and feels stable and secure at the same time. The ride is firm enough to feel sporty without being uncomfortable.
Style displaces substance here - the huge dials are easy to read but there are plenty of fiddly buttons and the retro toggle switches aren't the easiest to use. Plenty of adjustment and lots of space make life comfortable for those up front.
Rear passenger access is easiest for yoga buffs and contortionists who can squeeze through the narrow door opening. No-one will ask you to help them move house: the boot is tiny, although the rear seat back does split and fold down. From the pick'n'mix options we'd go for a Pepper pack which adds useful features to the standard electric front windows, air-con and CD player.
ISOFIX child seat fittings and front, side and curtain airbags are standard. Stability control costs extra across the range.
Mini has an average record for reliability and while owners love their cars, dealer service isn't always so impressive.
Even though it's not the cheapest supermini on offer, the Mini One's resale values make it look like a very sensible investment. Pick the diesel version and running costs will be impressive, too, with CO2 emissions below the 100g/km mark (no road tax to pay) and claimed fuel consumption of nearly 75mpg. Do get Mini's TLC servicing package which covers all routine maintenance with one reasonable payment.