Price £14,075 - £21,400
- Great fun to drive
- High-quality interior
- Efficient and powerful engines
- Expensive to buy
- Ride is still too firm
- Back seats quite cramped
At a glance
“The MINI hatchback is stylish and fun to drive and should be cheap to run, too. It’s a bit tight on space in the back, though”
The latest MINI hatchback keeps all the great things about the previous model, such as its design, customisation options and fantastic driving experience, and improves the areas that weren’t great. The current model has better fuel economy, better interior quality, more interior space, a more comfortable ride and a bigger boot than before.
Two out of the three diesel models are exempt from road tax, while the high-performance Cooper SD will only cost £20 a year to tax. The least powerful petrol still returns 61mpg and the high-performance John Cooper Works version will return 42.2mpg and develops 228bhp.
Our favourite version – the Cooper – is also the most efficient petrol model, managing 62.8mpg as well as a 0-62mph time of 7.9 seconds. Very few rivals can offer an equivalent balance between performance and efficiency.
There's considerably more space inside, although some rivals offer more room in the back for less money. However, the MINI's premium price tag is partly justified by its significantly improved interior quality. Within the huge centrally mounted speedometer, there now sits an infotainment display that lets you control the stereo and satellite navigation.
MINI has managed to keep one of the essential characteristics of its popular hatchback in the current model: it's still fantastically good fun to drive. It's also more comfortable, although some may find the ride a little harsh and tall passengers will be squeezed in the back.
It's decently equipped, too, with our pick of the range – the Cooper – getting things like Bluetooth phone connectivity, front foglights, keyless go, electric windows and climate control as standard. Be careful with the options list, however, as it's long and can get pretty pricey.
The MINI is also more expensive in the first place than many of its rivals, but that's backed up by its premium image and high-quality interior. Euro NCAP awarded it four out of five stars for crash safety, which is a little disappointing, but reliability should be better, with the current model coming a commendable ninth in our 2015 Driver power customer satisfaction survey.
A range of great small engines means the MINI Hatch is seriously cheap to run. There are great servicing deals, too
As fun as ever to drive, but also comfortable and refined on long journeys. MINI Cooper S offers serious thrills
The MINI's interior has finally come of age: it’s clearly laid-out and feels well built
The MINI Hatch has been improved compared to the car it replaced, but the boot is still too small and the rear seats too cramped
The new MINI Hatch should prove to be more reliable than the old one thanks to huge investment from BMW