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Car trim reviews

MINI One

The MINI One captures the spirit of Sir Alec Issigonis’s 1959 original, even though it’s a lot bigger and heavier to meet modern safety demands.

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The current MINI does a remarkably good job of retaining the style and character of the old car that was a fashion icon in the Sixties. MINI claims the current model has the go-kart feel of the original. That’s not strictly true, since it is much bigger and heavier. But within those restrictions it is huge fun, with direct handling and responsive steering. The MINI One is available with 102bhp 1.2-litre TwinPower petrol and 95bhp 1.2-litre TwinPower turbo diesel engines. Both engine variants are available with engine stop-start in an effort to reduce emissions and save fuel.

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The hardest part about buying a MINI One is deciding how to spec it. MINI is all about personalisation, and there are literally thousands of permutations of colour, trim, wheels and option packs. Standard safety features are comprehensive, and you also get air conditioning, a DAB digital radio and electric windows and mirrors.

Good points

MINI must be doing something right. It is one of the most desirable brands on the market, which keeps resale values high. The fashionable retro look – inside and outside – helps.But much of the car’s popularity is down to the way it drives. With sharp cornering, direct steering and two lively yet economical engines, it feels more sprightly than almost any other small car.The retro-inspired interior, with its dinner plate-sized central instruments and toggle switches for minor functions, won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but there’s no denying it is interesting and characterful.The huge range of personalisation allows you to spec the car just how you want it, too.

Bad points

The personalisation process means discounts are hard to come by, since nearly every MINI is built to individual order. And you’ll need to add a fair few options to bring the car up to an ideal spec, so the final price can quickly creep up.A MINI is far from the most practical small car. Rear seat space is either tight or virtually non-existent, depending on the height of the people in front, and the boot is small. The 1959 MINI, although much smaller overall, offered more room for rear passengers. The instruments and switchgear are not easy to read and use, either.

What you get

  • Alloy wheels
  • Alarm
  • Tyre pressure sensors
  • Passenger & Driver airbag
  • Front side airbags
  • Curtain airbags
  • Manual air conditioning
  • Height adjustable driver's seat
  • DAB Radio
  • Stop/Start
  • Bluetooth

Recommended optional extras

  • Alloy wheels
  • Bluetooth
  • TLC servicing package

Our choice

There’s a baffling range of trim and equipment packages, but only two engines – 1.2-litre petrol and diesel units. We’d go for the diesel option super low running costs.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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