New MINI Hatchback UK Market Specifications Announced

What am I looking at?

This is the third generation of the MINI hatchback. BMW-owned but built at a factory in Oxford, they're already available in dealers should the mood take you.

What's new?

It's an entirely new platform, 28mm longer between the axles and 34-42mm wider between the wheels. While the first "new MINI" wasn't exactly mini, this one's even bigger - though it's still marginally smaller than other leading vehicles in the class like the Ford Fiesta.

While the body has been redesigned too, you'd probably be hard-pressed to tell as the car has largely kept the MINI brand looks. On the inside the increased wheelbase means more room for passengers and luggage - up 30% to 211 litres - while the front seats have been lengthened for a bit more comfort.

The large, central display remains but can now be specified to contain an 8.8 inch colour screen which includes vehicle functions, satnav and infotainment.

What powers it?

There's a choice of three petrol engines and two diesels, all of which are turbocharged.

The entry level "One" receives either a 95hp 3 cylinder 1.5 litre diesel or a 102hp 3 cylinder 1.2 litre petrol. Similar options are available for the "Cooper", with the same diesel rated at 116hp or a 136hp 1.5 litre petrol. Top of the tree, as ever, is the "Cooper S", packing 192hp from a 2.0, four cylinder petrol unit. This hurls the Cooper S to 60mph in under seven seconds and on to over 145mph.

When it comes to fuel economy, the Cooper D is the pick of the bunch - rating at 98g/km (76.3mpg combined) for the automatic and 92g/km (80.7mpg combined) in the manual. MINI says this represents nearly a 40% improvement on the old generation, with both models sitting in the zero rate VED band A.

Anything else?

The first MINIs owed some of their popularity to the personalisation options available and MINI hasn't forgotten this. There's five new exterior colours added to the list and the roof and mirror caps can be finished in a contrasting colour, black or white, as a no-cost option. Favourites like the John Cooper Works rear spoiler or myriad decorative trims for the roof remain available.

How much will it cost me?

The new range starts with the MINI One petrol at 13,750 and rises to the Cooper S at 18,650, before any optional extras are specified. If you want an automatic gearbox, it's a 1,270 option (1,500 on the Cooper S, not available on the One D). Diesel cars are just over 1,100 more than the petrol of the same specification, while stepping from One to Cooper will cost you just over 1,500.

The options list is quite large though and it can be easy to run up a much bigger bill. Still, of particular note are the 675 LED headlights - a first for this class of car.

Any alternatives?

If you're shopping in this class and don't even consider the Ford Fiesta, you're doing it wrong.

That said, the MINI has more than just a reputation as a good hatchback to keep - it's a cool one too and this makes its competitors a slightly different crowd. While it's almost certain that it'll be cross-shopped with that other 60s retro darling the FIAT 500, but chic pounds this days are going on the Citron DS3 too.

If it's the Cooper S you're looking at though, the Fiesta ST is a natural predator along with the Renault Clio Renaultsport 200.

In a line...

Unlikely to be anything but amongst the best rated and most successful cars of its type.

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