- Cooper Hatchback Chili Pack
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Arval’s pick of the range:
The iconic hatchback from the legendary British brand is now in its third generation of model under BMW ownership, and has now stretched out to include a five-door model on a longer wheelbase, as well as the traditional three-door supermini and a convertible.
The phrase “go-kart-like handling” has been overused to the point of parody, but it’s the most accurate way of summing up what is considered the best-handling supermini on the market. What’s more, this is true for the entire MINI range. The latest model manages to now combine that great handling with more refinement and better ride quality over bumps and potholes.
Alongside the fine handling, there’s also superb steering response, which makes the car feel agile in and out of town and never leaves the driver in any doubt about what’s going on at the wheels. Engine refinement is impressive too with the MINI clearly engineered to allow just the right amount of the right kind of noises into the cabin, which boosts the sporty feel – something that’s particularly the case in the John Cooper Works versions.
The MINI is available in four trim levels; One, Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works.
Cooper (in addition to One)
Cooper S (in addition to Cooper)
JCW (in addition to Cooper S)
The entire MINI range is appealing but if there’s a fleet sweet-spot then it has to be the five-door MINI Cooper hatch powered by the 136hp 1.5-litre petrol engine, and with the optional Chili pack.
The reasons for choosing this specific car are obvious. The five-door derivative is more practical than the three-door and the car loses nothing for the extra space. The 1.5-litre engine suits the sporty nature of the MINI without being too onerous on tax or fuel, while the Cooper trim level adds a good level of standard kit. Adding the Chilli Pack means you get a raft of extra kit, which will help residual values, such as 17” alloys, LED headlights, multi-function steering wheel, MINI excitement pack, as well as automatic headlights and wipers.
The five-door is 161mm longer than the three-door in a rare move to give the two versions a different wheelbase. That means the MINI becomes a car with very useable interior space. It also gets a third rear seat, something not available with the three-door.
The boot on the three-door is 211 litres, while the five-door version stands at 278 litres.
Up front, the dashboard is a great feat of design, with great toggle switches and a central round display for the infotainment system.
The MINI is a superb hatchback that brings delight to anyone who has even the slightest interest in driving. The go-kart reputation is well deserved and, for fleets, a strong residual value make it an ideal choice.