FULLER ON THE MINI
I was surprised at the spaciousness of the cabin, and felt an immediate sense of excitement at the interior — bucket seats, retro-styled gauges, aircraft-like control switches, two-panel sunroof — it looked like this car had it all.
The engine has the hollow burbling noise familiar with diesel engines, but with the doors closed and windows up, you’d have no idea it wasn’t a petrol motor, until you use the accelerator.
The distinct difference is the torque this little beast has to offer compared with a similar-sized petrol powerplant. It’s definitely not lacking.
The clutch and gearbox feel solid and are both easy to adapt to and very smooth. Gear ratios probably couldn’t be much closer to perfect either. The steering is firm, and it handles well.
There was an initial abrupt reminder that the engine switches off when stationary after you shift into neutral. Not yet trusting the system, I just touched the clutch pedal and the engine fired back up, and very quickly too.
The Mini also coped well with a peak-hour commuter’s biggest drama