MINI Clubman: Under the bonnet

How does the engine measure up?

Now the MINI's clocked-up 7000 miles, I've had a chance to really get to know the 118bhp 1.6-litre engine.

The Cooper model may not be the quickest in the MINI range (that's the Cooper S), nor is it the most economical (that's the Cooper D), but it must be one of the best warm hatches on the market.

There's 118bhp on offer, which isn't a lot for a warm hatch these days, but the way the Clubman Cooper delivers this power more than makes up for it - it's actually very impressive. It's quick off the line and has great acceleration through the mid-range: perfect for overtaking slow-moving tractors, vans and lorries and ideal on my rural backroad route into work. Combined with outstanding roadholding and a snappy gearchange, it's also great fun when you need it to be.

It feels so much faster than many other hatches - even with those fitted with the same engine, such as the Peugeot 207 and Citroen C4. All three share the same engine as MINI's parent company BMW and Peugeot Citroen worked together to develop it. Yet it seems that it's in the MINI where it performs best. In Clubman form, combined with MINI's EfficientDynamics programme, it's quicker, cleaner and has better mpg than any of the French cars (see table opposite).

Current mileage: 7200

Average mpg: 39.2