Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

The retro-chic which has made the modern MINI so popular is slightly toned down. More is made, however, of the iconic interior details, so the centrally-mounted speedo is larger, there are more ‘rocker’ switches, which are similar to the original.

The driving position is upright, which echoes that of the original Mini, but it’s very comfortable – even on longer trips – and there’s plenty of seat and steering wheel adjustment. All round visibility is good, though some of the controls, particularly those for the stereo can be fiddly to use on the move (the stereo isn’t a single 'unit') as the volume controls and channel selection are in separate places.

For the two up front, there's plenty of head and legroom. It's tighter in the back, though a slight improvement over the previous (2001-2006) model. Unless you've got children, it's best to think of the rear seats as purely for occasional use and for short trips. For a small car MINI Cooper S comfort levels are good and for two adults on a long journey it is fine.

A new feature is that you can change the colour of the interior lighting (for instrument readouts and the ambient) from orange to blue (and back) at the flick of a switch: it's yet another way in which you can tailor MINI to your own taste.

With high quality materials and neat design, it's pleasant inside. It's reasonably refined at speed, with only the sound of the engine noticeable. However, it's much quieter than the car it replaces.