This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest MINI Hatchback review.

Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

The MINI uses some of the characteristic features of the original model combined with modern touches. The large central speedo first catches the eye - if you opt for sat nav this is where the map screen sits while the pod rev counter is the only dial in front the of the driver. The driving position is excellent and thanks to reach and rake adjustment in the steering it's easy to get comfortable behind the wheel.

There is also a dashboard slot for the keyfob and a start button next to it adding to the upmarket feel. All the materials used are excellent and build quality is top notch - as you'd expect given the price tag.

The MINI's sporty nature doesn't particularly lend itself to a relaxed ride so it's no surprise that the Cooper S models are quite firm and tend to fidget over bumps and potholes in the road. The First and One, with their smaller wheels, are much more comfortable and the ride is impressive. It's worth remembering that whatever model you buy, opting for larger wheels will have a big affect on comfort levels.

It's a bit of a squeeze for rear-seat passengers, although there is a little more knee room than they would have been used to in the past. Unfortunately air conditioning was an option (or part of an option pack) until January 2009 when MINI finally made it standard on all cars. However, the MINI First, introduced in mid-2009, doesn't come with air conditioning - instead it's a pricey optional extra