Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 4.2

2021 MINI

Should you buy one?

Yes, if you're not bothered about space and practicality – and instead predominantly value fun, handling, a premium badge and good experiences with dealers. The MINI Hatch also oozes character, benefits from an instantly recognisable look and shape, and is great fun to drive. These traits, coupled with its tech-heavy, high-quality interior and wide range of excellent engines, really bolster its appeal.

The looks of the latest model won't suit all tastes, however, due to some over-the-top details and fussy bumpers on Cooper S models. The ride can also be quite firm if you've opted for big alloy wheels, so we'd advise sticking with standard wheels on whichever model you prefer, just to keep things as comfortable as possible. We'd also recommend keeping calm when specifying options packs. While they include a lot of desirable kit, they can also ramp up the cost of the car significantly.

Most buyers will find that the 1.5-litre Cooper fulfils most of their daily requirements, as it's frugal and punchy. If you’re a company car driver, a Cooper will provide the best blend of performance and economy, with manageable monthly costs for BIK. If you’re a hot hatch fan, the regular Cooper S is great fun to drive but – if you want the fastest MINI going – the JCW turns things up a notch, with 231hp and a fantastic exhaust note to encourage you even more.

The availability of a five-door model boosts the practicality of the Hatch somewhat, although it’s still a dinky supermini, and an Audi A1 or Volkswagen Polo will prove to be more versatile options. And if it's retro style on a budget that you're after, the Fiat 500 costs a significant amount less than the MINI. It's not as good to drive or as comfortable, that said, and some buyers may find the lack of tech an annoyance.

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Further reading:

> The best small automatic cars
> Mini Clubman review

>> Our Parkers star ratings explained