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TO help me get over the departure of my previous MINI long-termer, the Clubman Cooper D, I was grateful when MINI UK offered me a MINI Cooper 1.5 five-door petrol replacement.

On top of moving from one business MINI favourite to another, perhaps more interestingly we were faced with the quandary of making the move from big diesel to efficient small petrol power.

Dropped off at the same time the Clubman was picked up, it arrived with less than 1,000 miles! First thoughts revolved around the British Racing Green and black roof colour combination. Personally I’m not a fan of green cars, but with the matching black 17-inch Cosmos Spoke alloy wheels, I had to admit it looked sharp in the autumn sun.

So far those extra rear doors, although tiny, are proving to be just about big enough to get my kids in and out.

In the front, the driving position is just about perfect and on top of this, there are supportive sports seats trimmed in attractive, hard-wearing cloth and leather trim.

Although the Cooper five-door’s interior space is tighter than the Clubman’s, with little room for anyone else back there with bulky children’s seats in place, we’ve still enjoyed a couple of family drives in this car.

I admit it, I was spoilt with extras in the Clubman and it added to the classy, high quality feel. I didn’t get to spec this MINI, but have to admit it is pretty close to perfect. Highlights so far include the optional Media XL sat-nav, the punchy Harmon/Kardon sound system, the John Cooper Works (JCW) steering wheel and the head-up display.

Being more MINI in size, I’d say this Cooper petrol is even more fun to drive than the Clubman. In fact after a month behind the wheel, the only thing I’m wishing for is the sort of fuel economy I got from the diesel with this MINI five-door’s 1.5-litre, three-cylinder turbo petrol!

A steady flow of test cars has meant we’ve spent just over 1,000 miles together, but so far I’m loving the character of the 1.5-litre, three-cylinder petrol turbo engine that powers this Cooper.

However, after the 400+ miles range of the Clubman Cooper D, the gamble isn’t paying off, as I’m really missing the diesel range – after a couple of tankfuls of super unleaded, even with careful driving, I’ve only managed to stretch this MINI to 275 miles!

Hopefully more miles will see me get close to the 52.3mpg official combined figure – I’m certainly looking forward to finding out!

MINI Cooper 1.5 five-door: the figures

P11D: £16,170
Doors and body style Five-door hatch
Engine/gearbox: 1.5-litre 3-cylinder Euro 6 turbo petrol/6-speed manual
CO2 Emissions: 109g/km
Economy (combined): 60.1mpg
Power/torque: 136bhp/220Nm
0-62mph/top speed: 8.2sec/129mph
Company Car Tax at 20% yearly/monthly: £582/£48
Company Car Tax at 40% yearly/monthly: £1,164/£97
Insurance group: 18


MINI Cooper 1.5 five-door

Smart interior for the MINI Cooper five-door






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