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Like many of the staff I get a company car. The firm picked the mini because of it's reliability, cheap insurance (we bought it through monthly payment site
buymonthlycarinsurance.co.uk to help keep our cash flow healthy; they had the lowest premiums and interest rates), low running costs and all round economy. This helps us to save money and keep our prices low!
I received the 1.5 3 door hatchback as my company car and, to be honest, it wasn't my initial choice; however, after spending a year with it I now love the car! Obviously, choosing to drive a Mini is without doubt a style statement, and I appreciate that it's not for everyone. The design is very clever, though, and there's a great sense of character about the car - I especially like the dashboard layout.
On the road, the Mini feels very positive and the handling in particular is outstanding, which is of course unsurprising as the car was designed and developed under BMW's watchful eye (although as I recall the original Mini was quite good fun to drive too!). The 1.5 engine is a gem - there's plenty of pace on offer, but the engine always remains smooth and refined too. It'll also return over 40mpg, even if you drive it hard. The only slight disappointment is that the gearchange could be a shade slicker when driven quickly.
It's fair to say that the Mini, in 3 door format at least, is not the ideal choice for drivers who regularly cover longer distances. The seats are a little uncomfortable after extended periods of driving, and the hard suspension can also become jarring after a few hours at the wheel. Practicality isn't a strong point; the roofline can obscure taller drivers' vision (especially when trying to see suspended traffic lights) and the door openings are small and oddly shaped, which can make entering and exiting the car an awkward process for taller passengers. The back seats are unlikely to win favour with adults or older children either, except for short journeys around town. I also find that the upright windscreen tends to collect more dead bugs than other vehicles I've owned. Of course, there are other options available in the Mini range that offer accommodation better suited to families; for example the Clubman estate and Countryman SUV models.
Equipment is fairly generous; mine came with a range of features including Adaptive Modes (you can choose between Eco/Norm and Sport), which really change the character of the car depending on what mood you're in! There's also an auto parallel parking feature, although I have never actually used this as the Mini's compact dimensions make it very easy to park unassisted. The stereo also offers Bluetooth connectivity, so that you can stream music from your phone or tablet without fiddling with messy wires.
Lastly, there have been a few small niggles reliability wise, but service from the dealership has been very good - it's certainly not been bad enough to put me off the car!