It has been a while eh? So lets get cracking with my first review!
Please note that I am in no way a journalist, in fact this is the first time I've ever sat and thought about a review for a car before, there may be more to come and there may not.
This is a car I am very fond of, ever since I was a child I have had an affinity towards the mini marque that I can trace back to watching the Ministox at Cowdenbeath Racewall on saturday nights with my father. From then on I have loved them both old and new models, and to this day I smile a little when I pass an older model.
That all being said this review is not of the classic/old shaped Mini, but rather the new BMW produced model, The car in question is the 2006 Mini cooper D, which is as it's name would suggest the diesel offering of the car. Lets get the ball rolling with some specification, shall we?
Power plant: 1.6L DV6 diesel I4
This poky little diesel is surprisingly spritely given the reputation diesels have for being slow and cumbersome, yes it does not rev as quickly as a petrol equivalent, but it makes up for this with a sheer willingness to just pull. From around 1500 revs the torque comes on strong and pulls right through to 4000 with all of its 240 Nm might. The peak power of the car is around 110 mph, which is put to the road via a set of 175/65R15 run flat tyres. The carrying capacity is 156L (pretty damn good for a small car I think) or 5.6 cubic feet. In fact the most surprising thing about this little car i just how much room there actually is inside, its like the bloody Tardis.
I'm not going to discuss weight and wheel base because for the average driver like you and me the things are pretty irrelevant.
Now to actually driving the car! This car is a delight to drive, everything feels in touch, the steering is sharp, the throttle is responsive, at least as responsive as the average road going diesel can be, and the brakes are strong which can catch you off guard, but it is better to be over than under braked isn't it? The gear selection is very good, with a very positive "click" into place, all aided buy a very slick and easy on the knee clutch. The car is very comfortable to drive, the seating position has a very good degree of flexibility in hight as well as how far back and the angle of the back of the seat, the base of the seat has no bolsters so if you have come from a car with highly bolstered seats you may feel a little unsupported, but the comfort of a wide seat makes up for this nicely. The seat backs however have bolsters, not particularly big ones but they offer a good deal of support for all but the most enthusiastic driving. What is For day to day running about with the odd corner taken that little bit too quickly they are ideal. Don't even get me started on parking this little beauty, the tiny turning circle makes makes parallel and reverse parking so stupendously easy.
The size and location of the speedometer is quite handy, but it is secondary to the numeric read out of the speed on the rev counter.
The steering wheel is a fairly plain affair with good ergonomics and the standard rake adjustment that we have come to expect in every car on the road, there are no other functionality bonuses to the wheel other than it allows you to point the car where you want to go.
A note about the seating though, many drivers, myself included like to rest their arm on the window sill or door card while driving for long periods of time like on motor ways for example, I personally found that with the seat down as low as it goes (where I can comfortably drive the car in regards to vision, leg stretch and foot angle) that I was to low to comfortably rest my arm on the window and to high to rest in on the door handle/door card.
All buttons and switches needed to operate lights, windows and locks are all situated in the centre console (apart from headlights, window wipers and indicators) and there are switches for interior lighting for the driver, passenger and rear interior lights and mood lighting are on the ceiling.
A feature of the car I particularly enjoy is the sound system, which is the standard offering, or to be more precise the ability to connect a phone or ipod via 3.5mm jack, (the white cable seen above) its a great feature in my opinion, and saves you from the monotony of the narrow scope of music played by British radio stations .
Over all this is a very nice car to drive if you take it for what it is, it is a nice day to day car that is pretty damn cheap to run, that while not a flame spitting high powered sports car is still fun to drive. If I had the money to run a high powered weekend warrior and a cheap daily, then this would be the cheap daily.