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It wasn't so long ago that if you said the words company car and Mini together, people would have raised their eyebrows.
However, the launch of the five-door hatchback in September 2014 changed the game for Mini considerably in the corporate sector, and since then the firm has gone from strength to strength.
One of the best things about choosing a Mini is the drive. Regardless of the engine you choose you're almost always guaranteed plenty of character when out on the road. The agile handling and sporty steering proves good fun in the corners, and the car is eager to accelerate too.
This model, with the firm's 95hp 1.5-litre diesel under the bonnet, may not be the quickest car in the line-up (0-62mph is achieved in 11 seconds), but it is the most efficient with a combined fuel economy of 83.1mpg (although on test we only managed up to 60mpg when driving with a light right foot) and CO2 emissions of 89g/km.
Coupled with a smooth six-speed manual, the Mini hatchback is at home around town. The suspension is pretty firm, though, making for a bumpy ride if you decide to take the 'scenic' route home, and the engine is a little noisy when accelerating too, but once up to speed on the motorway, it quietens down and cruises fine.
It's very easy to get carried away with the options list on a Mini, and the different packs and kit on offer is vast.
In entry-level One trim all cars come equipped as standard with keyless start, front fog lights, satnav, Bluetooth, electric door mirrors, aircon, DAB radio, sports seats, and 15-inch steel wheels - so not the most generous in the segment.
Among the many options on our test car, the Pepper Pack is the most expensive at £1,230 and adds a sport steering wheel, automatic lights and wipers, interior lighting (which we are big fans of), LED fog lights, and a Storage Compartment Pack that adds nets and a 12V socket in the boot.
Fit and finish inside the quirky cabin is very good, and although the infotainment system takes some time getting used to, the rotary dial makes navigating around the different features easy. The screen's resolution is not the best, but the sound system is worth a mention for its crisp quality.
This car comes with just three doors, so there's a limit on practicality, which may be a dealbreaker for some company car drivers, especially if they have a family as the three-door model only seats four. Legroom will be an issue for adults in the rear seats too - however, the good news is that the five-door is just £500 extra, which will get you that all-important fifth space if needed, plus the boot expands from 211 litres up to 278 litres.
Rivals offer significantly more luggage space than the three-door model too, with the DS 3 and Audi A1 managing to store 285 litres and 270 litres, respectively.
Minis have a good reputation when it comes to holding value and this current car is no exception with a 34.0% RV over three years and 60,000 miles; the Audi betters it, but the Mini significantly outperforms the DS. In five-door guise, the Mini is even more desirable, offering stronger residual values - something to consider if you're torn between the two on your choice list.
As we previously mentioned, this diesel engine comes with some compelling official figures, so whole-life costs are toe-to-toe with the competition, but this isn't a car chosen for its pence per mile or frugality: it's the Mini's kerb appeal that will be top of user-chooser priorities. However, the fact that it ticks the box on the costs front too means it's a win-win for everyone.
Mini One D
|Model price range: £14,075-£31,315|
|Residual value: 34.0%|
|Service, maintenance and repair: £1,644|
|Vehicle Excise Duty: £0|
|National insurance: £1,255|
|Cost per mile: 35.0p|
|Fuel consumption: 83.1mpg|
|CO2 (BIK band): 89g/km (18%)|
|BIK 20/40% per month: £45/£91|
|Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles|
|Boot space: 211 litres|
|Engine size/power: 1,496cc/95hp|
A fun and fashionable choice that also makes a great deal of sense on paper - go for the five-door for far greater practicality, though.