The Mini Paceman has arrived and it’s certainly turning heads on Irish roads. I am a self confessed Mini fan. When BMW revitalised the brand I was in the que to purchase a Mini One for my wife Patricia and she loved it. Sporting a John Cooper Works kit the economical funky hatch was joyous to drive and offered her years of trouble-free motoring before she stepped up to the BMW 116i, which she still drives.
Today Patricia’s choices would be very different. She loved her Mini and was very sorry to see it go to a new owner. The 116i she has is more practical but doesn’t offer the same involving drive. If she were lucky enough to be in a position to be purchasing a 132 I have no doubt a Mini would be back on the cards.
You see these days she could choose the large Countryman or Paceman and probably get the same level of practicality as the 1 Series. The latest of these machines is the variant I’m driving this week, the All 4 Paceman SD. It’s classed as a Sports Activity Coupé or a Mini on steroids to you and me. It has been designed to take buyers away from cars like the VW Scirocco or even the high end Range Rover Evoque, but for me I see it as more of a rival to the Nissan Juke 4×4. This all-wheel-drive Paceman is fitted with a 2.0-litre engine that produces 143hp and 305Nm of torque, it can cover 0-100km/h in 9.2seconds. It drives typically Mini which is just fantastic. It might ride higher than all of its predecessors but make no mistake, body-roll is minimal and there is no doubt you are driving a Mini.
Inside, the cabin is spacious and incredibly well appointed. Up front you get a DAB radio, sports leather seats, air-con, a leather steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity and the usual glamorous trimmings with chrome surrounds. In the rear there is no bench seat but rather two sculpted seats with Mini’s central storage rail that runs through the middle of the cabin housing cup holders, a glasses case or mobile phone tray. I’m 6ft 1” in height and I can comfortably get into the back although the 4cm-lower roof compared to the Countryman is certainly noticeable. Overall it’s a very good car in my opinion. Is it the one to have? I am not sure. Personally, I like the traditional Cooper S in John Cooper Works trim. My wife on the other hand with her practical hat on thinks the Countryman is the way forward.
How many will opt for the funky Paceman remains to be seen but priced at €35,850 there is plenty to choose from in that price category. After living with the Paceman for a few days I got over 50mpg and without some spirited B road driving the claimed 57.6mpg could be reached with ease in my opinion. If you are worried about fuel economy you could opt for the two-wheel drive SD Paceman which losses 75kg off the kerb weight and improves the economy to 61.4mpg. However if we get another rough winter with snow I know which one I’d rather have. My advice now is to go to your local Mini dealership and take a test-drive in a Mini that suits you. Unlike when we made our first Mini purchase some ten years ago the range now on offer will pleasantly surprise you. One thing is for sure; after driving a Mini, you will leave with a smile on your face!
[table “131” not found /]