Our Mini One D has completed its first proper road trip, driving from Wiltshire to Northumberland to join Richard's family on holiday.
I was impressed we got a week's worth of luggage in the back once we folded the back seats. Mind you, when we took an an elderly aunt out for lunch on the way home, it took a bit of reorganising. (We folded a seat down and I squeezed into it – we didn't stow her in the back.)
We are still seething because we paid a heap of money to get the Pepper Pack, mainly to avoid the usual CD wars. The PP would allow us to plug in an iPod and listen to a carefully negotiated playlist during our regular six-hour journeys up north. Even better, we could control the iPod through the car's audio controls – very clever. No one pointed out that we would have to buy a special lead costing another forty quid in order to do this. We've bought one on eBay now, but it didn't arrive in time.
Luckily the DAB radio let us listen 6Music all the way, with only a couple of short break-ups, so we didn't fight.
We were both impressed but how quiet and smooth the drive was, but in the morning – ooh my back. The seats aren't as supportive as they could be.
For a week we pottered around the gorgeous coastline of Northumberland. We worried a bit about the salt water as we crossed the causeway to Lindisfarne. Then we thought, ha ha, it's a on a PCP, we'll be giving it back in three years' time.
I had several opportunities to drive the Mini down some wonderful twisty country lanes, being rewarded by views of the sea emerging from behind hills and sand dunes. On such roads, I always pine for my MX-5, but this time I even missed our previous Mini Cooper S.
The diesel pulls well, but you have to change gear so often it's like stirring a heavy Christmas pudding. Our Mazda6 is pretty flexible, but if I came round a bend to find a hill, a broken surface or a tractor, I'd have to change down to second to stop it bogging down. If you don't, anything behind you gets big in the rear screen very rapidly. The flat seats mean you roll around a lot, too. Ooh my back, again.
By the time we got home, the mileage was close to 3,000. Our usual commuting economy is 53.8mpg to 54.5, but on the motorway it just kissed 60mpg. Of course, that's why we bought it. But I don't love it.
Click here to see the story of buying the Mini