A week with a Mini Paceman

Article image

Day one: It’s very easy to criticise the Mini Countryman. It’s very easy to regard it as a bloated, boggle-eyed, bilious parody which drops its ghastly, Austrian-made trousers and curls out an ugly steaming turd onto the grave of Sir Alec Issigonis. But actually, plenty of people like it. One in every three Minis sold is a Countryman these days and if you look around, they’re everywhere. So now there’s a three door version. I don’t remember demanding such a thing. Did you? No? Oh. Well someone must have. And here it is, looking quite strange. I think it’s the mis-match between the upright windscreen pillars and the more rakish back end. Sitting inside feels odd too. The screen angle is unusual and the whole car feels massive. I can’t get the driving position right.

Day two: Work to do. The Paceman sits outside looking tubby and strange. In the evening I have to go to a place just outside London. Getting there involves following a mate in a Nissan Juke. He drives like a loony. Chasing a Nissan Juke across Surrey in a Mini Paceman. It’s the kind of dream from which you’d wake up screaming. Anyway, from this brisk journey I can report that this Paceman is quite quick, as you’d hope since it’s the Cooper S version, and that it has a lot of grip. Conversely, it gets distracted by ruts and cambers, the steering is too quick for the rest of the car and the ride is appalling.

Day three: Still trying to get comfortable. This has become particularly important because earlier today The Final Countdown by Europe came on in the kitchen and I put my back out trying to play the dog like an air guitar. The seat back adjuster is a tiny tab down between the cushion and the centre armrest. It’s senselessly hard to operate and part of a whole suite of inexplicable design that would really get on your nerves if you owned this car. Half the passenger door mirror and the digital readout in the rev counter become invisible when you have the seat set low; that readout itself won’t let you see what temperature it is and then check something useful like range-to-empty without toggling through all the other modes from a single button on the stalk; the ignition key is actually a little plastic flying saucer that has to put into the slot the right way up or it pops out and falls on the floor; the slot itself is impossible to see without leaning forward and completely disappears in the dark. Why have they done all these things to us? Is BMW still angry about Rover?

Day four: I forgot about another tremendous interior annoyance; the handbrake. It’s an over-designed L-shape which forces you to twist your wrist to work it. I’m sure Mini would describe it as ‘aircraft style’. Not sure aircraft actually have handbrakes. A real ‘aircraft style’ handbrake would be a set of chocks.

My wife has started calling this car the Pacemaker. Later, she also refers to it as ‘fat’. She’s right. It somehow manages to be even bigger than it feels. And it feels pretty big.

Day five: The Mini has a sport mode. It sharpens the throttle, which is good, and makes the steering even weirder, which is bad. Whenever Germans engineer a British car they almost always make the steering heavier than it needs to be. See also the Rover 75 and the original Aston DB9. ‘Oh ja, is totally authentical Britische heritage.’ Sod off, no it isn’t.

I was going to say that the Mini feels solidly and Germanically well made but the ride is so bad that it’s making something in the boot and a part of the door trim rattle. Also, the chrome electric window switches on the door look excellent but creak when you use them.

Day six: In front of the Mini’s gearlever there is a slot which is exactly the right size for an iPhone. How thoughtful. Except it has no lip on it nor a grippy floor so as soon as you accelerate your phone falls out into the cup holder. What the merry frig is going on here? It really is like the entire interior has been designed to be as profoundly irritating as possible. Plus, the massive speedo/screen and the two round vents in the middle of the dash look like Mickey Mouse’s head. It’s not a design that a grown up can enjoy.

Day seven: I think I’ve worked this one out. Traditionally, all Minis are bought by people called Emma. This is a fact (that I’ve just made up). Some time, two or three years ago, the head of the Paceman project had his heart broken by an Emma and from then on he was out for revenge, not just on her but on all Emmas. He wanted their spines to be cracked by terrible ride quality, he wanted their wrists to be dislocated by a stupid handbrake, he wanted their minds to be vexed by an idiotically designed key and their phones to be broken by falling repeatedly into the cup holder. He wanted Emmas to suffer and by buying this car, by God they will. It’s the only explanation for why so much of this thing is almost spitefully shit.

Goodbye: The Paceman is going away. After a week I still can’t work out the point of it. If you want a three door Mini, buy a Mini. If you need more room and practicality, buy a Countryman. This is neither. I wonder if BMW looked at the Range Rover Evoque and decided they also needed a sort of high riding coupe to go alongside the five door. They probably didn’t know that, at the time of writing, 90 percent of UK Evoque buyers pick the five door. So it’s a pointless car with bizarre styling, a terrible ride and an endlessly irritating interior. I bet they sell loads.

The car talked about is a Mini Paceman Cooper S with a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine making 182 horsepower. Mini says it can do 0-62 in 7.5 seconds and hit 135mph. It costs £22,360.


  1. Long may manufacturers continue to submit their products for your consideration.

    Did you not feel a bit of berk getting out of it in a crowded place? I’ve always felt I had to jog away so I wouldn’t be associated with any Mini I’ve just gotten out of.

  2. What are you thinking BMW!? JUST STOP IT!

    There are better ways to express how you are “cute”, “wacky” and “interesting” than buying this cross between a Fiat 500 and a hippopotamus.

  3. Oh dear.
    But I must say I really wanted to hate this car, and I’m glad I now have a bona fide reason to do so. And AROnline’s band of mouth frothing MINI hateists will love this review.

    That cup holder is proof that BMW wanted to annoy Emmas. Imagine all the phone insurance claims all the Emmas’ iPhones land in their cardboard mug of Costa (if they take the plastic lid off first to aid cooling of the coffee).
    But can I ask: am I the only person who drives with his phone in his pocket?

  4. All Emma’s are evil. That is a longstanding fact. And that slot in the dash is surely for the owner’s makeup mirror thingy?

  5. @ Frankie: No.

  6. I tend to keep my phone in my back pocket and I take it out of my pocket if I’m going to be sitting down for a while because of a fear of ARSE CANCER.

  7. May we assume the cack-handed handbrake is because the orientation wasn’t changed for right hand drive?

  8. I have a Countryman (which shares interior design with the Paceman by the looks of it).

    I must say that I find the handbrake quite natural actually, and find the most comfortable position for the seat to be up high and quite upright. THe key slot has never bothered me, I don’t have an issue getting it in, so to speak… fnar fnar!

    As for the iPhone, if you have Mini Connected then you put your iPhone in the armrest cradle or connected to the USB cable and placed in the centre rail.

    The centre dial *does* look like Mickey Mouse (or Mini..!) though, which my 4 yr old daughter likes to remind me!

    Even on my CooperD (not S) the suspension is “firm”, but I have basic 16″ wheels with nice squishy sidewalls 😉

    But (in a Watchdog style…) Why, Oh Why, do they think a 3 dr version is necessary….???

  9. I think artificially heavy steering is just a BMW thing in general. I remember the steering in my old Rover 75 being surprisingly heavy as you mention, but then it was equally heavy in my brother’s 3-Series, despite there being less weight on the front of the car.

    On a semi-related note, I drove the Clubvan yesterday. It might actually be the best MINI I’ve driven.

  10. Another pile of crap with a handbrake designed for left hand drive! Empty headed bimbos will buy them in droves sadly. This car and the rest of the Bini range is payback for losing 2 world wars and the world cup in 1966

  11. This and the Evoque: The Terry Gilliam “Squashed by an angry deity’s foot” School of Design

  12. Original ‘New’ MINI is fine – this thing is shocking.

    Buy one of these or a CoUNTryman for that matter, and you are telling the world you care nothing about styling and know very, very little about cars.

    And when I see you I WILL laugh at you.

  13. I love my MINI!!!! What are you talking about!!!! Arseface you will never get off with me. What kind of dog do you have!!!! I bet its’ cute!!!!


  14. What a load of old sh**e, I couldn’t stand the real thing, let alone this.

  15. I’ve seen plenty of these things on the road lately. There’s either an awful lot of Emma’s around or just people with a very bizarre sense of humour. And appreciation for “design”. And taste. And common sense.
    Goes some way to explain the success of things like the X Factor.

    I am now emigrating, goodbye.

  16. Thank you, I havent laughed so much in months! The only thing worse than the Pacemaker is the Countryman – I’ve seen light tanks that are smaller and probably nicer to drive. You forgot to mention the SS Barrack Room seats and the horrible cringing look on their face that any male I have seen gets when they are forced to drive anything BINI..

  17. I parked my Golf next to one of these in a Waitrose car park the other day.

    As I turned around to check the indicators did indeed flash when I pressed the plipper, I was struck by the sheer size of this MINI monstrosity.

    I’d only walked a few feet from my car, but it was nearly entirely obscured by the very, very ugly MINI.

    As I couldn’t see the indicators of my car flashing (massive MINI in the way), I listened out for the sound of the central locking instead.

    But strangely, all I could hear was the sound of Sir Alec Issigonis spinning in his grave.

    Seriously, WTF are these people thinking?

  18. It looks like it’s been reversed into the garage with the door partially down – I thought Bimmer did a reasonable job of re-interpreting the Mini at first – now they’re just taking the pi55

  19. “Throughout this grand design of things you’ll receive an A just for hard work. Where you actually confused us was first on all the facts. As as the maxim goes, the devil is in the details… And it could not be much more accurate here. Having said that, allow me tell you what exactly did deliver the results. The authoring can be highly engaging and that is probably why I am taking an effort in order to comment. I do not really make it a regular habit of doing that. Second, although I can notice a leaps in reasoning you come up with, I am not really convinced of how you appear to connect the points which inturn make your final result. For right now I will, no doubt subscribe to your position however hope in the future you actually link your dots better.”

  20. You really didn’t get it, you buy Mini because its mini, still the most original car put there. Stick to Fords they’re definately the car for you, boring and predictable, just like your review!

  21. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Each to his own. I don’t care who sells what, or who drives what, or what it does. Buy it if YOU like it. Who is Sir Alec Issigonis anyway?

  22. It is, of course, complete and utter sh*te like all BMW, so-called, Mini’s. They should never have been allowed to keep the Mini name. Rule Britannia etc…….

  23. Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this website. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s difficult to get that “perfect balance” between usability and visual appeal. I must say you have done a fantastic job with this. In addition, the blog loads extremely quick for me on Firefox. Outstanding Blog!

  24. Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates. I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

  25. A person necessarily help to make significantly articles I’d state.

    That is the very first time I frequented your website page and to this point?
    I amazed with the analysis you made to create this actual put up incredible.

    Excellent process!

    Also visit my web-site: goyard pas cher

  26. Hi! Would you mind if I share your blog with my zynga group? There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Cheers

  27. Hi! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be ok. I’m undoubtedly enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

  28. Hi I am so glad I found your web site, I really found you by mistake, while I was searching on Askjeeve for something else, Anyways I am here now and would just like to say thank you for a incredible post and a all round thrilling blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to look over it all at the minute but I have bookmarked it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much more, Please do keep up the great job.

  29. Our selection online only shows a little taste of the massive selection we take in our retailers!!

    Look into my website … glass bubblers cheap (Adelaide)

  30. If some one wishes expert view concerning running a blog afterward i propose
    him/her to go to see this web site, Keep up the pleasant job.

    my site: Ernesto Gonzalez Law Orlando

  31. to ensure their appearance,ONPut the cost of a $138view as much as $358 and patrons will convert absent. While you are it right which the straight forward gladness in a bestthe states in the nation with caliber pistol with too large

  32. Hola! I’ve been reading your site for some time now and finally
    got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Houston Tx!
    Just wanted to say keep up the good work!

    Feel free to visit my webpage … body shop

  33. Hey There. I found your weblog the use of msn. This is an extremely
    smartly written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to learn extra
    of your helpful info. Thanks for the post. I will certainly return.

    Also visit my web site :: color recon dent repair

  34. Very nice article, totally what I was looking for.

    my web-site – orlando roofer

  35. It’s perfect time to make a few plans for the long
    run and it is time to be happy. I have learn this
    post and if I may just I wish to recommend you some attention-grabbing things or advice.
    Perhaps you can write subsequent articles regarding this article.
    I want to learn more issues about it!

    Also visit my website :: orlando body shop

  36. Hey there, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your blog in Opera, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, excellent blog!

    Here is my web blog :: bmw service orlando

  37. Hi mates, fastidious paragraph and pleasant urging commented at this place, I am truly enjoying by

    Here is my webpage – roof contractor orlando

  38. It’s actually a great and useful piece of info. I am happy that you
    shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us up to
    date like this. Thank you for sharing.

    Feel free to surf to my site :: orlando fl water damage restoration service

  39. What’s up i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anyplace, when i
    read this paragraph i thought i could also create comment
    due to this sensible article.

    my homepage … body shop

  40. Nice replies in return of this difficulty with real arguments and
    explaining all concerning that.

    Also visit my web site :: restaurant mystery shopping

  41. Heya i am for the first time here. I found
    this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out a lot.
    I hope to give something back and aid others like you helped me.

    Here is my webpage … orlando bmw mechanic

  42. Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a
    amusement account it. Look advanced to far added agreeable from you!
    However, how could we communicate?

    My blog post nautilus hyosung atm

  43. Ridiculous quest there. What occurred after? Thanks!

    Here is my page; atm for sale nusource financial

  44. Excellent blog here! Also your site loads up fast!
    What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host?

    I wish my website loaded up as quickly as yours lol

    Here is my site; auto body shop orlando

  45. What i don’t realize is actually how you’re not actually much more
    smartly-favored than you may be right now.

    You are very intelligent. You realize therefore significantly
    in relation to this topic, produced me for my part consider it from a lot of varied angles.
    Its like men and women are not fascinated unless it’s
    one thing to do with Girl gaga! Your personal stuffs great.

    Always handle it up!

    Feel free to surf to my blog: secret shopper

  46. I don’t know if it’s just me or if perhaps everyone else experiencing issues with your site.
    It appears like some of the written text on your content are running off the screen. Can somebody else please provide feedback
    and let me know if this is happening to them too?
    This may be a problem with my internet browser because I’ve had
    this happen previously. Appreciate it

    my site; servicemaster clean logo

  47. Various other sex toys for guys include cock rings for postponed climaxing
    as well ass penis pumps.

    Feel free to visit my website; Fleshlight reviews (

  48. I’m Really EXITED TO Take part inn THIS Great Event!!!

    my webpage Real Cheap jordans

  49. I think this is one of the most significant information for
    me. And i am glad reading your article. But wanna remark on few general things, The site style
    is ideal, the articles is really nice : D. Good job, cheers

  50. The deceased deceased 1) adj. Project X (1/2) Three high school boys plan a medium size party when the parents of one go out of town. They did the trick before the final.Certainly there were no outward signs of discomfort as Reardon Smith surfed powerfully and fluidly against the quality field of Samba Mann, Leigh Sedley and Sol Paans.Reardon Smith got the jump on his rivals quickly picking up a quality right hander in the tricky Ann Street conditions at Currimundi.In the earlier heats I was starting real slow, but then I got a wave straight off the buzzer.Once I got that out of the way I felt a lot more comfortable out there.I got a couple of good lefts and good rights and some back up waves as well.Mann was slower out of the blocks, but as the final wore on started to fire up with some powerful cutbacks to finish second.The judges were impressed by the overall quality of surfing and the crowd declared it one of the best finals.In the womens final, Saturdays surf rescue heroine Linda Fisher of Caloundra was too strong for Sam Waugh and Megan Murphy while Noah Lane of Rainbow Beach took out the junior title.Your patience is running low. “While Holden Rovers is as aware as Steel of the potential perils of empathy in the workplace, she is inclined to tout its potential benefits as well. Advocates are working to introduce similar resolutions across the country.
    cheap raptor 7s [url=]cheap raptor 7s[/url]

  51. Because the admin of this web site is working, no
    hesitation very rapidly it will be well-known, due to its feature contents.

    my homepage; roof contractors orlando

  52. This will be a great web site, would you be involved in doing an interview about just how you designed it? If so e-mail me!

  53. Thanks for the %TITLE entry, webmaster! For more information on web design houston refer to and Take benefit of discount which is valid this Thursday. Greetings, K Web Designer

  54. You are so cool! I don’t suppose I’ve read through a single thing like this before.
    So wonderful to find someone with some unique thoughts on this
    subject. Seriously.. thank you for starting
    this up. This website is one thing that’s needed on the internet,
    someone with some originality!

Comments are closed.