Good: Much prettier than the Countryman on the outside
Bad: Exactly like the Countryman on the inside, including dodgy ergonomics
Price: from £24,290
As with a speed date, each test is only really a chance to garner first impressions. Any annoying traits like snoring or the car equivalent – a maddening rattle – are unlikely to bubble to the surface. It all boils down to the immediate, instant appeal of various alternatives.
As I take the Mini Paceman Cooper SD out for a spin on Millbrook’s undulating and twisty hill route, it’s a shame that it follows my prior speed-dating candidate, a BMW 3-Series GT that I wound up quite fancying. While the five-door BMW coupé is no beauty, it does provide great company on an interesting road. This three-door Mini coupé is much prettier but seems a little vacant in comparison.