Mini may have taken its time to introduce a five-door hatchback – with the first two generations of the new Mini doing without this more practical option – but the company has finally relented with its imaginatively titled Mini Five-Door, which is available for a £600 premium over the standard car.

With the addition of two doors, this Mini competes against popular upmarket small cars including five-door versions of the Audi A1 and VW Polo. Potential buyers may also consider more affordable models, such as the bestselling Ford Fiesta and Mazda 2.

What is it?

Unsurprisingly, the Five-Door is pretty similar to the standard Mini hatchback. Apart from just having a pair of extra doors, though, the Five-Door is also longer, with a stretched wheelbase freeing up more space for passengers in the rear seats along with a larger boot for good measure.

Buyers have the same choice of engines as with the three-door, so there’s three petrol models and three diesels to choose from; One and One D, Cooper and Cooper D, Cooper S and Cooper SD. We tested the Cooper S, the most powerful petrol option, which produces a substantial 189bhp, firing it to 62mph in a rapid 6.9 seconds.

What is it like to drive?

Mini sells its hatchback on the strength of its fun-factor and in Cooper S form, this is very much present and correct. If you enjoy the sensation of driving, you should have a ball in the Five-Door Cooper S. Not only does the eager engine launch this lightweight car down the road with vigour, but it sounds dramatic too, with a cheeky burble from the exhaust in Sport mode.

Don’t think that you have to drive fast to enjoy driving this Mini. With a low-slung driving position, steering that weighs up nicely in Sport mode, the classic upright Mini windscreen and body-hugging sports seats, the Cooper S feels nippy and agile even when pootling around town. The steering gives the driver plenty of confidence in the level of grip that the front tyres have left, while the well-weighted pedals mean that this is still an easy car to drive – despite its performance.

Make the most of the power on rutted roads though and the engine’s muscle can tug the steering wheel in your hands, though the suspension does a very good job of smoothing out bumps. It may be firm, but the Cooper S is still comfortable. The gear change, however, could be a little slicker.

What is it like inside?

The Five-Door builds on the style of the three-door hatchback’s interior, with a large circular centre console-mounted display – housing the optional sat nav screen in our test car – a number of toggle switches, including one for the starter button and dozens of circular motifs dotted around the cabin; for the air vents, the door handles, the speakers and so on. But that’s about as far as you can generalise with a Mini – practically everything else is personalisable to your own taste.

Our test car had more than £6,000’s worth of options including comfortable sports seats trimmed in high quality leather and textured fabric, sat nav, the Chili Pack which includes air conditioning, 17-inch alloy wheels, adjustable driving modes and rain-sensing wipers.

Is it practical?

The Five-Door might not be that much larger than the standard Mini hatchback, but it is much more usable everyday than its three-door sibling. Access to the rear seats may be a little tricky with small doors to negotiate, but there is enough room inside for four six-footers. The middle rear pew, however, is not of much use.

The boot should also be large enough for most buyers, though families who often need to carry tonnes of children’s paraphernalia may quickly run out of room. A large underfloor section does add to the Five-Door’s practicality, letting buyers put delicate luggage in separate areas, rather than having to pile everything on top of each other.

Should I buy one?

The Mini Five-Door’s bulbous styling may be an acquired taste, but the Cooper S’s impressive acceleration – along with decent claimed fuel economy – strong comfort levels and usable cabin make it a very appealing machine. It scampers around corners with enthusiasm, truly living up to Mini’s billing as a supremely fun machine to drive.

Prices are on the high side, however, with the endless Mini options list letting buyers add a substantial proportion to the price. While the Cooper S will appeal to keen drivers, the less powerful Cooper offers nearly as much fun, while saving buyers more than £3,000 – and letting them splurge when it comes to the options list.

If the price doesn’t bother you, though, the Cooper S is bound to put a big smile on your face every time you pull off.

Don’t want to buy new? You can browse for a used Mini in our classifieds here.

The facts

Mini Five-Door Cooper S

List price: £18.605
Engine: 2.0-litre, turbocharged four cylinder petrol
Power: 189bhp
Top speed: 144mph
0-62mph: 6.9 seconds
Fuel economy: 36.7mpg (urban), 58.9mpg (extra-urban) 47.9mpg (combined)
Emissions: 136g/km CO2
Euro NCAP rating: Not yet tested

                Pictures: Mini