Used Mini Paceman
The Mini Paceman is a rather odd and more expensive, coupe version of the controversial Mini Countryman. It seems to be aimed at those who want that funky Mini styling and desirable badge but need more room and versatility. However, like its progenitor the Countryman, critics may feel that a larger, crossover SUV kind of defeats the point of a Mini at all. While you have to give BMW credit for taking the Mini brand through a successful revamp, running with it like the last couple of entries in the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' or 'Fast & Furious' film franchises may be simply going a few steps too far. BMW may have run with it all the way off the end of the pier in this case...
From launch in 2012, 1.6 litre petrol and 2.0 litre diesel powerplants were available, with varied tuning levels. Like the standard Mini, Cooper and Cooper D, Cooper S and Cooper SD and John Cooper Works editions are available. All the Pacemans have front or four wheel drive apart from the entry-level petrol model, which is front wheel only.
Bang for your buck
Mini have cultivated a fairly high class image but unfortunately the quality of some of the interior materials leaves something to be desired. In the cabin you're essentially getting a Countryman, at the front at least, with its cute, retro fascia and central speedo, but upgraded by the more sensible placement of electric window and central locking controls on the door rather than the central console. The seating isn't particularly comfortable but you do, as you would expect, get a higher driving position in the Paceman than in the standard Mini hatch.
The Paceman's extra size is also convenient for rear passengers, with a wider aperture for access and thanks to two individual rear seats rather than one bench seat, more comfortable. You still wouldn't want to do a long journey in the back of one if you're over about 5'10" but you can fit more luggage in the boot than with traditional Minis.
The Mini has caught some flack for the miserliness of the standard equipment provisions which fortunately seems to have hit home, as the Paceman is well-furnished. All models come with air conditioning, electric windows to the front, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth and DAB radio with USB input. There is also a legion of optional extras.
The Paceman's looks will be divisive, with the Countryman's chunky front end, sloping sharply back to a rather squat and curvy rear. It's almost a bulbous version of a VW Scirocco.
What you'll pay
The car has only been available for a matter of months, so you'll be hard push to find a used Paceman. Depending on which model you're looking at prices new started at about £19,000, going up to around £25,000.
What to check
The Mini Paceman is really too new to have thrown up any red flags. However, Mini's record on reliability is distinctly average and some of the interior plastics won't stand up to much tough treatment.
Expect to pay about £130 for a clutch assembly, £40 for a set of front pads, £360 for a full exhaust, about £100 for an alternator and around £120 for a starter motor. A shopping trolley through a headlight will lighten your wallet by about £165.
How it drives
The Mni Paceman for sale offers the same competent handling as the rest of its Mini family. It doesn't excel in any particular area but handles everything adequately. To go with its racy, coupe image the Paceman comes with sports suspension and a lower ride height, but if the result is too firm for you the more comfortable, standard Mini suspension is available as a free option. The Cooper diesel is the winner for fuel economy, returning 64.2mpg, but avoid the automatics if running costs are a concern as they have a severely detrimental effect on the Paceman's statistics. All the models are nippy enough in manual guise without making you sweat for it.
There's nothing substantial to criticise here, but the used Mini Paceman fails to better rivals in performance, appearance and price. If you absolutely have to have a Mini but the original is simply too small then the Paceman is ideal. Otherwise its virtues are questionable.