Autoexpress has another hatch-back shoot-out, this time including the R56 MINI Cooper, the Ford Fiesta ST and the Suzuki Swift.

>It’s win number two for the new MINI. The Cooper S has already proved itself to be the ultimate hot hatch (issue 935), and the Cooper sees off some talented opposition here. Both the Suzuki Swift Sport and Ford Fiesta ST are old-school hot hatches that are great to drive. The Fiesta is faster and has better steering and handling, but thanks to its more modern interior, value price and generous kit, the Swift sneaks ahead to take second spot.

>Yet the MINI moves the game on. Cleverly updated and beautifully detailed, the Cooper retains its unique charm, and adds a more compliant ride and better refinement. While it’s short on standard kit, low running costs are guaranteed and, most importantly of all, it’s still a hoot to drive.

Of course, in this warm-hatch battle, the turbo-less MINI Cooper came out on top. The handling had something to do with it.

>For starters, even though our test model is fitted with the £130 optional sports suspension, the ride is more comfortable than before, and there’s a compliancy to the MINI set-up that neither rival can match. Yet the Cooper displays just as much agility as composure. There’s a fraction more body movement, but the new MINI changes direction beautifully, while the feel and accuracy of the steering is a real pleasure at any speed.

[ Fiesta vs MINI vs Swift ]