Go to some of the deprived areas in the UK and you can buy yourself a really good house for £40,000. In fact in some parts you could probably buy two.

And then if you want the top of the range MINI the price would be the same – just short of £40,000. That’s what you will have to pay for the best Countryman model on the market.

My first Mini, which I bought in 1971, cost me £750 and I had to get a bank loan for it. I drove 100 miles a day for work and it was totally reliable and I loved it.

But things have moved on since those halcyon days and in a few years time the petrol engine will be banned in Europe unless the cars have a hybrid version to go with it.

The new Mini Countryman is for people who actually want a crossover, such is the motoring world these days and this Countryman is the biggest MINI that has ever been made.

Five people can travel in reasonable comfort (I’m sure we had more people in my old Mini back in the day) and there’s bags of space in the boot as well.

There are numerous versions with a Cooper or Cooper S, either petrol or diesel, each of them with front drive or ALL4 plus an eight-speed automatic.

I managed to drive the new Cooper S, which has the Cooper three-cylinder petrol driving the front wheels, and an electric motor for the back wheels.

This meant I could drive almost 25 miles on one charge of electric which made it ideal for the daily commute before it needed another charge and that only takes three hours on a standard domestic supply.

That gives you a car which is rated at 49g/km on emissions and gives you more than 130 miles to the gallon with 0-62mph in under seven seconds. That emission figure means a car free of road tax in the first year.

The only disadvantage is that to make room for the battery the tank is just 35 litres so if you are on a long journey you are going to have a few fuel stops along the way. But using both electric and fuel you could do 300 miles in one hit if you are lucky.

But the MINI has come a long way since the 1950s!

Now there’s bags of kit which comes as standard like sat nav, Bluetooth, and park sensors. But as with all BMW products you can load plenty more of quality stuff to suit!

The driving position is excellent as is all MINIs with pedals and steering wheel in perfect alignment. There is a memory option for the seats.

The seats split 60:40 and slide forward giving you the option to make the boot even bigger and the boot has a double-position floor.

The Germans have to be congratulated for looking after the Mini marque which would have died a death if it had been left to the hands of the British motoring industry.

The MINI is going to be around for many years to come and we should be lucky.