First of all I'd like to say it is an ideal first car.
It is a tall vehicle which is good for people like me who are over 6ft tall. It is very comfortable, although a little cramped in the back - but surprisingly roomy for a super-dooper-mini! Because of this the boot however is tiny.
The tiny 899i 39bhp engine is not too bad; it's reliable and always starts first time even in the winter. However I'd have to recommend no-one goes for this option, instead go for the 1.1i Sporting model, it has 15 more bhp and almost double the torque, and the insurance is more or less the same. Because it's a tiny engine it overheats very quickly, especially in the summer, the fan keeps cutting in to cool it back down.
Handling totally lacks in this car and sometimes I think it's dangerous. It does not hold the road at all. It is in fact poo. The Sporting model is much better - lower, stiffened springs and a front anti-roll bar makes to car go where you tell it to go, and you are not constantly fighting it.
0-60mph never seems to happen in this car making it dangerous when you are pulling out into a busy road. I do a lot of motorway driving and the little engine has a hard time. I am sure it should be illegal for the motorway; it lacks so much in power. Once there, it can quite happily sit at 80mph and cruise. I've had it up to 93mph - or so the speedo told me - but anything else is suicidal, the front of the car starts to lift and lose grip and the steering wheel vibrates like mad. Crazy!
The car can't generally overtake at all unless you really plan your moves and work it hard. Again it's not worth the stress and I'm only twenty I don't need heart problems at my age! Because the little engine needs revving hard to generally get anywhere you don't seem to get the mpg that you'd expect. If you are lucky you'll get around 400 miles on a tank, where as in theory you should be able to get slightly more than 500.
It's quite a nice stylish funky car, nice grippy steering wheel and comfy seats. The default car radio is rubbish, get a cheap CD player and some nice speakers from Halfords or somewhere, it makes the world of difference. I bought a bottom of the range JVC and some simple Pioneer speakers and it made the world of difference. The dashboard is really simple with shelves everywhere, a good place to put your mobile when you are driving, not that we use our mobiles when we drive, right! The fan has a good bit of power to it, but it's an illusion because it is such a small car. The wipers interfere with the radio and you get a strange clicking sound coming through the speakers. Also, the wipers lift at speeds in excess of 60mph. No good for motorway cruising.
Overall the car does have nice features and a lot going for it. It's just so very slow. Totally not suitable for long journeys, motorways or hills (!). You quickly outgrow it. It's small and slow. Not as cheap to run as you might think. But all in all a good first car, after that quickly upgrade. If you can avoid the S or SX model do so. My advice: get the Sporting or another car.