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Can you recommend an automatic car with reasonable performance to replace my wife's MINI Cooper?

My wife’s MINI Cooper has now blown its cylinder head gasket for the second time in less than 36,000 miles, and I have decided that it must go. Can you recommend another small car with reasonable performance and an automatic transmission on which she insists? I would much appreciate your suggestions.

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Used Suzuki Swift 1.5 auto, or a new Mazda 2 TS2 1.5 Activematic. Test and video of that here:
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Enjoyable and fun to drive. Economical engines. Sensibly priced. Feels well built. Ride harshness over bumps improved for 2011.
Cheap road tax and economical. Base-model is well equipped. Five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating. Swift Sport is great fun.

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