Car trim reviews

MINI Cooper

The MINI Cooper brings a welcome dose of extra performance to the MINI, without adversely affecting insurance premiums too much.

The MINI Cooper is a hugely popular version of the MINI hatchback as it brings a more powerful engine to the standard MINI for a reasonable financial outlay. The MINI Cooper comes with a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine, which produces 134bhp. This may not sound hugely potent, but the MINI Cooper feels noticeably quicker and punchier to drive and the overall driving experience is more exciting compared to the less powerful MINI One.

If you’re more concerned about fuel economy than performance the car’s standard ‘Green’ driving mode will appeal, as this includes a stop-start function that helps to save fuel. While the Cooper package is a great place to start the MINI ordering process, be aware it’s just that: a start. MINI offers myriad options and packs for its cars, which can be great if you want a bespoke-feeling hatchback, but frustrating if you’re not that fussed about personalisation. The popular Chili pack is worth going for though, as this includes part-leather seats, a multifunction steering wheel and LED headlights.

MINI Cooper - good points

The standard MINI is a great car to drive, and the Cooper option makes it even more so. The extra power means Cooper models are noticeably peppier, but the performance improvements aren’t dramatic enough to adversely affect insurance premiums too much; these typically only increase by a four to six groups over the MINI One. Choosing a MINI Cooper over a MINI One should also make it easier to sell on or trade in when it’s time to get a new car, as they’re more sought after models on the used market.

MINI Cooper - bad points

Ordering a MINI is an involved process, and the numerous options mean cars are built to order, so discounts are rare. With so many different configurations available, it’s also easy to rack up a big bill at the ordering stage, or specify a car that’ll be so personalised it's tricky to sell on. We’d avoid the larger alloy wheel options as these make the MINI ride very firmly, and advise going for the five-door model if you plan on carrying more than one passenger regularly. Also be aware some owners find the dials and switches tricky to read and use, while some sections of the interior trim aren’t as robust as they should be.

What you get

  • Alloy wheels
  • Folding rear seats
  • Alarm
  • Tyre pressure sensors
  • Passenger & Driver airbag
  • Front side airbags
  • Curtain airbags
  • Manual air conditioning
  • Height adjustable driver's seat
  • Single CD player
  • AUX stereo input
  • DAB Radio
  • Stop/Start

Recommended optional extras

  • Bluetooth
  • TLC servicing package

Our choice

The 1.5-litre petrol engine in the Cooper just feels more MINI than the One. Iit’s heavier on fuel, but we feel it suits the car's character better.

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