While the Mini Cooper may be the quintessential fun-to-drive small car, its small footprint and cozy cabin may not make sense for every buyer. Those who can make a subcompact car work in their lifestyle will find the Cooper a real cream puff, with a fun-loving nature that begs you to take it for a quick drive on twisty roads. The standard configuration is a three-door hatchback, but a five-door hatchback and a cabriolet are also offered, all featuring Mini’s iconic retro-modern styling. If you’re easy on options, you can get into a base-level Cooper for the price of a well-equipped Honda Civic, but once you start adding desired options—including swapping the standard 134-hp turbo three-cylinder for the punchier 189- hp turbo-four—the Mini suddenly carries a price tag similar to that of an Audi A3 or a BMW 2 Series. If you have even more money to spend and want to improve the performance and handling, check out the Cooper JCW (reviewed separately), which uses a 228-hp version of the Cooper’s turbo four-cylinder engine.
What’s new for 2024?
Last year Mini re-added the manual transmission to the range, but only on the three-door hardtop models. Now the six-speed stick is available across the entire Cooper lineup, including convertible and five-door hardtop models. Last year’s Resolute Edition package is sticking around for the 2024 model year due to its popularity. Based on the top-spec Iconic trim, the Resolute Edition package adds Rebel Green exterior paint, bronze bonnet stripes and yellow and cream tweed interior upholstery.
Prices and which one to buy
We would choose to go with the Manual gearbox and put it in the more powerful 189-hp Cooper S Hardtop to maximize the fun-to-drive factor. The five-door hardtop costs a bit extra, but we’ll stick with the three-door, as none of the Minis are as roomy. Beyond that, the customization options are numerous and desirable, and we’ll leave that up to you.
Engine, transmission and performance
The standard engine is a 134-hp turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder, which provides ample pep in this small, lightweight, front-wheel-drive vehicle. We prefer the S models, which come with a 189-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. With the bigger engine, the S was a little more than a second quicker to 60 mph than with the base 1.5-liter engineclock in at 6.2 seconds. We found the automatic to shift well, but the manual is still our favorite as it offers the most driver involvement. The firm suspension lends itself to enthusiast-oriented driving, which can make the Mini Cooper exciting, but the ride can be unforgiving on rough roads.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Hardtop and convertible models with the base three-cylinder engine are rated for 29 mpg city and 38 mpg highway with the automatic transmission and 27 mpg city and 37 mpg highway with the manual. With the three-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual, we managed 38 mpg during our 75-mph highway fuel economy test route. The more powerful 2.0-liter engine in the Cooper S is rated slightly lower by the EPA, with automatic models earning ratings as high as 28 mpg city and 38 mpg highway and manual models earning ratings of 23 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. For more information on the Cooper’s fuel consumption, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, comfort and cargo
The Mini’s interior is charmingly quirky, but at the expense of user-friendliness. Rear passenger space is tight, but front occupants will find little reason to complain. The convertible model’s power top will fold in 18 seconds to unlock the joy of unlimited headroom. Too bad his skirt is small. Hardtop models offer more practicality within their hatchback bodies—but still not much given the car’s small size. The Hardtop model’s trunk is quite small, offering room for just three carry-on cases in our testing. But leave the rear seats, and there is room for 12 carry-ons. The five-door hardtop offers more space for cargo with the rear seats folded, but the Convertible offers less. A leather-wrapped steering wheel and heated front seats are standard on the Mini Cooper, and a leather interior is optional.
Infotainment and connectivity
All Mini Cooper models come standard with an 8.8-inch infotainment screen and a digital gauge cluster. SiriusXM satellite radio is also standard on the lineup, but buyers looking for Apple CarPlay, in-dash navigation or wireless phone charging will have to pay extra for those features. Android Auto is not available.
Safety and Driver Assistance Features
The Mini Cooper comes with automatic emergency braking as standard and offers adaptive cruise control and park assist as options. For more information on the Cooper’s crash test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automatic emergency brake
- Standard lane departure warning
- Adaptive cruise control available
Warranty and Maintenance Cover
Mini offers a slightly better warranty than other small car manufacturers, especially with complimentary scheduled maintenance. Volvo and BMW both offer complimentary scheduled maintenance plans that match Mini’s policy.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Complimentary scheduled maintenance is covered for 3 years or 36,000 miles
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