Mini Cooper Review

The Mini Cooper, Or Mini Hatch as it's also known, was first introduced in 2001 as the first iteration under BMW's control after the sale of the Rover Group and discontinuation of the classic Mini. It was the first model in what is now an abundant range.

The current version is the third generation which was first launched in 2014 and has undergone some design and equipment changes to keep it fresh in that time.

Our Mini Cooper review will guide you through the latest Mini hatchback models to help make your decision on which is best for you.

Design and Style

The current Mini Cooper comes as either a three door or five door version, depending on whichever suits you best. The five door is 160mm longer, giving a little more legroom to passengers in the rear seats and also accommodates three seats in the back compared to only two in the three door hatch.

Mini is synonymous with classic and iconic design and the current generation has stayed true with relatively few styling tweaks. The front and rear lights are now a little larger than in previous versions and have fog lights integrated, and the five door hatch has 72mm more room between the front and rear wheels. These are subtle changes but enough for the Mini Cooper to adapt for its audience.

It's also kept iconic features like the Union Jack tail lights whilst extending the front grille to really emphasise a sporty look for the current model.

The personalisation of the Mini Cooper is one of the best features available and what brings people back to the car time and time again. Currently you can change your exterior paint colour, roof tone and colourings, alloys, seat upholstery, and the interior trim materials to really create a combination that fits your personality and taste.


The Mini's interior is full of retro styling that the car is known for. This includes it's unique round screen in the centre console and the switches beneath, including one for starting the car.

The 2021 model added in an 8.8 touchscreen as standard across the range which includes Bluetooth and Apple Carplay connectivity alongside Mini's ConnectedDrive Services which gives you online searching and weather information.

What's really good about this system is that it still has a few physical buttons there to assist your user experience, which many people miss when cars switch to entire touchscreen systems.

Enhancing the driving experience further is the addition of the new digital instrument cluster which finally brings the Mini Cooper into 2022 by replacing the old clunky dials that were a staple of previous models. It's lifted from the Mini Electric but works just as well to modernise the traditional Cooper too.

Comfort and Practicality

Although some think of the Mini Cooper as quite a cramped car, it actually offers a considerable amount of headroom for passengers in the front and the rear seats. Front passengers will have 1023mm of headroom, a millimeter more than the SEAT Ibiza, whilst those in the back seats will have 937mm.

The three and five door hatchbacks have different numbers of seats, which is important to consider when choosing between the two. The former has four seats whilst the latter will give you a full bench of three seats in the back to give you five in total.

The three door hatch will give you 211 litres of boot space whilst the five door will give you 278 litres with all seats in use. This is considerably less than other supermini models like the Audi A1 at 335 litres or the Volkswagen Polo at 333 litres.

With the rear seats folded this expands to 731 litres for three doors and 941 litres for five door models, again this is less than the A1 at 1090 litres and the Polo at 1380 litres.

Performance and Engine Options

When you buy your new Mini hatchback you have two performance options available: a Cooper or a Cooper S, both petrol engines.

The Cooper gives you a 1.5 litre petrol engine that offers 136HP. It will give you a combined mpg of up to 51.4 for the 3 door hatch and 50.4 for the five door hatch and a top speed of 130mph for both.

The Cooper S is a much more powerful 2.0 litre petrol engine which offers 178HP. It's slightly less efficient with a combined mpg of 48.7 for the three door hatch and 47.9 for the five door. You can expect a top speed of 146mph with the Cooper S engine and a 0-62mph time of 6.6 seconds.

It's worth noting that you can only currently order a Mini hatch with a seven speed automatic gearbox at the moment due to supply issues. The wider Mini range also includes the Mini Electric so if you're looking for a greener option the brand can deliver that too.

Trim Levels

There are currently three trim levels available on the Mini Cooper models: the Classic, Exclusive, and the Resolute Edition.

Looking at standard features will show you a great range across the Mini Cooper. These include automatic start/stop function, engine model logo on tailgate, heated windscreen washer jets, LED headlights, LED Union Jack rear lights, leatherette gear lever and handbrake gaiters, multifunction steering wheel, driver and front passenger seat height adjustment, steering column adjustment, cruise control, a heated rear window, rear parking sensors, and a rear view camera.

The entry level Classic has Moonwalk Grey paint as the standard exterior colour matched with a Piano Black interior trim, Satellite Grey headlining, roof and mirror caps in body colour, and a leather sports steering wheel. If you opt for the Cooper engine you'll have 15 inch alloy wheels and standard seats compared to 16 inch alloy wheels, a Walknappa steering wheel, and sports seats if you choose Cooper S models.

The Exclusive upgrades to 18 inch alloy wheels, although there are a selection of 17 inch alloys that you can switch out to free of charge. As well as this it also comes with a silver roof and mirror caps, exterior Mini Yours badging, lounge leather sports seats, interior Mini Yours detailing across the steering wheel and floor mats, and anthracite headlining. The standard paint colour for this model is Enigmatic Black.

The top trim Resolute Edition uses the Rebel Green solid paint as standard with 18 inch black alloys and Piano Black exterior details with the Resolute exterior, Resolute Edition bonnet stripes, and roof and mirror caps in Pepper White. Inside it also has anthracite headlining, door sill finishers with Resolute Edition design and logo, Light Chequered cloth upholstery, and a Resolute Edition Interior trim.

The brand is also well known for it's John Cooper Works models, which are reviewed separately and you can read here.

Reliability and Safety

The Mini Cooper has a 4 star safety rating from Euro NCAP, which doesn't place it as the highest ranking in the supermini category but also no where near the bottom of the list either. This rating is from 2014 so is due for a renewal which should hopefully happen soon.

This puts it on par with other similar sized models such as the Vauxhall Corsa and the Peugeot 208, whilst it outperforms the Fiat 500 considerably in every category.

Standard safety features across the Cooper range include anti-lock braking system (ABS), dynamic brake lights (automatic hazard lights after harsh braking), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), and Intelligent emergency calling (MINI E-call) (automatic emergency rescue call in the event of collision, vehicle location and severity of impact also transmitted when necessary, manual activation by driver also available).

Every new Mini vehicle comes with a manufacturing warranty of three years which Mini themselves say offers "complete protection for almost every eventuality". This can also be extended as long as your Mini Cooper has less than 100,000 miles on the clock.


The Mini Cooper is priced a little higher than some others in the supermini class but carries the weight of the Mini brand and BMW technology to back it up..

Opting for a 3 door Mini hatchback is obviously a little cheaper than opting for the 5 door hatch, usually saving you around £650. For example, the entry level Classic is £22,565 for the 3 door and £23,225 for the 5 door hatch.

For comparison, an entry level Audi A1 starts at £20,840 but doesn't include the same level of features as the Mini Cooper like parking sensors or cruise control.

Upgrading to the Exclusive will cost £25,165 for the 3 door and £25,825 for the 5 door and then upgrading a final time to the Resolute Edition costs £26,160 for 3 doors and £26,810 for 5 doors.

Mini also offers lots of personalisation offers which will allow you to make the car your own and also increase the price from the basic starting price. These vary from £525 for an exterior paint colour or £650 for a multi tone roof colour to £1000 for leatherette upholstery for your seats.


The Mini Cooper is a staple of the British roads thanks to its long history and the public's love of the design. It's many options for customisation and uniquely styled interior set it apart from other superminis and the equipment that comes with it keeps it up to date and easy to use.

Alternatives to the Mini hatchback will take you to the Mini Electric or the John Cooper Works models, or even a Mini Convertible if you're looking for something even more different.

Mini Cooper Hatchback