in Upscale Small Cars

MSRP: $23,300 - $35,600
Invoice: $21,435 - $32,750
MPG: 28 City / 35 Hwy
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MINI Cooper Paceman Performance

Most reviewers say that agile handling makes the 2014 Mini Paceman fun to drive, but they caution that it can ride harshly over uneven pavement. They also say that the base engine is underpowered, and they recommend choosing the more powerful turbocharged S or John Cooper Works models, which offer better acceleration.

  • "The connection between driver and machine verges on sports car territory, making even the most ordinary trips a treat." -- AOL Autos
  • "After a hard day of driving, we came away authentically surprised at how much we enjoyed this hot edition of the seventh Mini." -- Autoblog (John Cooper Works)
  • "Actually, it is fun to drive, too. The turbo four provides plenty of power, the steering is always strong on Minis, and the suspension is rock solid. The problem is that ‘fun-to-drive’ and ‘drivable on a long-term basis’ are not mutually exclusive." -- AutoWeek (2013 Cooper S ALL4)
  • "The Paceman drives very much as you'd expect it to: like a slightly stiffer, sportier Countryman. That said, the Paceman is no sports car. Even in two-door trim, it still feels a little large for the twisty, narrow roads I've been guided to in Mallorca, off the Spanish coast." -- Motor Trend (2013 Cooper S)

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 Mini Paceman has a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that is rated at 121 horsepower. Mini Cooper S Paceman and John Cooper Works models have turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engines that produce 181 and 208 horsepower, respectively. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional. Equipped with an automatic transmission, the base Paceman gets an EPA-estimated 25/30 mpg city/highway, which is typical for an upscale small car. With the manual transmission, the Paceman gets significantly better fuel economy estimates of 28/35 mpg.

Reviewers say the base Paceman is slow to accelerate and feels underpowered. As a result, they recommend S or John Cooper Works models, which both provide enough power for highway passing and merging. Test drivers say the standard six-speed manual transmission is a lot of fun to use, and they think the available six-speed automatic shifts smoothly.

  • "We didn't miss the optional Aisin six-speed automatic - in our book, it utterly defeats the purpose of JCW models - instead revelling in the heightened driving engagement and enjoyment of the manual." -- Autoblog
  • "The Paceman's weight hurts its sporty aspirations in a big way; the base Cooper Paceman drags its over 3,000 pounds from zero to 60 mph in 9.7 seconds. The Cooper S, with its 60 extra horses, cuts that time to 6.9 seconds, so expect most buyers to opt for the extra power." -- MSN Autos (2013)
  • "While the base Paceman is nimble and light on its feet, it's far from quick. Unless fuel economy is your overriding priority, we'd recommend the more energetic S and JCW models, which are easier to drive in expressway traffic and ultimately a lot more fun." -- Edmunds (2013)
  • "Unfortunately, MINI didn't bring along any stick-shifted Pacemans, but the Aisin-sourced automatic was a smooth operator during both spirited driving and mellow cruising." -- Left Lane News (2013)

Handling and Braking

The base 2014 Paceman has front-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive is standard on S ALL4 and John Cooper Works models. Test drivers agree that the 2014 Mini Paceman corners nimbly, but they say that the ride can be jarring over bumpy roads. Some write that the steering feels artificial. Reviewers say that the Paceman’s brakes are powerful and have good pedal feel.

  • "Still, even though the bigger Countryman and Paceman might lack a bit of the storied quickness of the smaller models, they are still snappy and crisp when dealing with pavement that goes thisaway and thataway." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "We're not as high on the ride quality, which borders on stiff, especially with the bigger wheels that come standard on turbocharged models. That's normal for a MINI, but it may be a bit much for some drivers. For this reason, we'd think twice before ordering the optional sport-tuned suspension." -- AutoTrader
  • "The sporty-feeling suspension, coupled with very direct steering, made the car feel jumpy, particularly when hitting small blips in the road at speed and on curves. The Paceman seemed to skip out from under me a bit and required an extra strong grip on the steering wheel at times." -- Cars.com (2013)
  • "Fairly tight suspension made for a somewhat bumpy ride, but the car felt planted and handling was crisp -- even if steering feedback seemed artificial (especially in sport mode, which instantly made the wheel feel heavier but in a fakey sort of way)." -- AutoWeek (2013)
  • "No complaints on the braking performance itself. It has a pretty solid pedal and feels good." -- Jalopnik (2013)
Review Last Updated: 5/13/14

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