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#30

in Affordable Small Cars

MSRP: $23,550 - $35,600
Invoice: $21,665 - $32,750
MPG: 27 City / 34 Hwy
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MINI Cooper Paceman Performance

Nimble handling makes the 2015 Mini Paceman fun to drive, according to most automotive journalists. However, they add that the Paceman can have a rough ride, especially over uneven pavement. Reviewers write that the base Cooper Paceman isn’t especially powerful, but that Cooper S and John Cooper Works models offer lively acceleration.

  • "While its added size and weight means it can't quite match the supremely agile dynamics of the smaller Hardtop, the Paceman nonetheless is one of the most dexterous crossovers on the market today. A no-cost sport suspension option further sharpens up the Pacemen's handling." -- Left Lane News
  • "The connection between driver and machine verges on sports car territory, making even the most ordinary trips a treat." -- AOL Autos (2014)
  • "After a hard day of driving, we came away authentically surprised at how much we enjoyed this hot edition of the seventh Mini." -- Autoblog (2014 John Cooper Works)
  • "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)

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Mini Cooper Paceman comes with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 121 horsepower. Cooper S and Cooper S ALL4 models have a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 181 horsepower, while the John Cooper Works Paceman has a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 208 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is available. According to the EPA, the base Paceman with the manual transmission gets 27/34 mpg city/highway, which is great for an upscale small car. With the automatic transmission, the Paceman gets slightly lower fuel economy estimates of 25/30 mpg city/highway.

Critics think the base Mini Cooper Paceman accelerates slowly and could use more power. However, they praise Cooper S and John Cooper Works models for their sprightly acceleration. Test drivers like both transmission options, saying the automatic shifts smoothly and that the manual transmission enhances the driving experience.

  • "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 (2014)
  • "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 2015 Mini Paceman has standard front-wheel drive, while Cooper S ALL4 and John Cooper Works models come with all-wheel drive. Reviewers report that the 2015 Paceman corners athletically, but they note that the ride can be rough, especially over uneven pavement. They add that the Paceman has strong brakes with good pedal feel.

  • "On the road, the Paceman feels remarkably planted, even when speeding around a corner. Relative to the Countryman, the lower, tauter Paceman does a convincing impression of the regular MINI Cooper." -- AutoTrader
  • "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 (2014)
  • "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: 12/9/14

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