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#10

in Affordable Sports Cars

MSRP: $26,100 - $36,250
Invoice: $24,010 - $33,350
MPG: 27 City / 34 Hwy
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MINI Cooper Roadster Review

The 2015 MINI Cooper Roadster ranks 10 out of 11 Affordable Sports Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the MINI Cooper Roadster, as well as reliability and safety data.

The 2015 MINI Cooper Roadster is ranked:

The 2015 Mini Roadster delivers engaging handling and open-air fun, but its rough ride, noisy cabin and confusing interior controls lessen its appeal, according to critics.

Reviewers agree that the 2015 Mini Roadster’s base four-cylinder engine provides sufficient power. However, most prefer the more powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engines found in Cooper S and John Cooper Works models, which they think offer lively acceleration and a sporty exhaust note. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional. Test drivers recommend the manual because it provides short, satisfying shifts. The base 2015 Mini Cooper Roadster gets an EPA-estimated 27/34 mpg city/highway, which is superb for a sports car, and the Cooper S gets a very similar 26/35 mpg. Auto writers say the Roadster is a blast to drive due in part to its sharp handling, responsive steering and powerful brakes. However, they also write that it has a harsh ride on rough pavement.

The 2015 Mini Roadster’s striking interior design appeals to critics, and test drivers say its materials are nice for the class. However, reviewers write that its retro-inspired controls are difficult to use, and they note that its unlined convertible top lets in a lot of wind noise and limits rearward visibility. Automotive journalists like that the Roadster’s seats have plenty of head- and legroom, but they also note that the seats are narrow. The Roadster has a larger trunk than many small sports cars, but rivals like Ford Mustang Convertible offer more cargo space. Standard features in the 2015 Mini Roadster include a USB input, Bluetooth and automatic climate control. Available features include leather upholstery, heated seats, rear parking sensors, a Harman Kardon sound system, satellite radio, navigation and the Mini Connected infotainment system, which includes a 6.5-inch display, smartphone app integration and voice recognition.

  • "So unless you're simply mad about the Coupe's or Roadster's looks and 2-seat format, a 4-passenger base or S Hardtop (or equivalent Convertible model) offers better value-and arguably more of an ‘authentic Mini’ experience." -- Consumer Guide
  • "It has some drawbacks to be sure, but the 2015 Mini Cooper Roadster is still an appealing choice for a fun and personable roadster that can be had on a reasonable budget." --Edmunds
  • "The Roadster is based on the 2-seat MINI Cooper Coupe, which is known for razor-sharp handling and a generally enjoyable driving experience. The Roadster keeps those traits, but it also includes the added benefit of a ragtop for open-air fun on warm, sunny days. If you want the most exciting MINI that you can buy, this is it." -- AutoTrader
  • "The Cooper S Roadster is serious fun, but it's also serious money." -- Popular Mechanics (2012)

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Other Cars to Consider

The Mazda MX-5 Miata has a lower starting price than the Mini Roadster, and auto writers say its dynamic handling and slick manual transmission make it a blast to drive. The Miata is more powerful than the base Roadster, and reviewers agree that it feels lively and responsive.

The redesigned Ford Mustang Convertible comes standard with a 300-horsepower V6 engine, and reviewers enjoy its nimble handling and upscale interior. The Mustang also offers a larger trunk than the Mini Roadster, as well as a back seat.

Compare the Roadster, Miata and Mustang »

Details: 2015 Mini Roadster

The 2015 Mini Roadster is a two-seat convertible that comes in Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works trims. A 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, a six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive are standard. A six-speed automatic is optional. Cooper S and John Cooper Works models come with more powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engines. The Mini Cooper Roadster debuted for the 2012 model year and is mostly unchanged for 2015. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from 2012 through the 2015 model years.

See 2015 Mini Roadster specs »

Review Last Updated: 12/4/14

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