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MINI Cooper Roadster Review

The 2015 MINI Cooper Roadster ranks 9 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:

Despite nimble handling and open-air fun, the 2015 Mini Roadster delivers a stiff ride, loud interior and perplexing cabin controls that take away from its appeal, reviewers say.

The base four-cylinder engine in the 2015 Mini Roadster provides adequate punch, critics say. However, most favor the potent turbocharged four-cylinder engines found in the Cooper S and John Cooper Works models, which they say have peppier acceleration and pleasant exhaust rumble. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional, though auto writers recommend the manual for its short, pleasing 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.

Reviewers say the 2015 Mini Roadster has an eye-catching cabin design, and its materials are good for the class. They find the retro-inspired controls hard to use, however. Further, a good amount of wind noise is let in by the unlined convertible top, which also diminishes rearward visibility. Critics find good head- and legroom in the Roadster's seats, but they say the seats themselves 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)

MINI Cooper Roadster Pictures & Videos

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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: 4/22/15

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