MINI Cooper

#6 in Subcompact Cars Overall Score: 8.1 / 10
2016 MINI Cooper View More Photos »
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2016 MINI Cooper Overview

The 2016 MINI Cooper ranks 6 out of 16 Subcompact Cars.

The 2016 Mini Cooper is all about fun. It has fun styling, it's fun to drive, and it comes in a myriad of fun trims, including the redesigned Mini Cooper convertible. The Mini Cooper ...

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SEATING


4-5

MPG


23-29

  CITY


31-39

  HWY

DRIVETRAIN


FWD

HP


134-228
See full 2016 MINI Cooper specs ยป

Pros & Cons

  • Agile handling
  • Lively engines in higher trims
  • High-quality cabin materials
  • Pricey
  • Stiff ride
  • Small rear seats and cargo area in 2 Door

Notable for 2016

  • Redesigned convertible trim
  • Now available with automatic pre-collision braking

MINI Cooper Rankings and Research

The 2016 MINI Cooper ranking is based on its score within the Subcompact Cars category. Currently the MINI Cooper has a score of 8.1 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 27 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

Scorecard

Overall: 8.1
Critics' Rating: 8.7
Performance: 8.7
Interior: 7.6
Safety: 9.0
Reliability: 2_5

Rankings

2016 MINI Cooper Pictures

2016 MINI Cooper Review

By Carter Macleod May 27, 2016

The 2016 Mini Cooper is all about fun. It has fun styling, it's fun to drive, and it comes in a myriad of fun trims, including the redesigned Mini Cooper convertible. The Mini Cooper also feels more refined than many subcompact competitors. However, practicality isn't as high a priority, based on our survey of the reviews and data that drive our rankings. The Mini Cooper costs more than most subcompact cars, and it has less rear-seat and cargo space.

If you have extra cash to spend and you want a small, sporty, stylish hatchback, the Mini Cooper is a fine choice. If cargo space or value is a priority, look elsewhere.

Mini Cooper Performance

Sharp Handling/Stiff Ride

The 2016 Mini Cooper is one of the most fun cars to drive in the subcompact class, thanks in large measure to its agility. The Mini Cooper feels more nimble around corners than most other small hatchbacks on the market, and its responsive steering and brakes further bolster its performance-car credentials. You'll have a blast tackling the twisty roads around your neighborhood or piloting the Mini Cooper through tight urban side streets.

The big trade-off for the Mini Cooper's tight handling is its harsh ride. You'll feel every nook and cranny of the pavement. So if you live in an area with poor-quality roads, you'll want to take the Mini Cooper for a test drive and make sure you're OK with its taut suspension.

Adequate Base Engine

The Mini Cooper's base 134-horsepower turbocharged three-cylinder engine can get you up to highway speeds, but it may take a little longer than you'd like. On the plus side, the Cooper gets better fuel economy than most cars in this class: an EPA-estimated 28 mpg in the city and 39 on the highway in the base Hardtop 2 Door.

The base engine comes standard with a slick-shifting six-speed manual transmission that's a pleasure to use. The optional six-speed automatic may not appeal to driving enthusiasts, but it doesn't reduce driving enjoyment by much, because it also shifts quickly and smoothly.

Exhilarating Optional Engines

If you're looking for more exhilarating acceleration, you'll want to upgrade to the 189-horsepower Cooper S trim or the 228-horsepower John Cooper Works trim. Both have larger turbocharged four-cylinder engines. The extra speed will cost you, however. Upgrading to the Cooper S from the base trim costs about $3,400. The John Cooper Works trim costs almost $10,000 more than the base trim.

Read more about performance »

Mini Cooper Interior

Sporty and Sophisticated

The 2016 Mini Cooper's interior stands out for a variety of reasons. It has a distinctive design augmented by unique details, like a ring of lights around the stereo. The Mini Cooper has tons of customization options, so you can mix and match colors, accents, and features. It feels premium for a subcompact car in its price range, which makes sense when you realize that Minis are built by BMW. The materials are all top-quality and fitted together tightly. Of course, the high-end feel isn't free; the Mini Coopers cost more than most subcompact hatchbacks.

Space Is at a Premium

The Mini Cooper has supportive front seats that offer a great view of the road. However, the rear seats aren't as impressive. In the 2 Door, they're cramped and best reserved for children. The rear seats in 4 Door Mini Coopers are larger and can accommodate an adult of average height, but they're still small for the class.

Cargo space is also below average for the class. There is only 8.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats in the 2 Door Hardtop. That's barely enough to accommodate luggage for two for a weekend trip. The 4 Door has more luggage space, though it's still small for the class, with 13.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats.

If cargo and rear-seat space are priorities, you should consider a more-practical hatchback like the Honda Fit or Kia Soul. Both cost less than the Mini Cooper and have as much as 23.3 extra cubic feet of cargo space.

Intuitive Tech

The Mini Cooper's infotainment system is based on BMW's iDrive system, which reviewers think is fairly intuitive. Major controls like volume have their own buttons and knobs in models with touch screens. If you've ever been in an older Mini Cooper, you know the window switches and door locks are located on the center console instead on the door. Mini has updated the controls in the latest-generation Mini Cooper, so they are exactly where you'd find them in a conventional vehicle.

Options, Trims, and Pricing

The Mini Cooper has a base price of about $20,700. That's a lot more than most subcompact hatchbacks. The Honda Fit, for example, costs almost $16,000. The sporty and premium Mazda3 hatchback costs about $18,500. Both have larger interiors than the Mini Cooper.

The base Mini Cooper does come with more standard features than most small hatchbacks, including automatic climate control, automatic headlights, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. A manual transmission is standard. An automatic will add around $1,350 to the base price.

Desirable performance upgrades add to the Mini Cooper's already relatively high price. The Cooper S and John Cooper Works models are a welcome boost in power, but add $3,400 and $9,600, respectively, to the base Cooper price. However, some desirable upgrades represent a relative bargain. The 4 Door model is just $1,000 more than the cost of a 2 Door. The redesigned convertible costs $25,950, which is competitively priced for a four-seat convertible.

Packages add a variety of features, or you can choose options individually. The Cold Weather Package ($750) has heated front seats and power-folding side mirrors. The Sport Package ($1,750) includes nicer wheels and an adjustable suspension that gives you more control over handling and ride quality. The Premium Package ($1,800) includes a panoramic sunroof and a Harman Kardon audio system. Then there are the many Mini-exclusive customization options, like custom roof paint and racing stripes. A fully loaded John Cooper Works model can cost over $40,000 if you're not careful. That's enough for a nicely equipped BMW 2-Series.

A new, upscale Mini doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg, however. Be sure to check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for savings.

Read more about interior »

Mini Cooper Safety and Reliability

The Mini Cooper earned a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. However, it only has a four out of five star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and four out of five stars for front, side, and rollover crash tests. That brought down its overall safety score in our rankings.

The 2016 Mini Cooper has automatic pre-collision braking that automatically applies the brakes to prevent an accident or limit its severity. Many rivals do not even offer this feature. Other advanced safety features include a rearview camera, parking sensors, and automatic high beams.

According to J.D. Power, the predicted reliability of the Mini Cooper is about average for a small car in this price range. The Mini Cooper comes with a four-year/50,000-mile warranty.

Read more about safety »

Other Cars to Consider

The Mazda3 hatchback has sporty handling and a premium interior, just like the Mini Cooper. However, it's larger than the Mini Cooper and costs about $2,200 less. The Mazda3 has a smoother ride than the Mini Cooper, its base engine is more powerful, and it gets better fuel economy. The Mazda3's infotainment system looks slick and is a breeze to use.

The Volkswagen GTI costs about the same as a Mini Cooper S, but it has more power, significantly more cargo space, and a roomier back seat, making it a better combination of practicality and sportiness. The GTI has a smooth ride that makes it great for road trips. Its interior has excellent build quality and premium materials. The GTI's exterior styling is a bit more staid than the Mini Cooper's, but inside you can get plaid seats and a golf-ball-shaped shift knob, which should add a little flair.

Compare the Cooper, Mazda3, and GTI in more detail »

Details: 2016 Mini Cooper

The 2016 Mini Cooper is available in Hardtop 2 Door, Hardtop 4 Door, and convertible body styles, each of which comes in Cooper, Cooper S, and John Cooper Works (except 4 Door) trims. Base Cooper models have a 134-horsepower, turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine, a six-speed manual transmission, and front-wheel drive. A six-speed automatic transmission is optional. Cooper S models have a 189-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and other performance-oriented upgrades. John Cooper Works models have a 228-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and additional performance upgrades. The Mini Cooper's last full redesign was in 2014. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2014, 2015, and 2016 model years.

Standard features in the 2016 Mini Hardtop include Bluetooth, automatic climate control, automatic headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a six-speaker audio system, a USB/iPod adapter, an auxiliary audio input, HD Radio, a climate-controlled glove box, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, and color-customizable ambient lighting.

Available features include satellite radio, a Harman Kardon audio system, a six-disc DVD player, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, automated parallel parking assist, a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, automatic pre-collision braking, a panoramic sunroof, navigation, and the Mini Connected infotainment system with smartphone integration.

See 2016 Mini Cooper specs and trims »

  • "The 2016 Mini Cooper breathes life into the subcompact class with cheeky style, a sporty driving experience and extensive options. Few cars are more fun to drive or own." -- Edmunds
  • "For customers who don't want to sacrifice sophistication when they downsize-and are willing to pay a substantial premium for it-the new Hardtop 4-Door fits the bill." -- Car and Driver (2015)
  • "The Cooper Hardtop is a sporty three-door hatchback that serves as the backbone of BMW's ever-expanding MINI brand. Now in its third generation, it combines quirky, vintage British charm with near-luxury levels of refinement and extremely agile handling." -- Left Lane News (2015)
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$20,700 - $30,600
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