Mini Cooper Review
The 2013 Mini Cooper ranks 14 out of 43 Affordable Small Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of 64 published reviews and test drives of the Mini Cooper, and our analysis of reliability and safety data.
The 2013 Mini Cooper is ranked:
Test drivers like that the 2013 Mini Cooper combines great driving dynamics and good fuel economy, but uncomfortable rear seats, a small trunk and confusing interior features are also part of the package.
Test drivers agree that the 2013 Mini Cooper is one of the most fun-to-drive models in its class. It offers three four-cylinder engines, which range from the 121-horsepower base engine to the 208-horsepower turbocharged engine in the John Cooper Works model. Reviewers say the base engine is underpowered for freeway passing, but the Cooper S and John Cooper Works versions don’t struggle with acceleration or passing maneuvers. Each Cooper has a standard six-speed manual transmission, which critics like more than the optional six-speed automatic. Test drivers also like that the Cooper’s fuel economy ratings are so high for a car that’s as fun to drive as the Cooper. According to the EPA, it gets 28/36 mpg with the base engine and automatic transmission. Auto reviewers say all Cooper models have outstanding cornering abilities and strong brakes, but suffer from a stiff ride. While the Cooper's overall performance evaluation is great, it trails behind many of its classmates with below-average reliability.
The Cooper’s cabin has retro looks, and reviewers dislike that its design negatively impacts function. The switches for the windows and doors are located at the bottom of the center stack, making them hard to reach, according to reviewers. Critics also dislike that the interior labels are illegible and are frustrated that the stereo, climate and navigation systems are hard to program. The Cooper comes standard with a USB port, Bluetooth and HD Radio, which is good for a small car. Infotainment and navigation systems are optional. The Cooper has seat belts for four, but one reviewer thinks it works best as a two-seater. The front seats are comfortable, but the rear ones are tight for adults. The Cooper Hardtop also has limited cargo space, though reviewers think the available room is useful.
- "Overall, though, the Mini Cooper is one of the most well-rounded small cars in this group, and it easily wins our affection with its charm, performance and fuel efficiency." -- Edmunds
- "Minis may look like economy cars, but these diminutive hatchbacks and convertibles are actually sporty driving machines. They brim with character and are available with a dizzying array of personalizing accessories." -- Consumer Guide
- "They are adorable, well-built little cars with go-kart handling and superb fuel economy - and there's definitely a market for that." -- Automobile Magazine
Other Cars to Consider
The Volkswagen Golf is available as a two- or four-door hatchback and is significantly more spacious than the Mini Cooper. The Golf offers a lot more cargo space, and reviewers are impressed that the Golf’s second row fits adults comfortably. The Golf’s engine is powerful for the class, but reviewers wish the Golf was a bit more fun to drive. Although the base Golf isn’t fuel-efficient for the class, reviewers are impressed with the diesel model’s fuel economy ratings, which are better than the base Cooper’s.
Like the Mini Cooper, the Fiat 500 is available in hardtop and convertible body styles and offers several different engines, ranging from the underpowered 101-horsepower base engine to the 160-horsepower engine in the 500 Abarth, which reviewers say brings the 500's performance to life. The Fiat 500 has a tight second row, but reviewers think the front seats are surprisingly spacious. The 500 also has more cargo space than the Cooper.
Details: 2013 Mini Cooper
The four-seat 2013 Mini Cooper is available in Hardtop and Convertible models. Each comes in base, Cooper S and John Cooper Works trims. Each trim has a four-cylinder engine, but the Cooper S and John Cooper Works models have turbocharged engines. The John Cooper Works’ engine is the most powerful in the model line. A manual transmission is standard. The base trim comes standard with a USB port, Bluetooth and HD Radio. Features such as an infotainment system and a navigation system are available with upgrades. The Mini Cooper hasn’t changed much since it was introduced in 2007, so this overview uses applicable research and reviews from 2007 to 2013.