Jun 08, 2015
Reviewed By Chad Tyson
Price as Tested $36,050; 189-hp, 207-lb-ft, 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo I4, 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters
Likes

Gorgeous Electric Blue Metallic paint. I don’t think it would work on a bigger car, but here it is look-at-me perfect. Typical Mini sportiness while darting through city traffic. Sixteen-inch wheels aren’t cartoonish and look decent. Four adults fit in this car, with adequate headroom for the rear passengers, too. The additional storage space over the two-door Mini (13.1 cubic feet compared with 8.7 cubic feet) means I don’t have to put my groceries next to me in the front seat. I’m impressed by the variation in driving dynamics between Green, Mid and Sport settings. (With most modern cars I’ve driven, there is hardly a discernible difference between regular and sport modes.) The Harman/Kardon premium sound belts out tunes loud and clear.

Dislikes

Two doors too many — and I’m a four-door guy. This is an odd mash up of the Cooper S and Countryman. Yes, the increased usability is a bonus, but the awkward front entry and ungainliness of the four mini-doors mitigate that bonus. Due to the shorter front doors, you have to shift around a very thick b-pillar and plop down into the seat, rather than just getting in. The thick headliner can obstruct your view of stoplights. Craning my neck to see the lights got old just two stoplights into my weekend with the Mini. I did not appreciate the $1,500 automatic transmission option or the $250 John Cooper Works steering wheel. The cheapest option on this car was $100 for black bonnet stripes. Because race car.

Verdict

I loved the wonderful two-door Cooper S a few weeks ago and therefore dreaded the added weight of additional doors, so perhaps my expectations were low — but I smiled often behind the wheel here. It helps that I didn’t have to look at the side profile of the car while driving. The Green driving mode was as economical as ever, and Sport mode was smiles for miles through the Oregon countryside. When checking out this car for purchase, watch out on the options — over 30% of this car’s price was in optional equipment. That said, it’s tough to find a car this small and fun that fits four adults reasonably.

Fun to Drive
1.3 rating
Fun to Look at
2.5 rating
Overall Experience
2.5 rating
Stats

For more about this car, please visit the manufacturer's website.