Vital Stats

Engine:
Turbo 1.6L I4
Power:
181 HP / 177 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed Auto
0-60 Time:
7.6 Seconds
Top Speed:
130 MPH
Drivetrain:
All-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
3,260 LBS
Seating:
2+2
Cargo:
38.1 CU-FT (max)
MPG:
25 City / 31 HWY
In just over a decade, Mini has expanded its modern range from the singular Hardtop model (launched in 2002) to a full range of little runabouts. The latest of these is the Paceman, and while European Editor Matt Davis gave us the full scoop on this model late last year, we recently spent time with the all-wheel-drive model just outside of Ponce, Puerto Rico.

It's weird, this Paceman. It slots in between the Hardtop and the Countryman (on which its based) in terms of size and functionality, and Mini says that it will appeal to a more style-conscious shopper. Key competitors range anywhere from the Nissan Juke on the low end to the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque on the high end.

After spending lots of time with the Countryman, we're convinced that maxi can still be Mini. And the same is true with this Paceman, too.

Driving Notes
  • The Paceman rides on the same platform as the Countryman, and from the A pillar forward, it's identical. That includes all versions of the 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, which range from the 121-horsepower Cooper spec up to the 208-hp John Cooper Works that was introduced in Detroit last month. Our Cooper S model with 181 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque falls right in the middle, and just like in the Countryman, it's a good pairing.
  • What we don't love is the six-speed Steptronic automatic transmission. In the hills of Puerto Rico, the trans often struggled to keep us in the right gear, and the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters don't provide much in the way of engagement. Opting for the six-speed manual transmission will solve all of these problems, but we wish a proper dual-clutch setup were offered here for people who don't want to row their own.
  • Unsurprisingly, the Paceman drives exactly like the Countryman. That is, the steering is, for the most part, direct, though putting the car in Sport mode adds a false sense of involvement to the rack. Basically, it just feels heavier, not more engaging. But we're happy to report that the usual go-kart driving aspects have not been lost on this portly hatchback. The Paceman performed exactly how we expected. (That's a good thing.)
  • She's a heavy girl, though – 3,260 pounds here in Cooper S All4 spec. That weight is indeed noticed when you're hustling it through turns, though the excellent suspension setup and good steering feedback do a lot to convince you that the car's a lot smaller than it is.
  • We like the implementation of All4 in the Mini, and we could really feel it working as we wound the car around the twists and turns of Puerto Rico. Give the car a boost of throttle in a turn and you can actually feel the rear wheels working to propel the car forward with poise.
  • Inside, the front cabin hasn't changed from the larger Countryman, though new for the 2013 model year are the addition of window toggle switches on the doors. We're happy to have them in the correct place, though we'll admit to occasionally reaching toward the center stack to roll the windows up and down. Creatures of habit, we are.
  • The rear seats are perfectly spacious, though the more rakish roofline of the Paceman does cut into passenger headroom a bit. What's more, the bench seat option from the Countryman has not carried over to the Paceman, meaning you get two chairs and a center rail back there.
  • Pricing for the All4 starts at $29,200, excluding $700 for destination. But like all Minis, things escalate quickly, and you can very easily wind up with a nearly $45,000 example.
  • We'll be interested to see who actually buys the Paceman when it goes on sale next month. It seems like a weird niche to fill, but as we reported earlier this week, if there's a gap in the market, no matter how small, Mini will fill it. But as long as the products don't ruin everything we like about the brand, we don't suppose that's a bad thing.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 52 Comments
      godwhomismike
      • 1 Year Ago
      The price for Minis has certainly escalated quickly in the last few years. Too expensive to consider at this point.
      Rotation
      • 1 Year Ago
      That interior doesn't cut the mustard in the $30K-$40K range. It's fine for the lower end models.
      superchan7
      • 1 Year Ago
      I can see why someone would buy a Countryman, but don't see anyone wanting this over the regular Hardtop.
      imag
      • 1 Year Ago
      Thank you for highlighting the cost of the likely options. No one is buying these at base price.
      el aventador
      • 1 Year Ago
      I was shocked to read this was done in Puerto Rico, in Ponce of all places, where I study. I was wondering why I hadn't seen one yet on the road, and then I read the bit claiming it goes on sale next month. AB should've paid me a visit in Ponce and done a write up about a student and his convertible jag and how he keeps it running.
      desinerd1
      • 1 Year Ago
      ugh. Still fugly.
      MacProMan
      • 1 Year Ago
      it\'s MINI not Mini, how annoying. You don\'t write Bmw... get a clue. I hope BMW/MINI will lighten the next generation and add more power, and I am confident they will do both.
      Chris
      • 1 Year Ago
      MINI no more. Should have called it Fatman. 3200lbs+ at $29,500+ ain\'t no MINI. You\'re right-I don\'t like it.
      A P
      • 1 Year Ago
      What a fat little turd...3200lbs and 181 hp dont make for an interesting drive. Of course AB's Ewing would not dare to say to many negative things or BMW may not invite him back to the next event......geee....funny how German car companies send auto writers on paid for vacations in exotic places......and if somebody DARES to say something bad about a German car they run the risk of not being welcome at the next event...and that puts the editor in question in a real bind with his or her employer. if anybody thinks this does not happen, they are sadly mis-informed.
        A P
        • 1 Year Ago
        @A P
        I love how the truth gets downvoted by AB writers and their lemmings.
        FIDTRO
        • 1 Year Ago
        @A P
        Long Live Deutschland!
      Myself
      • 1 Year Ago
      Saw one today. The car's hideous.
      Svartorn
      • 1 Year Ago
      3200 lb MINI? You've got to be ******* kidding me. I'll stick to my R56 MCS hatch, thanks.
      Zoom
      • 1 Year Ago
      I dont understand. BMW can see fit to certify something like, which will sell just a handful of units per month, just like the roadster, yet something like a diesel stickshift wagon 3er doesn't make economic sense? Or even selling the M135i hot-hatch here. Maybe BMW wants to force Americans into Mini hatches, but we wouldn't mind some of the other toys too.
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