2019 MINI Hardtop Reviews

2019 Hardtop New Car Test Drive

Introduction

Few of today's cars pack as much stylish charm and driving fun into each roadgoing experience as the 2019 Mini Cooper. Offered in two- or four-door hatchback form, or as a convertible, this pint-size delight is a revival of an iconic microcar from the 1960s. 

For the 2019 model year, Mini Coopers get a handful of changes, including dandy 'Union Jack'? taillights, among other visual updates. New wheels, leather upholstery, and upgraded interior surfaces mark the 2019 model, and more customization options are available. A new standard infotainment system features a 6.5-inch display.

Small in stature but big on performance, Mini Coopers come with a choice of three peppy engines, riding a suspension that promises tight handling ? reminiscent of a go-kart.

Hatchbacks come in retro-style two-door or more practical four-door configuration, each flaunting audaciously classic design. Some observers have deemed the Mini almost cartoonlike in appearance, but plenty of others applaud the continued existence of this eccentric reminder of an earlier automotive era.

Each Mini Cooper is available in three trim levels, according to engine: base Cooper, sportier and more powerful Cooper S, and hotter-yet John Cooper Works edition. Each engine likes to rev rapidly and to corner briskly.

Base Coopers get a 1.5-liter turbo-3 engine that makes 124 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. The Cooper S moves up to a turbo-4 that whips up 189 horsepower and 206 pound-feet.

Mini fans seeking the most raucous, unfettered experience can reach all the way to the 228-horsepower turbo-4, issuing 236 pound-feet, that powers each John Cooper Works model. A JCW version of the four-door hatchback is not offered. Acceleration to 60 mph takes about 7.4 seconds with a base model, but near 6 seconds with a John Cooper Works variant.

Each Mini can be equipped with either a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission. The automatic is the most effective mate for a Cooper S, while the base model works best with manual shift. All Mini Coopers have front-wheel drive.

The NHTSA gave Mini Cooper a four-star rating overall, as well as for both frontal and side impact ? plus rollover prevention (a calculated figure). The IIHS rated the two-door hatchback 'Good'? for each crash-test. 

Active-safety features such as forward-collision warnings, automatic emergency braking, and lane-departure warnings are offered in a $1,000 option package, only on the Iconic trim.

Lineup

Prices do not include $850 destination charge.

Prices shown are for Classic trim with manual transmission. Steptronic automatic adds $1,250 to base Cooper. Sport automatic adds $1,500 to price of Cooper S or John Cooper Works model.

Classic Cooper hatchback (2-door $21,900; 4-door $22,900) holds the 1.5-liter turbo-3 engine with 6-speed manual gearbox. Standard equipment includes a 6.5-inch display, parking sensors, leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel, black upholstery, and 15-inch wheels.

Signature Cooper hatchback (2-door $24,900; 4-door $25,900) adds heated seats, keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, and 16-inch alloy wheels.

Iconic Cooper hatchback (2-door $29,900; 4-door $30,900) adds navigation, premium leather, LED headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels, and Apple CarPlay compatibility.

Cooper S models gain the 189-horsepower, 2.0-liter engine. Classic John Cooper Works cars get the 228-horsepower engine.

Cooper convertibles have the 1.5-liter turbo-3 engine with 6-speed manual gearbox, and share equipment with like-named hatchbacks.

Mini also offers an extended-length Clubman wagon with barn-style split rear doors, unique taillights, and all-wheel drive. About as spacious inside as a Volkswagen Golf, the Clubman can hold 17.5 cubic feet of cargo with seatbacks upright, versus only 8.7 cubic feet for the regular Mini Cooper.

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