2021 MINI Hardtop Reviews

2021 Hardtop New Car Test Drive

The following review is for a 2020 Model Year. There may be minor changes to current model you are looking at.


Character abounds in the 2020 Mini Cooper. Available as a 2- or 4-door hardtop, this compact runabout combines the charm of the original with the best of today's technology and performance. 

New standard active safety features and some additional extras on a few trims are the sum of the changes for 2020. With the manual transmission on hiatus, the automatic gearbox has also been made standard. An all-electric version known as the Cooper SE is now available as well. The new equipment and automatic transmission contribute to the $2,000 jump in price over last year. 

Base Cooper Hardtops are powered by a 3-cylinder engine that makes 134 horsepower. Cooper S models trade that off for a 189-horsepower turbo-4. The most potent option is the John Cooper Works (JCW), which uses a 228-horse turbo-4. All models are front-drive only. 

The JCW comes exclusively with an 8-speed automatic, while the lesser-powered engines get a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. A 6-speed manual had been standard equipment, and will return for 2021 in a few models. 

Every engine, even the base model, is enough to make the Cooper a peppy little pocketful of retro kitsch. The 0-60 mph dash takes 7.4 seconds with the base 3-cylinder or can arrive in 6.0 seconds in JCW models. 

The NHTSA has awarded the Mini Cooper 2-door a four-star overall crash test rating. The IIHS gave that bodystyle their highest rating of Good. 

A host of active-safety features are newly standard for 2020. The list includes blind-spot monitors, low-speed automatic emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alerts, and forward-collision warnings. 


All prices include an $850 destination charge. 

The cheapest Mini Cooper is the base Cooper Classic ($24,250 for 2-door, $25,250 for 4-door). It comes with a 3-cylinder turbo engine, 6.5-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, 15-inch wheels, and cloth upholstery. 

The Signature ($26,250 for 2-door, $27,250 for 4-door) adds 16-inch wheels, heated seats, a panoramic roof, keyless entry, and dual-zone automatic climate control. 

The Iconic ($31,250 for 2-door, $32,250 for 4-door) is the top of the 3-cylinder range and boasts leather, 17-inch wheels, and navigation. 

Other than adding another cylinder, the Cooper S ($28,750 for 2-door, $29,750 for 4-door) is broken down into the same three sub-trims as the base car. Standard equipment for each sub-trim isn't any different either. Prices for 2-door Cooper S Signatures are $31,750, and Iconics are $35,750. Add another $1,000 to those prices for 4-doors. 

The JCW ($34,750) is exclusive to the 2-door model. It gets 17-inch wheels, the 228-horse engine, an aero kit, and special sport seats. It's available in the same three sub-trims as the base Cooper and Cooper S. Pricing for a Signature is $35,750, while an Iconic is $41,750. 

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