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The Mini Cooper is a zippy car that’s practically in a category of its own. But these subcompact cars aren’t perfect, and some customers might want a cheaper option. Here’s a look at two fast and fun cars that are great alternatives to a Mini Cooper.

The 2021 Mini Cooper isn’t perfect

Every car has some flaws. In the Mini Cooper’s case, its main issues are economics. It starts at just over $22,000, and though that’s not a ludicrous amount of money, it’s a few thousand more than subcompact rivals, U.S. News reports.

On top of that, though the standard Mini Cooper’s turbocharged 1.5-liter engine is powerful enough for regular folks, it’s not that sporty or fuel-efficient. Its standard engine makes only 134 hp, and when it comes to fuel economy, it’s rated at 28 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. 

So for folks who want a Mini Cooper that’s fun to drive, they might have to opt for the more powerful JCW trims. However, those jack up the price, starting at over $30,000, and offer even worse fuel efficiency. That’s why the following two models are great alternatives. 

2020 Volkswagen Golf/GTI: Bigger and more powerful

According to U.S. News, the Volkswagen Golf and Golf GTI are great alternatives to the Mini Cooper. Both VWs are more expensive than the standard Cooper, but they’re more affordable than the latter’s sporty trims. The Golf, for example, starts at about $23,000, while the GTI starts at around $28,000. 

Plus, because both the Golf and GTI are compact cars, they’re also larger than the Cooper. That means the VWs are more spacious and practical than the Cooper.

And, of course, the Golf and GTI are fast and fun cars to drive. The Golf is more powerful than the standard Cooper, and its fuel economy is roughly the same. The GTI, on the other hand, is significantly more powerful, but it sacrifices some fuel economy for performance. However, both VWs are agile cars that handle well.

2020 Subaru WRX

Another great alternative is the Subaru WRX. Like the VWs, the WRX is a compact car, so it’s larger than the Mini Cooper. That said, because of the WRX’s larger size and more powerful engine, its starting price of $27,000 is significantly higher than the standard Cooper, U.S. News reports. But it’s still cheaper than the Cooper’s sporty trims.

The WRX comes with a lot of features that make it fast and fun, however. For example, its standard 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine produces 268 hp, and it also comes with a manual transmission as standard. On top of that, the WRX also has all-wheel drive as standard.

Thanks to those features, U.S. News calls the WRX a “worthy adversary” to the Mini Cooper when it comes to performance. However, in other areas, such as fuel economy and practicality, the WRX may fall behind. Regardless, if performance is what customers care about, the WRX is easily better than the standard Cooper and a tough competitor to even the JCW GP.


Why Is the Mini Cooper So Expensive for a Subcompact Car?