The Mini automotive brand is a bit of an oddball in the car industry, with many of its models being variations on the same Cooper formula.
Despite being designed and engineered by BMW, it wasn’t until Austin Powers zipped around in his sporty 2001 Mini Cooper in the movie Austin Powers in Goldmember that the world noticed the fun little car.
There are currently several variants of the Mini, including the Mini Cooper Clubman and the Mini Cooper Countryman. While most Mini models don’t score poorly on Consumer Reports, only one of them is enthusiastically recommended.
Pros and cons of the standard Mini Cooper model
The standard Mini Cooper hardtop is available in a two-door hatchback or four-door option.
Pricing starts at $28,600 for the standard model and includes many new standard exterior features. A new wheel design, LED headlights, redesigned front and back grilles, and Union Jack tail lights reenergize the classic auto. The Mini website touts a multitone roof, piano black exterior accents, an upgraded interior with ambient lighting, an updated dashboard, and a newly designed steering wheel.
The three-cylinder turbocharged 1.5-liter engine configuration lets the Mini go from 0 to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, pushing 134 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque.
Advanced standard safety features include lane departure warning, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, and automatic emergency. Blind-spot monitoring is not an available feature.
Consumer Reports calls the Mini “stylish, sporty and engaging,” saying “the youthful exuberance and fun-to-drive character are ever present.” However, despite the superior handling capabilities, the ride comfort is disrupted by excessive road and engine noise, leading to an overall bumpy ride. The standard Mini also did not fare well in ratings for predicted reliability and scored very low for rear access and rear seat comfort.
The only Mini Cooper model recommended by Consumer Reports
Looking at all the Mini Cooper models, Consumer Reports recommends the Mini Cooper Countryman, ranking it number one out of 13 vehicles in the luxury entry-level SUV class.
Receiving an impressive score on the road test, the roomy “SUV-like” Countryman comes with an upgraded 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that generates 189 hp.
The MSRP ranges between $29,100 and $41,500, depending on the variant selected.
Consumer Reports loves the unique design of the Mini Countryman, noting that it is the biggest model yet for the brand. Referring to its “cheerful, irreverent demeanor” and “fun-to-drive nature of the car,” the auto reviewer appreciated the agile handling, quick steering, and distinct exhaust sound.
The Mini Cooper Countryman is also recommended for its comfortable interior, improved suspension, and suppressed road noise compared to other Mini models.
The Mini Cooper Clubman and other variants of the Mini model
The Mini Cooper has several other models at varying price points to satisfy consumers, with a convertible and two or four-door options.
According to Consumer Reports, the Mini Cooper Clubman is a “longer and wider version of the four-door Cooper and shares its platform with the BMW X1.” It was not recommended primarily because of the stiff ride and pronounced road noise. The auto reviewer felt the vehicle did not warrant the $40,000 sticker price, saying the Clubman was not as comfortable as the recommended Mini Cooper Countryman.
Consumers interested in an eco-friendly version will enjoy the 2023 Mini Cooper electric vehicle with an MSRP of $30.750. Car and Driver claim not only is the EV “one of the most inexpensive electric cars on the market, but the Mini’s agility is “something that will generate as many smiles as the 2023 Cooper EV’s adorable aesthetic.”