Mini Cooper 1.5 Review & Ratings
- 15 February 2018
- Author: Nikolas Perseputto
When I first saw this third incarnation of the new Mini hatchback, I was slightly disappointed. Sure, it was more rounded at the front with larger lights both front and rear, but at first glance it could have easily been mistaken for the second-generation model. However, after spending a full year living with the latest version, there’s so much more to this car than meets the eye.
Performance-wise, I couldn’t fault it. The new three-cylinder, I34bhp 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine was a peach; refined, smooth, and respectably fast, especially in go-kart-like Sport mode.
Handling was similarly impressive, with the suspension providing a predictably firm but more than comfortable ride, even on the larger i6in wheels we opted for. The Cooper was brilliant fun to drive, with responsive steering and minimal body roll through tight corners, all of which was well suited to my daily urban commute, and frequent back road blasts at the weekends. The only thing that marred the experience a little was the obstinate six-speed gearbox, which didn’t like being hurried.
Where the Mini really surprised me, though, was how civilised a motorway cruiser it turned out to be. Even on the boomy concrete sections of the M25, there wasn’t any overly intrusive wind or road noise, and the Cooper was just as comfortable after 200 miles as it was after 20.
Some of this was down to the adjustable driver’s seat lumbar support, although adjusting the driver’s seat itself was an unnecessarily fiddly task, with the levers being tucked out of the way
Our car was fully loaded and came complete with both Chili and Media Packs, plus every conceivable extra you can think of. Well, everything bar parking sensors and electric fold-in door mirrors.
However, the Cooper was a doddle to park; with no rear overhang to worry about you could shoehorn it into tight, awkward spaces.
The upgraded interior was a great improvement, as was the revised layout and increased space. Our Cooper’s cabin had plenty of head room for taller drivers and welcome extra shoulder room between the driver and passenger. For tech lovers, the 8.8-inch central widescreen infotainment system complete with BMW iDrive-style rotary controller sited between the front seats was intuitive and quick to respond. However, it was only easy to use on the move if the optional central armrest was pushed up. As a result, every time you changed gear, you hit your elbow on the underside of the elevated armrest.
The boot space was a little disappointing, too. Despite an increase of almost 50 litres, its 211-litre capacity wasn’t enough for more than five shopping bags; any more required dropping the rear seats. At least that was easy and quick to do.
Fuel economy was a pleasant surprise: around town, the worst figure we sawwas35.8mpg, while on longer drives the Cooper beat its True MPG figure of 42.impg, recording 42.3mpg and 42.8mpg on two separate occasions.
We did suffer from a number of small but annoying issues with our Cooper, though. A mystery acrid stench reminiscent of cat wee oozed from the air-con system upon start-up, which required a dealer visit and flushing of the entire system to eradicate it. Then, the onboard tyre pressure-monitoring system suffered from erratic and inaccurate readings, resulting in a warning message on the central screen that was quite difficult to Good driving position, but the central armrest was an unnecessary option get rid of.
One other niggle was the Mini Connected interactive function, that, no matter what we tried, refused to connect to some Android smartphones despite saying they were compatible.
Just before the Cooper went back to Mini, a few Mini owners contacted us to ask if our car’s door shuts were worn, with paint wear Small boot could fill up too easily Wear inside door a known problem where the rubber front door seal meets the pillar. Upon inspection they did show signs of light scuffing, especially the driver’s side. Mini’s engineers examined our test car: as a result, Mini has assured us that any Mini that suffers (or is suffering) from this same issue can be booked into a Mini centre and it will investigated under warranty.
So, Mini has definitely moved things on with this latest version; it’s roomier, more comfortable, refined, with impressively slick onboard technology for the class. While it may have grown up a bit, it still remains a blast to drive.