Mini Cooper 5-door Hatch
The 136PS Cooper is one of the best-liked cars in the range, so our mototoring journalist Tim Barnes-Clay chose to get behind the wheel of the MINI many consumers will purchase or lease.
Revisions for 2018 are primarily skin-deep, though the 2018 MINI does enjoy added spec, such as LED taillights and headlights. If you’re interested in the options inventory, you can go even further and select LED matrix lights. What’s more, the MINI hatch accommodates upgraded infotainment and connectivity. There’s also a seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission option, should you want an effort-free drive.
MINI says it has worked like a trojan on areas of the new vehicle’s engine, too. In the case of the Cooper, the little powerplant is now lighter owing to carbon-fibre plastic covers. The car-producer has also improved the cooling system, exhaust and engine management to tease out a bit of added eagerness and alertness.
The steering is gratifyingly sharp on snaking sections of rural tarmac, but it’s not the best vehicle for long motorway journeys. The turbo-powered 1.5-litre lump doesn’t thump quite as much as you might expect, so you need to trigger Sport mode to smooth-talk the MINI into stimulating you.
Ride-wise, my MINI Cooper test car came prepared with adaptive suspension, hardening things up suitably in Sport setting.
In the cockpit, nothing much has altered apart from a new steering wheel, so the first-rate, retro-cum-state-of-the-art dash stays where it is for now. Additionally, all MINIs come kitted out with no less than a 6.5-inch infotainment display, which can be boosted to a bigger 8.8-inch touchscreen. You can also stipulate sat nav. The infotainment system stems from the iDrive system that BMW employs, so it is unfussy to control. Furthermore, the screen quality on the 8.8-inch unit is breathtaking.
The five-door MINI is sat on a wheelbase that’s 72mm longer than the more common three-door version, so room in the rear comes up as respectable – but not excellent – for the supermini subdivision.
It would be easy to suppose that the five-door Cooper would demand a load more cash compared with comparable challengers, but that’s not wholly correct. While the options needed to imbue it with a bit of hard-hitting magic send the list price rocketing, the base cost of the MINI Cooper slinks in a little bit cheaper than Ford’s five-door Fiesta ST-Line. It’s only a mite more on a monthly Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) contract too, depending on how deep you dig into your pockets for the deposit.
Tim Barnes-Clay, Motoring Journalist – tweeting @carwriteups