Editor’s note: If you’re looking for information on a newer Mini Paceman, we’ve published an updated review: 2016 Mini Paceman Review.
Allow us to correct two common misconceptions about the 2015 Mini Paceman.
The first is that the Paceman is just a 2-door version of the Countryman, Mini’s high-riding, 4-door compact crossover. There’s admittedly a small amount of truth here, as the Paceman shares the Countryman’s design and architecture from the dashboard forward. Everything else, however, is Paceman-specific — from the rakish roofline to what MINI calls the Lounge Atmosphere 2-person back seat. And for good measure, the Paceman has a lower ride than the Countryman for superior balance in corners.
The second misconception is that the Paceman simply doesn’t make any sense. We’ve seen this claim in a number of Paceman reviews, and here’s our retort: Says who? If you ask us, a 2-door crossover makes a lot of sense for modern drivers. After all, just about everyone loves the elevated crossover driving position, but not everyone needs — or wants — a 4-door vehicle. That’s the idea behind the trendy 2-door Range Rover Evoque, and we see the new Paceman as a similarly trendy yet more affordable alternative.
Throw in the Paceman’s inherent Mini goodness, from its trademark fun-to-drive character to its entertainingly enormous center-mounted speedometer, and you have one of the coolest new cars that we’ve seen in the last few years. Don’t let the naysayers dissuade you: Stop by your Mini dealer, and give the Paceman a chance. See the 2015 Mini Paceman models for sale near you
What’s New for 2015?
The Paceman receives only minor changes for 2015, including some exterior color revisions and a new base-level wheel design.
What We Like
Excellent turbocharged engine; fun to drive; good fuel economy; available all-wheel drive; funky styling
What We Don’t
Weak base engine; firm ride; limited cargo space in comparison to other hatchbacks and crossovers
The Paceman offers three available engines. Base models use a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder rated at 121 horsepower and 116 lb-ft of torque. That engine returns 28 miles per gallon in the city and 35 mpg on the highway with the manual transmission or 25 mpg city/30 mpg hwy with the available automatic.
Step up to the Cooper S Paceman, and you’ll get the same 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine, except with a turbocharger. It makes 181 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque, and its fuel economy is rated at 26 mpg city/32 mpg hwy or slightly less with the available all-wheel-drive system.
Topping the range is the 208-hp John Cooper Works Paceman, which is only offered with all-wheel drive. It returns 25 mpg city/31 mpg hwy with a manual transmission or 23 mpg city/30 mpg hwy with an automatic.
Standard Features & Options
The Paceman comes in three trim levels: the base-level Paceman, the mid-level Cooper S Paceman and the sporty John Cooper Works Paceman.
The base-level Paceman ($24,500) includes a lot of standard equipment. Features include 17-inch alloy wheels, power accessories, air conditioning, premium vinyl upholstery (dubbed leatherette), cruise control, a CD player, an auxiliary jack, Bluetooth and a USB port. Base-level Paceman models are only offered with front-wheel drive.
Step up to the Cooper S Paceman ($27,900), and you’ll get a turbocharged version of the base model’s engine. The result is 181 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque, an increase of 60 horses and 61 lb-ft. Fog lights and sport seats are also standard.
Topping the range is the high-performance John Cooper Works Paceman ($36,600), which is only offered with all-wheel drive. The JCW model boosts power by another 27 horses and also adds a sport-tuned suspension and a performance exhaust.
Standard features only tell some of the story. Mini also offers plenty of options, ranging from wheel choices, paint colors and interior scheme, to a panoramic sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, leather upholstery, heated front seats, satellite radio, a navigation system and Mini’s Mini Connected infotainment system. All-wheel drive is also optional on the Cooper S Paceman.
The 2015 Mini Paceman comes with standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and seven airbags (front, front-side, passenger knee, and full-length side-curtain).
The Paceman had not been crash-tested at the time that this article was written.
Behind the Wheel
On the road, the Paceman feels remarkably planted, even when speeding around a corner. Relative to the Countryman, the lower, tauter Paceman does a convincing impression of the regular Mini Cooper. It’s a car that you can definitely have some fun in on winding roads — just don’t forget to turn Sport mode on for enhanced steering and throttle response.
We’re not as thrilled about the Paceman’s ride quality, which borders on stiff, especially with the bigger wheels that come standard on turbocharged models. This is normal for a Mini, but it might be a bit much for some drivers. For this reason, we’d think twice before ordering the optional sport-tuned suspension.
The audio and climate controls are typical Mini fare, meaning that they’re laid out haphazardly and can be hard to operate without glancing down. We get a kick out of the oversized central speedometer, though, and we don’t understand why so many people mock it. Would they really prefer a Mini with a boring BMW-style interior?
Other Cars to Consider
Kia Sportage — The stylish Sportage lacks the Paceman’s 2-door design and cool interior vibe, but it compensates with an excellent available 260-hp turbocharged engine.
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque — If you don’t mind spending the extra coin, the baby Range Rover delivers a more upscale driving experience, although it’s less fun.
Volkswagen Golf GTI — The GTI arguably has a higher-quality cabin than the Paceman, and it’s not as quirky — in case you find the Paceman to be a little over-the-top.
The front-wheel-drive, turbocharged Cooper S Paceman hits the sweet spot in terms of value, performance and fuel economy. We would want a manual transmission and the panoramic sunroof in our Paceman, which makes for a pretty sweet ride at a pretty reasonable price. Find a Mini Paceman for sale