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2019 Mini Cooper Review

If you aren’t already familiar with the 2019 Mini Cooper, you should first understand that part of Mini’s appeal is its promise of the Mini lifestyle. A strong heritage of quirkiness and customization separates Mini from other brands. Beyond your ability to fit comfortably inside the Cooper 2-door or 4-door, don’t focus so much on its tidy size, but dream a little about what you can do with it to make it yours. Take it out for a test spin and concentrate on its amazing handling and robust little engine. Revel in its odd instrument panel with toggle switches and the huge round speedometer squarely in the middle of the instrument panel.

We would like to see a bit more technology, such as a driver-assist/safety system or two, but otherwise, the Mini Cooper is a terrific smaller car. Yes, the price tag seems a little excessive for a car of its size, but everything about the Cooper screams upscale. Oh, and did we mention that it’s a gas to drive?

What’s New for 2019?

a multifunction steering wheel, radio with 6.5-in touchscreen, Union Jack styled rear LED lights, a USB port and a Bluetooth interface are now standard on every Cooper. Wireless charging is a new option. See the 2019 Mini Cooper models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Unique style and driving character
  • Sporty driving dynamics
  • Energetic and efficient engines
  • Surprisingly roomy front seats
  • Quality cabin

What We Don’t

  • Gets very pricey with options
  • Stiff ride, especially with the sport suspension and bigger wheels
  • Clutch can be difficult to modulate
  • Little in the way of collision-avoidance tech

How Much?

$22,750-$40,700

Fuel Economy

Mini Cooper models are based on three engines. Base models, which are available in 2- and 4-door configurations, use a 1.5-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder that makes 134 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. With the standard 6-speed manual, that engine returns 28 miles per gallon in the city, 37 mpg on the highway and 32 mpg in combined driving. With the optional 6-speed automatic, it returns 27 mpg city/35 mpg hwy/30 mpg combined. You may get slightly better fuel economy with the 2-door Cooper.

Next up is the Cooper S, which is also offered as a 2- or 4-door and uses a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that makes 189 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the Cooper, getting the automatic on the S yields better fuel economy at 25 mpg city/32 mpg hwy/28 mpg combined. With the manual, it’s 23 mpg city/32 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined.

At the top of the range is the John Cooper Works variant, which only comes as a 2-door. It uses an upgraded version of the standard Cooper S engine that produces more power, 228 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque but gets the same fuel economy estimates.

Standard Features & Options

The 2019 Mini Cooper Hardtop is offered with three powertrains arranged into models: a base model dubbed Cooper, the even sportier Cooper S and the high-performance John Cooper Works variant. For 2019, Mini has created three trim levels (Classic, Signature and Iconic) for each powertain model. To streamline this section, we have opted to display pricing for the base Classic trim on each engine model as well as the added cost and content of the Signature and Iconic trim levels for each.

The Cooper Classic ($22,750 for the 2-door; $23,750 for the 4-door) boasts 15-in alloy wheels, automatic headlights, heated outboard mirrors with washing jets, Dynamic Cruise Control, rear parking sensors, a backup camera, manual climate control, height-adjustable front seats, split-folding rear seats, leatherette vinyl upholstery, a multifunction steering wheel, a 6.5-in central display screen and console-mounted controller, Bluetooth, LED taillights, a USB port, an auxiliary audio jack, HD Radio, satellite-radio capability and a 6-speaker sound system.

Step up to the Cooper S Classic ($26,750 for the 2-door; $27,750 for the 4-door) and, in addition to the Classic features, you’ll get the more powerful 2.0-liter engine along with 16-in wheels, run-flat tires, fog lights, adjustable driving modes and sport seats. Apart from the engine, all of these items can be had on the base Cooper.

The sporty John Cooper Works Classic ($32,750 for the 2-door) is available only as a 2-door. It builds on the lower engine Classic models with even more power, 17-in wheels, a rear spoiler, an upgraded headliner, upgraded brakes, a sport-tuned suspension (the standard suspension can be had as a no-cost option), LED headlights with cornering lights, special styling, sport seats, a leather-wrapped sport steering wheel and special cloth upholstery.

Cooper Signature (+$3,000) adds to the Classic with 16-in alloy wheels, Steptronic automatic transmission, keyless entry, a panoramic moonroof, heated front seats, Piano Black interior accents and automatic climate control.

Cooper S Signature (+$4,000) builds on the Cooper S Classic with most of the Cooper Signature features plus sport automatic transmission, a John Cooper Works steering wheel and Active Driving Assistant.

John Cooper Works Signature (+$3,000) adds to the JCW Classic with nearly all of the above listed Signature features.

Cooper Iconic and Cooper S Iconic (+$8,000) adds to the Signature with a unique leather-wrapped steering wheel, power-folding outboard mirrors, Keyless entry, push-button start, auto-dimming outboard and interior rearview mirrors, heated front seats, automatic climate control (Cooper), LED headlights with cornering lights, LED fog lights, Active Driving Assistant (Cooper), Harman Kardon Premium surround-sound system, a head-up display (Cooper S), and touchscreen navigation with Apple CarPlay, real-time traffic info and wireless charging.

John Cooper Works Iconic ($8,000) includes most of the above features plus 18-in alloy wheels. You’ll really be able to customize your Mini by taking advantage of the hatchback’s options list. Equipment is plentiful, and much of it is available either as stand-alone items or bundled within packages. These include larger wheels, an automated parallel-parking system, keyless entry and ignition, heated front seats, various upholstery upgrades (including leather), an 8.8-in display screen with various functional and feature content improvements, a navigation system, a head-up display and a Harman Kardon sound system. You can also choose from a multitude of exterior and interior trim customization options.

Safety

All 2019 Mini Cooper models include anti-lock disc brakes, front-side airbags, front knee airbags, side-curtain airbags, stability and traction control and a backup camera. Unlike the Clubman and Countryman, the Cooper doesn’t offer any accident avoidance tech features.

In crash tests carried out by the federal government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 2-door Mini Cooper earned four out of a possible five stars for overall, frontal and side crash protection. The 2-door Cooper earned the best possible ratings for crash protection in testing by the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Equipping it with the optional headlight upgrade and front-crash-prevention technology also makes the Cooper an IIHS Top Safety Pick.

Behind the Wheel

Unlike past Mini Coopers, don’t be too quick to select one of the more powerful engines. Even though the base-level Cooper has only three cylinders, the little turbocharged engine is surprisingly eager to accelerate. If you’ll be sticking to errands around suburbia, the base engine should offer more than enough power and fun. Of course, the 4-cylinder Cooper S and John Cooper Works models are zippier and eager to go fast. They’re the models to turn to if you’re looking for your Mini to be more of a performance machine.

Inside, today’s Cooper offers better materials as well as controls that sacrifice some whimsy in favor of improved function. We approve. At the same time, there are still plenty of unique elements that make a Mini a Mini. There are still toggle switches, special upholstery and trim types, and our personal favorite feature: the circular center display, which boasts a novel ring of LED lights. They serve a number of different functions, acting as a tachometer, parking proximity display and even an alert for upcoming navigation system directions.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 Mini Clubman — If you have doubts that the Cooper hardtop has enough space (especially if you only have one car), the Clubman is most definitely worth a look. It’s considerably larger than the Cooper, but it also manages to be a bit more comfortable and refined without losing its whimsical Mininess.

2019 Volkswagen Beetle — The Beetle boasts unique styling, a wide range of engines and a larger interior than the Mini, but it doesn’t offer the same sort of sharp driving experience.

2019 Volkswagen GTI — If an exciting driving experience is what you’re looking for, you might want to consider the Volkswagen GTI. Based on the Golf, it offers a turbocharged engine and a choice between a slick-shifting manual or a dual-clutch automatic. It’s also considerably cheaper than the Cooper S when comparably equipped.

Used BMW 2 Series — Although the Mini Cooper offers a lot of pizzazz for the money, it can’t quite top a rear-wheel-drive car like the 2 Series from Mini’s parent company, BMW. A used model will be in the Mini’s price range.

Autotrader’s Advice

Order your car. Don’t get stuck paying for stuff you don’t want or a color combination that’s not exactly your cup of tea. In one-to-two months, you can have the exact Mini Cooper you like. You should even be able to get a similar price to one that’s just sitting on a dealer lot. And if we were ordering, we’d simply try to keep our Mini as close to $30,000 as possible. Whether that means prioritizing features, style or performance is up to you. Anything pricier seems a bit silly. Find a Mini Cooper for sale

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