Mini Cooper 3 Door Hatch Review
As the last old Mini rolled off the production line in October 2000, and ownership of the Mini brand moved over to BMW, there were concerns the new Mini, launched in late 2000 would be nothing like its long-standing predecessor. These concerns were pretty well founded, but this was not all bad. The new Mini was modern, more spacious, safer, and a car for the 21st century.
Seventeen years on and the Mini that looked nothing like a Mini, was anything but mini, and billed to be a flop, has been a roaring success. Its larger proportions all round and more recent styling change which has given it more of a front overhang, a departure
from the wheel in each corder styling of even the early successor. It has put on weight, beefed up, and now there are so many variants of the Mini that you no longer buy a Mini, but either a Mini Hatch (3 or 5 Door), Mini Cooper, Mini Convertible, Mini Clubman, Mini Countryman, Mini Paceman, and there was even, for a short time, a MiniVan.
The exterior of the new Mini has evolved since its 2000 launch. The aforementioned increase in front overhang has also resulted in a longer bonnet, whilst the rear is still as stubby as before. Overall the latest new Mini does feel more portly compared to its earlier variants giving it a little less of that Mini feel. Its design is still iconic however and it continues to retain its almost cult status on the road.
The Mini 3 Door Hatch, is perhaps the most traditional of all the Mini’s. Available as a 1.5 or 2.0 diesel or 1.5 petrol (on test) or 2.0 petrol, with varying trim levels starting with the One, then Cooper (on test), Cooper S, and John Cooper Works, there is plenty of choice.
The 1.5l 3 Cylinder Petrol on the Cooper on test is a peppy little power plant producing a rather impressive 136hp which will get you from 0-62 in a reasonable 7.9s with a quoted 62mpg. The slower, and less powerful [116hp] 3 cylinder Cooper D makes up for its lesser pace with an impressive 80mpg. If you yearn for a bit more power the Cooper S and SD deliver this, taking around 1s off the 0-62 time, whilst each sacrificing around 10mpg. If however you just want to get from A to B, the rather gutless One D is rather pedestrian with a 0-62mph time of 11s but will return a staggering 83mpg combined and 72mpg around town. We do predict however, the Cooper or Cooper D will be the most popular engine choices striking a nice balance between performance and economy.
Having chosen your Engine and Trim Level (which are linked by
way of performance and economy), you then have an almost infinite choice when it comes to interior personalisation. You have the choice of a Pepper Pack, which adds larger 16³ Alloy Wheels, Dual Zone Air Con, Auto Lights & Wipers, On Board Computer, extra storage, Cruise Control, and a few other bits, the Chili Pack with 17³ Alloy Wheels, 1/2 Leather Upholstery, Sports Seats, LED Headlights, Fog Lights, & DRL’s, and the items in the Pepper Pack, or the John Cooper Works Chili Pack, which further adds more aggressive styling with the JCW Aerodynamic Styling Kit to the Chili specification. On top of this there are then the Media Pack (essentially Sat Nav), JCW Sport Pack, Tech Pack (Sat Nav, HUD, Rear View Camera, Harmon Kardon Sound Upgrade, Mini Connected XL, and Rear Parking Sensors. You can also customise the internal colour scheme to your taste along with a broad range of technology and handling options.
Whilst certain manufacturers adopt a one-size fits all strategy with the likes of KIA an the 1, 2, 3, or 4 trim levels and thats it, Mini takes a more tailored approach which means there are likely thousands of possible permutations. However it is worth noting that even the entry level Mini One comes with Bluetooth Hands Free, DAB Radio, Heated Door Mirrors, and Keyless Go, the standard Cooper adds to this with Alloy Wheels, Body Coloured Mirror Caps and the improved performance.
Overall to drive, the latest Mini does feel a little more vague in its handling of the lower models, however there is no escaping the fact the latest engines are impressively frugal, and responsive (aside from the One). As a company car they have long been a good option either as a branded pool car favoured by recruitment and estate agents the length and breadth of the UK or as junior company cars for those who dont want an Astra or the like so are happy to sacrifice size for style.
With prices nicely sub £200 for the Cooper on a standard 3+35 / 10,000 miles per annum Contract Hire, it is easy to see why the Mini Cooper 3 Door Hatch is such a popular choice in the market both as a branded pool car and as a company car.
Facts and Figures (Mini Cooper 1.5i 3 Door Hatch Manual on test):
Engine: 1.5l 3 Cylinder Petrol
Transmission: 6 Speed Manual
Top Speed: 130mph
Fuel Economy (Combined): 62mpg
CO2 Emissions: 105g/km
If you would like to find out more about the Mini Cooper 3 Door Hatch, any other Mini in the range, or any other vehicle, please contact JCS Fleet on 01223 911 761 or contact us via the link below.