4.2 out of 5 4.2
Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 4.2

Stylish hatchback is rewarding to own and drive

MINI Hatchback (14 on) - rated 4.2 out of 5
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At a glance

New price £16,200 - £37,345
Lease from new From £161 p/m View lease deals
Used price £4,345 - £29,770
Used monthly cost £108 - £743
Fuel Economy 34.0 - 49.6 mpg
Road tax cost £0 - £205
Insurance group 11 - 37 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • All models are great fun to drive
  • Lots of tech and a high-quality cabin
  • All engines are impressive
  • Bags of character inside and out

CONS

  • Top-spec models on the expensive side
  • Optional extras can be pricey 
  • Boot and rear seat space is cramped
  • Ride can be firm on larger wheels

MINI Hatchback rivals

Alfa Romeo
Mito
3 out of 5 3.0

Written by Tom Goodlad on

When thinking of stylish small cars, the first thing that jumps to mind has to be the MINI. This fun hatchback is fun to drive, feels upmarket and best of all, is absolutely stuffed with personality.

The modern MINI may not be the small car it was in its earlier iterations, but it retains the original’s cheeky character and perky handling. Add in a stack of personalisation options that mean you’ll probably never see two cars the same and it’s easy to see why this car regularly graces the best-seller lists – people absolutely love them.

In terms of size and price, it’s a rival for the likes of the Audi A1 and Volkswagen Polo, but it’s also ideal if you’re considering anything small and fun like a Fiat 500 or a Mazda MX-5. The range consists of three- or five-door hatchbacks, but you can also opt for a Convertible or the larger Clubman or Countryman models – covered in their own separate reviews. There's even a fully battery-powered MINI Electric.

How big is it?

The new MINI Hatch is, unsurprisingly, larger than its predecessor – in every direction. For example, the standard three-door model is 3,821mm long, 1,932mm wide (including mirrors) and 1,414mm tall; its predecessor was 98mm shorter, 19mm narrower and stood 1,407mm tall. There’s more space inside the new MINI, as a result, but tall adults will still struggle for space in the back of three- or five-door versions.

Despite the size increase, there’s no mistaking the Hatch for anything other than a modern MINI thanks to its familiar grille, headlights and rear lights – and even more so since the revisions carried out in 2018, which included the fitment of a set of Union Jack-style rear LED lights. In any case, the MINI is a modern and fresh-looking car with a suitably sporty profile.

Interior packed with BMW technology

Inside, MINI has served up an interior that’s interesting to look at and packed with plenty of design cues that hark back to the original car. There's also a huge amount of modern technology on offer, much of which you'd only expect to see in much bigger, more expensive cars.

The distinctive central instrument binnacle no longer contains the speedometer but instead the infotainment system’s details, with the speedo located behind the steering wheel next to the rev counter. A variety of screen sizes are available, depending on the spec of the car, and each runs a more fun-looking version of BMW’s slick iDrive infotainment system.

You'll notice that the central display is also surrounded by an LED ring, which illuminates differently depending on your preferences. It can act as a fuel gauge, change colour depending on how close you are to something when parking, or you can let it do its own thing and scroll between a variety of vivid colours.

Sensible five-door option

For the first time, a five-door (four doors and a hatchback tailgate) version of the MINI Hatch has been made available. Previously, it was only available with three doors. You get virtually the same choice of engines and equipment grades whether you pick a three- or five-door car, which gives buyers a bit more choice if they need a drop of extra practicality.

Don’t go thinking it’s some kind of family wagon – it’s still smaller inside than supermini rivals such as the Volkswagen Polo – and the boot is smaller than those of its competitors, too. Still, if you only need the rear seats for occasional use, it does make a lot of sense as a slightly more usable version of the regular Hatch. If you do need a bigger MINI, there's also the Clubman estate and Countryman SUV.

Great fun to drive with peppy engines

Whether you're opting for one of the more pedestrian three-cylinder Cooper models or the firebreathing John Cooper Works hot hatchback, every Mini puts fun at the top of the agenda. This does mean that they're not quite as comfortable on long journeys as rivals such as the SEAT Ibiza, but on the other hand, they stick like glue to the road and make country lanes an absolute joy.

MINI makes big noises about 'go-kart' handling - even going so far as to use it in marketing materials and in the infotainment. That's a little misleading, as compared with earlier, smaller MINIs the current model is more mature and much less go-karty. But it's still brilliant fun, and the good handling of the basic models becomes even more impressive as you move up into more powerful cars.

All models use turbocharged petrol engines - diesels were previously available but dropped out of the range in the most recent update. These range from the 102hp MINI One right up to the 231hp John Cooper Works model, though we reckon the 136hp Cooper is the sweet spot for most drivers.

Read on to see what we make of the MINI's practicality, interior, running costs and driving dynamics - or click here for our verdict.

MINI Hatchback rivals

Alfa Romeo
Mito
3 out of 5 3.0