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
Enlarge 244 photos

At a glance

New price £16,605 - £35,500
Lease from new From £222 p/m View lease deals
Used price £4,420 - £37,130
Used monthly cost From £110 per month
Fuel Economy 34.0 - 52.3 mpg
Road tax cost £0 - £210
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
  • Engines impressive across the range

CONS

  • Optional extras and high trims pricey
  • Boot and rear seat space is cramped
  • Ride firm especially on larger wheels

MINI Hatchback rivals

Alfa Romeo
Mito
3 out of 5 3.0

Written by Alan Taylor-Jones on

Is the MINI Hatch any good?

If you're after a stylish small car with a premium air about it, the MINI has to be one of the first cars that springs to mind. Whether you've opted for one of the popular MINI Cooper models or less potent runaround, you'll have something that's fun to drive and stuffed full of personality.

Although it's nothing like the tiny family car that kicked off the Mini legend back in 1959, the modern version has the original's cheeky character and perky handling. With tonnes of personalisation options meaning you're unlikely to see two identical cars, it's easy to see why it's so popular.

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. The range was updated in 2018 and again in 2021, tweaking the style and adding more tech. In any case, the MINI is a modern and fresh-looking car with a suitably sporty profile.

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.

What's it like inside?

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.

2021 MINI dash

What's it like to drive?

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 2018 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.

2021 MINI rear

What models and trims are available?

On top of the classic three-door and convertible options, this generation of MINI was the first to add the option of five doors. It's a bit longer than the three-door and vitally makes accessing the rear seats far easier.

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.

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