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Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 4.2

Iconic hatchback is rewarding to drive and own

MINI Hatchback (14 on) - rated 4.2 out of 5
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PROS

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

CONS

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

At a glance

New price £16,195 - £29,995
Lease from new From £154 per month
Used price £3,985 - £24,215
Used monthly cost £98 - £597
Fuel economy 42 - 80 mpg
Road tax cost £0 - £200
Insurance group 11 - 33 How much is it to insure?

PROS

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

CONS

  • Top-spec models on 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

The MINI Hatch is a three- or five-door premium hatchback rivalling the desirable Audi A1, the Volkswagen Polo, equally-retro Fiat 500 and similarly-sized Alfa Romeo MiTo. It also competes with other superminis like the SEAT Ibiza and Mazda 2. It's a familiar sight on UK roads, which isn't surprising considering its eye-catching styling, long list of personalisation options, its fun driving character and premium interior with plenty of BMW-derived technology and features.

How big is it?

Bigger in every external direction than any previous generation, the three-door Hatch has spawned a wide variety of models, including a more practical five-door version and the MINI Convertible, not to mention larger concoctions like the Clubman and Countryman. At 3,821mm long, it’s 98mm longer (the Cooper S is 3,850mm long), 44mm wider and 7mm taller than the old car. Overall interior space is more generous than before, but don’t go thinking you’ll be fitting tall adults in the back (unless the kids are driving).

Despite the increased size, it’s still recognisably MINI with a familiar shape to the grille, headlights, ‘floating roof’ and rear lights – although those are much wider than previous incarnations. In fact, there’s no chance you’ll mistake it for anything else, as the 2018 revisions made to the car include a set of Union Jack-style rear LED lights. If anything it looks sportier in profile; the roofline tapers more aggressively towards the rear, but altogether it looks fresh and modern.

Interior packed with BMW technology

Inside, MINI has created an interior that’s interesting to look at with plenty of design cues that hark back to the original car, but also housing a huge amount of modern technology that you’d expect to see in much bigger, more expensive cars thanks to its parent company BMW. The 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, running a more fun-looking version of BMW’s slick iDrive infotainment system. The central display is surrounded by an LED ring, which illuminates differently depending on your preferences. It can act as a fuel gauge, it changes based 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.

MINI Hatch interior

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 three-door only. You get the same choice of engines and equipment grades whether you pick a three- or five-door car, giving 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, however.

Engines: all TwinPower petrols

When ordering a new MINI, you simply pick from one of three petrol engines - One, Cooper and Cooper S - followed by a trim level; Classic, Sport or Exclusive. The entry-level petrol MINI One is powered by a 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine (it used to be a 1.2) with 102hp. Move to the Cooper, which accounts for the majority of sales, and the three-cylinder motor is also of 1.5-litre capacity, producing 136hp.

Topping the range is the four-cylinder, 2.0-litre petrol Cooper S offering significantly greater performance with 192hp, giving a sprint to 62mph time of 6.8 seconds. There’s also a MINI Cooper S Works 210 which, as you may have guessed, ups power to 210hp. An automatic transmission is available – seven-speed dual-clutch on some and more traditional eight-speed auto on others, and all MINI Hatches come with a six-speed manual transmission as standard.

Previously, the MINI was available with diesel versions of the Cooper and Cooper S, however these were removed from the line-up in 2018. 

MINI John Cooper Works

Taking the regular MINI Cooper S one step further is the MINI John Cooper Works (JCW). It pushes out 231hp and is capable of sprinting from 0-62mph in just 6.3 seconds, and is differentiated from other MINI models with several red exterior accents and model-specific trimmings inside for the seats and decorative elements.

2018 LCI facelift

January 2018 saw the arrival of a subtle facelift for the MINI - the brand calls its mid-life updates LCI. The engine range was tweaked with the One’s 1.2-litre dropped in favour of a larger 1.5-litre turbo producing 102hp. A new seven-speed DCT dual-clutch transmission replaced the old eight-speed unit in some engines, too.

Although the overall shape and style remained unchanged, it received changes to the interior, as well as revised front and rear lights. All cars came equipped with LED headlights as standard with the option to step up to dazzle-free Matrix LED ones. The rear lights were updated to a twee Union Jack design, which were designed to divide opinions.

Other highlights of the 2018 MINIs include the Yours Customised scheme, which allows the owner to buy personalised 3D-printed inserts for the dashboard and door sills, as well as unique graphics for the car’s puddle lights. Apple CarPlay and a concierge service were added as options to the infotainment system.

MINI 60 Years Edition

To celebrate 60 years since the launch of the original 1959 Mini, a special 60 Years Edition joined the range, limited to a production run of 500 cars. To set it apart from other models, it features a new British Racing Green paintjob with black roof, mirror caps and exterior trim details, unique alloy wheels, and leather interior in what MINI calls Dark Cacao. In terms of kit, the Comfort Plus Pack and Navigation Plus Pack are fitted as standard, with LED spotlights on the front grille added as well. 

MINI Hatchback rivals

Alfa Romeo
Mito
3 out of 5 3.0