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A new generation of MINI has hit the streets, but you would hardly know it by looking at the iconic hatchback's 2013 edition. Traditional styling cues present for the past 50 years remain intact and as appealing as ever. To be sure, the MINI Cooper has been freshened inside and out, but that has not altered the car's distinctive character: Changes are subtle, evolutionary, and completely loyal to the original MINI design.
A 121 horsepower 1.6-liter four, matched to a six-speed manual transmission or optional automatic, powers the base Cooper. Fuel economy is good either way: 32 mpg with the stick or 31 mpg with the automatic in combined city and highway driving. These are not the stellar mileage numbers of some small cars, but for a gas-powered car that hits 60 mph in 8.3 seconds (9.5 with auto), the Cooper is a highly efficient machine. The generous 13.2-gallon gas tank combines with a 37 mpg highway rating to give the MINI an impressive range of 488 miles.
When you're not on the open road, the petite dimensions and virtual absence of overhang take the stress out of parking and urban traffic. As expected, cargo space is limited to a few grocery bags when the rear seat is up: just 5.7 cubic feet. But with the seat down, 24 cubic feet provide enough space to accommodate a couple's luggage on a long trip.
The available Premium 1 package adds an alarm system, heated power folding mirrors, heated window washer jets, chrome interior trim, auto dimming rear- and side-view mirrors, rear parking sensors, automatic air conditioning, rain-sensing wipers, and automatic headlamps. There's also a Sport package with a choice of three 16-inch wheel designs, fog lamps, traction control, a rear spoiler, sport seats, and hood stripes.
Moving up to the Cooper S gets you a turbocharged version of the 1.6 liter four-cylinder and a boost to 181 horsepower. Available with manual or automatic transmissions, the S can accelerate to 60 mpg in 6.5 and 6.7 seconds, respectively. For ultimate performance, MINI offers the John Cooper Works with more turbo boost (to 208 horsepower), Brembo brakes, an aerodynamic body kit, and upgraded seat trim. Both the S and John Cooper Works models can be fitted with a Sport package of their own that includes additional suspension firming, 17-inch wheels, xenon headlamps and hood stripes.
The MINI Cooper runs with a 121-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder and six-speed manual transmission, a combo that takes it from zero to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds and yields 32 mpg in combined city and highway driving. Coopers equipped with the optional six-speed automatic are about a second slower to 60 mph.
Standard equipment includes 15-inch alloy wheels, power windows and locks, keyless entry, air conditioning, leatherette seats, cruise control, leather-wrapped tilt/telescope steering wheel, multicolor ambient lighting, and a six-speaker audio system with Bluetooth connectivity, a CD player, an HD radio, and a USB/iPod adapter. The available Sport package adds 16-inch wheels (in three styles), fog lamps, dynamic traction control, sport seats, and hood stripes.
As usual, MINI offers a vast array of options, color schemes, trim packages, and accessories to customize the Cooper to your tastes.
The Cooper S comes with a turbocharged version of the 1.6-liter four-cylinder that makes 181 horsepower and propels it to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds (6.7 with automatic). To handle the extra power, the S is equipped with a firmer suspension and standard 16-inch wheels. Fog lamps, sport seats, and alloy pedals are also standard. The S can be ordered with a Sport package of its own that adds 17-inch wheels, xenon headlamps, dynamic traction control, and hood stripes.
The John Cooper Works model takes all performance attributes of the S and kicks it up a notch with a 208-horsepower version of the turbocharged engine, beefier Brembo brakes, standard 17-inch wheels, cloth seats, and an aerodynamic body kit. Top speed is 148 mph, making it one of the fastest MINIs ever made. When it comes to accessories, it's hard to overstate the sheer variety of performance and appearance upgrades offered on John Cooper models, from wheels and suspension parts to knobs and door sills.
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|Build & Price|
2013 MINI Hardtop$17,000 | 31,192 mi
2013 MINI Hardtop$17,995 | 28,809 mi
2013 MINI Hardtop$21,946 | 9,270 mi
2013 MINI Hardtop$22,785 | 40,098 mi
2012 MINI Cooper$16,000 | 54,984 mi
2012 MINI Cooper S$18,993 | 29,920 mi
2012 MINI Cooper$19,250 | 16,456 mi
2012 MINI Cooper S$20,000 | 12,001 mi
2011 MINI Cooper$15,000 | 27,310 mi
2011 MINI Cooper S$15,999 | 50,845 mi
2011 MINI Cooper$16,255 | 16,687 mi
2011 MINI Cooper$16,500 | 32,312 mi
2011 MINI Cooper$16,995 | 38,148 mi
2011 MINI Cooper$17,500 | 17,523 mi
2011 MINI Cooper$17,595 | 38,685 mi
2011 MINI Cooper$18,195 | 35,274 mi
2011 MINI Cooper$18,495 | 35,505 mi
2011 MINI COOPER$18,551 | 33,704 mi
2011 MINI Cooper$19,195 | 29,007 mi
2011 MINI Cooper$19,695 | 27,401 mi
2011 MINI COOPER$19,995 | 23,116 mi
2011 MINI Cooper$20,432 | 68,620 mi
2011 MINI Cooper S$20,595 | 49,366 mi
2010 MINI Cooper S$14,792 | 51,196 mi
2010 MINI Cooper S$17,979 | 36,218 mi
2009 Mini Cooper S$17,484 | 53,059 mi
2003 MINI Cooper$6,988 | 99,813 mi
2003 MINI Cooper S$7,996 | 96,346 mi
Loads of standard horsepower, 4-door convenience, but bland compared to the MINI
New turbocharged GT model performs well, but looks like an economy car
A proven performer with many packages and upgrades, styling is still boxy
Tons of character and retro appeal, average gas mileage