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2013 MINI Paceman Overview

John Diether
Automotive Editor - May 16, 2013

The MINI Cooper has proved to be a prolific little hatchback. From its platform, engineers have conjured up a coupe, convertible, wagon, roadster and crossover. There's yet another spinoff for 2013, the Paceman, a two-door variant of the Countryman crossover. The new model offers more space than the standard Cooper while retaining most of its spunk and agility.

It's debatable whether the Paceman is a true crossover or just a tall hatchback, but it's safe to say most buyers will recognize it as something other than a passenger car. Although mechanically identical to the Countryman, the Paceman offers unique styling that goes beyond its two-door body. The ride height and roofline have been lowered for a more aggressive appearance. The tailgate isn't so vertical, and the rear quarter panel bulge out a bit.

Rear bucket seating is the only configuration available, making it strictly a four-passenger vehicle. Perhaps that won't matter since the Paceman is clearly aimed at active singles and couples, not folks with kids to ferry. It does better when it comes to carrying cargo with 24 cubic-feet of space or 38 with the rear seats folded. That isn't anyone's idea of a hauler, but it's vastly better than the Cooper or anything with a conventional trunk.

Powertrains are shared with other MINIs, starting with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 121 horsepower, matched to a manual or optional automatic transmission, both with six speeds. As expected with an engine this size, fuel economy is strong at up to 35 mpg on the highway, but acceleration ranks as below average.

Performance picks up with S model, which uses a turbocharged version of the 1.6-liter. With 181 horsepower on tap, the S offers brisk pickup with just a small drop in fuel economy. The turbo is the natural choice for all-around performance and drivability in the Paceman. All S models can be ordered with MINI's all-wheel drive system, known as ALL4.

Buyers looking for all-wheel drive and maximum go-power will find it in the John Cooper Works model. The JCW employs an upgraded version of the S's turbo with 208 horsepower and an overboost function that yields more torque during full-throttle acceleration. You also get a sport-tuned suspension and exhaust system, plus sportier interior trim.

Though it doesn't offer the sheer utility of other small crossovers and hatchbacks, the Paceman carries on the MINI tradition of precise handling, efficient sportiness, and unmatchable character.