The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 4.0
The Mini Convertible delivers everything a soft-top buyer could want. It’s stylish and bursting with personality, has a classy cabin and cool tech features. It's also one of the cheapest drop-tops around, and great fun to drive.
Reasons to buy
- Fun to drive
- Comfortable cabin
- Smart interior
At a glance
Running costs for a MINI Convertible
If you’re after a soft-top where you can fold the entire roof down for the full wind-in-the-hair experience things don’t get much cheaper than the Mini Convertible. Running costs are comparatively low for a drop-top, too, thanks to the Mini’s light weight and reasonably efficient engines, while residual values are strong, which benefits both long-term ownership costs and finance deals.
Bear in mind that the purchase price rises steeply as you move up the range, however, and if you start ticking the boxes for the various options and packs – the cost of which won’t be fully recouped at resale time.
Insurance groups are on the high side, but maintenance costs are competitive and an optional fixed-price servicing package allows you to budget for them by paying a set monthly fee.
Reliability of a MINI Convertible
According to the JD Power Vehicle Dependability Survey, Mini’s reliability record has been a bit up and down in recent years, but the 2019 edition places the brand firmly in the top half of the standings, well ahead of the industry average, so we’d hope things are on the up with the latest cars. Should anything go wrong with your hatch, Mini offers a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty.
Safety for a MINI Convertible
The Mini Convertible comes with a decent standard of safety kit, but it’s looking rather off the pace compared with some drop tops. Every version has six airbags and the basic electronic driver aids you’d expect, but modern safety technologies such as automatic emergency braking aren’t available, even as options. Pop-up hoops activate automatically to help protect those in the cabin in the event of a rollover accident.
How comfortable is the MINI Convertible
In the front seats the Mini Convertible feels surprisingly spacious, with good legroom and more shoulder space and headroom (with the roof up, of course) than you get in a Mazda MX-5. The rear seats are less accommodating, and access is a bit tricky with the roof up, but they’re comfortable enough for a pair of adults on a short journey, and that’s more than you can say of some other four-seat convertibles.
The boot is tiny, providing just 160 litres of space with the roof down, and 215 with it up. It’s rather awkwardly shaped, too, but there’s room for a few bags of shopping or enough luggage for a weekend away.
Throughout the cabin, quality is very good and the design is an appealing mix of retro and modern. It’s mostly very user-friendly, too, although the circular central screen and retro-style switches take a bit of getting used to. In true Mini fashion, personalisation is a big part of the Convertible’s appeal and the options list offers a number of ways for buyers to tailor the cabin to their tastes, with a huge array of different colours, trims and tech to choose from.
While it’s not as sharp as the Mini Hatch it’s based on, the Convertible has the same character on the road. It’s great fun to drive thanks to responsive steering and a nimble feel through corners. The ride suffers a bit because the body isn’t as rigid without the roof, yet the ride is generally comfortable, especially on versions with smaller alloy wheels. Long-distance comfort is very good in the front seats, but things can get a bit blustery in the back when the roof’s down.
Features of the MINI Convertible
The Mini Convertible has a good standard of equipment across the range. Each engine brings with it a different basic level of kit, which increases in line with the power output. Entry-level Cooper versions give you all you really need, with standard equipment such as alloy wheels, Cooper S adds a few cosmetic extras, while the John Cooper Works version is a high-performance model that gets additional sporty extras. Disappointingly, sat-nav and support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are pricey options for all models.
For Cooper and Cooper S models, you choose from Classic, Sport and Exclusive packs on top of the basic equipment level, which add increasing levels of equipment. There are a vast array of options and packs that allow you customise the Mini Convertible’s interior and exterior, and add luxury and convenience features that you’d usually associate with a much larger car. Tick a few boxes and it’s very easy to bump the price up by hundreds, or even thousands, of pounds.
Power for a MINI Convertible
There are three petrol engines to choose from, giving you a choice of nippy, quick or very quick progress. The entry-level Cooper model has a 136-horsepower engine that’s all you really need, and which suits the Mini’s fun character well.
Upgrading to the 192-horsepower Cooper S version gives you genuine hot hatch pace, while the John Cooper Works model has a 231-horsepower engine that gives real shove-in-the-back acceleration, with a 0-62mph time of less than seven seconds.
A six-speed manual gearbox is standard for all models, with a seven- or eight-speed automatic transmission an option across the range.