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The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.5

Available new from £16,235

There are superminis that offer lower running costs and better practicality than the Mini Hatch, but few that possess such an appealing blend of character, quality and style. It’s a hoot to drive, too; we're not surprised it won the Most Fun Car to Drive award in our 2019 New Car Awards.

Reasons to buy

  • Unique image
  • Class-leading interior
  • Fun to drive

Running costs for a MINI Hatch 4/5

The Mini Hatch costs much the same as an equivalent Ford Fiesta or Volkswagen Polo, and it should hold its value better than either. Bear in mind that the price can rise steeply once you start ticking boxes for the many appealing options and packs, however, and that you won’t recoup the full cost of these at resale time.

Maintenance costs are on a par with most rivals, while an optional fixed-price servicing package allows you to budget for them by paying a set monthly fee. Insurance groups are on the high side, especially if you opt for one of the high-performance models.

Fuel economy and CO2 emissions aren’t among the class best but the Mini is a small, light car so they’re reasonably low nonetheless. There are no diesel engines available, and no hybrid options. If you’re looking for a zero-emissions option then take a look at the all-electric version of the three-door, the Mini Electric.

Reliability of a MINI Hatch 3/5

According to the JD Power Vehicle Dependability Survey, Mini’s reliability record has been a bit hit-and-miss 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. Mini offers a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty.

Safety for a MINI Hatch 3/5

The Mini Hatch has fallen behind newer rivals in terms of safety kit. All cars come with six airbags and Isofix child seat attachment points in both the rear seats and front passenger seat, but more modern safety technologies such as automatic emergency braking aren’t available. That made the Mini Hatch look outdated back when it was tested by Euro NCAP in 2014, and was the main reason why it only scored a four-star rating. It’s even more behind the times now.

How comfortable is the MINI Hatch 3/5

Although the space up front feels surprisingly generous, rear seat space is adequate rather than plentiful and accessing the rear pair of seats on the three-door model requires the deftness of a circus performer. It’s worth noting that the rear doors of the five-door model are shorter than average, too.

The 211-litre boot of the three-door model makes it one of the smallest in the class. You’ll be able to squeeze two items of carry-on cabin luggage in there, plus a handbag, but that's about it. That said, the rear chairs fold flat with a 60:40 split. Five-door models get a slightly larger boot, but a capacity of 278 litres is still one of the lowest in the segment.

You won’t buy a Mini for outright space, though. You’ll buy it because of its unique character and classy image and in this respect the cabin ticks all the boxes. It’s a cute, appealing mix of retro and modern, with very smart materials used throughout. It’s also very user-friendly, while the options list offers a myriad of ways to personalise it to your tastes, with lots of different colours, trims and tech to choose from.

Every Mini offers the fun, playful driving experience that is synonymous with the Mini brand. The ride is quite firm – increasingly so as you move up the range – but it’s not uncomfortable and the up-side is excellent control through corners. It’s no surprise that it was voted Most Fun Car to Drive in our 2019 New Car Awards. There’s a bit more noise in the cabin than you get with some rivals, but the Mini provides decent long-distance comfort, especially if you avoid the larger alloy wheel options.

Features of the MINI Hatch 3/5

The Mini Hatch has a good standard of equipment across the range, with each increase int engine power bringing with it a higher level of kit. Entry-level One versions tick most of the boxes, with standard equipment such as LED headlights, air-conditioning and automatic headlights and wipers. You have to pay extra for alloy wheels, however, or upgrade to the higher-powered Cooper, which also comes with some desirable cosmetic upgrades. Cooper S gets you a bit more of everything, while the John Cooper Works version is a high-performance model loaded with sporty extras. Disappointingly, sat-nav and support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is a pricey option package 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. Optional packs allow you customise the Mini’s interior and exterior, and add the kind of luxury and convenience features that you’d associate with a much larger car. Get carried away and it’s all too easy to push the price up to that of a bigger car, too.

Power for a MINI Hatch 4/5

The Mini Hatch is available with a choice of four petrol engines. The entry-level One model has 102 horsepower and provides perfectly acceptable performance, but the 136-horsepower Cooper model feels nippier, which suits the Mini’s fun character.

The 192-horsepower Cooper S version has a larger engine that gives proper hot hatch pace, with a 0-62mph time of less than seven seconds. Real speed demons should go for the John Cooper Works model, which is available in three-door form only. This high-performance range-topper has a 231-horsepower engine that makes it seriously quick, with a 0-62mph time of just over six seconds.

A six-speed manual gearbox is standard for all models, with a seven- or eight-speed automatic transmission an option across the range.