The exterior of a blue Mini Hatchback

Mini Hatch review

The Mini Hatch is the definition of fun. It handles like a go-kart and, as you sit close to the ground, the sensation of speed is amazing. It also has a quirky interior but feels robust and premium.

Pros

  • A design that stands out
  • Great fun to drive
  • Strong resale values for most models

Cons

  • Rear passenger space is a bit cramped
  • Engine parts can be expensive
  • Ride can be too firm for some

Summary

“It's stylish, fun to drive and usually well equipped in the used market.”

The Mini Hatch is the epitome of British styling and is packed with heaps of personality. The engines are punchy and the driving position is excellent. The ride can be a bit firm, which means the drive may feel less smooth, but it’s still comfortable. 

There are lots of body styles. The three-door hatch and the larger five-door version are the most popular. Both had an update in 2018 which included more tech and more Union Jacks.

The rear exterior of a blue Mini Hatch

What's the interior like?

“The interior has lots of classic Mini design with loads of technology.”

The Mini Hatch interior is a great combination of fun and practicality. It’s a retro-cool car with design cues from the classic version. The inside is well laid out with enough gadgets to satisfy tech-lovers.

Infotainment systems are excellent and it also has good tech such as air con and Bluetooth connectivity. There's also the Mini Connected app that allows you to connect your smartphone to your car. 

The three-door isn’t the best choice if you have children as it’s less spacious than the five-door. Adults are also going to be a bit squashed because of the limited legroom. The five-door is a more practical choice for families.

Rear seat shot of the Mini Hatch

What's it like to drive?

“It’s ideal for zipping around town and is just as good on the back roads.”

The Mini Hatch is great to drive with excellent steering and superb handling. It's also quite compact, which makes it easy to drive around town. The low driving position adds to the sporty and fun feeling as you sit lower to the ground. 

Mini has always offered a manual gearbox as standard but the Steptronic automatic can provide a more relaxed drive in the city by taking away the need for multiple gear changes. 

The diesels are the most fuel-efficient. Mini stopped making them in 2018 but there should be some options available as used buys. The petrol options include the excellent 1.5 litre engine which is used in the entry-level Mini One and the Cooper, although the Copper will be more powerful. The Cooper S is powered by a very punchy 2.0 litre petrol engine.

Front exterior of a red Mini Hatch

Is it cost-efficient to buy and run?

“Minis are generally great on fuel and relatively cheap to maintain.”

Used models benefit from the usual depreciation from new, which means you can save money. They also hold their value better than rivals such as the Alfa Romeo MiTo and Fiat 500.

Minis are generally very good on fuel. Insurance can get expensive for the Cooper S and JCW models, so make sure you check this before you buy, especially if you’re a younger driver. The cost of road tax varies so this is also worth checking. Servicing costs are about average even with so many BMW parts.

The rear exterior of a blue Mini Hatch

How reliable and safe is it?

“The Mini Hatch is generally very reliable thanks to its BMW engineering.”

The Mini Hatch is a reliable car and scores well above average in surveys, but watch out for issues with the air con and some engine components. If you choose a car that’s less than three years old or with under 36,000 miles on the clock, then you might still have Mini’s TLC servicing included.

While Euro NCAP gave the three-door four stars for overall safety back in 2014, every Mini is packed with safety features including all the usual BMW driver assistance systems.

Engine shot of the Mini Hatch

Which one is best for you?

Best for economy - 1.5 Cooper D

Best for family - Five-door Cooper S

Best for fun - John Cooper Works

Choosing which trim you want on your Mini One, Cooper or Cooper S is relatively easy, just select Classic, Sport, Exclusive or the even sportier John Cooper Works.

Aim for one of the Comfort packages on later models but, if you want something a bit sportier, choose the John Cooper Works trim. The 1.5-litre 134 horsepower is a great economical engine with less turbo aggression than in the more powerful Cooper S.

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