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2013 MINI Cooper Roadster

Overview
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2013 MINI Cooper Roadster Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.2

The 2013 Cooper Roadster takes Mini's trademark brand of British automotive minimalism to a new level. Now in its second year of production and part of Mini's strategy to expand its lineup, the Roadster is a tiny 2-passenger ragtop that emphasizes fun over practicality. The Mini Roadster is available in three trims with progressively mightier engines, of which the John Cooper Works edition ranks highest. Mini Roadsters are zippy, fuel-efficient, immensely nimble vehicles that can also perform surprisingly well on the open highway. But with a base price of $26,250, this small car's big joys don't come cheap. As with vehicles from Mini's parent company, BMW, the Cooper Roadster has impressive fit and finish, and its predicted resale value is strong.

You'll Like This Car If...

The Mini Cooper Roadster has managed to capture the sassy, built-for-fun nature of the Mini Cooper Convertible and condensed it even further. Though it's front-wheel drive, the Roadster is a an ace in the corners.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The Roadster is strictly a 2-person affair, and cabin storage room is accordingly miniature. With prices approaching and exceeding $30,000, higher-trim versions can induce sticker shock.

What's New for 2013

As with all other 2013 Mini models, Bluetooth wireless connectivity is now standard on the Roadster, replacing Sirius satellite radio, which becomes an option. A semi-automatic roof and wind deflector are now standard on all Roadsters. John Cooper Works editions get improved fuel economy and the option of an automatic transmission.

Driving the Cooper Roadster

Driving Impressions Mini has done a laudable job of adding structural rigidity to compensate for removing the roof in the Roadster. But doing that has made it heavier than the alt_o_t='Coupe'>Coupe, and some chassis quiver remains on bumpy roads. On open highways, the Roadster is surprisingly composed. We drove one mostly top-down from New Mexico to California, and were impressed at how solid this car feels on freeways. In twisty mountain passes, the Roadster truly excels with its quick steering. Those willing to do the extra work of shifting for themselves will be treated to an excellent manual transmission that also helps lower the car's acceleration time. In that respect, all but base Roadsters with an automatic transmission feel quick to 60 mph. Hitting that mark in the base auto model takes 10 seconds, but a manual transmission shaves more than a second off. Roadster S and John Cooper Works models get there in the 6-second range.

6-SPEED GETRAG MANUAL TRANSMISSION
Mini says more than 30 percent of its models are ordered with a manual transmission, and we can see why: They have a splendid one. Short on throws, long on enjoyment, a manual just makes sense in a Mini.

OPENOMETER
Ever wonder just how much fun you're having in the sun? You'll always know with Mini's tongue-in-cheek Openometer feature, which tracks just how much time you've spent properly motoring in your Roadster – that is, with the top down.

2013 MINI Cooper Roadster Details
2013 MINI Cooper Roadster photo Interior

In a word, the 2013 Mini Cooper Roadster's 2-passenger interior is snug. Elbow room is limited, but legroom and headroom are abundant (the latter, of course, unlimited with the top down). The bucket seats are comfortable and supportive. Despite a lot of plastic, interior materials are better than average. Like other Minis, the Roadster is full of idiosyncrasies in its controls, which can be cute at first but frustrating over time, i.e. the tiny toggles used to open the windows. With the top up, rear blind spots are surprisingly large for a car little bigger than a shoe. The Roadster's 8.5-cubic-foot trunk is larger than expected, and offers a trapdoor behind the seats that allows you to stow odds and ends without stopping.

Exterior
2013 MINI Cooper Roadster photo

Like the rest of Mini's lineup, the Cooper Roadster is descended from the original Hardtop hatchback that debuted over a decade ago. At 147 inches, the Roadster is actually a smidge longer than the Hardtop. But make no mistake: It's still small. The Roadster's ride and handling benefit from a relatively long wheelbase, with the front and rear wheels stretched to nearly the ends of the chassis. Roadsters' front fascias are defined by large, "mezzaluna" grilles that are blacked-out in Cooper S and John Cooper Works (JCW) versions. Like S versions, JCW models boast a hood-scoop intake and twin tailpipes. A small rear spoiler on the trunklid automatically rises at 50 mph.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2013 Mini Cooper Roadster comes with remote entry, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD player with HD Radio and an auxiliary input, Bluetooth wireless communication, and a heated glass rear window. Base and S models have 16-inch alloy wheels, while John Cooper Works models ride on 17-inch alloys. All models use run-flat tires. On the safety front, there are four airbags, roll-over protection bars behind the seats, and frame and A-pillar reinforcements. Complimentary maintenance such as oil changes, fluid services and brake work is included for the first three years or 36,000 miles.

Optional Equipment

Part of the allure of Mini vehicles is that they are highly customizable. Whether you want white mirror caps, sport stripes or Recaro racing-style seats, a Mini can be ordered as you want it. Mini states there are over 10 million possible configurations, so we won't try to name them all here. Among the notable are a navigation system, a 6-speed automatic transmission, heated front seats, leather interior, a 10-speaker harman/kardon sound system, iPhone integration, an alarm system, and upgrades to the suspension and brakes.

Under the Hood

Like the rest of Mini's model lineup, Roadsters employ a 1.6-liter direct-injection 4-cylinder engine, offered in three states of tune for various degrees of power output. The base engine is a naturally aspirated (non-turbo) version that makes an adequate 121 horsepower. S and JCW versions are turbocharged to make 181 and 208 horsepower, respectively. The standard transmission is a 6-speed manual, with a 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters optional. Minis are fuel-efficient vehicles, but require premium gasoline.

1.6-liter inline-4
121 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
114 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/35 mpg

1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4
181 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
177 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1,600-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/35 mpg (manual), 26/34 mpg (automatic)

1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4
208 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
192 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1,750-5,600
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/35 mpg (manual), 26/34 mpg (automatic)

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2013 MINI Cooper Roadster Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.8
Out of 10

Based on 11 Ratings for the 2012 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.8/10
    Quality
    9.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.7/10
    Performance
    9.5/10
  • Comfort
    9.3/10
    Styling
    9.8/10

Modern classic!

By on Sunday, September 07, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,600

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "About the most fun you could ever have driving!"

Cons: "Really expensive to maintain"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I can't begin to tell you how much fun this little car is to drive! Be prepared for lots of admiring stares and questions from curious passers-by because the Roadster is definitely a standout. The Roadster handles like a dream- nimble, tight and responsive and at 181 horses (on the S model) features more zip than most will need around town. Tiny though it may be this car is solid as a rock on the road, weighing as much as much bigger vehicles, thanks to the reinforcements added to the frame, so no "blowing around" on the highway! The semi-manual top is no trouble and, after a little getting used to, the toggles which control most everything else become second nature. The boot is amazingly big and the cabin is comfortable for two average-size people. On the downside, having owned the car for right at two years and a mere 8.6K miles, I have already had to replace the clutch and have learned that this is no anomaly. At about $2200 to replace (at about 5K miles!) this could add up fast. Also, at last regular maintenance, I was told that the front tires needed replacing before they were even due to be rotated. Wow. The tires these come with- run-flats, of course- do NOT have a warrantee. I will be replacing them with another brand of tire, for the record. Check owner feedback carefully before buying because there have been several such "issues" but no recalls. Overall, if the $37k+ sticker and costly maintenance don't put you off, you'll definitely smile every time you drive the Roadster."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Forget point A to B. It's the journey that counts!

By on Thursday, August 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "All you need in a fun car without the bulk"

Cons: "Paint durability against rock chip could be better"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"We've had this car for a full year and it really has been a refreshing year because of it. Two-seater is a limiting factor for many, understandably, but if it isn't or if you have more than one car the MINI roadster is just a blast to own and drive all the time. With the freedom to go and park anywhere from its small size, the trunk space makes it even more enjoyable to go on trips. And concern some may have over size and comfort really isn't an issue at all. 1 yr, 10,500 miles and it still runs like new with a peppy attitude when pushing the little "S" button. We've logged over 55% of top down and that is in a climate where winter snow and crisp cold is hard to forget. We've got so many compliments with it that it surely is enjoyable to drive something that has some character, allows you to feel more free, and put a smile on your face just driving it has practicality becomes a thing of the past."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

MIN Roadster S -2013 Convertible

By on Monday, December 02, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Style, H Kardon audio, handling, fun factor, MPG"

Cons: "Need more leg room on passenger side"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I am 6'4" and fit in the drivers side very nicely. Lots of available stretch legroom with the seat all the way back and lowered. This car is the so much fun to drive. Quality of the build is solid and the Harmon Kardon Audio package sounds great even with the top down. Winner!!!"

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

A blast to drive, I look forward to my commute

By on Thursday, August 29, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,900

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I purchased the car in Dec 2013 and I am writing this quick review Aug 29th 2013. I love this car, I've taken it on several long road trips over windy mountain passes, as well as my daily driver/commuter car and it excels in it all."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Maximum love for my Min Roadster

By on Thursday, August 15, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 750

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "peppy, fun, and economical on gas"

Cons: "no auto-up on windows"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Vey well thought out approach o the Roadster class of cars with only a few missing exceptions for a 2013 model: no auto up windows, no built in garage door opener, and the windscreen is left over from Tonka Toy days, making it very hard to see at night as it is not clear. i am looking for an aftermarket product for that. despite these shortcomings in a German-engineered car, the driving is lovely although i previously drove a quattro TT that makes all other driving pale by comparison for handling curves. Peppy, reliable, and great mileage. Trunk is roomier than i thought it would be, and the shelf actually works there. Bluetooth microphone is very good but not great on the receiving end, but i hear everyone just fine. miniapp on the iphone is very good for internet radio too, and an entire year of Sirius radio is a plus. Gas tank nozzle holder is a bit shabby, so be careful when you fill up. Tricked out price was still 30K short of replacing the TT with a new TTS, and with the difference, i can enjoy a lot of holidays. haha."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Maximum love for my Min Roadster

By on Thursday, August 15, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 750

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "peppy, fun, and economical on gas"

Cons: "no auto-up on windows"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Vey well thought out approach o the Roadster class of cars with only a few missing exceptions for a 2013 model: no auto up windows, no built in garage door opener, and the windscreen is left over from Tonka Toy days, making it very hard to see at night as it is not clear. i am looking for an aftermarket product for that. despite these shortcomings in a German-engineered car, the driving is lovely although i previously drove a quattro TT that makes all other driving pale by comparison for handling curves. Peppy, reliable, and great mileage. Trunk is roomier than i thought it would be, and the shelf actually works there. Bluetooth microphone is very good but not great on the receiving end, but i hear everyone just fine. miniapp on the iphone is very good for internet radio too, and an entire year of Sirius radio is a plus. Gas tank nozzle holder is a bit shabby, so be careful when you fill up. Tricked out price was still 30K short of replacing the TT with a new TTS, and with the difference, i can enjoy a lot of holidays. haha."

1 person out of 3 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?