By KBB.com Editors
The 2007 MINI Cooper and Cooper S models represent the first major redesign of the beloved small car since the MINI brand's reintroduction to America in 2002. The tiny cars have been an undeniable success, selling in numbers far exceeding parent company BMW's expectations. Hallmarks of the two-door four-seat hatchback's design include sporty handling, distinct styling and more interior space than its small exterior dimensions imply. The popularity of MINI has helped to expand America's acceptance of small cars and in many ways defined the premium small car market. Competitors to the MINI are varied and include the Volkswagen Beetle, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Mazda MX-5 and Audi A3.
If you want high style and high performance in a small package, the MINI is for you. It combines excellent handling and charming looks with a remarkable level of modifications available from the factory. Drivers who crave uniqueness will love the ability to tailor their MINIs to match their tastes.
If you regularly travel with more than one passenger or need lots of cargo space, pass on the MINI. Despite excellent use of the available space, it is still a very small car. Also, the MINI's ride may be too firm for those more interested in comfort than performance.
A quick glance at the redesigned MINI suggests a mild redesign; however, a closer inspection reveals a number of important changes. The latest MINI is more than two inches longer, has revised interior and exterior styling, offers a new range of engines and actually weighs less than the model it replaces.
Driving Impressions Its light, easy-to-use clutch, smooth ride and quick-shifting transmission make commuting in the redesigned MINI more pleasant than in the outgoing model. A new, improved range of engines offers more...power, better fuel economy, excellent throttle response and quieter operation. In Cooper trim, the MINI has adequate acceleration but needs to be shifted down a gear or two to maintain speed when driving uphill on the freeway. The Cooper S comes equipped with a turbocharged engine that provides ample power with virtually no lag. Peak torque is available at only 1600 rpm, resulting in quick and worry-free merging or passing maneuvers. An interesting feature is a standard Sport button which quickens throttle response, increases steering effort and speeds up shifts in MINIs equipped with automatic transmissions. The result is a much more livable car during daily drives, with all the sporting flair of the old MINI available at the touch of a button.
The Sport Button is a wonderful solution that allows MINI drivers to live a double life. During daily commutes steering and throttle reactions are relaxed, making time behind the wheel less fatiguing. Push the Sport Button and the MINI transforms into a fun and focused driving machine.
The optional sunroof covers both the front and rear passengers, adding a sense of spaciousness to the interior. Only the front portion of the sunroof opens but with the front section in the vent position, the rear section also tilts open to let rear-seat passengers enjoy the breeze.
The most obvious area of change for the redesigned MINI is the interior. Larger armrests in the doors, new seats with more supportive seat cushions and a quieter interior, free of the rattles that plagued the previous MINI, greatly enhance driving comfort. For such a small car the MINI makes the most of its available interior space. Those riding in the front seats enjoy excellent head and legroom. However, rear passengers may feel cramped with tight shoulder space and limited legroom. An all-new dash panel is stylish, but the layout can be confusing and, though the knobs and switches look good, they can be difficult to operate. Like the rest of the MINI, the interior can be customized to suit the buyer's taste with a variety of dash trim colors, seat materials and metal, wood or carbon fiber accents.Exterior
The MINI's new body looks similar to that of the outgoing model but includes a number of changes, including headlamps mounted to the body instead of the hood, rear side glass that no longer wraps around the C-pillar, a simpler front bumper design and a taller front hood to accommodate new European pedestrian crash standards. Despite the changes, the new model retains all of the key MINI design cues, including a contrasting roof and side mirrors, large round headlamps and bulging black fender trim. A wide range of exterior colors are available, including the choice of black, white or body-color roof paint. Further, the MINI can be equipped with options like hood and roof stripes, aero kits, wheel and tire packages and a chrome package.
The MINI Cooper is well equipped with standard items like push button engine stop/start, AM/FM/CD stereo with six speakers and MP3 capability, air conditioning, six-speed manual transmission, color-adjustable interior lighting, tilt/telescoping steering wheel and power windows and mirrors. Safety items like Electronic Stability Program (ESP), anti-lock brakes (ABS), tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) and six airbags are also standard.
The MINI Cooper and Cooper S can be outfitted with a long list of options. Although most are available as stand-alone additions, MINI combines many of its popular options into packages. The Premium Package includes steering wheel-mounted controls, sunroof and automatic air conditioning. The Convenience Package includes universal garage remote, rain sensing wipers, automatic headlamps and center arm rest. Also available are Sport, Cold Weather and high-end Audio Packages. In addition to the options available from the factory, MINI offers a wide range of dealer-installed accessories for customers to further customize their cars.
The Cooper and the Cooper S have 1.6-liter in-line four-cylinder engines that produce more power and are more efficient than the previous generation of engines. Power in the Cooper is acceptable, but the turbocharged Cooper S engine is a powerhouse, with 177 pound-feet of maximum continuous torque and an "overboost" feature that temporarily increases engine torque to 191 pound-feet. Easy shifting six-speed manual and optional automatic transmissions keep both engines operating in their ideal rpm ranges, maximizing performance and efficiency.
1.6-liter in-line 4
118 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
114 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 32/40 (manual), 30/37 (automatic)
1.6-liter in-line 4 turbocharged
172 horsepower @ 5500 rpm
177 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 29/36 (manual), 27/34 (automatic)
By Louise on Friday, August 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "cute, fun to drive, unique"
Cons: "low reputation for reliability"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This is a beautiful convertible--black exterior, black rims, and black leather interior. It is a turbo-charged, manual transmission beauty that is very fun to drive. The drive is a little rough sometimes due to the tight suspension, but overall I love zipping around town in this vehicle."
By Will Miss My Mini on Thursday, August 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,100overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun drive, cute appearance, 3 years free maint."
Cons: "Depreciation, high maint costs after 3 years"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I love driving my little Mini Coop Convertible, but next month I will have had it 2 years and it has depreciated so much that I just want to get rid of it. I understand that new cars depreciate significantly as soon as you take ownership, but I did research and Minis seem to depreciate at a higher rate than many many other vehicles. I have the lowest interest rate Mini offered in 2012 and have paid a great deal on the car and I will still be upside down by roughly $2k. I've kept up with the value on them for the past 6 months and my car with normal mileage has depreciated by $1,500 in just those 6 months. I talked to a Mini salesperson and even though he tried to make excuses as to why I would be upside down on a trade-in, he really didn't seem to have a single explanation as to why the car lost so much value so quickly. I've also done some research into after free maintenance/warranty maintenance costs and they are totally outrageous. Oil changes are high even for synthetics and a new battery is over $300 when installed at the dealership. I was going to purchase another Mini but after all of this information came to light, I can't justify the purchase. You're significantly upside down if you keep the car less than 3-4 years but if you keep it after the 3 years free maintenance, then you end up paying super high costs for regular upkeep. I feel a little trapped, so the best option I can see is to just be a little disappointed about not having my fun little car and buy a car that holds its value a little better and has reasonable maintenance costs."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By JRM2 on Thursday, August 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Performance, economy, comfort, looks"
Cons: "Size for 3 or more"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"By far the most fun car for the money on the road. Great traveling car, particularly on the "twisties". Very stimulating driving sensation. More GO than most of us can or will ever use. Unbeleviably roomy and comfortable for two - even for 6+ footers. Late 1980's Porsche Carrarea performance in a spiffy 2010 econo-box. One of the truly great and memorable cars of this era."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Cordelia Cooper on Wednesday, August 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "precise handling; quick acceleration"
Cons: "a bit noisy compared to a "luxury car""
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have enjoyed every minute of driving this car! There's no way to compare it to a "luxury vehicle"...it is a "sports car" and rides/drives like a "sports car". Don't expect to have a perfectly smooth ride. Even though it is small, it is roomy in the front cabin. It handles very well, quickly, precisely, and very fast. It is also fun and quirky."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By John on Friday, August 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"The car is zippy and fun to drive, especially on a curvy road. Having a 6 speed gives you more power and control,but it can be a bear in stop and go traffic. Because of it's small size it's easy to find parking places. That said ,because of it's small size you have to be very aware of the cars around you as you are not always in their field of vision. People in Suvs and trucks often just don't see a small car especially if it's black and silver like mine. If you want a fun ride buy it. Just make it a bright color."
4 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By JOHN on Friday, July 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,500overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"I originally bought this used in May 2011 with 20,000 miles. It is fun to drive and gets a good mileage. I get about city and highway combined at 29mpg. My only complaint are the cost of service and the noise when hitting pot holes. If you're thinking of buying a Mini Cooper, buy it new. The service costs can be compared with BMWs and Volkswagen. You've been warned. For basic maintenance like oil change, do it yourself because an average oil change is about $120. That's not even going to the Mini dealership. The oil $40 (AMAZON sells it) + filter $10. That's only $50 if you do it yourself. Overall, it is fun to drive if you do not have a big family."
7 people out of 8 found this review helpful