MINI Convertible (2016) Review
MINI Convertible (2016) At A Glance
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On average it achieves 75% of the official MPG figure
As a topless version of one of the most fashionable cars on the planet, it’s hard to see where the MINI Convertible could go wrong. Although the market isn’t littered with small drop-tops, the MINI Convertible is the only pint-size roofless wonder you could ever need, with space for four adults, fantastic handling and a vast array of personalisation options. Crucially, it’s as good to drive with the roof up as it is with the roof down, which makes it a genuine alternative to the standard MINI Hatch. If you dare to go topless, the MINI has you covered.
Is the MINI Convertible one of the coolest cars on the road? Much depends on the weather at the time, but you can always crank up the heating if things are a little too cool (ba-dum-tish).
This is a car you buy with your heart more than your head. Emotional rather than rational. Desirability over practicality. Taking these factors into account helps to justify the Convertible’s premium price over the MINI Hatch, not to mention its reduced practicality.
What do you get for your money? MINI’s acclaimed ‘go-kart’ handling, for a start, along with a strong image, a quality interior and more personalisation options than you can shake a stick at. Going through the list of options and accessories is part of the MINI experience. It might be expensive, but it’s central to the car’s appeal.
There are three core trim levels: Classic, Sport and Exclusive. In addition to these there’s a hardcore John Cooper Works model, which is the MINI Convertible to choose if you enjoy chasing hot hatchbacks with the roof down. It’s expensive and rather uncomfortable over pitted surfaces, but it offers a driving experience quite unlike any other car.
Not that the MINI Convertible has any direct rivals. The Fiat 500C is too small and isn’t a proper convertible, even if it does rival the MINI in terms of brand appeal.
Beyond that you’re looking at the likes of the Audi A3 Cabriolet and BMW 2 Series Convertible, which are too mature and grown-up to compete with the MINI.
Aside from the John Cooper Works, there are two engines to choose from: a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol in the Cooper and a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol in the Cooper S. We’d argue that the 1.5-litre engine offers the best blend of performance and economy, although some buyers will appreciate the refinement of the 2.0-litre.
It’s great to drive, regardless of whether the roof is up or down. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a keen driver, you’ll appreciate the sharp steering, the bags of grip and the absence of body-roll. Opt for supersize alloy wheels and the ride quality suffers, so stick with the 15-inch or 16-inch rims.
Perhaps predictably, the MINI Convertible isn’t as practical as its tin-top sibling. Although there’s room in the cabin for four adults (just), you’ll probably use the back seats for additional storage, because space in the boot is limited, especially with the roof down. Ditch your friends or learn to travel light.
Overall, the MINI Convertible is one of the most appealing small cars on sale in 2020. It looks great, boasts a quality cabin, and drives as well as the standard hatchback. Yes, it’s expensive, but there are some seriously tempting PCP deals on offer, so you can own a MINI Convertible for the price of a compact crossover.