MINI Hatch Review 2024

MINI Hatch At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The latest MINI is a premium hatchback ideally suited for singles or couples without children.

+More refined and better steering feel, much more fun to drive than previous MINI, excellent engines.

-Still really a two-plus-two, poorer visibility than predecessor, lower driving position might not suit all.

New prices start from £19,930
Insurance Groups are between 11–29
On average it achieves 76% of the official MPG figure

The three-door hatch is the cornerstone of the MINI range and this third-generation model introduced in 2014 carries on in the same vein as its predecessors. That means it offers all the attractions of a supermini but in a car with a great big helping of style and panache that very few of its rivals come even close to rivalling. A good deal of this is down to the looks of the MINI hatch, but a lot is also due to the way the car drives with such verve. The only downside is the MINI is not as practical as many of its competitors.

MINI may have launched numerous versions of its style-driven small car, but it’s the three-door hatch that remains at the core of all it does. Launched in 2014 and revised in 2018, it’s the standard bearer in the supermini class for fun driving, cabin appeal and a spread of options that leaves its rival floundering by comparison.

Of course, all of this is for nothing if the MINI three-door hatch isn’t able to tick off the basics demanded by a supermini driver. So, despite those who still bemoan the fact this new interpretation of the MINI is far bigger than the 1950s original, it’s compact enough to cope with jam-packed city streets.

The MINI is also just about big enough inside now to deal with four passengers, whereas the first BMW-led MINI was really a 2+2 at best. Granted, the current car is still not going to win in a straight fight with key competitors for outright space, but the British-built hatch is just about good enough on this score.

Like some others in this class, MINI has now dropped its diesel engine offerings, so if you want to fill up from this pump you’ll need to look to the used market where there’s a vast choice of MINI hatches available. The present line-up is powered by a pair of Twinpower turbo petrol motors, each offered in different power outputs depending on which model you go for.

The One and Cooper share a 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine with 102PS for the base model and a sprightlier 136PS in the Cooper.

We’d take the Cooper every time unless you are on a strict budget. Move up to the Cooper S and it has a 2.0-litre turbo petrol motor with 192PS to put it into the heart of compact hot hatch territory. For those who want to see off the MINI’s performance rivals, the 231PS John Cooper Works model has the firepower and pace to do so.

You could also go another way with power for the MINI in the shape of the aptly named Electric. It comes with a 184PS electric motor that gives it similar performance to the petrol Cooper model but with zero tailpipe emissions. However, its 145-mile range between charges and hefty price tag, even by MINI standards, will put off as many as it attracts.

With any MINI, the appeal is as much about creating your own version of the car as it is about the more mundane practicalities of life. In this respect, the current MINI is much the same as those that went before it thanks to a raft of optional extras and upgrade packs for everything from the styling to the infotainment and even the way it handles.

This might not sell the MINI to those who simply want the most useful car for their needs, but there are lots of drivers out there who aspire to the MINI. Its premium image, fun drive and strong residual values see that it maintains this.

Ask Honest John

Is it illegal to have different tyres on the same axle?

"Hello, I’ve just bought a used 2023 MINI Cooper S from a MINI dealer. I’ve noticed that there are three Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres and one KPATOS on the off side rear. Michelin suggest that this could be illegal and it strikes me as being potentially dangerous. I would welcome your thoughts and recommendations. "
Although having one odd tyre on your vehicle is less than ideal, unless the tyre is a different size to your existing Michelins it is not illegal. It is however a budget tyre which has clearly been fitted as a cheap replacement due to a puncture or damage on the original Michelin. Given the low mileage we would expect the Michelins to still have plenty of tread left, so we would recommend replacing the Kpatos with a matching Michelin.
Answered by David Ross

How does the MINI Intelligent Adaptive Suspension work?

"Do you have any information on the Intelligent Adaptive Suspension being offered on the 2023 Mini Cooper S, please? I’ve read it is a mechanical system rather than electrically controlled. I asked the main dealer about it, but they were vague and said it improves high-speed driving and cornering so unless you planned to drive the car like this, it was probably an unnecessary option. I would appreciate your comments, please."
The Intelligent Adaptive Damping system available on the MINI Cooper S is a mechanical system rather than the previous electronic system. It uses a valve in each damper that reacts depending on the speed of wheel compression, so that if you hit a sharp bump or pothole where the wheel is compressed quickly the valve opens, softening the damping effect to reduce the impact. During cornering, where the compression of the wheel is more gradual, the valve is closed to stiffen the damping effect and improve the handling.
Answered by David Ross

Should I choose an automatic or manual MINI Cooper S?

"I plan to buy a MINI Cooper S. The price is the same for a manual or double-clutch transmission. I prefer to use a manual box, which I assume is more reliable than a DCT. However, I would appreciate your view on whether it makes more sense to order a DCT?"
It comes down to personal preference and the kind of driving you do, really. If you spend a lot of time in traffic or driving around town, we'd recommend the DCT - it makes life much easier. It's also worth considering that a petrol auto could be a good stepping stone towards an electric car in the future (get used to not changing gears first, then get used to not having an engine next time...). Having said that, the manual gearbox in the MINI is excellent and really suits the fun nature of the car - so if that's what you prefer, we wouldn't advise against it!
Answered by Andrew Brady

My MINI Cooper S 2014 central display is not working, is there a fix for this?

"I have a 2014 Mini Cooper S. The central display opens, moves to the main menu then goes blank. This cycle then repeats ad infinitum. In the short period the main menu is shown, the radio can be adjusted and heard and the other options appear to display normally before the screen goes blank and it begins again. Is there a simple fix to revert it to the normal functionality? Any ideas?"
With an electrical fault such as this it could be a number of faults that are causing the display to malfunction. We would suggest taking your car to an independent MINI specialist who may be able to diagnose the fault, you can find one using the Honest John Good Garage Guide here: Replacing the screen may be an expensive solution, so you may wish to look at swapping it out for an aftermarket unit that uses Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
Answered by David Ross
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