MINI Paceman (2013 – 2017) Review

MINI Paceman (2013 – 2017) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The MINI Paceman is too much of a compromise. It’s not enjoyable or stylish enough to justify the reduced practicality. And it’s not even cheap enough, because the Countryman is a more affordable used buy.

+Bigger and more spacious than a standard MINI hatch, distinctive styling, reasonably fun to drive, decent value used.

-Less practical than a Countryman, stranger looking than a Countryman, just buy a Countryman...

Insurance Groups are between 13–32
On average it achieves 76% of the official MPG figure

The MINI Paceman answered a question nobody asked. Launched in 2013, the Paceman is essentially a three-door version of the Countryman SUV, with a smaller boot, limited rear space and back end styling that looks a little… odd. All of which means the Paceman sold in small numbers, so few tears were shed when it was discontinued in 2017. Today, the divisive styling remains, but the lower prices on the used car market make it easier to justify, if hard to recommend.

Do you remember when MINI went through that mad spell? When it launched all of the cars, all at the same time. There was the MINI Coupe, the MINI Roadster and this, the MINI Paceman.

It was launched as a sportier version of the MINI Countryman. Hence the ‘pace’ in Paceman. This meant lowered suspension, the removal of two doors and weird rear styling. It looks like somebody took a giant cheese grater to the back of a Countryman. It’s not prettier, but it’s mildly less offensive than the MINI Coupe. A bit of a ‘Stinking Bishop’, then? Other cheeses are available.

Rivals are few and far between, presumably because other manufacturers saw what MINI created and decided to keep their cheese grater under lock and key. The old three-door Range Rover Evoque was more expensive, so the most obvious rivals are the MINI Hatch and the MINI Countryman.

You might be wondering if there’s a point to the MINI Paceman. Indeed, we nearly opened this review by asking if you even remember the MINI Paceman, but then we remembered that you arrived here via a search engine, so that question would be null and void. A bit like the MINI Paceman, then? Sorry.

Okay, it’s time to cut the Paceman some slack (and for us, a slice of Grimbister). In isolation, it’s not a bad car. It’s certainly sportier than the Countryman, so it ticks that particular box. Like most MINI variants, the ride is a little on the firm side, especially on larger alloy wheels, but that kind of fits with the Paceman vibe.

In Cooper S guise, it’s a lot of fun. Quick, punchy and a greater feeling of involvement than you’ll find in the Countryman. It’s not on the same level as the MINI Hatch, not least because of the extra weight and the top-heavy stance.

The John Cooper Works edition doesn’t quite have the pace to rival a hot hatchback, but it’s great fun in small doses. Meanwhile, the Cooper D is powered by a BMW 2.0-litre diesel engine, so it’s great if you spend more time on a motorway than a B-road.

As for practicality, the boot offers 330 litres of luggage space, which is 20 litres down on the Countryman, but larger than the MINI Hatch.

You can also fold the rear seats, which is a better use for them than trying to squeeze a couple of people back there. Not only are the back seats hard to reach, this is a strict four-seater, so you’ll have to leave one of your mates behind. Alternatively, you could buy a Countryman.

The MINI Paceman certainly has rarity on its side, but the same could be said of the red widow spider, and you wouldn’t welcome one of those into your life.

Ask Honest John

Can you recommend a small, comfortable car?

"I currently have a Mercedes-Benz C180 coupe. It is a very pleasant car to drive - albeit expensive if it has a fault. I am expecting to move near to family and will have a small off road parking space - about 4 metres in length max. I am a fan of MINIs, although that is not my only consideration. I want something that has a comfortable ride, great seats, quiet and cheap/reliable to run. Speed is not of importance. I like well designed, interesting interiors. Can you recommend a suitable MINI or maybe something else? I would prefer not to spend more than about £8,000-9,000 which is about the value of my Mercedes. "
If comfort's really what you want, I would steer clear of a MINI – they sell on their 'go kart' handling, but comfort takes a hit in the pursuit of this. If your heart is set on one, have a look at the MINI Paceman. Its almost-an-SUV body means it's a bit softer riding then the other models (Countryman notwithstanding). It looks like a regular hatchback that's bloated. The Citroen C4 Cactus' styling tends to make it a marmite choice, but they're more comfortable than a MINI particularly if you get a high-spec face-lifted car that comes with the progressive hydraulic cushion suspension, which makes it very soft and floaty. Factor in its thickly padded memory foam seats, added sound deadening compared to the old model and the cruising refinement of its three-cylinder PureTech petrol engines, and it's hard to beat for the size and price. We have reviews of both:
Answered by Russell Campbell

Can I fit tyres with a lower speed rating than the original tyres?

"My daughter has a MINI Paceman fitted with run-flat tyres. She would like to fit all-season tyres but can only find ‘H’ rated tyres in this size. Would these be suitable? I’m aware that some garages will not fit tyres with a lower speed rating than the original fitment. "
While we don't generally recommend lowering the speed rating to anything less than was originally fitted to your vehicle, winter tyres are usually only available in lower speed ratings than standard summer tyres. If your daughter does opt for a lower speed rating, ensure she's only dropping by one, e.g. V to H but not T. To avoid any issues, she should check what size and speed rating is recommended by MINI via the customer services or the vehicle's handbook.
Answered by Georgia Petrie
More Questions