Mini 5 Door
Mini’s five-door Cooper hatchback is larger than the three-door and even more fun to drive – but boot space is still poor.
- A hoot to drive
- Famous Mini look
- Very solidly built
- Rear seat entry still isn’t easy
- Boot is still small
- For these prices you could get a bigger car
Thirteen years after BMW launched the new Mini there is a five-door version of the hatchback and at only £600 more it’s well priced for the extra convenience.
Why BMW left it so long to widen the car’s appeal is a mystery. Perhaps they expected those wanting more doors to buy a Countryman?
A central rear seat makes the car a five-seater.
Prices start at £14,350 but the test car topped £23,000 which shows what happens if you get carried away with options list.
The car is available in six versions with petrol or diesel power.
On the Road
The Mini One petrol engine produces 102bhp, the Cooper 135bhp and the Cooper S 192 bhp. We drove the Cooper which can accelerate from rest to 62mph in a lively 7.9 seconds and has a top speed of 130mph.
The One D has 95bhp, the Cooper D 116bhp and the Cooper SD 170bhp.
All four smaller engines are three-cylinders rather than four and are high tech units with direct injection, turbo-charging and variable camshaft control and so punch above their weight.
But it’s the 1.5 litre Cooper that’s the gem of the range. It’s much more fun to drive with the sort of responsiveness a Mini should have. You don’t need the S version any more.
With maximum torque of 162 lbs ft from only 1,250rpm the car feels almost diesel-like with its strong push from low revs.
You can choose from fuel-saving green mode to normal or sport by twisting a ring round the gear lever.
In sport the engine blips when down changing as if you were a skilled driver able to do heel-and-toe gear changes where you blip the throttle with the edge of your foot while it is on the brake.
Obviously the go-kart handling description for Minis remains an exaggeration because the car is heavy (1315kg) and isn’t rear wheel drive.
But the Mini likes being thrown into corners and the lighter weight of the three-cylinder engine up front makes it keener than versions with bigger, heavier motors, especially the diesel.
Changed suspension and steering settings make the Mini feels alert as well as agile and the longer wheelbase and wider track makes it less twitchy and nervous. A more mature car if you like.
In sport mode accelerator response is quicker and there is more weight to the quick and responsive electrically-assisted steering but real ‘feel’ for road surfaces still isn’t there.
The test car was on 15in wheels with optional (£375) variable damper control for the suspension. Turn it up and the ride goes from quite firm to awful with the car bouncing from bump to bump.
With big wheel arches, the Mini looks best on the optional 17in wheels. Car designers love as big a wheel as possible. The optional variable dampers probably make more sense then too.
Ride comfort can be affected by choosing get-you-home run-flat tyres.
Minis tend to be refined and civilized transport with in-cabin noise levels as low as some larger cars from a class up.
This time out there’s a pleasing deep thrum from the engine at high revs but it fades away for cruising when the car is exceptionally quiet and refined.
A taller sixth gear for cruising which keeps down engine noise and saves fuel is an advantage when many rivals have only five gears.
In the car
The XL size dinner plate in the centre of the dashboard, a triumph of style over function, is still there and shows a satellite navigation screen when required, but the speedometer has thankfully now been moved in front of the driver though you always could call up a digital one.
The centre screen can also show radio station display, check messages, vehicle status and information concerning the driver assistance systems activated.
The Mini Cooper has got a great, snappy gear change or you can opt for a six-speed automatic (except on the One).
Rear seat access is easier than before but not great as the back doors aren’t that large. Legroom remains tight but at least is now possible for adults.
Standard equipment includes front and rear electric windows, electric door mirrors, air-conditioning, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, DAB radio and keyless start.
Options include a head-up instrument display, a rear view camera, park assist and a camera-monitoring cruise control system which maintains a set distance from the vehicle in front.
General visibility is good.
The five-door is bigger than the three-door car, which is much bigger than the original Mini which lived up to its name.
The five-door hatchback feels more adult and less gimmicky than its smaller siblings and more practical.
The cloth and leather seats of the Chili pack hold you well for cornering and are comfortable for long journeys as well.
All the extra seven centimetres added to the Mini’s wheelbase have gone to improve rear seat legroom.
There’s now room for five people in the rear seats but the person in the middle has to straggle a large centre tunnel in the floor.
The other nine centimetres has increased boot space from 211 litres to 278 litres. That’s virtually VW Polo size but 100 litres down on a VW Golf.
The boot is slightly bigger than the Audi A1, but slightly smaller than a Polo’s and 12 litres less than the Ford Fiesta’s at 290 litres.
The rear seat splits and folds 60:40 boosting luggage volume in the Mini to 941 litres. An adjustable flat load floor can be ordered as part of a storage package for greater versatility.
Despite a power hike of 16bhp the Cooper’s new engine makes it ten mpg more efficient according to the official combined fuel test figure of 61.4mpg.
Carbon dioxide emissions of 107g/km put the Cooper in road tax band B with no first year charge and then £20 per year.
The insurance group for the test car was 20E.
The Chili option pack added £2,250, the Media XL pack £1,175 and the driving assistant pack £740. Add other kit including a £375 instrument head-up display on to the windscreen, £610 for LED headlights, £375 for variable damper control and £215 for heated front seats and the price of the Cooper climbed to £23,205.
The most economical Mini five-door is the One D, but prices start at £15,675 compared to £14,535 for the entry level Mini One petrol. That means you need to check your annual mileage is high enough to justify the extra £1,140 purchase price.
A range of servicing plans reduce day to day costs of ownership and from new the car comes with a three-year unlimited mileage guarantee.
Minis more recently have an improving reliability reputation though on older cars there have been reports of air conditioning failures, problems with engine computer software, power steering and steering racks.
There have also been issues with rear brake calipers.
All seem to have been fixed efficiently by the dealers. Some problems may have been caused by using the car in adverse weather conditions and not cleaning it properly underneath afterwards which allowed road salt to cause deterioration.
The Mini comes with an anti-theft engine immobiliser and a Thatcham category one alarm.
The new five-door Mini hatchback has yet to be crash tested by independent safety body Euro NCAP.
A model year 2014 version of the three-door car scored four stars out of five with 79% for adult occupant protection, 73% for child protection and 66% for pedestrian protection.
The car comes with a large complement of airbags and safety options include a camera triggered collision and pedestrian warning system which operates the brakes automatically if the driver doesn’t.