Mini Cooper buying guide

It's the Mini that everyone wants: read our full guide to every version on sale, including Mini Cooper prices and used Mini Coopers

BuyaCar team
Jul 13, 2018

For almost as long as there has been the Mini, there has been a Cooper version. It's named after John Cooper, the British racing engineer who tuned and tweaked original Minis, long before BMW bought the brand.

When BMW came on board in 2000, it really got behind the Cooper name to the extent that today, many people know the Mini Hatchback as the Mini Cooper. The Cooper name is now so popular with drivers that some versions of the Mini, such as the Countryman and Convertible, are available only in Cooper form.

This hasn't always been the case, though. Earlier versions of these models were also sold in entry-level One form, just as the new hatchback is today, so if your budget won’t stretch to a used Cooper, you may find a used Mini One, with some extras, does.

Meanwhile, not only are there Mini Coopers but there are also faster John Cooper Works versions. These have even more power and come loaded with extras – at a price. Discover your favourite Mini Cooper below:

 

Mini Cooper 3 and 5-door

Best Mini Cooper for the classic experience

BuyaCar prices from £7,995  Representative finance from £123 per month

The current Mini hatchback, in three and five-door body styles, is bigger than ever before, but still compact enough to feel small and manoeuvrable in town. It's nippy and agile - darting from one direction to the next as you turn the steering wheel - while giving the driver a feel for how much the wheels are turning and the amount of grip that they have. This makes it an ideal car for the extra power that comes with the Cooper treatment.

At 7.9 seconds from 0 to 62mph, the Cooper is brisk enough and its 1.5-litre engine sounds sporty, with a burble from the exhaust as you accelerate. Nudge the accelerator and it revs quickly, giving it an energetic feel. The Cooper S is faster still to accelerate (0-62mph in 6.8sec) but its engine has less of the Cooper's character. There is a Cooper D option, but this is relatively slow, accelerating to 62mph in 9.2sec.
Mini Hatchback buying guide

 

Mini Convertible Cooper

Best Mini Cooper for top-down thrills

BuyaCar prices from £8,779  Representative finance from £154 per month

The Mini Convertible is based on the Hatchack, which means that it's more spacious inside than previous models. With the roof chopped off and replaced with a foldable fabric one, the car needs extra reinforcing to ensure that the metal doesn't flex and wobble when you drive over bumps. As a result, it’s around 100kg heavier than the hatchback. This blunts performance with the result that the Cooper version of the convertible does 0-62mph in 8.8sec - almost a second slower than the Hatchback.

But if you buy a convertible, you're unlikely to be focused on getting the maximum performance out of your car: this Mini is more about leisurely open-air driving, with the occasional blast down country roads. For that, the Cooper - and its lively 1.5-litre engine - is ideal, even though the Cooper S does bring more power and performance.
Mini Convertible buying guide

  

Mini Clubman Cooper D

Best Mini Cooper for the family

BuyaCar prices from £9,499  Representative finance from £177 per month

The Mini Clubman has become a proper family car, with as much boot space as hatchbacks such as the Audi A3 and VW Golf, but without losing its Mini character. It might not be quite as light and nimble as the smaller Hatchback but the Clubman still has a sense of what Mini calls go-kart handling, thanks to the quick responses when you turn the steering wheel and the lack of leaning in corners.

But because it is more practical, the diesel-powered Cooper D may make more sense thanks to its improved fuel economy and strong performance that comes without having to rev the engine - making it easier to overtake at higher speeds.

However, if you’re one of those buyers who’s less convinced about the benefits of buying diesel or your mileage is on the low side, you could consider the petrol-powered Cooper S version. It’s only £700 more expensive but is much quicker and smoother. The downside is economy of just 42.8mpg compared with the diesel’s 65.7mpg.
Mini Clubman buying guide

 

Mini Countryman Cooper 

Best Mini Cooper for big days out

BuyaCar prices from £10,000  Representative finance from £151 per month

As the largest and heaviest Mini available, it's no surprise that the brand new Mini Countryman feels less sporty when fitted with the same engines as the rest of the Mini range.

The diesel engines make more sense than the petrols because they produce their power without the need to rev the engine hard, giving you a better mix of performance and fuel economy. New diesel cars have fallen out of favour of late but there’s no arguing with our chosen Cooper D’s enticing 62.8mpg economy and sub-nine-second 0-62mph time.

If you plan doing some gentle off-roading there’s a four-wheel-drive version called the ALL4. The Cooper D ALL4 is neither massively more expensive nor thirstier and slower than the two-wheel-drive version.

The new kid on the block is the hybrid Cooper S E All4. It can be charged up to power the car for around 20 miles on electric power alone before the engine is needed, and can also recover energy that's normally lost during braking. However, it is very expensive and its benefits are really only felt by business users looking to reduce their company car tax. It’s also less practical and its boot is slightly smaller.
Mini Countryman buying guide

 

Mini Paceman Cooper S

Best Mini Cooper for sporty looks but lots of space

The Paceman is no longer available as a new car. Poor sales meant it had no future in the new Mini line-up. This means you can only buy used ones but as a result, they are temptingly priced.

Think of the Paceman as a reasonably roomy and practical coupe and you won’t be far wrong. It's designed to be a sportier version of the Countryman, and so suits the performance of the Cooper S, with a petrol engine that accelerates from 0-62mph in 7.4sec - considerably faster than the diesel options.

 

Mini John Cooper Works (JCW)

Best Mini Cooper for performance

BuyaCar prices from £8,495  Representative finance from £126 per month

If Mini Cooper models are laugh-out-loud fun to drive, then the John Cooper Works (JCW) versions add several squeals for good measure.

Most Minis come with a JCW option, but the classic choice is the three-door hatchback. Its 0-62mph acceleration time of 6.3sec is better than another 'hot hatchback', the all-new Ford Fiesta ST, and the car has been upgraded and tweaked to make it grippier in corners.
Mini John Cooper Works buying guide

 

Mini Coupe Cooper S

Best Mini Cooper for style

BuyaCar prices from £10,495  Representative finance from £151 per month

The Coupe was dropped from the Mini line-up a few years ago so it’s now only available as a used car. No problem: it just means this little pocket-rocket is more affordable and more tempting than ever before.

When it was current it was about the sportiest and most agile model in the Mini range, especially in full-blown John Cooper Works guise. We've gone with the slightly softer but still thoroughly entertaining Cooper S version. If you want strong mid-range performance, which is ideal for quick and safe overtaking, and fuss-free motorway cruising, with good economy, check out the diesel Cooper SD version.

Be warned, though: being a coupe, this version of the Mini has only two seats. The upside is that what little space there is behind them has benefited the boot which, at 280 litres, is as big as the one in the current five-door hatchback.

 

Mini Roadster Coupe S

Best Mini Cooper for roof-down style

Like the Coupe and Paceman, the Mini Roadster is no longer available as a new car. In fact, like the Coupe, it was dropped a few years ago, which means you can only buy it as a used model.

It didn't make much impact when new; the standard convertible got much more attention. That’s a pity because the Roadster is an attractive car and fun to drive, especially in sporty Cooper S trim when it’s capable of 0-62mph in 7.0 seconds. The slower Cooper version does the same sprint in 9.2 seconds – much less entertaining.

Think of the Roadster as a soft-top version of the Coupe. Of course, this means it has only two seats although unlike the Coupe, because the powered roof must be accommodated when folded, the boot gains no extra space.

 

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