2014 Mini Hatch review

The Mini Hatch is the modern original: the car that began the revival of an enduring 1960s British icon, albeit under different ownership and with a different brief. The modern Mini is much bigger and struggles to seat four in comfort, but it’s one of the most desirable small cars on the market, having more or less invented the idea of extensive personalisation.
Did you know? Well over three million Minis have been built since BMW relaunched the car as its own brand in 2001.

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Verdict: (7/10)
The latest car is larger, with a longer wheelbase creating more interior space, but it’s not quite the riotous drive it once was. It has lost some of its dynamic sparkle in its growth-spurt, and the five-door doesn’t have such sweet proportions. That said, it’s still rich with character and personalisation options. It falls down on practicality and offers disappointing interior space for its size, but if budget is no problem it remains one of the most enjoyable superminis on sale.
Design & Exterior
Interior & Comfort
Technology & Connectivity
Performance & Handling
Safety Features
Spec & Trim Levels
Running Costs & Fuel Economy
We Like
Iconic design
Fun to drive
Unique interior look
We Don’t Like
Cramped for rear passengers
Small boot
Mean standard specification

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Design & Exterior: (8/10)
Ever since its launch in 2001, the Mini has stood head-and-shoulders above the competition for style. It was such an amazing hit that, even when other manufacturers caught on and developed rivals, few tried to take the Mini on directly. Only the Fiat 500 has, after a long time, been able to topple the Mini from its perch as the best-selling, easily-personalised small car – but it’s a good deal smaller (and cheaper).
Safety requirements have robbed the Mini Hatch of some of its charm, forcing the company to raise the bonnet for pedestrian protection, alter the panel-to-glass ratio and ultimately make it look a little too chunky. But while the three-door still has a reasonably balanced look from the side, the five-door looks awkward by comparison – its extra length sitting quite clumsily over the wheels.
On the other hand, the wealth of stripes, colours, roof designs, wheels and graphics still make the Mini Hatch not just fun to look at, but fun to configure – if you can ignore the rapidly rising price. It has incredibly malleable looks that can be emphasised or enhanced a thousand different ways.

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Interior & Comfort: (5/10)
Mini interiors are instantly recognisable, and for that they win fans. The large, circular console is an instantly likeable centrepiece, and Mini uses it to its advantage with LED lights and even a sat-nav screen. The material quality isn’t as high as it should be for the price, though, particularly the trim highlights around the centre console and doors.
Entry-level hatchbacks are marred by an old-fashioned LCD screen for media and settings, situated within the circular console. Some people might find it retro-charming, but it also emphasises that Mini hasn’t allocated enough budget to the interior. Before adding cost options, the cabin is black, plain and poorly appointed, lifted only by the circular theme spanning the door handles, speakers, speedometer, console, gear lever surround and air vents.
Higher trim levels barely improve the situation, but spending out on optional extras improves things dramatically. Consider the Mini’s interior a blank canvas that you need to pay to paint over.
The Mini hatchback is not practical. The five-door has obvious advantages, including usable rear legroom – a problem in the three-door. Neither has a particularly large boot, falling well short of the class averages. There are few cars with smaller door pockets and there is no real storage space elsewhere in the cabin. Cupholders immediately ahead of the gear lever are inconvenient for anything larger than a 330ml can.
Mini has plainly not built this car with any pretensions of practicality, focusing instead on outright fashion, and potential buyers will need to understand that before committing to the deal.
Boot space

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Technology & Connectivity: (6/10)
The interior environment of both hatchbacks looks extremely light on technology, and so it proves. DAB radio reception is standard, as is Bluetooth. Air conditioning is on the standard kit list, too, with an alarm and halogen front foglamps.
Even at the top of the range, the outlook is bleak before options. Cooper S and SD models only add a Sport steering wheel and Sport Seats, plus Performance Control, which is just an extension of the stability control system. Comparing it to the likes of the larger Ford Focus ST and SEAT Leon Cupra 290, the purchase prices of powerful Minis do at least undercut their hot hatch rivals by enough to allow for extras. But lower models look poor value.
Myriad individual options and packs are available, spanning all the usual gadgets such as climate control, sportier suspension, parking sensors and cruise control, plus there are a few less common features like a head-up display, heated windscreen and adaptive LED headlights. BMW-grade sat nav is also an appealing, albeit expensive, option.

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Performance & Handling: (8/10)
This generation of Mini doesn’t break the sort of dynamic ground that its forebears did. Where the previous generation was eager for corners and always felt light-footed and ready for action, this one quickly reveals an extra layer of damping between the the driver’s fingers and the road. It lacks some of the trademark Mini dynamism.
That said, the quick steering is still a joy, despite having lost outright feel, and although the ride is harsh through town in models with larger wheels, striking potholes and metalwork with jarring force, it turns and grips with gusto. On more open roads it flows well, with a maturity and stability that was missing in previous Minis. The engines are full of life, with the soft-edged but surprisingly enjoyable 1.5 petrol, fitted to the Cooper, being the highlight.
Sport suspension is an option on higher-powered models, lowering the ride height and improving the looks, but the car drives with greater fluidity on rough British roads if you stick with the standard springs.
Recommended engine: 1.5T 136hp manual
7.6 seconds (7.9 seconds 5-door)
Fuel economy
105g/km CO2

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Safety Features: (6/10)
The hatchbacks share a basic chassis construction, despite the extra length of the five-door, and both offer good passive safety. The 79 percent the model scored for adult occupant protection in its Euro NCAP crash test is as much as 14% behind other superminis, though, and its other scores are a similar distance or more behind the best.
Overall, the car gets a four-star rating, but it lacks the standard-fit active safety technologies that would help it achieve more. They are on the options list, but are expensive.
One standard feature that is well worth mentioning is the automatic phone call system, which dials the emergency services after a crash and, if the car’s occupants are unable to speak, delivers the car’s location to the operator. It’s a potentially life-saving feature that’s still rare in this class.

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Specs and Trim Levels: (8/10)
Naturally the trendy Mini Hatch can be had in a rainbow of colours, either bright and jolly or low-key classy. It’s rare to see a metallic colour as the free choice on the lowest-grade car, but Moonwalk Grey is just that. The four lb475 solids are Pepper White, Volcanic Orange, Lapisluxury Blue and Chili Red, the last of which isn’t allowed unless you add the John Cooper Works Sport Pack at extra cost.
The process can be quite confusing. For example, some colours are only available with black mirror caps and roof, like White Silver metallic. Midnight Black, British Racing Green, Deep Blue, Blazing Red, Electric Blue and Melting Silver are the other metallics on the options list. To complement the colour choice,s there are 11 alloy-wheel styles, but many need to be linked with wider option packs or trim levels.
Trim Levels
As ever, the Mini Hatch is available in the core trim derivations of One, Cooper and Cooper S, along with diesel counterparts One D, Cooper D and Cooper SD. Each becomes more powerful, with larger engines and more performance, but every available engine is now turbocharged. The names refer less to the actual specification level and more to what’s under the bonnet.
As such, standard equipment levels change surprisingly little across the trim grades, aside from wheel sizes. The biggest modifying factors are the popular Chili Pack and Pepper Pack, two of the longest-enduring names within the brand. It’s completely feasible to create a high-spec Mini One and a low-spec Cooper S for around the same price.
Mini often changes the pre-packaged special edition models, but at the time of writing there is one called the Seven. It comes with part-leather seats, a 6.5-inch colour display including sat-nav and dual-zone climate control. Many of the same options are still available, though, including the Chili Pack for LED headlights, full leather with heating for the front seats, cruise control and an upgraded stereo.
Size and Dimensions
The Mini is compact on the outside, with the three-door being particularly short and city-friendly. The five-door is a bit longer, albeit still Ford Fiesta-sized.
3,821 mm (3-dr) 3,982-4,005 mm (5-dr)
1,727 mm
1,414 mm (3dr) 1,425 mm (5dr)
Max towing weight without brake

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Running Costs & Fuel Economy: (9/10)
Official testing suggests every Mini Hatch is capable of eye-opening fuel economy. The diesels are obviously the leaders on that front, and in the 1.5-litre version owners can realistically aim for 65-70mpg. The more powerful 2-litre diesel can return 55-60mpg, while even the ordinary petrol engines can manage a real-world 50mpg if driven with care. Fuel economy is probably the most impressive aspect of the two cars, in their standard form.
Insurance is very competitive for the class and price of the Mini, and should in most cases turn out cheaper than an Audi A1. Road tax is cheap across all versions, while prices for consumables like brakes run from the very reasonable at the bottom end of the range to the bracingly expensive at the top.
Reliability and servicing
Servicing can look a bit on the pricey side. However, not many people end up forking out for individual services because nearly every owner chooses the Mini TLC ‘service inclusive’ pack, including free servicing for the first few years. It can be extended further as well, making it even better value for money.
Flexible up to 24 months or 12,500 miles – lb170 est.
24 months or 30,500 miles – lb280 est.

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Pricing: (6/10)
The Mini Hatch is marketed as a premium car and has a price tag to match. The cheapest three- and five-door One models are lb14,225 and lb14,825, which makes the extra length and interior space of the latter look like good value at first.
However, it’s back to earth with a bump when working out a final price for a car of good specification. Adding some better-looking wheels and just a couple of option packs can see prices for the three-door One jump past lb19,000. Start improving the look and feel of the interior as well, and lb20,000 is a few clicks away.
This is a tough comparison, simply because Mini’s range doesn’t work in a traditional way. Our fictional optioned-up One Hatch has a great spec but a lowly engine, and its residual value won’t be boosted much by all the add-ons. Ultimately Mini specifications have a lot of room for manoeuvre, but they seem expensive.

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Trend Setter
One 3-dr – add plenty of optional extras to the One to create of the most stylish cars you can buy
Car Enthusiast
Cooper S 3-dr – the shorter wheelbase and powerful engine make for a very exciting car
New Parents
Cooper D 5-dr – high fuel-efficiency, more rear space for car seats and a slightly bigger boot
Fiat 500
Cramped inside, but it’s the only car on the market that has more style and customisation potential than the Mini.
Honda Jazz
Astonishing standard levels of equipment and lots of advanced safety kit for very reasonable prices.
Citroen C3
Daring new style is totally unique, and there’s a lot of potential for personalisation, with exciting colour options.
Seat Ibiza
Easy to recommend for its all-round ability and sporty style, even though optional extras are usually necessary.
Nissan Micra
Stylish design meets plentiful entertainment and connectivity technology, with safety also a priority.


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