2019 MINI Cooper Review | Asian Car Guide
December 12, 2019

2019 MINI Cooper Review

2019 MINI Cooper

There is no denying that as a brand, MINI consistently harks back to its heritage. After all, it is a brand with close to 60 years of colourful and illustrious history, and has achieved a certain iconic status in the automotive world.

Even after MINI came under the ownership of BMW, with each new generation of new MINIs models, there are always call-backs to the brand’s British heritage, such as Union Jack detailing or British racing green paintwork.

This third generation MINI Cooper was launched back in 2014, and has now been recently updated, bringing a range of enhancements and changes to keep it youthful and vibrant. The LED rings surrounding the head lights bring a sharper and more distinctive appearance.

The most obvious change you may notice is at the rear – the taillights now sport a very distinctive Union Jack design, clearly referencing the brand’s British origins. The lights at the front are also new, with LED head lights surrounded by an LED light ring that generates the daytime driving and turn indicator lights. While it might be a relatively minor change, it does make the car look sharper and more modern.

The Union Jack design of the taillights clearly references the brand’s British heritage.

Additionally, looking closer, you notice that the MINI logos look a little different now. Across both exterior and interior the MINI emblems now feature a two-dimensional ‘flat design’.

In the cabin, the 6.5-inch infotainment touchscreen has been updated, and the interface is notably sleeker and sharper than before. Also, the electronic gear selector has been redesigned significantly, while the controls for the three drive modes have been moved onto the centre console.

You now operate the control just like any other switch on the centre console, rather than turning the big ring around the gear selector like you did in the previous model (which was ergonomically awkward).

Yes, a new gear selector operates the new seven-speed Steptronic dual-clutch transmission, which, with an additional gear, is also the most significant mechanical change to this MINI, promising to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions up to 5%.

The Mini’s engineers have fiddled with the engine, mostly to reduce weight. For example, carbon fibre reinforced plastic is used for the engine covers.

Thanks to additional new equipment, this updated model is actually slightly chubbier, 20kg heavier. However, as far as performance goes, it has the same figures as before. The turbocharged 1.5-litre engine produces 100kW power and 220Nm torque, propelling the car 0-100 in 7.8secs, then on to a top speed of 210km/h. The car weights 1,120kg.

The most significant update is the new seven-speed Steptronic transmission. Its ability to delight is entirely contingent on the way it handles, and to this end, the updated MINI Cooper does not disappoint.

Thanks to the short wheelbase, meaty steering and taut chassis, the car handles with verve, changing directions eagerly and immediately. In short, it’s still a very fun car, that I enjoyed driving.

Our test car came with all the compromises you would associate with a small, two-door hatchback. The boot is a measly 211 litres, and passengers would not take kindly to long rides in the rear seats.

Styling is definitely improved and more contemporary than previously, the new gearbox increases driving refinement, and the cabin offers more personalisation options than before.

It’s still very much the MINI Cooper we fundamentally know and love, but let’s face it, the MINI Cooper, especially in this three-door hatchback guise, is not a car for everyone.

There are more practical and sensible offerings with other MINI variants, whether it’s five-door, or the larger Countryman or the Clubman.

The MINI Cooper’s quirky, cheery and lively character is part of its enduring charm.

This is a car that has a precise appeal, probably to young, hip, out-and-about buyers.

But perhaps more importantly, it is the car in the MINI variant that best captures that slightly nostalgic appeal of the small, quirky and spritely MINIs of the past. Some people just love that, and it’s not at all hard to see why.

All Mini variants are covered with three-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty and customers can choose to pre-pay for the first five years (or up to 80,000km) of maintenance plan for $1240 in total when purchasing.

The basic package includes fluids, spark plugs, filters and vehicle check while a Plus scheme adds consumables such as brake discs and pads, the clutch and windscreen wiper rubbers.

2019 MINI Cooper Pricing and Specifications:

  • Price: from $29,900 (plus on-road costs)
  • Engine: 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol
  • Power: 100kW at 4,500rpm
  • Torque: 220Nm at 4,500rpm
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual
  • Fuel Tank: 50 litres
  • Warranty: 3-Years unlimited-kilometre