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One of the best-known small car names is still one of the most popular small cars available today - the MINI Hatchback is still a regular fixture in the UK’s top-ten best-sellers.
Okay, so today’s MINI has very little in common with the car that debuted in 1959, but that’s to be expected. The recipe has changed less since the first MINIs launched under BMW ownership back in 2001 however, which means the MINI Hatchback (often referred to as a MINI Cooper) is one of the highest quality and most fun-to-drive small cars around.
Only the Ford Fiesta gets close for nimble handling, but with Ford soon putting its small car to rest, it’s the MINI which will remain the driver’s choice in future. And despite valiant efforts, other rivals like the stylish Peugeot 208 and Renault Clio, and the fuel-efficient Toyota Yaris, can’t get close on image.
If you’re looking for a MINI Cooper for sale, the good news is that the car’s popularity makes it plentiful and often affordable on the used market too.
You probably already know if you want to buy a MINI Hatchback or not - for many buyers, the retro styling and youthful image will be enough. Thankfully, the MINI has the ability to do justice to its looks, provided you’re prepared to sacrifice a little interior space compared to some rivals.
Otherwise though, it ticks all the supermini boxes. It’s easy to drive and compact enough to make parking a doddle. There’s a wide range of models available, particularly when buying used, since there have been several more trim lines and engines available over the years, including diesels if you need maximum economy. The funky interior and high standards of build quality mean they last pretty well too.
If you’re an enthusiastic driver you’ll naturally gravitate towards the sportier models, like the MINI Cooper S and MINI John Cooper Works, while the rare and wildly fast John Cooper Works GP is also an option. But even if your budget doesn’t stretch to that, the most basic MINIs available are still fun to drive. Real world economy is also good, thanks to frugal engines and the car’s compact size and weight.
As for that interior space, front seat passengers will have little to complain about, but even five-door MINIs aren’t as spacious as a Renault Clio or Vauxhall Corsa, while the boot size has never been a MINI strong point either.
There’s one more MINI worth mentioning: the MINI Electric. Available since 2020, it’s a rival to cars like the Honda E and Peugeot e-208. A relatively short range of just over 140 miles will limit its appeal for some, but if you live in a city, it’s undoubtedly one of the most entertaining (and cleanest) ways of getting about.
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It’s surprising how much fun you can have with the most unadorned MINI Cooper - that little three-cylinder engine thrums away quite happily and with the manual gearbox in particular, it’s fun to make the most of its performance without troubling your licence.
Likewise, the MINI John Cooper Works is a laugh for the amount of performance on offer. But the regular MINI Cooper S is probably the sweet spot, being not far off as frugal as the MINI Cooper (and it’ll do mpg in the 40s in the real world too, not just on paper), yet also being notably quicker. We’d also recommend the manual gearbox, if you’re not set on an automatic - it’s fun to use and adds to the MINI's sense of brio.
Sport trim looks… well, sportiest, but the Exclusive and particularly the Resolute Edition have a more welcoming cabin ambience, thanks to the use of lighter coloured trim. All models bar the John Cooper Works and MINI Electric are also available in five-door form, if you need a little more practicality.
If you’ve ever looked at a MINI Hatchback in the past, you’ll probably be familiar with the models currently available, spanning the popular Cooper to the entertaining John Cooper Works - names that reference the Mini’s racing and rallying heritage stretching back to the 1960s.
The current-shape MINI Hatchback has been around since 2013, with several updates over the years to keep it fresh against newer rivals. A new MINI is on the way soon in both petrol and electric forms, but the models detailed below refer to those currently available.
The MINI Hatchback’s dimensions are:
The MINI Hatchback’s boot size is:
Whether you’re buying a MINI Electric new or used then there’s no VED or ‘road tax’ at all under the current system, thanks to the car’s CO2 emissions rating of 0g/km. All the petrol models are subject to the same flat rate of £180 per year thereafter.
You’ll find the MINI models in the middle of the 1-50 scale used by the insurance industry. A basic 1.5-litre Cooper in Classic trim starts in group 20, while the most potent John Cooper Works sits in group 28. The MINI Electric meanwhile is towards the lower end of the scale, in insurance group 22.
Read our full MINI Hatchback review
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