Mini Hatchback (2020) - The Legendary Supermini
The legendary Mini hatchback is a British icon dating back to the 1950s, made famous from winning rallies around the world and starring in the notorious Michael Caine movie “The Italian Job”. The Mini hatchback has traditionally been a 3-door pocket rocket with sublime handling, but Mini has now added a 5-door model increasing its versatility while maintaining its fun and exhilarating driving characteristics.
We have detailed the history of Mini from its creation through to the BMW takeover, bringing with it the rebirth of a car Britain was missing in a previous post. The new Mini hatchback is now in its 3rd iteration under the BMW/Mini umbrella and for the first time features a 5-door model along with the 3-door we have become accustomed to. The styling of Minis historical roots is retained, but the body proportions have grown over the years to satisfy the needs of the modern-day population.
The Mini shares the same platform as the Mini Countryman and Mini Clubman along with other BMW models. The new Mini 3-door is larger than ever in length, width and height and the 5-door model is slightly bigger gaining an extra 162mm in length and 11mm of height to accommodate the added doors, without impacting on the boot space. If the Mini hatchback is not big enough for you, then you could opt for the larger Clubman or Countryman, both of which can fit five people with relative ease.
Selecting a Mini is pretty straightforward as there are three performance levels; One, Cooper and Cooper S, each has its own engine. Then choose one of three styles; Classic, Sport and Exclusive. The Mini One is the only level where you can choose the Classic trim. There is a range-topping Mini JCW (John Cooper Works) which we will cover in a separate review.
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Engines, Power and Performance
Mini has removed the diesel engines from their line-up, leaving just three petrol variations to choose between.
The entry-level, Mini One, features a 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine developing 102hp and 190Nm of torque ideal for city/town driving but also enough power to give you confidence when driving on the motorway. It will hit 0-62mph in just 10.3secs and climb to a top speed of 121mph.
Next up is the mid-level Cooper, which uses the same 1.5-litre engine as in the One but power is increased to 136hp and 220Nm of torque. Thanks to the extra power the Mini will now race from 0-62mph in 8secs and keep going to a top speed of 130mph.
The final offering is the Cooper S, a 2-litre four-cylinder engine producing 192hp and 280Nm of torque. This pocket rocket will now race from 0-62mph in just 6.2secs and continue to a top speed of 146mph.
Each Mini comes with a six-speed manual transmission, but there is an optional seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) available to all models. The Mini Cooper S receives a sports automatic transmission with added paddle gearshifts either side of the steering wheel, increasing performance through more responsive gear changes and revised gear ratios.
There is an engine which should satisfy almost any needs, each of which offers excellent performance whether you are just going to the shops or stretching the Mini’s legs on a quiet country lane. The Mini handles impressively well and maintains its go-kart characteristics.
Interior Quality and Technology
The one thing you can rely on when purchasing a Mini is a premium quality interior using top-class materials. The dashboard maintains its funkiness, with a large round centre dial, encompassing the standard 6.5-inch colour screen used to support and access the infotainment system. This is controlled via a rotary dial similar to those found in BMW’s. Along with the 6.5-inch colour screen, each Mini also get DAB Radio, Bluetooth connectivity and a USB socket as standard.
There are various upgrade packages available such as the navigation Pack which adds sat-nav and Apple CarPlay connection and a few other features. You can also choose to have the Navigation Plus Pack which comes with a larger 8.8-inch colour screen with split-screen functionality. It also includes wireless smartphone charging and sports steering wheel and the Comfort Pack which includes heated front seats and added storage compartments.
The Mini is surprisingly comfortable to ride in whether you are driving or are a passenger given its sporty traits. The front seats also have a great range of adjustment, allowing you to find a perfect driving position. The new Mini Hatchback is a premium supermini, and its interior and technology certainly live up to that image.
Space, Practicality and Safety
The new Mini hatchback is larger than any of its previous iterations, allowing for added legroom front and rear along with headroom. We have to remember the Mini hatch is the smallest of the Mini family and slots into the small car/supermini classification and is not designed for large families.
The Mini is however generously spacious in the front, and the driver and passenger should find little to moan about when it comes to legroom and headroom. Thanks to the added width of the new Mini you won’t find your shoulders bumping into each other either.
In the rear of the Mini, space is improved, and whereas the 3-door version can only seat two in the back, the 5-door will sit three. Legroom and headroom is as good as you will find in most other small cars. In the 5-door model, it can be a bit of a squeeze to fit three adults on the rear bench for anything more than a short journey.
There are several storage cubbies to be found, such as slim door pockets, an average-sized glovebox and a couple of cup holders. You can purchase an optional centre armrest compartment which also supports wireless mobile charging.
The 3-door model has a boot capacity of 211-litres rising to 731-litres with the rear seats folded down. The 5-door model gains extra space with a capacity of 278-litres climbing to 941-litres with the rear seats folded away.
The Mini scored a 4-star rating when tested at the 2014 Euro NCAP safety tests, but with the addition of the latest safety technologies, there is a strong chance the Mini will achieve a 5-star rating when it is next tested. Some of the standard features include multiple airbags, ABS brakes and traction control. There are various safety packages available, some of which are included with the higher trim models. These features include and head-up display (HUD) and Park Distance Control (PDC).
The Mini Hatchback is a great little car perfect for couples or small families, offering a significant level of practicality combined with efficient and economical engines. If you are on the lookout for a premium city car or cute funky runaround, the Mini Hatchback could be the car for you.