2009 MINI Cooper Review | Edmunds.com

2009 MINI Cooper

MINI Cooper Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.6 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 118 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 28/37 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2009 MINI Cooper

  • A marvelous marriage of British character and German know-how, the 2009 Mini Cooper is stylish, fun to drive and remarkably good on gas.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Stellar fuel economy, sharp handling, excellent all-around performance in S and John Cooper Works trims, endearing retro styling.

  • Cons

    Fussy controls, puny backseat, poor outward visibility in convertible, stiff and noisy ride.

  • What's New for 2009

    For 2009, the Mini Cooper Convertible is completely redesigned, joining the same all-new platform as the hatchback and Clubman. The latest high-performance John Cooper Works model also debuts, sporting a friskier turbocharged engine, upgraded brakes and exclusive styling cues inside and out. The only other significant change this year is standard stability control for all Cooper variants.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (56 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

41 of 77 people found this review helpful

These cars have problems! be

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Vehicle: 2009 MINI Cooper 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 6M)

Be sure to ask your local dealer just HOW MANY of these vehicles they have serviced for "carbon build up" problems. Problem starts usually just outside the 36K warranty, are anywhere from $500 - $1000 to fix, and will recur about every 40K miles or so. Evidently, if they are not driven "aggressively" (high RPM's), this is COMMON. Do the research, gang... [non-permissible content removed]



2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Great, fun-to-drive car

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Vehicle: 2009 MINI Cooper S 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

I have had some problems with carbon build up as mentioned in other reviews, but I have not had any other mechanical problems and I've never had to have my MINI towed. To prevent the carbon build up, I was told to use a gas additive every month and drive in a spirited manner every so often. With my MINI S, I often find myself driving in a spirited manner. The horsepower is great for merging onto an interstate or passing slower cars on single-lane roads. It's also great for weaving in and out of rush-hour traffic. The main drawback is the rough ride. I've hit potholes (and a ladder once) that have slammed my teeth together. However, the only damage done to the MINI was a broken headlight!



13 of 13 people found this review helpful

Poor reliability

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Vehicle: 2009 MINI Cooper S 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

I have a 2009 Cooper S with automatic transmission. It's a fun car to drive, but goes in to have work done about every 6 months. It's had multiple problems with misfiring, carbon build up, timing belt replaced at 24,000 miles, electronic sensor issues. I'll probably keep it until the warranty is up and then trade it. Will never buy a Mini again.



17 of 26 people found this review helpful

Do not buy

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Vehicle: 2009 MINI Cooper S 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

do not buy, very unreliable. These cars have major issues. We are very disappointed in service from 800 mini and the car has issues. I would absolutely knowing what I know now never recommend this car to anyone. If an engine light comes on the only acceptable answer is to stop and be stranded. never ever get this car for young people or your wife. Until recent issues we loved it, but now after terrible experiences with dealer not ours but on road and mini themselves I would never buy. If you read this, this is not from an unreasonable person, but a father who does not want anyone else to go through what he has had to do 1200 miles away.



6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Buy or consider but beware

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Vehicle: 2009 MINI Cooper S 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

I bought my Mini Cooper S 2009 brand new. It was performing great for the first year but then as it got older although it was under mileage (12,700 miles) in 14 months of ownership, the engine experienced annoying pinging sound specially while on idling. Note* the engine is warm. I took it to the dealership and was told it's normal. The pinging sound became louder and it sounded like a diesel engine. I traded it in for a Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback AWD Turbo Lancer Ralliart.



3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Terrible car

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Vehicle: 2009 MINI Cooper S 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

After owning a 2006 cooper I took the plunge and "upgraded" to a 2009 Cooper S. This is one of the biggest car-buying mistakes I have ever made! It has only 40,000 miles on it and has already been towed 3 times, had carbon buildup in the engine, a new clutch and flywheel (beware this costs over $2000), a new timing chain, tensioner, rails, and gears, and the list goes on! I will never buy another mini and plan to get rid of this one as quickly as possible



Full 2009 MINI Cooper Review

What's New for 2009

For 2009, the Mini Cooper Convertible is completely redesigned, joining the same all-new platform as the hatchback and Clubman. The latest high-performance John Cooper Works model also debuts, sporting a friskier turbocharged engine, upgraded brakes and exclusive styling cues inside and out. The only other significant change this year is standard stability control for all Cooper variants.

Introduction

The 2009 Mini Cooper is the automotive equivalent of a boundlessly energetic Jack Russell terrier. Sure, it makes a lot of noise. Sure, it plays a little rough sometimes. And, well, it's little. But when that pooch is bounding toward you, yipping gaily, lips peeled back in an apparent smile, you can't help but smile back. That's the Mini in a nutshell -- it's not the most refined pup in the litter, but its exuberant personality is bound to win you over.

Let's start with the Cooper's retro-cute mug, which evokes the original Minis of many decades ago. It's retro done right, in our collective opinion, providing just enough old-school charm without going over the top. Remember those old Dodge Neon ads that ended with the car saying "Hi"? The Cooper says "Hi" too, but with a mischievous grin that attracts stylistic trendsetters and automotive enthusiasts in equal numbers.

The Mini also manages to please a wide variety of drivers, thanks to its discrete trim levels. A relatively demure runabout in base trim, albeit a dynamically well-sorted one, the Cooper is perfectly content playing grocery-getter or errand-runner. Step up to the turbocharged S or new John Cooper Works model, however, and the Mini is transformed into a hot hatch with sports-carlike acceleration and handling. In any trim, owners are treated to amazing fuel economy -- up to 32 combined mpg for the base model and 29 combined mpg for both the S and John Cooper Works.

For 2009, the Cooper Convertible is now based on the same all-new Mini body style introduced two years ago. Aside from gaining attributes inherent with the latest Mini -- new engines, a higher-quality cabin, more comfortable seating and fussy interior controls -- the convertible gains a few specific improvements. Pop-up roll bars replace the former fixed units that eliminated any semblance of rear visibility -- now there's a fleeting semblance. The tiny trunk gains an expandable opening feature, while a new gauge, known as the Openometer, keeps track of how much time you spend with the top down? Why would you need this? You don't, but Mini likes doing funny stuff like that.

As noted, the 2009 Mini Cooper isn't the most luxurious hatchback or convertible out there. If muted road noise, a usable backseat and a compliant ride are on your wish list, the Volvo C30, VW GTI or VW Rabbit might make a better choice. If those issues, plus rear visibility are important in your convertible, a VW Eos is better, but pricier. The Mazda Miata is also worth consideration. But we can't think of another car on the road that comes close to the Cooper's cocktail of style, fuel efficiency and fun.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Mini Cooper is available in hatchback and convertible body styles. Each is available in three trim levels: Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works.

The base Cooper comes standard with 15-inch alloy wheels, a selectable Sport setting for steering and throttle response, full power accessories, air-conditioning, leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery, a tilt/telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, a trip computer and a six-speaker stereo with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. The convertible adds a fully powered soft top with a sliding "sunroof" feature and remote control, bottom-hinged and expandable trunk opening, a climate control top-down setting and the "Openometer" gauge that times how much time is spent with the roof lowered. The Cooper S adds a turbocharged engine, 16-inch wheels, firmer suspension tuning and sport seats (optional on the base Cooper). The John Cooper Works includes a more powerful turbocharged engine, 17-inch wheels, upgraded brakes with Brembo calipers and unique exterior and interior styling cues. A limited-slip differential can be fitted to both the S and the John Cooper Works, as can an even stiffer sport suspension for those who plan on taking their Mini to the track.

The options list is anything but mini, thanks to parent company BMW, which has passed along its philosophy of allowing consumers to customize their cars. Choices include different wheel designs, a panoramic dual-pane sunroof, xenon headlights, cruise control, rear park assist, front and/or rear foglamps, automatic climate control, leather and/or cloth upholstery, multiple interior color schemes, heated seats, heated power-folding mirrors, a multifunction steering wheel, Bluetooth, rain-sensing wipers, keyless ignition/entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an integrated navigation system, a portable navigation system, HD radio, satellite radio, iPod connectivity and a variety of dealer-installed features. An upgraded 10-speaker audio system is also available -- and strongly recommended, especially for the convertible.

Powertrains and Performance

The base Mini Cooper comes with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that produces 118 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque. The Cooper S hatchback features a turbocharged version of the same engine that produces 172 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque (192 lb-ft at full throttle, thanks to an "overboost" function). The John Cooper Works is equipped with a revised version of this turbocharged motor that pumps out 208 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque (206 lb-ft via overboost). All three come standard with a six-speed manual that includes hill-start assist, while a six-speed automatic with manual shift paddles is optional on the base and S models.

In performance testing, we've clocked a Cooper S at 6.5 seconds from zero to 60 mph. As for the base coupe, Mini claims it'll do the 0-60 drill in 8.5 seconds -- not too shabby given its remarkable fuel economy of 28 mpg city/37 mpg highway and 32 mpg combined with the manual transmission. The Cooper S and John Cooper Works are both rated at 26/34/29 mpg with the stick shift, which is perhaps even more impressive than the base model's ratings given their grin-inducing performance. The automatic drops fuel economy by 2-3 mpg.

Safety

All 2009 Mini Coopers come standard with antilock disc brakes, stability control and front-seat side airbags. Side curtain airbags are standard on the hatchback, while the convertible features pop-up rollover bars and larger front side airbags that extend to head height. Traction control is optional. In government crash testing, the Cooper hatchback achieved four out of five stars for frontal crash protection. Side-impact tests resulted in a perfect five stars for front side protection and four stars for rear occupants. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Cooper hatchback achieved the best rating of "Good" for frontal-offset crash protection and the second-best rating of "Acceptable" for side impact protection.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2009 Mini Cooper's interior layout is as head-scratching as the exterior is endearing. The pie-plate-sized, center-mounted speedometer is kitschy (think Flavor Flav's clock necklace) and largely useless. The climate controls aren't finger-friendly, even after familiarization. Meanwhile, the volume control for the stereo is stranded alone in the middle of the center stack, and what looks like the volume knob is actually a redundant tuning/track-skip knob.

On the bright side, the diminutive Mini is impressively accommodating, even for taller drivers -- neither headroom nor legroom is an issue. The rear seat, however, is another matter, with nearly nonexistent legroom. Trunk space behind the rear seat is severely limited, but folding down the 50/50-split rear seat creates a useful square-shaped cargo area. The convertible features a tailgate-style trunk opening with an upper portion that lifts up to allow larger items to fit in the tiny 6-cubic-foot trunk. The 50/50-split rear seat folds down to expand space into the cabin. Unlike the old Mini Convertible, it is possible to see out the back of the car with the top lowered thanks to redesigned rollover hoops -- but you don't see much. With the top raised, rearward visibility is very poor.

Driving Impressions

The 2009 Mini Cooper is an amusement park ride on wheels, albeit a noisy one. Even the base model can hold its own when the going gets twisty. It rides stiffly, however, and the Cooper S is stiffer still, so we'd pass on the hard-core sport suspension and bigger wheels option unless you need the extra performance for track days.

The base Cooper is peppy enough for most drivers, but the turbocharged variants pile on the speed and cornering G-forces like go-karts on steroids. Notably, these turbocharged engines are already pulling hard at 2,000 rpm, though some drivers complain about distracting amounts of torque steer. In terms of outright speed, the John Cooper Works model is the swiftest, but the Cooper S is close enough that it should suffice for all but the most ardent Miniphiles. The standard manual transmission is one of the easiest gearboxes to master, with snick-snick shifts and a light and compliant clutch. The automatic isn't the smoothest-shifting in the world, but in manual mode, it responds quickly to the driver's paddle-shifted inputs.

Talk About The 2009 Cooper

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Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 28
  • cty
/
  • 37
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs