2009 MINI Cooper Review | Edmunds.com

2009 MINI Cooper

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MINI Cooper Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.6 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 208 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 26/34 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 (63 total reviews)


Too many problems, excessive oil

by on
Vehicle: 2008 MINI Cooper

I owned a 2008 Mini Cooper S, until recently when I traded it in with 75,000 miles. I bought it new and it was a fun car to drive. It had lots of leg room for my 6' 4" body, but in terms of maintainability it was the worst car that I have ever owned. After 36,000 miles, I was continually plagued with either a "CHECK ENGINE" or "SERVICE" light and as a result I was forced to bring it to the dealer/car repair shop to get it analyzed. Furthermore, it had "run flat" tires...a terrible experience! To summarize my MINI experience: after 50,000 miles it turned into a lemon. To the future owner...stock up on SYN 5W-30 motor oil...you're going to need it!



5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Great car - but here's

by on
Vehicle: 2008 MINI Cooper

Great car but the S models tires & susp R harsh except on smooth roads. When time to replace them, buy softer tires & the car will b so much more enjoyable. U feel every bump w/OEM tires. Recall for timing belt tensioner & they replaced w/main crank seal, no charge. Paid $60 for new timing belt. No chatter anymore like it did on really cold starts. The auto trans is a worry. Seems to not know what gear it wants when U slow & then accelerate-bucks like a horse - I expect it will fail one day but so far at 55k, ok. The computer tells you 2 have service at like 40k & dealer charges $200 just to check the vehicle over, no maintenance -I wouldn't recommend it if you can find someone else 2 check




Mini now, maxi$$$$ later. horrible

by on
Vehicle: 2008 MINI Cooper

My 08 Cooper S (6 speed auto) ran at 226 Degrees. The Thermostat is computer controlled and works to keep the temperature HOT. In turn, this cokes up the oil in the Turbo models, and causes a lot of build up in the engine from carbon. I found my Turbo model had excellent fuel economy until you factor in the amount of High-Quality synthetic motor oil I had to constantly replace. People try to say their Mini doesn't use oil, just look at the exhaust pipe on any of them, they use plenty of oil. I sold mine at 77K after a series of replacements. Heat kills & every trip is a risk after you get significant mileage on these.




Did i buy the right

by on
Vehicle: 2008 MINI Cooper

Well I was looking for a bigger car , but saw this MINI at BMW of Dallas and fell in love with it. I was surprised , how good the service was when I bought it , this Ali really went out of his way to help me choose the right car.Then usually I feel the car gets lesser as the time of purchase goes by , but they upgraded the car to certificated the car and replaced things that were getting worn , like the run flat tires. The car is a blast to drive ,the only thing I´m not sure of how hard the ride is and how loud the road noise is. It can wear me out . The price is a little high ,because some things are so much plastic , but there are allot of features on it .



3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Fun to drive, lots of

by on
Vehicle: 2008 MINI Cooper

I bought this car used and I am perhaps the wrong demographic to own such a car. If it wasn't so fun to drive, I would hate it- if that makes any sense at all! Noisy on highway, base engine strains when pushed. Automatic trans is clunky on downshifts and has trouble making decisions. This car had some type of solenoid problem before I bought it and found that out later. Very finicky about fuel- Mini will almost spit out anything less than 93 octane. Carbon buildup problems exist and on such a tightly built engine, that becomes worrisome. The Mini, for me, is like someone that you just date but wouldn't marry.



1 of 6 people found this review helpful

Go go cart go!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 MINI Cooper

This is a blast to drive, there is no other way to describe this little Pocket Rocket!! Fast tight steering, just out and out fun to drive. I Have had many types of cars in my life over the years from Jags and Vettes to Mercedes and the like. The most fun car to drive ever. The radio is kind of lacking how ever should have bought the Better radio option!



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

  • 26
  • cty
/
  • 34
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs