2009 MINI Cooper Review

Pros & Cons

  • Stellar fuel economy, sharp handling, excellent all-around performance in S and John Cooper Works trims, endearing retro styling.
  • Fussy controls, puny backseat, poor outward visibility in convertible, stiff and noisy ride.
List Price Range
$4,495 - $9,700

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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

Vehicle overview

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.

2009 MINI Cooper models

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.

2009 Highlights

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.

Performance & mpg

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.

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2009 MINI Cooper.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Poor Reliability
lorri636,02/19/2012
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.
Piece of junk!
Carol Forte,09/07/2010
The first year could be called the "honeymoon period". After that lookout! First of all the service dept is comprised of idiots. They will NOT listen to the customer and will look for any reason than the one the customer is complaining about to blame the issue on. My issue? Carbon deposits in the motor. Yes folks, this can happen to your "fun loving" MINI too - and probably will. 4 trips to MINI - 2 times with the engine light on and guess what? Carbon deposits aka "engine buildup". This issues starts to occur between 30- 40K. You will notice skipping in 1st gear, decreased performance, oddities, etc... and the run around from MINI. Good luck! I traded my little buggy of issues!
Great, Fun-to-Drive Car
engender,01/02/2013
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!
"Frequent Flyer" to the dealer service department!
Mel Collins,12/28/2016
2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 6M)
PLAIN AND SIMPLE-- JUST DO NOT BUY THIS VEHICLE !!!Bought it at Car Max in Whitemarsh, Md. 11/23/2014. Knowing it was a BMW product , and major repairs would be costly, we purchased the extended Warranty package for $4,600. And, we are so glad we did that! From 11/23/2014-10/16/2015 our 2009 Mini was back to Car Max for repairs 5 different times (variable inlet control valve; thermostat housing unit; $1,700 for the radio which controls half the instrumentation on the dashboard). Fortunately, all were covered by the extended Warranty, except the $150 deductible we had to pay out each time. Most recently, 12/23/16, check engine light on again. Stalling out problems & loss of heat from the heater. This time we took it to a Mini dealer in Towson, Md. They were open Xmas eve!! so we dropped it off & got a loaner vehicle. They just called us this morning, 12/28/16 with the diagnosis: Bad timing chain; excentric shaft; valve cover & cracked front strut mounts!! Total cost= $4,946.97. Extended Warranty is paying $4,676.97. We have owned this car for just 25 months; driven 21,000 miles; had the oil changed 4 times & it's been for major service repairs now 6 times !!! So, if you just have to have a Mini, and you buy a used one, just bite the bullet & purchase the extended Warranty--NOT an Extended Service Contract--the Extended Warranty. Because you will certainly need it !!

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover5 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Acceptable
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2009 MINI Cooper

Used 2009 MINI Cooper Overview

The Used 2009 MINI Cooper is offered in the following submodels: Cooper Hatchback, Cooper John Cooper Works, Cooper Convertible. Available styles include S 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M), 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 6M), S 2dr Convertible (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M), 2dr Convertible (1.6L 4cyl 6M), John Cooper Works 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M), and John Cooper Works 2dr Convertible (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2009 MINI Cooper?

Price comparisons for Used 2009 MINI Cooper trim styles:

  • The Used 2009 MINI Cooper Base is priced between $4,495 and$8,995 with odometer readings between 100141 and129780 miles.
  • The Used 2009 MINI Cooper S is priced between $6,495 and$9,700 with odometer readings between 41119 and95295 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2009 MINI Coopers are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2009 MINI Cooper for sale near. There are currently 8 used and CPO 2009 Coopers listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $4,495 and mileage as low as 41119 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2009 MINI Cooper.

Can't find a used 2009 MINI Coopers you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used MINI Cooper for sale - 8 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $17,552.

Find a used MINI for sale - 6 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $22,548.

Find a used certified pre-owned MINI Cooper for sale - 2 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $8,575.

Find a used certified pre-owned MINI for sale - 2 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $14,899.

Should I lease or buy a 2009 MINI Cooper?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out MINI lease specials
Check out MINI Cooper lease specials