2016 MINI Cooper Review
Edmunds' Expert Review
- All available engines blend quickness and fuel-efficiency
- razor-sharp handling keeps the Mini glued to the road
- lots of add-ons mean a high degree of personalization
- interior looks classy and upscale.
- Ride can be stiff and jittery, especially with larger tires
- more expensive than most rivals.
Who says you can't have it your way? It's a question asked by the 2016 Mini Cooper, a sporty compact that allows for a seemingly endless degree of customization. It's also stylish and a blast to drive. Let's find out what else makes the Mini Cooper so special.
The subcompact class is populated by vehicles that are easy to drive in congested city centers, earn great fuel economy and do little damage to the pocketbook. Fun, however, is often in short supply. The 2016 Mini Cooper Hardtop is designed to rewrite that story. While it's more expensive than most rivals, this BMW-built runabout adds lots of value with its energizing driving experience and premium character.
Electric Blue is one of 14 exterior colors available on the 2016 Mini Cooper. The roof and mirrors can be white, black or body-colored.
Picking a Cooper means choosing among one of three available engines. In prior years, the base engine was pretty weak-kneed, but the latest turbocharged three-cylinder is surprisingly peppy, frugal with gas and a fine choice for most shoppers. For more of a hot-blooded experience, Mini also offers the hopped-up S and JCW, which boast turbocharged four-cylinder engines with considerably more punch. Of course, nimble handling is another Cooper hallmark, while its list of available features and personalization options is unrivaled.
There are naturally some reasons why shoppers may want to consider something else. The Mini Cooper's sporty handling comes at the expense of ride comfort, particularly with larger wheels and tires installed. As noted, the Cooper is also more expensive than other subcompact cars, and it only gets worse as you add all of those cool options you found on the Mini configurator website.
If you're looking for a less expensive subcompact that still has some pizazz, check out the regular Ford Fiesta or the high-powered ST version. The Fiesta is slightly larger than the Mini, and the ST develops similar horsepower to the Cooper S, although the Ford can't match the Mini's upscale vibe. Fiat's personable 500 is worth a look, too, as it's available with a range of engines and individualized options, much like the Mini. Moving up a size, the Ford Focus/Focus ST, Scion FR-S and Volkswagen Golf/GTI come highly recommended. But overall, the Mini Cooper is a great choice for shoppers wanting a subcompact that rises well above the mundane.
2016 MINI Cooper models
The 2016 Mini Cooper is available as a two- or four-door hatchback and a convertible. All body styles are available in base Cooper and Cooper S versions, while the high-performance John Cooper Works (JCW) trim is reserved for the two-door hatch (a JCW version of the convertible is slated for next year).
Both two- and four-door Cooper models come standard with 15-inch alloy wheels, an electronic limited-slip differential, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, adjustable driving modes, full power accessories, automatic climate control, a cooled glovebox, cruise control, height-adjustable front seats, leatherette (vinyl) upholstery, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks and color-adjustable ambient lighting. Technology highlights include Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a four-speaker sound system (six speakers for the four-door model) with HD radio, a USB port and an auxiliary input jack.
The Cooper S adds a more powerful engine, a hood scoop, dual center-mounted exhaust tips, 16-inch wheels with run-flat tires (regular tires are optional), LED foglights, sport seats and, for the two-door model, a six-speaker sound system. Additional equipment for the John Cooper Works variant includes 17-inch wheels, Brembo front brakes, a sport-tuned suspension, LED headlights, an even more powerful engine, an aerodynamic body kit, a sport steering wheel and special seats with cloth upholstery. The standard suspension is available as a no-cost option for the JCW.
The LED foglights and sport seats are offered as options on base Cooper models. Other available features, many of which are grouped into various packages, include LED headlights, an array of 17- and 18-inch wheels, adjustable suspension dampers, a dual-pane sunroof, a roof spoiler, power-folding and auto-dimming side mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a head-up display, an automated parking system, a 6.5- or 8.8-inch central display screen, a navigation system, smartphone app integration, heated front seats, satellite radio, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system and cloth or leather upholstery. Even more personalization is available through a large selection of custom details such as hood stripes, contrasting hardtop roof colors and special interior trim pieces.
Standard features and equipment packages for the convertible are generally the same as the hatchback, with a few notable exceptions. The base Cooper convertible comes with the 6.5-inch display screen and center armrest, which cost extra on the hatchback. Packages are also slightly different: the hatchback's Wired and Wired Upgrade packages are bundled together and called Technology on the convertible. The Premium package includes additional items in the convertible, including heated front seats and auto-dimming mirrors.
The cabin of the 2016 Mini Cooper is full of high-quality materials that easily surpass those in most competitors.
Performance & mpg
Regardless of engine or number of doors, the 2016 Mini Cooper comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission (with hill-start assist and automatic rev-matching for smooth and simple downshifts), while a six-speed automatic (also with rev-matching) is optional. For extra fuel savings, an automatic stop-start feature shuts off the engine while the car is stopped.
The base engine is a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder that develops 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. In Edmunds testing, a two-door with the automatic transmission recorded a 0-60-mph time of 7.4 seconds. That's a quick time and second only to the Ford Fiesta ST in the subcompact class. Fuel economy is also impressive, especially considering the available performance -- the EPA estimates 32 mpg combined (28 city/39 highway) for the two-door with the manual, while the manual four-door earns 33 mpg combined (29 city/39 highway). Both automatic versions return about 1 mpg less.
The Cooper S is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 189 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. Ordering the automatic transmission adds steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. In our testing, a four-door S with the automatic sprinted from zero to 60 in 6.3 seconds (just a tick slower than a VW Golf GTI). A manual-equipped convertible was slightly slower at 6.8 seconds. Fuel economy for both body styles is estimated at 29 mpg combined (26/33) with the automatic, while the manual is rated at 27 mpg combined (23/33).
Solely available as a two-door, the John Cooper Works variant ups the output of the turbocharged 2.0-liter to 228 hp and 236 lb-ft. We tested a JCW Cooper with a manual transmission and achieved a 0-60 mph time of 6.2 seconds; Mini says an automatic-equipped JCW is a few tenths of a second faster. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 28 mpg combined (25/31) with the automatic and 26 mpg combined (23/31) with the manual.
Standard safety features on the 2016 Mini Cooper include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, front knee airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Rear parking sensors and a rearview camera are optional.
In government crash tests, the two-door Cooper received four out of five possible stars for overall protection, with four stars for total front crash protection and four stars for overall side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Cooper hatchback its top score of "Good" in the moderate-overlap and small-overlap frontal-offset crash tests, as well as a "Good" score in the side-impact, roof-strength and head restraints/seats (whiplash protection) tests.
In Edmunds brake testing, several Mini Coopers with summer tires have come to a halt from 60 mph between 113 and 116 feet. These stopping distances are good for the class but a little underwhelming given the summer-rated tires. A Cooper S convertible with Pirelli PZero summer tires came to a stop in an astounding 101 feet. Although we haven't tested a Cooper with all-season tires, we expect them to come to a stop about 15 feet longer than those equipped with summer tires.
The 2016 Mini Cooper's small footprint, low center of gravity and light weight give it excellent handling characteristics, making this car fun to drive no matter which engine powers it. Even just zipping around town, it feels playful and engaging, and parking in tight spots is a cinch. Along curvy roads, the Cooper feels taut and tenacious, clawing for grip with rare enthusiasm. It's not as communicative or balanced as the rear-drive Scion FR-S, but otherwise this is one of the best-handling cars for the money.
The trade-off for its exhilarating driving dynamics is a firm ride that borders on harsh when ordered with larger wheels. This is particularly true for the JCW and its standard sport-tuned suspension. Ordering the adaptive suspension dampers for the JCW is highly recommended, as we've found them to noticeably smooth out the ride. We've also noticed that the four-door Cooper, with its longer wheelbase, is a bit more comfortable than the two-door and sacrifices little in the way of performance. All body styles are relatively quiet at highway speeds, although we've heard interior panels squeak and creak over hard bumps, especially in the convertible.
The base engine provides impressive power considering its diminutive size. It loses some steam at higher rpm, but for most drivers it's a very solid pick. Both turbocharged four-cylinder engines have the Mini punching above its class, allowing it to keep up with larger cars like the Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen Golf GTI. We're fond of either transmission option, but the automatic engine stop-start function can be distractingly rough as it brings the engine back to life after a stop. Fortunately, it's easy to disable via a toggle switch, and the car remembers your preference between drives.
Step into the 2016 Mini Cooper and you'll find a cabin with materials of a higher quality than those in other subcompact cars. Soft-touch plastics coat the doors and dashboard, which can be customized with several different trim coverings. Ambient lighting on the doors changes color depending on which driving mode is selected.
The Mini's controls are easy to reach and the toggle switches on the lower part of the center stack are a cool touch. There are a still a few ergonomic issues, though (yep, still a Mini!), such as interference from the center armrest when it's lowered and lack of visibility out the windshield for taller drivers. The convertible's thick pillars and small rear window inhibit rear visibility as well, so we recommend removing the back seat headrests if you're just carrying one passenger.
As for the convertible's top, press and hold the unlock button on your key fob or use the toggle switch inside the car to operate the soft top. Hold once to open the area above the front seat occupants' heads for a sunroof effect, and release and hold again for the full open-air experience. The top folds down on top of the trunk rather than into it, so there's a little bit of a hump that impedes your view when looking straight back.
We do like the Cooper's easy-to-read gauges, and the available 8.8-inch central display screen is notable for its sophisticated feature set and exceptionally crisp graphics. Similar to BMW's iDrive, the display is operated by a controller knob on the center console. It takes some time to learn how to use, and the knob's location is a bit awkward, but overall it's a comprehensive and very useful system.
Cargo room is at a premium in the 2016 Mini Cooper. For more rear space, consider the four-door configuration.
The Cooper's front seats offer firm support and an ideal driving position. Whether you choose the two- or the four-door, though, rear passenger space is pretty tight. Cargo capacity for the two-door measures a puny 8.7 cubic feet behind the rear seatbacks, expanding to 34 cubes with those seatbacks folded down. The four-door expands to 13.1 and 40.7, respectively. Even the two-door's numbers actually aren't terrible for the subcompact class, and as we learned from a year-long test of a 2014 Mini Cooper, the car's boxy shape makes it more versatile than you might think. The convertible's trunk space is even tighter, measuring just 7.6 cubic feet. The cargo opening is fairly small, although interior release handles allow the bottom of the soft top to be folded up, increasing the opening for larger items.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
NHTSA Overall Rating4 out of 5 stars
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver4 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall4 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall4 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger3 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat3 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover11.1%
- Side Impact TestGood
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
More About This Model
When the standard Mini Cooper hardtop was redesigned in 2014, the convertible version remained unchanged. For the 2016 model year, the Mini Cooper Convertible has finally been updated. It's now slightly larger, yet more efficient and features a more user-friendly interior design. The fun-to-drive personality is still there; it's just a little easier to live with now.
What Is It?
The 2016 Mini Cooper Convertible is an open-top version of the standard two-door Mini. That car was redesigned for the 2014 model year. It featured a larger size, added features and improved performance compared to its predecessor. For 2016, the convertible is now based on the updated coupe, so it enjoys all of the same improvements.
The base 2016 Mini Cooper Convertible starts at $26,800 and possesses a 134-horsepower turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine. Standard feature highlights include a power-folding three-position fabric top, a six-speed manual transmission, a 6.5-inch infotainment display, dual-zone automatic climate control and synthetic leather upholstery.
For additional performance, there's the upgraded Cooper S Convertible that starts at $30,450. For the extra cost you get a 189-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, several exterior enhancements and sport seats in front with firmer bolstering. There's also an even more extreme performance-oriented model called the John Cooper Works that features a 228-hp engine and a starting price just under $37,000.
Notable options on the Cooper Convertible include a six-speed automatic transmission, a rearview camera, navigation system, head-up display, adjustable ride control, premium audio, leather upholstery and heated front seats. Buyers can also choose from a wide array of paint colors, wheel designs and add-on graphics. For the new 2016 convertible, a Union Jack woven into the fabric top can also be added.
How Has the Interior Changed?
Even though there is an abundance of hard plastics that are typical for compact cars, Mini's unique flair for design makes it feel more special than other cars in its class. Foremost among these touches are the circular styling motif and heavy toggle switches that pay homage to the original Mini from the 1960s.
Our well-appointed Cooper S test vehicle's dash was dominated by a large 8.8-inch information display framed in a circular control pod. Entertainment and navigation operations are handled by the same dial controller found in current BMWs (Mini's parent company). The system is easy to use after a little time, but one of our biggest complaints is the positioning of the controller. Set low on the center console, it requires the driver to reach awkwardly, something that is further complicated with the armrest in place.
Unlike the previous Cooper Convertible, the 2016 redesign goes without the kitschy "Openometer" dial that keeps track of how long the convertible top stays open. That function still exists, but it's now displayed in the central infotainment screen. That screen, along with the large gauges mounted to the steering column and optional head-up display, help keep the driver's eyes on the road.
Forward visibility is excellent thanks to a tall upright windshield with narrow roof pillars, but the view out the back poses some problems. With the roof up, the small glass window surrounded by the vast fabric top leaves the driver with a lot of guesswork when backing into a spot. The top doesn't fold completely flat either, and the rear headrests also obstruct the view. Unlike the hardtop Mini Coopers, the convertible makes a strong case for the rearview camera and parking sensor option.
What About Cargo Space?
With the Mini Cooper hardtop, you actually get a surprising amount of available cargo space considering the size of the car. The convertible is not so generous, allowing only 7.6 cubic feet of space with the top up. That figure drops to 5.7 cubic feet with the top stowed.
A movable divider between the top and trunk dictates the available volume. If left in the more generous up position, the convertible top is restricted to the partial sunroof opening only.
The rear seats do fold for larger cargo, but the pass-through opening is still limiting. In a pinch, the rear deck lid can be propped partially open for taller items, though the open airflow makes it feasible for quick trips only.
Is It Comfortable?
Despite being the midlevel sporty model in the Mini lineup, the Cooper S won't punish passengers with an overly stiff ride. With the optional Dynamic Damper Control system, the driver can select a stiffer ride in Sport mode or a more compliant ride in the Mid or Green modes.
The front sport seats are well cushioned for longer trips, and provide ample lateral support when cornering. Even though the Mini's footprint is small, the tall roof and smart packaging result in an abundance of space up front. The two rear seats are much smaller, and suitable only for small passengers due to the lack of legroom and low-mounted cushions.
Even with the top open and the windows down, wind buffeting is minimal, allowing the driver and front passenger to have a conversation without having to shout. The engine and exhaust noises are more prominent, though, which can be fun given the crackles that come from the exhaust when you lift off the gas.
The convertible top itself is rather unique, as it can also be partially retracted to provide a sunroof-like opening. Opening or closing the top fully takes 18 seconds and can be done at speeds up to 18 mph by holding down a single button.
How Does It Feel on the Road?
Mini Coopers have always been known for their fun-to-drive spirit, and this new convertible is no different. Compared to the hardtop version, there's little to no discernible open-top sacrifice. The convertible gains about 200 pounds in reinforcement, but much of that weight is placed low to maintain its agility.
The manual transmission's clutch and shifter have a rubbery feel, but the easy action of the clutch makes smooth conservative getaways effortless. Nicely spaced gears also do a good job of keeping the engine in its sweet spot, so there's always plenty of power on tap when you need it.
With a claimed output of 189 hp and 207 pound-feet of torque, the Cooper S gets up to speed with ease. Mini estimates the manual version will reach 60 mph in 6.8 seconds and the automatic in 6.7 seconds. The standard Mini Cooper should be about 1.5 seconds slower.
On a mountain road, the Cooper S is an entertaining little car to toss into curves. Body roll is well managed and the tires feel solidly attached to the road, even when that surface is bumpy. The car responds quickly to your commands so you always feel in control. On Coopers with the automatic transmission, there are paddles on the wheel that you can use to change gears, a nice feature if you like the predictability of choosing your own gears.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Does It Get?
The EPA estimates the 2016 Mini Cooper S Convertible's fuel economy at 29 mpg in combined driving (25 city/34 highway) with the automatic transmission and about 2 mpg less overall with the manual. These estimates are slightly better than competitors. The standard Mini Cooper is better still, with a rating of 31 mpg in city and highway driving combined.
What Safety Features Are Available?
In addition to the typical safety features found in all new vehicles, the 2016 Mini Cooper S Convertible includes head and thorax airbags built into the front seats, and rollover protection bars that automatically deploy behind the door and rear passenger headrests. Rear parking sensors and a rearview camera are optional.
Why Should You Consider It?
This is a fun car to drive that offers plenty of features and respectable mileage, too. It also allows for a degree of customization in terms of colors and options that most other cars in its class can't match.
Why Should I Think Twice?
All the charm that comes with a Mini doesn't come cheap. Base prices may be comparable to other compact convertibles, but adding options to get them similarly equipped may put them slightly out of reach. Convenience and practicality suffer with most convertibles, but the Mini Cooper's small trunk and rear seats force even more sacrifices.
What Does It Compete Against?
The Volkswagen Beetle has its own retro style and charm, but comes up short when it comes to handling. It does benefit from a roomier cabin and better everyday usability, though. The Fiat 500 packs a lot of fun into its pint-size footprint but suffers from poor visibility, a lower-quality interior and disappointing fuel economy. If you're willing to pack even lighter and go without rear seats, the new Mazda Miata is at the top of our list.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
Used 2016 MINI Cooper Overview
The Used 2016 MINI Cooper is offered in the following submodels: Cooper Hatchback, Cooper John Cooper Works, Cooper Convertible. Available styles include 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 3cyl Turbo 6M), 2dr Hatchback (1.5L 3cyl Turbo 6M), S 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), S 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), 2dr Convertible (1.5L 3cyl Turbo 6M), John Cooper Works 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), and S 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M). Pre-owned MINI Cooper models are available with a 1.5 L-liter gas engine or a 2.0 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 189 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2016 MINI Cooper comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed manual. The Used 2016 MINI Cooper comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2016 MINI Cooper?
Price comparisons for Used 2016 MINI Cooper trim styles:
- The Used 2016 MINI Cooper S is priced between $16,500 and$25,990 with odometer readings between 22191 and90670 miles.
- The Used 2016 MINI Cooper Base is priced between $14,999 and$20,990 with odometer readings between 10057 and69819 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 2016 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) 2016 MINI Cooper for sale near. There are currently 34 used and CPO 2016 Coopers listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $14,999 and mileage as low as 10057 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 2016 MINI Cooper.
Can't find a used 2016 MINI Coopers you want in your area? Consider a broader search.
Find a used MINI Cooper for sale - 10 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $10,658.
Find a used MINI for sale - 3 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $19,387.
Find a used certified pre-owned MINI Cooper for sale - 6 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $8,398.
Find a used certified pre-owned MINI for sale - 9 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $7,953.
Should I lease or buy a 2016 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.