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Mini claims its third-generation Convertible is more dynamic, stylish, refined and, importantly, more practical than its predecessor.
That said, nominal rear seats not suitable for anyone with legs, a tiny boot that gets smaller with the roof shut, and rear visibility pretty much ruined by dropping the canvas roof are all still issues, even if they have all been significantly improved. The boot is around 25% larger, plus Mini has added a handy new Easy Load function whereby when the roof is up, it can be swung upwards to improve the small load-hatch access point. The drop-down tailgate supports 80kg of weight too.
Rear visibility has also been improved by the roll-over protection being incorporated into the car and the scrapping of the unsightly hoops of the previous open-topped model. The roof will open fully in 18 seconds at up to 18mph, and open the first 40cm at any speed.
To drive, Mini's legendary prowess is alive and well, although there's no mistaking the less rigid feel of a car with the roof chopped out. There's also more little rattles than you'd expect in a fixed-roof car.
But Mini's desirability - both in terms of badge prestige and used car appeal - means the typical RV strength is maintained, with the 42.2% stat comparing well with its only natural rival, the DS3 Cabrio. However, the DS3's 1.2 petrol is 9g/km greener and 5.2mpg more economical, plus offers a bigger boot and has a fuel tank 25% bigger, meaning a theoretical range that's 184 miles greater.
The Mini is a better all-round package and trumps the DS3 on costs by 4.4ppm thanks mainly to that RV advantage. It's still compromised, but there's nothing to touch the Mini cab if you want a compact premium drop-top that makes balance sheet sense.
Mini Cooper Convertible
Model price range £18,475-£18,615
Residual value 42.2%
Service, maintenance and repair £1369
Vehicle Excise Duty £60
National Insurance £1614
Cost per mile 41.5p
Fuel consumption 57.6mpg
CO2 (BIK band) 114g/km (19%)
BIK 20/40% per month £59/£118
Warranty 3yrs/unlimited miles
Boot space 160/215 litres
Engine size/power 1499cc/136hp
Improved in pretty much every way, but still a niche application
Almost unique proposition
Rear seats are for bags only
Small boot, rear visibility is limited with the roof down