The Mini hatch is now called the Cooper, and is available in two flavours, we try the ICE powered Cooper and Cooper S.


Whereas the all-electric Mini Cooper SE is an all-new model, that’s manufactured in China, the ICE powered Cooper and Cooper S models, are in fact heavily made-over versions, of the third-generation F56 hatch. 

Outside, the Cooper is the second Mini to debut the new family look dubbed ‘Charismatic Simplicity,’ which basically equals a simpler, and cleaner design, without any chrome trim Mini models have previously been known for. 

The Cooper’s basic shape is unchanged from the last third-generation hatch, but changes for the front include the octagonal front grille, plus new bumper, and headlight design. The side profile is a lot cleaner with the removal of the scuttles and repeaters at the front, there are also chunkier, squarer mirrors. Biggest change is at the back, with the customisable triangular LED rear light clusters. Overall, the latest model could still only be a Mini, but apart from the badging, there are no distinguishing features between the Cooper and faster Cooper S, which disappoints. 

The interior it seems, is where Mini have spent more time with ICE powered Cooper models. Like the Countryman we’ve driven previously, it is heavily influenced by the original Classic Mini. On top of the new vertically styled, woollen-trimmed dashboard, you won’t miss the circular OLED display. Running Android-based MINI Operating System 9, all the functions of the car can be operated by touch or voice control. In use, there’s a lot going on in a circular screen with a diameter of 240mm. However, it is logical to use once you spend some time with it and impressively fast in its operation. Although, we’d recommend choosing the head-up display, from Level 2 versions upwards, which brings key information closer to the driver. 

Below this, there’s also the Classic Mini-influenced toggle bar, which is home to the key driving functions, such as the parking brake, gear selector, and the start/stop key – which you twist and is a novel touch harking back to the original. 

Elsewhere, there is plenty of attractive fabric trim, and comfortable supportive front seats – even if you don’t go for the sportier ‘S.’ You won’t buy a Cooper for its rear and boot space, as they are both best described as tight. Overall, the interior feels special and not just a BMW clone, even though the commonality is obvious in items such as the switchgear. 

The Cooper hatch range with the C, which is powered by a revised version of the 1.5-litre, three-cylinder, Twin Power turbo petrol, with154hp. This is capable of a 0-62mph acceleration time of 7.7 seconds, has a top speed of 134 mph and a tax liability of 32%. The other Cooper hatch we’ve driven, was the sportiest, the Cooper S, whose 2.0-litre Twin Power turbo petrol engine produces 201hp, 0-62 acceleration in 5.4 seconds, and with a tax liability of 33%, and is likely to have less fleet interest. Both are only available with seven-speed automatic transmission.   

The Cooper and Cooper S are great fun to drive. The light, but direct and precise feel to the steering impresses first. This works well with the tidy, sharp handling. The Cooper hatch generally rides firmly, but varies according to wheel size, as the biggest 17 and 18in wheels are the most unsettled around town. Although, it feels more sophisticated to drive than the outgoing car.

Performance-wise, the C feels more willing than you would expect – the seven-speed automatic gearbox mated with the engine is slick and responsive. It feels at its most dynamic in ‘Go Kart,’ which is one of eight drive modes. The Cooper S, on the other hand, always felt fast, although we weren’t so keen on the piped engine sound, also in ‘Go Kart’ mode. 

The Cooper must be the most stylish and well-resolved Mini hatch yet, but it’s not a cheap option, plus the rear and bootspace remains compromised. 

Standard equipment:
LED head and rear taillights, 16in alloy wheels, MINI OLED display, DAB radio, MINI Driving Modes, two-zone automatic climate control, dynamic cruise control, Apple Car Play and Android Auto integration.  


Petrol: 154hp 1.5, 201hp 2.0

Equipment grades: 

C, S


Petrol: 154hp 1.5, 201hp 2.0


Seven-speed automatic


Simplified but attractive exterior styling, interior infotainment, stylish and quality interior, fun to drive


Firm ride might not suit all, compromised rear and boot space, head up display not standard, not a cheap choice, lack of differentiation between Cooper and Cooper S models 

Mini Cooper 1.5 C Exclusive (Level 2) 

P11D £29,025

On sale Now

Residual value 53%

Depreciation £13,450

Fuel £8,102

Service, maintenance, repair £1,954

Cost per mile 42.51p

Fuel consumption 47.1mpg

CO2 (BIK %) 135 g/km (32%)

BIK 20/40% a month £154/£309

Luggage capacity 210-litres

Engine size/power: 1,499cc/154hp