What's good? Practical. Petrol engines are fantastic. Well equipped.
The Mini Cooper is one of the finest small hatchbacks on the market, but it isn't practical enough to appeal to young families. Step up the new Mini 5-door hatch, then, which is a Mini Cooper with 5-doors and a not much higher price tag (£600) than the 3-door version. If you like everything about the standard Mini but have been put off by the compact dimensions and lack of rear accessibility, this might just be the time to get yourself into BMW and buy the Mini.
Let's take a closer look at the 5-door Mini to see what's what.
The Mini 5-door sits in-between the Volkswagen Polo and Volkswagen Golf as far as size is concerned - it's taller and wider than the Polo, but not quite as large as the Golf. Since the modern-day Mini came out, it has been in my opinion a good looking car, and the latest version is too... although, you will need a keen eye to spot the differences between a new Mini and the older Mini. Of course, the fact that this Mini has 5-doors will help bystanders to spot the difference.
The Mini 5-door is available as a Cooper and Mini Cooper S, with petrol and diesel engines. The standard Cooper is a cute little car with lots of exterior detailing, but it's the Cooper S which really stands out with wider bumpers, large alloy wheels, and dual exhausts at the back.
The 5-door Mini Cooper drives exactly the same as the 3-door, which is to say it's excellent. Across the range, the Mini rides much smoother than the previous generation and wind noise and road noise is less evident from within the cabin. The 5-door hatchback is available with four engines, all of which have Mini TwinPower Turbo Technology; a 1.5-litre 3-cylinder turbo petrol (Cooper), a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo petrol (Cooper S), a 1.5-litre 3-cylinder turbo diesel (Cooper D), and a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel engine (Cooper SD). Usually, I would say that the higher-powered engines are the sweet spot with the Mini, but the 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine that's standard in the Cooper is a peach.
It produces 135 horsepower and 162 lb /ft of torque. A 6-speed manual gearbox comes as standard which is lightweight and slick, but there is also an automatic, which cuts the 0 - 62 mph time down from 8.2 seconds to 8.1 seconds. The engine is gutsy and quiet, with excellent low-end response and it also sounds sweet as you explore the upper ends of the rev range.
The 5-door Mini Cooper offers more space than the 3-door variant, so much so that it could be classed as the ideal family hatch, because the quality of the interior is pretty decent too. Just as the Mini Cooper 5-door sits in-between the Volkswagen Polo and Golf in size, it also sits in-between them as far as interior quality is concerned; switchgear, media controls, and trim are all beautifully finished and weighted and there are a number of retro touches, such as the toggles on the dashboard which control various things.
When it comes to space you won't be crammed in the Mini 5-door. It's 72mm longer than the 3-door and as such there is lots of legroom in the rear. Headroom is also very good. The only downside to the 5-door Cooper is that while the rear doors make this car more practical than a 3-door, they aren't perfect - they are smaller than on a Volkswagen Polo, so getting a child seat in and out is trickier.
Comfort is solid though. The seats offer brilliant lateral support and finding the perfect driving position is easy thanks to multi-adjustability in the seats and steering wheel.
The boot capacity on the 5-door has grown 67-litres on the 3-door, so you get a decent 278-litre boot in the 5-door Mini Cooper hatchback. This is 100-litres less than a Volkswagen Golf, but the Mini boot is at least well designed with a large loading area.
Going turbocharged across the engine range has done the Mini Cooper wonders with running costs.
The most frugal engine you can get is the 1.5-litre 3-cylinder diesel in the Cooper D, which will return an impressive 78.5 mpg and just 95 g/km of CO2. The diesel engine in the Cooper SD is frugal too, and will return 68.9 mpg and just 104 g/km of CO2 - ideal for company car buyers.
If you prefer petrol power, the 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine in the Cooper is the best for efficiency. It will return 62.8 mpg and 105 g/km CO2. The most hungry engine in the range is the 2.0-litre turbo petrol in the Cooper S, which will return 49.6 mpg and 133 g/km CO2.
Trim and equipment
Standard equipment in the 5-door Cooper includes 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth, electrically adjustable mirrors, front fog lights, air conditioning, DAB radio. The optional Chili Pack adds climate control, a multifunction steering wheel, front sports seats, and ambient lighting. The Media XL Pack adds navigation system professionals and enhanced Bluetooth mobile. The Pepper pack adds rain sensors and automatic air conditioning. You can also add a John Cooper Works exterior and interior pack to the Cooper, to spice up the styling.
The 5-door Mini Cooper is just as fun to drive as the 3-door, but it's much more practical and spacious inside. The addition of two rear doors means that for the first time, the Mini hatchback is a serious contender as a family car. I would go for the base cooper with the 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine, for it is extremely efficient for the performance on offer and has lots of character. If you must go for a diesel engine, I would opt for the 2.0-litre SD, which is almost as efficient as the D but much quicker.