As a compact, three-door crossover SUV, the Mini Paceman was based off the Countryman crossover. In fact, many would say that it is simply a three-door Countryman that just underwent extreme restyling to come out sportier looking. It was first introduced at the North American International Auto Show in 2011 as a concept car and production began a year later. Similar to the Countryman, the Mini Paceman also came with petrol and diesel engine options and a choice between two- or four-wheel-drive systems. Manual and automatic transmission system options are also available. BMW was optimistic about the Paceman, saying the vehicle would bridge the gap between its crossovers and ageing hatchback.
The Mini Paceman looks good. It has a certain appeal that is really attractive to a certain set of people.
With sport suspension as standard, the Mini Paceman was underwhelming in terms of ride quality. It wasn't overly firm but pockets along the road were surely felt though it performed so much better than the taller Countryman. UK roads are challenging so it doesn't look very well for the Paceman.
It also doesn't help that steering is light. Without a lot of feedback, it can be difficult to navigate the Paceman where you want it to go exactly. It does good work though when rounding up corners and doesn't come with much roll despite a stance similar to an SUV.
Inside, the Paceman looks very identical to the Countryman, including the retro-inspired dashboard that isn't exactly very easy to use. It does get a lot of points for being stylish but putting ease of use first before a fancy design would've benefitted the vehicle more. At the very least, central locking controls and switches for the electric windows have been moved to the doors so it's within easier reach for the driver.
The driver's seat is high so it offers a good view of the road and comes with a range of adjustment options to help you get comfortable quickly. The seat itself doesn't offer a lot of support though and the backrest is hard to adjust because the controls are hard to reach. At the back, bucket seats are in place so it will be difficult to get three people settled in comfortably. Stick to four passengers including the driver and it should work out. It's a different problem altogether though when you need a larger boot because seats would have to be folded to increase space. This means you can either drive with friends or luggage, and never the two together.
The Paceman was designed for individuals looking for style and sportiness you would expect from a hatch but with a lot more rear space. Unfortunately, the Paceman doesn't perform like a hatch and doesn't even provide the additional rear space. Not to mention that it costs more than the Countryman despite having less doors. Given what it is capable of, the Paceman just feels like you're paying more and getting less. There are just a lot more options out there that are better than this vehicle.
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