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$23,400 - 38,400 MSRP

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2020 MINI Cooper Review

A perfect predicted reliability rating, sporty handling, a range of robust engines, and an upscale cabin all help the 2020 Mini Cooper secure a spot near the top of our subcompact car rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Spry handling
  • Energetic engine options
  • Premium cabin
  • Perfect predicted reliability rating
  • Cramped cargo hold
  • Tight rear seats
  • Some hard-to-reach controls

New for 2020

  • Manual transmission discontinued
  • Forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking now standard

8.2

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.7
Performance: 7.3
Interior: 6.5
Safety: 8.9
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the Mini Cooper a Good Car?

Yes, the Mini Cooper is a great subcompact car. It's actually two separate models: the Mini Hardtop (in both two- and four-door variants) and the Mini Convertible. If you’re looking for a small vehicle with athletic handling, responsive steering, strong brakes, brisk acceleration, premium cabin materials, and dozens of customization options, then the Mini Hardtop or Convertible should be on your shortlist. On top of all that, this Mini leads the class for predicted reliability. However, cargo space is well below the class average, and back-seat space is pretty tight.

Should I Buy the Mini Cooper?

Despite how great they are, the Mini Hardtop and Convertible are pricey. If you’re already willing to spend that much, you may want to consider other Mini vehicles, such as the Clubman and Countryman. Both have ritzy interiors like the Hardtop and Convertible, but they're more practical, with larger cargo holds and more passenger space. You may want to consider more affordable alternatives, such as the Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, or Kia Rio.

Mini is also releasing an all-electric Mini Electric Hardtop, also called the Cooper SE, which we review separately.

Compare the Cooper, Clubman, and Countryman »

Should I Buy a New or Used Mini Cooper?

For 2020, a manual gearbox is no longer available, so your only transmission option is now an automatic. Mini also shuffled around a few features, but otherwise, the new Mini is largely unchanged. For 2019, it gained Apple CarPlay and wireless device charging availability for the first time, so if those are important to you, choose a 2019 or 2020 model.

Mini launched the new generation of the Hardtop for the 2014 model year. A four-door variant debuted as an all-new vehicle for 2015, and the Convertible was redesigned for 2016. All three models gained a standard infotainment system for 2017, and a rearview camera and rear parking sensors became standard for 2018.

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2017 Mini Cooper, 2018 Mini Cooper, and 2019 Mini Cooper reviews to help make your decision. Also check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used vehicles.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Cooper »

We Did the Research for You: 43 Reviews Analyzed

Our goal is to make shopping for your next car as easy as possible. You'll find everything you need to know about this vehicle in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data like fuel economy estimates, horsepower specs, and cargo space dimensions with 43 professional Mini Cooper reviews.

This 2020 Mini Cooper review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2014.

Why You Can Trust Us

At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Jobs, Best Hospitals, and Best Colleges to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. We've been ranking and reviewing the Best Cars since 2007, backed by a team with more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. To keep favoritism out of the picture, we maintain a separate advertising team and decline expensive gifts and trips from car companies.

How Much Does the Mini Cooper Cost?

The two-door Mini Hardtop has a base MSRP of $23,400. The four-door model starts at $24,400, and the convertible has base price of $28,400. All three stand out as some of the most expensive prices among subcompact cars. That trend continues as you climb the trim, powertrain, and body style ladder, as the price tops out at around $44,900. That’s higher than the starting price of every luxury small car, including the base BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mini dealer.

Mini Cooper Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Mini Cooper or Mini Clubman?

Other than wanting all-wheel drive, the main reason to choose the Mini Clubman over the Mini Cooper is its practicality. The Clubman has more rear-seat and cargo room than the Mini Hardtop, but you’ll pay more for it. Starting prices for the Clubman eclipse the base Hardtop by around $7,500. Otherwise, these two Minis are a lot alike. They share similar features, agility, and enthusiastic engine options. Both vehicles also have BMW-inspired infotainment controls and great predicted reliability ratings.

Which Is Better: Mini Cooper or Subaru WRX?

The Subaru WRX is a sporty compact car, but the Mini is a better choice. Both vehicles share some similarities, such as a firm suspension and engaging driving dynamics. The Subaru sedan does have a few advantages of its own. It comes standard with all-wheel drive, and its potent engines surpass anything you’ll find in the Mini. However, the Mini Hardtop has more cargo space in both two- and four-door body styles. It also sports nicer cabin materials and gets better gas mileage. On top of that, the Mini has a superior predicted reliability rating, as well as a starting price that undercuts the Subaru’s by around $4,100.

Compare the Cooper, Clubman, and WRX »

Cooper Interior

How Many People Does the Cooper Seat?

Seating space depends on how you configure your Mini. Convertible and two-door models seat up to four people, while the four-door hatchback seats five. Regardless of your setup, synthetic leather upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel come standard. Genuine leather and heated front seats are available.

Up front, there’s a good amount of head- and legroom, and the seats provide plenty of support. The four-door Hardtop has enough space for adults to ride in the back for short trips, but two-door models have tight rear seats, even by the standards of subcompact cars.

Cooper and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this setup the second-lowest rating of Marginal. The lower anchors are set deeply in the seats, and they can be difficult to maneuver around.

Cooper Interior Quality

The Mini Hardtop and Convertible have a classy cabin full of premium materials and uniquely Mini styling, blending classic touches like chrome toggles with modern technology.

Cooper Cargo Space

Cargo space in this Mini varies by body style. The convertible has a 5.7 cubic-foot trunk, which expands to 7.6 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. The two-door hatchback has 8.7 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 34 cubic feet with them folded down. Rounding out the lineup is the four-door Hardtop, with 13.1 and 40.7 cubic feet, respectively. Lots of rivals offer more room for cargo.

Cooper Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

This Mini's standard features list includes a 6.5-inch display screen, a USB port, a six-speaker stereo, and Bluetooth. A larger 8.8-inch touch screen is available, as are navigation, Apple CarPlay, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon stereo, wireless device charging, and satellite radio.

Mini derives its infotainment system from BMW’s iDrive. It’s relatively easy to use, with plenty of physical buttons and a few toggle switches that add some retro styling. However, the placement of the center console and parking brake can make it hard to reach some of the controls. Even though Apple CarPlay is available, Android Auto is not.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

Cooper Performance

Cooper Engine: Peppy Across the Board

You can choose between three turbocharged engines in this Mini. Standard in the base Cooper is a 1.5-liter three-cylinder rated at 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. Shoppers after a little more zest will want to upgrade to the four-cylinder in the Cooper S or John Cooper Works variants. In the Mini Cooper S, it makes 189 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. Those figures increase to 228 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque in the JCW version.

A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission comes standard in Cooper and Cooper S models. JCW models have an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The base engine delivers ample power for driving around town or in the suburbs. For something with more muscle and swifter acceleration, consider one of the four-cylinder models.

Cooper Gas Mileage: Just Shy of Average

Two-door Cooper models with the three-cylinder engine get fuel economy estimates of 28 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. That’s just a hair below average for the subcompact car class. Gas mileage worsens from there, with the John Cooper Works convertible trailing the pack with an EPA-estimated 25 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway.

Cooper Ride and Handling: Go-Kart Fun

The Mini Hardtop and Convertible opt for agility over comfort. That’s not to say the ride is harsh, as the suspension still does a decent job soaking up big blemishes in the road. However, sportiness is this vehicle’s forte. Sharp, responsive steering and firm brakes help make it fun to drive. Front-wheel drive comes standard. Like many subcompact cars, this Mini is not available with all-wheel drive.

Read more about performance »

Cooper Reliability

Is the Mini Cooper Reliable?

The 2020 Mini Hardtop and Convertible have a perfect predicted reliability rating of five out of five from J.D. Power.

Mini Cooper Warranty

This Mini comes with a four-year/50,000-mile warranty. That’s comparable to the Volkswagen GTI's warranty, but it’s unusual for a subcompact car. The Honda Fit, for example, comes with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain limited warranty

Read more about reliability »

How Much Does It Cost to Insure a Mini Cooper?

The cost of insuring a Mini Cooper will depend on a variety of factors, including your deductible, the level of coverage that you want, and the type of insurance that you choose. Your age, gender, location, credit score, and driving record can also have an impact on your insurance rates. Check out our car insurance guide to find the best policy for you.

Cooper Safety

Cooper Crash Test Results

The Mini Hardtop 2-Door earned the highest rating of Good in five crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The IIHS gave the Mini Hardtop 4-Door and Mini Convertible the second-highest rating of Advanced for the effectiveness of their standard front crash prevention features. The headlights in the Cooper and Cooper S trims received the lowest rating of Poor for how well they illuminate the road ahead. However, John Cooper Works models, as well as properly equipped base and Cooper S models, got the second-highest rating of Advanced for forward visibility.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the two-door Hardtop model an overall rating of four out of five stars. The NHTSA has also issued a single recall for this vehicle. Crush pads missing from rear trim panels may increase the risk of injury to rear-seat passengers in the event of a crash.  

Cooper Safety Features

Every Mini Hardtop and Convertible come standard with rear parking sensors, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, automatic high-beam headlights, and a rearview camera. Available driver assist features include parallel park assist, front parking sensors, and adaptive cruise control.

Read more about safety »

Cooper Dimensions and Weight

This Mini is between 12.6 and 13.2 feet long, depending on the body style. Its curb weight ranges from 3,627 to 3,946 pounds.

Where Is the 2020 Mini Cooper Built?

Mini builds the 2020 Hardtop and Convertible in the Netherlands and England.

Which Mini Cooper Model Is Right for Me?

Mini’s iconic car stands out as one of the most customizable on the market. It's available in three body types: a two-door convertible, a two-door hardtop, and a four-door hardtop. Features are divided up between the Classic, Signature, and Iconic trims. All but the four-door are available in three variants: Cooper, Cooper S, and John Cooper Works. These signify which powertrain the car has. Notably, the four-door Hardtop does not come in the John Cooper Works trim.

With this lineup, you can mix and match. For example, you can get a high-output two-door JCW model as a Classic trim with few interior features or a four-door Mini Cooper S Signature with the latest tech enhancements.

Regardless of the body style and configuration, we recommend the Signature trim. It’s available with nearly all the equipment from the higher models, and it has comfort features not found in the base Classic trim.

The Mini Cooper has a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine that makes 134 horsepower. The Mini Cooper S has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that puts out 189 horsepower, and the John Cooper Works model uses the same engine but squeezes out 228 horsepower.

Mini Cooper Classic

The two-door Mini Cooper Hardtop Classic has a starting MSRP of $23,400. Four-door models start at $24,400, and the convertible retails for $28,400. Standard equipment includes a 6.5-inch display, a USB port, Bluetooth, a six-speaker stereo, synthetic leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and alloy wheels. Standard safety features include a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.

The two-door Mini Cooper S Hardtop Classic starts at $27,400, and the John Cooper Works Classic starts at $33,400. Other than the powertrain changes, they mostly have the same features listed above.

Heated front seats are available for $500, and satellite radio will cost you $300.

Mini Cooper Signature

The two-door Mini Hardtop Signature (MSRP: $26,400), four-door Signature ($27,400), and  convertible Signature ($31,400) add heated front seats, proximity keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a panoramic glass roof. The Mini Cooper S Signature has a base price of $30,900, and the John Cooper Works Signature starts at $34,900.

The Premium Line package costs $1,750 ($1,500 in the two-door model) and comes with satellite radio and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. There's also a Touchscreen Navigation package for $1,700. As the name suggests, it adds an 8.8-inch touch screen, navigation, Apple CarPlay, wireless device charging, and voice controls.

Additionally, you could spend $1,000 and get the Driver Assistance package, which adds adaptive cruise control, parallel and perpendicular park assist, and front parking sensors. You can also spend $2,000 and get leather seats as part of the Signature Upholstery package.

Dynamic damper control, which lets you adjust the suspension for a sportier or gentler ride, costs $500 in the Mini Cooper S Signature. It’s included with the Signature JCW.

Mini Cooper Iconic

Top-trim Iconic models round out the lineup, with a starting price of $30,400 for two-door Hardtops, $31,400 for four-door Hardtops, and $35,400 for the convertible. All Iconic models gain the contents of the Touchscreen Navigation, Premium Line, and Signature Upholstery packages. The Driver Assistance package remains available.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mini dealer.

See 2020 Mini Cooper specs and trims »

The Final Call

The Mini Hardtop and Convertible are great subcompact cars that pack a lot into a small package. Playful handling and a firm suspension help make these Minis fun to drive, and the engine options tackle most driving scenarios with ease. Add to that an upscale interior and a top-notch predicted reliability rating, and it’s not hard to see why this car is so appealing.

That said, keep in mind that there are more practical choices if you plan to haul cargo or passengers, including other Mini models such as the Countryman. This Mini is also not one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in its class.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "But, don't lose sight of the fact that Mini models are pricey, particularly for their segment. Yes, they are also upscale for their segment, but add a couple of options and the price really escalates. But, hey, remember the fun-to-drive part." -- Autotrader
  • "The base Cooper is a terrific choice if you are looking for a fun, playful subcompact with more personality than other cars in its class." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "Now, 16 years on, it’s clear Mini is not a passing fad. … From base car to feisty John Cooper Works editions, all 2019 Minis are a delight to drive, and they compete with cars such as the Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Sonic. Although these competitors cost thousands less, they don’t come close to matching the charm or premium retro appeal of the 2019 Mini Cooper." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: May 13, 2020

Slowing Sales: Sales of the Mini Cooper places near the bottom of the subcompact car class and demand has fallen by 27.5 percent so far in 2020 compared with the same period in 2019. Additionally, less-expensive options like the class sales-leading Nissan Versa outsold the Mini by about 4 to 1.

Research more buying advice »
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2020 MINI Cooper

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