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2013 MINI Cooper Roadster Review

The 2013 Mini Cooper Roadster impressed test drivers with its dynamic handling, but disappointed with its noisy cabin and stiff ride.

Pros & Cons

  • Dynamic handling
  • Outstanding fuel economy
  • Noisy cabin at speed
  • Limited rearward visibility
  • Stiff ride

New for 2013

  • Automatic transmission became available on JCW model
  • Bluetooth became standard




Critics' Rating: 7.1
Performance: 8.2
Interior: 7.1
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.1
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2013 MINI Cooper Roadster Overview

The base 2013 Mini Roadster has a 121-horsepower four-cylinder engine, which a few critics said has adequate power, but others thought isn't strong enough for spirited acceleration. Cooper S and performance-oriented John Cooper Works (JCW) models have turbocharged four-cylinder engines that produce 181 and 208 horsepower, respectively, and reviewers said these models feel very lively. A manual transmission is standard and an automatic is available. The automotive press was very pleased with the manual's short-throw shifter. The base 2013 Cooper Roadster earns an EPA-estimated 27/35 mpg city/highway, which is exceptional for the class. Reviewers reported that the Mini Cooper Roadster is a joy to drive, with nicely balanced steering and dynamic handling. A handful of critics mentioned that the ride quality is quite hard.

While reviewers were pleased with the quality of the 2013 Mini Roadster's interior materials, several commented the cabin is noisy at speed when the roof is closed, and some disliked that you can see the top's metal bows from inside. The two-seat Roadster earned praise for its comfortable and supportive seats, however critics found that rearward visibility is very poor when the top is up. The 2013 Roadster has 8.3 cubic feet of trunk space, which is more than what rivals like the Mazda Miata have. Bluetooth and HD Radio are standard. A USB port, navigation, a Harman Kardon audio system and leather seats are available. Reviewers found the navigation system easy to use, though others disliked the small switches for opening the windows.

See 2013 Mini Cooper Roadster specs »

Other Cars to Consider

According to test drivers, the 2013 Mazda Miata is lots of fun to drive, with athletic handling and a satisfying manual gearbox. Reviewers also said that the Miata is comfortable enough to be a daily driver.

The 2013 Nissan 370Z, which is available as a coupe or convertible, impressed reviewers with its poised handling and powerful V6 engine. They liked the rev-matching feature on models with a manual gearbox, as well as its attractive dashboard.

Compare the Cooper Roadster, Miata and 370Z »

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