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2013 MINI Cooper Review

The Mini Cooper has go-kart-like handling and muscular engine options, but its limited interior space downgrades this sport-tuned subcompact to the middle of its class.

Pros & Cons

  • Nimble handling
  • Peppy available turbocharged engines
  • Precise manual transmission
  • Cramped back seat
  • Firm ride

New for 2013

  • Final model year
  • Bluetooth made standard
  • Limited-edition John Cooper Works GP model introduced


Rankings & Research

The 2013 MINI Cooper's #7 ranking is based on its score within the 2013 Subcompact Cars category. Currently the MINI Cooper has a score of 8.3 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 76 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 8.5
Performance: 8.6
Interior: 6.2
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.1
Safety: 9.0
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2013 MINI Cooper Overview

Is the 2013 Mini Cooper a Good Used Car?

If you’re looking for an enticing mix of fun-to-drive handling, zippy acceleration, and great fuel economy, a used 2013 Mini Cooper may seem like a good choice. Ultimately, though, it has too many refinement issues to recommend over sporty alternatives like the Volkswagen Golf and Volkswagen GTI hatchbacks. The Mini has a firm ride on bumpy roads, minimal rear-seat space, and awkward dashboard controls.

Used 2013 Mini Cooper Performance and Interior

The 2013 Mini Cooper is available with three engine options. Base models have a 121-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder. This engine delivers confident acceleration and fuel-efficient EPA estimates of 29 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. However, it feels short on power when climbing hills or passing at high speeds. The turbocharged Cooper S and John Cooper Works (JCW) models have 181- and 208-horsepower engines, respectively. This boost fixes the Mini’s lapse in passing power, while keeping fuel economy high at 26/34 mpg city/highway.

A six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive are standard, while a six-speed automatic transmission is available in all models. The manual benefits from a crisp, rewarding action. The automatic is typically smooth and responsive, but it can occasionally lurch between gears. The Mini has strong brakes, playful steering, and a taut suspension that keeps it stable around corners. The trade-off, however, is that the Mini Cooper’s ride can be uncomfortable over bumpy pavement.

Read more about Cooper performance »

The 2013 Mini Cooper seats four in both hardtop and convertible models. The front seats are supportive and roomier than the car’s size would suggest. Even taller drivers and passengers can find a cozy position. However, the rear seats offer little legroom and are best reserved for smaller children. There are two full sets of LATCH connectors for securing child safety seats. The Mini hardtop offers good outward visibility, though the convertible’s soft top limits rear visibility – especially when folded. Both body styles offer a meager 6 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats upright and 24 cubic feet when the seats are folded. For a bit more seating and cargo space, take a look at a used 2013 Mini Clubman hatchback.

The Mini’s cabin looks and feels upscale, and it boasts clever features like an "Openometer," which measures how long you’ve driven with the convertible top down. That said, its button layout is particularly clumsy. The controls for the audio, air conditioning, and door locks are placed low on the dashboard, with some well beyond the driver’s line of sight. The control knob for the available 6.5-inch infotainment screen is even more cumbersome; it’s small and located between the seats.

Read more about Cooper interior »

Used 2013 Mini Cooper Prices

The price of a used 2013 Mini Cooper ranges from about $11,100 for a Mini Cooper base model to around $17,100 for a John Cooper Works model. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

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We Did the Research for You: 76 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve researched 76 Mini Cooper reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our team has decades of experience in the auto industry. Though we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To maintain objectivity, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies.

How Reliable Is the 2013 Mini Cooper?

The Mini Cooper has average reliability, earning a score of three out of five from J.D. Power.

See Cooper reliability scores »

How Safe Is the Cooper?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2013 Mini Cooper a rating of Good, the highest offered, in its seat and moderate overlap front crash tests. The Cooper earned an Acceptable rating, the second highest score, for side impact safety and roof strength. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Cooper a perfect five-star rating in rollover crash testing.

You may find some used Coopers equipped with optional rear parking sensors and adaptive headlights that pivot around corners. No other active safety features are available.

See Cooper safety scores »

Is the 2013 Cooper the Best Model Year to Buy?

If you’re looking for the best value, consider a used 2011 or 2012 Mini Cooper. Buying one of these earlier models will get you the same features as the 2013 Mini Cooper, but often at much lower prices. Notably, a fully redesigned Mini Cooper hardtop and convertible debuted for the 2014 model year.

Compare the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Cooper »

Which Used Mini Cooper Is Right for Me?

The Mini Cooper hardtop and convertible are available in three trim levels. Each coincides with engine performance: Cooper (121 horsepower), Cooper S (181 horsepower), and John Cooper Works (208 horsepower). All trims share the same standard features, which include an AM/FM radio, Bluetooth, a USB input, a CD player, air conditioning, remote keyless entry, and alloy wheels. Available features include heated front seats, automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, a 6.5-inch infotainment screen, a navigation system, satellite radio, a sunroof, parking sensors, and adaptive rain-sensing headlights. 

A limited-edition John Cooper Works GP trim was also available, but only 500 models were sold on the U.S. market. The performance-oriented GP hardtop has 211 horsepower, an adjustable suspension, and just two seats.

You may also want to consider a certified pre-owned Mini Cooper. Mini’s certified pre-owned program offers two levels of warranty coverage based on the vehicle’s age and mileage. The original new-car warranty is extended to five years or 75,000 miles for CPO vehicles with more than 300 miles but less than 36,001 miles. The original new-car warranty is extended to six years or 100,000 miles for CPO vehicles with more than 36,001 miles. Each Mini must pass an inspection to become certified pre-owned. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Mini warranty page carefully. The model's original sale date determines whether or not it is eligible for the CPO program.

Read more about certified pre-owned vehicles »
Read more about the Mini certified pre-owned program »

2013 Mini Cooper and Other Cars to Consider

Which Is Better: 2013 Mini Cooper or 2013 Fiat 500?

The Mini Cooper certainly isn’t perfect, but it is a better pick than the 2013 Fiat 500. The Mini offers zestier handling, nicer interior materials, and a higher reliability rating. Regrettably, both models have small rear seats and cargo areas, and each rides uncomfortably on rough road surfaces.

Which Is Better: 2013 Mini Cooper or 2013 Volkswagen Beetle?

The 2013 Volkswagen Beetle and Mini Cooper have a similar appeal. Both sport crisp interior styling and pack zippy engine performance, and both are available in hatchback and convertible body styles. While neither is a top pick in its class, the Mini does offer sharper driving dynamics and scores higher in reliability. The Beetle, on the other hand, has a smoother ride.

Which Is Better: 2013 Mini Cooper or 2013 Mini Cooper Coupe?

The 2013 Mini Coupe – and its Cooper Roadster twin – double down on the Mini Cooper’s sporty design … but not in a good way. These two-seaters are just as uncomfortable on rough pavement, and they offer even less cargo space and worse rear visibility. If you’re shopping for a Mini, stick with the Mini Cooper.

Compare the Cooper, 500, and Beetle »

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