MINI 3-Door Hatch Review & Prices
The Mini 3-door is a small car that looks cool inside and out, and is a hoot to drive – but it’s not very comfy and options are expensive
Find out more about the MINI 3-Door Hatch
Is the Mini three-door Hatchback the very definition of small but perfectly formed? It certainly looks good and drives brilliantly, so you’re more likely to get out of it with a grin than a frown – at least until you try to get stuff into the tiny boot.
It's a bit like one of those bum bags that have become fashionable for some reason. They make it clear that you know what's trendy but in the same way a backpack will hold more of your stuff, the Mini hatch isn't the most practical option.
This generation of the Mini three-door originally went on sale in 2014, but it was updated in 2018 and 2022, with the latest changes being subtle styling tweaks on the outside and some improved technology and equipment inside.
Far from a comprehensive overhaul, then, it means you still get a well-made interior that oozes retro charm, but can also be fitted with plenty of modern touches such as a circle of lights around the central infotainment screen that change colour.
Far more useful is the Mini’s excellent infotainment system, which is controlled through an 8.8-inch screen – a bit bigger than what you'll find on older cars – by a BMW-style knob and shortcut buttons on the centre console that help you use it safely while driving. If you want satellite navigation, you’ll have to pay for it as a pricey option (unless you buy the John Cooper Works hot hatch, which gets nav as standard). It's in the Premium Plus pack, which also includes a fancy Harman Kardon sound system and parking assists.
The updated Mini’s Union Jack tail lights look like a throwback to Britpop – they’re an oasis of cool among boring-looking alternatives
Less high-tech is the access to the Mini’s rear seats: anyone wanting to sit back there will need to be a champion gymnast to work their way through all the necessary contortions. Admittedly, once you’re safely in place, there is enough room for a couple of adults, but you should consider the Mini five-door if you’ll need to use the back seats regularly. To make matters worse, the Mini three-door’s boot space is absolutely tiny – it’s even smaller than a tiny VW Up’s load space!
Okay, so the Mini’s not that practical, but where it truly excels is in the way that it drives. It darts into corners with really direct steering, and very little body lean. The downside of the latter is that the firm suspension highlights bumps in the roads, which gets tiring if you do lots of town driving on potholed roads. At motorway speeds you also get more tyre noise in the cabin than in an Audi A1.
Wherever you drive, the Mini’s best engine is a 1.5-litre petrol engine that you can get in Cooper models. It sounds sporty, accelerates well and is cheap to run. You get a 2.0-litre petrol in faster Cooper S models, but while you’ll enjoy its performance you’ll not enjoy its higher running costs.
Speaking of higher running costs, the John Cooper Works is the most expensive version to buy as well as run. It also has a 2.0-litre engine but it's more powerful than in the Cooper S. Its sporty nature means you'll see worse fuel economy, but if fun is your focus, it's a great option. There's also a Mini Electric that's worth a look if you're after zero-emissions motoring.
Back to the petrol versions, though – whether you stump up for the hot hatch or you're happy in the more frugal 1.5-litre Cooper the Mini is likely to put a smile on your face, because few other small cars make you feel as good about owning them. And so long as you can put up with its small boot and relatively firm suspension then it’s a fantastic, charming and fun small car.
To find out how much you could save on this cool premium hatchback, check out our latest new Mini 3-Door Hatch deals or browse an extensive stock of used Mini three-door models. You can also browse other used Mini models from a network of trusted dealers, and our Sell My Car service is also on hand to help you change cars.
The MINI 3-Door Hatch has a RRP range of £22,935 to £39,600. However, with carwow you can save on average £1,100. Prices start at £22,050 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £263. The price of a used MINI 3-Door Hatch on carwow starts at £10,499.
Our most popular versions of the MINI 3-Door Hatch are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|1.5 Cooper Classic Premium 3dr Auto||£22,050||Compare offers|
|1.5 Cooper Classic Premium 3dr||£22,050||Compare offers|
There are three engines to choose from, called Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works. Those first two are then also available in three trims, called Classic, Sport and Exclusive, which each also have subtle variations based on your engine choice, but the basic kit is the same.
Classic is your entry point and gets LED headlights and rear lights, cloth upholstery and an 8.8-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay. Sport adds some more aggressive styling parts from the John Cooper Works model as well as getting adaptive suspension that lets you make the car comfortable for everyday driving or firms things up when you want improved cornering. Exclusive sits at the top of the tree and gets 18-inch alloy wheels and leather upholstery.
The Mini hatch is still an absolute joy to throw around, but it can be tiresome on a motorway cruise
The Mini is fun right from the second you start it, because even that is done in a unique way: via a red toggle switch in the centre console that looks like the missile-launch button in a jet fighter.
It's an easy car to drive – not least because of its relatively small size. Although the windscreen seems quite a long way in front of you, you’ll have no problem judging where the corners of the car are, so it won’t be a pain to park. You also get rear parking sensors as standard, though front sensors cost extra as part of a pack that includes kit that will park the car for you.
On the motorway
You’ll find the Mini quite noisy at motorway speeds. Tyre roar seems to echo around the cabin and there’s also quite a lot of wind whistle from the pillar that runs up the side of the windscreen, and the stuff that makes it so good on twisty roads becomes wearing on a long higher-speed run.
On a twisty road
And it really is so, so good on twisty roads. You’ll have great fun chucking it around bends and it grips the road with all the enthusiasm of a puppy gnawing away at its favourite chew toy. It can’t fail to put a smile on your face.
The downside to the Mini’s incredible handling is that the firm suspension means you’ll feel every bump in the road – even ones you can’t see. On really bad stretches, you can feel like you’re strapped to a golf ball bouncing down the road. The Sport model allows you to pick between comfort and sporty suspension on the move, but even so it's not as relaxing as the Audi A1. This is the trade off for being so much fun in bends.
It's spacious upfront, but the Mini's boot space is almost laughable
No matter how tall you are, you won’t struggle to get comfortable in the front of the Mini. Headroom is good for a car of this size and the front seats move back far on their runners so you’ll fit even if you’re really tall. All models come with a height adjustable driver’s seat and a steering wheel that moves up and down, as well as in and out so it’s easy to get everything just right.
There’s a central armrest which you can adjust up and down to perfectly suit your driving position, but in its lowest setting you can’t reach around it to access the rotary click wheel for the infotainment system or, more worryingly, the handbrake. If you do manage to reach the handbrake, lifting it actually bumps the armrest out of position – somewhat of an oversight.
The Mini has storage areas in all the usual places but, well – they’re mini. The space under the troublesome front centre armrest is particularly small, and the door bins and glovebox are also smaller than in other small hatchbacks. You do get a couple of cupholders in the Mini’s centre console, though, as well as a tray for your phone, complete with a USB plug to wire it up to the car’s stereo.
Space in the back seats
The Mini’s back seats have a few ergonomic issues of their own, namely getting into them in the first place. If you plan to regularly carry four people and have your heart set on a Mini, then buy the five-door version. The bulky front seats on this model don’t slide forwards far enough to leave a decent gap for an adult to easily squeeze through, so getting in is awkward if you’re flexible, and nigh-on impossible if you’re not.
Once you’re in the back seats, though, it’s actually not too cramped. Big rear windows mean the car feels airier inside than the claustrophobic Audi A1 and the back seats are more reclined so you don’t feel like you’re sitting bolt upright. Kneeroom is just about bearable, but the bad news is that the bottom of the front seats rubs your shins. That can be sorted by raising the height of the front seats, assuming the passenger seat has that option fitted and is willing to comply. It’s worth noting that the three-door is a strict four-seater, whereas the five-door version has seatbelts for five people.
As you can imagine, fitting a child seat to the Mini is a bit of a pain, although the back seat has two ISOFIX points. The Mini’s low body means you have to bend your back as you squeeze the seat and base through the tight space behind the front seat, although the clearly marked points mean it is relatively easy to locate from there.
The Mini’s 211-litre boot is small even when you compare it to cars of a similar size. Its closest competition is the Ford Fiesta, which has 303 litres, but the Volkswagen Polo is cavernous in comparison, with 355 litres. The other premium hatchback, the Audi A1, splits the two with 335 litres.
If you want to carry everyday items such as a baby stroller or a set of golf clubs, you’ll have to fold down one side of the 60:40 splitting rear seats. Fold both rear seats and you'll have 731 litres to play with, again comfortably less than the alternatives mentioned above.
If you want to get the best of the space, buy the optional but reasonably priced storage pack. This adds a number of extras such as a storage net in the front passenger footwell and a 12V power socket in the load bay, but the most useful addition is the adjustable boot floor. With it, you can raise the floor so there’s no load lip, and that means that loading bulky items, such as a mountain bike, obviously with both its wheels detached, is much easier.
With both back seats folded down and the adjustable boot floor in its raised position there’s no annoying step in the Mini’s load bay. As a result, it’s pretty easy to slide heavy boxes right up behind the front seats.
The interior screams chic, and there’s plenty of opportunity to personalise your car, at a cost though, obviously
Even if you’re the most resolutely unfashionable person on Earth, you’ll feel cool sat at the wheel of a Mini. There are loads of bits and pieces around the cabin to remind you of the car’s origins, way back in the swinging ’60s, but there’s plenty of 21st-century technology to bring it bang up to date.
The large, round housing in the centre console is a throwback to the speedo in the original Mini, but in this model it’s home to the screen for the infotainment system. On top of that, you also get sculpted circular air vents and aeroplane-style toggle switches for several features at the bottom of the centre console.
If that lot still isn’t quite cool enough for you, there’s a long list of upholstery options and colour combinations to make the Mini’s cabin your own – even if you pick a basic Cooper model. These come with black seat fabric as standard, but you can pick from a couple of part-leather options, and you get a choice of full leather upholsteries too.
Beyond that, you can pick from a variety of trim finishes for the doors and dashboard, but where the Mini goes beyond most others is in the amount of personalisation you can sign up for.
As you go up the range, the cars do get smarter inside and better equipped, but the Premium Plus pack can be applied to all trims, so you can make even the most affordable Classic Cooper feel more classy and tech-heavy.
Every model has an 8.8-inch colour display right in the middle of the dashboard. The touchscreen menus are easy to navigate through, but the rotary click wheel controller on the centre console is a little too far to reach if you’re tall. Even more frustrating, however, is the fact that the central armrest in its lowest setting completely covers the click wheel and the handy shortcut buttons.
Bluetooth connectivity is standard, but you can’t get Android Auto at all, regardless of which optional extras you pay for. If you’re an iPhone devotee, this isn’t a problem, because Apple CarPlay is included as standard.
Buy a Mini and you can choose from three petrol engines. Pick of the lot is the 136hp 1.5-litre petrol three-cylinder fitted to the Mini Cooper. The very definition of a great all-rounder, it always feels quick and sounds sporty, but it costs buttons to run. Mini quotes fuel economy of up to 51.4mpg but, you should be able to get in the high 40s in everyday driving.
It’s not just great in town, it’s surprisingly quiet on a motorway cruise. Sure, it’s not the most economical engine for long journeys, but it doesn’t produce an annoying high-speed drone like most petrol-powered small cars.
Further up the range, the Cooper S and John Cooper Works both come with a 2.0-litre engine. The John Cooper Works gets from 0-62mph in just 6.1 seconds – half a second faster than the Cooper S, which already feels a properly quick little car cross-country. In that respect, it’s helped by pulling at its strongest from below 1,500rpm, which means it responds very quickly when you put your foot down. This engine also sounds perkier than the three-cylinder 1.5-litre unit, and produces a series of charismatic pops and bangs every time you accelerate hard and lift off the throttle.
The only downside is that the 2.0-litre engine is relatively heavy and that makes all these models feel a little less nimble than the Cooper. They also cost more to run, so unless you really must have hot hatch performance, there’s little to be gained from choosing one of them.
When it comes to vehicle excise duty, the Cooper and Cooper S engines have the lowest first-year rate, though they sit around the middle of the pricing structure, so they're not cheap. The John Cooper Works has slightly higher emissions and falls into the next category up, so will cost a bit more to tax in year one.
The Mini scored four stars (out of a possible five) for safety when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP back in 2014. That's a touch disappointing when you consider that tests are even more stringent now, with its weakest point being the driver assist section. Even now, you only get basic safety kit as standard, such as ABS and parking sensors, though you do get automatic cruise control, lane departure warning and a city collision mitigation system.
All Minis come with a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty. That's a fairly average length, if not brilliant, but the unlimited mileage will be particularly appealing to those who plan to do a lot of miles. It will also be reassuring because Mini has a distinctly average reputation for reliability, with a common complaint being that the running costs are high. Repairs can be quite expensive as Mini is a premium brand.
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*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, 9 month upfront fee, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.