MINI 5-Door Hatch review
The Mini 5-Door is an upmarket small car that’s fun to drive, has great retro styling and easy-to-use tech. But it’s not the most practical, however, nor the most comfortable
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The Mini 5-door Hatch is the posh small car for people who not only want to look good, but have plenty of fun while doing it.
You see, while the Mini might have always placed more of an emphasis on outright style appeal than alternatives such as the Volkswagen Polo or Audi A1 (particularly in 3-door Hatch guise); it’s always had an exceptionally keen sporting streak too.
So you could think of the Mini 5-door Hatch as being similar to a pair of Balenciaga trainers: they’re obviously sporty in the same way a good set of Nikes are, but they’re so much more high fashion, darling.
Just like those Balenciagas, however, you’ll be expected to pay a bit of a premium for the Mini – particularly next to other fun-to-drive small cars such as the Ford Fiesta. The styling, while immediately recognisable, might not be quite to everyone’s tastes either.
From a looks perspective, the Mini is obviously playing up to its Cool Britannia heritage. The bug-eyed headlights at the front are reminiscent of the original Mini of the 1960s, and there are Union Jacks in the rear lights. The Mini certainly isn’t shy about showing off its British-built credentials as a posh, retro-looking small car.
A recent facelift has seen a few very subtle styling tweaks introduced to help keep the Mini looking as fresh as possible, too. Up front, the position lights in the lower bumper have been replaced by upright air intakes, while the grille itself is also bigger than before.
Meanwhile, the optional Piano Black Exterior pack (which is standard on Sport models) has been extended, so that in addition to the headlight surrounds, wing mirrors and door handles, things like the fuel filler cap, the exhaust tips and Mini badging are now also finished in black. Turns out that black is, well, the new black. There are a handful of new wheel designs and paint options too, and even a new three-colour ‘Multitone Roof’.
The Mini isn’t just a looker on the outside, its interior is packed with charm, too. Take the new 8.8-inch infotainment system, for example. Not only is it standard across the range and a doddle to use, but it sits within a massive mood-lit porthole on the dashboard – a bit like a Sixties jukebox.
The mid-level Cooper offers a great balance of performance and economy. Its funky looks and posh interior don’t hurt its appeal either.
Add to this the funky analogue rev-counter (you can now get a digital one as an option) that sticks out of the steering column like a cartoon character’s oversized ears, and you get a much more interesting cabin than in an Audi A1 Sportback. It’s a shame, though, that you don’t get even the option of Android Auto.
You shouldn’t have any trouble getting comfy regardless of how tall or short you are. But wherever you like to position your seat, there’s no getting around the Mini’s rather narrow windscreen. Sure, this letterbox view makes it feel sportier to sit in than a VW Polo, but the result is that the Mini’s cabin can feel a little claustrophobic – especially if you pick a car with lots of black interior trim.
Things are more cramped still in the back than in either a VW Polo or an Audi A1. Tall passengers especially will struggle a bit for headroom and the Mini’s cabin isn’t wide enough to comfortably carry three in the back at once.
The Mini 5-door’s boot is bigger than you get in the three-door car, but at 278 litres it’s still way down on the boot in a Peugeot 208, which looks just as cool.
Thankfully the extra practicality doesn’t make the Mini 5-Door any less fun to drive than the 3-door version – it feels nimble, and the sporty suspension gives you extra confidence when you’re on a twisty road. A Volkswagen Polo is more comfortable though.
The Mini 5-Door comes with a choice of three petrol engines – the best all-rounder is the 136hp 1.5-litre Mini Cooper, which has a good blend of economy and performance. There are no diesel engines, though, so if that’s important to you, a Peugeot 208 might be a better option.
Whichever you pick, you can rest assured knowing you’re covered by Mini’s latest safety systems – meaning that the 5-Door is a good family car, so long as your family takes a minimalist approach to how much stuff they need to take with them.
So with the Mini 5-door you get an appealing blend of retro styling and bang up to date tech, but where practicality is sacrificed a bit for stand-out design. If that sounds as cool as an Oasis reunion, then take a look at the latest Mini deals.
Your passenger in the front should be comfortable enough, but those in the back probably won’t and don’t expect to fit much into the boot either.
OK, so there’s a bit more space in the back of this Mini than the standard three-door model but this doesn’t magically make it a massive car
Despite the Mini’s compact space, those up front will have no trouble getting comfy regardless of how tall or short they are. The headroom is really good for such a small car and the seats slide a long way back on the runners. The driver’s seat will go up and down in all models and the wheel adjusts in and out and up and down so it should be easy to get settled.
Wherever you like to position your seat, there’s no getting around the Mini’s rather narrow windscreen. Sure, this letterbox view makes it feel sportier to sit in than a VW Polo, but the result is that the Mini’s cabin can feel a little claustrophobic – especially if you pick a car with lots of black interior trim.
The Mini 5-door is 16cm longer than the standard 3-door, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Sure, some of this extra length has gone into making the back sits a bit more bearable for adults, but things are still more cramped back there than in either a VW Polo or an Audi A1 Sportback. Tall passengers especially will struggle a bit for headroom and the Mini’s cabin isn’t wide enough to comfortably carry three in the back at once.
The Mini’s rear doors are smaller than in the VW and Audi, which means you’ll have a bit more trouble lifting in a bulky child seat or bending down to strap in a child. At least the Isofix anchor points are clearly marked and easy to locate, however.
Another slight mark against the Mini is its cool-looking chrome door handles. They take a bit of getting used to because they rotated inwards on metal levers as you pull them rather than just pivoting at the base.
The Mini has storage areas in all the usual places but, well – they’re pretty mini. The space under the 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.
The Mini’s lozenge-shaped armrest also doubles up as a wireless charge pad if you option the Navigation Plus pack. Just know that your phone can get very hot while its in here, which can cause issues if you’re wirelessly connected to Apple CarPlay.
The armrest itself can also get in the way of the manual handbrake if you slide it all the way forward. Good thing the Mini is now available with an optional electronic handbrake, then.
The extra length of the 5-Door Mini also brings a bit of a boost to boot space, with 67 more litres available over the smaller three-door model. This represents around a 30% increase though, which gives you a hint that the boot wasn’t that big in the first place – 30% of not much is still not a big boot. You might be able to squeeze a smaller stroller in but bigger buggies or large sets of golf clubs.
That said, there are ways to make it a bit more practical, with an optional storage pack offering things like lashing hooks and a fastening strap. It also adds LED lights and a 12v socket so you can plug in a car-vacuum and see what you are doing while you give the boot a good spruce up. The best bit is an adjustable floor, which totally flattens out the boot lip. This makes it easier to load heavy items and flattens out the floor when you drop the seats down.
This is only available as part of the Comfort Pack or the Comfort Plus Pack, which brings a load more equipment and is quite a pricey way to add a bit of boot practicality if that’s all you want.
You’ll have great fun driving the Mini, but if you really need a diesel car you’ll have to look elsewhere
The Mini 5-door hatch is so much fun to drive, but the sporty suspension does mean the bumpy ride can get a bit tiring at times.
There are just three engines to choose from in the Mini 5-Door and all three are petrol models with diesel no longer offered.
The 102hp 1.5-litre One is the entry-level model and this is the version that is the best bet if you’re spending most of your time around town. The official fuel economy is up to 58.9mpg and, as the 0-60mph time is just over 10 seconds, you won’t be tempted to floor the accelerator on a regular basis, meaning that you stand more of a chance of achieving that.
The more powerful 136hp 1.5-litre engine in the Cooper is the sweet spot in the Mini range, as it feels and sounds sporty but still costs little to run. Officially the fuel economy is only around 1mpg worse than the One, but that requires you not to make the most of the Mini’s entertaining nature and 8.3-second 0-60mph time.
The top of the range model is the Cooper S, which is a bigger 2.0-litre engine that produces 178hp and gets to 60mph in an entertaining 6.9 seconds. This engine used to develop more power, but tightening emissions regulations are likely the reason for this new drop. It’s still a reasonably sporty engine, and it doesn’t sound too bad either – particularly in Sport mode.
Every model comes with a decent six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed double-clutch semi-automatic transmission. The latter adds a fair bit to the price but is nice and smooth, with the welcome habit of choosing the right gear at the right time and changing down a gear or two quickly when you ask for extra acceleration. And, as if that wasn’t enough, it also allows every engine to run more economically than with the manual version.
Even starting the Mini 5-Door is entertaining; you’ve got to press a red toggle switch in the centre console that looks like the missile-launch button in a jet fighter.
Once you get going the Mini is a lively little thing to drive, and you’ll have great fun chucking it around bends. Its quick-fire steering responses can take a bit of getting used to, but its eager handling will put a pretty big smile on your face.
The downside is that its sportier suspension set-up does make it feel a bit fidgety and hyped up when you’re simply trying to cruise along. Some fancy new adaptive suspension (which is standard fit on the Sport trim level) does do a better job of smothering any lumps or bumps that you might run over than the old car’s variable dampers, but the likes of the Volkswagen Polo and Audi A1 are more laid back. Just don’t expect them to be as fun.
Unfortunately, out on the motorway the Mini starts to struggle. This is mostly due to the amount of road noise it’s able to generate, but a degree of wind noise also contributes. You’ll need to turn the stereo up quite loud to drown this out.
On the other hand, you’ll certainly find it an easy car to drive – not least because of its relatively small size. The front pillars and narrow windscreen do make the view out pretty tight, but the Mini remains an easy car to thread about town and to park.
Spec the Comfort Pack, and you’ll make that process even easier thanks to the introduction of rear parking sensors. The pricier Comfort Plus Pack, meanwhile, adds in all-round parking sensors, and a rear-view camera.
Ok, so space is not exactly in abundance in the Mini, even with those rear doors, but it is a smart and stylish place to be
MINI 5-Door Hatch colours
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