Mini has made the smart move to broaden the appeal of the range, by adding four doors to its Cooper range. Prior to this, the options you had were the diminutive two-door Cooper and the much larger (and pricier) Countryman / Paceman duo.
The Mini 5 door fits into the range nicely, as you still have that quintessential Mini effect combined with the added practicality of five doors. Those five doors are useful too. Let's be honest, while most taller folk like me will find the rear space and access a little tight, children will be able to slip in and out with ease. Legroom is just about adequate too. To get the four doors fitted properly, Mini extended the wheelbase by 161mm. It doesn't like much, but the benefits are obvious. The boot for instance, gains some extra carrying capacity.
Model on testThe model we had on test was a 6-speed manual Cooper S 5 Door. The flagship if you will. Combined with a vibrant Volcanic Orange paint-job and exceptionally pretty circular daytime running lights, it's a seriously eye-catching vehicle.
Powering the Mini Cooper S is a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder motor with 141 kW and 280 Nm. In something as small as a Mini Cooper, this amount of power is tremendously good fun. Combined with some delicious turbo noises and exhaust pops, the little Mini is a delight to drive. Despite the additional weight from the doors (I'm told it's 60kg) the car still handles like a toy and is most amusing to drive. Fuel economy is rated at 6L/100km for the combined cycle and during its week with us, the trip computer sat around the 8L/100km mark. I put this down to some spirited moments...
PricingThis is the only sore point for an otherwise great little offering. I shouldn't actually say little, as this Mini 5 door offers great practicality. The Mini 5 Door range starts from R312 500 for the 1.5 Cooper manual. The Cooper S manual range starts at R381 000. Throw in some extras and you're starting to climb well into R450 000 territory. Our test Mini Cooper S came with a mind-blowing amount of kit, such as head-up display, reverse camera, auto parking, radar-guided cruise control and so on, and the total bill came to R481k!
SummaryDespite its high price tag, the Mini is one of those cars that you simply cannot be unhappy in. It oozes charm and has a fun factor that can't be matched. The new Mini 5 Door adds some sensible practicality to the range and if you've been putting off a Mini purchase on the grounds of it being a two-door, then your excuse is now invalid. Having driven the fantastic 1.5-litre three cylinder turbo Cooper in two-door guise, I'd advise taking this model over its more expensive and faster Cooper S sibling.
Second OpinionThe Mini as a car is an absolute blast to drive, every time I got behind the wheel I felt the car channeling my inner lunatic. It's a great little machine to fly around town or on the highway or on just about any road, but I can't say too much really changes by having rear doors. Most buyers pick cars in this segment based on style and customisation capability, and the back doors on the Mini make it look a bit odd as it looks out of proportion. I'll stick with a two-door thanks and if I need four-doors there's a Ford Focus ST or a Volkswagen Golf GTI at similar price points. - Ashley Oldfield
We Like: Added practicality, doesn't detract from overall Mini experience, terrific fun, darting handling, cool gadgets.
We Don't Like: Pricing, ride can be a little tiresome
Mini 5 Door Cooper S Quick Specs
|Engine||2.0-litre, four cylinder turbo|
|Wheels||17-inch alloy wheels|
|0-100km/h||6.9 seconds (claimed)|
|Top Speed||232 kph|
|Fuel Economy||6L/100km (claimed)|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||44 Litres|