MINI Cooper S Review
Why the MINI is still as fun and British as ever
I’ve always been curious about how the MINI would feel to drive. As a teen, my friends mum had a 3 door black manual MINI, and I loved going places in it because it felt so zippy and looked so cool.
When the team at Geelong MINI Garage gave me the keys to a brand new 2019 MINI Cooper S 3 door hatch, I was very eager to test it out around town. Because let’s be honest, that’s about all 3 door cars are generally good for.
My first impression of the exterior is mixed, for once I’m not sure if I love or hate the shape of this car. I’m leaning more towards like, but it’s not something I’m completely sold on.
The S Model comes with the upgraded LED lighting package – inclusive of the very fun Union Jack rear lights - which were the first thing I noticed when I saw the car. It also comes with upgraded 17” alloy wheels and additional MINI Driving Modes. I’ve been given a Starlight Blue body with a white roof and white racing stripes – of course!
I’ve brought a friend along for the first drive, and it’s fair to say she’s experiencing a mixture of feeling overwhelmed yet childishly curious about the busy dashboard. Her comment that “You could sit here all day playing with all the buttons and knobs” was valid, as there seems to be an overkill of things to fiddle with in this car, but I’m sure once you have time to explore you’d consider them a necessity.
All models come with Digital Radio and Apple Play as standard, which are generally an upgrade in other cars and the S comes with wireless phone charging (love it) and the MINI Excitement Package (get excited) which includes multi-colour ambient lighting and MINI logo projection out of the side doors.
Driving through the streets of town, the steering feels really responsive and I almost feel at one with the car – there’s no lag, it moves as soon as I think about a change in direction and that makes it’s LOADS of fun to drive. Even in the Normal mode it was a joy to drive, although I’ll admit I didn’t bother trying Green Mode – sorry, not sorry!
The back seat room is your standard, terrible 3 door car situation. And the boot is almost a laugh (I did manage to get my small grocery shop in there with my handbag, but that’s about it). The front however is very comfortable, and I could easily drive this car for a few hours without feeling squished.
The thing I was most surprised about when driving this car was the sporty sound when I accelerated, it’s like a Chihuahua with a Doberman's bark. This car feels sporty, sounds sporty… but I’m not sold on the Sporty look. At the end of the day it’s better looking than the majority of small hatch backs, so I think that’s a win.
The MINI Cooper S is a great small car, that’s loads of fun to drive. I would hands down add this to my list of cars to test drive. Check out the video review to see more.