Good Enough | MINI Cooper 1.5 3Dr

BY Joel Tam

This is good enough. If I had to sum up my review in fours words, those would be the ones I’d use.

MINIs are all about personality, style and fun – the Cooper hatchback has them in loads. In the years I’ve been an automotive journalist, I’ve recommended a few close friends MINIs when they were looking for a car that they would find worth paying for. I’ve not known any that regretted their decision.

Sure, there were some nitty gritty issues like odd noises coming from “somewhere behind at the back of the boot,” said one friend of mine. “It’s always there when I’m driving, but when the mechanic sits with me it’s somehow gone!” she added.

Well I’m not about to judge, and just in case you didn’t already know — all cars have issues!

Anyway, back to the new face-lifted MINI Cooper we have here. Yes, it’s got style and fun all in one package. Making it one of those cars that you’ll glance over your shoulder after you’ve parked it, while the compliments from friends flow every time they hitch a ride with you.

The new Cooper sports refreshed LED head lamps and incorporates daytime driving lights and turn indicators. At the rear, creative Union Jack tail lamps hark back to the MINI’s English roots, and never fail to make people go “Waaaahhhh, so cool!”

The Union Jack tail lamps may be the most obvious, but the lights at the front are also new, with the LED light ring and turn indicator lights. While it might be a relatively minor change, it does make the car look that bit more modern and updated.

In the cockpit, the '3D' instrument cluster still looks like nothing found anywhere else, and a 6.5-inch infotainment touchscreen is housed in large circular console with the software updated to display a sharper and smoother interface.

The driving experience remains no different from the model it replaces. Which is not a bad thing. The 1.5-litre power plant produces 134 bhp and 200 Nm of torque. Although it must said that it feels a lot punchier than the figures suggest.

The century mark of 100 km/h arrives in under 8 seconds from standstill, and the car handles beautifully with a nicely weighted steering and composed body control. During the time I had the car, I never really felt like I wanted more. Partly also because I prefer to maximise a car’s potential rather than have excess that I can’t optimise.

The MINI is not a car for families, I have a neighbour that tried and struggled and eventually bought a MINI 5-door. But if you’re a fairly privileged individual who can afford something different like the MINI Cooper, you won’t be making bad decision. Because buying a car should always be more than about getting from-point-A-to-point-B.