2012 MINI Cooper vs. Its Competition

2012 MINI Cooper 2-door Coupe Side Exterior View
Nelson Ireson Nelson Ireson Senior Editor

No longer unique in the American marketplace, the MINI now has some competition in the small hatchback segment.

The Volkswagen Beetle, all-new for 2012, has its own take on quirky style and offers some interesting performance possibilities with the Beetle Turbo.

Fiat's 500 is another contender for unique looks, though its long-distance steering feel puts it in a less-focused performance class.

Ford's Fiesta is perhaps the MINI Cooper's closest match, though without the higher-performance options found with the MINI.

Mazda's Mazda2 fits in the same category as the Fiesta, though its interior is somewhat less premium than either the Ford or the MINI.

Finally, the Mazda MX-5 Miata is a great sporting alternative, with even less weight and more true sports car capability thanks to its balanced rear-drive platform, but it sacrifices space and practicality to get there.

2012 MINI Cooper 2-door Coupe Side Exterior View2012 MINI CooperBrowse Used Listings2013 Fiat 500e electric car, Los Angeles drive event, April 20132013 FIAT 500Browse Used Listings2011 Ford Fiesta 4-door HB SES Angular Front Exterior View2012 Ford FiestaBrowse Used Listings2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata PRHT2012 Mazda MX-5 MiataBrowse Used Listings2011 Mazda MAZDA2 4-door HB Auto Sport Angular Front Exterior View2012 Mazda MAZDA2Browse Used Listings2012 Volkswagen Beetle2012 Volkswagen BeetleBrowse Used Listings
Quick Specs
In all of its guises the 2012 MINI Cooper is fun-to-drive, uniquely styled, and with three standard levels of performance, there's an option for everyone.
The 2013 Fiat 500 rewards the style-conscious buyer that's willing to go small, and the Abarth and Turbo models even add in a healthy dose of sport.
You could do better if you most value space and comfort, but the 2012 Ford Fiesta packs in a lot of style and substance.
The 2012 Mazda MX-5 is a true sports roadster with great handling and fun at any speed, and more practical than you might think.
With a zippy driving feel and good real-world gas mileage, the 2012 Mazda2 really stands out among entry-level vehicles.
It's a tale of two Bugs: base Beetles are boring, but 2012 VW Beetle Turbos have us seeking out the nearest exit ramp.
MSRP From     
Gas Mileage     
25 MPG City / 37 MPG Hwy28 MPG City / 40 MPG Hwy28 MPG City / 38 MPG Hwy21 MPG City / 28 MPG Hwy28 MPG City / 35 MPG Hwy21 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy
Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4Gas I5
EPA Class     
MinicompactMinicompact CarSubcompactTwo Seater- TBD -Subcompact car
Style Name     
2-Door Coupe2-Door HB Pop4-Door Sedan S2-Door Convertible Manual Sport4-Door HB Manual Sport2-Door Coupe Automatic Entry *Ltd Avail*
Front Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront-wheel driveRear Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity     
Passenger Doors     
Body Style     
CoupeHatchbackSedan2 Door Convertible4 Door HBCoupe
ManualManualManualManual w/ODManualAutomatic
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2012 MINI Cooper vs. 2013 FIAT 5002012 MINI Cooper vs. 2012 Ford Fiesta2012 MINI Cooper vs. 2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata2012 MINI Cooper vs. 2012 Mazda MAZDA22012 MINI Cooper vs. 2012 Volkswagen Beetle