2022 MINI Cooper

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2021
The Car Connection
2021
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Andrew Ganz Andrew Ganz Senior Editor
August 5, 2021

Buying tip

The Mini Cooper S strikes the best balance between fun and value, though this year’s new Oxford Edition is an excellent deal.

features & specs

Cooper FWD
Cooper S FWD
John Cooper Works FWD
MPG
Coming Soon
MPG
Coming Soon
MPG
Coming Soon
MSRP
$27,900
MSRP
$31,900
MSRP
$38,900

The 2022 Mini Cooper offers vintage-themed thrills for just about any budget.

What kind of vehicle is the 2022 Mini Cooper? What does it compare to?

The Mini Cooper lives up to its name as a small hatchback available in two- or four-door forms, plus a convertible version. Rorty John Cooper Works versions tempt enthusiasts, while an electric version is one of the cheapest ways to say goodbye to gasoline.

Rivals range the gamut, from parent company BMW’s related X1 to the Kia Soul and the Mazda CX-30. 

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Is the 2022 Mini Cooper a good car?

The Mini oozes charm in any configuration and can be a good value if you’re careful with optional extras. It’s cramped, though, and safety scores aren’t what they should be. We wind up at a TCC Rating of 6.6 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2022 Mini Cooper?

A few exterior tweaks this year are joined by a new 8.8-inch touchscreen that’s leaps and bounds ahead of last year’s setup. Additionally, the lineup gains a new Oxford version that is priced at a remarkably low $20,600. 

The Mini’s unmistakable style is decidedly retro. Updates this year change its front and rear ends a little, but you’ll have to have a 2021 parked in the next slot to really notice the differences. 

Two-door versions boast the most classic styling, though four-door versions are marginally more practical. Inside, all share the same busy, quirky dash. Seemingly countless trims can spruce things up, but watch your budget as it’s not hard to take a Mini to $40,000. 

Underhood, base models use a turbo-3 that provides decent go. The turbo-4 in the Mini Cooper S amps things up from 134 to 189 hp, while pricey John Cooper Works versions squirt out 222 hp. Six-speed manual gearboxes are standard, while a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic can be added to every version. 

There’s not a dull Mini in the pack, though the S strikes a brilliant sweet spot. The JCW is an absolute riot, and its ride isn’t as punishing as those low-profile tires might suggest.

Fuel economy is good but not astounding, especially when you factor in the required premium fuel.

That’s where the Mini Cooper SE comes in, though don’t plan to easily take one on a cross-country road trip. The Mini Cooper SE is the country’s cheapest electric car at the moment, at around $22,500 after a $7,500 federal incentive is factored in. But its 114-mile range would have been just OK five years ago. Today, it’s way off the mark.

Still, as a city car, it might make sense. That’s where all these Minis earn their keep given their tidy exterior dimensions. Four-doors can accommodate adults in row two in a pinch, though, and all are fairly spacious given their small footprint.

Automatic emergency braking is standard equipment, but you’ll pay extra for active lane control and blind-spot monitors, as well as adaptive cruise control. Crash-test ratings don’t impress, unfortunately. 

How much does the 2022 Mini Cooper cost?

The Mini range starts at $20,600 for the new base Oxford trim, and it can climb rapidly from there through Classic, Signature, and Iconic trim levels on all versions. 

The high-value Oxford is a heck of a deal, though we can’t blame you for nabbing a modestly-optioned Cooper S for around $30,0000. 

Where is the 2022 Mini Cooper made?

In England and in The Netherlands.

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2022 MINI Cooper

Styling

The Mini Cooper boasts enduringly playful retro styling.

Is the 2022 Mini Cooper a good-looking car?

It’s not for everyone, but the Mini Cooper is fun and stylish. We rate it at 8 out of 10, rewarding its interior and exterior whimsy.

The lineup comes in three basic configurations: two-door hardtop, four-door hardtop, and convertible. From there, each trim level adds a few bits that spruce up the car but don’t detract from its retro style. 

This year, Mini tweaked the front and rear ends and added some new wheel designs to the mix.

Inside, all cars have playful, if busy, interior designs with lots of circular elements and a row of toggle-style switches. The look doesn’t quite recall the original Minis, but it does add a vintage flavor.

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7

2022 MINI Cooper

Performance

There’s not a boring Cooper in the Mini lineup.

Is the Mini Cooper 4WD?

No, all versions come with front-wheel drive.

How fast is the Mini Cooper?

It can be quite quick in the right form. Base Minis are fun enough, with 134 hp squeezed out of a turbo-3. They’re light enough that they zip to 60 mph in around 7.4 seconds regardless of transmission.

If your budget allows, the turbo-4 in the Mini Cooper S amps things up considerably, offering better passing power especially with several passengers aboard. The 2.0-liter turbo-4’s 189-hp rating is surpassed only by the pricey John Cooper Works. With 228 hp, these versions are downright quick, and that power is accompanied by uprated Brembo brakes and a stiffer—but not too stiff—suspension. JCWs trade the 7-speed dual-clutch for an 8-speed conventional automatic.

Manual transmissions are a delight, though the clutch on the JCW can be a bit stiff for everyday use. 

On all, steering is crisp and precise, ride quality is very firm but not uncomfortable, and handling is top-notch. It’s a reference point and a high-water mark for front-drive sporty cars.

The electric Mini SE is quick off the line but can feel winded at higher speeds. With its limited range, this model is best for in-town use anyway. 

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2022 MINI Cooper

Comfort & Quality

The Mini Cooper is hardly spacious, but its interior is imaginative and well-wrought.

Mini shoehorns a funky interior into the bite-size Cooper, but don’t look for excess space. We rate it at 4 out of 10 with a point deducted for its skimpy rear-seat space. 

Two-door models can technically seat four, but the second row is tough to access and the mere 30.8 inches of rear-seat leg room won’t accommodate taller passengers. With the rear seat upright, cargo space is tight, though folding row two opens up an impressive 34 cubic feet. 

Four-door hardtops are longer overall and ride on a slightly stretched wheelbase that affords a little more rear-seat room, though the biggest benefit here is the ease of access. Cargo space grows to a usable 13.1 cubic feet with the rear seat upright, which is on par with small sedans—though much of that is above the window line. 

Convertibles are very cramped, especially when it comes to their barely useful 6.7-cubic-foot trunks. 

The fun interior design is matched by good materials, plus a wide range of dress-up extras. It’s inexpensive in appearance, but almost infinitely configurable to your taste.

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2022 MINI Cooper

Safety

The 2022 Mini Cooper checks the basics, but little more.

How safe is the Mini Cooper?

The 2022 Mini Cooper includes standard automatic emergency braking, which could come in handy given its so-so crash-test scores.

We don’t assign it a safety score until all the data’s in, but what we have so far is mixed. The federal government rates the Mini at four stars overall. IIHS testers have been kinder, granting it “Good” scores in every instrumented test, though there are still several evaluations yet to be performed. 

Last year’s headlight designs earned “Acceptable” at best, but we’ll see if the IIHS tests the updated 2022 model.

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2022 MINI Cooper

Features

The 2022 Mini Cooper can be a good value as long as you don’t go crazy with options.

We rate the 2022 Mini Cooper at 8 out of 10 for its features. Base models are equipped reasonably well and its big touchscreen is worth an extra point, though it’s missing a key standard feature in Oxford trim. It’s still a strong performance and economy-car buy, and with that point it’s an 8 for features. 

Which Mini Cooper should I buy?

This year’s new Oxford Edition offers an intriguing value for just $20,600. That money buys a two-door with 17-inch alloy wheels, heated seats, and a panoramic moonroof, though it comes only with an automatic transmission and Mini will only let you select from six colors. Four-door models add another $1,000. Frustratingly, Apple CarPlay isn’t available on the Oxford Edition—you’ll have to find a model with navigation, which seems counterintuitive to us. 

Otherwise, the lineup starts at about $23,700 for the Classic trim, which dials back to 15-inch wheels and drops the sunroof but is the starting point for way more features.

The mid-level Signature adds $4,000, money that buys a moonroof, 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, and a few other bits. The costly Iconic runs $31,000 to start with nappa leather, a head-up display, and a bunch of other features. But that’s one expensive Mini, and that’s before you’ve paid extra for most colors and worked your way through myriad additional options.

Cooper S versions cost about $4,000 more regardless of trim, and four-doors are another grand. 

The John Cooper Works models start at nearly $40,000 and can go even higher. 

How much is a fully loaded 2022 Mini Cooper?

Tick all the boxes, as the Brits say, and you can wind up with a JCW convertible priced at nearly $50,000.

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2022 MINI Cooper

Fuel Economy

The 2022 Mini Cooper can be pretty frugal, though prepare to pay for premium unleaded.

Is the 2022 Mini Cooper good on gas?

The Mini is not the thriftiest small car, but its small engines and light weight translate to decent fuel economy. We rate the lineup at 6 out of 10. 

Base cars with the automatic transmission are the most fuel-efficient versions at 29 mpg city, 38 highway, 32 combined. The S is only slightly thristier: 28/38/31 mpg. 

Adding the manual transmission drops fuel economy considerably on Cooper S models. They’re rated at just 23/33/27 mpg.

The Cooper SE’s 115-mile range is weak against all other new EVs, though its low price reflects that deficit. 

Review continues below
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$22,900
MSRP based on Cooper FWD
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6.6
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 8
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 4
Safety N/A
Features 8
Fuel Economy 6
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