Mini Cooper Convertible

The Essentials

  • Price from £17,300
  • What Car? says: 3 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 70.6mpg
  • What is it? The Mini convertible offers perky performance and entertaining handling, with the added bonus of open-top fun.

Great

  • Lots of style, and everyone can see you
  • Affordable to run
  • Fun to drive

Gripes

  • Ride is pretty raw
  • Expensive to buy
  • Cabin is tight on space and kit
  • Drive

    Good fun to drive but brace yourself for a very firm ride

  • Inside

    Confusing dash controls and rear visibility is rubbish

  • Safety

    Thrills without spills thanks to standard stability control

  • Reliability

    Rest easy: BMW build has proven reliable in Minis so far

  • Space

    Rear seats are only good for small children or for extra luggage space

  • Standard and extras

    Fast-folding roof, alloy wheels and parking sensors come as standard, but many desirable items cost extra

  • What's it like to drive?

    Most cars converted to roofless form lose some of their sparkle in the handling department. That's true with the Mini Convertible, but it's still great fun to drive thanks to strong grip, solid body control, sharp steering and a balanced feel.

    You notice the Convertible's loss of rigidity more in the ride. Bumps send shudders and wobbles through the bodywork, meaning it feels less settled than the hatchback. This is especially noticeable in the JCW version, which has even firmer suspension than the rest, but all models feel pretty unforgiving.
    The Mini Convertible's low-slung driving position and standard wind blocker mean the wind won't buffet you too badly with the roof down. Road noise never becomes tiresome, either, but the engines do become a little gruff under hard acceleration.
    There's a wide range of petrol and diesel engines available, and you can't really go wrong with any of them. Our favourites are the 118bhp Cooper and the 181bhp Cooper S; the former is perky enough and affordable to buy and run, while the latter gives hot hatch pace.

  • What's it like inside?

    If you're sitting up front, getting comfortable is easy thanks to plenty of seat and wheel adjustment. Rear passengers don't get much legroom, though, so taller drivers may have to sacrifice some of theirs to get friends in the back.
    Rear visibility is restricted whether the roof is up or down, but rear parking sensors come as standard to help out. The boot has enough space to hold a couple of overnight bags, but little else - it certainly isn't big enough for the majority of pushchairs.
    The Convertible's roof opens in 12 seconds at the touch of a button. Standard kit includes 15-inch alloys and parking sensors, while Cooper S models get 16-inch alloys, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, a bonnet air-scoop, run-flat tyres, stainless steel interior detailing, sports seats and a sports button to modify throttle response. JCW adds 17-inch wheels, a different speedo and a sportier body kit.

  • How reliable is it?

    Although some of the interior materials look and feel quite tacky, there's no doubting the solidity of the build quality. Mini usually does well in reliability and customer satisfaction surveys, too. Front and side airbags are standard, along with stability control and ISOFIX child seat fittings.

  • Should I buy one?

    By buying a Mini convertible, you get all the retro charm of the Mini Hatchback and the thrill of open-top motoring. True, it's not as sharp as the hatch and it's a lot more expensive, but for many buyers, it'll be perfect.