Mini Cooper S review – mpg and running costs

Despite a large engine for the class, the Mini’s not a big drinker, and is able to match its on-paper mpg in the real world

Evo rating
Price
from £19,555
  • Fun to throw around, well built, distinctive inside and out
  • Not as focused as some, uninspiring engine, limited practicality

Making a car small and light tends to pay dividends at the pumps, and that’s certainly the case for the Cooper S. On paper a 43.5mpg combined figure (or 42.8mpg for the five-door) doesn’t sound too impressive in a world of hybrids and EVs, but those numbers are actually well within the reach of mere human beings out in the real world too.

That’s despite the car using a 2-litre engine rather than the 1.5 or 1.6 standard to the class, but it’s a good example of what Mazda would call ‘rightsizing’ – the 2-litre four-cylinder doesn’t have to work very hard to get the Mini body moving, and if you’re not using all the revs, all the time, this results in good real-world economy.

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In our experience, the Mini’s low-40s economy means a real-world range between fills of around 400 miles, so visits to the pumps are relatively rare. A CO2 figure of 139g/km is starting to look out of step in this day and age though, meaning a first-year bill of £210 and £145 a year thereafter.

Tyres shouldn’t be a great expense. Our long-term Cooper S wore 205/45 R17 Michelin Primacys (yup, the same eco-biased tyres worn by the Toyota GT86), a set of which costs around £440 from Blackcircles – if your first set ever wears out. The thing is, 2017’s evo tyre test winner, the Michelin Pilot Sport 4, is only ten pounds more per corner in the same size, so perhaps see that first tyre change as a chance to fit more accomplished rubber...

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