Find a car review


MINI hatchback review - more tech, more efficient, but still fun - Ride and handling

Fashionable supermini retains its sense of fun, with improved practicality and economy

Evo rating
from £13,750
  • Fun to drive, punchy engines, more cabin space
  • Firm ride, questionable styling

Ride and Handling

If you’re worried the Mini might lose its nippy nature given its increased girth, you needn’t – as the car’s Sport mode advertises, the car retains its ‘go-kart feel’.

The optional (£375) variable dampers seem like an option worth speccing. Sometimes the differences between variable damper settings can be fairly minimal, but the Cooper S’s demeanour changes markedly. In its standard setting the car feels much more supple, particularly in its secondary ride, and as a result copes far better with bumpy UK B-roads (and general everyday driving).

Subscribe to evo magazine

If you're passionate about the world's greatest performance cars, experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Try your first 5 issues for £5.

On smoother terrain you get a little extra precision from the steering in Sport mode, but the car feels happier as a whole in its more relaxed setting because it breathes with the road rather than fighting it. The standard 16in wheels (17s are a £450 option) might be the better choice for ride and handling, unfashionable though that might be.

The Mini has always had sharp, darty steering but the new car takes that to a new level. It's quicker to react than before and front-end grip has improved. Importantly, it still feels like a Mini and has that appealing chuckable nature that its predecessors have always possessed. Find a wide corner and turn the stability control off and the Mini can still be persuaded to tighten its line aggressively on a lifted throttle, but it won't intimidate the more casual driver either.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Most Popular


New McLaren GT review – Woking muscles-in on Aston Martin’s home ground

Is McLaren’s first grand tourer just a toned-down supercar, or something more nuanced and special?
17 Sep 2019

Miltek Volkswagen Up GTI review

VW’s Up GTI is already a favourite of ours. Can Milltek’s upgrades improve it further?
16 Sep 2019
Best cars

Best family cars that are still fun to drive

Saloon, hatchback or SUV, family cars come in all shapes and sizes, and needn’t be a snore to drive. These are some of the team’s favourites.
13 Sep 2019

Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport - picked by Porsche

Goodyear has many close associations with premium global car brands, but being asked to develop a trackday tyre for Porsche's extreme 911 GT3 RS was a…
14 Aug 2019