Mini Cooper Soho review

First drive in Mini's new Soho special edition, a Cooper with extra kit and a new splash of paint

Evo rating
Price
from £16,765
  • Great to drive, settled ride, looks cool
  • Price puts it in proper hot hatch territory

What is it? The Mini Cooper Soho, a special edition of the unashamedly retro hatchback. Available on Cooper hatchbacks and convertibles, prices kick off at £16,765. Technical highlights? There’s nothing new under the skin, the standard Cooper’s 120bhp 1.6-litre naturally aspirated petrol and 110bhp 1.6-litre turbodiesel options and sweetly simple front-drive chassis untouched. Instead, the Soho is a paint’n’kit job – a new White Silver colour scheme on the outside and 17in Black Star Bullet alloys (not on our test car, which was fitted with winter tyres), Bi-Xenon headlights, a leather sports steering wheel and plusher interior trim migrating from the options list. What’s it like to drive? Being identical mechanically to standard Mini Coopers, it’s one of the most fun superminis you can buy. Compared to Mini’s faster hatches, the ride is supple and composed, while the steering is light but pleasingly direct. It’s an easy car to maintain momentum in and drive cross-country for long periods without ever having to scrub off significant speed. Good job, as acceleration from this petrol Cooper’s non-turbo 1.6-litre engine is certainly modest. That’s not to say wringing its neck isn’t fun – the shift action on its six-speed manual gearbox is positive and satisfying, while there’s a nicely rorty (if unmistakably four-pot) noise at higher revs – but you can’t rely on the turbocharged torque of faster, forced-induction Minis. The Cooper D oil-burner has more low-down torque while serving up 74mpg fuel economy and zero road tax and congestion charge thanks to its 99g/km CO2 emissions. It’s nearly £1300 costlier, though, starting at £18,045. How does it compare? Warm hatchbacks are pretty abundant, and the Mini has to tackle lots of capable cars. The Suzuki Swift Sport and Renaultsport Twingo Cup cost less than £14K and are more fun to drive, but completely lack the premium feel of the Mini.  The Audi A1 and Citroen DS3 are its closest rivals if style pleases you more than substance, but neither can satisfy the driver like the Mini has for over a decade now. Just bear in mind that Soho trim is a slightly expensive route to new paint and flasher alloys. Anything else I need to know? Mini’s philosophy is to name its special editions after ‘London boroughs, districts, streets and landmarks’. We’ve seen the Hampton and Pimlico before this Soho, so brace yourself for the Dulwich, Clapham and Dagenham. Maybe.

Specifications

EngineIn-line 4-cyl, 1598cc
Max power120bhp @ 6000rpm
Max torque118lb ft @ 4250rpm
0-609.1sec (claimed 0-62)
Top speed126mph
On saleNow
Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/mini/202813/mini-jcw-gp-2020-review-mini-sharpens-up-ready-to-rival-gr-yaris
MINI

Mini JCW GP 2020 review - Mini sharpens up ready to rival GR Yaris

27 Jun 2020
Visit/mini/202697/1974-mini-cooper-gets-500whp-v6-yours-for-ps120000
MINI

1974 Mini Cooper gets 500whp V6: yours for £120,000

6 Jun 2020
Visit/mini/cooper-s
MINI

Mini Cooper S review

11 Feb 2020
Visit/classic-cars/201733/mini-remastered-launches-hot-oselli-edition
Classic cars

Mini Remastered launches hot Oselli Edition

10 Sep 2019
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/bmw/m3-saloon/20529/2020-bmw-m3-tech-specs-revealed-choice-is-the-word-for-bmws-sports-saloon
BMW M3 saloon

2020 BMW M3 tech specs revealed – choice is the word for BMW’s sports saloon

BMW’s next M3 to be available in manual or auto; with and without all-wheel drive
1 Jul 2020
Visit/ferrari/f8/spider
Ferrari F8

Ferrari F8 Spider 2020 review - the thorn in a McLaren 720S Spider's side

Every bit as thrilling as the Tributo coupe
30 Jun 2020
Visit/volkswagen/tiguan/22532/volkswagen-tiguan-r-spied-mid-sized-suv-to-feature-golf-r-powertrain
Volkswagen Tiguan SUV

New 318bhp Volkswagen Tiguan R to join Arteon R and Golf R

The popular Volkswagen Tiguan has been updated, and revealed in new R and e-hybrid forms
30 Jun 2020
Visit/best-cars/15095/best-cars-to-buy-for-ps10000-evo-garage
Best cars

Best cars to buy for £10,000 – evo garage

The evo team picks their favourite used performance cars
1 Jul 2020