Road Test: 2019 MINI Cooper – An Expression of Love

Road Test: 2019 MINI Cooper – An Expression of Love

Story and photos by Gerald Leung,

Where most conceive the car as a form of transportation, the MINI Cooper is an expression of love. And that tingly feeling has something to do with the small form factor – kind of like having a precious jewelry in a wooden box.

Sure, there are plenty of small car choices like the Mazda 2, Toyota Yaris, or even the Fiat Abarth, but none quite matches that of the British born automotive emblem. That said, you’ll get three trims to choose from – Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works.

Just like a baby’s face, things just look cuter when squished, and the MINI Cooper is exactly that. But despite its small form factor, the MINI Cooper 3-door is ironically designed to be spacious. Seating in the box-like interior didn’t feel small, but rather cozy albeit a tight squeeze in the two-passenger back-row seats, but that’s typical.

It comes with quality thanks to the meticulous eye of the BMW acquisition group. Chrome exterior features, carefully designed contours and limited shades from the London color palette help retain a British classic vibe with a flare of contemporary styling.

A Unique Character

A fresh departure from the conventional is found in the interior with chrome tip toggle switches instead of buttons and ring dividers just like an airplane cockpit. There’s also the Swiss-watch inspired instrument cluster and a fuel gauge resembling that of a glass thermometer. Round heat vents, infotainment screen and control knobs all add up to a bubbly experience.

Power and Performance

134 horsepower produced by a 1.3L 3 cylinder engine is all it takes to comfortably drive the base Cooper. A twin turbo charged 4 cylinder is available with the Cooper S and John Cooper Works model to offer a more exhilarating drive with 189 and 228 horsepower respectively. Choice of transmissions are offered in either a 6-speed automatic or 6-speed manual.

The Drive

The solid steering and sturdy chassis make the Cooper an easy and controllable drive. But power was often found saturated with the 3-cylinder, unless downshifted to 2nd gear compromised by hard working revs. Excessive road noise and stiff suspensions also make the Cooper a less comfortable experience on longer trips.

Quick steering was possible, but throwing the Cooper hard into a corner revealed more body roll than hoped for.

Still, the 6-speed manual transmission would be the more ideal choice for a driver-focused experience. A small engine also means good fuel economy at 7.5/9.1 L/100km city and highway EPA respectively for the 3 cylinder variant.

Final Thoughts

Its lustful cosmetics and elusive form factor makes the MINI experience a special one. That’s not without flaws though. Its momentary turn signals and windshield wiper switches in lieu of conventional mechanical ones proved to be cumbersome. Add the harsh driving characteristic to the list.

Still, the overall small car fun factor and city zipper convenience make the MINI Cooper an appealing choice for the boutique shoppers. Our tester comes priced in at $25,330.


  • Vehicle : 2019 Mini Cooper
  • Model : Mini Cooper 3 Door
  • Vehicle Type : Mini
  • Seating Capacity : 2+2
  • Engine : 1.3L 3 Cylinder
  • Transmission :  6-Speed Manual/Automatic
  • Base Price: $23,090 (Base Price)
  • Configurations
    • Classic Line – $1,300
      • Panoramic Sun Roof
      • Heated Front Seat
    • Chili-Red paint – $590
    • 16″ Victory Spokes – $200
    • White Bonnet Strip – $150


  • Boutique car experience
  • Unique design
  • Small and fun car to drive


  • Limited power with base 3-cylinder engine
  • Excessive body roll and lack of handling capability
  • Harsh ride quality

“Guest post by Gerald Leung, P.Eng

Gerald is an automotive engineer, and journalist.  He likes to write about the latest automotive trends and car reviews through his personal blog at“.

Categories: Driver Plus, Road Tests