MINI has been busy diversifying from its classic three-door hatch for some years now, with the Countryman, Clubman, Convertible and Paceman all opening up sales opportunities for the British heritage brand.
Those all serve different customers, but what about people who love the Hatch, but simply need a bit of extra room? Well, the five-door MINI hatch could be the answer.
Being 161mm longer and 11mm taller, with an extended wheelbase too, it's significantly longer than the three-door. This means 72mm of extra legroom in the back, compared to the cramped passenger space familiar in the traditional hatch.
This elongated design can split opinions, especially amongst long-time fans of the MINI brand, but we think the five-door looks better on the road than in pictures and is sure to tempt buyers looking at an Audi A1 Sportback, Volkswagen Golf or even a small crossover like the Nissan Juke.
There are six iterations available, starting with a 94bhp diesel and a 1.2-litre petrol with 101bhp in the One and One D respectively. Both offer mediocre acceleration and feel best suited to town driving
For a step up in performance, you'll want either the 1.5-litre, three-cylinder diesel Cooper D with 114bhp or the 134bhp petrol Cooper. The petrol engine completes the benchmark 0-62mph sprint in 8.2 seconds in six-speed manual form, and feels lively enough to bring a wide smile to your face. The diesel Cooper D can't quite match its fun factor, but it feels grown-up and works well over long distances, including motorway trips and manages 0-62mph in 9.4 seconds.
The fastest in the range is the 189bhp Cooper S, which reaches 62mph in 6.9 seconds with a manual gearbox and feels hot hatch quick. It might not boast the highest power output amongst its rivals, but its fairly light weight, exuberant exhaust note and short-throw gearlever makes it feel very quick. There's now a diesel Cooper SD too, with 168bhp and a considerable 360Nm of pulling power, getting it to 62mph from rest in 7.4 seconds. Once on the move, it feels quicker if anything, thanks to its substantial shove in higher gears, making light work of overtaking.
Ride and Handling
This is a car that handles well, with plentiful grip and little body roll.
Despite the extra weight of the five-door versus the original three-door, this is a car that handles well, with plentiful grip and little body roll. The fact it's longer than the three-door makes it feel slightly less frenetic, which is a blessing for some, but the steering is still very quick to react and it feels like there's very little slack in the chassis. Choose a One or Cooper on sensible alloy wheels and the ride comfort is also very acceptable, although you never entirely get away from this being quite a firm car. Go for a Cooper S or choose bigger alloys and the ride can prove rather sharp if you hit a pothole or drive over a coarse surface. Adaptive dampers are also available, allowing you to adjust the suspension depending on if you're simply driving around town, or want to tackle your favorite set of bends.
Interior and Equipment
The platform used by the latest MINI Hatch (both three-door and five-door) is also used for the latest BMW 2 Series range.
MINI interiors have long stood out for their fun, innovative design with quirky air vents and instruments as well as aircraft-style toggle switches. Overall quality around the dashboard and doors is good, although if you look further afield you’ll find some plastics that aren’t quite what you’d expect from the BMW-owned brand. Space is paramount in any five-door car and rear legroom is sufficient if not ample, but headroom is good, even though the rear seats are quite upright and the back doors relatively small for access. A third, middle passenger is possible but best avoided. Boot space is up 67 litres over the three-door, with 278 litres, just having the edge on the A1 Sportback which has 270 litres. However, more affordable superminis can offer superior boot space. The five-door Ford Fiesta for example has 290 litres as standard. The Peugeot 208 (285 litres) and the Renault Clio (300 litres) are other models that outperform the MINI for boot space. Standard equipment includes DAB radio, heated mirrors, USB, Bluetooth and a six-speed manual. There are abundant options too such as heated front seats, a panoramic sunroof, rain sensors and a sports leather steering wheel.
The most frugal option is the One D, which offers consumption of 80.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 92g/km.
This five-door model will open up sales to families in need of extra space. The fact the Cooper D now falls under 100g/km CO2, means it will appeal on the taxation front too. The most frugal option is the One D, which offers consumption of 80.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 92g/km. In comparison the most frugal A1 Sportback models emits 97g/km and has an average fuel consumption of 76.3mpg.
The five-door MINI Hatch is a fashionable car with many strong points including an impressive engine line-up, fun driving characteristics and a characterful interior. On the down side it’s still not the most practical car in its class and there are similar-sized and cheaper alternatives which perform better in this regard. However, if you like the MINI brand, this is still a sure-fire winner as a small hatchback for families, which should also bring plenty of new customers over to the brand.