The global automotive world is shoved with myriad of new product launches every now and then that you sometimes lose track on the development in the sector. But there are some products so iconic and so unique, they have been in the market for more than half a decade, still going strong. While technology has changed over the years, one glance at such products is enough to understand what the vehicle is. One such iconic vehicle is the Mini Cooper. Manufactured by British brand Mini under the umbrella of Germany’s BMW Group, the Mini has been known for making cars resonating the brand name. Just recently, Mini launched the updated new Cooper S 3 door hatch in India along with the convertible and JCW models. We recently drove the 2021 Mini Cooper S 3 door hatch to bring you our test drive review. Here’s what we feel -
Starting our review with the design first, the Mini 3 door hatch, as I mentioned before, is instantly recognizable thanks to its timeless design, that has been carried forward to generations, without making it look dated. The new 2021 model, however, gets an updated front design, with LED headlights. The wide piano black finished grille enclosure with iconic round lights and black stripes on bonnet with an air intake gives it a very cartoonish cute look.
Nothing much is happening at the sides apart from the newly designed 17 inch alloys, while the rear gets a redesigned apron and LED tail lamps in a Union Jack design, revealing its British heritage. Overall, the Mini Cooper S 3 door hatch is an eye turner in every possible sense.2021 Mini Cooper 3-Door front profile with newly designed grille and LED headlights (Photo: Arjit Garg/News18.com)
While the exterior design of the Mini is classic and iconic, the cabin, on the other hand is futuristic, charming and cute, if I may say so! I really liked the new steering mounted 5-inch coloured instrument cluster attached to steering wheel and the whole ambient colour theme elevates the whole cabin experience. The black-themed single tone cabin with hints of piano black elements and carbon fibre panels snatches away airiness feel from the cabin, but then, adds a sporty touch, which is a smart move considering there’s no actual space inside the car.
The dashboard remains more of less same having the same 8.8-inch centrally stacked touchscreen infotainment system with new Piano Black high-gloss surround. The addition of ambient lights on the surround adds to the charm. The pop-up HUD is also a sight to behold. The steering wheel is also redesigned while the toggle switches remains the same. I, personally don’t like the way the steering buttons behave, and would have liked other touch based or scroll type buttons.2021 Mini Cooper 3-Door hatch cabin with 8.8 inch screen and 5 inch instrument cluster. (Photo: Arjit Garg/News18.com)
The seats are amply cushiony, and comfortable for a long drive and holds you well while accelerating. Accessing the rear seat is a bit of challenge with all those buttons and levers to slide forward the seat. Even if you successfully manage to do so, sitting behind wont be possible. As for the boot, it has a dual deck structure and can hold small bags at the best.
Mini is offering the 2021 3 door hatch with only one engine option, which is a 2.0-litre, 192 bhp and 280 Nm petrol unit mated to a 7-speed dual clutch transmission. On paper these numbers are super impressive for a car of this size. But in reality as well, these numbers are super impressive for day to day driving. Then there are three driving modes MID, SPORT and GREEN to choose from and if you are looking for extra fun, that Sport mode with pedal shifters can push you from 0-100 in just 6.7 seconds.2021 Mini Cooper 3-Door 5-inch coloured steering mounted display. (Photo: Arjit Garg/News18.com)
I really liked the overall feedback of the engine and gearbox and the car felt amply powerful. What I did not like was the response of the steering which was on the heavier side and takes a lot of effort to maneuver. The suspension was soft, and not stiff for sporty driving. Basically Mini is a mixed bag of emotions for drivers! Some elements are inclined towards plush driving, some towards sporty driving. But in the overall scenario, the car makes you feel happy at the end of a drive.
In terms of safety, Mini gets dual airbags, Brake Assist, Run Flat Tyres to name a few. Mileage is claimed to be at 16.35 kmpl while regenerative braking in Green mode saves those extra few kilometeres.2021 Mini Cooper 3-Door hatch rear three quarter profile with Union Jack inspired LED tail lamps. (Photo: Arjit Garg/News18.com)
Not much has changed in the facelifted Mini Cooper S apart from a few design updates inside out. But that doesn’t take away any credit from this iconic vehicle. It’s still one of its kind hatchback you can buy in India that can turn all the heads on the road and starting at Rs 38 lakh (ex-showroom) despite being a CBU, it’s still a value for money offering. While it’s highly impractical as a family car, I would stick out my neck to say it’s still better than those entry-level smaller luxury SUVs, if you are looking for something unique with stand out characteristics.