First Drive Review: MINI Hatch

Independent review by Maxine Ashford

5-minute read

MINI Hatch

First Drive: MINI Hatch

Explore the key features of the MINI Hatch in our expert first drive review

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The MINI Hatch has moved forward at quite a click without losing an ounce of its thrill factor along the way.


  • 3 and 5-door versions available
  • Great fun to drive
  • Retro design
  • Plenty of technology
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MINI has spruced up its Hatch range, offering extra driver appeal through a raft of new techno treats, infotainment upgrades along with class-leading headlights and design tweaks.

Even the company logo has been given a fresh flat two-dimensional look.

Since BMW took over the MINI reins back in 2000, sales have soared and the all-round appeal of the 3-door Hatch and 5-door Hatch models is still as strong as ever.

A facelifted version of the MINI Hatch was unveiled in 2021, bringing with it a range of updates. A pre-facelift version was tested during this review.

Design and Practicality

When it comes to looks, the MINI Hatch is eye-catching without being garish.

It looks modern, and the latest additional features are very easy on the eye, especially the rear LED lights that have a Union Jack design along with the front headlights that now have LED daytime running lights and the LED indicators integrated.

We had the opportunity to drive the 3 and 5-door models, both in Cooper S grade, and they each had their very own individual appeal.

There are additional colour options, a new 7-speed Steptronic transmission, more leather trim, plus piano black exterior and alloy wheel designs.

A first for customers though will be the option to really stamp their own individual mark on the cars with the chance to have personalised parts 3D printed.

These include the dashboard, side scuttles and door sills – so you can have your name printed or choose from a number of bespoke designs.

The area where this version excels is the addition of the rear doors, so if you need to carry passengers or have a child seat that you require easy access to, then the 5-door is a more practical all-round choice.

Engines and Performance

Customers can choose from various trims, including One, Cooper, Cooper S, Cooper D or JCW versions and there is a choice of diesel or petrol engines and either manual or automatic gearboxes.

Powered by a 189bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine, it could sprint from 0 to 62mph in 6.8 seconds, maxed out at 146mph and, according to official figures, can deliver combined fuel economy of 47.1mpg with carbon emissions of 138g/km.

Whatever MINI does to tweak, develop, upgrade, and modernise its models, one thing is very clear – it needs to remain a driver’s car with all the original karting fun and exhilarating driving dynamics that have been a vital factor since day one.

For MINI owners worldwide, design and performance are always high on the list of priorities, and the MINI Hatch certainly lives up to high expectations.
Maxine Ashford

The road-holding is super grippy, meaning the car can be fired into bends with confidence.

The direct steering offers oodles of driver feedback and the acceleration through the 6-speed manual gearbox is rapid with a constant supply of power on tap.

There are different driving modes Green, Mid, and Sport that adjust the car’s handling and also the appearance within the instrument cluster, which, as always, is dominated by the huge circular dial that houses the touchscreen.

The toggle switches, including the red power on/off control, are always a welcome reminder of how much fun the MINI is after all these years.

The 5-door version boasts similar performance stats to the 3-door model as it has the same powertrain, although it is a fraction of a second slower to reach 62mph, and it is slightly thirstier with combined fuel economy of 45.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 141g/km.

But when it comes to the handling, the 5-door Cooper S is just as much fun and can be driven with equal enthusiasm.

Equipment and Technology

The previous hatchback line-up was launched in 2014 so four years down the line in 2018, it was time for a freshen-up.

So, new for 2018 are front and rear LED lights, new adaptive headlights with Matrix high beam, a 6.5-inch colour infotainment screen along with multi-function steering wheel, new touchscreen with MINI navigation, Apple CarPlay and wireless smartphone charging, connected services with real time traffic and weather updates plus a concierge service.

The latest on-board technology has brought the new MINI bang up to date with its competitors, and although we only drove the car in daylight, the Matrix adaptive headlights offer exceptional lighting at night delivering better illumination without dazzling oncoming traffic.


There are plenty of attributes of the MINI hatch that make it a staple for many drivers in the UK, including excellent performance, oodles of charm, and high levels of reliability.

In recent years, the 3-door and 5-door Hatch models have upped their game in terms of refinement, offering plenty of equipment and safety features to support and entertain drivers whilst on the move.