2002 MINI Cooper

  • 2002 MINI Cooper Base Hatchback

    Base Hatchback

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      1.6L I4
    • MSRP
  • 2002 MINI Cooper S Hatchback

    S Hatchback

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      1.6L I4
    • MSRP
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  • Review

2002 MINI Cooper Review

Rough ride quality isn’t smooth and may leave buyers feeling jolted.

Reviewed by Automotive on


Prior to 2002, Mini, a subsidiary of BMW, last sold the Cooper in the United States in the 1960s. After a long absence, the company decided to bring it back this year. It has a suspension system, steering technology, and braking power engineered by BMW. It is a three-door hatchback and is available as a base or S model. The base gets a five-speed manual transmission and the S model gets a six-speed manual. If buyers don’t want to do their own shifting, they can get the optional six-speed continually variable transmission, or CVT, that is as close to an automatic transmission as they are going to get without being an actual automatic. Anti-lock braking system (ABS) is standard for all models. The S trim gets a functional hood scoop and 16-inch run-flat tires. They can get several options, which are grouped together into three comprehensive packages. The Premium package includes a sunroof, automatic air-conditioning, and cruise control, and an on-board computer. The Sport package includes Dynamic Stability Control, rear spoiler, fog lights, sport seats, and alloy wheels. The Cold Weather package includes heated seats, mirrors, windshield, and washer jets. It also includes a rain sensor and an auto-dimming mirror.

The Range

Body Styles: hatchback
Engines; 1.6-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, six-speed automatic
Models: Mini Cooper, Mini Cooper S

What's New

The 2002 Mini Cooper is a new model that has been re-introduced to the American market in 2002. It features BMW-engineered suspension, steering, and braking at a lower price and is powered by a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine.


The 2002 Mini Cooper base trim has 15-inch alloy wheels, variable intermittent windshield wipers, intermittent rear wiper, rear defogger, and a chrome grille. It also has power mirrors, power windows, remote power locks, and remote trunk release. Cargo capacity with the seats up measures at 5.3 cubic feet. With the seats folded down, it is increased to 25 cubic feet. The S trim adds 16-inch alloy wheels with run-flat tires. The wheels can be either white or silver. It is shaped like a toaster, with a hood that can be black, white, or body-colored. Buyers can also get a variety of nationality flags to install to the rear. It has a slightly splayed stance because its wheels are placed as far out to the corners of the car as possible. This enhances road stability, especially in turns, and it reduces rocking on bumpy roads. The hood is wide and shallow. The round headlights are mounted in the hood, so it goes up when the hood is raised.


The 2002 Mini Cooper's standard features for the base model include vinyl upholstery, bucket front seats with height adjustments, split-folding rear seat, air-conditioning, tilt steering wheel, electric power steering, and leather trim on the doors. The CD-controlled AM/FM/CD in-dash stereo system includes six speakers. The S trim includes manually-adjustable lumbar support to the front bucket seats and leather trim on the tilt steering wheel. The center of the dashboard features a large speedometer that incorporates the fuel gauge and warning indicators. They will need to take their eyes off the road to read it. The auto climate and audio controls look alike, but it is clearly marked. The high ceiling provides very good head room. The seats are firm and supportive, but mounted quite low. The rear seat head and legroom is good, but the foot wells are restrictive.

Performance & Handling

The 2002 Mini Cooper is powered by a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes 115 horsepower and 110 lb-ft of torque. It is mated with a standard five-speed manual transmission and front drive. The S trim has a supercharged 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes 163 horsepower and 155 lb-ft of torque, and it mated with a six-speed manual transmission. Both engines can also be mated with the optional six-speed CVT, which includes a six-speed Steptronic auto-manual mode. It displays decent acceleration with smooth shifts from the manual transmissions. Takeoff power is sluggish, but it quickly builds up speed. The tight MacPherson front strut/multilink rear suspension produces a choppy ride. The 15-inch tires rolls over bumps well, but the 16-inch run-flat tires are makes you feel almost every bump in the road. The ride is even rougher in the S model with its even tighter suspension. The steering is very responsive and agile.


The 2002 Mini Cooper is outfitted with a four-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS), dual front side-mounted airbags, ventilated front disc/solid rear disc brakes, engine immobilizer, electronic brake force distribution, and a post-collision safety system. The S trim adds a passenger airbag deactivation switch and traction control. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave a four-star rating for passenger and driver front, side-impact front, and rollover protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave a ""good"" rating for frontal offset crash protection.

EPA Fuel Economy

Mini Cooper Base: 28/37 mpg city/highway
Mini Cooper S: 24/33 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Low base price
  • Rally-ready suspension system
  • BMW technology
  • Hatchback utility

You Won't Like

  • Limited first-year supply
  • Questionable interior ergonomics

Sum Up

Rough ride quality isn’t smooth and may leave buyers feeling jolted.

If You Like This Vehicle

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See the New 2016 Cooper.

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