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2011 MINI Cooper

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2011 MINI Cooper Review

Small, sporty, fun to drive–all at a relatively affordable price.

Reviewed by Automotive on


Available in convertible or hatchback styles, both 2011 MINI Cooper models seat four people and are great for getting things done around town. It stands out on the highway or cruising around the city. It has a firm ride, especially when outfitted with larger wheels. The tiny size of the MINI makes it easier to find suitable parking spots, but the convertible model has limited rear visibility that makes parking more difficult. It has good driving dynamics and fuel economy packed in its small frame, but small trunk space and uncomfortable rear seating also come with the package.

This subcompact coupe arrived in England in 1959 with a boxy, efficient layout and boasted a surprising volume of inside usable space. It is stylish, affordable, easy to park, and lots of fun to drive anywhere. The MINI Cooper quickly became popular around the globe, including the U.S., becoming a favorite in the 1960s. After a considerable break, the MINI Cooper returned in 2002, resurrecting that legend. The hatchback coupe appeals to many different groups and includes celebrities and pop stars because of the high style. The price can rise considerably with the addition of many optional equipment choices. No matter how it gets equipped, a Cooper convertible or hatchback delivers a fun and satisfying ride for its price.

Even though all MINI Coopers come well equipped, the list of options offers many customization and luxury features. The MINI Cooper Hardtop serves as the base model and next comes the MINI Cooper S and the MINI John Cooper Works. All three come in convertibles as well as hardtops.

The Range

Body Styles: coupe, hatchback, convertible
Engines: V-6
Transmissions: six-speed automatic, six-speed manual
Models: MINI Cooper S, MINI John Cooper Works, MINI Cooper

What's New

The 2011 MINI Cooper gets better fuel economy because of the addition of new engines. The steering shows modification and both climate controls and audio show changes. The MINI Cooper shows off minor cosmetic changes both outside and inside, including optional adaptive headlights and satellite radio and sound insulation. Though outward appearances don’t look very different, the Cooper's mechanics and other shortcomings get updated, resulting in an improved ride.


New colors for the 2011 MINI Cooper include British Racing Green, Orange Spice, and Eclipse Grey. The MINI Cooper convertible adds 16-inch wheels and a top with a sunroof. The Sport package adds 17-inch wheels to convertibles and 16-inch wheels to hatchbacks, traction control, fog lights, a sport hood, sport seats, and a rear spoiler. MINI also offers dealer-installed features. Major featured options include xenon headlamps, a dual-pane sunroof, and keyless entry.


The interior of the 2011 MINI Cooper isn't perfect because the small frame makes seat comfort hard for most adult passengers. Cargo space seems very limited with passengers in the back seat. The unique design of the dashboard makes it especially hard for the driver to use even though it has a well-made cabin. The MINI Cooper has a leather-covered steering wheel with mounted audio and cruise controls, a tilt wheel, HD radio with six speakers, and satellite radio for a year. A USB port, Bluetooth, and a navigation system remain optional. Other available options include parking sensors, a navigation system, leather or cloth upholstery, and a great number of other materials and trims.

Performance & Handling

The base MINI Cooper does not offer as much power as other models, but it satisfies drivers heading to work and back and offers good cornering ability for an occasional winding road. You can expect agile handling from each model, but with a stiffer suspension than models with power steering.


The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the federal government both score the Cooper with a 9.3 (Excellent) for safety and well in rear and front crash tests. It receives ?acceptable? for tests of roof strength. Both the convertible and hardtop versions of the MINI Cooper possess the same safety features except for airbags. The Cooper convertibles have four airbags and the Cooper hardtops add side airbags making a total of six. The 2011 MINI Cooper offers traction control, brake control, and brake force distribution.

EPA Fuel Economy

MINI Cooper S manual: 27/36 mpg city/highway
MINI Cooper S automatic: 26/34 mpg city/highway
MINI John Cooper Works manual: 25/33 mpg city/highway
MINI Cooper manual: 29/37 mpg city/highway
MINI Cooper automatic: 28/36 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Great ability to corner
  • More horsepower
  • Great fuel economy

You Won't Like

  • Center-mounted speedometer
  • Awkward climate control
  • Small trunk space

Sum Up

Small, sporty, fun to drive–all at a relatively affordable price.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Volkswagen Golf
  • FIAT 500
  • Mazda MAZDA3
  • Volvo C30

See the New 2015 Cooper.

Front & Driver Side View