Mini Paceman Coupe full 9 point review
Four engines are offered: 121bhp Cooper and 181bhp Cooper S petrols, and 110bhp Cooper D and 141bhp Cooper SD diesels. The S petrol and diesels are available with front- and four-wheel-drive, whereas the entry-level petrol is front-wheel drive only. So far we’ve driven only the front-wheel drive Cooper S, which feels a bit flat below 1500rpm, but delivers brisk acceleration beyond that.
Ride & Handling
The Paceman becomes a bit fidgety over pockmarked roads, but it doesn’t crash and thump over bumps in the way the Mini Countryman tends to. This is surprising given the Paceman’s supposedly firmer set-up, although we were driving the car in Spain and on the smallest wheels available; it remains to be seen how it will cope with the UK’s more challenging surfaces and lower-profile tyres. The light steering doesn’t offer much feedback, but body roll is well controlled.
There’s some irritating engine resonance in the cabin at motorway cruising speeds and wind noise is prominent, while road noise intrudes over coarse surfaces. The manual gearshift is a bit notchy, and it’s too easy to select reverse instead of first gear.
Buying & Owning
You have to pay for the Paceman’s looks - it costs much, much more than equivalent versions of the roomier and mechanically similar Countryman. However, you should get a decent chunk of your money back when you sell the car on. Running costs are reasonable, but no more than that.
Quality & Reliability
The Paceman has a premium image, but although much of the cabin trim looks the part, some of the materials and switchgear are disappointingly plasticky. Mini’s reliability record is patchy, too; the Paceman didn’t feature in the most recent JD Power ownership satisfaction survey, but other Mini models scored only ‘average’ marks for mechanical reliability.
Safety & Security
All versions of the Paceman have stability control fitted as standard, and if you specify the four-wheel-drive system that’s optional on some models, you’ll also have some extra traction to help out in slippery conditions. Should the worst happen, every model has six airbags as standard, while the Countryman that the Paceman is closely related to scored five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests. Deadlocks and an alarm are also provided.
Behind The Wheel
The interior is virtually identical to the Countryman’s up front, which means you get a retro dashboard that puts style before ease of use. The one slight improvement is that the electric window switches and the central locking control have been moved from the centre console to the doors. You sit higher than you do in a Mini hatch and get a wide range of adjustment, but the seats aren’t particularly supportive and the controls for adjusting the angle of the backrest are rather hard to reach.
Space & Practicality
Getting into the rear is much easier than it is in the Mini hatch because there’s a large gap to climb through. However, the front seats don’t return to their original position after being slid out of the way, forcing you to reset your driving position. Rear seat space is quite tight for six-footers and there’s no central seat, while the seat backs lie at a steep angle when you fold them forward to extend the modest boot.
Mini is usually a bit stingy with equipment, but the Paceman has a decent amount as standard. Whichever version you choose, you’ll get air-conditioning, front electric windows, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth and a DAB radio with a USB input. Cooper S and JCW versions all have cosmetic upgrades, and you can choose from a variety of different options to personalise your car.