What's the used Mini Convertible sports like?
It can be hard to keep a desirable car en vogue. The Mini has been at the forefront of fashionable vehicles for years, so it make sense for the brand to offer a hard-top version for the winter season and a more revealing number for the summer – the Mini Convertible.
Thanks to the success of earlier generations, many manufacturers have copied the small convertible formula. There are the ‘best of both worlds’ open-top cars such as the Fiat 500C and DS 3 Cabrio, which have large canvas tops that can be slid back electrically when the sun is out but keep the roof pillars in place for structural rigidity. Then there's the Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet for those who want something that looks cute and rounded.
There isn’t a bad option in the Mini Convertible engine range. The entry-level turbocharged 136bhp 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol is a particularly good one because it’s smooth in everyday driving, quiet and economical. The 192bhp 2.0-litre in the Cooper S is a bit livelier, while the high-performance 231bhp John Cooper Works model is a good laugh. For the economy-minded, there is the 116bhp 1.5-litre three-cylinder diesel that's very frugal and refinement is pretty good, too.
The Mini Convertible has a finely balanced ride that soaks up the worst of the bumps and potholes in the road but is still firm enough that it doesn’t roll badly in bends. You’ll notice a bit of shudder through the chassis on rougher bits of road, but that is to be expected on a car with no fixed roof. The steering is just as quick as the regular Mini, although its 90kg weight disadvantage over the regular three-door hatch means the convertible model isn’t as agile.
Just like the standard Mini, rear passengers will feel cramped and the boot is more of a letterbox slot. Also, overall load capacity is heavily compromised with the roof down because the roof and its mechanism robs space. You can, at least, fold the back seats down to increase cargo capacity. Up front, occupants are well catered for, since there’s lots of adjustment in both the steering wheel and seats to allow even the tallest people to find a comfortable position.
Cooper models come with enough equipment to get by, but the Pepper Pack improves things dramatically because it adds rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, a sports steering wheel and auto lights and wipers.