What Car? says...
Modern car makers love unusual and dramatic-sounding names that have next to no relevance to the model in question, but the Mini 5-door is an easy one to work out. Yep, you guessed it – it’s a small car with five doors.
Clearly, having an extra couple of doors makes the 5-door more practical than the popular Mini 3-door because anyone sitting in the back won't have to squeeze through a tiny gap behind the front seat to get out. The five-door model is also more spacious for back-seat passengers and has a bigger boot too.
It's slightly pricier than the three-door car, mind, and you might think the additional doors and higher roofline make it look a little less sporty. Nevertheless, it's still spot-on in terms of other classic Mini strengths, which include a smart interior and a myriad of personalisation options.
Unsurprisingly, the engine line-up is much the same as the three-door, with a 1.5-litre engine and an even punchier 2.0-litre, but you won’t find a potent John Cooper Works version (that's limited to the three-door and the Mini Convertible).
So, is the Mini 5-door a convincing alternative to other posh small cars with five doors – including the Audi A1 Sportback – and should you pay the extra over less luxurious rivals like the Ford Fiesta, the Peugeot 208 and the VW Polo?
Read on over the next few pages of this review and we'll tell you everything you need to know. We’ll covering everything from performance and handling to running costs and rear-seat space, and also look at which engines and trims make the most sense.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Mini tends to trade on the ‘go-kart feel’ of its cars, but the marketing strapline doesn’t translate into reality quite as well here as you might expect. The steering is well weighted, and quick to respond so only a tiny movement of the wheel is needed to get the car to change direction, but the 5-door's front tyres will run wide of your chosen line at lower speeds than you might imagine.
Our recommended engine for the 5-door is the 1.5-litre turbo petrol in the Cooper. It’s smooth and quiet, and pulls strongly from just 1500rpm, making it very easy to maintain swift, relaxed progress. The 0-62mph time is a brisk 8.3sec with the manual gearbox.
The more powerful 2.0-litre engine in the Cooper S is 1.5sec quicker from 0-62mph, but pushes up the price considerably and the car isn’t a particularly great hot hatch compared with the rival Ford Fiesta ST. Ultimately, the bigger and heavier engine makes the car handle less sharply than the 1.5-litre Cooper.
Whichever model you choose – but especially if you go for big alloy wheels – there's quite a lot of tyre noise at 70mph compared with rivals such as the A1 and the Peugeot 208. The 5-door's standard six-speed manual gearbox is rather notchy and the clutch pedal’s rather abrupt biting point makes it tricky to drive smoothly. There’s a seven-speed automatic gearbox available in case you want a self-shifter.
The 5-door doesn't ride as smoothly as most versions of the A1 or 208, either. To ensure your fillings stay where they're supposed to be, it's best to avoid alloy wheels larger than 16in. On 17in wheels, there’s a bit of jostling around when dealing with beaten-up surfaces, and things don’t settle down completely, even on a motorway.
Adaptive suspension is standard on Sport trim and optional on Exclusive, but it doesn’t let you stiffen or soften the suspension at will.
The interior layout, fit and finish
The interior of the Mini 5-door has plenty of retro charm without too much compromise in usability. The physical air-conditioning controls are logical, for example, and the standard 8.8in colour infotainment touchscreen is easy to get used to. A DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and a USB socket are all standard, along with a multi-function steering wheel.
Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring is standard, while sat-nav is standard on top-spec Exclusive. It’s part of the optional Navigation pack on other trims. Wireless phone-charging is only available as part of the pricey Premium Plus Pack on models with an automatic gearbox.
Visibility isn't bad. The upright front windscreen pillars are a bit chunky, but you do get rear parking sensors as standard. Front sensors and a reversing camera are part of the optional Comfort Plus pack on all models, while bright LED headlights are standard.
All systems have an easy-to-use control dial between the front seats – you twist it to scroll through the menus and press it down to make a selection, and it's less distracting to use than a touchscreen when you’re driving. Even so, the screen is touch-sensitive, which makes punching an address into the sat-nav quicker and more direct when you’re stationary. With sharp graphics and responsive software, it’s the best infotainment system you’ll find in any small car.
There’s loads of adjustment in the seat and steering wheel, although shorter drivers might find that the seat doesn’t go quite far enough forwards to comfortably depress the clutch pedal fully. The pedals are offset slightly to the right, but not enough to be uncomfortable.
You get a small digital driver's display for the speedometer and rev counter as standard. It’s clear and easy to read, but lacks the customisation options of the Virtual Cockpit in the Audi A1 Sportback.
You won’t have any complaints about interior quality because, compared with the vast majority of small cars, even the A1, the 5-door feels seriously premium inside (just like the Mini 3-door does). There are soft-touch materials in all the important places, and the buttons, switches and dials feel well damped. It looks great, too, with a cheerful design that’s made to feel special by extensive ambient lighting and other touches.
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
As with the Mini 3-door the 5-door has plenty of front space, but other than a couple more doors, what do you get for your extra outlay? Well, you also get a bit more space in the back.
The five-door model is a bit longer, adding an extra 3cm of leg room and 1cm of head room. That might not sound like much, but it’s enough to make six-footers in the back feel far less hemmed in. Even so, you’ll find more rear space in the VW Polo while the Honda Jazz tops the small car class for rear space.
Getting into the back isn’t as easy as with most five-door cars, because the door openings are small and you have to step over a hefty sill. It can feasibly carry three in the back, but it's not particularly broad inside and the central passenger will have to straddle a chunky raised hump that runs down the spine of the car.
The boot isn’t as big as those of the Audi A1, Peugeot 208 or VW Polo, but it’s still large enough for a big weekly shop and we managed to fit four carry-on suitcases on board. There’s a big lip at the entrance, though.
The optional Storage compartment pack (included in the Comfort pack) gets around that by adding a height-adjustable floor that can be set to lie flush with the entrance of the boot. In its highest position, it also takes out any step in the extended load area when you fold down the rear seats.
There's lots of under-floor storage, which you can incorporate into the rest of the boot space (making it very deep) by hinging up the floor and clipping it to the back seats using the magnetised fasteners. For even more space, you can lock the rear seatbacks at a right angle, squaring up the boot to help accommodate boxier items, or fold them down completely in a 60/40 split.
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
The Mini 5-door is aimed at the premium end of the small car market and, as such, it’s priced in line with the Audi A1 Sportback rather than cheaper alternatives such as the Ford Fiesta, the Peugeot 208 and the Seat Ibiza. Resale values are good but not great, though, falling behind the A1's, although you’ll still find competitive PCP deals (see our New Car Deals pages).
There's a choice of three trim levels for the regular models: Classic, Sport and Exclusive. Classic is the base trim, but still gets plenty of equipment as standard, including heated wing mirrors, ambient lighting, a multi-control steering wheel and keyless start.
Sport – which is our recommended trim – adds a racy bodykit, 17in wheels, adaptive suspension, sports seats and cruise control. Exclusive is more luxurious, with different 17in wheels, leather seats and more chrome, allowing you to really make the most of the plush interior.
The Premium Plus Pack is pricey because it includes a Harman Kardon stereo upgrade, a panoramic sunroof and both the Navigation Pack and Comfort Plus Pack (with rear-view camera, front parking sensors and park assist).
There’s lots of kit to help you avoid an accident, including stability control and tyre-pressure monitoring, but you have to go to the options list for more advanced functions such as adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane-departure warning and a rear collision warning system.
The Mini performed slightly disappointingly in the Euro NCAP crash tests, scoring four stars out of five in 2014. Worse still, even that rating is no longer valid due to the age of the test, and it’s worth pointing out that the A1 and the VW Polo both scored five stars in later, more stringent tests. Six airbags are provided, while an alarm and immobiliser are fitted to all models.
As a brand, Mini came joint third with Mitsubishi out of 32 car makers in the 2022 What Car? Reliability Survey. Only Lexus and Toyota did better. All 5-door Minis come with a three-year warranty and breakdown assistance, and both can be extended with a variety of cover levels and price plans.
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|RRP price range||£22,935 - £39,600|
|Number of trims (see all)||12|
|Number of engines (see all)||4|
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)||electric, petrol|
|MPG range across all versions||40.9 - 51.4|
|Available doors options||3|
|Warranty||3 years / No mileage cap|
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)||£65 / £2,645|
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)||£130 / £5,290|