Are Mini Coopers Good For Road Trips? (Explained)

Disliking a humble-looking car like the Mini Cooper is quite difficult. It has such a daring design and the Kia Soul may immediately come to mind once you view the Cooper.

However, we’d all like to know if, like the Soul, it can beat our expectations on a road trip. You’d find out soon enough.

Are Mini Coopers good for road trips?

There might be a few good reasons Mini Coopers would not be great for road trips. However, comfort and fuel economy are two factors that make the Mini Cooper ideal for them. Overall, they’d serve you well on long trips.

How Comfortable Is a Mini Cooper for Long-distance Road Trips?

Today, there are many variants available for the Mini Cooper. As you’ve guessed, this makes describing it quite difficult, since different variants have different key features.

Luckily, some features just cannot be overlooked regardless of the variant. One of such features is comfort.

First, they all have spacious interiors and it doesn’t change regardless of the model year. This is quite remarkable given their compact-looking sizes.

Another defining factor that makes the Mini Cooper stand out is that you can easily customize it.

Now, what screams comfort than a car you can adjust to suit most of your preferences?

Also, with modern Coopers, you’d get an 8.8-inch touch screen, HD and satellite radio, and an up-to-par sound system.

Let’s not forget its impressive leather upholstery.

That said, there are some common problems with the Mini Coopers.

How Much Stuff Can You Pack in the Trunk of a Mini Cooper?

Recall we said the Mini Cooper has so many variants. Well, regarding trunk space, these different variants cause a very large range of figures.

First, unless your luggage is a backpack and a jolly dog, the Mini convertible would do you no good. It has a dissatisfying trunk size of 5.7 cubic feet. The number still doesn’t get to 10 cubic feet, even with the rear seats folded.

We’ll jump to the best-case scenario you can get with the Cooper. The 4-door Mini Hardtop can deliver as much as 40.7 cubic feet with its rear seats folded.

Finally, there is a figure that sounds like actual vehicle trunk space and not a tiny closet.

If one suitcase takes up 4 cubic feet of trunk space, the 4-door Mini Hardtop can accommodate 10 suitcases. Using this standard, the convertible would barely contain two. Hence, the reason for one backpack and a jolly dog.

Does It Have GPS Built-in?

Mini Coopers come standard with their own navigation system. The system is also quite easy to use. All you have to do is input the desired address or destination and follow the directions.

From the main menu on your screen, you’d find the “navigation” option.

Other than typing in your destination or using voice commands, you can use your mini controller to select a location.

Besides its built-in navigation system, it has other modern driver assist features, including automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning. These features come as standard on most of its trims and can make all the difference on endless trips.

Can You Drive Cross-country in a Mini Cooper?

Ordinarily, all things considered, Mini Coopers aren’t great for off-road activities. However, they’re spectacular for highway driving.

Although a Mini Cooper might look suitable for off-road trips because of its SUV-like shape, it’s not an ideal choice. Any vehicle that has a convertible trim is most likely not designed for anything other than a paved road.

Further, its ground clearance isn’t designed for off-road drives. Average Mini Coopers have from 5.75 to about 5.9 inches of ground clearance.

Newer models may have up to 6.5 inches of clearance. While this is an improvement, we still do not recommend that you use it on rough roads.

The Cooper is a soft vehicle and its increasing ground clearance might only be a cautionary measure. That will ensure it’s not handicapped on uneven pavement.

To really enjoy driving cross-country, you’d need a car (usually an SUV) with at least 7 inches of clearance. Anything less than that might only perform great on average off-road tracks, but won’t fare well on tougher ones.

Nevertheless, we still expect the Cooper to hold up well on cross-country trips. Besides, regular sedans survive in the wild too.

How Reliable Is a Mini Cooper Over Long Distances?

The Mini Cooper has a rough history as regards its reliability. So rough, in fact, that many of its second-generation models have disturbingly low predicted reliability ratings from Consumer Reports.

It was notorious for engine-related problems, and that’s not all. The power steering pump and water pump in many models were also susceptible to failure. There was also the problem of clutch failure and a significant rate of automatic transmission failure.

Surely, these are liabilities anyone would want to avoid over long or short distances. That’s why you should steer clear of the 2006 to 2012 models and go for more recent ones. From our experience, the more recent a Mini Cooper, the more reliable it is.

However, don’t take that as a rule of thumb.

Although its prior generations were prone to develop faults, it’s now arguably one of the most reliable compact vehicles.

J. D. Power ranked it as the most dependable compact car in 2019. The 2020 model also does pretty well and satisfies J.D. Power’s dependability criteria. Also, the 2022 Cooper has an 83/100 rating in quality and reliability.

The Cooper was also ranked the fourth most dependable car in 2019. These are quite impressive ratings for a car with such a rough history. Hence, feel free to get yourself a Mini Cooper for the long trip.

Related: Are Mini Coopers Good On The Highway? (Explained)

How Long Can a Mini Cooper Drive With No Breaks?

When we define lasting with no breaks, we assume a car drives on a traffic-free road and meets no obstruction. This continues until it runs out of gas or develops a fault.

Of course, it’s only theoretical, but it helps us understand the potential a car has.

The Mini Cooper has a great fuel economy. Fuel economy is one of the major factors that can make a car last forever on the road. That, coupled with a medium tank size, would deliver hundreds of miles on a single visit to the service station.

The 2021 Mini Hardtop has a combined fuel economy of 26 mpg. However, since we’re evaluating a non-stop trip, we’d use its highway mileage of 30 mpg. Multiply this by its 11.6-gallon gas tank and it’ll deliver a range of 348 miles.

Note that Cooper tank sizes also have different ranges.

So the 2022 Mini Hardtop has a highway mileage of 37 mpg. When we multiply this by an identical 11.6 gallons, we get about 429 miles of driving.

However, we don’t expect you to get that exact amount from your car. It’s never a good idea to run till you have an empty tank. Still, all Mini Coopers may deliver at least 300 miles of non-stop driving.

How Long Will Mini Coopers Last if Used for Long Trips?

On average driving conditions, a Mini Cooper can deliver up to 200,000 or even 250,000 miles. However, this is not a stamped and sealed fact. Coopers would last long depending on how they’re maintained.

You’ll want to make sure you get your hands on one of the best years for Mini Cooper.

With such figures, they have one of the most impressive lifespans and can compete with cars like the Corolla. Well, we’d love to know if road trips would hurt or help its outstanding service life.

If frequently used for road trips, their longevity figures would vary depending on the driving conditions you subject them to.

Let’s start with off-road trips.

Although there’s not enough data to declare that off-road trips shorten a Cooper’s life, we have an educated guess. Most Mini Cooper features scream “no off-roads”.

It doesn’t have the rugged build that’s common with off-road vehicles and its low ground clearance further worsens the situation. Off-road trips may not hurt the Cooper very much, but it surely wouldn’t help it either.

It’ll also be more prone to wear because of the rough road conditions.

On smooth pavements, however, the Cooper drives like a beast with remarkable speed, handling, and balance. Long road trips would be better because it means fewer stops, hence less strain on the brake pads and transmission.

So, they’d last long only if they’re driven on appropriate roads and are well taken care of.

Related: 9 Popular Cars Going Electric Now (With Pictures)

Does a Mini Cooper Offer Good Mileage Over Long Distances?

They offer the best mileage over long distances. The less frequent stops you encounter, the better your gas mileage. This is also the major reason highway mileage is always better than city mileage.

So don’t worry about having subpar gas mileage. Over longer distances, you’ll save more gas money.

Also, different factors, including fuel type and tires, can cause your gas mileage to vary from the tested highway figures.

Depending on the environmental condition, your winter or summer tires would deliver a different fuel economy.

Since there are many factors that affect gas mileage, including: tire type and pressure, ensure you do your research first.

How Many People Can Comfortably Go on a Road Trip in a Mini Cooper?

The Mini Cooper has a premium interior with spacious front seats. The leg and headroom in the front seats are better than that of the rear.

For that reason, two people can comfortably sit in the front seats.

The rear seats should accommodate two adults comfortably for long road trips. Although it can fit three people like a glove (literally), we recommend two for maximum comfort.

So a Mini Cooper should fit four adults comfortably on a road trip.

If you have a small family, it’d serve you well as long as you don’t take too much luggage.

Related: Are Kia Souls Good For Road Trips? (Explained)

What Are the Best Cars for Long Road Trips?

Honda Accord

These cars have the best mix of all the coveted features for road trips:

Honda Accord:

It is best known for its reliability and performance. The Honda Accord may be the most impressive all-rounder on the list.

Kia Soul:

It is arguably the best SUV for road trips because of its versatility. So it acts like an SUV but delivers sedan fuel economy.

Nissan Altima:

The Altima is a blend of comfort, engine performance, and impressive modern tech features. Its size is also an advantage.

Ford Fiesta:

It is swift, reliable, and stylish. It also has below-average ownership costs.

Toyota Prius:

The Prius only speaks about fuel efficiency and performance.


MINI Cooper | U.S. News

Is the Mini Cooper a Reliable Car | MotorBiscuit

MINI Hardtop John Cooper Specs & Features | Edmunds

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