Road Test/ 100
Predicted Reliability/ 5
Predicted Owner Satisfaction/ 5
Minis are quirky and fun to drive, whether you have the classic two-door or the more practical four-door version. Base Coopers use a turbocharged three-cylinder that sounds a bit gravelly and returned 31 mpg overall with the six-speed automatic. The more powerful and nicer-sounding Cooper S uses a four-cylinder turbo and got 30 mpg with the six-speed manual. Handling is nimble and sporty, making all versions fun to drive. The ride is rather firm, however, and road noise is noticeable. Controls take some getting used to, and the backseat is still tiny. Options easily push the price past $30,000. A high-performance John Cooper Works bumps the power to 228 hp and gets firmer suspension. Reliability has dropped to below average.