2009 MINI Cooper

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$18,550

starting MSRP

2009 MINI Cooper

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Turbo acceleration (S)
  • Convertible's cargo versatility
  • Handling
  • Strong brakes
  • Gas mileage up, emissions down
  • Many options priced individually

The bad:

  • Overly firm ride (S)
  • Gauge legibility
  • Control ergonomics
  • Quality of some materials
  • Transparent sunshade (hardtop)

2 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2009 MINI Cooper trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • Convertible redesigned for 2009
  • Openometer tracks top-down time
  • Six-speed manual or automatic
  • Standard side airbags
  • Good reliability (hardtop)
  • New John Cooper Works edition

2009 MINI Cooper review: Our expert's take

By

The verdict:

Versus the competiton:


What’s an “Openometer” gauge?

Answer: About the most useless item on a Mini Cooper convertible.

It’s a gauge right in front of the driver that gives a truly useless bit of automotive driving feedback: The time you’ve been driving with the convertible top down. Sorry, we’re not making this up.

We learned to love a convertible the old-fashioned way. If the sun’s too hot, put the top up and turn on the A/C. (Hmmm. My ’54 Ford Sunliner didn’t have A/C, either). If it’s too cold, put the top up and turn on the heat. If you’re too windblown for your evening out, put up the top and use the visor mirror to brush your hair.

An Openometer? C’mon.

The German car industry hasn’t quite figured out how to have executives with marketing and ergonomic common sense rein in their always creative engineering departments. Thus you get the “Openometer,” not to mention the goofy oversized center-mounted speedometer that would be great for backseat drivers to view – if the rear seats were big enough for anyone to sit in. Instead, the rear seats are just padded cargo counters and the huge “eye” in the middle of the dash is basically out of the driver’s sightline.

Control layout and general dashboard chintziness aside, the Mini – any Mini – is near the top of my “Fun-to-Drive” list. Even then, there are different levels of fun, and the Mini we spent time with – a base engine with an automatic transmission – was the least fun of all to drive.

The drivetrain was OK for buzzing around town. If you’re doing any longer drives you want the manual transmission option or to step up to an S version. Leave the John Cooper Works Edition for the true performance aficionados.

We averaged 31.5 miles per gallon on a 300-plus mile trek that included being caught on the periphery of The Great Mass Pike Easter Night Traffic Jam.

It took some searching, but we found an auxiliary plug set back and below the bottom row of switches on the center console. It was right above a storage tray so the layout was right to have some music from the iPod during the delays.

If I’m bashing the engineers about the gauge and control layout, it’s time to give them five stars for the convertible top. It retracts easily at the touch of a button, but its best feature is that the front section slides back in a sunroof function.

Any Mini driver – especially a taller one – can tell you that being first in line at an overhead traffic light requires ducking and craning one’s neck to the overhead signals. After an hour-and-a-half on the highway, you yearn for a seat with more thigh support; however, for such a small vehicle, front-seat passengers have ample legroom and headroom. There’s a trunk that, because it’s squared off, holds a surprising amount of gear with the aforementioned rear seats available for the spillover.

The ’09 convertible has a double rear rollbar that moves up and into place under heavy braking or situations when the car’s stability system senses possible danger. The advantage is that when the rollbar is retracted, there is more visibility out the rear window than in prior Mini convertibles. The side mirrors are on the small side so spending time to get them adjusted properly is a must before driving in traffic.

Base price of a Mini convertible is $23,900. With a premium package, automatic, and A/C, ours had a sticker of $27,550. You could have plenty of fun in just the bare base version.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.3
  • Interior design 4.4
  • Performance 4.6
  • Value for the money 4.3
  • Exterior styling 4.7
  • Reliability 4.3

Most recent consumer reviews

4.9

Perfect ... but

The best car I’ve driven so far. I’ve been a fan of the Beetles for such a long time and made the change to a cooper since they have nicer interiors HOWEVER I’d still prefer a buggy. I love the sport button and it’s so beautiful inside at night when it lights up blue. One thing that makes me annoyed of this car is the fact the hatch won’t close after opening it. It literally makes me want to sell this car. Many have this issue and I’ve seen solutions online, but you have to unscrew xxxx and I don’t want to do all that just to have it possibly happen again. Why don’t they fix this EASY problem???

4.6

SO fun to drive!

Hatchback is so versitile. I have had 6 full size adults in it with luggage from the airport!! Super good mileage and drives like a go-kart - it corners so well. You have to keep RPMs up for good accerleration

5.0

Very clean economical car. Excellent choice

This Little gem is great. Car fax shows one owner and BMW dealer maintained and it shows it. We are in California and driving to the east coast of Canada. I have been driving it for 5 weeks . We took it for quick check and service prior to leaving for our trip and the mechanic tried to buy it!

See all 34 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by MINI
New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
48 months/50,000 miles
Corrosion
72 months/unlimited distance
Roadside assistance
48 months/50,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
Less than 5 years/less than 60,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
1 year/unlimited miles after the expiration of the 4-year/50,000-mile MINI new-car limited warranty
Powertrain
N/A
Dealer certification required
Yes
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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