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In-depth reviews

MINI hatchback review - Reliability and Safety

BMW engineered and full of safety equipment, the MINI nonetheless could do better in the reliability and safety stakes

The newest MINI scored four stars in a 2014 round of Euro NCAP crash tests, which is mildly disappointing when most new cars these days achieve five. A 79% score for adult occupants and 73% for child occupants are perhaps what you’d expect of a small car – but way behind the 84%/85% ratings respectively for the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer that’s based on the same chassis (and was tested at the same time).

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The MINI’s worst Euro NCAP score was 56% for safety assistance systems, largely because newer technology like lane departure warning isn’t available at all, while low speed autonomous braking (city braking assistant) is optional, as is a head-up display and automatic cruise control. The MINI does have two Isofix points as standard, however.

For impact protection it features high-strength steel in the body, impact absorbers and a pop-up bonnet to help improve a pedestrian’s chance of survival if struck.  Electronic stability control (which can be switched off), anti-lock brakes and tyre pressure monitoring are all standard.

Owners tell us MINI has its work cut out in the satisfaction stakes, with the previous hatch finishing a lowly 57th (out of 75 cars) in our Driver Power 2018 survey. Owners praised its ride and handling, reliability and build quality, but its practicality was the worst in the survey.

The MINI hatch finished 91st in the top 100 cars in the 2019 Driver Power survey, while MINI itself managed a much stronger 18th place out of 30 manufacturers.

Warranty

The MINI comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty, covering the usual gamut of mechanical and electrical parts – not including those subject to normal wear and tear. Beyond that, MINI offers a very similar service to BMW (unsurprisingly), called MINI Insured Warranty, available to any car under 100,000 miles. It can be purchased as either an extension to the standard warranty, or for specific components, like the clutch, engine or gearbox. 

Servicing

MINI was one of the first to offer all-inclusive service packages for the life of the car. Called TLC, it’s available from £299 and covers servicing for three years or 36,000 miles.

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