They may be impractical, frivolous seasonal toys, but convertibles are far from dead. Quite the contrary: There are no fewer than nine droptops available starting at or below the average transaction price for a new car in the United States. That bogey currently hovers just above $33,000, a mark the entry-level Mini Cooper convertible undercuts handsomely with a $26,800 base price.
2016 MINI Cooper Convertible BASE, Interior Cruise Control 3 Cylinder Engine , Power Door Locks , Power Mirror(s) , Keyless Entry , Pass-Through Rear Seat , Power Steering , Traction Control , Aluminum Wheels , Engine immobilizer ,. – News from www.yorkregion.com –
With an option sheet overflowing with personalization choices, the Mini can be loaded up past $41,000. That’s get-your-head-checked money for a base Cooper convertible, the model powered by a 134-horsepower turbocharged three-cylinder engine, not the 189-horsepower, four-cylinder Cooper S. Our test car didn’t crack $40,000, but its window sticker bore a rich $37,150 price tag, nearly $3000 more than a 2016 Cooper S convertible we recently tested.
Credit the $5000 Fully Loaded package, an amalgamation of three individual option bundles, for most of the inflation. It adds proximity-key entry, a wind deflector, auto-dimming mirrors, heated front seats, a Harman/Kardon audio system, satellite radio, navigation with real-time traffic information, a backup camera, dynamic damper control, sport seats, and LED headlights. Nifty 17-inch wheels and parking sensors added $500 apiece, chrome exterior trim and a storage package each piled on $250, and the six-speed automatic replaced the standard six-speed manual transmission for $1250.
The only worthwhile options, to us, were the cosmetic bits. The attractive Caribbean Aqua paint ($500), Satellite Grey leather seats ($1750), and Cottonwood interior trim ($350) gave off a Malibu Barbie vibe, and the car wouldn’t look out of place on the crushed gravel driveway of a Malibu, California, beach home. The dynamic damper control, which adjusts the suspension’s firmness depending on the selected drive mode, felt similarly worthwhile. It came in the Fully Loaded bundle but can be had in the less expensive Sport package ($1750). The dampers chopped a noticeable amount of, well, chop from the often abrupt ride quality we find in Minis, a consequence of their short wheelbase, run-flat tires, and a suspension tuned to prioritize handling. The small-for-a-modern-Mini 17-inch wheels certainly helped (the Sport package settles for 16-inchers, and we’d avoid the 18-inch option). The ride might have felt even smoother if not for the standard run-flat tires, which slap over highway expansion joints and medium-size dried leaves. Complete review on www.caranddriver.com, by Michael Simari