If you thought you’d seen a four-door Mini before, you’d be right. In 2011, Mini introduced the SUV-like four-door Countryman which has since evolved into the exclusively all-wheel drive Cooper S Countryman ALL4. It starts at $29,950. Those with longer memories will recall the 2008 Mini Clubman which had a single rear side door on the passenger side that swung out to the rear, and two rear sideways-opening doors instead of a lift-up hatch. The Clubman was discontinued in 2014.
The new 2015 Mini Five Door on the other hand, looks like a slightly taller, stretched version of the standard two-door Mini. It has four front-hinged doors and a lift up rear hatch which Mini erroneously refers to as a “door”. Back in the day, I’m sure some smart advertising agency came up with the terms ‘Five Door’ and ‘Three Door’ because they sounded much better than ‘Four Door’ and ‘Two Door’. But why stop there? They could also include the hood and call it a ‘Six Door’.
But to avoid naming confusion, I will continue to refer to my four-door tester as the Mini Five Door. Both Five Door Cooper and Cooper S models come exclusively with front wheel-drive starting at $22,240 and $26,740 respectively. That’s a surprisingly modest price jump from the two-door Mini Cooper and Cooper S models which start at $20,990 and $25,490 respectively.
As yet, there is no JCW (John Cooper Works) version of the Mini Five Door although you can order a few JCW appearance accessories on the Cooper S.
Compared to the two-door Mini – oops, I mean the Mini Three Door – the Mini Five Door is 111 mm longer and 11 mm taller. A 72 mm increase in the wheelbase and two additional doors provides easier access to the rear seat for rear passengers though the rear doors are noticeably shorter than the front doors. Still, the door openings are big enough to slide in without bumping your head or scraping your knees and the rear doors make it much easier for parents wishing to install child seats or booster seats. There are anchors and tether latches for three rear child seats.
Two adult passengers can sit comfortably in the rear outboard seats, but the cabin is not really wide enough for a centre rear passenger (although there is a centre rear seatbelt). The centre seat cushion is lumpy and the unfortunate third passenger has to straddle a high centre tunnel. The outboard rear seats are comfortable enough: sitting “behind myself” in the rear seat, I had about an inch of kneeroom, generous footroom under the front seat, and an inch of headroom – the latter reduced by the optional Panorama sunroof in our test car that comes as part of the Essentials Package ($1,200). The front sunroof opens but the rear sunroof is a non-opening glass panel with a sliding sunshade.