2015 MINI Paceman Expert Review

3.5 Overall Score
Performance 3.2 Comfort 3.3 Styling 3.4 Value 3.1

Editor's Overview

The 2015 Mini Cooper Paceman combines elements of the British brand's range of vehicles to create one that is different yet familiar. It has the 2-door design of the Hardtop, the slightly higher ground clearance and available all-wheel drive (AWD) of the Countryman, and the sweeping profile of the Coupe. Together it forms a stylish if less practical crossover SUV.

You'll Like The 2015 MINI Paceman If...

The Paceman is a niche vehicle within an already niche brand, making it an exclusive vehicle that can be had for under $25,000. And with its hatchback design, available all-wheel drive (AWD) and fuel economy of up to 34 mpg, the Paceman has a practical side, too.

You May Not Like The 2015 MINI Paceman If...

The Paceman isn't the only subcompact crossover SUV with attitude. The Nissan Juke, Kia Soul and new arrivals such as the Fiat 500X and Mazda CX-3 also blend sportiness, practicality and fresh design at a price even collegians can afford.

What's New

Like all 2015 Mini models, the Paceman receives automatic climate control and rain-sensing windshield wipers as standard features. Also, LED fog lights replace the former halogen bulbs, and the radiator grille gets cosmetic tweaks.

Interior Features

The 2015 Paceman has a 4-passenger cabin and rear seats that fold to create up to 38.1 cubic feet of cargo space in the hatch. The rear seats have roughly 3 inches more legroom than those of a 2-door Mini hardtop, but adults will still find the space quite tight. The cabin carries the eccentric, charming elements we've come to expect in a Mini. The Paceman doesn't have the latest iteration of Mini's interior design found in the new Hardtop, but it still feels inspired with its array of switches, upscale materials and, of course, that huge speedometer that engulfs the center dash.

Exterior Features

Compared to the more practical 4-door Countryman, the 2-door Paceman has a sportier appearance. This Mini's forward stance, combined with its rising beltline and sloping roof, makes it appear ready to pounce. In back is a door that rises upward for easy loading and unloading of your groceries and/or hipster gear (for all its style, the Paceman still has the practical functionality of a hatchback, remember). Contrasting roof colors make the Paceman further stand out. Turbocharged Cooper S and JCW variants of the Paceman are differentiated by an air scoop in the hood, dual tailpipes and brake ducts.

Driving Impressions

Describe a Mini and the term "go-kart" usually comes up. These small British cars have staked their claim on offering adults the grin-inducing, dynamic handling of a motorized kart, and the Paceman brings much of that exuberance. Like its Countryman sibling, the Paceman gives up some of the handling edge of the Hardtop due to its bulkier size and slightly higher ground clearance. Relative to other compact crossover SUVs, though, the Paceman is far more fun to drive thanks to a sport suspension that's stiff enough to make curvy roads a treat yet tolerable enough for highway drives (a softer-tuned suspension is available at no extra cost). Even with its base, 121-horsepower engine the Mini Cooper Paceman is enjoyable. At the other end is the 208-horsepower JCW Paceman, a real thriller. We’d choose the Cooper S, which splits the difference with 181 horsepower and is $7,000 less than a comparable AWD JCW.

Pricing Notes

The 2015 Mini Paceman has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $24,400 for a base Cooper model. The mid-trim Cooper S Paceman begins at $27,750, while the JCW Paceman leaps to $36,450. And remember, the Mini's long and temping list of options can add thousands. While the top-line JCW is a hoot, it may be hard to justify a Mini Cooper that can top $40,000. We deem the Cooper S Paceman the best in value and fun. Even at its lowest price, the Paceman's premium nature makes it more expensive than other funky crossover SUVs such as the Nissan Juke, Fiat 500X, Kia Soul and Subaru XV Crosstrek. Be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the Paceman. In resale value, the Paceman has traditionally lagged behind other models in the Mini lineup, including its sibling the Countryman.

Notable Equipment

The 2015 Mini Cooper Paceman comes in three trims: Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works. The primary differences are engine power outputs (121, 181 and 208 horsepower, respectively), and accompanying wheel and tire fitments and trim items. Standard equipment includes a satisfying 6-speed manual transmission, Leatherette seats, 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/HD Radio audio system with USB connector and Bluetooth adapter, keyless entry and automatic climate control. All new Minis also include no-cost maintenance for three years/36,000 miles and 4-year/unlimited-mileage roadside assistance.

Notable Options

There are millions of ways to make a Mini, something the brand boasts when you go to configure one. While you can differentiate a Mini down to stripes on the bonnet or the detailing of the mirror caps, many of the more popular options are bundled into packages. The Technology Package, for instance, includes a premium harman/kardon audio system, 6.5-inch high-def display and smartphone integration, while the Premium Package bundles a dual-pane panoramic sunroof and the Mini Comfort Access System that enables you to enter the car without needing the key. Other offerings include leather seating, rear park-assist sensor and roof rails.

Favorite Features


As one of only two Minis to offer all-wheel drive (the Countryman is the other), the Paceman is a Mini for all seasons. Optional on Cooper S models and standard on the JCW, all-wheel drive provides extra traction on snowy, rainy and otherwise slippery roads.


This optional Mini infotainment system uses a driver’s smartphone and apps to play Web-based audio, access social-media sites and even utilize Google Send to Car, which emails destinations you’ve chosen beforehand. Furthermore, it’s presented on a color 6.5-inch screen housed within the Paceman’s big central speedometer.

Under the Hood

All models of the 2015 Mini Paceman (perhaps we should call them "Pacemen"?) are powered by a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine, either naturally aspirated or turbocharged. The base, naturally aspirated (non-turbocharged) version is good for 121 horsepower, which is adequate, but just so. The turbocharged Cooper S version puts out 181 horsepower and defines “sprightly,” and the John Cooper Works model cranks out 208 horsepower and delivers performance that is more than merely sparkling. The base models are front-wheel drive (FWD) only, the Cooper S versions can be front-drive or all-wheel drive (AWD), and the John Cooper Works models are AWD only. A 6-speed manual gearbox is standard equipment, and a 6-speed automatic is available. Minis are quite efficient, but they do require 91-octane fuel.

1.6-liter inline-4

121 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm

118 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/34 mpg (manual), 25/30 mpg (automatic)

1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4

181 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm

177 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-5,000 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/32 mpg (manual), 25/32 mpg (automatic), 25/31 mpg (manual, AWD), 23/30 mpg (automatic, AWD)

1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4

208 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm

192 lb-ft of torque @ 1,900-5,000 rpm (207 lb-ft with overboost)

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/31 mpg (manual), 23/30 mpg (automatic)

Editors' Notes

The 2015 Mini Paceman is like no other Mini, yet is like every other Mini. How is this so? Because the Paceman combines elements of the British brand's range of other vehicles to create one that is both different yet familiar. It has the 2-door design of the Hardtop, the slightly higher ground clearance and available all-wheel drive of the Countryman, and the sweeping profile of the Coupe. Billed as a "Sports Activity Coupe," the Mini Paceman's varied ingredients result in a surprisingly satisfying dish. The Paceman is offered in three power outputs, each increasingly more fun to drive. Compromises include seating for only four and less cargo space than the Countryman, but the Paceman still appeals for its distinctiveness inside and out.

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Owner Reviews


1 Reviews

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Owner reviews are verified by our team and cannot be altered or removed.

Nice color, two tone black on white.

Low horsepower. Good size interior and large windows. Good gas mileage. Does not need many repairs. Good ground clearance so does not flood out easily. Handles well. Good visibility with halogen lights. Roomy hatch area and cover. Hard to detach he as d rests to lay seats flat for transporting large items.

- Melody C