Feature article

Best MINI Cars Available in NZ: Buying Guide

Mini is ‘a digital brand that stands for progress’. “Mini is more than just a car, it’s a way of life”.

Last updated: 20 May 2024

Mini is a funky brand, dedicated to ‘Uplifting Lives’ according to its motto. Mini describes itself as ‘a digital brand that stands for progress’. “Mini is more than just a car, it’s a way of life”, so they say. 

Accordingly its cars are “the perfect companions for inner-city discovery tours or road trips. Mini demonstrates that it has a finger right on the pulse and an eye for extraordinary, sustainable design. This makes us a brand that inspires”. 

Mini is going through a renewal process at present as it ushers in new generations of its entire line up. That sees genuinely all-new versions of the three-door Cooper and the bigger, five-door Countryman. And these newbies include more battery powered models too. Also in the not so distant future, Mini will introduce a new model to its line-up called the Aceman.

The big one - the five-door Mini Countryman SUV

Minis have been small machines in the past, but not so in recent times with the introduction of small SUVs like the Countryman.

The all-new model, which Mini likes to say is the ‘perfect blend of style, versatility, and sustainability’, will be available here in five variants; the C and JCW All4, followed by the all-electric E, SE All4, and petrol-powered S All4.

The C Core is priced from $54,990, which features a turbocharged three-cylinder mated to a 48V mild hybrid system making 125kW and 280Nm of torque. Specification can be spiced up with the Classic ($57,990) and Favoured ($61,990) variants, the latter brings features like a Harmon Kardon sound system, additional colours, and larger 19-inch wheels. The JCW All4, priced from $79,990, gains a larger turbocharged four making 221kW and 400Nm, and it’s all wheel drive.

The electric Countryman E is $74,990 and with a 64kWh battery, is good for 462km of range. The SE All4 variant gets dual electric motors, good for 230kW and 494Nm. Range comes to 432km, while the price tag jumps to $80,990.

Mini Countryman SE Interior

All Countryman’s feature Mini’s novel round OLED centre console display, home to all vehicle information (no instruments then) as well as the infotainment system which features both wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

This is a big Mini now, the biggest yet at 4.42m long, which means more space inside. In the petrol variants, up to 505 litres of luggage can be stowed, which expands to 1530L with the rear seat folded. In the EV, storage comes to 460L / 1450L.

Sustainability is a big feature with new Minis dispensing the chrome detailing while alloy wheels are made up of 70 per cent recycled material. The interior surfaces make use of recycled polyester and carpets. With this and other emissions-cutting manufacturing techniques, Mini says it has ‘reduced CO2 emissions along the value chain by up to 85 per cent’. 

View listings on Trade Me Motors: Mini Countryman SUV

The real Mini - the three-door Cooper

The proper Mini is the three-door Cooper, as it still has vestiges of the original; a wheel at each corner, two passenger doors, and small urban-friendly dimensions. This fifth generation Mini Cooper can be had in both electric and petrol powered flavors. 

The new model still features short overhangs, an abbreviated bonnet and characteristic headlights but has been given a suite of modern touches like flush door handles, LED headlights, and fresh triangular taillights.

The Cooper too has Mini’s new round 240mm OLED display inside on the dashboard relaying all relevant vehicle-related information and controlling the infotainment functions. Mini’s retro toggle/button bar returns to operate the parking brake, gear selection, start/stop and volume control. A wireless charging shelf for devices can be found below.

It’s not huge on practicality, two people can sit in the rear, though it’s tight. And luggage space isn’t great either, at 210L. But folding the seats flat liberates up to 800L of cargo space, perfect for a getaway for two.  

The C gets a three-cylinder engine that produces 115kW and 230Nm of torque. The S on the other hand comes equipped with a more feisty 150kW/300Nm four-cylinder. It comes in four different trims, including Essential, Classic, Favoured, and JCW. 

Safety and driver assistance features include lane keep assist, automatic speed and distance control, as well as a safe exit function that warns occupants of approaching road users before a door is opened.

Mini Countryman John Cooper Works

Mini is a premium small car, so the price tags are large relative to their size. As such the Cooper C starts at $49,990. The entry-level model comes in two trims, Classic and Favoured, with the former bringing adaptive cruise control, augmented reality navigation, heated front seats, a panorama glass roof, and an interior camera as standard.

Stepping up into the Favoured, offered for $53,990, you get a 12-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system, electronically adjustable John Cooper Works seats, silver trim highlights and more paint choices.

The Cooper S starts at $56,990, while the JCW Sport ($62,990) adds sporty styling and features like adaptive suspension.

View listings on Trade Me Motors: Mini Cooper

The electric Cooper

If you prefer your ‘go-cart handling’ with electric motivation, the Cooper E is priced from $60,990. This features a 41kWh battery good for 305km of range, while power comes to 135kW and 290Nm from its front-mounted electric motor. Its specification essentially matches the Cooper C’s but comes with different paint options and wheels.

It’s a similar story in the case of the Cooper SE, which features the same appointments as the Cooper S for $66,990. Cooper SE is a bit quicker thanks to a 160kW and 330Nm e-motor. The Cooper SE can travel up to 402km as it has a higher capacity 54.2kWh battery

Both electric models can be recharged from 0 to 80 per cent in about half an hour using a DC fast charger, or 4.5 hours using an 11kW AC charger for the E. The SE however takes a bit longer to juice up at 5 hours and 15 minutes using AC.

View listings on Trade Me Motors: electric Cooper

Electric Mini Countryman


Kyle Cassidy
Kyle Cassidy
Editor NZ Autocar magazine - autocar.co.nz

Kyle has been reviewing cars since starting at NZ Autocar magazine in 2003 and has been editor since 2009. In that time he’s become an expert on what makes for a good vehicle while also gaining insights into the local automotive industry.