By on February 6, 2020

2019 Mini Cooper Oxford front quarter

2019 Mini Cooper Hardtop Oxford Edition

1.5-liter turbocharged inline three (134 hp @ 4,400 rpm, 162 lb-ft @ 1,250 rpm)

Six-speed manual transmission, front-wheel drive

28 city / 38 highway / 32 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

36.1 (observed mileage, MPG)

Base Price: $20,600 US

As Tested: $20,600 US

Prices include $850 destination charge in the United State

I’ll admit it. I’m a bit of an Anglophile — at least in the automotive realm. I don’t take any interest in the drama surrounding England’s monarchy, nor do I drape my clothing with any form of the Union Jack. I’ve simply come to enjoy the cars of the British motoring industry.

After all, I did spend many nights and weekends as a kid rolling around a cold concrete floor, dusted in stale Castrol and kitty litter, helping to get my dad’s 1970 MGB running. I lost a pair of eyebrows to a massive backfire while sorting out tuning issues on the pair of SU carburetors. And I fondly recall the 2002 Mini Cooper S my dad and stepmother bought new — a car she still owns fifteen years after dad’s passing.

So when a new British car passes my way, I’m sure to take notice. Especially when it’s a car that has potential to create new young enthusiasts. This 2019 Mini Cooper Oxford Edition is one of those things — a bargain-price runabout that promises affordable fun.

2019 Mini Cooper Oxford profile

Unfortunately, I can’t buy this one. Mini offers this Oxford Edition only to current college students, recent college grads, active duty US Military members, and recent retirees. On top of a price (before delivery) for a base Mini Cooper of $21,900, you add these 17-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic moonroof, and heated front seats — and the price drops!

Automatic transmission is standard, but a manual transmission (as found on my tester) is a no-charge option. Mini lists the Oxford edition for the discounted price of $19,750 (2-door) or $20,750 (4-door), plus destination charges.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve surely spent a few too many minutes on the miniusa.com build-and-price tool over the years, specifying a two-door hot hatch to a price well over $50k for some reason. At this price, the Oxford Edition presents something we haven’t seen out of England since the days of Lucas electrics: a real bargain.

2019 Mini Cooper Oxford front

No, it’s not a performance car. With just 134 horsepower to move 3,627 pounds, it’s nowhere near what we’d call a hot hatch. Yet this basic Mini is simply a pleasure to drive. The steering is light and direct, with very little body roll to the suspension. The shifter has similarly light, not-too-long throws. The clutch action is light and progressive. If you’re looking for a car to introduce the beauty of manual transmissions, you’d struggle to do better than a three-cylinder Mini Cooper.

2019 Mini Cooper Oxford interior

A few months ago, I reviewed the hotter Mini John Cooper Works model — that one featuring a 228 horsepower turbocharged engine paired with an automatic transmission. This time around, I worried that I’d struggle to release the clutch with the driver’s seat adjusted to fit both myself in the front (six feet, four inches tall) and my kids (both over five feet tall) in the rear.

I needn’t have worried. I had plenty of room, as did the kids. While they wouldn’t be happy on a long road trip, an hour in traffic didn’t cause any more than the usual tween angst.

2019 Mini Cooper Oxford front seat

For the target market for the Oxford Edition, this is a great choice. The driver and a single passenger have plenty of room, and the folding rear seat reveals a hatch area large enough to move everything out of the dorm. You might need to borrow a truck when you go to IKEA for furniture, though smaller flat-pack boxes should fit fine.

Visually, the only thing that distinguishes the Oxford Edition from a base Mini Cooper are the 17-inch alloy wheels. I’m generally not a fan of big alloys on an otherwise basic car — but at 205/45-17, the tires have enough sidewall to soak up most road imperfections. The bigger wheels here nicely dress up a car that has become nearly ubiquitous in the past two decades.

2019 Mini Cooper Oxford rear seat

I’m afraid the biggest problem with the Mini Cooper Oxford Edition is the lack of buzz. I had no idea that it existed until it showed up at my doorstep. To be fair, I’m not the target market — but the younger folks I know hadn’t heard about a budget-friendly Mini Cooper, either.

Looks like I need to enroll in grad school or hope that, in a few years when the eldest is off to school, Mini is still offering this deal. She can drive my old SUV — dad wants a cheap Mini.

2019 Mini Cooper Oxford rear quarter

[Images: © 2020 Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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38 Comments on “2019 Mini Cooper Oxford Edition – Mini for Millennials...”


  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Wow, that’s a very reasonable price. Just to be clear, you can’t add any other options (like BSD and LED headlights….)?

  • avatar
    gtem

    “move 3,627 pounds”

    Say what??? That’s gotta be a typo.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      That’s what the website says.

      https://www.miniusa.com/model/hardtop/specs.html

      It’s absolutely unbelievable. My similarly sized Bolt weighs a hundred pounds less, and it has 60 kWh of batteries under the floor.

    • 0 avatar
      rocketrodeo

      Then it’s gained half a ton since last year. Gotta be a typo in the press kit.

      • 0 avatar
        Mnemic

        2700lbs – def a typo

        • 0 avatar
          jack4x

          If I had to guess, I’d say 3627 lb is probably the GVWR, not the curb weight. I’ve seen this mistake made before, even in manufacturer literature.

          Also, current college students and recent grads are no longer Millennials. Millennial != “young person”.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The website lists similar numbers between 3600 and 3900 lbs. under “curb weight” for all of the Hardtop models. They seem way too high but it’s also clearly not just a single typo.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            That sounds much more feasible. There’s no way this little thing, as bloated as it has gotten, has crested 3000lb.

          • 0 avatar
            Maymar

            Definitions are nebulous, but isn’t Millennial roughly born 1980-2000?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The most common definition is 1981-1996. Using that definition most college grads from the past couple of years are Gen Z.

            Can’t wait for the slew of tiresome articles next year about “OMG MILLENNIALS TURNING 40!”

        • 0 avatar
          jack4x

          Millennials were named that because the first of us graduated high school in 2000, hence born 1981-82. The ending date is more fluid but usually 1995-96.

    • 0 avatar
      Boff

      I was gonna say…my 425-hp M3 weights 3,700 lbs. The Canadian Mini site lists the Cooper 3-door at 1,225 kg (2,695 lbs.).

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I’m impressed a car dropping in price?!

    Tell all the other automakers!

  • avatar
    retrocrank

    The Mini that isn’t. I do believe my old Dodge D50 was smaller than this thing.

    Looks like a Columbus background. Should be ample ambient evidence why the car had to be upsized. The original Mini is probably a tight fit for many of today’s children, fughettabout the grownups.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    How is the 3 cylinder?

    I’ve driven 3 3-cylinder cars in my life with some miles under them…. Volkswagen Polo, Ford Fiesta, and a BMW 1-Series.

    Overall not a fan. They’re rough and sound odd. You use every bit of power to move the car and therefore fuel economy at highway/Autobahn speeds (which isn’t that high in these cars) was highly unimpressive for such small engines.

    I will admit however, that low-powered lightweight FWD manual transmission cars…. you could have a lot of fun beating the snot outta them since they simply are not that fast. Every gear change is a redline rip but you won’t get caught speeding. Kinda fun to try to keep momentum through corners etc.

    Overall, however, I really don’t think I’d have any interest in a 3 cylinder. Just feel like poor-man motors.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    What’s the most powerful engine I can get in a Mini with the 6 speed manual?

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      It appears that you will be able to get the 228 hp John Cooper Works hardtop with a six speed manual starting in a couple of months. Mini suspended the importation of manual transmission Minis the later part of last year when they revised something in the intake system. There’s a Car and Driver article out there if you want to search for it.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    This article has made me reconsider the Mini Cooper as something I might actually buy. 3-cylinders? Turbo-charged? Questionable reliability? Um, probably not after all. But it sure is cute.

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      No questionable reliability. It’s been out since 2014, and reliability is top-tier (above Honda, M-B, VW, Chevy, etc…) Even Consumer Reports recommends it now. Mine has been flawless, and it’s 6 years old.

  • avatar

    Millennials are too old for Mini. A couple of more years and they will start having grand children and switching to Avalons and Camries en masse.

  • avatar

    BTW how it can be “I’m a bit of an Anglophile”? You are Anglo. So long as Canada has the Queen as Head of state, you have the status of British subject.

  • avatar
    KOKing

    It’s not gawdawful, but it’s the clutch I’d LEAST use to teach MT on out of every manual car I’ve owned, between the wonky DBW anti-stall and the post-90s BMW self-adjusting multi-whatever delay valve inconsistency.

    The 3cyl is a hoot. No, it’s not a speed demon; It’s out of breath above 4000rpm. But it’ll putt around at 1200rpm, tip the throttle, and the torque comes on like a small Cummins. It makes decent noises, with the bonus of no fake noises from the stereo that the 4cyl has.

    I just replaced my 5yr old Cooper with a Hype R, which has its own set of thrills as well as issues, but there’ll definitely be aspects of the Mini that I’ll miss.

  • avatar
    ajla

    ~$20K actually seems like a nice price for what you’re getting.
    Looking at what else is available within 300 miles of me, the cheapest new nonOxford Minis are around $24K and they look like cheap-o base cars compared to this.

  • avatar
    Garrett

    I would actually bite on one of these at this price, with the equipment offered. I doubt I’d go for a Mini otherwise.

    Seems idiotic to artificially limit it.

  • avatar
    Schurkey

    My “first car” was a ’66 Chevy Biscayne 4-door, 283/Glide. Registration card said the weight was 3,800 lbs; and I’m seeing about the same info on-line.

    The Mini weighs nearly that much, with five fewer cylinders and less power? Really? Did they fill the floorpan with a half-inch of lead?

    They should build a car-crushing plant right outside the assembly line, to save the Consumer from having to drive the thing.

  • avatar
    jaffa68

    Shame it doesn’t get those lovely Union-Flag LED tail-lights.

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    That’s a good deal. I ordered a new “S” back in the day in those colors, great car. I’m leery of a 3 cylinder, but maybe needlessly so. Need to try one.

    My only beef with the new ones is the taillights are too big.

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