2019 Mini Cooper Oxford Edition - Mini for Millennials

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
Fast Facts

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
2019 mini cooper oxford edition mini for millennials

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.

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.

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.

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.

[Get Mini Cooper pricing here!]

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.

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.

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.

[Images: © 2020 Chris Tonn/TTAC]

Join the conversation
2 of 38 comments
  • Jaffa68 Jaffa68 on Feb 08, 2020

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

  • MiataReallyIsTheAnswer MiataReallyIsTheAnswer on Feb 14, 2020

    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.

  • Mncarguy I remember when the Golf came out and all the car magazines raved about it. I bought an early one in the mid level trim, brown with a beige vinyl interior and a stick. I must have blocked out a lot about that car, because the only thing I remember is one day with my wife and infant in the car, the brakes went out! I could use the parking brake and made it home. There must have been other issues (beside an awful dealer who felt like they were doing you a favor even letting you come in for service) because I swore I'd never buy a VW again. I did get a new Beetle and later a Passat. That's another story!
  • Oberkanone The Chrysler - Plymouth - Dodge Neon's racing successes - SCCA and elsewhere (allpar.com)Inexpensive racing.
  • Kwik_Shift My brother inherited his work travel 2013 Ford Escape 1.6L EcoBoost to be replaced with a 2019. It is now used as a beater vehicle primarily to take my mother out for shopping/appts, etc. Just right seat height for her to get in and out of.Right now it has 420,000 (HWY) kms still on original engine/turbo/transmission. Impressive, but doesn't mean I'd intentionally buy any Ford EB combination vehicle. I've heard lots of bad things as well.
  • Analoggrotto You forgot something.
  • MKizzy We can pretty much agree at this point that all Ford ecoboost engines regardless of displacement are of trash quality.