2016 MINI Cooper Paceman Review

Cooper Paceman

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2016 MINI Cooper Paceman Overview

Though oh-so-British in its styling and nameplate, the 2016 MINI Cooper Paceman is actually manufactured by BMW; but that in no way detracts from the road-less-travelled appeal of this 3-door compact hatchback. However, folks who need a little extra room for everyday errands might be a little put off by this pint-sized hauler’s cramped cabin and its unimpressive 38.1 cubic feet of cargo area with the rear seats folded. Yet for what it’s worth, the Paceman’s dimensions are marginally larger than those of the ordinary MINI Cooper.

The 2016 Paceman lineup is scheduled to start with the entry-level Base and move up to the turbocharged Paceman S, both of which come with standard front-wheel drive (FWD). Then comes the all-wheel-drive (AWD) S ALL4, followed by the performance-oriented (and flagship) John Cooper Works ALL4 (JCW).

Expect the upcoming year’s Paceman stable to remain essentially unchanged from the current version, though you might look for the buttons operating the standard power windows to appear on the door panels rather than their current position at the base of the center stack. A slight shuffling of the standard and available features offered with various trims is also rumored for 2016.

The consensus among reviewers has historically been that this funky Euro-style compact 3-door lacks the value of some of its rivals. Ford’s techno-savvy Focus ST and Volkswagen’s far roomier GTI, for example, pack a lot of practicality onto similarly sized platforms, while Nissan’s jazzy Juke offers equally intriguing styling and BMW’s ultra-capable X1 features its legendary German prestige for about the same MSRP as a fully loaded Paceman.

The base engine in the MINI Cooper Paceman, a non-turbocharged 1.6-liter inline 4-cylinder (I4), is a bit underwhelming at 121 hp and 118 lb-ft of torque. Offered with the choice of a standard 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission, this yawn-inducing powerplant’s upside is an efficient 27 mpg city/34 highway/30 combined when toting the 6-speed stick shift. Notably less impressive is the 25/30/27 you get with the automatic-equipped version.

Need more grunt? Look for the 2016 Cooper Paceman S and its S ALL4 sibling to boast a turbocharged 1.6-liter I4 good for 181 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. This force-fed I4 is slated to return estimated at 26/32/29 in FWD with the manual transmission, and 25/32/28 in the automatic FWD variation. For the S ALL4, sports mileage numbers should once again be estimated at 25/31/27 with the stick-shift and 23/30/26 with the automatic.

As is traditional, the JCW ALL4 is slated to return with a peppier version of the above-noted 1.6-liter turbocharged I4 that puts out 208 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque, again mated with either the 6-speed manual or the 6-speed shiftable automatic gearboxes. Estimated mileage is expected to be similar to that of its S ALL4 stablemate.

Among the standard appearance features expected to return aboard this unique and urban-oriented commuter-scooter for the upcoming year are such favorites as 17- or 18-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, and heated power-adjustable mirrors. The S and its S ALL4 sidekick add upgraded exterior trim pieces and dynamic traction control with a standard electronic limited-slip differential, as well as standard LED front fog/driving lights. And the JCW supplements all of these features with a standard sport-tuned suspension and further interior and exterior upgrades.

Look for the 2016 Paceman Base, S, and S ALL4 iterations to keep their standard leatherette upholstery, with the S, S ALL4 and JCW ALL4 adding in standard sport front seats--even as the top-shelf JCW ALL4 again features standard cloth upholstery. All trims are expected to host standard cruise control and telescoping tilt-wheel steering, along with push-button ignition, multi-color ambient lighting, automatic climate control, and a chilled glovebox.

Standard techno-bling throughout the lineup should include Bluetooth hands-free calling and a single-CD player with 6 speakers, HD Radio, and an auxiliary audio input.

A further attraction of the 2016 Cooper Paceman is its nearly unlimited customization options, including off-beat color combinations, upgraded exterior and interior materials, unique graphics, and distinctive badges. And a variety of packages offer such extra-cost additions as upsized wheels, rear parking sensors, adaptive xenon headlights, a dual-pane panoramic sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, leather upholstery, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and satellite radio. A premium 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system is scheduled to be available in higher trims, either as a stand-alone option or in a package, along with the MINI Connected infotainment suite and its 6.5-inch display, GPS navigation, and smartphone apps.

Standard safety equipment expected to return with the 2016 Paceman includes 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control (dynamic traction control in the both S, and in the JCW ALL4 editions), front side-mounted airbags, front and rear head airbags, and a front passenger knee airbag. Look too for a post-collision safety system and an antitheft alarm system to return standard in all trims.

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Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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