I find myself oddly attracted to the Paceman. In theory, I should hate this car, because not only is it part of the near-heretical brand extension that is the Countryman crossover, it is also the oxymoronic coupe SUV. And yet I love the overall form factor and the design details. Thanks to the daringly sloped roofline, rearward visibility isn’t great, yet the cabin is still surprisingly light and airy even so.
Best of all, the Paceman drives like you expect a Mini to drive. It has the same nimble handling, well-weighted steering, and a peppy powertrain found in the Cooper S hatchback. I wish our tester didn’t have the optional 19-inch wheels, though, since the low-profile tires they carry aren’t compliant enough for rough pavement and punish you over the bumps.
Donny Nordlicht, Associate Web Editor
The Paceman is another oddball car from Mini that blurs the lines between segments. Is it a crossover? Is it a coupe? Either way, its fun-to-drive Mini-ness is still largely intact.
The only aspect of the Paceman that makes it slightly less user friendly than the rest of the Mini lineup is its poor rearward visibility. Forward visibility is surprisingly good thanks to the low dash. Visibility to the sides is also decent, but I do find it strange that the outside mirrors are mounted so low on the doors. I’m sure it’s less of a factor for tall drivers, but from my vantage point, the bottom quarter of the passenger-side mirror is cut off by the window ledge.
It wouldn’t be such a big deal in most vehicles, but it becomes a slight issue in the Paceman simply because the view to the rear is already compromised.
Jennifer Misaros, Managing Editor, Digital Platforms
Just as with the Range Rover Evoque, the Mini Paceman’s angled roofline and chopped-off profile really draw stares from the general public. Although the shape compromises rear visibility, I find the Paceman many times more attractive and intriguing than the bloated, bulbous Countryman on which it is based.
Even so, I don’t share Nordlicht’s enthusiasm for this two-door crossover. The Mini Paceman is an expensive style statement with an only average driving experience. I find its size and weight have numbed the playful responses that other Mini models have les us to expect. Plus the Paceman is too expensive and too cramped to be taken seriously as a compact crossover.
But here’s the bottom line: Minis don’t sell because they make sense; they sell because people love the Mini brand. If you want a Mini Paceman, you should go and buy one.
Jake Holmes, Associate Web Editor
2013 MINI Cooper S Paceman All4
MSRP (with destination): $29,200
PRICE AS TESTED: $39,800
1.6-liter DOHC turbocharged I-4
Horsepower (hp): 181 @ 5500rpm
Torque (lb-ft): 177 @ 1600-5000rpm
WHEELS AND TIRES:
19-inch aluminum wheels
225/40R-19 89W Pirelli P Zero tires
FUEL ECONOMY (city/highway/combined):
Cargo (rear seats upright/folded): 11.7/38.1cu ft
Legroom (front/rear): 40.4/33.7 in
Headroom (front/rear): 40.2/37.0 in
Starlight Blue/Carbon Black
6-speed manual transmission
Tilt-and-telescopic steering column
Sport steering wheel
Six-speaker audio system
Auxiliary audio jack
Rear bucket seats
OPTIONS ON THIS VEHICLE:
Starlight Blue paint- $500
Carbon black gravity leather-trimmed interior- $1500
6-speed automatic transmission- $1250
19-inch aluminum wheels- $1750
Keyless entry- $500
Xenon headlights- $500
SiriusXM satellite radio w/one-year trial subscription- $250
Harman/Kardon audio system- $750
White turn signals- $100
Cold weather package- $750
Power folding mirrors
Heated front seats, exterior mirrors, and washer jets
Mini Connected w/navigation- $1500
Comfort Bluetooth, USB, and iPod
Real-time traffic information
Premium package 2- $1250
Automatic climate control
Dual-pane panoramic sunroof
KEY OPTIONS NOT ON THIS VEHICLE:
Rain-sensing windshield wipers and automatic headlights- $250
A two-door variant of the Mini Countryman, the Paceman is a new model for 2013.