HEELS ON WHEELS: 2013 MINI PACEMAN REVIEW


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2013 MINI Paceman


HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

INTRO TO THE PACEMAN VEHICLE
The MINI lineup has grown in character over the last couple years, with the all-new Paceman representing what happens when you elongate the doors and raise the shoulder line on the iconic hatchback to turn it into a two-door coupe with all-wheel drive.

I drove a 2013 MINI Paceman Cooper S ALL4 with the 181-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder with twin-scroll turbocharged and direct injection technologies paired to a six-speed automatic transmission and the optional ALL4 full-time all-wheel drive. As with all the MINI models, the Paceman is distinguished by Cooper, Cooper S and the John Cooper Works model. My test drive came with the following standard features: sport alloy wheels; leather steering wheel; sport button; sport seats; leatherette upholstery; a six-speaker audio system with HD Radio; Bluetooth; and USB/iPod jacks. Price as describe comes to $28,500.

The model is new to the brand and main competitors to the Paceman in regards to its fun looks and all-wheel drive capability include the Subaru XV Crosstrek and BMW X1 – but as a two-door coupe, it’s really in a class of its own. Slightly larger hatchbacks worth considering for their similar gas mileage include the revised Toyota RAV4, the Kia Sportage and the always dependable Honda CR-V.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

Stylish But Comfortable Results: As the seventh model in the MINI family, the Paceman also features a lowered sport suspension, slightly raised front seating, and individual rear seats for a genuine four-seater with the same 102.2-inch wheelbase as the MINI Countryman. Much loved for its funky take on gauges and toggle-switch controls, a highlight of any MINI is the ability to choose from dozens of upholstery and other options. The master dial to navigate the MINI Connected infotainment system is tiny and hidden in the lower console – the whole idea feels like an afterthought.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The longer MINI Countryman is the only model in the brand lineup that is a Top Safety Pick with The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for 2013. It is not yet rated with The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Standard safety features include an advanced airbag system, electronic brake distribution, anti-lock brakes, corner brake control, and dynamic traction control.

Cost Issues: What makes MINI an easy shopping experience is how every model comes in three distinct trims and prices – $23,200 for the Cooper, $26,800 for the Cooper S ($28,500 with ALL4) and $35,500 John Cooper Works – each featuring a step higher in horsepower and convenience possibilities. However, you will be expected to pay for just about every feature you fall in love with, and my test drive featured over $10k of them, from a Cold Weather Package to upgraded nineteen-inch wheels.

Activity & Performance Ability: Any MINI relies heavily on its stylish road personality to persuade buyers, and the Paceman is no different with its quick steering results and nimbleness at the corners. Plus, you’ve got a sportier suspension much beefier than most compacts and great all-wheel drive fuel economy results at a combined 26 miles-per-gallon. In short, you’re in for a good time with little guilt.

The Green Concern: The cost of all-terrain prowess is just 26 miles-per-gallon at 23-city and 30-highway.

FINAL PARTING WORDS
The 2013 MINI Paceman is an undeniably attractive choice from the highly coveted British brand, sporting aggressive looks for those in the market for something different and preferring style over space. However, the drawbacks can build when you start uncovering the pricey packages and the fact the larger RAV4 and CR-V crossovers net you just about the same gas mileage.

2013 Katrina Ramser

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