TEST DRIVE: Setting the Pace: Mini Cooper Paceman S

Manny N. de los Reyes (The Philippine Star) - January 15, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Judging by the way Mini Coopers manage to turn heads up to this day, it’s hard to believe that these delightful little runabouts have been driving around on the streets for the past 12 years. Granted they’ve been available in the Philippines for a much shorter time than that (a little more than four years), but these perky little cars exude so much positive vibes that they never fail to elicit smiles from onlookers wherever they go.

Still, among the Mini cognoscenti, having the newest and rarest of the Minis has become a near-obsession. Hence you get perhaps the most dizzying combination of iterations ever made for a single line of car model: Standard, S (Turbo), Clubman, Coupe, Cabrio, Countryman, Roadster, and new last year, the Paceman. 

The Paceman is a 3-door crossover SUV based on the Countryman. It’s similar in concept to the Range Rover Evoque in that both vehicles sport lowered rooflines (with the Paceman adding a rising beltline and big horizontal taillights—also like the Evoque—making it sleeker than its hardtop siblings). And being a crossover SUV with an available all-wheel-drive version, it’s made not in England but in the off-road vehicle manufacturing capital of Europe—Graz, Austria.

The variant we tested was the front-wheel-drive model. (Who really needs all-wheel-drive in Metro Manila?) For all intents and purposes, it drove like any Mini—fiendishly quick and nimble, with shortish suspension travel but without the bump harshness of cars fitted with sport suspensions. It’s an absolute ball to drive.

The cabin is 100-percent Mini, with virtually no changes from other Minis (the variable-color mood lighting and plaid design on the seats are cool touches). The driver and front passenger have decent space, although the rear bucket seats dictate accommodations for two passengers only.

All things considered, the Paceman is a wonderful, albeit pricey, addition to the Mini family. It has its own look yet is unmistakably Mini. It makes it hard to go for the base Mini Cooper when something this much sleeker and sportier—at least visually—is available. I want one.


Engine: 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder gasoline engine

Output: 181bhp @ 5,500 rpm / 240Nm @ 1,600-5,000 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters

Suspension: Front Macpherson struts / rear torsion beam

Tires: 225/45R-18 run-flat tires

Brakes: Front vented discs/rear discs

Safety: Dual airbags, ABS, EBD

L x W x H (mm): 4,110 x 1,996 x 1,518

Wheelbase: 2,596 mm

Curb weight: 1,285 kg

Price: P2,988,000 (P2,488,000 for Standard model)

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