BMW's rebuild of Mini at the beginning of this century resulted in a stylish, modern car that boasted very fun performance. Mini continues to offer variants of that rebuilt model, the latest being the Paceman. This car has the same format as the rebuilt Mini hatchback, but is bigger and heavier all around.
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Despite weighing in 600 pounds heavier than Mini's smaller coupe, the Paceman gets the same engine choices. The Cooper S uses a direct-injection turbocharged 1.6-liter, which makes 181 horsepower.
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With a standard sport-tuned suspension for this Cooper S Paceman model, the car does not handle bumps and potholes well. Unfortunately, it is not as adept at cornering as its smaller sibling, either.
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The greater size means more interior space. The Paceman has 16.5 cubic feet of cargo area with the rear seats up, and 41.3 cubic feet with them folded down.
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The riding position is higher than in the standard Mini, and the cabin offers more passenger room. As a premium compact, it's supposed to have nicer interior styling and materials than cheaper cars do.
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Mini opts for two bucket seats rather than a bench in the back, assuring that only four passengers will ever ride in the Paceman.
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This railing between the seats, similar to that found in the Mini Countryman model, is designed for accessories, such as cup or phone holders.
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The Paceman has the same sharp steering response as the smaller hatchback model, but the increased weight makes the handling less fun.
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Paddle shifters for the automatic transmission follow BMW style, with a push for downshifts and a pull for upshifts.
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The six-speed automatic transmission is a $1,250 option in the Paceman, replacing a standard six-speed manual transmission.
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The Technology package adds an LCD to the center of the big speedometer. The elliptical main menu is nicely designed.
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The optional navigation system is a little weak, as its maps have an awful color scheme and limited zoom levels. Route guidance graphics are very limited on freeways.
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The Bluetooth hands-free phone system offers basic features, such as contact list integration. With voice command, you can say the name of a contact to initiate a call.
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The LCD shows car maintenance information, as on this tire pressure monitor screen.
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The Mini Connected app adds a ton of connected features, but requires an iPhone cabled to the car's USB port.
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The Driving Excitement app has a number of screens, such as this one showing real-time engine horsepower and torque.
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The app awards badges for different accomplishments in the Paceman.
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Driving Excitement rates your acceleration, steering, braking, and gear shifting, awarding experience and letting you gain levels.
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Along with the usual broadcast sources, the Paceman gets HD Radio, and the Mini Connected app supports Web radio, with stations from around the world.
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In-car media sources include Dynamic Music, another feature of the Mini Connected app that lets your driving behavior control a custom music track.
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For media source playback, the Paceman can show album art, when available.
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The music library screen is unnecessarily complicated, using a filter paradigm for track selection.
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