Mini Wants to Give Your Kid a Hand with College: Best Car For College Students

Mini Oxford Edition, Best Car For College Students
2019 Mini Oxford Edition featured image. Photo: Scotty Reiss

College is expensive. Mini’s Oxford Edition eases the pain.

I have a kid in college, so I get it. The idea of adding $20,000 or $30,000 to the college bill is difficult, maybe even impossible. But the reality is that if you want your student to work, to reduce expenses by living off campus, to get home from school on weekends and holidays and to not have to buy a car when they start their first job after college, a car can be a great bonus. 

But what if a car came with a significant discount— about 25% off the retail price— just for college students?

Yup, that’s what Mini thought too.

Mini Oxford Edition, Best Car For College Students

A view from the driver’s seat of the Mini Oxford Edition. College kids–and active military members–will love the tactical feel of the Mini’s controls and its tight drive experience. Photo: Scotty Reiss

A Great Deal on a Classic Car — Only for College Kids and Active Military Members

With the mission of helping younger car buyers to appreciate the Mini brand, in 2018 Mini’s marketers introduced the Mini Oxford Edition. Striving to be the best car for college students, the Oxford Edition is only for college students, recent college graduates (within a year) and active military members. Buyers can get a 2-door manual transmission or 4-door automatic from the Mini Cooper Hardtop line.

The Oxford Edition essentially offers a discount of $5,650; the model we drove had some luxuries added on, including a panoramic sunroof ($1,000) and Cosmos Spoke silver wheels ($1,250), but didn’t have Apple Car Play, which is part of the navigation package, an extra $1,700 (Mini does not support Android Auto connectivity). I’d probably trade the fancy wheels for Apple Car Play to know that my daughter has hands-free phone capability.

The Oxford Edition may not be readily available on Mini dealer’s lots; buyers may need to request it and to qualify for a purchase, will have to provide a transcript or proof of college enrollment.

Further reading: Is Mini’s plug-in electric car the right choice for you?

Mini Oxford Edition, Best Car For College Students

A stick shift is an option in the Mini Oxford Edition. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Oxford…For a Bit of Academic Inspiration?

That this model is named for the prestigious college is not just a clever way to get your college kid to think more ambitiously. It’s actually a nod to Mini’s DNA: it’s built in Oxford, England. But that it also nods to this top academic university, home of the official record of the English language via the Oxford English Dictionary, definitely will get your kid to remember the reason she owns this car: Because she’s pursuing higher education.

Further reading: To measure the true cost of hybrid driving we put three models to the test

A Girls Guide To Cars | Mini Wants To Give Your Kid A Hand With College: Best Car For College Students - The Mini Hardtop Oxford Edition Options

The Mini Hardtop Oxford Edition options. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Nicely Equipped and Destined to Make Your Kid Smarter

The best car for college students should come nicely equipped with safety and convenience features, and the Mini Oxford Edition does. The model we test drove would bestow a college kid with:

  • Panoramic sun roof ($1,000 additional charge) will let her be more observant of the world around her
  • Manual transmission (automatic is an option, too) will help develop her machine-thinking
  • Run flat tires (a standard feature) will let her find the best price replacement tire if she has a flat; and, no being stuck on a dangerous roadside!
  • Leatherette seats (standard) let her aspire to the feel the luxury of leather so she’ll save for this in her next car
  • Bluetooth audio streaming (standard) pipes music, phone calls and navigation through the speaker system; buyers who forgo the navigation system can still use Google maps voice navigation via Bluetooth—a nice workaround to a pricey nav system
  • 4 year/50,000 mile warranty means she’ll have some warranty left after she graduates
  • 4 year/unlimited mileage roadside assistance will give parents peace of mind for kids driving between home and college, spring break or other destinations
  • Maintenance for the first three years means no out of pocket cost for oil changes, air filter, brake fluid, spark plugs or a check of the vehicle for other issues
  • 28 MPG city/38 MPG highway means your college kid can go a bit further on their gas allowance—if she’s smart about it!

The Best Car For College Students Won'T Just Get Them To School–It'Ll Inspire Them, Too! Mini'S Oxford Edition Also Takes A Hefty Chunk Off The Price.

The retail price of the model we drove is $26,250 including delivery charge. The price with the Oxford Edition discount is $20,600 including delivery charge.

Further reading: Headache-free car buying from Costco

Mini Oxford Edition, Best Car For College Students

Overhead controls in the Mini maintain the tactical feel of the interior. Photo: Scotty Reiss

What We Listened to in the Mini Oxford Edition

While this model didn’t have a premium sound system—we have to encourage our kids to earn these things, right?— the sound system was pretty good. And with Bluetooth streaming I could tap my Spotify app and feel right at home with a BritPop playlist— setting the perfect mood for this car.

Disclosure: I was Mini’s guest for this test drive; travel and accommodations were provided but opinions are all my own.

Mini Oxford Edition, Best Car For College Students

The Mini’s steering wheel and control panel. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss