The Mini Cooper Oxford Edition Is a Hatchback for Students…Or Is It?

The sub-$20k "Oxford Edition" comes with free cosmetic and interior enhancements.

Sean Gallup, Getty Images News

Transportation is among the most critical needs for a college student. There are classes to attend, pizzas to deliver, parties to crash, and speeding ticket high scores to beat. For that reason, Mini has announced a special edition of its Cooper Hardtop hatchback, called the Oxford Edition, meant to appeal to grads and undergrads, according to Cars Direct

The Oxford Edition comes in at $21,600 (identical to the base Cooper Hardtop) or $19,750 with an $1,850 discount for current students and recent graduates. The Oxford Edition comes with a number of normally pricey additions, made free as part of the package. These add-ons include 17-inch wheels, heated seats, premium paint, the "anthracite" headliner, and an optional automatic transmission. These options total $3,750 on a normal Cooper Hardtop.

The panoramic roof option does not come with the package, but will cost half as much for Oxford Edition customers, coming in at $500 instead of $1,000. The 4-door body style and engines beyond the base 1.5-liter turbo are unavailable with this package. Limited numbers will be made, but no specific production figures have been released by Mini.

Leasing will not be an option for Oxford Edition buyers. Choices include buying, and not letting the door hit you on the way out.

We question whether this school-branded package will work to seduce cash-strapped, college age buyers, or even their families. The average member of 2016's graduating class has $37,172 in student loan debt—almost double the MSRP of a Cooper Hardtop Oxford Edition. It's hard to justify buying a new car when you're drowning in tens of thousands of dollars of debt. We suspect that the Oxford Edition is not necessarily meant to be bought by the students themselves, but instead, by wealthy parents as a graduation gift. That's the only way we can see these cars being driven by millennials.