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2014 Mini Cooper

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 12/11/2014

New for 2014

The redesigned 2014 Mini Hardtop gains two new engines and features such as BMW's iDrive infotainment system, selectable driving modes, available LED headlights, an optional head-up display, dynamic dampers, collision and pedestrian warning, optional rearview camera, and active cruise control.

Research

Vehicle Summary

The 2014 Mini Hardtop is a subcompact two-door hatchback sold in Cooper and Cooper S variants and in front-drive configuration only. Highly customizable, the car offers an extensive list of options and accessories for personalization. However, the options will also cost buyers a lot of money due to the BMW-style pricing scheme, which means nearly everything is optional and extremely expensive, causing the base price to move from the low $20,000 range to nearly $40,000 when one isn't careful.

Overview

The 2014 Mini Hardtop is available with a 1.5-liter turbocharged I-3 making 134 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque or a 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 producing 189 hp and 207 lb-ft. Both engines are paired to either a six-speed manual or automatic and have an overboost function that increases torque for a short time to 169 and 221 lb-ft, respectively. EPA-rated fuel economy is good with base Coopers at 29/40 mpg city/highway with the manual and 28/39 mpg with the automatic. Cooper S models achieve less impressive numbers at 26/35 mpg with the automatic and 24/34 mpg with the manual.

Despite the softer ride and suspension tuning, the 2014 Mini Hardtop remains an excellent handling car with a "chassis that responds to every input with ease" and "a tight steering that allows for aggressive driving." The Cooper S, in particular, provides the most fun from behind the wheel with "one of the snappiest turn-ins" and a confidence-inspiring chassis. The excellent driving dynamics come at the cost of ride quality because it is still harsh over rough surfaces, especially with the larger 18-inch wheels.

Interior space in the 2014 Mini Hardtop is ample for two adults and gear. The small 8.7-cubic-foot trunk and tight rear seats mean that carrying four passengers is only good for short trips. The well-built cabin makes the interior feel more upscale, and the revised center stack now integrates the infotainment system in the giant clock-like central gauge that used to house the speedometer.

The 2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop has a four-star crash overall safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars) and a good score in the IIHS' moderate front overlap test (good is the highest possible score).

What We Think

Despite being a more refined car, the 2014 Mini Hardtop remains an excellent handling car, especially in Cooper S guise. In a 2014 Comparison Test of sporty compact and subcompact cars, we said that the car's updated chassis "still provided the quick go-kart reflexes that we've come to expect from Mini, but in a more mature, buttoned-down manner." However, its tight interior, high starting price, hard ride, and expensive options hurt the car's value proposition and usability as a daily driver.

You'll Like

  • Excellent driving dynamics
  • Customizability
  • Small size

You Won't Like

  • Hard ride
  • Small rear seats
  • Expensive

Key Competitors

  • Fiat 500/500 Abarth
  • Hyundai Veloster
  • Volkswagen Golf
  • Chevrolet Sonic
  • Ford Fiesta/Fiesta ST

Rating

2 star

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