2014 MINI Cooper Expert Review

Editor's Overview

The 2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop marks its next generation with a fresh design, new engine options and advanced technology. While the new Mini has matured, it hasn't forgotten its cheeky personality and fun-to-drive mantra that make it stand out from lower-priced rivals such as the Fiat 500 and Chevrolet Sonic. A convertible and the roomier Clubman add variety to the lineup.

You'll Like The 2014 MINI Cooper If...

If you want a car that feels like a go-kart, you’ll love the Mini. Aside from their smile-inducing driving manners, Minis are fuel-efficient, a snap to park and highly customizable. The Cooper Convertible adds atmosphere (literally) to the mix, while the Clubman adds space that actually makes the two rear seats livable.

You May Not Like The 2014 MINI Cooper If...

It should not startle you to learn that, Clubman withstanding, these cars have tight rear seats and limited cargo capacity. They are, after all, mini. And with their premium nature comes premium pricing above rivals like the Ford Fiesta, Fiat 500, Chevrolet Sonic, Mazda2, Honda Fit and Hyundai Veloster.

What's New

The 2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop is all-new, featuring fresh design, turbocharged 3-cylinder and 4-cylinder engine choices, and improved technology and safety features that include automatic braking. For now, the Cooper Convertible and Clubman carry over from the previous year. The slow-selling Clubvan cargo vehicle is no longer offered in the U.S.

Interior Features

The Mini's interior blends retro style and unique details, not the least of which is a gargantuan speedometer that can probably be seen from space. The 2014 Clubman and Convertible's dash will look familiar if you've been in a Mini, including the center row of shiny switches. They look and feel great, but can be awkward to use. The all-new Hardtop boasts a slick head-up display that relays info such as directions and speed limits. The Mini Cooper Hardtop, Convertible and Clubman have seating for four. The front seats are roomy, but the Clubman is your best bet if you plan to put adults in the rear.

Exterior Features

Mini says its cars have a "bulldog" stance. You won't find fur or a tail, but rather a low, squat stance that helps these diminutive British cars cling to the road. Mini Hardtops have long stood out for their available contrasting-color roofs, and owners can distinguish their car with myriad personalization options. Mini Cooper Convertibles use black fabric tops that when up create large interior blind spots. The convertible roof is automatic and has a nifty feature that enables it to be partially open. The Cooper Clubman is several inches longer than the Hardtop, and instead of an upward-rising rear hatch has a pair of swing-out doors.

Driving Impressions

We've yet to drive a Mini that did not make us grin. An automotive David to the surrounding Goliaths, Minis don't necessarily have tire-shredding power, but oh can they carve a corner. They are attracted to twisty roads like metal to a magnet. This is all the more notable since Minis are front-wheel drive. Thankfully, highway ride is not compromised. Despite their small proportions, Minis tend to be immune from the nervousness that can plague other subcompacts at freeway speeds. Even the Convertible deserves kudos for feeling remarkably planted. The new base engine in the Cooper Hardtop loses a cylinder but gains more power than its outgoing 4-cylinder, so we expect it to be a spunky partner. The larger and higher-power 4-cylinder in the 2014 Cooper S also cranks up the power, now to levels comparable to that of the previous top-line JCW (John Cooper Works) performance model.

Pricing Notes

Prices range widely among Mini Cooper models due to their varying trims and body styles. On the low end, the 2014 Mini Cooper Clubman has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $22,195, while the Cooper Convertible starts at $25,945. S models of the Clubman and Convertible start at $25,895 and $28,945, respectively, and the top-dog JCW versions go for $33,095 and $36,095. At these prices, 2014 Mini Coopers are higher than mainstream competitors such as the Fiat 500, Chevy Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Veloster, Honda Fit and Mazda2. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. You'll pay a premium upfront for a new Mini, but better news awaits regarding their resale value, which has traditionally been very good.

Notable Equipment

The all-new 2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop comes with the first 3-cylinder engine used in a Mini, while 2014 Cooper S Hardtop models have a new, more powerful 2.0-liter 4-cylinder. The Convertible and Clubman continue to use the same 4-cylinder engines (see Under the Hood, below). Those carryover models continue to come with Leatherette or cloth upholstery, Bluetooth connectivity with USB/iPod connector, air-conditioned glove box and 6-speaker AM/FM/CD player. Convertible and Clubman models ride on 16-inch wheels, and both feature a Sport mode for peppier performance. Minis also come with three years/36,000 miles of no-cost maintenance.

Notable Options

Start to configure a Mini, and you'll be informed there are more than 10 million ways of doing so. Suffice to say, Minis are highly customizable cars, from the color of their racing stripes and mirror caps to an optional leather interior. In addition to many a la carte add-ons, Mini bundles popular options into packages. Among them are a Technology Package with a high-def screen, integrated apps that work with Apple's iPhone, navigation and a harman/kardon audio system, and a Cold Weather package with heated seats and mirrors.

Favorite Features

FUEL ECONOMY/FUN FACTOR

The Mini is proof that you don’t need a big, gas-guzzling engine to have massive amounts of driving satisfaction. The Mini may not win street races, but with fuel economy reaching into the mid-30s, you’ll experience a different type of joy when you pass your competition at the filling pump.


FUN DETAILS

Whether labeled eccentric, ironic or tongue-in-cheek, Minis take pride in being different. Case in point: Do you know of any other convertibles with an "Openometer" to measure how often you have the roof down?

Under the Hood

Mini is miniaturizing its base engine in the new Cooper Hardtop, moving from a naturally aspirated (non-turbo) 4-cylinder to a turbocharged 3-cylinder. As previously noted, the smaller engine is actually more powerful than the larger one it replaces and is expected to be even more efficient. Optional is a larger and more powerful turbocharged 4-cylinder. Since the 2014 Convertible and Clubman are not (yet) being revamped like the Hardtop, they continue to use their existing engines. In those, even the base powerplant is adequate for a fun romp, while the top-line, 208-horsepower JCW version is feisty to the max. In the middle and extremely satisfying are the S models with engines tuned to make 181 horsepower. Minis are fuel efficient, but they do require premium-grade gasoline.


2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop

1.5-liter turbocharged inline-3

134 horsepower @ NA rpm

162 lb-ft of torque @ NA rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: NA


2014 Mini Cooper S Hardtop

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4

189 horsepower @ NA rpm

207 lb-ft of torque @ NA rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: NA


2014 Mini Cooper Convertible and Clubman

1.6-liter inline-4

121 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm

114 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/35 mpg (manual), 27/35 mpg (automatic)


2013 Mini Cooper S Convertible and Clubman

1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4

181 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm

177 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-5,000 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/35 mpg


2013 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible and Clubman

1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4

208 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm

192 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-5,500 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/35 mpg

Editors' Notes

When the Mini Cooper relaunched the diminutive British brand – by way of not-so-diminutive German parent BMW – in America in 2002, it also injected new life into small cars. The original Mini Cooper Hardtop offered what other economy cars didn't: high style, endless customization and a premium feel. More than anything, it was exceptionally fun to drive. As the years zipped by, various other iterations of the Mini have arrived, all based on the Hardtop. Now, the 2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop enters its next generation and leads the way for other Mini variants with an all-new platform, more efficient engine choices and a trove of technology. A convertible version and the roomier Clubman are also available, but their revamps will come later.

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Owner Reviews

4.65

37 Reviews

73% 22% 3% 3% 1 star 0%

Owner reviews are verified by our team and cannot be altered or removed.

My mini cooper. It's a fun car to drive, lots of storage space, and great on gas.

The mini has been a great investment, it drives great and has all the good feathers that I need like very nice pick up when you need to pass someone on the road. Great gas mileage. I can fill up my car and go to work for two weeks on one tank of gas. It looks like a compact car but it can hold a lot especially with the fold down back seat. The back seat can fit 3 people. The hidden back trunk space is a neat compartment to store your valuables.

- Gwen R

Fun to own, and the gas mileage is amazing. A great vehicle.

I have owned two MINI Coopers and both I have enjoyed. However my first was a 2005 and had a lot of mechanical problems. MINI has seemed to really up their reliability has my 2014 has been a dream. The handling is great, the interior is solid and I have not had any mechanical issues. The service at MINI has also been exceptional. The gas mileage you can not beat and car is very fun to drive.

- Meredith S

My car is unusual. I love the automatic spoiler.

I really like my car. I get a lot of attention. It's very unusual. I wish the pick up was better. I noticed it runs better as a manual. Gas mileage is ok. Even though it uses premium I don't spend much more than I did on my other cars. I would buy another one for sure. I would even feel safe letting my child drive it.

- Melanie S