2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop Long-Term Road Test - New Updates
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2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop Long-Term Road Test

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2014 Mini Cooper: Gonna Miss Ya

by Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor on October 13, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

Just wanted to say a heartfelt "Good-bye, and good luck" to our long-term 2014 Mini Cooper, which, as I'm writing this, is likely on its way back to the BMW/Mini mothership in New Jersey (stay tuned for the long-term wrap-up). Despite the aspersions I've cast on its styling, I like this car. A lot. It's not like anything else, and it stays true to the Mini character that we've known and loved since BMW revived the brand in the early 2000s.

Given that I don't really dig the Mk7 Golf/GTI, I just might end up with a Mini if I were shopping for a premium sporty hatchback sort of thing.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Fuel Economy Update for September - Creeps Closer to EPA Rating But Still Far Off

by Mike Monticello, Senior Road Test Editor on October 7, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

Our time with the 2014 Mini Cooper has been winding down, and as such we only put 2,183 miles on the odometer since our last fuel economy update back in July.

Some time spent with Brent Romans up north and Jonathan Elfalan's 800-mile road trip to San Francisco and back made for a fair fuel economy period for the little blue hatch, which averaged 29.6 mpg on 73.6 gallons of 91-octane fuel. For comparison, we averaged just 27.0 mpg in July. This upped the Mini's lifetime fuel economy from 28.6 to 28.7 mpg.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Still Good Form, But Better Function

by Ronald Montoya, Senior Consumer Advice Editor on October 2, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

You're looking at the interior of the 2011 Mini Copper. I hated it. It seemed as though a number of decisions on placement of controls prioritized form over function. Our 2014 Mini Cooper, on the other hand, is much more practical and still manages to look cool in in the process. Here's how.

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2014 Mini Cooper: A Fix for the Sun and Checking Our Hair

by Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor on September 30, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

As reported by Ed Hellwig in July, the mirror cover on the driver side sun visor of our 2014 Mini Cooper had given up the ghost, flopping into view whenever you lowered the visor. Long Beach Mini ordered up a new visor, and I delivered the car for the repair. After about 90 minutes, the service folk had the new sun visor in place, and the mirror now stays closed until vanity calls.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Second Service Surprises

by Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager on September 28, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

We are here at Long Beach Mini delivering our 2014 Mini Cooper in the pre-dawn hours on a Thursday morning. This isn't our first time using the early-bird option. I grab an envelope from the neighboring BMW dealership, write in some basic contact information, seal the key inside and place it in the drop-slot back on the Mini side.

There are no surprises on this quiet morning. Those started a week earlier.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Due For Second Service

by Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor on September 24, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

We only had one scheduled service on our previous long-term 2007 Mini Cooper S. It requested the first service around the 17,000-mile mark and we returned the car to Mini with just 18,244 miles on the odometer.

Our 2014 Mini Cooper  is a little different. It required its first service at 9,800 miles, and we guessed the second service would be due around 20,000 miles. The maintenance light illuminated in the instrument panel as expected and it was time to visit the dealer.

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2014 Mini Cooper: TPMS Gremlins Got Us Good

by Jonathan Elfalan, Road Test Editor on September 17, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

A road trip of significant length will often lead to a spectacular montage of insects plastered across the face of your car. Art installations of this nature usually require a deeper removal process than the four-minute spray 'n go wash stations offer. After taking our 2014 Mini Cooper to a professional bug uninstaller, I buckled back in and immediately received this warning on the vehicle information screen.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Worst Air Conditioning Vents Ever?

Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on September 14, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

Look closely at this photo. Can you see the air-conditioning vents? It's like scanning through the pages of "Where's Waldo," isn't it? I haven't had much time in our long-term 2014 Mini Cooper, but every time I get behind the wheel, I'm annoyed by their placement.

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2014 Mini Cooper: I'd Spend More for the S

by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on September 9, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

I enjoyed reading Erin's recent "The Minis I've Never Bought" update. Her proposed build for a new Cooper hatchback seems pretty cool and I suspect I'd come up with something very similar. There's one key difference, though: If I were buying a new Cooper Hardtop, I'd get the Cooper S.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Mini Road-Trip, Massive Wings

by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on September 7, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

I had heard recently about the Castle Air Museum, in Atwater, California. It's not all that well-known, but it has an impressive collection of United States military aircraft from World War II and after. All I needed was an excuse to check it out.

Enter our 2014 Mini Cooper hatchback and my four-year-old son.

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2014 Mini Cooper: White Leather - Great for Stoned Pop Stars, Not for Cars

by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on September 3, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

The pros and cons for light-colored vehicle upholstery are pretty obvious.

Pro: Looks great when new!

Con: Shows dirt the day after you brought it home!

Such is the case with our 2014 Mini Cooper. Our car's Satellite Gray leather upholstery pairs well with the Deep Blue paint and imparts a premium vibe. But after 20,000 miles, certain parts of the upholstery are looking pretty dirty.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Makes Long Hauls Better than Before

by Jonathan Elfalan, Road Test Editor on September 1, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

A couple of weeks ago, I needed to make an 800-mile round trip drive to San Francisco. Ideally I'd have a vehicle that could get out of its own way and wouldn't occupy two city blocks if parallel parked. Our 2014 Mini Cooper seemed appropriate for such conditions.

Having received a "C" for comfort compared to other hatchbacks on the Edmunds' rating scale, however, I was concerned I'd be over the drive before breaking free of the Los Angeles traffic scrum.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Tire Wear After 20,000 Miles

by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on August 27, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

I happened to look at our 2014 Mini Cooper's Continental ContiSportContact 3 summer tires not long ago (run-flat). The front tires looked a lot more worn down than the rears and I wondered how much life they had left since we recently passed 20,000 miles.

It was time to investigate further.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Bam! 20,000 Miles

August 25, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

Did you think we'd get there? It was certainly questionable.

As we noted in our introduction of our 2014 Mini Cooper, we failed to meet our long-term-test goal of getting 20,000 miles for our last Mini Cooper, a 2007 Cooper S. A lot of our staff just didn't like driving it. But this time we've got it in the bag and we've still got a few weeks before this test is over.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Hauls Stuff and Butt

August 18, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

First of all, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that these boxes would not have fit in a first-generation Mini Cooper. I'm not talking about the original Mini Cooper, although they wouldn't have fit in there either, but about the first generation of the modern Mini Cooper, which debuted in 2002 thanks to the folks at BMW, which of course owns Mini.

Some complain that the 2014 Mini Cooper, like our blue long-termer, is a bloated mutation of the best little car ever made. They say it's no longer a Mini. They say it has morphed into something else entirely, something that puts comfort and convenience above fun.

And while it's true that the Mini has gained size and weight with each redesign, those complainers are wrong. Dead wrong.

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2014 Mini Cooper: The Minis I've Never Bought

August 14, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

I've thought about buying a Mini Cooper many times over the last 13 years, but I've never committed. Now that I have a house and a child, the window for buying toy cars may have closed for a decade or two. Nevertheless, after rereading the comments in the Introduction for our 2014 Mini Cooper about how our long-term car has a ridiculous list of options and an implausible MSRP of $33,095, I decided to see how much my hypothetical Mini would cost.

I couldn't remember the last time I built a Mini. It was bittersweet to open my "garage" on the Mini USA site and find this base 2011 Cooper already parked there. I have no memory of building it, but the car is green so it's definitely my work.

I'd go with Electric Blue if I bought the current-generation Mini Cooper. Notably, that color wasn't offered during the 2014 model year (which had a limited palette), so new or used, I'd have to go '15 or later. As you see, this 2016 Cooper would cost a hair under $26,000 when equipped to my taste. I didn't even consider the S or new John Cooper Works model, by the way, because I enjoy the car so much with the base turbocharged three-cylinder engine.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Fuel Economy Update for July — Hard Driving, Soft Penalty

August 12, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

With just a few weeks to go in its 12-month test, our very blue 2014 Mini Cooper continues to peg our fun meter as its odometer approaches 20,000 miles.

In July, we drove the little hot hatch another 1,800 trouble-free miles, mostly in and around Los Angeles with an urban mix of city streets and clogged freeways. This type of driving is perfect for the small and responsive Cooper, as it fits in tight spaces and zips in and out of holes, especially in Sport mode. But it doesn't exactly make for eye popping mpg numbers.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Borrego Springs Tire Delivery Service

August 10, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

Bill and Linda, my friends in Borrego Springs, bought some new tires for a first-generation Mazda RX-7 that they own and are restoring to running condition. We'd all been at Buttonwillow Raceway at a track event and they got a deal on some tires from the resident tire vendor.

But they were headed on vacation after the event, or maybe they had no room because they were picking up their German Shepard from the sitter, I forget which. Maybe both. I volunteered to take the mounted tires home, stash them in my garage for a bit and bring them the rest of the way next time I was in the mood for an early morning drive.

There was a precedent at work. I'd driven down to their place on a whim in our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI, leaving before sun-up and arriving in time to share morning coffee on their porch. The route there is laced with some amazing roads, especially the final plunge down S22 to the floor of the remote valley that contains Borrego Springs and the Anza-Borrego State Park.

This time I had the keys to our 2014 Mini Cooper, another great choice for eastern San Diego County's back roads. But it doesn't have nearly as much cargo space as our GTI. Was I getting in over my head?

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2014 Mini Cooper: Long Cargo Makes It a Single-Seater

August 5, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

We've ordered some new parts from Ford Racing for our long-term 2015 Ford Mustang GT. The different bits arrived on different days over the course of about a week and gave us a nice opportunity to test the cargo space on various Edmunds long-term vehicles, like our 2014 Mini Cooper.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Dismal Door Pockets

July 31, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

The Mini's interior has always seemed more concerned with style than actual usability. Although the 2014 Mini Cooper has a less gimmicky interior than the previous version, it still lacks decent small-item storage.

Case in point: The door pockets. I usually keep my sunglasses in a semi-hard case, but the Mini's door pockets are so slim it won't fit.

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2014 Mini Cooper: June Fuel Economy Update - Average MPG Climbs One Point

July 22, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

So did a long road trip finally deliver the mileage numbers we've been expecting from our 2014 Mini Cooper? Not quite.

Over most of the trip, the Mini delivered highway numbers in the 34-36 mpg range, which is well short of the EPA rating of 39 mpg on the highway. Our numbers are typical, though, as the Mini had two adults and their stuff on board. They also weren't trying to nail down the best numbers they could. We've seen a tank that averaged 42 mpg, so we know what the Mini's capable of when you're really trying.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Same Steering, Sharper Throttle in Sport Mode

July 21, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

It's easy to miss the fact that our 2014 Mini Cooper has adjustable driving modes. The switch to dial up your choice is an inconspicuous slider on the front of the transmission hump that doesn't stand out. There's the default standard mode, a Sport mode and a Green mode for increased efficiency.

I like the idea of options, but over the years I've found these systems vary in their usefulness. Some systems transform cars, others are barely noticeable. Our Mini is somewhere in between.

In our base Cooper, switching to Sport mode does two things: makes the steering heavier and the throttle more responsive.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Solid Cargo Room for a Small Car

July 20, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

Does our 2014 Mini Cooper have enough cargo room to haul a sizable wall-mirror home? No. I learned that the hard way when I took the tiny hatchback to the furniture store to pick up a few things. I figured that if the rear seats folded down, there might be enough space to wedge the big mirror in there.

After taking one look at the size of the box I lost hope. It wasn't going to happen.

Thankfully, the trip wasn't a total bust.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Great Horn

July 16, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

The California Vehicle Code has four sections on horns (and two on horse-drawn vehicles!) Pretty much they just say that you need to have one, you should use it when coming around corners on roads without center lines, when overtaking another vehicle, or "when reasonably necessary to insure safe operation."

The California Driver Handbook has even more detail on horns. You're apparently not supposed to use them if people are going slow, made a mistake, are on a bicycle or because I'm angry.

That's a bummer because our 2014 Mini Cooper has a great horn. It's loud, deep and not at all cutesy. Not using it every day would be the real crime.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Still Got It

July 15, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

I thought for sure that my first post on our long-term 2014 Mini Cooper would be about its unacceptably bulbous nose. To my eye, the original R50/R53 generation had a perfectly sleek and clipped front end, the R56 swelled up a bit but still looked cool, and the current F56 just went off the rails with that ungainly, overinflated schnoz.

But now that I've driven the thing a few times, my stance has softened.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Backseat Passengers May Get a Little Antsy

July 13, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

"This is not a family car," she grumbled as she wormed her skinny, 5'4 frame into the 2014 Mini Cooper's tiny backseat.

"Where am I supposed to put my feet?!" she asked.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Rides Rough for a Base Model

July 10, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

This may sound like a broken record for anyone who has followed our experiences with the Mini over the years. I think it rides too rough.

I know, I know. It's supposed to be a sporty hatchback for drivers who like sharp handling. It certainly delivers on that promise and then some. And I realize that we opted for the slightly larger-than-stock 17-inch wheels and more aggressive tires.

But when you're not ripping corners or otherwise having fun behind the wheel, our Mini feels unnecessarily stiff, especially on the concrete freeways we have here in Southern California.

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2015 Mini Cooper: Sunvisor Malfunction

July 9, 2015

2015 Mini Cooper

I thought for sure that someone would have already noticed this odd flaw in our 2014 Mini Cooper by now. It's literally right in your face, provided you flip down the sunvisor down.

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2014 Mini Cooper: The Mystery Pipe

July 7, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

What would a 2014 Mini Cooper road trip be without a quick photo essay?

The Cooper roamed cities...

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2014 Mini Cooper: Tall Man's Blind Spot

July 6, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

After 1,054 miles, we finally make it to Portland, Oregon. This was my first time in the city and I loved it: the food, the people, the scenery. Then I noticed something while at a stoplight, a blind spot in our 2014 Mini Cooper I've never experienced before.

I'm 6'2 and had the seat as far aft as it would travel and reclined enough to be comfortable for long hours on the road. The ride was comfortable. I normally start getting back pain an hour into driving my 2012 Mazda3. It wasn't until I noticed a neck ache at a stoplight that I realized there was a problem in the Cooper.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Fuel Economy Update for May — Quiet Spell Bumps Up Lifetime Average

June 26, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

Our 2014 Mini Cooper did a lot of sitting around in April and May. In the two months, we only drove it about 1,325 miles. In May, we only filled up twice. But it wasn't all idle time. We drove it out to Coachella and found it a good cultural successor to Woodstock Nation's VW Bus and Beetle. Erin used it in the day-to-day and found some things she liked and some things she didn't. And Mark found something that set his OCD to quivering.

But even though we came up short on our monthly mileages, we moved the needled a little bit.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Gets Grabby With Driver's Clothes

June 24, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

At first glance, I thought the door pockets in our 2014 Mini Cooper came with some sorta hipster snap straps. Wasn't sure what they'd secure in that narrow, shallow pocket, but seemed like an interesting touch.

Looking closer, I realized the strap wasn't factory equipment at all.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Mini Goes Out for Maximum Miles

June 8, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

It's time for our 2014 Mini Cooper to get some miles! You won't be hearing much about the Mini for a short while. I'm taking the Cooper north from Santa Monica to Olympic National Park in Washington. The trip should tack on around 2,400 miles by the time I'm back at Ed-Quarters.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Time To Upgrade

June 4, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

I think our 2014 Mini Cooper is trying to tell me to upgrade.

And while I'll admit to owning a (cough) classic iPod, the thing works just fine in any number of other cars we've had in our fleet. And before you ask, yes I checked the cable. I think the Mini just doesn't want to deal.

But before I let the un-burnt hydrocarbons and fumes from all the carburetors and two-strokes in my garage send me into some conspiratorial anti-technology rant, let's use this as a teachable moment.

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2014 Mini Cooper: DTLA Sunrise

May 29, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

I recently drove our 2014 Mini Cooper through downtown Los Angeles and it reminded me of a video we did not long ago that highlighted our favorite Mini feature: the LED interior lighting.

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2014 Mini Cooper: It Grew Up a Little, But It's Still Fun

May 22, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

I've managed to hang around Edmunds.com a good long time, so I still have memories of driving our long-term 2002 Mini Cooper S (it was Electric Blue) and our 2007 Cooper S (Chili Red). I wasn't as (modestly) skilled behind the wheel as I am today and I'm sure I made all kinds of dumb mistakes while driving those cars, but man, were they fun. I think I'd finally hit my stride with heel-and-toe downshifting when the 2007 came along, and I was always looking up remote back roads when I had the key to it.

During my first few commutes in our long-term 2014 Mini Cooper, though, I just wasn't feeling the old excitement.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Driver Seat Borders on Luxurious

May 20, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

The increased size and refinement of the 2014 Mini Cooper compared to the two previous generations of the Mini is undeniable. I'm already on record as a skeptic, because the visibility out the front and back of our long-term car isn't as good.

But darn it, I'm smitten with the driver seat in our Mini.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Wish It Still Had 50/50-Split Rear Seats

May 18, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

Our 2014 Mini Cooper has 60/40-split folding rear seats. That represents a change from the 50/50-split rear seats in the previous two generations of the Cooper. Ordinarily this isn't something I would care about, but now that I'm a parent, I have an opinion on this change. And I'll warn you: Most likely, I represent the minority.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Obsessing and Twitching Over the Volume Control

May 11, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

The weirdest things bother me. Girls that say "like" more than once in a sentence. Sunglass lenses that aren't perfectly spotless. Wristwatches not set to the exact second. And this. The volume knob/power button in our 2014 Mini Cooper.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Excellent Visibility Makes Small Cabin Feel Large

May 5, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

Our long-term 2014 Mini Cooper is an excellent city car, partially because of its scant dimensions, but also thanks to excellent visibility out of the cabin. As Erin Riches has noted, it's not as easy to see the edges of the car, but the outward view still makes for a good driving experience.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Time-Lapsing L.A. With LEDs

April 22, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

The interior LED lighting is one of my favorite features of the 2014 Mini Cooper. With 10 different colors and varying degrees of brightness, the accent lights give the Mini a clubby ambience while driving at night.

For fun, the video and photo team took the Mini out for a night drive and did a time-lapse of the experience. With Canon 5Ds and GoPros in hand, we started off in Malibu and made our way through Santa Monica and Venice, before ending in downtown Los Angeles.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Coachella's Answer to the Bus and Beetle?

April 15, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

The annual Coachella music festival isn't only known for being an epic congregation of music fans, but for a particular kind of fashion sense: BoHo style, girls with the wispy hair and flower crowns, and guys with the man buns. Likewise one can't help but think that a road trip to Coachella requires a certain kind of car. Woodstock had the VW Bus and Bug, so what would work for Coachella?

Our long-term 2014 Mini Cooper did a pretty good job with its wide-eyed fascia, adorable compactness, and fun, millennial appeal. But did it deliver more than looks as a Coachella car?

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22014 Mini Cooper: Fuel Economy Update for March

April 9, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

In March we made an effort to add miles to our 2014 Mini Cooper, which had fallen out of step from its 1,700-mile per month pace. We ultimately covered more than 2,600 miles and smashed previous records for single-tank fuel economy and range. This also raised its overall average by 1 mpg. Take the jump for details...

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2014 Mini Cooper: "S" Model No Longer Required

April 6, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

In the past if I saw a Mini Cooper running around without the dual-outlet central exhaust that comes on the S model, I'd usually snub it as "just the base car" and move on with my day. Yeah, I know. I'm a jerk.

It wasn't pure snobbery, though. That base car was pretty gutless in a straight line. But those days are over thanks to the 2014 Mini Cooper and its standard 134-horsepower three-cylinder turbo engine.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Road Trip Driving Impressions

April 3, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

Our long-term 2014 Mini Cooper needed miles. So I took it on a one-day, 600-mile road trip to Bishop, California. A few days later I added another 600 miles driving to Laughlin, Nev., and back. The days between were spent commuting to and from the office and accounted for another 500 or so miles. The trips gave me plenty of time for driving impressions.

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2014 Mini Cooper: The Bike (Sorta) Fits

April 2, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

It's been quite some time since the last installment of my (future) award-winning 783-part series, "Will the Bike Fit?"

So how hard is it to put a mountain bike into the now-larger 2014 Mini Cooper? It's far from a cinch, that's for sure. Not that the 29-inch wheels of my mountain bike were helping anyone. Well, except for me out on the trails. Then they're nice to have.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Loves the Rain

March 31, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

Rain + our long-term 2014 Mini Cooper = Fun.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Road Trip Pictures

March 30, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

On a whim I drove our 2014 Mini Cooper 600 miles for a loaf of bread and beef jerky. Take the jump for photos and a recap of the trip...

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2014 Mini Cooper: Can't Block the Sun

March 18, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

Temperatures have been in the high 80s in Los Angeles this past week. When I get into our long-term 2014 Mini Cooper after it's been parked in my driveway, the interior is pretty hot.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Service at 10,000 Miles

March 16, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

At 9,800 miles the service light in our 2014 Mini Cooper illuminated. We tried a little something different this time, utilizing the early bird drop-off at Long Beach Mini...

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2014 Mini Cooper: Great Seats, Weak Heaters

March 13, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

Somewhere in the post about my road trip in our 2014 Mini Cooper, I briefly mentioned the seats and said I'd give them a full post.

Here's why: They're great and I didn't want that greatness to be buried in a post about a long drive.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Fuel Economy Update for February

March 9, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

Our 2014 Mini Cooper isn't hitting the MPG estimates set by the EPA. This is not surprising as tiny turbocharged motors tend to nail the test and then struggle when faced with things like 70 mph freeway speeds and hills.

February's a short month, but thanks to Brent living in the middle of nowhere and my trip to Vegas, we managed to throw 1,800+ miles on the Mini this month. I've included the first two days of March because that was the end of my road trip and I want credit for our new highest-ever calculated mpg of...

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2014 Mini Cooper: Road Trip

March 6, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

On a recent fuel economy update for our 2014 Mini Cooper, LTRTB reader Darex made a comment that stuck with me. "It is a FANTASTIC road trip vehicle. The sport seats are a 10/10 for comfort, and it's plenty fast and potent for the interstates...I've taken road trips in my MINI. It's as pleasant as you could want for this purpose."

My brain called bull. I'd driven our Mini for extended periods of time and while it's not rough, the ride sure is firm and I was sure it would be nothing but tiring on a long drive.

So, to prove Darex wrong, when the time came for me to hit the road for a Vegas weekend, I signed out the Mini.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Hauls Leaf Springs

March 3, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

After seven years of missing all the fun, I've decided to take my 1976 Pontiac Trans Am on this year's The Bandit Run. The event, which takes place this May, is an annual road trip tribute to Smokey and the Bandit, the greatest movie of all time.

It should be "redneck heaven" to quote the great Bo Darville.

But a four-thousand-mile road trip in a 40-year-old car takes some preparation. And the scramble has begun.

Good news, replacement Trans Am leaf springs (four leaf) fit easily in our long-term 2014 Mini Cooper.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Much Improved for Wider Appeal

March 2, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

A few days ago, I read some of the updates we have on our old 2007 Mini Cooper S. I have fond memories of that '07 car, but I was concerned that I was thinking back and only remembering the good parts, which would be like saying I really liked Star Wars: The Phantom Menace because all I remember is the light saber battle between Darth Maul and Obi Wan/Qui-Gon. And sure enough, there were Jar Jar Binks aspects about that car that we didn't like. Reacquainted with all things Mini, I came to the conclusion that our 2014 Mini Cooper is a much better car for the majority of small car shoppers.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Mini Connected, Powered by BMW

February 26, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

One of the design changes for the new-generation 2014 Mini Cooper was the elimination of the distinctive, but often unloved, oversized speedometer right smack in the middle of the dash. This time around, all Coopers have a circular outline fitted with a display screen and buttons. Base 2014 and 2015 Coopers get a basic audio display screen, but when you upgrade to the Mini Connected option (available as a stand-alone option or as part of certain packages such as the Media or Wired packages) you get a larger 6.5-inch screen and a variety of technology upgrades.

Our long-term car has the Mini Connected system. If you're familiar with the newest versions of BMW's iDrive, you'll also quickly realize that Mini's Connected system is just the Mini version of iDrive. I, for one, happen to think this is a pretty good deal.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Hopefully, Your Daily Commute Looks Like This

February 25, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

Driving our long-term 2014 Mini Cooper around town can be fun, but it's not until you hit up a road like the one pictured that you can fully enjoy the Mini experience. As the ad tagline goes, "let's motor."

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2014 Mini Cooper: Enough Room in Back for Little Legs

February 20, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

If you have kids, Mini offers a couple of family friendlier vehicles these days: the Cooper Countryman crossover, which has been out since 2011, and the four-door Cooper hatchback, which is new for 2015. But if you want to stay traditional in your choice of Mini Coopers, the two-door hatchback might still work out all right. I've come to that conclusion after taking my two kids to school each day for about a week.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Quiet on the Highway

February 18, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Normally, a subcompact car with a fairly upright profile and a three-cylinder engine would not be an example of an agreeable highway companion. But this new-generation 2014 Mini Cooper hatchback is more refined than ever before. And compared to many other small cars we've tested recently, our Mini Cooper is actually one of the quieter vehicles out there.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Temporarily Rough Engine

February 13, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

Remember when I said our long-term 2014 Mini Cooper's three-cylinder turbocharged engine was, and I quote:

"...smooth. Very smooth. Shockingly smooth. Whatever balance shaft and engine mount magic BMW's engineers developed for this engine has really paid off. Only when the engine restarts (it has stop-start) does the engine betray its nature with a lumpy shudder. Once the crankshaft rotation reaches idle speed the smoothy-smooth-smoothness is back."

Well, yeah. About that.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Fuel Economy Update for January

February 6, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

January loaded up another 1,500 miles onto our 2014 Mini Cooper but it didn't move the needle (ha!) (sorry) in terms of fuel economy. The Mini is still punching well below its EPA mpg rating on all fronts. Maybe it's the ebb and flow of L.A.'s traffic. Maybe it's just too much fun to drive...fun-like. Or maybe the EPA's rating is completely wrong.

The numbers are on the other side.

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2014 Mini Cooper: What's That Whine?

February 5, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

There is only one thing worse than a troubling car sound. And that's a troubling car sound you can't replicate.

I was driving our 2014 Mini Cooper from Long Beach to Irvine at 6:00 a.m., and from the Mini's right rear, I heard a high-pitched, whistling whine that I usually associate with someone else's car in need of a power-steering fluid transfusion. But as I accelerated away from the car I thought had the problem, the pitch rose and stayed with me. I realized it wasn't someone else's car, but the Mini. The whine persisted throughout the trip whenever I exceeded 40 mph.

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2014 Mini Cooper: View From the Driver Seat Isn't as Good

February 3, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

My most vivid memory of the first generation of the new Mini Cooper is a frantic freeway commute. I was late for an off-site meeting, or thought I was. It turned out I had my days mixed up and I arrived to find the hotel taken over by a political fundraiser. Not my kind of crowd. I was so relieved. But I've never before (or since) had so much fun being stressed out trying to get somewhere. Our (very) old long-term 2002 Mini Cooper S was in its element in cutthroat traffic situations.

No, it wasn't very potent below 4,000 rpm. Nor was it especially comfortable or well made (the rubber pads were always coming off the pedals), but it had quick steering and the visibility was amazing. The glass area was huge and I could see the corners of the car and this was very empowering. It was like the old days that I never lived. I loved every minute of it.

When I get into our 2014 Mini Cooper (yeah, that's how it looks when you enter the cockpit from my driveway in the morning sun), I realize how much time has passed since November 2001. I find myself measuring the passage of time by the reduction in visibility.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Auto-Headlights Tied to Wipers

January 29, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

The use of headlights is required either when it is raining or when the wipers are in "continuous use" in 23 U.S. states. A further 11 require headlight use during periods of "adverse weather," which to me implies rain, which in turn implies wipers. Do the math and we're talking about 34 of 50 states.

Wait, what are we talking about? The automatic headlights in our 2014 Mini Cooper are tied in to the windshield wiper switch. They're programmed to come on whenever the windshield wipers are on.

"What about the DRLs?" you may be asking.

They don't count. I asked. Daytime running lights are oftentimes weak. And when they're on the taillights and side marker lights are not. It's not about you, the driver, being able to see. It's about being seen, about not being rear-ended or T-boned when your car's outline gets lost in the spray.

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2014 Mini Cooper: A Rear-Facing Convertible Car Seat Fits if You Have the Right Seat

January 26, 2015

2005 2014 Mini Cooper

The last time I drove our 2014 Mini Cooper, I was delighted to find that my daughter's rear-facing infant seat would fit in the backseat. But that was two months ago, and now I'm dealing with a larger child who rides in a convertible car seat.

For any non-parents out there, convertible seats have a five-point harness and are used from infancy through the preschool years. They are "convertible" in that you can install them front- or rear-facing. Right now, my kid is rear-facing and because of the way you have to angle the seat, this type of installation is very space-intensive. In other words, no more legroom for the front passenger.

After installing my gigantic First Years True Fit C680 SI in our Jeep Cherokee and our Nissan Rogue, I didn't even bother trying to squeeze it into the Mini. It would have been an ordeal even to get that big seat through the door opening. Fortunately, I have a back-up car seat that's a whole lot more compact and it fits well in our 2014 Mini Cooper.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Fuel Economy Update for December

January 8, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

We accumulated 1,278 miles on our 2014 Mini Cooper in the month of December, which was 500 miles short of our monthly mileage goal. Despite this, we achieved a best single-tank range of 316 miles and increased our lifetime average to 26.4 mpg. Take the jump to see lifetime fuel economy figures...

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2014 Mini Cooper: Secret Storage Bin

January 7, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

Everything about the interior of our long-term 2014 Mini Cooper looks and feels expensive. From the flat wood trim to the piping on the seats to the chrome bezels on the gauges, the Mini's interior is undeniably impressive, even for the Mini's $33,000 as-tested sticker price.

Every time I drive the little hardtop I think, "This interior would not be out of place in a $60,000 luxury car."

Even the Mini's storage bins are extraordinary. Watch the video on the next page and you'll see what I mean.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Keyless Ignition, But Not Entry

January 5, 2015

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

Our long-term 2014 Mini Cooper has keyless ignition. Great, there's no need to fish the key fob dingus from one's pocket/purse/jacket/hair! Just walk up to the Mini, get in and fire it up! The ultimate in convenience!

However, our Mini doesn't have keyless entry. So one has to fish the key fob dingus from one's pocket/purse/jacket/hair anyway. And considering that the dingus ultimately ends up in one's hand anyway, keyless ignition winds up being, well, kinda dumb.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Tires Are Fine

December 30, 2014

2014 Mini Cooper

In my last update I reported that after getting a low-tire warning (please link to the 12/29 Mini update) in our long-term 2014 Mini Cooper I followed the car's instructions to fill up the tires and run its in-car diagnostics.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Low Tire Pressure

December 29, 2014

2014 Mini Cooper

It was 8:00 a.m. as I started up the 2014 Mini Cooper for a coffee run. L'Amande Bakery in Torrance makes the most wonderful cafe au lait, breads and croissants. They are worth braving the morning chill air to get the French yummy goodness.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Sassy Yet Well-Behaved

December 25, 2014

2014 Mini Cooper

If good things come in small packages, does that mean the slightly larger 2014 Mini Cooper has lost some of its playful spirit?

Not at all. It's still a bundle of fun wrapped up in a small car. Despite being highly revised for 2014, the Mini retains its sporty character and eternal cuteness.

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2014 Mini Cooper: 5,000 Miles Already

December 9, 2014

2014 Mini Cooper

I passed the 5,000-mile mark in our 2014 Mini Cooper over the November holidays and never even noticed until I refueled. I wasn't surprised really, because although the analog speedometer is properly located in front of the driver in this generation of the Cooper, I grew accustomed to using the trip computer's digital speedo display in the previous Cooper. When you bring up this display, you don't see the odometer readout. So 5,000 miles came and went without fanfare.

Still, there's plenty to celebrate in the third generation of the modern Mini Cooper.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Yep, a Rear-Facing Infant Car Seat Fits

December 8, 2014

2014 Mini Cooper

I've wanted a Mini Cooper since about late 2001 but never bought one. That was probably a mistake. Now I am married, and we have a 7-month-old, so I won't be getting one anytime soon. (I have no interest in the larger Minis with four doors, by the way.) Instead, I decided to sign out our 2014 Mini Cooper over the Thanksgiving holidays, hoping I could make it work for such a short period of time.

And the good news is that I can. My daughter will get her first ride in a Mini Cooper this week.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Fuel Economy Update for November

December 5, 2014

2014 Mini Cooper

Our long-term 2014 Mini Cooper only picked up 1,336 miles in November 2014, but still raised its lifetime average one full mile per gallon from 24.7 to 25.7.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Tiny Gear Indicator

November 19, 2014

2014 Mini Cooper

Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding! We have a winner! The manual gear indictor within the instrument panel (can you even see it in this photo?) of the 2014 Mini Cooper is the smallest ever created.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Fuel Economy Update for October

November 7, 2014

2014 Mini Cooper

October has come and gone, and with it our 2014 Mini Cooper has covered a little more than 1,000 miles. We're still coming to grips with our Mini, which is a nice way to say we're still nailing the throttle at every opportunity to hear this rorty little three-cylinder do its business. Well ok, maybe that's just me.

You know the drill.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Stiff-Legged Ride

November 3, 2014

2014 Mini Cooper

Our long-term 2014 Mini Cooper isn't plush. The ride quality is constantly busy, feeling stiff-legged over all of those minor road imperfections. This became a trait of the BMW Mini so many years ago when the decision was made to adopt run-flat tires.

But I don't know if the run-flat tire excuse is really valid anymore.

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2014 Mini Cooper: From a Whisper to a Wail

October 28, 2014

2014 Mini Cooper

I listen to a lot of podcasts. I play them when I'm getting ready in the morning, on my commute, when I'm doing chores and when I'm working out. When I first played one on the Edmunds long-term 2014 Mini Cooper, I wasn't sure it was working. The volume was too low. Duh, right? Problem was, when I turned up the volume, I still had trouble hearing it.

In case you think I'm hard of hearing, let me explain.

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2014 Mini Cooper: EPA Orders Fuel Economy Downgrade

October 23, 2014

2014 Mini Cooper

Small cars like the 2014 Mini Cooper are appealing for a variety of reasons, not least of which is their potential for good fuel economy. But earlier this week the EPA forced BMW/Mini to downgrade the MPG figures on all 2014 Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S window stickers as shown above.

Our 1.5-liter turbo automatic appears on the second line. It lost 1 mpg in each of the three rating categories. All three other Cooper variants suffered the same 1-mpg loss in the all-important Combined category, but things look worse for them because they took a hit of 2 to 4 mpg in the marquee Highway test.

The EPA says this came about after it "performed a fuel economy audit on the BMW Mini Cooper and obtained values that differed from those BMW submitted to EPA for certification." In short, EPA ran a spot check on its own dyno and got a different result.

BMW was then asked to repeat its internal tests with EPA oversight. Meanwhile, the EPA ran another set of tests in parallel on its own dyno in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The end result boils down to this statement: "The EPA is requiring BMW to re-label four of its Mini Cooper models with lower fuel economy values."

But that's not quite the whole story...

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2014 Mini Cooper: Vastly Improved Cargo Area

October 22, 2014

2014 Mini Cooper

Sure, the 2014 Mini Cooper is a small car. It's right there in the name and everything.

It's very unlikely the Mini Cooper will ever be named the Official Car of Costco. This is nothing like a Tardis. It's small on the inside, too.

But it's not nearly as small as you'd think, and nowhere near as small as last year's model. Last week I was able to do a fair amount of errand-running and item-toting in ours thanks to a laundry list of improvements over the previous model.

For the record, that's one of those large 34-pound bags of dog food on the right and a medium-sized 17.5-pound bag on the left. No sweat.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Why a Loaded Base Cooper Now Makes Sense

October 21, 2014

2014 Mini Cooper

More than a few folks welcomed our 2014 Mini Cooper to the long-term fleet with raised eyebrows and incredulity. "Why would you spend $33,095 on a base Mini Cooper?" they wondered.

I'm here to lay it out for you.

First, the brand-new base 1.5-liter turbo three is no slouch. This is not the slug you may have encountered before. The new mill makes 134 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque, and our automatic-equipped version recently scooted to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds.

That's about 2 seconds quicker than last-year's 1.6-liter base car with an automatic. Suddenly the more-powerful Cooper S is no longer the knee-jerk upgrade it once was. That's even true if you live at altitude, because the 2014 base engine now has a blower just like its stronger sibling.

And the 1.5-liter turbo is less thirsty, too. Our automatic is rated at 33 32 mpg Combined (29 28 City/40 39 Highway), which is 2 mpg better on the highway than the thriftiest base manual-equipped version of last year's car. It's also 2 mpg better than a 2014 Cooper S automatic in a combined sense and 4 mpg thriftier on the highway.

If we were comparing manual to manual the 2014 base Cooper's advantage over the 2014 Cooper S would be 5 mpg city and combined and a full 6 mpg on the highway. It's hard to ignore 34 33 mpg Combined (30 29 City/42 40 Highway) versus 29 28 Combined (25 24 City/38 34 Highway) when you're talking about an entry-level engine that can now dish out plenty of merging and passing power.

For us, there really wasn't much of a choice. We simply had to try out the new base Cooper engine. But it's true we could have one for as little as $20,745.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Small Engine, Big Fun

October 20, 2014

2014 Mini Cooper

Go-kart or slow-kart?

Our long-term 2014 Mini Cooper is powered by a 1.5-liter, turbocharged three-cylinder engine. This is the new base engine for the Mini (it's also the same basic motor that provides half the sauce for the BMW i8) and though it only produces 134 horsepower, thanks to the responsive throttle and the 162 pound-feet of torque, it's really fun to drive.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Drivetrain Malfunction Fixed

October 15, 2014

2015 Porsche Macan

Jay posted about the odd "Drivetrain: Check Soon" warning on our 2014 Mini Cooper. The car said it was okay to drive, so we did. We drove it to Long Beach Mini to find out what was going on...

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2014 Mini Cooper: Armrest vs. Handbrake

October 10, 2014

2014 Mini Cooper

Here's something that bugs me about our long-term Mini: the center console. On one hand, I'm glad there's a handbrake instead of a button or pedal, so I can reenact scenes from the Italian Job. Ahhh, Charlize... Where was I? Oh, right, the Mini. The problem is, it doesn't clear the armrest. And the issues don't stop there.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Three Cylinder Engine

October 9, 2014

2014 Mini Cooper

Our long-term 2014 Mini Cooper has a three-cylinder turbocharged engine. This is certainly unusual today, but in a few years three-cylinder mills will be ubiquitous.

What is the Mini's three-cylinder engine like to live with? Hit the jump.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Some Kind of Service Alert

October 8, 2014

2014 Mini Cooper

Among the service alerts I've seen pop up in our long-term cars over the years, the 2014 Mini Cooper's is the most cryptic.

At first, while driving I noticed a tiny orange triangle had appeared in the upper right corner of the odometer display. I mean tiny. No other information was shared with said triangle at this time. It was a mystery.

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2014 Mini Cooper: Fuel Economy Update for September

October 3, 2014

2014 Mini Cooper

Our new long-term 2014 Mini Cooper has only been with us for a month and we've managed to log 1,072 miles on it. In the absence of any long distance trips, our fuel economy numbers are well below the EPA's combined estimate, and even below the City estimate. With more highway miles in the coming months, we expect our average to improve.

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