5,000 Miles Already - 2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop Long-Term Road Test

2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop Long-Term Road Test

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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.

2014 Mini Cooper

This is by far the best base engine ever to find its way to a Mini Cooper. No, this turbocharged three-cylinder isn't very revvy, but who cares when you have so much useful torque at such low rpm? (Actually, I know a few people who would care, people who would complain about this engine's relatively narrow power band, but they're not people who would buy a base Cooper.) Point is, this is the first base Mini Cooper I've driven that really isn't any work to drive. You just press that right pedal and the power is there. And our 7.4-second 0-to-60-mph time reflects this reality.

Of course, I'd love to have the six-speed manual transmission just for kicks, but I could live with this six-speed automatic transmission. The power delivery is not so smooth at low speeds, as if the Mini engineers wanted this car to feel quicker than it really is. I imagine that I could do a better job of sorting that out if I had the manual and, consequently, full control over the shift points.

Ride quality, I feel, has also advanced in this generation of Mini Cooper. Indeed, this is still a noisy little car that has all occupants sitting very near the wheels (which are still wrapped in run-flat rubber), and with the $33K as-tested price on our long-term car, maybe the Mini hardtop doesn't have a right to be this noisy anymore.

But the ride is more compliant, more relaxed and more like a big car. That bite-size Mini feel is a thing of the past, but 2002 was a long time ago, and now that I have a sleeping kid in the backseat, I can't say I mind that extra measure of cushioning.

Erin Riches, Deputy Editor @ 5,047 miles

2014 MINI Cooper

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