Much Improved for Wider Appeal - 2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop Long-Term Road Test

2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop Long-Term Road Test

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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.

Mainly, our new Cooper is more livable. The base engine is no longer underpowered, and upgrading to the S version isn't a must. Comfort is superior, too. Our car doesn't have the sport-tuned suspension (like our '07 did), but we do have the bigger 17-inch wheels. Yes, the ride quality is still stiff, but not as bad as before, and the car's handling is still respectably nimble.

Inside, the cargo area is bigger and has added storage possibilities. There's a little more room in the back seat. The infotainment system is another big step forward. Order Mini Connected and you pretty much get a full-boat BMW iDrive system. Heck, now there's even a four-door Cooper for the 2015 model so you can't complain about getting people or stuff in and out of the back seat.

Still going strong is the customization factor. If you don't mind ordering your Cooper (instead of picking one off the lot), you can get a very distinctive car that's just the way you like it and not an identical twin of others you see on the road.

True, you're still going to be paying more for a Cooper, most likely. But if you're shopping for a small hatchback like a Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus, Kia Rio or Volkswagen Golf, a base Cooper hatchback shouldn't just be your alternative choice anymore. It could very well be right in the mix of cars to consider.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

2014 MINI Cooper

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