2014 Mini Cooper: Yep, a Rear-Facing Infant Car Seat Fits
December 8, 2014
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.
It certainly helps that our rear-facing infant car seat (fits babies under 22 pounds), a Maxi Cosi Mico, has a reputation for fitting well in small cars. Although access to the backseat is never going to be great in a two-door car, the Mini's easy-entry feature works well enough that I was able to climb all the way into the back and put my knee on the car seat's base to tighten it down.
If you've never installed a car seat, well, infant car seats have a separate plastic base with two metal clips that attach to the lower LATCH anchor points in a car. You need to get it snug enough that there's less than 1 inch of movement if you try to wiggle the base. The actual seat snaps onto the base.
I should note that not only are the Mini's lower LATCH anchors easy to find, the actual metal fittings are deeply recessed in the seat. Not only does this give you an opportunity to get the car seat base really snug against the seat, it lessens the chance that an adult or older child riding in the backseat would ever rub up against the metal.
Although our 2014 Cooper's dished seat is on the narrow side, it was just wide enough to accommodate the Maxi Cosi's base, which rests nice and flat against it. And I was able to get the correct angle (there's an angle indicator on the car seat itself) without using a towel.
Getting the seat into the Mini's backseat is the tricky part. The basket handle has to be down to wedge through the doorway, but then it has to come back up if you want to set the front-passenger seat in a position fit for a human being, and still lock the car seat's handle back into place. At this point, my daughter is almost 20 pounds so finagling the seat into the car while she's in it is not really workable. So my solution is to leave the seat in the car and load her from the driver's side.
How's the room in the front-passenger seat? Uh, not bad, sort of. At 5 feet, 10 inches, I can sit there without my knees touching the dash, but my thighs are elevated off the seat-bottom cushion and the seat-back has to be very upright. But then, I'm impressed that I can sit there at all.
We're in the process of transitioning the kiddo to a larger convertible car seat. One of the seats I've purchased is a Safety 1st Guide 65, which is supposed to fit well in smaller cars like my better half's 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX. I plan to install that in the Mini later this week and I'll report back.
Erin Riches, Deputy Editor