August 18, 2015
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.
August 10, 2015
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?
August 5, 2015
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.
July 31, 2015
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.
July 20, 2015
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.
May 18, 2015
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.
April 15, 2015
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?
April 2, 2015
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.
March 3, 2015
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.
October 22, 2014
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.
September 29, 2014
So the 2014 Mini Cooper is a little bit bigger. In the name of crash safety, comfort and stability, it's picked up a few inches, in more than a few places, but there's one area where it feels the Mini is still...mini.
Yeah, you're looking at it. And yeah, this is another trunk post.
September 11, 2014
It's still technically summer, and the concert season at the Hollywood Bowl is still in full swing. That calls for a car that will tote a picnic bag, seat cushions and a backpack or two.