by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on September 7, 2015
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.
by Jonathan Elfalan, Road Test Editor on September 1, 2015
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.
July 13, 2015
"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.
July 7, 2015
What would a 2014 Mini Cooper road trip be without a quick photo essay?
The Cooper roamed cities...
July 6, 2015
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.
May 22, 2015
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.
May 20, 2015
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.
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 3, 2015
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.
March 18, 2015
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.
March 13, 2015
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.
March 6, 2015
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.
February 18, 2015
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.
February 13, 2015
"...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.
February 3, 2015
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.
January 5, 2015
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.
November 3, 2014
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.
October 9, 2014
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.