by Mike Monticello, Senior Road Test Editor on October 7, 2015
Some time spent with Brent Romans up north and Jonathan Elfalan's 800-mile road trip to San Francisco and back made for a fair fuel economy period for the little blue hatch, which averaged 29.6 mpg on 73.6 gallons of 91-octane fuel. For comparison, we averaged just 27.0 mpg in July. This upped the Mini's lifetime fuel economy from 28.6 to 28.7 mpg.
by Jonathan Elfalan, Road Test Editor on September 17, 2015
A road trip of significant length will often lead to a spectacular montage of insects plastered across the face of your car. Art installations of this nature usually require a deeper removal process than the four-minute spray 'n go wash stations offer. After taking our 2014 Mini Cooper to a professional bug uninstaller, I buckled back in and immediately received this warning on the vehicle information screen.
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.
August 25, 2015
Did you think we'd get there? It was certainly questionable.
As we noted in our introduction of our 2014 Mini Cooper, we failed to meet our long-term-test goal of getting 20,000 miles for our last Mini Cooper, a 2007 Cooper S. A lot of our staff just didn't like driving it. But this time we've got it in the bag and we've still got a few weeks before this test is over.
August 14, 2015
I've thought about buying a Mini Cooper many times over the last 13 years, but I've never committed. Now that I have a house and a child, the window for buying toy cars may have closed for a decade or two. Nevertheless, after rereading the comments in the Introduction for our 2014 Mini Cooper about how our long-term car has a ridiculous list of options and an implausible MSRP of $33,095, I decided to see how much my hypothetical Mini would cost.
I couldn't remember the last time I built a Mini. It was bittersweet to open my "garage" on the Mini USA site and find this base 2011 Cooper already parked there. I have no memory of building it, but the car is green so it's definitely my work.
I'd go with Electric Blue if I bought the current-generation Mini Cooper. Notably, that color wasn't offered during the 2014 model year (which had a limited palette), so new or used, I'd have to go '15 or later. As you see, this 2016 Cooper would cost a hair under $26,000 when equipped to my taste. I didn't even consider the S or new John Cooper Works model, by the way, because I enjoy the car so much with the base turbocharged three-cylinder engine.
July 16, 2015
The California Vehicle Code has four sections on horns (and two on horse-drawn vehicles!) Pretty much they just say that you need to have one, you should use it when coming around corners on roads without center lines, when overtaking another vehicle, or "when reasonably necessary to insure safe operation."
The California Driver Handbook has even more detail on horns. You're apparently not supposed to use them if people are going slow, made a mistake, are on a bicycle or because I'm angry.
That's a bummer because our 2014 Mini Cooper has a great horn. It's loud, deep and not at all cutesy. Not using it every day would be the real crime.
July 7, 2015
What would a 2014 Mini Cooper road trip be without a quick photo essay?
The Cooper roamed cities...
June 24, 2015
At first glance, I thought the door pockets in our 2014 Mini Cooper came with some sorta hipster snap straps. Wasn't sure what they'd secure in that narrow, shallow pocket, but seemed like an interesting touch.
Looking closer, I realized the strap wasn't factory equipment at all.
June 8, 2015
It's time for our 2014 Mini Cooper to get some miles! You won't be hearing much about the Mini for a short while. I'm taking the Cooper north from Santa Monica to Olympic National Park in Washington. The trip should tack on around 2,400 miles by the time I'm back at Ed-Quarters.
May 29, 2015
May 5, 2015
Our long-term 2014 Mini Cooper is an excellent city car, partially because of its scant dimensions, but also thanks to excellent visibility out of the cabin. As Erin Riches has noted, it's not as easy to see the edges of the car, but the outward view still makes for a good driving experience.
April 22, 2015
The interior LED lighting is one of my favorite features of the 2014 Mini Cooper. With 10 different colors and varying degrees of brightness, the accent lights give the Mini a clubby ambience while driving at night.
For fun, the video and photo team took the Mini out for a night drive and did a time-lapse of the experience. With Canon 5Ds and GoPros in hand, we started off in Malibu and made our way through Santa Monica and Venice, before ending in downtown Los Angeles.
April 6, 2015
In the past if I saw a Mini Cooper running around without the dual-outlet central exhaust that comes on the S model, I'd usually snub it as "just the base car" and move on with my day. Yeah, I know. I'm a jerk.
It wasn't pure snobbery, though. That base car was pretty gutless in a straight line. But those days are over thanks to the 2014 Mini Cooper and its standard 134-horsepower three-cylinder turbo engine.
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.
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 30, 2015
On a whim I drove our 2014 Mini Cooper 600 miles for a loaf of bread and beef jerky. Take the jump for photos and a recap of the trip...
March 2, 2015
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.
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 29, 2015
The use of headlights is required either when it is raining or when the wipers are in "continuous use" in 23 U.S. states. A further 11 require headlight use during periods of "adverse weather," which to me implies rain, which in turn implies wipers. Do the math and we're talking about 34 of 50 states.
Wait, what are we talking about? The automatic headlights in our 2014 Mini Cooper are tied in to the windshield wiper switch. They're programmed to come on whenever the windshield wipers are on.
"What about the DRLs?" you may be asking.
They don't count. I asked. Daytime running lights are oftentimes weak. And when they're on the taillights and side marker lights are not. It's not about you, the driver, being able to see. It's about being seen, about not being rear-ended or T-boned when your car's outline gets lost in the spray.
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.
December 30, 2014
In my last update I reported that after getting a low-tire warning (please link to the 12/29 Mini update) in our long-term 2014 Mini Cooper I followed the car's instructions to fill up the tires and run its in-car diagnostics.
December 29, 2014
It was 8:00 a.m. as I started up the 2014 Mini Cooper for a coffee run. L'Amande Bakery in Torrance makes the most wonderful cafe au lait, breads and croissants. They are worth braving the morning chill air to get the French yummy goodness.
December 9, 2014
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.
November 19, 2014
Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding! We have a winner! The manual gear indictor within the instrument panel (can you even see it in this photo?) of the 2014 Mini Cooper is the smallest ever created.
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.
October 8, 2014
Among the service alerts I've seen pop up in our long-term cars over the years, the 2014 Mini Cooper's is the most cryptic.
At first, while driving I noticed a tiny orange triangle had appeared in the upper right corner of the odometer display. I mean tiny. No other information was shared with said triangle at this time. It was a mystery.
September 30, 2014
It's been a while since we've had a long-term vehicle so perfectly suited for performance testing at our test track as the 2014 Mini Cooper. The miniscule footprint and low weight of past Minis made them a joy to send bombing down our slalom course. But this new one's longer, wider, heavier and has a three-cylinder motor. Does this new Hardtop live up to the expectations set by its predecessors? Read ahead to find out.
September 10, 2014
Peppy engine. Playful demeanor. Corners flat and goes like stink around curves. These are sentiments often attributed to Mini Coopers, especially the hardtop model synonymous with the Mini brand.
Cooper Hardtops are some of the best-handling front-wheel-drive cars on the market, if not the most comfortable or spacious. Every new iteration of the Mini Cooper is an event, and the 2014 model year brings a long list of improvements to the diminutive hatchback.
We have 12 months and 20,000 miles to explore this new Hardtop and all its features.