Read the 2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop's introduction to our long-term fleet.
See all of the 2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop's long-term updates.
What We Got
A complete redesign of the Mini Cooper Hardtop doesn't happen very often, so when the fully revamped 2014 model arrived, it was a logical choice for our long-term test fleet. It rode on an all-new, slightly larger platform and featured a standard three-cylinder engine that promised more power and torque (134 horsepower, 162 pound-feet) and better fuel economy than the outgoing four-cylinder.
With that in mind we ordered a 2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop in base trim. Between the exceptional mileage it promised and the surprising power output from its 1.5-liter engine, it looked like the perfect setup for the new Cooper.
Other than specifying the base trim, we didn't choose the rest of the options since we borrowed the car from Mini. No surprise, then, that it was packed with a long list of optional features. Most expensive among them was Satellite Gray leather seats ($1,750), the Premium package ($1,750), Mini wired package ($1,750) and the six-speed automatic transmission ($1,250). All in, our Mini totaled $33,095, a big step up from its starting price of $20,745. We were expecting quite a bit from a car at this price. Here's what we found.
"Though it's not as frenetic as previous Minis, this is still a remarkably quick-responding car. Impressive steering response coupled with good stability makes it fairly easy to drive through the slalom. Also, the Mini's good sight lines, thin pillars and upright position make it an easy car to place. As FWD cars go, it's fun and easy." — Josh Jacquot
"The first thing you need to know is that this little engine has an impressive amount of grunt. It delivers plenty of torque and has zero trouble keeping up with or passing traffic. It's punchy even, although it tends to run out of steam near redline just when you're thinking it's on a real tear. Still, I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly this thing moves out." — Jason Kavanagh
"Using the revised fuel economy figures, the ones mandated by the EPA, and covered by Dan here, we're still quite behind where we should be. While our worst fill got worse and our best fill got better, our average stayed just about the same. Fun cars always suffer in the city, but a couple of honest highway trips should determine if that 39 mpg number is attainable." — Kurt Niebuhr
"Headed into March, our best fill was 34.5 mpg and the longest range 316 miles. With such a poor showing 9,700 miles into our test, I set out to see just what the Mini could do. One extended highway trip (42.2 mpg, 353.2-mile range) with cruise set to 67 mph was enough, but I did a second (40 mpg, 408.7-mile range) for good measure." — Mike Schmidt
"The driver seat fit me great. A considerable amount of traffic on the Bishop run kept me on the road for about 11 hours. Leg stretching breaks were minimal. Yet it wasn't until the 10th hour that I succumbed to road rump. At that point I was forced to shift positions regularly to maintain any level of comfort." — Mike Schmidt
"My son was otherwise happy sitting in back, and I've come to appreciate the Mini Cooper's boxy profile. Compared to other small two-door coupes with a sloping roof line, the Cooper is easier to step in back and strap little kids into their safety or booster seats." — Brent Romans
"These new rear headrests flop over in place to better clear the front seatbacks during the folding operation, and said seatbacks have generous knee-clearance sculpting that helps the process along. The result is a full 38 cubic feet of maximum seats-down cargo space, up from just 24 cubic feet in years past. That works out to a massive 58 percent increase in cargo space for the 2014 Mini Cooper." — Dan Edmunds
"That's my camera backpack. OK, so it might be a little bigger than your JanSport but it still fits in an overhead bin on an airplane. And as you can see, it takes up two thirds of the trunk's width, most of its depth and prevents the compartment lid from closing." — Kurt Niebuhr
"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. That means I have to put the case in the center armrest bin. It barely fits in there, and if I don't place it just right the lid won't fully close. But the bigger problem with doing this is that the case takes up the entire bin, so where do I put my wallet? Sure, it will fit in the door pocket, but that means the wallet will be in plain view if I leave the car to go mountain biking or running. I know the Mini is a small car, but this interior storage thing could definitely be done better." — Mike Monticello
"If you have kids, Mini offers a couple of family-friendlier vehicles these days: the Cooper Countryman crossover?and the four-door Cooper hatchback?. But if you want to stay traditional in your choice of Mini Coopers, the two-door hatchback might still work out all right. I've come to that conclusion after taking my two kids to school each day for about a week." — Brent Romans
Audio and Technology
"The weirdest things bother me: Girls who say 'like' more than once in a sentence, sunglass lenses that aren't perfectly spotless, wristwatches not set to the exact second. And this?the power button that rotates with the volume knob makes me bonkers. That off-kilter power symbol makes my right eye twitch." — Mark Takahashi
"I like our Mini Connected system, too. Entering addresses into the navigation system is quick and easy. The iPod interface is smooth and responsive. Phone pairing is a snap. There are plenty of customization and setting options for the car available through Connected, too." — Brent Romans
"According to the performance-based maintenance tool in the center display, the Cooper only needed an oil change. I don't know if the service includes more work, such as a tire rotation, because the owner's manual does not spell out an estimated service interval or list the recommended work for that interval. The owner instead waits until the IP throws up a maintenance alert and then takes it to a dealer. It's frustrating. It would be refreshing to see Mini embrace the approach of other performance-based minders, like the one in our 2015 Acura TLX, which displays a code that corresponds to a set of maintenance items listed in the owner's manual." — Cameron Rogers
"As reported by Ed Hellwig in July, the mirror cover on the driver side sun visor of our Mini Cooper had given up the ghost, flopping into view whenever you lowered the visor. Long Beach Mini ordered up a new visor, and I delivered the car for the repair. After about 90 minutes, the service folk had the new sun visor in place, and the mirror now stays closed until vanity calls." — Carroll Lachnit
"The California Driver Handbook has even more detail on horns. You're apparently not supposed to use them if people are going slow, make a mistake, are on a bicycle or because I'm angry. That's a bummer because our 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." — Mike Magrath
"Despite the aspersions I've cast on its styling, I like this car. A lot. It's not like anything else, and it stays true to the Mini character that we've known and loved since BMW revived the brand in the early 2000s." — Josh Sadlier
Maintenance & Repairs
Routine service is free on the Mini for three years or 36,000 miles. It occurs at roughly 10,000-mile intervals so in our case, we paid nothing for dealer visits at 10,000 and 20,000 miles.
Numerous recalls and technical service bulletins affected our car during the first year of ownership. Two items, a drivetrain malfunction and droopy sun visor, required separate appointments. These remaining issues were resolved during our two scheduled services: (1) software updates for U.S.-spec control units; (2) installation of a self-locking nut to attach the spare tire; (3) reprogramming and coding of control units; (4) a new oil filter housing assembly; (5) retrofitting foam shims for side impact performance; (5) retrofitting structural foam parts and crash pads; (6) replacing incorrect VIN and tire labels on the door sill.
Fuel Economy and Resale Value
Observed Fuel Economy:
The EPA estimated 32 mpg during combined driving (28 city/39 highway) for the base Mini Cooper. In total we averaged 28.7 mpg over 20,000 miles of driving. Without devotion to the cause, highway projections were unreachable. The only time we met the 39 mpg figure was on a dedicated fuel economy drive, which garnered 42.2 mpg and a range of 408.7 miles on a single tank.
Resale and Depreciation:
Our Mini had an as-tested MSRP of $33,095. After one year and 20,789 miles. its private-party sale value dipped to $21,663 according to Edmunds' TMV® Calculator. That is a surprising 35 percent. For reference, our long-term 2011 Countryman depreciated just 19 percent with about 1,000 fewer miles on the odometer.
Pros: Surprisingly gutsy three-cylinder engine; quick-shifting transmission; responsive steering; plenty of room for taller drivers; much-improved interior layout; free scheduled maintenance.
Cons: Seldom delivers EPA fuel economy estimates; choppy ride on the highway; minimal interior storage space; required several trips to the dealer to resolve multiple recalls.
Bottom Line: Even with its slightly larger size, this is still very much a Mini. It's responsive, surprisingly quick and has a unique style inside and out that none of its competitors can match. Less than advertised fuel economy and some questionable ergonomics are the biggest drawbacks to this otherwise well-rounded package.
|Total Body Repair Costs:||None|
|Total Routine Maintenance Costs:||$0 (over 12 months)|
|Additional Maintenance Costs:||None|
|Warranty Repairs:||Update software for U.S.-spec control units, install self-locking nut to attach spare tire, program and code control units, replace oil filter housing assembly, retrofit foam shims for side impact performance, retrofit structural foam parts and crash pads, replace VIN and tire labels.|
|Scheduled Dealer Visits:||2|
|Unscheduled Dealer Visits:||2|
|Days Out of Service:||2|
|Breakdowns Stranding Driver:||None|
|Best Fuel Economy:||42.2 mpg|
|Worst Fuel Economy:||18.2 mpg|
|Average Fuel Economy:||28.7 mpg|
|True Market Value at service end:||$21,663 (private-party sale)|
|Depreciation:||$11,432 (35% of original MSRP)|
|Final Odometer Reading:||20,789 miles|
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.