Seat Time: 2014 MINI Hardtop

February 18th, 2014 at 8:00am


Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Manufacturer: BMW
Make: MINI
Model: Hardtop
Model Range: 3-door
Competitors: Fiat 500, VW Golf, Audi A3, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Nissan Juke
Trim Levels: Cooper, Cooper S
Price Range: $19,950 Cooper Base, $23,600 Cooper S Base, With Options $30,000+
Made in: Oxford, England
Drivetrain: Cooper – 3-cyl. w/ standard 6-speed transmission, 134hp; Cooper S – 4-cyl. turbocharged w/ 189hp; Optional 6-speed automatic transmission
EPA Ratings: (All Estimates) Cooper manual 28 city/39 highway/32 combined; Cooper S manual 23 city/37 highway/28 combined

Read on for Chip Drake‘s final impressions of this vehicle

Notable Features:

  • 077_Cooper_SNew design both inside and out
  • First all-BMW powertrains in Hardtop
  • Larger cabin
  • New technology package
  • Important redesign of Instrument Panel

Final Impression:
Even though the third-generation Hardtop is all new, MINI enthusiasts will still recognize the design. It’s on the inside that they might have a conniption or two — but more on that in a minute. This is the first Hardtop with nothing but BMW under the hood: no Chrylser or PSA co-op engines here. And they both provide more than enough power whether driving tight mountain roads or straight-laced highways. Some of the biggest changes on the 2014 can be found inside the car starting with room; there seems to be a lot more of it thanks to engineers lengthening the car by 4.5 inches. But perhaps the biggest change, as far as the MINI community goes, will be behind the wheel where the large pie plate speedometer has been removed from the center stack leaving a nice large navigation/infotainment area. All-important car-related information is now right in front of the driver including an optional head-up display. This may be anathema to the hardcore crowd, but you can’t argue with its advantages and ease of use. All in all, a nice move forward by MINI.

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