- Completely redesigned for 2014
- New engines, including an efficient three-cylinder for base models
- Cooper and Cooper S models, which offer more performance
It’s a year of transition for the MINI Hardtop, which gets a complete redesign for the 2014 model year that includes a long list on changes, including a brand-new three-cylinder engine that increases fuel economy to even greater heights.
This is the third generation of the most conventional of MINI’s offerings since it returned to US shores in 2002. MINI models haven’t been so “mini” for a while now, and the new Hardtop is no exception; it grows in nearly every dimension, adding 4.5-inches in length and 1.7-inches in width. Though the new model still has that signature MINI look to it, the added size makes the new model look slightly leaner, especially up front where the hood now looks stretched out. Cooper S models get a few visual cues for differentiation, including a hood scoop and center mounted dual tailpipes.
Under the hood there are more pronounced changes, where Cooper and Cooper S models both get new engines. The base Cooper now features a 134-hp, turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder that makes 162 pounds-feet of torque, impressive output for such a small engine. Cooper S models get a 189-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 207 pounds-feet of torque in normal driving, but also features an overboost function that can dial up more torque when needed for more spirited jaunts. There are two transmission options for both models; a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic.
Fuel economy maxes out with the base model, which returns 30/42 mpg city/highway with the automatic while manual models give back one mpg on the highway. This beats last year’s model by four mpg in the city and five mpg on the highway. Cooper S models are no slouch, with 28/40 mpg (automatic) or 23/37 mpg (manual).
Inside, the MINI Hardtop also gets extensive changes. Many of the signature MINI design elements are still there, like the large circular element in the center stack and metallic toggle switches for different controls. However, materials have gotten an upgrade all-around with less hard plastics and more soft-touch surfaces. The switches for the windows and locks have moved from the center to a more traditional spot on the doors, opening up space for the control knob that operates the optional infotainment system which is based on BMW’s iDrive. Leatherette seating surfaces come standard, as does push button start. The speedometer has been moved up to a more tradition spot behind the steering wheel; the large center circle now houses an available 8.8-inch touchscreen. The added dimensions to the Hardtop translate to more passenger room all-around, but there still isn’t much legroom to speak of for rear-seat occupants. Also be ready for a small trunk, with just 8.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, which believe it or not is a 3 cubic foot improvement from last year.
For 2014, the Hardtop adds knee airbags for front seat occupants, which brings the total number of standard airbags to eight. The optional adaptive cruise control system also comes with pedestrian detection and a collision warning/avoidance system, which piggy back off of the front sensors. Also new for 2014 is an available rearview camera.