Car ReviewsFirst Drive

2014 Mini Cooper Review

Isaac Bober’s first drive 2014 Mini Cooper review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety and verdict.

In a nutshell The ‘new’ 2014 Mini Cooper is more grown up than ever yet retains the fun of its predecessors.

Practical Motoring says The 2014 Mini Cooper is more user-friendly than ever, is still a hoot to drive and thanks to new suspension and is a lot more refined than before. There’s room inside for four, it’s reasonably well specced for the money and costs less than $30k.

WHEN SIR ALEC ISSIGONIS penned the design for the original Mini for BMC back in the 1950s he wouldn’t have had the faintest idea it would spawn so many variations. Yet, no matter how oddball the iteration, the Mini still manages, somehow, to maintain its Mini-ness.

And so it is with this third incarnation of the ‘new’ Mini which manages to retain all of the cute but, ahem, masculine looks of its predecessors and all of the driving fun Mini is known for. Now, it might not look like it, but this new Mini really is all-new.

2014 Mini Cooper Review

It sits on a new platform (called UKL) that will be shared across BMW, seeing that brand use it for a range of new front-drive models, it also gets a new MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension as well as wider front and rear tracks.

The new Mini is also bigger than its predecessor, growing in every direction, now measuring 3821mm long (up by 98mm), 1727mm wide (up by 44mm) and 1415mm tall (taller by 7mm). The wheelbase is longer too at 2495mm which is an increase of 28mm.

And all that stretching means there’s a little more room in the front and the back than before. The back seats will be accommodate adults on shorter trips comfortably as long as the driver and front passenger aren’t too tall. And getting into the back requires you to bend right over to avoid banging your head on the way through the door and the seats are mounted lower than before. The boot at 211 litres is a little bigger than before too (up by 51 litres).

The Mini is a little more user-friendly than before, eschewing the centre-mounted instrument cluster to just ahead of the steering wheel. The seats are mounted lower which means you drop down into the Mini, despite this new one being bigger than its predecessor. And while forwards vision is good, rear three-quarters vision is reduced slightly by the C-pillars.

2014 Mini Cooper review

Under the bonnet of this new Mini Cooper is a 1.6-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine producing 90kW (at 6000rpm) and 160Nm (at 4250rpm), this is mated as standard to a six-speed manual but our test car came with the cost-optional six-speed automatic (from $2136). Fuel consumption is a combined 4.7L/100km (4.9L/100km auto) with CO2 emissions being 138g/km.

On paper the numbers seem a little ho-hum but on the road that couldn’t be further from the truth with the Mini Cooper feeling nimble and energetic. And while I haven’t tried the manual, the six-speed automatic did a good job of giving you all the oomph you needed when you needed it. That the Mini Cooper only weighs 1075kg (1115kg with the auto) means there isn’t a lot of weight to move.

The new suspension has helped to give the Mini a more refined feel on the road. Sure, it’s still got that, to use a well-worn and perhaps incorrect cliche, go-kart feel through the front-end while the back of the car now feels more planted through corners. Drive it across coarser surfaces and the new suspension is immediately more compliant than its predecessor, settling nice and quickly too after hitting those where-did-that-come-from potholes.

2014 Mini Cooper Review

Steering is lighter than its predecessor, but it’s more communicative and feels more accurate too. And the brakes have got a nice bite with a good progressive action.

Priced from $26,650 (+ORC) which is a $5000 price drop, the Mini Cooper gets 15-inch alloys wrapped 175/65 R15 rubber and a Mini mobility system instead of a spare tyre (read: a can of tyre goo), cloth interior, air-conditioning, Bluetooth with audio streaming, front and rear fog lights, rain-sensor with automatic headlight control and more.

Safety-wise the Mini Cooper gets a five-star ANCAP crash safety rating and a raft of active and passive safety systems, including six airbags (two front, side and curtain), traction and stability control as well as anti-lock braking with brake assist and cornering brake control.

2014 Mini Cooper Hatch

Pricing From $26,650 (+ORC)
Warranty three years, unlimited kilometres
Safety five-star ANCAP
Engine 1.6-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol
Power/Torque 90kW/160Nm
Transmission six-speed manual (standard); six-speed automatic (cost-optional)
Body 3821mm (L); 1727mm (W); 1415mm (H)
Weight 1075kg (manual)
Thirst 4.7L/100km (manual)

Find the best demonstrator car deals for Practical Motoring readers around Australia on our Live Deals website. 


1 Comment

  1. imotorhome
    October 17, 2014 at 6:25 pm — Reply

    How can a car with a can of goop in place of a spare wheel achieve a 5-star safety rating (and why would you buy it in the first place)? If your [insert name of significant other/loved family member] is stranded on a dark road at night (in a thunder storm of course) due to a flat tyre – yes, Virginia, they do still happen – how ‘safe’ will they feel?

    Every new car sold in Australia should, at the very least, be required to have an actual round spare wheel. Even a dreaded space saver is (marginally) better than a can of hi-tech shaving cream. It should also be a requirement of getting a driver’s license that everyone demonstrates the ability to change a wheel. But there I go dreaming again…

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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober