KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 1/6/2014
The 2014 Mini Cooper Roadster proves mini can be mighty, especially if you love the classic British roadsters of the past, but not their anemic engines and miserable reliability. As part of Mini's ballooning lineup expansion, the Cooper Roadster takes all that is good about the Cooper Convertible and shrinks it to Miata-sized proportions, sacrificing space and efficiency for even better handling and quicker acceleration. Mini offers the Roadster in three trim levels, each with a progressively more powerful engine than the last and culminating with the John Cooper Works edition. While the Cooper Roadster is big on power, fun and fuel-efficiency, a base price close to $26,500 makes it less attainable than some other compact convertibles, namely the Fiat 500c and Mazda MX-5 Miata.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a small, open-air roadster that is as expressive as it is fun to drive, the 2014 Mini Cooper Roadster excels on all fronts. Despite its front-drive layout, the Roadster moves through corners like it was chasing prey.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you're looking for open-air fun but also need room for people and luggage, a Volkswagen Beetle or Eos, or even a Ford Mustang convertible makes more sense. The Mini Cooper Roadster's price tag can also push into the $30,000 range.
What's New for 2014
There are no major changes to the 2014 Mini Cooper Roadster.
Thanks to Mini's ability to add structural rigidity to the Roadster's tiny body, the removal of the hardtop's roof has not impacted the convertible's solidity. However, the additional bracing makes the Roadster heavier than the coupe. While you'll still experience some chassis shudder over rough pavement, on the open highway the Roadster is surprisingly composed. During our extended time on the road – mostly with the top down – we were impressed by the Roadster's composure at freeway speeds. It was the twisting mountain passes, however, that sold us by showcasing the Roadster's quick steering, unflappable suspension and willing engine. The transmission of choice has to be the fabulous 6-speed manual that, at nine seconds, shaves a full second off the Roadster's 0-60 time vs. the automatic. Opt for the S or John Cooper Works trims and that time drops to a scant 6-seconds range.
6-SPEED GETRAG MANUAL TRANSMISSION
Conventional wisdom tells us the manual transmission is not long for this world, but Mini tells us that 30 percent of Roadsters go out the door so equipped. So long as Mini keeps building manuals as perfect as the Roadster's 6-speed gearbox, enthusiasts have hope.
Some features are fun, while others are just silly, but the Mini Openometer qualifies as a little of both. This unusual feature tracks the time you've spent open air motoring, and it reminds us that Mini still gets that cars are supposed to fun and whimsical and unique.
For vehicle details and pricing notes…